Judges Chapter 17 - Micah from the Hill Country of Ephraim
Judges Chapter 17 – Micah from the Hill Country of Ephraim
Micah from the hill country of Ephraim returned eleven hundred shekels of silver he took from his mother. She used some of the silver to make an idol.
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!” Judges 17:1-2
The events of chapter 17 and the next four chapters of the Book of Judges did not occur after the death of Samson, but much earlier, after the death of Joshua. This and the other narratives that follow form a miscellaneous collection, or appendix to the Book of Judges. It belongs to a period when the Hebrew nation was in a greatly disordered and corrupt state before the time of the judges.
The name “Micah” is a shortened form of the name “Micaiah.” Micaiah means, “Who is like Yehovah?” The account of this man from the northern territory of Ephraim was recorded to illustrate the lawlessness of the times in which he lived. The love of money made Micah so disrespectful to his mother as to rob her, and made her so unkind to her son, as to curse him.
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.” Judges 17:3
Micah’s mother falsely believed that she could both consecrate her silver to Yehovah and then use some of it to as a covering for an idol and it would be pleasing to the God of Israel.
What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? 2 Corinthians 6:15-16a
Using a graven image in the worship of Yehovah breaks both the 1st Commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me” as well as the 3rd Commandment, “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them.”
Aaron used a “golden calf” to hold a festival to Yehovah.
When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”
Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”
When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry. Exodus 32:1-6
Was the God of Israel who brought the nation out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, pleased with this festival held in His name? No! His anger burned against them and except for Moses’ intercession, He would have destroyed them as a nation.
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. Judges 17:4
This woman's silver was her god, before it was made into a graven or a molten image.
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Matthew 6:24
It is incongruous that the mother whose son was named, “Who is like Yehovah?” pays to make an idol and then puts this idol into her son’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 17:5-6
Micah was an Ephraimite.
Bring the Levites to the front of the tent of meeting and assemble the whole Israelite community. You are to bring the Levites before the LORD, and the Israelites are to lay their hands on them. Aaron is to present the Levites before the LORD as a wave offering from the Israelites, so that they may be ready to do the work of the LORD. Numbers 8:9-11
According to the LORD’s command, both the priesthood and temple workers in Israel were supposed to come from the tribe of Levi. Micah not only disregarded this ordinance, he made an ephod; a priestly garment and established idol worship in his family. His actions exemplify the moral corruption of the times when everyone did as they saw fit. Then they soon did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.
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.” Judges 17:7-10
When Micah discovered that the young man was a Levite, he thought that his house of worship would be more credible by having a Levite serve as his priest as well as his spiritual father.
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 17:11-13
One of the important regulations that a Levitical Priest is to observe is found in Ezekiel chapter 44:
They are to teach my people the difference between the holy and the common and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean. Ezekiel 44:23
Ironically, this young Levite who was commanded by Yehovah to teach the difference between the ceremonially clean and unclean was willing to utilize his holy office in the service of an idolater.