The Period Of The Judges

 Chapter 78
Micah’s Levite [Judges 17.7-17.13]

 


Scripture (KJV) Judges 17.7-13


He hires a Levite to be his priest

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.


Introduction

We have here an account of Micah furnishing himself with a Levite for his chaplain. He thought it was a sign of God's favor to him and his images that a Levite would come knocking on his door. Likewise, those who please themselves with their own delusions, if Providence unexpectedly brings anything to their hands that assists them in their evil ways, are likely to think that God is pleased with them.

Commentary

7 And there was a young man out of Bethlehemjudah of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there.—Judges 17.7 (KJV) 
7 One day a young Levite, who had been living in Bethlehem in Judah, arrived in that area.—Judges 17.7 (NLT)

And there was a young man out of Bethlehemjudah…
There were two Bethlehems, one in the tribe of Zebulun, (Joshua 19:15[1]) and this one in the tribe of Judah. This place is distinguished from the one in Zebulun by adding Judah to the end of the name; Bethlehemjudah. There was a young man who was born and living in Bethlehemjudah, who was said to be “of the family of Judah,” (see next phrase); but he was also a Levite. He lived there as a sojourner (stranger; temporary resident), since he was a Levite according to his lineage. The background of this is that the Levites received no inheritance when Canaan was allotted to the Israelites, but they were scattered throughout the tribes, being assigned to certain cities. His family evidentially was assigned to live in and serve Bethlehemjudah. This Bethlehem is the one mentioned in the following verses: Judges19:1, 2; Genesis 35:19; Joshua 19:15; Ruth 1:1, 2; Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1, 5, 6.

the family of Judah…
The family(that is, tribe) of Judah refers either to the young man, who was a Levite on his father's side, and Jarchi thinks he was of the tribe of Judah on his mother's side, which seems very probable, though the genealogies of families were not reckoned from the mother; therefore he might be said to belong to the family of Judah because he had lived chiefly with the tribe of Judah, and particularly at Bethlehem. The Levites were dispersed among all the tribes, and men from the tribe of Levi were allowed to unite with another tribe by marriage—as Aaron did (Exodus 6:23[2])—providing the woman was not an heiress. This young Levite belonged to the tribe of Judah on his mother's side, which accounts for his being in Beth-lehem, which was not one of the Levitical cities.

There is another explanation given for why this young Levite was living in Bethlehem; it happened, from-time-to-time, that individuals among the Levites, who were unwilling to perform the service assigned them by the law, would move away from the Levitical towns and take-up some other occupation elsewhere (see Judges 18:30[3]).

There is yet another explanation, and it is the one that I have adopted. If the man was a Levite he could not be of the family or tribe of Judah. When you combine the first and second phrase, it reads, “And there was a young man out of Bethlehemjudah of the family of Judah.” These words are merely a more accurate definition of Bethlehemjudah. It is as if he were saying, “And there was a young man out of Bethlehem in the tribe of Judah.” The meaning is that he was one of a family of Levites who had settled in Bethlehem, and so came to be reckoned in civil matters as belonging to Judah. There is at least one Bible scholar, Julius Brewer, who believes this man was the son of Gershom, the eldest son of Moses; see Judges 18.30[3].

Concerning the division of the land, it is true that only the priests were allotted dwelling-places in the inheritance of this tribe (see Joshua 21:9-19), while the rest of the Levites, even the non-priestly members of the family of Kohath, received their dwelling-places among the other tribes (Joshua 21:20[4]).

who was a Levite…
His father was from that tribe, though his mother might be from the tribe of Judah.  This young man is said to be a Levite (see Article 18.1); but that could mean that either he belonged to that tribe or his profession was that of a Levite. Briefly stated, a Levite was a descendant of Levi, the 3rd son of Jacob by Leah. Levites were expressly set aside by God for His service.
It was illegal and sinful for anyone to be a “Levite,” except those belonging to that tribe. This Mosaic regulation was well known to Micah, as indicated by his pleasure in being able to employ a real Levite (v. 10).

Article 18.1: Levite
LEVITE—A descendant of the tribe of Levi (Ex 6:25; Lev 25:32; Num 35:2; Jos 21:3, 41). This name is, however, generally used as the title of that portion of the tribe which was set apart for the subordinate offices of the sanctuary service (1Ki 8:4; Ezra 2:70), as assistants to the priests.

