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MICHAEL (mī'kĕl, Heb. mîkhā’ēl, Who is like God?).

1. Father of Sethur, a spy from the tribe of Asher (Num.13.13).

2. Two Gadites who lived in Bashan (1Chr.5.13-1Chr.5.14).

3. A Gershonite of the eleventh generation, great-grandfather of Asaph, the singer (1Chr.6.40).

4. A chief man of Issachar (1Chr.7.3).

5. A Benjamite (1Chr.8.16).

6. A captain of a thousand of the tribe of Manasseh who joined David in Ziklag (1Chr.12.20).

7. The father of Omri of Issachar, one of David’s mighty men (1Chr.27.18).

8. A prince of Judah, son of Jehoshaphat and brother of Jehoram, kings of Judah (2Chr.21.2).

9. Father of Zebadiah, a chief Jew who returned with Ezra (Ezra.8.8).

10. The archangel whose chief responsibility seems to have been the care of the Jewish people (Dan.12.1). Michael had a dispute with Satan himself (Jude.1.9).

MICHAEL mī’ kəl (מִיכָאֵֽל, LXX and NT Μιχαήλ, G3640, meaning Who is like God?). Scripture refers to ten men and also an archangel with this name. 1. Father of Sethur, a spy from the tribe of Asher (Num 13:13).

2-3. Two persons in the tribe of Gad (1 Chron 5:13, 14).

4. A descendant of Gershon and great-grandfather of Asaph the singer (6:40).

5. A high-ranking person of Issachar (7:3).

6. A citizen of Benjamin (8:16).

7. A captain over a thousand in Manasseh who joined the fighting men of David (12:20).

8. A man of Issachar, father of Omri who was an officer under David (27:18).

9. A prince in Judah who was son of King Jehoshaphat and brother of King Jehoram (2 Chron 21:2).

10. Father of Zebadiah, a leading man who returned to Jerusalem with Ezra (Ezra 8:8).

Daniel distinctly relates Michael to Israel as prince and guardian over the destinies of that nation (10:21; 12:1). During Israel’s unprecedented “time of trouble” (12:1; cf. Jer 30:7; Matt 24:21), he will be active for her welfare when Satan is seeking to destroy her (Rev 12:7ff.). This seems to be at the outset of the last part of the tribulation period (12:7). The text shows that God has “his angels.” This is no clear proof that Michael is Christ, as some contend. Seiss likens Michael to a general who has his officers and soldiers, though all are under the king, who in this case is Christ.

Jude 9 speaks of Michael resisting the devil, but committing the judgment of him to the Lord. The dispute involved the body of Moses. Specific background for this, nowhere mentioned in the OT, may have been known by 1st-cent. readers because of written or oral traditions. Today it is not certain. Origen, in his work On First Principles (III:2:1), supposed it was taken from “The Ascension of Moses,” a pseudepigraphical writing. Charles lists other parallels between this work and Jude (APOT, II, 412, 413). If Jude did use such a source, the Spirit enabled him to discern as fact what really was true in it. One explanation of Jude 9 is that the devil sought to deny honorable burial to Moses’ body when he died (Deut 34) on the ground that he was a murderer (Exod 2). Michael contended for the body. See other traditions cited by Wolff.


E. W. Hengstenberg, The Revelation of St. John, I (1851), 464-467; KD, Daniel (n.d.); R. H. Charles, APOT, II (1913), 412, 413; E. W. Hengstenberg, Christology of the Old Testament, IV (1956 rp.), 266-271; O. Zöckler, Daniel in Lange’s Commentary, Vol. 7 (1960 rp.), 232, 233; R. Wolff, A Commentary on the Epistle of Jude (1960); J. A. Seiss, The Apocalypse, 15th ed. (n.d.), 305-307; R. Wolff, The General Epistles of James and Jude (1970).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

mi’-ka-el, mi’-kel (mikha’el, "who is like God?" Michael):

(1) The father of Sethur the Asherite spy (Nu 13:13).

(2) (3) Two Gadites (1Ch 5:13,14).

(4) A name in the genealogy of Asaph (1Ch 6:40 (Hebrew 25)).

(5) A son of Izrahiah of Issachar (1Ch 7:3).

(6) A Benjamite (1Ch 8:16).

(7) A Manassite who ceded to David at Ziklag (1Ch 12:20).

(8) The father of Omri of Issachar (1Ch 27:18).

(9) A son of King Jehoshaphat (2Ch 21:2).

(10) The father of Zebediah, an exile who returned with Ezra (Ezr 8:8 parallel 1Esdras 8:34).

The earlier Protestant scholars usually identified Michael with the preincarnate Christ, finding support for their view, not only in the juxtaposition of the "child" and the archangel in Re 12, but also in the attributes ascribed to him in Daniel (for a full discussion see Hengstenberg, Offenbarung, I, 611-22, and an interesting survey in English by Dr. Douglas in Fairbairn’s BD).

John A. Lees