Judges chapter 17

The idolatry of Micah the Ephraimite. Micah the Ephraimite hires a Levitical priest.

 


 

NOTE. These final five chapters of the Book of Judges provide glimpses into the cultural milieu during the times of the judges, revealing the religious apostasy and social degradation of the people.

 


 

THE IDOLATRY OF MICAH THE EPHRAIMITE

 

VERSE 1. There was a man of the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Micah.

whose name was Micah. This name means “Who is like YHWH?”

It is ironic that a man with that glorious name will establish an apostate shrine with an unlawful priesthood.

 

VERSE 2. He said to his mother, “The eleven hundred pieces of silver that were taken from you, about which you uttered a curse, and also spoke it in my ears—behold, the silver is with me. I took it.” His mother said, “May the LORD bless my son!”

I took it. Micah the Ephraimite stole 1,100 pieces of silver from his own mother.

May the LORD bless my son! This is a very odd thing for her to say. Perhaps she is trying to neutralize a curse with a blessing.

 

VERSE 3. He restored the eleven hundred pieces of silver to his mother, then his mother said, “I most certainly dedicate the silver to the LORD from my hand for my son, to make a carved image and a molten image. Now therefore I will restore it to you.”

 

VERSE 4. When he restored the money to his mother, his mother took two hundred pieces of silver, and gave them to a silversmith, who made a carved image and a molten image out of it. It was in the house of Micah.

made a carved image … a molten image. Those two are separate things, as we see in the next chapter:

Judges 18:18. When these went into Micah’s house, and took the engraved image, the ephod, the teraphim, and the molten image, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?”

Such images are strictly forbidden:

Exodus 20:4. You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

 

VERSE 5. The man Micah had a house of gods, and he made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest.

a house of gods. That is, a shrine filled with idols.

teraphim. These were household idols.

They might have been associated with inheritance rights.

consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest. Micah the Ephraimite installs one of his own sons as his own priest, to conduct worship in his shrine filled with idols.

 

VERSE 6. In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did that which was right in his own eyes.

there was no king. This will be a refrain that repeats itself in the pages ahead.

It might reflect a desire for a central authority to muster the army. Or it might stem from a desire to be like other nations.

Everyone did that which was right in his own eyes. This will be a refrain that repeats itself in the pages ahead.

 

MICAH THE EPHRAIMITE HIRES A LEVITICAL PRIEST

 

VERSE 7. There was a young man out of Bethlehem Judah, of the family of Judah, who was a Levite; and he lived there.

of the family of Judah. He is a grandson of Moses.

 

VERSE 8. The man departed out of the city, out of Bethlehem Judah, to live where he could find a place, and he came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, as he traveled.

 

VERSE 9. Micah said to him, “Where did you come from?” He said to him, “I am a Levite of Bethlehem Judah, and I am looking for a place to live.”

 

VERSE 10. Micah said to him, “Dwell with me, and be to me a father and a priest, and I will give you ten pieces of silver per year, a suit of clothing, and your food.” So the Levite went in.

be to me a father and a priest. Micah had just hired his own personal Levite.

Levites were not meant to be personal chaplains. Rather, they were servants of the entire community.

 

VERSE 11. The Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was to him as one of his sons.

 

VERSE 12. Micah consecrated the Levite, and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah.

 

VERSE 13. Then Micah said, “Now I know that the LORD will do good to me, since I have a Levite as my priest.”

Now I know that the LORD will do good to me. What was it that gave Micah this assurance? It was that he had hired a personal chaplain.

In other words, Micah trusted in his own achievements and not in the goodness of the LORD God.

Even in our day, many people reassure themselves: “God will be good to me because of what I have done!

I have a Levite as my priest. Micah the Ephraimite rejoices because of his superstitious notion that having a Levite for his priest will bring blessings from the LORD God.

But this was forbidden by the Law:

Numbers 3:10. You shall appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall keep their priesthood, but the stranger who comes near shall be put to death.”

 


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JUDGES

CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21

RESOURCES: Summary, Outline, Memorize

Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.