We’re reading through Judges at Oak Tree Church, and I’m posting some observations from my daily readings here within a day or two after the reading. I’d love for you to join in the discussion.
Thoughts on Judges 17
This is a very short chapter, but it sets up and begins the story of the remaining five chapters in the book of Judges. As we bring Judges to a close, we’re going to find that God’s people are about as far away from him as you can imagine – and maybe worse.
He said to his mother, “You know the eleven hundred pieces of silver which were stolen from you, about which I heard you pronounce a curse? Look here, I have the silver. I stole it, but now I am giving it back to you.” His mother said, “May the LORD reward you, my son!” Judges 17:2 NET
What a fantastic way to begin the story – a man stole 1,100 pieces of silver from his own mother! (A piece of silver was about 1/3 of an ounce making 1,100 pieces about $6,500 in today’s money – the same amount each Philistine ruler paid Delilah for handing over Samson to them – 16:5.)
When he gave back to his mother the eleven hundred pieces of silver, his mother said, “I solemnly dedicate this silver to the LORD. It will be for my son’s benefit. We will use it to make a carved image and a metal image.” Judges 17:3 NET
Of course the natural thing to do – directly against the first two of the 10 commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) – would be to dedicate the money to God by making an idol!
Now this man Micah owned a shrine. He made an ephod and some personal idols and hired one of his sons to serve as a priest. Judges 17:5 NET
Just because a church has nice stuff, nice clothes, and a full-time preacher doesn’t mean it’s God’s church. We have to pay attention to their teaching (1 Timothy 4:16) – both in their words and deeds.
In those days Israel had no king. Each man did what he considered to be right. Judges 17:6 NET
I noticed a couple of things here:
- The book of Judges was obviously written late enough that Israel had a king by that time, because more than once the writer refers back to “those days” when “Israel had no king.”
- The statement would make you think that everything would be better with a king. But as we see in the books of Kings, that didn’t really prove to be true.
There was a young man from Bethlehem in Judah. He was a Levite who had been temporarily residing among the tribe of Judah. Judges 17:7 NET
When the Promised Land was divided up among the tribes of Israel, the Levites (national priests) were not given any land so they could serve all the rest of the nation. So it was not out of the ordinary for one to travel from place to place like this. You might consider them early circuit-riding priests.
Micah said, “Now I know God will make me rich, because I have this Levite as my priest.” Judges 17:13 NET
Yep, because that’s what God is looking for from a person – a private priest. And obviously that means God will bless him by making him rich. This guy had no clue 1) how God worked and 2) who he was dealing with.
BTW – this is not the same Micah who gave us the Old Testament book by that name. And it’s not who we named our Micah after!
What did you see in these verses? What was important to you in Judges 17 that I did not see?