When the Israelites left Egypt, the ancient manner of worship was still observed by them, the eldest son of each house inheriting the priest's office. At Sinai the first change in this ancient practice was made. A hereditary priesthood in the family of Aaron was then instituted (Ex 28:1). But it was not till that terrible scene in connection with the sin of the golden calf that the tribe of Levi stood apart and began to occupy a distinct position (Ex 32). The religious primogeniture was then conferred on this tribe, which henceforth was devoted to the service of the sanctuary (Num 3:11-13). They were selected for this purpose because of their zeal for the glory of God (Ex 32:26), and because, as the tribe to which Moses and Aaron belonged, they would naturally stand by the lawgiver in his work.

The Levitical order consisted of all the descendants of Levi's three sons, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari; whilst Aaron, Amram's son (Amram, son of Kohat), and his issue constituted the priestly order.

The age and qualification for Levitical service are specified in Num 4:3, 23, 30, 39, 43, 47.
They were not included among the armies of Israel (Num 1:47; Num 2:33; Num 26:62), but were reckoned by themselves. They were the special guardians of the tabernacle (Num 1:51; Num 18:22-24). The Gershonites pitched their tents on the west of the tabernacle (Num 3:23), the Kohathites on the south (Num 3:29), the Merarites on the north (Num 3:35), and the priests on the east (Num 3:38). It was their duty to move the tent and carry the parts of the sacred structure from place to place. They were given to Aaron and his sons the priests to wait upon them and do work for them at the sanctuary services (Num 8:19; Num 18:2-6).
As being wholly consecrated to the service of the Lord, they had no territorial possessions. Jehovah was their inheritance (Num 18:20; Num 26:62; Deut 10:9; Deut 18:1, 2), and for their support it was ordained that they should receive from the other tribes the tithes of the produce of the land. Forty-eight cities also were assigned to them, thirteen of which were for the priests "to dwell in", i.e., along with their other inhabitants. Along with their dwellings they had "suburbs", i.e., "commons", for their herds and flocks, and also fields and vineyards (Num 35:2-5). Nine of these cities were in Judah, three in Naphtali, and four in each of the other tribes (Jos 21). Six of the Levitical cities were set apart as "cities of refuge" (q.v.). Thus the Levites were scattered among the tribes to keep alive among them the knowledge and service of God.
—Easton's Illustrated Dictionary

and he sojourned there…
Sojourned
is a word you don’t hear much, if ever; it means to stay for a time in a place or to live temporarily in a place. For example: to sojourn in Florida for two months. This young Levite lived among the tribe of Judah, in the town of Bethlehemjudah, long enough to be considered as belonging to Judah in regard to civil matters. If it was true, that his mother was of the family of Judah, then he may have lived there among his mother’s relations (since Bethlehemjudah was not a Levites’ city). Thus, it is said that he sojourned there because he was not a native and was restricted in some ways. This Levite is “Jonathan, the son of Gershom,” according to Judges 18:30[3].

                                      ______________verse 7 notes___________________
[1](Joshua 19:15; NLT)  The towns in these areas included Kattath, Nahalal, Shimron, Idalah, and Bethlehem—twelve towns with their surrounding villages. Bethlehem in Judea; the birthplace of David, and Jesus Christ.
[2](Exodus 6:23; NLT) Aaron married Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab and sister of Nahshon, and she gave birth to his sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. Elisheba—The oath of the Lord. It is the same name as Elizabeth, so very common among Christians. She was of the royal tribe of Judah, and was sister to Nahshon, one of the princes; see Numbers 2:3.—Adam Clarke's Commentary
[3](Judges 18:30; NKJV) Then the children of Dan set up for themselves the carved image; and Jonathan the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land. The children of Dan set up the graven image—They erected a chapel, or temple, among themselves, as Micah had done before; having the same implements and the same priest.—Adam Clarke's Commentary
[4](Joshua 21:20; NLT) The rest of the Kohathite clan from the tribe of Levi was allotted the following towns and pasturelands from the tribe of Ephraim


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 17.8 (KJV)
8 He had left Bethlehem in search of another place to live, and as he traveled, he came to the hill country of Ephraim. He happened to stop at Micah’s house as he was traveling through.—Judges 17.8 (NLT)

