The formation of Mic 1-3 : from the eighth century to the exile.


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The Book of Micah is a fascinating writing that developed over several hundred years. According to scholarly consensus, the earliest portions of the writing are located in Mic 1–3 and originated in the eighth century. Though scholars often assign all of Mic 1–3 to the eighth century, this dissertation argues that Mic 1–3, developed in three phases which can be linked to three specific historical settings. The first phase in the formation of Mic 1–3 originated in the period before Sennacherib’s Judean campaign (701 BCE). The first phase (Mic 2:1–11; 3:1–12) records a dispute between the prophetic speaker and the ruling and religious leaders in Jerusalem over land in the Judean Shephelah. The second phase in the formation Mic 1–3 (Mic 1:8, 10–15*) developed after Sennacherib’s 701 BCE campaign which left the Judean Shephelah in ruins. Displaced, former residents, of the Shephelah migrated to Jerusalem and the second phase material developed as a lament over the destruction of the Shephelah. The third phase originated in the exile (Mic 1:1, 3–7, 9, 12b, 13b, 16). This new introduction to Mic 1–3 accomplished three things. First, it shifted the focus from social concerns (Mic 2:1–11; 3:1–12) to cultic concerns. Second, it introduced Jerusalem as the focus divine warrior’s attack. Third, it provided a transition piece for an early collection of prophetic writings commonly referred to as the Book of the Four. The Micah oracles were preserved from the eighth century to the exile by tradents who first preserved the oracles in the Shephelah because of opposition from the Jerusalem elite. Following Sennacherib’s 701 BCE campaign, tradents in Jerusalem added the second phase material along with an oral tradition that viewed Micah of Moresheth and Hezekiah’s interactions positively. Thus the Micah traditions (oral and written) became part of the larger cultural narrative. Tradents at Mizpah added the third phase material during the exile as a commentary on the effectiveness of Hezekiah’s reforms.



Micah. Book of the Twelve, Assyria. Book of the Four. Scribal. Scribalism. Micah 1-3.