He was a contemporary of Hosea and Isaiah, and prophesied in the days of Jothan, Ahaz, and the earlier years of Hezekiah, kings of Judah. He prophesied concerning both Samaria and Jerusalem, but the burden of his prophecy was for Judah.
Micah bore the same name, abbreviated, as Micaiah, the son of Imlah, the prophet of Israel, who stood alone for God against the 400 false prophets, 150 years before this, in the days of Ahab, when he and Jehoshaphat went against Ramoth-Gilead (1Kings 22). Micaiah had concluded his prophecy with the words, ''Hearken, O people, every one of you.'' Micah begins his prophecy with the same words.
The three divisions of his book each begins with this call to Hear:
Micaiah had seen ''all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd.'' Micah's prophecy abounds in allusions to the Good Shepherd and His [compassionate] care over His flock.
With much brokenness of heart, Micah [pronounces] God's judgments upon Judah for their sins, but he seems to hasten over the words of judgment, and to linger over the message of God's love and mercy, concluding his prophecy with a specially beautiful proclamation of it, with which he identifies his own name, Micah, which means ''Who is like God?'' [Micah 7:18-20]. ''Who is like the Lord, the Pardoner of sin, the Redeemer from its guilt, the Subduer of its power? For no false god was ever such a claim made. This was the one message that he loved above all to proclaim; and his own name was the herald to the people in his day'' (Dr. Pusey).
The idolatry of Israel had spread to Jerusalem, and the strong city of Lachish seems to have been the connecting link, ''the beginning of the sin of the daughter of Zion'' (1:13). It is this spread of idolatry, and all its attendant evils, to Judah, under king Ahaz, which Micah specially deplores. He rebukes the extreme oppression of the poor, women and little children being driven from their homes; covetousness and self-aggrandizement, even at the price of blood, which he graphically likens to cannibalism. He specially denounces the sins of the rulers, bribery among the judges, false weights and balances.
Micah further proclaims the captivity in Babylon (4:9-10), and the destruction of Jerusalem (3:12), even to the ploughing up of the city, which was fulfilled by the Emperor Hadrian. We are distinctly told, in the book of Jeremiah, that this prophecy led to the great turning to the Lord of King Hezekiah and his people, at the beginning of his reign, which averted the destruction of the city, it may be for 136 years, and led also to the great reformation under that king. The elders of Judah reverted to this prophecy of Micah about 120 years after it was uttered, when the priests would have put Jeremiah to death for predicting the same doom. [Jer 26:16-19].
This prophecy proclaims His eternity. He who was to go forth from Bethlehem as the Ruler, was He whose goings forth were ''from the days of eternity.'' [cp. Isa 7:13,14; 9:6,7. The ''child'' was born in Bethlehem, but the ''Son'' was ''from everlasting.'' (ScofRB)]
''He shall stand and feed (or rule) in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God'' [Mic 5:4]. Here, we have the majesty of the Royal Shepherd caring for His flock.
Micah's picture of the restoration of Zion and many nations flowing to it, and the glory and prosperity of Christ's Kingdom, with its reign of universal peace, was introduced by Isaiah into his prophecy [cp. Mic 4:1-3 with Isa 2:2-4; Mic 7:16,17 with Isa 49:23].
[Note that the meaning of Mic 4:5 is obscured in the KJV translation. The literal reading is: ''For all the peoples do now walk in the name of their god, but shall walk in the name of Jehovah our Elohim for ever'' (ScofRB, margin).]
The ''word of the LORD that came to Micah'' (Mic 1:1), having described the future kingdom (Mic 4:1-8), and glanced at the Babylonian captivities (Mic 4:9-10), goes forward into the last days to refer to the great battle (Armageddon, Rev 16:14; 19:17-20), which immediately precedes the setting up of the Messianic Kingdom.