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Micah 5:1-15 – The man who will be a shepherd king

Micah 4:8 implied that in addition to God being the Shepherd-King of Israel, dominion and rule would also be restored to a man – presumably from the Davidic line of kings. In Micah 5:1 the current state of the Davidic line is seen. The current judge/king of the Davidic line is struck on the cheek with a rod – the Davidic line is humbled and broken by the nations.

Micah speaks of a restoration of human kingship in Israel – but this restored human kingship will not come from the broken line of the disappointing Davidic lineage in Jerusalem. Instead Micah reaches back to an older time and an older place – he ignores Jerusalem and looks back to the small town of Bethlehem. In other words, the human king is to be found in one like David rather than one coming from the disappointing line of David in Jerusalem – a shepherd-king like David, one after God’s own heart.

It is easy to perceive in these words that Jesus is a king like David – born on Bethlehem and even more so than David after God’s own heart. Micah has demonstrated God as the Shepherd-King and now there is a man who is a shepherd-king. Does this not point to Jesus who is both?

Micah 5:3 says that God would give up his people until the time when she who is in labor has given birth. This is not referring to Mary but rather the period of exile and judgment which in Micah 4:9-10 is compared to birth pains. With the coming of Jesus exile and judgment comes to an end.

Jesus stands and shepherds his flock in the strength of the LORD. Like Mount Zion he is great to the ends of the earth. Like the divine Shepherd-King, the human shepherd-king will bring peace.

The Davidic Jerusalem kings had trusted in their own resources to bring peace – but the Bethlehemite king like David stands trusting the LORD. In his days horses, chariots, fortified cities, idolatrous manipulation – are all cut off from the people of God. As the shepherd-king stands simply in the strength of trust so too will his people follow his ways.

Micah 5 – a clear expression of the gracious and compassionate God who raises up Jesus of Bethlehem to end exile and judgment.