And the man departed out of the city from Bethlehemjudah…
The man left Bethlehemjudah either because he had a rambling spirit and was unsettled about his future plans, and so he could not contentedly settle down anywhere; or else it was because there wasn’t a magistrate in Bethlehemjudah to insure that the Levites got their due maintenance (Nehemiah 13.10, 11). The Law had provided for the care of the Levites through a tax levied against the citizens of the place where they served. However, the people had become negligent in giving their tithes, because there was no one such as a supreme magistrate to see to it that the Levites got their due maintenance. The people had become indifferent to the worship of the true God and were now worshipping idols. He left town to look for a place that would provide him with a livelihood and where he would feel comfortable. This man, as a Levite, had cities to live in and a place established by God for him to minister - but instead, he wanted to do what was right in his own eyes, and went about offering himself as a "priest for hire," wherever he could find a place.

and he came to Mount Ephraim, to the house of Micah, as he journeyed:
The Levite went about the country seeking employment, since he didn’t have an inheritance, and unless he found a place with a civil magistrate he didn’t have a residence. If he could find employment there were the tithes and offerings, but without it he would be in dire straits, having no support. Hence, he went northward from Bethlehemjudah looking for a place where he could serve God.

The young Levite, in the course of his wandering came to Micah’s house; maybe he was led there by the Holy Spirit, or perhaps he heard that Micah was both a wealthy and a hospitable man, and that he had set up a new kind of worship in his house.

                                 _____________verse 8 notes___________________
[5]Nehemiah 13:10-11; NLT) I also discovered that the Levites had not been given their prescribed portions of food, so they and the singers who were to conduct the worship services had all returned to work their fields. I immediately confronted the leaders and demanded, “Why has the Temple of God been neglected?” Then I called all the Levites back again and restored them to their proper duties. The portions of the Levites had not been given—Hence we find they were obliged to abandon the sacred service, and betake themselves to cultivate the land for their support. This was the fault of the rulers, who permitted all these abuses.—Adam Clarke's Commentary

 

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 17.9 (KJV)
9 “Where are you from?” Micah asked him. He replied, “I am a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, and I am looking for a place to live.”—Judges 17.9 (NLT)

And Micah said unto him, whence comest thou?...
Travelers were usually well received into the homes of Middle-Eastern people at this time; therefore, Micah may have expected this one to ask for a meal or a night’s lodging. It was natural for Micah to ask him such questions as: where do you come from, what is your business in these parts; where are you going.

and he said unto him, I am a Levite of Bethlehemjudah;…
He was of the tribe of Levi, and so he was a Levite by tribe and office, and the place he came from or where he had most recently lived, was Bethlehem, a city in the tribe of Judah. It could be that he told Micah he was looking for a place to live and asked if he had any work for a Levite. In those days the service of God was corrupt and the Levites were not respected; all he wanted was a meal; he wasn’t looking to do any good.

and I go to sojourn where I may find a place;…
Now, some think it was his unhappiness that created in him a desire to relocate; he was either persecuted and abused, or neglected and starved, at Bethlehem. God had made a plentiful provision for the Levites in the Law, but the people withheld their dues, and did not welcome them to the cities assigned to them; so that they were reduced to profound poverty, and no provision was made for their relief. Israel’s forsaking God began with forsaking the Levites, which they are warned against; Deuteronomy 12:19[6]. It is a sign that religion is beginning to decay when good ministers are neglected and without a livelihood.

______________verse 9 notes___________________
[6](Deuteronomy 12:19; NLT) And be very careful never to neglect the Levites as long as you live in your land. Forsake not the Levite—These had no inheritance, and were to live by the sanctuary: if therefore the offerings were withheld by which the Levites were supported, they of course must perish. Those who have devoted themselves to the service of God in ministering to the salvation of the souls of men, should certainly be furnished at least with all the necessaries of life. Those who withhold this from them sin against their own mercies, and that ordinance of God by which a ministry is established for the salvation of souls.—Adam Clarke's Commentary

 


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 17.10 (KJV)
10 “Stay here with me,” Micah said, “and you can be a father and priest to me. I will give you ten pieces of silver a year, plus a change of clothes and your food.”—Judges 17.10 (NLT)

And Micah said unto him, dwell with me…
Hearing that he was a Levite, he thought he was just the man he needed, since he would give some credibility to, and put a better face upon his new form of worship, and therefore, without further inquiry into his character, he invites him to make his residence with him.

