Micah has brought the bad news of Judah's fall and captivity and the message of its deliverance through a remnant spared by the Lord; but now we're looking forward to the last days when the nations come together to try and crush Israel; but are destroyed by the Lord.
The first few verses of Chapter 5 seem to be a continuation of Chapter 4 in which the Lord is speaking to the people of Jerusalem who have been surrounded by many nations. In the last verse of Chapter 4, verse 13, the Lord tells Jerusalem He will thresh these nations using Jerusalem as an iron horn and a bronze hoof.
In Chapter 5, verse 1, He goes on in encouragement, telling them to muster themselves, as the nations lay siege to Jerusalem. In the last sentence of the verse it states that they (the nations) will smite the judge of Israel on the cheek.
Ryrie says that the "judge of Israel" is the puppet king Zedekiah; but doesn't say how that is determined. "judge of Israel" doesn't seem like an inherently negative title. Also, much of this section seems more of a focus on the last days; so to flash to the present seems odd.
The author has been speaking to the daughter of Zion, which is Jerusalem. Now, starting in verse 2, the author shifts to speak to a new city of Judah, Bethlehem.
Verse 2 tells us, while small, this city is where One will go forth for the Lord and rule Israel. We know from the capital "O" in One, and from the future tense, this is the coming Messiah. Verse 2 ends by explaining that:
His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.Micah 5:2c
This is a really exciting little sentence. To me, this indicates that, not only is the Messiah coming to rule, but He has had "goings forth" before. People have told me that when a Bible passage mentions THE Angel of the Lord, that it is Jesus per-incarnate. I've always accepted that; but now have a verse that confirms that He has come before.
My Ryrie footnote seems to support this interpretation as well.
Verse 3 is confusing.
"He will give them up until that time." May simply mean that the Spirit of the Lord is leaving the Temple and He won't be back for Israel until that time.
But the next sentence says what that time is..."When she who is in labor has borne a child. The obvious rear view interpretation would be Mary giving birth to Jesus- 400 years after God goes silent. But just a few verses earlier the "women giving birth" is a reference to Jerusalem, not Bethlehem. I'm guessing that I'm overthinking this, or missing something obvious, because this really seem to fit Jesus.
I am further confused by the end of verse 3, describing what else happens when the child is born, "Then the remainder of His brethren will return to the sons of Israel." Since He is the only begotten son of God, His only brethren are those born again through Him...so us. But we would "return" to the sons of Israel. I think I need to check out other translations. I'll be curious what the commentaries say.
The Ryrie NASB Headings label verses 2-3, His first coming; and starting with verse 4-15, His second coming.
And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the lord His God. And they will remain, because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth. And this One will be our peace.Micah 4-5a
It's interesting how it read as the Messiah more separate from God than we normally describe.
In verse 4, the Lord His God is Jehovah Elohim. but in the next sentence, in the KJV, it translates, "they will abide." Originally, I thought that meant the "sheep", but now wonder if it means the Messiah and His God.
Again, verse 5 starts by proclaiming the Messiah as their peace. The rest of verse 5 and 6 give an example. Some nation similar to the role played by Assyria will invade and trample citadels. Israel will raise up against "Assyria" 7 shepherds and 8 leaders of men. These shepherds will take a sword to Assyria and we will be delivered by the Messiah when enemies attack.
Verse 7 assures us that the remnant of Jacob will go out like dew and rain on vegetation- which i assume is the 144,000 who will become the evangelists described in Revelations- once the body of Christ is raptured. This remnant will bring many to salvation.
On the contrary, in verse 8, the author states that when Israel goes out among the nations, any adversaries will brought down like a lion with none to rescue.
In verse 10-15, the Lord declares what He will do to His/Israel's enemies:
- Verse 10- cut off your horses and chariots
- Verse 11- cut off your cities and tear down your fortifications
- Verse 12- cut off your sorceries and disappear your fortunetellers.
- Verse 13- cut off your carved images and sacred pillars- no more bowing down to gods you made yourself.
- Verse 14- root out your Asherim; destroy your cities
- Verse 15:
I will execute vengeance in anger and wrath on the nations which have not obeyed.Micah 5:15
See Revelations for details!
Think about the God of the universe directing vengeance in anger and wrath. That is a terrifying and grim picture indeed. That section pretty much speaks for itself.
Oh, the MacArthur Bible Commentary disagrees with me; and I can see that interpretation now.
Verses 10- 14 are the things the Lord will do to Israel
Verse 10- cut off your horses and chariots (now you'll have to rely on God)
Verse 11- cut off your cities and tear down your fortifications (now you'll have to rely on God)
Verse 12- cut off your sorceries and disappear your fortunetellers. (now you'll have to rely on God)
Verse 13- cut off your carved images and sacred pillars- no more bowing down to gods you made yourself. (now you'll have to rely on God)
Verse 14- root out your Asherim; destroy your cities (now you'll have to rely on God)
Verse 15 remains the same, because...vengeance, angry, wrath...for disobedient nations is tough to misinterpret.