Micah’s Bethlehem Prophecy


This was not Herod’s plan. He did not welcome the fulfillment of Micah’s prophecy because it was a threat to his own throne and the reign of Rome over the region. And so Herod did everything he could to stop the emergence of the Messiah from Bethlehem…

1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Matthew 2:1-6

2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”

3 Therefore Israel will be abandoned
until the time when she who is in labor bears a son,
and the rest of his brothers return
to join the Israelites.

4 He will stand and shepherd his flock
in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
will reach to the ends of the earth.

5 And he will be our peace…
Micah 5:2-5

When King Herod asked the chief priests about the Magi’s vision, the priests pointed him to Micah 5. This prophecy of Micah is still viewed by Jews as a prophecy of Messiah, who will come from Bethlehem to re-unify the divided kingdom and bring peace to Israel.

We see the promise of Jesus in these verses. Jesus is the King of the Jews whose origin is from old. Not only is he from the line of David and Abraham, as we have seen in the genealogy of chapter 1, Jesus is also the pre-existant eternal one whom John describes as being with God and himself God in the beginning of time (John 1:1).

We even see the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd here in Micah. He will shepherd his flock, and we know from John 10, his sheep will hear his voice and recognize his voice. The security the shepherd provides his sheep is rooted in the strength of the Lord and the majesty of the name of the Lord God.

And he will be our peace.

The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) came to bring everlasting peace to his people. This is our promise in Jesus. In him, barriers are broken down and reconciliation offered (Ephesians 2:14-18), between Jews and Gentiles across the world.

This was not Herod’s plan. Even though he was raised as a Jew, he did not welcome the fulfillment of Micah’s prophecy because it was a threat to his own throne and the reign of Rome over the region. And so he did everything he could to stop the emergence of the Messiah from Bethlehem.

As with all of God’s prophecies, though, nothing can stop them. God’s purpose and plan will prevail. He will be our peace…

Amen.

Marc Kinna

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