Micah must have been content with his son serving as his priest or he would have gone himself or sent someone to find a Levite to replace him; but here one appears to fall into his hands. Since he was not looking for a new priest at the time, it shows that he had no great desire to do such a thing. It could be that as this young man traveled the countryside, he heard about Micah’s house of gods, and his graven and molten image. Then, if he had any of the spirit of a Levite in him, he would have set-out for Micah’s house with the intention of reprimanding him for his idolatry, to tell how directly contrary it was to the law of God, and how it would bring the judgments of God upon him; but instead of this, he goes off to offer his service like the low and degenerate man he had become.

Why did Micah want him? Because he wanted to legitimize his personal shrine by having an officially recognized priest serving there; deep down he knew that his idolatry was false and meaningless, and hoped this would make it legitimate

Discovering that he was unemployed, Micah hired him to be their private family priest. The Levites, according to the law of Moses, were assigned specific cities in which to live and serve. Since Bethlehem is not listed as a Levitical city (cf. Num 35:1–8, Josh 21:1–41), it is questionable what he was doing there in the first place. The fact that he couldn’t find a place would seem to suggest that he was an opportunist looking for the best situation he could find.

and be unto me a father and a priest;…
Micah invites him into his family, and promises to elevate him; be unto me a father and a priest. He says he will be a spiritual father (even though Micah was probably much older) to instruct him in the knowledge of divine things; so prophets were called fathers and their disciples their sons; and a priest to offer sacrifices for him, and to consult for him by his teraphim upon occasion. He pretends reverence and submission to him; and what is lacking in his wages, he pays him in titles. The term father is often used to express honor and reverence—you shall be master of my house, as if you were my father; and, as priest, you shall appear in the presence of God for me. The word father is applied to prophets (2 Kings 2:12[7]; 6:21[8]; 13:14[9]), and to Joseph (Genesis 45:8[10]).

Although he is a young man, he consider him a priest, he will respect him like he did his father. He doesn’t ask for his credentials, and he doesn’t take the time to obtain references or verify his experience. In fact, he doesn’t even ask for proof that he is a Levite. Perhaps he thought that he could not be such a bad character that he would create a scandal for his family. He might have believed like Jeroboam, that even the lowest of the people (1 Kings 12.31)[11] could serve as a priest to a graven image. It is no wonder that those who can make anything serve for a god can also make anything serve for a priest.

and I will give thee ten shekels of silver by the year;…
His annual salary would be ten shekels (see Chart 31, below) or $72.80 (depends upon the value of silver), which was a small sum, and a poor salary even for a priest—a poor salary in comparison to what God provided for the Levites that behaved well; but those that forsake God’s service will never better themselves, or find a better master. We may pity the poverty and sorrow of the Levite who could be bribed to accept a sinful assignment for such an insignificant salary.

The ministry is the best calling but the worst trade in the world. Of course, he received room and board on top of his salary.

Chart 31: Money Values
Denomination                                           Troy Ounce           Silver Value           Gold Value
Gerah                                                            0.0182                    $0.36                        $18.20
Shekel                                                                3.64                    $7.28                     $364.00
Mina                                                                   18.2                $364.00               $18,200.00
Talent                                                                 91.0            $21,840.00        $1,092,000.00
Drachma (Greek)                                             27.0                 $270.00  
Bekah                                                                0.182                   $3.64  
—Easton's Illustrated Dictionary

and a suit of apparel;…
There is great doubt as to the exact meaning of the word rendered suit in this connection. The word means anything arranged, i.e. put in a rank, or row, or order. In Exodus 40:23 it is applied to the shewbread: “He ordered the bread in order.” Hence it came to mean the estimation or worth of a person or thing — some-what as we use the word rank. From this last sense some interpret the word here to mean the worth or price of his clothes. But perhaps the A.V. has the best interpretation for the word suit—the whole set of under and upper garments. Others including St. Jerome and the Septuagint, interpret it to mean “a pair of vestments, meaning summer and winter clothing.” In Hebrew a suit is an order of garments; a double suit, one for every day wear and one for holy days— vestments suitable for the discharge of his priestly functions.

and thy victuals;…
his food and drink:

so thy Levite went in;…
We don’t know whether Micah was standing in the doorway as the Levite passed by, or if he came to the door when the Levite knocked on it. But, we do know that he entered Micah’s house after their discussion resulted in the two men striking a bargain as they stood in the doorway. The agreement was not one that would honor and please God; it was made only for the convenience and benefit of the two parties, so it was destined to fail. The Levite was guiltier than Micah, because he was called by God and was trained in the Law. He was not God’s servant; he was a hireling. When offered a better situation by the Danites, he took it! So, for ten shekels and a suit of clothes, this Levite hires himself out to be the facilitator of the idolatry of Micah. The Levite is a perfect example of a hireling, someone who serves God (or an idol) for what it can give him, instead of to glorify the Lord 

Micah made this proposal to the Levite: “Stay here with me,” Micah said, “and you can be a father and priest to me. I will give you ten pieces of silver a year, plus a change of clothes and your food.” The arrangement seemed perfect to everyone; so the Levite went in.

