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Chapter 17

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Micah's Idols (ch. 17:1 - 13)            

Most scholars suggest that from Judges 17 to the end of the book should actually be near the beginning of the book as far as the time line goes. The reason why they say this is because of the movement of the tribe of Dan in these chapters.  The tribe of Dan was given a certain portion of land in central Canaan.  They eventually moved north and east, up where Lebanon and Syria are today.  These chapters show the movement of Dan. 


The best reason to date these chapters near the beginning of Judges is because of chapter 18:30.  There we see a fake priest called Jonathan, who is the grandson of Moses.  Therefore, this must be in the time line near the beginning of Judges.       


It's hard to know why the story of this chapter has found its way into the Bible but it has.  It is however, a slice of Jewish history from this period of time, and much of the Old Testament is an accurate portrayal of history, both Jewish history and non-Jewish history.  


My guess is that the events in this chapter show us how afar away Israel was from the ways of the Lord.  Individuals, families, and the religious establishment, as seen in this chapter,  were so far removed from the ways of the Lord, they had no clue what the ways of the Lord were all about.  Worse still, what they thought were the ways of the Lord, weren't.      


Verse 1 and two state that a man named Micah took 1100 shekels, or, 28 pounds of silver from his own mother.  He obviously overheard a curse that his mother placed on the one who took the money, which of course was him.  Maybe she had a clue who took it and she spoke the curse in such a way that her son would hear it.  Whatever the case, he did here the curse and he did admit to steeling the silver. 


Curses were things taken seriously back then.  They're not really taken seriously today.


In verses 2 to 4 we see that Micah's mother made an oath saying that she would consecrate all of the silver to the Lord. She would turn it into in image on behalf of the Lord.  That being said, she took 200 shekels of the silver and had a silver smith make her the image, or, an idol. 


Obviously, making this idol was not permitted in the Law of Moses.  She then put the image in the house of Micah who apparently had some kind of shrine to the Lord.  Again, this was against what the Law of Moses stated. 


You can see that this family was so far removed from the Lord that they thought there form of worship was that which the Lord required, but it wasn't.  There is not much difference today.  Much of what is done in the name of the Lord, in the name of church, is thought to be what the Lord requires, but it's not.  Many Christians are so far removed from the Lord that what they do in His service is what they think He wants when it isn't. 


In verse 2 the mother blesses her son that she just cursed.  This blessing was probably spoken to neutralize the curse she just proclaimed on her son.


Verse 5 and 6 state that Micah not only had his own personal shrine to the Lord, but he made a priestly ephod, which is a vest, and he appointed two of his sons to be priests.  Again, Micah might have thought this was God's will but it wasn't.  Only Levites could be priests, and only then could they do the work of a priest in certain places.  Having your own shrine was not lawful. 


This might just be the reason why this chapter is in the Bible. It might be here to show us that our own religious ways are not good enough, are not what God wants.  They are pure humanistic, and humanism is not the way of the Lord.


From here to the end of the chapter we see that a real Levite comes to Micah's house.  Micah makes him his personal priest.  You might think this is closer to the will of God than Micah's sons being priest, but it really isn't. 


The hole point to this chapter as I see it is that God's people attempt godly worship in a humanistic way and that is just not acceptable to the Lord. 


Verse 6 states that Israel had no king.  Everyone did what seemed best in their own eyes.  This is a prime example of how one man did what was best in his eyes.  His neighbour would have done the same.  There was no unity of  spirit, no unity from the Lord.  Again, this is the case with many Christians today.  Everyone doing what is right in their own eyes is just as wrong today as it was back then.  The problem is today that many have no choice.  Itís not just individuals that are doing whatever in their own eyes, it's groups.  Denominations are doing whatever they want, thinking it is God's will.  Where does the ordinary Christian stand?  Where can he stand?  It's mass confusion. 


Concerning Micah's mother, she supposedly dedicated all 1100 shekels of silver to God, but in reality she didn't.  She only used 200 of the 1100 shekels for religious purposes by having an idol made.  She held back 900 shekels of silver.  Then, the image she had made, was not a godly jester.  She was just as much in the wrong as her son.   


Concerning this Levite, he said he was from Judah.  Was he then a real Levite or was he from the tribe of Judah. There is some debate among scholars on this issue.  He might well have been a Levite who lived in the land of Judah, because Levites were given no land for themselves.  It appears that this Levite was an apostate priest.  Many scholars suggest this.


The term "father' that Micah associates this Levite with is a term of respect, not an older man.  Micah was not looking for a father figure but a priest.


This chapter ends with Micah thinking the Lord would now bless him because he had a priest to lead his personal worship, but as I've said before, Micah, and us to, are so far removed from God that what we think is genuine worship isn't.  



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