A study of Micah 1.13 O thou inhabitant of Lachish, bind the chariot to the swift beast: she is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion: for the transgressions of Israel were found in thee.
Time frame: God had allowed Assyria to destroy Israel (the Northern Kingdom) for their deep sin against the Lord their God (2 Kings 17). Micah is prophesying particularly against Samaria (Northern Kingdom) and Jerusalem (Southern Kingdom). He prophesied in the days of Jotham (good king), Ahaz (evil king), and Hezekiah (good king), all kings of Judah (Southern Kingdom).
Lachish: “impregnable;” located southeast of Gath; southwest of Bethlehem (and Bethlehem is straight south of Jerusalem); it is in the foothills of the Shephelah on the border of the Philistine plain, in the Southern Kingdom (Judah).
Previous history of Lachish: Amaziah (good king of Judah) fled to Lachish when “they” conspired against him (2 Kings 14.19). But “they” followed him and killed him in Lachish, and brought him on horses back to Jerusalem. When Hezekiah was (good) king of Judah (during the time of Micah), Sennacherib, king of Assyria, swooped down from the Northern Kingdom, onto the west side of Judah, took over Lachish (“impregnable” indeed) and was encroaching upon Jerusalem (2 Kings 18). [This is that time when Hezekiah spread the letter before the Lord, and prayed (2 Kings 19), and the Lord sent Sennacherib away.]
As Sennacherib encroached upon Jerusalem, so did the sin of the Northern Kingdom (Israel) encroach upon Judah (“the beginning of the sin”).
We must beware and be aware of the sin of our neighbors, and of our own brothers and sisters (for the northern and southern kingdoms were the twelve tribes, and were brothers), for they will creep in and eventually conquer us. We think “a little bit” is okay, but we and our children then allow more. There is a quote, the source of which I cannot trace, that goes, “What parents allow in moderation, their children will take to excess.” We can easily see this truth when we compare our own generation with our parents’, grandparents’, and great-grandparents’ generations.
Sennacherib did not take Jerusalem at the time, but it was the beginning. Why didn’t Sennacherib take Jerusalem? Because its king cried out to the Lord God Almighty! God saved them when they cried. Hezekiah’s whole army was obedient in keeping their silence before the taunting enemy (2 Kings 18.36). The people obeyed their king, and their king obeyed God. This is the mighty work that God performed to save His people:
2 Kings 19.35 And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. 36So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. 37And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.
Even with this miracle that God gave them, this picture of hope and trust in Him, the people of Judah did not listen, but chose their own ways of idolatry and lust. “The transgressions of Israel were found in thee.”
Micah was warning the people of Judah to turn back to God. Through Micah, God is using His Living and Everlasting Word to warn us.