______________verse 10 notes___________________
[7](2 Kings 2:12; KJV) And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.
[8](2 Kings 6:21; KJV) And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them?
[9](2 kings 13:14; KJV) Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.
[10](Genesis 45:8; KJV) So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
[11] (1 kings 12.31; KJV) And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.

 


11 And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons.—Judges 17.11 (KJV)
11 The Levite agreed to this, and the young man became like one of Micah’s sons.—Judges 17.11 (NLT)

And the Levite was content to dwell with the man…
Perhaps there was a trial period for some time, after which the Levite told Micah, “I like the service, the pay, and the way of living;” it was all agreeable to him. He was content to dwell with the man; though his work was superstitious and his wages were scandalous, he didn’t raise any objections, because he was infected with the common superstition and idolatry of the times, and he was happy to have found such a good place to serve and live.

and the young man was unto him as one of his sons;…
That is, he treated him like one of his own sons, showing him the same degree of kindness and affection. Micah loved the young man because he was very pleased with his service.

Boling pointed out that, “Here is an echo of the Moses-Jethro agreement in Exodus 2:21[12].”

________________verse 11 notes__________________
[12](Exodus 2:21; NLT) Moses accepted the invitation, and he settled there with him. In time, Reuel gave Moses his daughter Zipporah to be his wife.

 


12 And Micah consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah.—Judges 17.12 (KJV)
12 So Micah installed the Levite as his personal priest, and he lived in Micah’s house.—Judges 17.12 (NLT)

And Micah consecrated the Levite…
Micah installed him into the priestly office; in a similar manner he had previously consecrated his son, by filling his hand with sacrifices; see (Judges 17:5)[13]. This act of consecration was just as unlawful for Micah to perform as it was for this Levite to receive. It was a false consecration by a man with a false confidence. Micah's consecration meant nothing at all; he had no authority from God to declare a renegade Levite as set apart by God to the service of this idolatrous shrine. Both men are guilty of terrible sin, but the Levite more than Micah; the Levite would know the Word of God, and Micah might not. Micah's confidence is just as false as his consecration; it is based on superstition, not on God's Word.

If we can say anything about Micah, we can say he is entirely sincere—but totally wrong. Sincerity is nice, but gets you no where if it is not coupled with truth. A person who sincerely thinks he can swim across the Pacific Ocean will drown just as surely and the person who isn't as sincere. Perhaps Micah's ignorance could be excused—he lived before widespread literacy, before printing, before cassette tapes, before Christian radio, before video tapes; what could possibly be our excuse? Many of us get more practical guidance for our lives from the TV Guide than the Bible

What happened to Micah’s son? He was consecrated to the priesthood before this Levite, but now he appears to be out of the picture; replaced by a Levite with better qualifications.

and the young man became his priest;…
He filled the office and did the work of a priest. This was a very daring piece of presumption for both of them; for Micah, who was of the tribe of Ephraim to take upon him the authority to consecrate a priest; and for the young man, to allow himself to be put into an office, which did not belong to him, for though every priest was a Levite, or of the tribe of Levi, yet every Levite did not have the right to be a priest, only those who were of the family of Aaron.

and was in the house of Micah;…
He took-up residence there.

______________verse 12 notes___________________
[13](Judges 17:5; NKJV) The man Micah had a shrine, and made an ephod and household idols; and he consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest.

 

13 Then said Micah, Now know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest.—Judges 17.13 (KJV)
13 “I know the LORD will bless me now,” Micah said, “because I have a Levite serving as my priest.”—Judges 17.13 (NLT)

Then said Micah…
Did he say these things out loud or did he think them? No doubt he was pleased with himself.

