In verse 6, we find another clue that the scope of this prophecy is beyond just the eighth century, bigger than Israel and Judah and Assyria. Verse 6 refers to Assyria as “the land of Nimrod.” This figure “Nimrod” is one of the mighty men from ancient times, who was a hunter. He is mentioned only in Genesis 10, where he is first introduced, 1 Chronicles 1—and here in Micah 5:6. Most importantly, he was the founder of the capital cities of the ancient civilizations of Babylon and Assyria, these two kingdoms that come to represent human violence and rebellion against the true God, YHWH. Nimrod founded the city of Babel, which built the tower to reach to the heavens! Since ancient times, Jewish and Christian interpreters have understood Nimrod as a founder of these civilizations who led them in the way of arrogance, violence, tyranny, and evil.
The fact that Micah mentions “the land of Nimrod” is not just trying to be more specific—“Oh, you mean that Assyria, the one founded by Nimrod.” It’s reminding us of the rebellion and evil that Nimrod spread throughout the world. But this king from Bethlehem who would bring peace and lead Israel, will not just defend his people from outside attacks, although that is part of it. In the first part of verse 6, we see that he will lead the people to the gates of Assyria, the land of Nimrod, the heart of the land where evil dwells. In other words, he is going to lead an attack, to take the fight to the evil land—and he will win!
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