Hope Despite Judgment: A Commentary on Micah Chapter 4


The book of Micah contains prophecies delivered by the prophet Micah concerning both judgment and restoration for Israel and Judah. Micah prophesied sometime between 750-686 BC, during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

Chapter 4 shifts focus from the judgment proclaimed in earlier chapters to a beautiful depiction of future blessing and restoration for God’s people. Even though judgment was coming, there was still hope. God would not abandon His people forever. After judgment, He would restore and bless them again.

Key Takeaways from Micah Chapter 4

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  • God will establish His kingdom over all nations in the last days (4:1-5)
  • God will regather and restore Israel after exile (4:6-8)
  • Before restoration, Israel will go into Babylonian exile (4:9-10)
  • But God will deliver them from exile back to Zion (4:11-13)

In this chapter, Micah looks forward to a time when God’s kingdom would be established over all nations and people from all over would stream to Jerusalem to worship Him. God would restore and regather Israel, even though a time of exile was coming first. Ultimately, God would deliver and restore His people.

Hope Despite Judgment: A Commentary on Micah Chapter 4

Commentary on Micah Chapter 4

4:1-5 – The Future Establishment of God’s Kingdom

But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow to it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge between many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken it. For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever. (Micah 4:1-5 NKJV)

After pronouncing coming judgment against Israel and Judah in earlier chapters, Micah now looks forward to a future time of restoration under God’s kingdom. He prophesies that “in the last days” God’s kingdom would be established above all others as the mountain of the Lord’s temple is exalted above the hills. Jerusalem and specifically Mount Zion is seen as the focal point of God’s future kingdom, which will draw people from all nations to worship there.

Many peoples from many nations will stream to Jerusalem, saying “let us go up to the mountain of the Lord.” There they will learn of God’s ways and walk in His paths as His instruction flows out from Zion and His word from Jerusalem. Jesus established the church with its commission to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19), but the complete fulfillment of this prophecy is yet future during Christ’s millennial reign on earth (cf. Is. 2:2-4).

Not only will the nations go up to Jerusalem to worship, but God’s kingdom will also establish peace on the earth. Disputes between nations and people groups will be justly arbitrated by God, the supreme judge. Weapons of war will be converted into farming tools as weapons training ceases and war is abolished. The idyllic picture is one of people sitting peacefully under their own vines and fig trees unafraid. This is depicted as an authoritative declaration of “the mouth of the Lord.”

While people of all nations will worship in the Lord’s kingdom, this will not be a universalist utopia. Verse 5 clarifies that “all people will walk every one in the name of his god.” People will still have freedom to worship and serve their own gods. But God’s faithful people “will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever.” God’s kingdom will not be imposed on the unwilling, but it will be embraced by the faithful.

4:6-8 – The Regathering and Restoration of Israel

“In that day,” says the Lord, “I will assemble the lame, I will gather the outcast and those whom I have afflicted; I will make the lame a remnant, and the outcast a strong nation; So the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on, even forever. And you, O tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, even the former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.” (Micah 4:6-8 NKJV)

Verse 6 begins with the prophetic phrase “in that day” pointing to the future era being depicted. God declares that in this coming day He will regather and restore the remnant of Israel that was afflicted, exiled, lame, and outcast. This includes the remnant of believing Jews who turn back to the Lord (Mic. 2:12-13, 5:7-8, 7:18-20).

Though scattered and afflicted, they will be regathered and made again into a strong nation, protected by the Lord who reigns in Zion. Verse 8 emphasizes that this applies specifically to Jerusalem, the “tower of the flock,” which will be restored to “former dominion” and glory as the city of God’s kingdom.

Though judgment was imminent, Micah gives hope of a future day of regathering, restoration, and blessings again under God’s reign. This prophecy has partial fulfillment after the Babylonian exile but looks ahead to full eschatological fulfillment when Israel is restored nationally at Christ’s return (cf. Is 11:12).

4:9-10 – Exile Before Restoration

Now why do you cry aloud? Is there no king in your midst? Has your counselor perished? For pangs have seized you like a woman in labor. Be in pain, and labor to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in birth pangs. For now you shall go forth from the city, you shall dwell in the field, and to Babylon you shall go. There you shall be delivered; there the Lord will redeem you from the hand of your enemies. (Micah 4:9-10 NKJV)

In verses 9-10 Micah takes a somber turn, declaring that before the restoration, Israel must first go into exile in Babylon as judgment for their sins. Micah asks, in light of the judgment pronouncements, why do the people cry out as if there were no king to deliver them? Of course there is a king (Hezekiah), but the counsel of the Lord has decreed judgment, not deliverance.

Like labor pains come upon a woman in childbirth, the nation is pictured as writhing in pain and distress because of the calamity to come upon them. They will be forced to leave Jerusalem and dwell unprotected in the open fields, then be taken captive to distant Babylon. But there is hope in exile; God will redeem them there and deliver them from enemy hands.

Though painful, the exile is seen as labor pains leading to the new birth of the nation under God’s redemption and restoration after the judgment. This prophecy was precisely fulfilled when Judah was defeated by Babylon and endured 70 years of exile, before being delivered and restored by the Lord.

4:11-13 – The Deliverance and Restoration of Zion

Now also many nations have gathered against you, who say, “Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion.” But they do not know the thoughts of the Lord, nor do they understand His counsel; for He will gather them like sheaves to the threshing floor. “Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion; for I will make your horn iron, and I will make your hooves bronze; You shall beat in pieces many peoples; I will consecrate their gain to the Lord, and their substance to the Lord of the whole earth.” (Micah 4:11-13 NKJV)

As the time of exile nears, Micah foresees surrounding nations gathering against Jerusalem to destroy her. Their taunt is, “Let her be defiled; let our eye look in triumph on Zion.” But these nations do not understand God’s thoughts or purposes. Ironically, He will gather them like sheaves of grain to the threshing floor of judgment.

So Zion is told to arise and thresh, enabled by the Lord to defeat the strong nations like iron horns and bronze hooves pulverizing grain on the threshing floor. The enemies’ ill-gotten gain will be consecrated to the Lord. God will empower Zion to triumph over those who seek to destroy her. This points ultimately to Christ’s return when He defeats the nations gathered against Jerusalem and delivers His people (Zech. 14:1-3).

Through judgment and exile, God will refine and restore His people Zion. He will redeem them, gather them back, give them victory over enemies, and extend His kingdom over all nations from the exalted Jerusalem. What hope that provides! Judgment will give way to joy as God’s purposes are fulfilled.


In Micah chapter 4, there is a dramatic shift from the judgment coming on Israel and Judah to the future hope of restoration under God’s kingdom. Despite the just punishment their sins deserved, God gave His people a glimpse of the blessing and hope to come through Micah’s prophecy.

After judging the nations, including His own people, God would establish His kingdom on Mt. Zion over all nations and peoples during Christ’s future millennial reign. Though Israel would go into Babylonian captivity, they would later return to the land and ultimately be restored nationally to blessing under the Messiah.

This prophecy gave God’s people reason to endure the exile and look expectantly for the fulfillment of His promises of redemption and restoration. As we look forward to the culmination of God’s kingdom plans, we too can endure present afflictions in light of the glory to be revealed (Rom. 8:18). No matter how dark the days, we can take hope and find encouragement in the promises of God’s eternal kingdom ruled by His Son Jesus Christ.

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