Of the money that Micah had stolen, and afterward restored, his mother maketh images. Micah's idolatry. He hireth a Levite to be his priest.
1AND1 there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah.
1 When the things, mentioned in this and the following chapters of this book, were done, there are several opinions concerning it. The nearest seems to be, that (lest the order of the history of the judges would be broken) they were hitherto put off, and after adjoined, to represent lively before our eyes the much decayed state of Israel, and the justice of God’s punishments; but were not done after Samson’s death, but shortly after the death of Joshua, and of the pious elders within that time, which is described Judges 2:10, 11, 12, 13; 3:5, 6, 7, 8. The attentive reader may compare Joshua 19:47 with Judges 13:25 and Judges 18:1, 7, 12, 27, 29. Likewise Judges 19:11, 12 with Judges 1:8. Also consider Judges 20:28, where mention is made of the priest Phinehas, Aaron’s grandchild living at that time; of whom we read, Num. 25:7, etc., and Joshua 22:13, 32.
2And he said unto his mother, The eleven hundred 2shekels of silver that were taken from thee, about which thou 3cursedst, and spakest of also 4in mine ears, behold, the 5silver is with me; I took it. And his mother said, 6Blessed be thou of the LORD, my son.
2 See Gen. 20 on verse 16.
3 Namely, the thief who had taken them from thee.
4 So that I heard myself the curse. He seems hereby to be moved to confession and restitution.
5 Or, money.
6 As if she would say: Far be it from me, my son, that I would come upon thee with that curse. In regard of thee do I totally revoke it.
3And when he had restored the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, I had wholly dedicated the silver unto 7the LORD from my hand for 8my son, to make a graven image 9and a molten image: now therefore I will restore it unto thee.
7 Hebr. dedicating have dedicated unto the Lord. This was the cloak of idolatry, that they would thrust the same upon God, as if it were done to His service, against so many express commands of the Lord, as the book of Moses and the Ten Commandments themselves testify.
8 That is, son’s son. See verse 5.
9 It seems that she meant two images, one carved and one molten, as may be seen Judges 18:17, 18. Although there in Judges 18:20, 30, 31, there is only mention made of one.
4Yet he restored the money unto his mother; and his mother took two hundred shekels of silver, and gave them to the founder,a who made thereof a graven image and a molten 10image: and they were in the house of Micah.
a a person who casts metal or glass in a mold
10 It is to be understood, that it was first graven or carved in marble or something different, and afterward laid in or covered over with silver plates, for of so small a sum, no pure silver image could be made, which would be of that size, that it would be first used in this idols’ house, and afterwards used as a common image in the city of Dan.
5And the man Micah had an house of gods, and 11made an 12ephod, and 13teraphim,b and 14consecrated one of his sons, who became his 15priest.
11 Of the remaining sum of money.
12 See Exod. 28 on verse 4.
13 See Gen. 31 on verse 19.
14 See Lev. 7 on verse 37; also below, verse 12.
15 He did all this against the express command of God. For God had commanded but one ephod to be made for the high priest in Israel, who was to ask counsel of God by Urim and Thummim, Num. 27:21. Images in the worshipping of God were severely forbidden, and none was permitted to be priest, but he who was of Aaron’s race. See Num. 16:40; 18:2, 7, etc.
6Inc those days there was no 16king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
c Judges 18:1; 21:25.
16 That is, no governor, ruler, judge, or lawful supreme magistrate, who kept the people in discipline and order; otherwise it might seem as if previously there had been kings in Israel, but not now. So is the word king also commonly taken for ruler, Gen. 36:31; Deut. 33:5. This is recounted here and in the following chapters more than once, as a reason of this gross licentiousness, that everyone did not do what was right and good in the eyes of God, but in his own eyes, that is, what seemed good unto himself, and what he had but a mind to. From this may also be gathered, that these histories appertain to a time, wherein was no judge or lawful magistrate or supreme power in Israel.
7¶And there was a 17young man out of Beth-lehem-judah 18of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there.
17 Of the Hebrew word see Gen. 22 on verse 5.
18 These words are by most understood of Bethlehem-judah, so that they are here added by the Holy Spirit to express more clearly, that this Bethlehem (to distinguish it from the other which belonged to Zebulon, Joshua 19:15) beyond all doubt belonged to the family and tribe of Judah, and that because this would be the birth-place of the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ. Some apply them to the Levite, who was indeed of the tribe of Levi, but born and bred up at Bethlehem-judah, or by the mother’s side of the tribe of Judah, or also (as some perceive) in truth of the tribe of Judah, but notwithstanding (according to the corruption and depravity of those times) made a Levite, and so used; as Jeroboam likewise did, 1 Kings 12:31; 2 Chron. 11:14, 15. But this seems not to agree well with verse 13; for Micah could have been contented with his own son as well, who was of Ephraim, as with this man, if he had been of Judah, and not of Levi.
8And the man departed out of the city from Beth-lehem-judah to sojourn where he could find a place: and he came to mount Ephraim to the house of Micah, as he 19journeyed.
19 Hebr. to do. Other, doing his journey.
9And Micah said unto him, Whence comest thou? And he said unto him, I am a Levite of Beth-lehem-judah, and I go to sojourn where I may find a place.
10And Micah said unto him, Dwell with me, and be unto me a 20father and a priest, and I will give thee ten shekels of silver 21by the year, and a 22suit of apparel, and thy victuals. So the Levite went 23in.
20 He gives this title (which of right belongs to the true prophets and sincere teachers of the church of God, in respect of their spiritual, true fatherly benefits, and offices done to the people of God as children) unjustly and wrongfully to this idolatrous parasite. See 2 Kings 6:21; 8:9; 13:14; Isa. 22:21; 1 Cor. 4:14, 15; 1 Thes. 2:11.
21 Hebr. in days, that is, in a year of days, that is, a whole or full year. See Judges 11 on verses 40.
22 That is, I will furnish you with as many clothes, as you, according to your condition, shall have need of. Other, a suit, or two suits of apparel; likewise the worth of apparel.
23 Namely, with Micah, to his house.
11And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him 24as one of his sons.
24 That is, he loved and esteemed him, as if he had been one of his sons.
12And Micah 25consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah.
25 Hebr. filled the hand. As verse 5.
13Then said Micah, Now 26know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest.
26 Although he, in many ways (as is mentioned above) committed idolatry; yet he persuaded himself that he and his idolatry must please God. A clear picture of the abominable corruption of that time.