Judges 17


‘Now a man named Micah from the hill country of Ephraim said to his mother, “The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from you and about which I heard you utter a curse—I have that silver with me; I took it.” Then his mother said, “The LORD bless you, my son!” When he returned the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, she said, “I solemnly consecrate my silver to the LORD for my son to make an image overlaid with silver. I will give it back to you.” So after he returned the silver to his mother, she took two hundred shekels of silver and gave them to a silversmith, who used them to make the idol. And it was put in Micah’s house. Now this man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and some household gods and installed one of his sons as his priest. In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.’ Judges 17:1-6

Micah’s Idols

As we have seen over the last few chapters, the days of the Judges were Israel’s darkest age. A time of lawlessness, confusion, and idolatry, in other words, it was a moral mess. It was a troubling time of near anarchy, which is always going to happen when societies reject absolute law and develop their own.

In the remaining chapters, we’re going to read about idolatry, theft, murder, sodomy, rape, kidnapping, and civil war. We’re going to see that Israel’s enemy is no longer external but internal and we’re going to read about things which we could easily read about today on the front page of any modern newspaper.

This chapter begins by telling us that Micah’s mother didn’t know that her son had stolen the family’s silver. When the superstitious Micah heard that his mother had uttered a curse on the thief, he restored the stolen property. Notice that Micah’s house was filled with idols, which were carved out of wood, stone and metal.

Micah stole a bunch of silver from his mother but later gives it back to her. She’s very happy about that, and so, she uses the silver to make a graven image for her son so he can worship God in his own house.

Micah throws a few other valuable idols into his house too and decides that with all these images in his house, he might as well make his son a priest and turn his house into a temple.

Why did Micah and his mother do this? ‘In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit’. In other words, Israel had turned to man instead of turning to God as their King and so they become a law unto themselves.

‘A young Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, who had been living within the clan of Judah, left that town in search of some other place to stay. On his way he came to Micah’s house in the hill country of Ephraim. Micah asked him, “Where are you from?” “I’m a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah,” he said, “and I’m looking for a place to stay.” Then Micah said to him, “Live with me and be my father and priest, and I’ll give you ten shekels of silver a year, your clothes and your food.” So the Levite agreed to live with him, and the young man became like one of his sons to him. Then Micah installed the Levite, and the young man became his priest and lived in his house. And Micah said, “Now I know that the LORD will be good to me, since this Levite has become my priest.” Judges 17:7-13

When this young Levite comes along, Micah decided that he would be perfect to act as his father and priest and so, he more or less pays for him to do so.

The term ‘father’ refers to a position of respect and influence, the term ‘priest’ refers to the God-designated office the Levites were to have among the people of Israel.

The Levites were to work among all the people of Israel and they certainly weren’t to be bought and confined to a particular individual or group of people in Israel, Luke 4:42-44.

Micah’s feeling pretty good right now and he says, ‘now I know that the LORD will be good to me, since this Levite has become my priest.’

Micah more or less bought his own personal religious officer in hope that God would bless his idolatrous beliefs and behaviour.

Here is a man who is now getting into idolatry, creating his own priest, making it official because the priest is a Levite and it’s all done in the comfort of his own home. Why? ‘In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.’

Go To Judges 18


"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."