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Micah, preacher against idolatry, was a champion of social justice

While denouncing idolatry and faithlessness, Micah was a prophet who displayed great sensitivity and concern for social justice. Many of his preachings were against those who caused misery and suffering among the people, especially among the poor, women and children.

Micah ministered in the northern kingdom of Israel and in the southern kingdom of Judah. He continued preaching in Judah after the Assyrian conquest."Since Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah, Hosea and Amos, the problems he faced were much the same as theirs," wrote Sidney B. Sperry in The Voice of Israel's Prophets.

"Micah was not a statesman like Isaiah; consequently, he was not so much concerned about his nation's political sins. The prophet was more like Amos in that his grievances were social in character. He was especially concerned with the attempts of the nobles to build large estates by ejecting small property owners. Corrupt judges assisted their greedy friends in robbing the weak; widows and orphans without means of defense were deprived of their goods by force and oftentimes sold into slavery." (See Micah 2:4-10.)

Sperry pointed out that Micah held the nobility responsible for the moral and social corruption among his people. "He likened the nobles to cannibals, who eat the flesh of the people and chop their bones in pieces for the pot," wrote Sperry. "There is no end to their greed and rapacity, and decisions were given to those who paid the largest bribes." (Micah 3:2-3, 11.)

Sperry further wrote: "Micah felt keenly the social injustices that plagued Israel in his own day. Coming, as he did, from the country, he no doubt felt these wrongs more acutely than he would had he come from the city. He could not help but cast his invective at the wealthy, greedy land grabbers, who descended upon the rural districts and made the poor their debtors.

"Even today, the agricultural communities in our own nation could well take a leaf from Micah's notebook and beware letting their properties go into the hands of money lenders."

In just a few lines of scripture, Micah summed up the essence of the teachings of the prophets: "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:8.)


(ADDITIONAL INFORMATION)

Prophets' ministries weren't minor

  • In the Old Testament are records of 12 religious leaders often referred to as "minor prophets." The designation of these prophets as "minor" does not mean they were less important than other prophets. The warnings issued by them bore as much as weight as any uttered by other prophets.

The term "minor" has to do with the length of their writings or accounts of their ministrations as recorded in the current Old Testament record.

The minor prophets of the Old Testament were Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.

In the English translation of the Bible, the books named after these prophets are the last 12 books of the Old Testament.

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