The Scriptural text used for this study is the Digital American Standard Version, © DASV Bible, Ted Hildebrandt, 2011. Due to the copyright of other English versions, verses cited from these versions will be kept within the restrictions stated in their copyright statements.
1:1 The word of the LORD that came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.
The beginning verse of the prophecy of Micah is set as a title or superscription. A superscription is a text that is written above other text and serves as a summary or title for the text that follows. In this first verse of his written text, Micah succinctly states several important facts concerning what is to follow and provides an important historical background to his ministry.
First, and most importantly, the author states that it was the word of the LORD that came to him. Godly prophets of the Old Testament did not make public declarations of their own inventions but boldly stated that their proclamations came directly from the LORD. These statements can be understood as the prophet’s authorization to herald God’s words mostly to God’s covenant people and sometimes to the nations. Micah does not state that he received a vision, (cf. Isaiah 1:1; Ezekiel 1:1), but he said he saw God’s word, thus implying a vision.
Second, Micah identifies himself simply as Micah of Moresheth. Little is known about the prophet other than what is written in his book and in Jeremiah 26:17-19; and the New Testament citations from his book, Matthew 2:5-6; 10:34-36; Mark 13:12; Luke 12:53 and John 7:42. The meaning of the name of Micah (or Michaiah) is Who is like the LORD? Everywhere Micah went to minister God’s word, his audience would have been reminded of the exhortation to take heed that no one is like their Creator who is a covenant making and keeping Sovereign who demands complete loyalty and obedience to Himself and His word. Micah’s hometown Moresheth was likely Moresheth-Gath located about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of Jerusalem in the Shephelah region of western Judah and within the vicinity of the former stronghold of the Philistine city of Gath.
Third, the time frame of Micah’s ministry is stated as in the days of three kings of Judah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. The Introduction above provides a short background to the days of these kings and years in which they reigned. From what Micah has proclaimed in his writings about these days it can reasonably be assumed that Micah’s prophetic ministry occurred from approx. 735-700 BC.
Fourth, the words Micah received from God were directed to Samaria and Jerusalem. These two cities were the capitals for the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. They represent the political and religious leaders and the general residents of these countries. Although Micah was a resident of Judah, it may be significant that he first mentions Samaria representing Israel. This could be because Israel was the first kingdom to be destroyed in the judgment of God and that this event should have been a warning to Judah to repent before the same fate would happen to them.