Overview

Judges 17 shifts focus from the judges themselves to a story that illustrates the religious and moral decline in Israel during this period. This chapter tells the story of Micah, his creation of idols, and his hiring of a Levite priest, shedding light on the prevalent issues of personal idolatry and religious syncretism.
Micah and the Stolen Silver: The chapter begins with a man named Micah from the hill country of Ephraim, who confesses to his mother that he had stolen 1,100 shekels of silver from her. His mother blesses him and dedicates the silver to the LORD, to make a carved image and a metal image.
Creation of Idols: Micah has a silversmith make the idols, which he places in his house. This act represents a direct violation of the commandment against graven images.
Micah’s Shrine and Priest: Micah sets up a shrine in his house, makes an ephod and household gods, and ordains one of his sons as his priest, further establishing his own personal place of worship.
The Levite Becomes Micah’s Priest: A young Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, seeking a place to stay, comes to Micah’s house. Micah offers him to be his priest, giving him clothes, ten shekels of silver a year, and his upkeep. The Levite agrees, and Micah believes that the LORD will prosper him now that he has a Levite as his priest.
Judges 17 depicts a time of religious disorder in Israel, where people freely mixed idolatry with the worship of the LORD. The narrative of Micah and the Levite highlights how the absence of strong central leadership and the neglect of God’s laws lead to individualistic and syncretic religious practices. This chapter sets the stage for the following events in Judges, which continue to explore the theme of Israel's spiritual and moral decline.

Judges 17

1  And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah.

2  And he said unto his mother, The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from thee, about which thou cursedst, and spakest of also in mine ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it. And his mother said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my son.

3  And when he had restored the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, I had wholly dedicated the silver unto the LORD from my hand for my son, to make a graven image and a molten image: now therefore I will restore it unto thee.

4  Yet he restored the money unto his mother; and his mother took two hundred shekels of silver, and gave them to the founder, who made thereof a graven image and a molten image: and they were in the house of Micah.

5  And the man Micah had an house of gods, and made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest.

6  In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

7  And there was a young man out of Bethlehemjudah of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there.

8  And the man departed out of the city from Bethlehemjudah to sojourn where he could find a place: and he came to mount Ephraim to the house of Micah, as he journeyed.

9  And Micah said unto him, Whence comest thou? And he said unto him, I am a Levite of Bethlehemjudah, and I go to sojourn where I may find a place.

10  And Micah said unto him, Dwell with me, and be unto me a father and a priest, and I will give thee ten shekels of silver by the year, and a suit of apparel, and thy victuals. So the Levite went in.

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

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

13  Then said Micah, Now know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest.

End of Judges 17


1 Year Plan:  Apr 17 - Jdg 16, Jdg 17, John 8

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