POSTED 23 OCTOBER, 2017
Approximate date: 700s B.C.E. (Right, conservative-moderate); 400s-200s B.C.E. (Left)
Time period: judgment on the Northern Kingdom, and promised judgment on the Southern Kingdom
Author(s): Micah (Right, some conservative-moderate); Micah and/or anonymous other(s) (some conservative moderate); Micah and anonymous redactors (Left)
Location of prophet/author(s): somewhere in Judah (Right, conservative-moderate, Left)
Target audience and location: Jerusalemites
Theological Summary: The name Micah (Heb. Mikah) means “who is like the LORD”? We know very little of the prophet who bears this name, other than the fact that Micah was from the village of Moresheth (1:1; cf. Jeremiah 26:18) in southern Judah. Micah prophesied during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (750-686 B.C.E.), making him a contemporary of Isaiah and Amos. The birthplace of Amos, Tekoa (Amos 1:1), was less than twenty miles from Moresheth, and this would likely have had an influence on Micah’s message. In the traditional Jewish order of the Tanach, the Book of Micah appears sixth among the Twelve Prophets, but in the Greek LXX Micah is placed third after Amos and Hosea, likely because of the time period it was composed or its length.
It is unknown whether Micah actually wrote his prophecies, or whether someone else wrote them down for him. Conservatives widely hold to some kind of unity for Micah. It is possible that chs. 5-7 may include some expansions of genuine Micah material, but nothing so substantial so as to alter the original prophecies. These slight expansions could reflect the thoughts of those who received his initial prophecies. However, likewise important to note is that many conservatives hold to Micah’s uniqueness in thought and language as being a direct result of his authorship, not the compilation of some of his followers and/or supporters. But regardless of which option is the case, the most important factor to keep in mind is that “If one grants the possibility of predictive prophecy…there are no persuasive reasons for denying Micah authorship of any part of the book” (Dillard and Longman).Book_of_Micah
One of the major reasons that today’s Messianic movement has grown in the past decade is a significant interest by Believers in the Torah and the Tanach. In too many cases, the Tanach Scriptures were not probed in that great a detail in a Jewish Believer’s traditional Synagogue upbringing—and perhaps more serious, a non-Jewish Believer’s Christian experience often witnessed the Old Testament taking a back seat to the New Testament in the Church. With many of the ethical and moral controversies the greater Judeo-Christian religious community is experiencing in our age, a need for God’s people to return to a foundational grounding in the Tanach Scriptures is absolutely imperative. The Old Testament cannot simply be disregarded any more.
Many have stayed away from consulting the Tanach not because of a lack of interest, but because few want to have to deal with the controversies it addresses. Unlike the Apostolic Scriptures, constrained to the First Century C.E., the period of the Tanach stretches back all the way to the beginning of the universe itself. Questions like: Who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus? Did God actually condone the genocide of the Canaanites? and Am I the only one who thinks the Prophets are mentally disturbed? are debates that many people do not want to enter into. Even more significant is the effect of critical scholarship which has attempted to divide the Torah into non-Mosaic sources, question the inspiration and historical reliability of the text, and even regard much of the Tanach as Ancient Israel’s mythology. For a Messianic movement that claims to place a high value on the Tanach, it is time that we join in to these conversations.
A Survey of the Tanach for the Practical Messianic takes you through the Old Testament from a distinct Messianic point of view. It presents a theologically conservative perspective of the books of the Tanach, but one that does not avoid some of the controversies that have existed in Biblical scholarship for over one hundred and fifty years. The student, in company with his or her study Bible, is asked to read through each text of the Tanach, jotting down characters, place names, key ideas, and reflective questions. Each book of the Old Testament is then summarized for its compositional data and asks you questions to get a good Messianic feel for the text. This workbook can be used for both personal and group study, and will be a valuable aid for any Messianic Believer wanting to study the whole Bible on a consistent basis.