But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. (NIV)
1. “Origins” literally signifies a “going out,” hence a beginning or birth, and thus the verse is saying that the birth of the Messiah has been determined, or appointed, from everlasting. In contrast to the Messiah who had an origin, the true God is without origin.
2. The ancient Jews read this verse and realized that it spoke of the birth and birthplace of the Messiah. One of the few things the Jews at the time of Jesus did understand about the Messiah was that he would be born in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:3-6). Yet of the Jews who read, studied, and understood the verse, there is no record that any of them concluded from the wording that Jesus had to be “God incarnate.”
3. The context of Micah makes it clear that the “ruler” from Bethlehem will not be God. This ruler will be born, and have “brothers.” No Jew ever thought God could be born, and the thought of the Creator of the Heavens and earth having brothers was absurd to them. These verses are speaking of God’s anointed king, and the Word declares, not that this ruler will be God, but rather that Yahweh will be “his God” (v. 4). Thus, this text of Micah is clear: a child will be born in Bethlehem and the Israelites will be his brothers, but he will grow up to deliver and rule the nation and stand in the strength of Yahweh his God.
Morgridge, p. 120
Racovian Catechism, pp. 69-71