The prophet Micah speaks to the southern kingdom of Judah during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah (late 8th century BC). He foresees that Samaria and Jerusalem, the capital cities of Israel and Judah, will be destroyed because of their injustice and corrupt religion. The people have abandoned the covenant God made with them, taking up the pagan religious practices of the Canaanites. The rich and powerful are ruthlessly exploiting the poor, ignoring the law of Moses. Micah warns that in punishment for their unfaithfulness and injustice, both kingdoms will be invaded, conquered and exiled. As he predicts, Samaria falls to the Assyrians in 722 BC and Jerusalem falls to the Babylonians in 587/6 BC.
Micah’s prophecies alternate between warnings of destruction and promises of restoration. Each of Micah’s three groups of oracles begins with a series of judgments, and then concludes with promises of restoration. Micah proclaims that in compassion and covenant faithfulness God will save a remnant of the people and bring them back to their own land. There they will be ruled by a righteous king and become a light to the whole world, pointing all nations to the ways of the Lord. God will help Israel find its place in the biblical drama.