Micah 5:15 NASB:

And I will execute vengeance in anger and wrath On the nations which have not obeyed.

What does obedience look like in the context of this verse? What were the nations (presumably non-Israelites) supposed to obey to avoid wrath?

3 Answers 3


Jonah was commanded by God to go to Nineveh.

1:1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2“Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” ...

3:6 When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:

“By the decree of the king and his nobles:

Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.

As pointed out in Dottard's answer, gentile nations did have a sense of good and evil apart from the specific revelations from the Lord.


There are numerous references in the OT to God holding non-Israelite nations morally responsible for various things:

  • Pharaoh rebukes Abram after a vision from God. Gen 12:17-20
  • Abimelech rebukes Abraham after a vision from God. Gen 20:3-6
  • Abimelech rebukes Isaac about Rebekah. Gen 26:8-11
  • "Nevertheless, you have brought utter contempt from the enemies of the LORD, the son born to you will surely die.” 2 Sam 12:14
  • King Necho of Egypt rebukes Josiah’s foolishness. 2 Chron 35:20-22
  • Jonah was the divine agent in saving the pagan city of Nineveh without the need for them becoming Jews. Jonah 3:4-10
  • The magi (“wise men”) of the east were avid students of Scripture. Matt 2:1, 2, 11, 12.
  • Several Roman Centurions were obviously saved. Matt 8:5-12, Luke 23:47, Acts 10:30-35.
  • Rom 1:18-22 - The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness. For what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking and darkened in their foolish hearts. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images of mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

The Pulpit commentary observes this -

Verse 15. - The time of Messiah is the era when judgment shall fall on the obdurate heathen. Such as they have not heard; rather, which have not hearkened, which are disobedient. Septuagint, "Because they hearkened not" (comp. Isaiah 66:15-18; Joel 3:9, etc.; Zephaniah 3:8; Haggai 2:22; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10). It is implied that some of the heathen will hearken to the revelation of Jehovah by the Messiah.

All this illustrates the universality of the moral law as implied in Rom 2:14-16 -

Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. So they show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts either accusing or defending them on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Christ Jesus,b as proclaimed by my gospel.


What should the nations have obeyed in Micah 5:15?

Micah 5:15 NASB:

And I will execute vengeance in anger and wrath On the nations which have not obeyed.

During the period of Israel’s kings, at one time or another, the Philistines, Egyptians, Ethiopians, Syrians, Assyrians, and Babylonians battled against them with large chariot forces, as many as 32,000 chariots on one occasion. (1Samuel 13:5; 2 Samuel 1:6; 1Chronicles 19:6- 7, 18; ) In pronouncements of doom, the prophets sometimes mentioned the chariots in which such nations prided themselves.​( Jeremiah 50:37 Micah 5:10, 15.)

Micah 5:10,15 NASB

10 “And it will be on that day,” declares the Lord, “That I will eliminate your horses from among you, And destroy your chariots.15 And I will execute vengeance in anger and wrath On the nations which have not obeyed.”

Jeremiah 50:37 NASB

37 A sword against [a]their horses, against [b]their chariots, And against all the [c]foreigners who are in the midst of her, And they will become women! A sword against her treasures and they will be plundered!


Most of the nations I have mentioned above. When the Israelites obeyed God, he blessed them. As a result, the nations around them could see that God was protecting his people. In this sense the nations have not obeyed.

Deuteronomy 28:10 states that the nations did not respect or obeyed that the Israelites belonged to the LORD.

Deuteronomy 28:10 NET

10 Then all the peoples of the earth will see that you belong to the Lord,[a] and they will respect you.

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