Don’t tell our enemies in Gath; don’t weep at all. You people in Beth-leaphrah, roll in the dust to show your despair. You people in Shaphir, go as captives into exile—naked and ashamed. The people of Zaanan dare not come outside their walls. The people of Beth-ezel mourn, for their house has no support.
The people of Maroth anxiously wait for relief, but only bitterness awaits them as the Lord’s judgment reaches even to the gates of Jerusalem. Harness your chariot horses and flee, you people of Lachish. You were the first city in Judah to follow Israel in her rebellion, and you led Jerusalem into sin. Send farewell gifts to Moresheth-gath; there is no hope of saving it. The town of Aczib has deceived the kings of Israel. O people of Mareshah, I will bring a conqueror to capture your town. And the leaders of Israel will go to Adullam.
Oh, people of Judah, shave your heads in sorrow, for the children you love will be snatched away. Make yourselves as bald as a vulture, for your little ones will be exiled to distant lands. (Micah 1:10-16)
Micah and Isaiah lived at the same time (750–680 b.c.) and undoubtedly knew of each other. Micah directed his message mainly to Judah, but also had some words for Israel, the northern kingdom. Judah was enjoying great prosperity at this time. Of the three kings mentioned, Jotham (750–732) and Hezekiah (715–686) had tried to follow God (2 Kings 15:32-38; 18–20), but Ahaz (735–715) was one of the most evil kings ever to reign in Judah (2 Kings 16).
Micah declared God’s judgment on city after city because of the people’s sins. There is a clever wordplay in the Hebrew of Micah 1:10-13. Micah bitterly denounced each town by using puns. Shaphir sounds like the Hebrew word for “pleasant”; Zaanan sounds like the verb meaning “come out”; and Maroth sounds like a word for “bitter.” Read Micah 1:11 aloud, substituting the meaning for each city’s name, and you will realize the effect of Micah’s word choice.
Not all these cities can be identified now, but Lachish was on the border with Philistia and took the brunt of the Assyrian invasion. The people of Lachish had influenced many to follow their evil example.
Regardless of whether you consider yourself a leader, your daily actions and words are observed by others who may choose to follow your example, whether you know it or not. How do your actions show your integrity?