Why is the lack of visions and divinations considered a punishment (Micah 3:6)?Question: "Why is the lack of visions and divinations considered a punishment (Micah 3:6)?"
Answer: Micah 3:6 pronounces these mysterious words as a punishment: “Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision, and darkness to you, without divination.” Why would a lack of visions and divinations be considered a punishment?
The answer lies in identifying the audience to whom the original message was addressed. Verse 5 refers to “the prophets who lead my people astray.” These false Jewish prophets would receive punishment by receiving no visions or communications from God to relate to the people. In other words, their work would be ended, and they would be “ashamed” (verse 7).
Micah 3:5 elaborates on the extent of the prophets’ wickedness: they “cry ‘Peace’ when they have something to eat, but declare war against him who puts nothing into their mouths.” These false prophets were engaging in a type of spiritual extortion. They prophesied positive messages to those who provided them with sustenance. But, if someone refused to pay, these selfish prophets-for-hire would utter negative or even violent oracles against him. In other words, these wicked men were abusing their office, and their messages were based solely on what brought them the greatest benefit. Their messages were not from the Lord. See also verse 11.
So, God pronounces judgment. Not only would the false prophets no longer receive visions of any kind, but their message of “peace” would be proved false. The capital city would be destroyed: “Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins” (Micah 3:12).
The Law of Moses had predicted the doom of those who would claim to serve as the Lord’s prophets yet give false messages: “The prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die” (Deuteronomy 18:20). Micah’s prediction reinforced the warning of the Law. Micah, a true prophet of God, spoke the truth: Judah was attacked by the Assyrians under King Sennacherib in 701 B.C. Later, in 586 B.C., Babylon conquered Judah and destroyed Jerusalem.
Recommended Resource: Holman Old Testament Commentary: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah by Trent Butler
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Questions about Micah
Why is the lack of visions and divinations considered a punishment (Micah 3:6)?