Judges 17:1 ¶ And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah.
Judges 17:2 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.
Judges 17:3 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.
Judges 17:4 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.
This chapter centers on a man named Micah that lived in mount Ephraim. He stole from his mother and heard her utter a curse against the thief. He admitted to his mom that he had stolen the 1100 shekels of silver and gave it back to her. I guess he was superstitious and feared the consequences of the curse.
The NIV Commentary notes that ten shekels was a normal wage for the year at that time, so the money stolen represented great wealth.
The mother blessed her son in the name of the LORD for returning it, but then proceeded to use 200 shekels of the silver to have an idol made. The image was carved out of wood and dipped in silver or gold. Micah kept it in his house.
It is interesting to note that the mother said that she had “wholly dedicated” the stolen money to the LORD, but she only invested a small portion of it to honor the god she worshipped.
Judges 17:5 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.
Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
Micah had a place in his house specifically set apart as a place of worship. He made an ephod, a sacred garment similar to that used by the high priest, and brought in some other idols to add to his collection. He then consecrated one of his sons as his priest.
Smith: “Now Micah in making these images was not making really pagan kinds of images but images, no doubt, that would represent God to him. But in the second commandment God had expressly forbidden making any graven images or likeness of God, to bow down and worship. So he was violating the commandment of God but trying to make an image of God. He was not turning from Jehovah in that sense of making an image of Baal or Molech or one of the pagan gods but he was trying to make an image of God. And then with the teraphim and the ephod, seeking to tie the whole worship of Jehovah together, making a little worship center in his house where he has his own little idols in the house where he goes to pray and goes to worship. Now this was expressly forbidden by God, and yet, having lost the consciousness of God’s presence, he is wanting something to remind him of the presence of God.”
It is noted that there was no king in Israel at that time. We know, however, that they did have a king—the LORD God of Israel. They just did not recognize Him as such.
Then the sad refrain that will be repeated several times—“but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”
What Micah did was a perfect example of that truth. The LORD had given Israel a whole set of laws designating the acceptable way to worship and honor Him, the one true God. Micah totally disregarded God’s word and decided that he would do things his own way.
Most of the people in the world today align themselves with Micah. They refuse to believe that there is only one true God that reigns over heaven and earth. They believe that they can choose to worship who they want, when they want, how they want and still expect to be received into heaven or an eternal state of bliss or whatever. They are in for such a shock if they don’t repent of their sins and turn to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior! God has declared that there is only one way to get to enjoy eternal life in His presence—through the gift of salvation that is only available through faith in His Son.
John 3:16–18 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Ephesians 2:8–9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
I am reminded of the words of Solomon.
Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
Judges 17:7 ¶ And there was a young man out of Bethlehemjudah of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there.
Judges 17:8 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.
Judges 17:9 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.
Judges 17:10 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.
Judges 17:11 And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons.
One day a young man from Bethlehemjudah who was a Levite that lived in the tribal territory of Judah came to mount Ephraim. He ended up at the house of Micah. Micah asked him where he was from, and the young man told him; he added that he was looking for a new place to live. Micah offered to pay him ten shekels of silver a year and provide clothing and food if he would stay with him and serve as his father, his spiritual head, and priest. So the young man agreed. He stayed and became like a son to Micah.
Even though the young man was a Levite, he apparently had no qualms about disregarding God’s law.
Judges 17:12 And Micah consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah.
Judges 17:13 Then said Micah, Now know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest.
Micah then consecrated the Levite, and the young man became his priest. (I wonder what became of his son.) Micah thought he had assured himself of God’s blessing since he now had a Levite as his priest. This actually testifies further to the fact that he knew he was acting in disobedience to God’s command.
Micah actually brought to my mind thoughts of people I love who claim to know Jesus as their LORD and Savior, yet think that as long as they are kind and do good things for others and mind their own business, that is honoring God and is enough to expect His blessing. They are deceiving themselves. True faith will give evidence to the work of the Holy Spirit in one’s life. It will evidence a desire to know God’s word and to please Him by what we do and say because we love Him. God’s word tells us that our love is proven through obedience.
John 14:23 “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”
1 John 5:3 “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”