Micah (whose name means “Who is like YHWH?”) began his prophetic activity during the reign of Jotham and, therefore, later than his contemporaries, the prophets Isaiah and Hosea (Isaiah 1:1; Hosea 1:1; Micah 1:1) Another contemporary prophet was Oded. (2 Chronicles 28:9-11)
Micah foretold that Samaria would be reduced to ruins. (Micah 1:6) Unlike the book of Isaiah that mentions the destruction of Samaria and the devastation of much of the kingdom of Judah during the reign of King Hezekiah (Isaiah 10:9-11; 36:1), the book of Micah includes no reference to these major developments. This suggests that Micah’s service as a prophet did not extend to the time the Assyrians overran the kingdom of Israel and captured Samaria during the reign of Hoshea and while Hezekiah was ruling in Jerusalem.
Whereas Isaiah and his family either lived near or in Jerusalem (Isaiah 7:3; 37:1, 2), Micah is identified as being from Moresheth and may well have continued to reside there throughout his life. The town of Moresheth has been linked to Tell- el-Judeideh (Tel Goded), some 22 miles (c. 35 kilometers) southwest of Jerusalem. Micah’s being from Moresheth near the border of Philistine territory is also evident from his mentioning other towns that were located in the general area. (Micah 1:10-13) Although Micah was not in the same close proximity to the royal palace in Jerusalem as was Isaiah, his message did reach the Judean king Hezekiah who responded favorably. Years later during the reign of King Jehoiakim, when false prophets and priests wanted to have Jeremiah killed for declaring a similar message, certain elders came to his defense and called attention to the fact that Hezekiah had heeded the words of Micah who spoke concerning the calamity that would befall Jerusalem. (Jeremiah 26:10-19)
Widespread lawlessness among the Israelites in the kingdom of Israel and in the kingdom of Judah must have greatly distressed Micah. Especially the lowly ones of the people, including orphans and widows, were oppressed and treated unjustly. (Micah 2:1, 2, 8, 9) The leaders who should have been upholding justice accepted bribes and declared the guiltless ones guilty, making themselves responsible for shedding innocent blood. (Micah 3:9-11) To attain their base objectives, the leaders treated the people like animals designated for slaughter. (Micah 3:1, 2) Lying prophets lulled the morally corrupt Israelites into a false sense of security, contributing to their disregarding the word of YHWH and refusing to abandon their wayward course. (Micah 2:6, 11; 3:5) The moral breakdown affected family relationships, making it impossible for individuals to trust even their closest family members. A man’s enemies proved to be persons of his own household. (Micah 7:1-6)
The Israelites repeatedly violated YHWH’s commands. Therefore, his word or message through Micah focused on the judgment to come upon Samaria and Jerusalem and the respective kingdoms of which these two cities were the capitals. (Micah 1:5, 6; 3:9-12) Additionally, the message contained comfort for the repentant ones among the people. It pointed forward to the coming of the Messiah, the exalted place that divinely approved worship would come to have, and the blessings that people from all nations would come to enjoy upon turning to YHWH and wanting to be instructed in his ways. (Micah 4:1-4; 5:2)