Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Friday, August 17, 2007

For this I will lament and wail

In verses 8-16, the Prophet Micah presents us with some biographical information in that Micah is mourning the destruction of the cities of the coastal plain. At the time of the lament, his city of Moresheth was being threatened. Moresheth was situated in the fertile foothills of Judah near its frontier with Philistia. These cities of the coastal plain were captured and destroyed by Sennacherib in preparation for the siege of Jerusalem. This invasion forced Micah to flee Moresheth for refuge in Jerusalem.

Micah probably did “pass by on [his] way inhabitants of Shaphir, in nakedness and shame.” These people that he saw may have been prisoners of war who were marched off naked and barefoot by their captors.

I noted earlier this month that Sennacherib has been in the news again. What is generally not known nor mentioned by the Micah commentaries is that in the accounts of his campaigns, Sennacherib mentioned how Hezekiah captured the cities of the coastal plains controlled by the Philistines and held their king a captive in Jerusalem. When Sennacherib invaded the coastal region he first seized and destroyed the Philistine cities before attacking the Judean coastal cities and marching on Jerusalem. This Hezekiah’s event, not mentioned in the Bible, is the clue that the cities mentioned in verses 10-12, and not previously identified, are probably part of the Philistine territory seized by Hezekiah to strengthen the defense of Judah and secure the agricultural region that supplied Jerusalem with food (See generally, Sennacherib’s Campaign at the Internet History Sourcebooks Project, Paul Halsall, editor; ANET 287-8).

Thus Micah’s depiction of the destruction of the coastal plains, as an eyewitness account, is confirmed in part by the accounts of the campaigns of Sennacherib.

Copyrighted 2007


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