n HTS : Theological Studies - YHWH, the God of new beginnings : Micah's testimony : original research




The book of Micah is known for its judgement oracles against the leadership structures in the Southern Kingdom, Judah. Besides the judgement oracles, however, the book also contains oracles of salvation. Scholars have noted and commented on this interruption of predominant judgement oracles by oracles of salvation. The composition of the book has been scrutinised, with many scholars suggesting that the salvation oracles were inserted later to soften the harsh, condemning nature of the book. For the purposes of this article I would like to propose a theological reading of the juxtaposition of Micah 3:12 and 4:1, two passages containing judgement and salvation oracles respectively. The solutions offered to explain the drastic contrast between these two passages have to a great extent reached an impasse. However, from a theological perspective, I argue that these two radically contradictory messages are a reflection of the very nature of YHWH's interaction with his people. Micah 3:12 reflects a point in history where YHWH has had enough of morally corrupt leaders and people, and announces that he is bringing matters to a painful end. However, YHWH is also the God of new beginnings. He states in Micah 4:1ff. that there will come a day when things will change for the better for the people of Judah and that a time of restoration will come for his people. His desire remains to be their God and to restore them to be his people. The article seeks to show that this example, which reflects YHWH as the God of new beginnings, is not an isolated example in the prophetic literature, but consistent with YHWH's nature.


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