Judges 17

Micah’s Idols

1 Now a man named Micah from the hill country of Ephraim
2 said to his mother, “The eleven hundred shekels[a] 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!”
3 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.”
4 So after he returned the silver to his mother, she took two hundred shekels[b] of silver and gave them to a silversmith, who used them to make the idol. And it was put in Micah’s house.
5 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.
6 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.
7 A young Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, who had been living within the clan of Judah,
8 left that town in search of some other place to stay. On his way[c] he came to Micah’s house in the hill country of Ephraim.
9 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.”
10 Then Micah said to him, “Live with me and be my father and priest, and I’ll give you ten shekels[d] of silver a year, your clothes and your food.”
11 So the Levite agreed to live with him, and the young man became like one of his sons to him.
12 Then Micah installed the Levite, and the young man became his priest and lived in his house.
13 And Micah said, “Now I know that the LORD will be good to me, since this Levite has become my priest.”

Judges 17 Commentary

Chapter 17

The beginning of idolatry in Israel, Micah and his mother. (1-6) Micah hires a Levite to be his priest. (7-13)

Verses 1-6 What is related in this, and the rest of the chapters to the end of this book, was done soon after the death of Joshua: see chap. ( Judges 20:28 ) . That it might appear how happy the nation was under the Judges, here is showed how unhappy they were when there was no Judge. The love of money made Micah so undutiful to his mother as to rob her, and made her so unkind to her son, as to curse him. Outward losses drive good people to their prayers, but bad people to their curses. This woman's silver was her god, before it was made into a graven or a molten image. Micah and his mother agreed to turn their money into a god, and set up idol worship in their family. See the cause of this corruption. Every man did that which was right in his own eyes, and then they soon did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.

Verses 7-13 Micah thought it was a sign of God's favour to him and his images, that a Levite should come to his door. Thus those who please themselves with their own delusions, if Providence unexpectedly bring any thing to their hands that further them in their evil way, are apt from thence to think that God is pleased with them.

Cross References 19

  • 1. Judges 18:2,13
  • 2. Ruth 2:20; Ruth 3:10; 1 Samuel 15:13; 1 Samuel 23:21; 2 Samuel 2:5
  • 3. S Exodus 20:4; Exodus 20:4,23; Exodus 34:17; Leviticus 19:4
  • 4. S Exodus 32:4; S Isaiah 17:8
  • 5. Isaiah 44:13; Ezekiel 8:10
  • 6. S Judges 8:27
  • 7. S Genesis 31:19; Judges 18:14
  • 8. S Numbers 16:10
  • 9. S Exodus 29:9; Judges 18:24
  • 10. Judges 18:1; Judges 19:1; Judges 21:25
  • 11. S Deuteronomy 12:8
  • 12. Judges 18:3
  • 13. S Genesis 35:19; Judges 19:1; Ruth 1:1-2; Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1
  • 14. Ruth 1:1
  • 15. S Genesis 45:8
  • 16. Judges 18:19
  • 17. S Numbers 16:10
  • 18. Judges 18:4
  • 19. Numbers 18:7

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. That is, about 28 pounds or about 13 kilograms
  • [b]. That is, about 5 pounds or about 2.3 kilograms
  • [c]. Or "To carry on his profession"
  • [d]. That is, about 4 ounces or about 115 grams

Chapter Summary


This chapter relates the first rise of idolatry in Israel after the death of Joshua, which began in Mount Ephraim, occasioned by a sum of money stolen by a man from his mother, which being restored, part was converted to an idolatrous use; two images were made of it, Jud 17:1-5 and there being no king in Israel to take cognizance of it, the idolatry took place and continued, and afterwards spread, Jud 17:6, and this idolater not only made one of his sons a priest, but took a Levite for another, whom he hired by the year to serve him, Jud 17:7-13.

Judges 17 Commentaries

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