We may notice that this incident is proof that the Levites in the time of Micah held the religious position which is ascribed to them in the Pentateuch.

now know I that the Lord will do me good…
Micah was proud of what he had done, so proud that he said, Now know I that the Lord will do me good (that is, he hoped that his new establishment would advance his reputation among his neighbors, which he would turn to his advantage, since he would share in the profit resulting from the worship of his idols; in fact, he hoped that God would approve of, and bless him in all he put his hand to), and that he will enjoy his favor, be a happy man, and prosper. Now, it appears, with the exception of the idolatry he had fallen into, he had not entirely forsaken the Lord, but worshipped him through his images; there was a mixture of the worship of God, and of the worship of images.

He thought he made a wise decision, that God would bless him for demoting his son and advancing this Levite into the priestly office. It was something that satisfied his conscience and convinced him he would prosper due to the orderly ministrations of religion. This expression of his hope confirms the united influence of ignorance and superstition. For him to think that one right circumstance would answer for all his substantial errors, in making and worshipping images against God's express command, in worshipping God in a forbidden place, by a priest illegally appointed, shows how blind and grossly partial he was in his judgment,

It is obvious that Micah’s motivation was based on superstition, not faith in God’s revelation. Thus, we may conclude that the average Israelite, even a religious Israelite, was basically ignorant of the true content of the Law. It is difficult to imagine that a Levite would be content to accept such a position in spite of what he knew of the prohibitions in the Law regarding idolatry. Thus, the sin of the Levite contributed to the deepening of Micah’s apostasy.

Now, after all that has been said, I must point out that what Micah has done was not all bad. He appears to have been perfectly sincere in all that he did, and there is no evidence in the text that he expected to receive great financial gain from it. His mother had provided all the money to equip the place of worship and he would take care of the priest’s maintenance through the offerings that came in. So, he took for granted that all was right, and that he should now have the benediction of God.

Consider that there is no positive evidence that Micah or his mother intended to establish any idolatrous worship. Though they acted without any Divine command in what they did; yet they appear, not only to have been perfectly sincere, but also perfectly disinterested. They put themselves to considerable expense to erect this place of worship, and fund a priest, and to maintain it at their own expense. Without this place, in all probability, the people living in the area would have been destitute of the worship and knowledge of the true God. His sincerity, disinterestedness, and attachment to the worship of the God of his fathers, are further seen in the joy which he expressed on finding a Levite who might legally officiate in his house. It is true, he did not have a Divine call for what he did; but considering the state of the land, the depravity of his countrymen, and his distance from Shiloh, perhaps he deserves some praise to go along with the blame we have laid on him.

seeing I have a Levite to my priest…
He was from the tribe of priests; a Levite, whom he thought would be acceptable to God, and an omen of good things to come. He thought that God had sent the Levite to him as a sign of his good standing with Him. Micah was one of those who please themselves with their own delusions; if Providence unexpectedly brings anything to them that furthers them in their evil ways, they are too apt to infer from it that God is pleased with them. He thought now that the error of his priesthood was amended and all was well, though he still retained his graven and molten image. Note, many deceive themselves into having a good opinion of their religious state by going through a partial reformation. They think they are as good as they should be, because, in some particular instance, they are not as bad as they have been, as if by correcting one fault would atone for retaining all the rest. He thought the making of a Levite into a priest was a very commendable act, but really it was very provoking to God. This shows the ignorance as well as the superstition of the age (compare 2 Kings 18.22[14]), and it gives a picture of the lawlessness of the times.

                                     ______________verse 13 notes___________________
[14](2 Kings 18:22; NKJV)  But if you say to me, 'We trust in the LORD our God,' is it not He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, and said to Judah and Jerusalem, 'You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem'?" ‘Whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away—This was artfully malicious. Many of the people sacrificed to Jehovah on the high places; Hezekiah had removed them, (2 Kings 18:4), because they were incentives to idolatry: Rab-shakeh insinuates that by so doing he had offended Jehovah, deprived the people of their religious rights, and he could neither expect the blessing of God nor the cooperation of the people.—Adam Clarke's Commentary


Summary

This chapter is certainly a revelation of the low spiritual ebb to which the nation of Israel had come. Here is a man who thinks just because he has a Levite as his preacher that that is all he needs. How tragic is that type of thinking. Yet Micah expected the blessing of God upon him. And how many people are like that today?

There are 5 websites by this author:

http://harmonyofthegospels.yolasite.com (Life of Christ)

http://teachingsermonsforpastorsandlaymen.yolasite.com (sermons)

http://theepistlesofpaul.yolasite.com (Titus and Jude)

http://paulsepistletotheromans.yolasite.com (Romans)

http://theperiodofthejudges.yolasite.com (Judges)

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