Scripture reading – Micah 5

Click on this link to translate this Bible study to Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, German, Portuguese, Chinese, and Spanish.

There are many well-known Messianic prophecies concerning the coming of the LORD, but few believers are aware of their historical context. Today’s study of Micah 5 presents another example of a great Messianic prophecy (Micah 5:2). Though often quoted, the setting of that verse is rarely referenced or studied. Open your Bible and consider with me, Micah 5.

Micah 5

The Imminent Afflictions and Troubles in Israel’s Future (Micah 5:1)

Micah 5:1 should be identified with the prior chapter (Micah 4) and its summary of the Assyrian invasion of Israel. We read, “Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: He hath laid siege against us: They shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek” (Micah 5:1).

Bible students identify the reference to “troops” in various ways. I suggest the troops were the soldiers of Babylon, and the “siege against us” referred to that nation’s siege of Jerusalem, the capital city of Judah (5:1b).

Micah foretold that the “troops” would “smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek” (5:1c). While the judge was not identified, it was most likely a reference to a king. We know that Babylon took two kings of Judah captive (Zedekiah, his eyes were put out, 2 Kings 25:7; and Jehoicin, who was brought to Babylon, 2 Kings 24:15).

Bethlehem Ephratah: The Messiah’s Birthplace (Micah 5:2)

Bethlehem Ephratah: The Messiah’s Birthplace (Micah 5:2)


Despite the Babylonian captivity and the displacement of King Jehoicin, Micah prophesied the Davidic line would return to Judah:

But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, Though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).

Micah 5:2 has been a treasured prophecy for believers through the centuries. In this verse, Micah foretold the birthplace of the coming Messiah, “Bethlehem Ephratah,” Ephratah being the ancient name for Bethlehem. Micah described Bethlehem as “little among the thousands of Judah,” for it was a village, a small town compared to some of the more significant cities of Israel, John 7:42).

Micah 5:2 also identified the Messiah’s divine nature, for we read, His “goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). “From everlasting” described the eternal, divine nature of the One who would be “ruler in Israel” (5:2b).

The Tribulation and Return of a Remnant to Israel (Micah 5:3)

Micah prophesied how God would “give them up,” describing how the children of Israel would be taken into captivity (5:3). However, he also described a woman giving birth (Micah 5:3b). It might be supposed that Micah was referring to the birth of Christ which fulfilled the prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

However, I believe the travail described in verse 3 may refer to the Great Tribulation through which the Jews and Gentiles will pass and then be regathered as a remnant at Christ’s Second Coming (5:3b).


The Second Coming of Christ and His Millennial Kingdom (Micah 5:4-6)

When Christ comes the second time, He will be the Shepherd of Israel and “shall stand [His authority] and feed [His provision] in the strength [His power] of the Lord, In the majesty [His glory] of the name of the Lordhis God; And they [the children of Israel] shall abide: For now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth” (Micah 5:4). The LORD will rule the nations of the earth and “shall be the peace” [for He is the Prince of Peace, 5:5; Isaiah 9:6]. 

The mention of Assyria (5:5, 6) and “the land of Nimrod” [the founder of ancient Babylon and identified in Genesis 10:8-12 as Babel] may be representative of the nations of the earth at the end of the ages when Christ returns.

The Remnant of Jacob (Micah 5:7-10)

Though Israel would soon be captive, and Judah would follow after being assailed by Babylon, Micah prophesied that “the remnant of Jacob” would return to the land (5:8). The description of Israel’s victorious return and the defeat of the nations of the world aligned against God’s people is still future (Micah 5:9-10).

The Triumph of Israel (Micah 5:9-15)

Micah promised the enemies of Israel would “be cut off” (5:9), and the nation would enjoy peace. There will be no need for the weapons of war (“horses…chariots”) or strongholds (Micah 5:10-11). Trusting the LORD alone, idols would be “cut off,” the groves of idolatry would be plucked up, and the cities with their altars and idolatry would be destroyed (Micah 5:14).

When Christ returns to save His people, He “will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen [Gentile nations], such as they have not heard,” nor the nations ever seen (Micah 5:15).

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

* You can subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals by entering your name and email address at the bottom of today’s devotion.

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization. Your donation is welcome and supports the worldwide ministry outreach of