A Literary Analysis of the Book of Micah -- By: Kenneth L. Barker

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 155:620 (Oct 1998)
Article: A Literary Analysis of the Book of Micah
Author: Kenneth L. Barker


A Literary Analysis
of the Book of Micah1

Kenneth L. Barker

Kenneth L. Barker is general editor of The New International Study Bible and a Bible teacher in Lewisville, Texas.

For the most part the Book of Micah seems to be a collection of short prophetic messages delivered by the prophet Micah. Apparently Micah or one of his disciples—or possibly even a later editor—compiled and organized these prophetic oracles into a symmetrical structure. But what is that structure?

The Structure of Micah

Hagstrom has identified four major possible structures that have been proposed by various scholars.2 The first has three major divisions: chapters 1–3; chapters 4–5; chapters 6–7. He has two objections to this option: First, this partitioning of the book is “based primarily on a critical evaluation of its compositional history, rather than its present shape.”3 Second, it “also involves the elimination (or relocation) of 2:12–13 as a misplaced later interpolation.”4 He concludes, “This partitioning thus tends to obscure the logical literary arrangement of the book.”5 Those who prefer this structure say chapters 1–3 stress judgment, chapters 4–5 emphasize hope, and chapters 6–7 stress judgment and hope. Yet all three sections contain both judgment and hope.

A second proposed structure suggests four major divisions: chapters 1–3; 4–5; 6:1–7:6; and 7:7–20. Hagstrom objects to it also: “Once again the chief rationale put forth in support of this outline has to do with content.. .. Again, this partitioning is also argued on the basis of the history of the formation of the book of Micah.”6

Some writers suggest the book has two major divisions: chapters 1–5, and chapters 6–7, with the first part addressing the nations ...

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