Does Micah 5:2 speak of pre-existence?

Micah 5:2

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” (NASB) Image

-Since this promised ruler is quoted and referred to Jesus in Matt. 2:6, some feel that this passage implies that he pre-existed.

-The final Hebrew phrase in Micah 5:2 is y’mai olam. This same phrase occurs in: 

     a. Micah 7:14 (the previous times when God’s people would feed in Bashan and Gilead)

     b. Micah 7:20 (the love which God swore to the forefathers)

     c. Deut. 32:7 (the times when God rescued Israel out of Egypt)

     d. Isa. 63:11 (the time of Moses)

     e. Amos 9:11 (the dynasty of David as it was in its glory days)

-It seems that the Hebrew y’mai olam does not suggest notions of pre-existence. Rather, it points the reader back to a definitive point in history which was recognizable and relevant. 

-The goings-forth of the promised ruler extend back to the promises given to David (2 Sam. 7:12-16), not back into pre-history. 

-It is also important to note that Micah writes in 5:4 that this coming ruler will shepherd the flock in the majesty of the name of Yahweh his God. Therefore, the promised ruler is distinct and subordinate to Yahweh, the one God of Israel.

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3 thoughts on “Does Micah 5:2 speak of pre-existence?

  1. Context is very essential in understanding what is meant by ”y’mai olam”, if the context speaks of a certain situation then that is what must be taken from the context. However Micah 5:2 no doubt speaks of Christ’s origin in the days of eternity. You see this from the phrase ”mowtsaah”, translated, ”whose goings forth”. The RSV translated it this way; ”But you, O Bethlehem Eph’rathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.”, Whose origin, to have an origin, there must be a source located, even if we go back as far as Adam, it is not talking about Adam considering it is talking about the days of eternity, there are a few other passages of scripture that support the fact that Christ, the Son of God was with the Father in the beginning before his works of old. One passage that can be studied to see this is Proverbs chapter 8, which is in fact a prelogue of John’s prologue. If you are interested in what I have to say, I would be delighted to further study this out with you. Blessings!

    1. Hi Greg,

      I feel that you did not respond to my original argument, where I demonstrated that the Hebrew phrase y’me olam is used elsewhere to refer to specific points in time rather than days of eternity. Furthermore, if Jesus were to have an origin, then this means someone originated him, i.e., brought him into existence. Most scholars do not see Proverbs 8 referring to a literal figure, the lady WIsdom, and along those line, most scholars do not see the Logos as a literal figure conscious alongside God.

      I understand you have a different perspective. I would simply invite you to consider if this reading is a better assessment of the text and evidence as a whole. Thanks for stopping by the blog.

  2. I find no relationship between Jn1 and Prov8 – completely different literary realities other than the in the most conceptual (that characteristics of God can be other than God Himself – albeit these characteristics and be personalized as in Prov8 or simple described as in Jn1).

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