Judges 17
Barnes' Notes
And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah.
See the introduction to the Book of Judges. The only point of contact with the preceding history of Samson is, that we are still concerned with the tribe of Dan. See Judges 18:1-2, note. Josephus combines in one narrative what we read here and in Judges 1:34, and places it, with the story in Judges 18-21, immediately after the death of Joshua.

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.
Thou cursedst - or, "adjuredst me by God." Compare Matthew 26:63; Leviticus 5:1.

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.
Such a superstitious and unlawful mode of worshipping Yahweh is quite of a piece with Judges 8:27; Judges 11:31; 1 Kings 12:28, etc. It argues but slight acquaintance with the Ten Commandments, which, from the ignorance of reading and writing, were probably not familiar to the Israelites in those unsettled times. The mother intimates that the consecration of the silver was for the benefit of her son and his house, not for her own selfish advantage: and that she adheres to her original design of consecrating this silver for her son's benefit.

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.
See Judges 8:27, note; Genesis 31:19, note.

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.
In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
In those days ... - This phrase, indicating distinctly that the writer lived after the establishment of the kingly government in Israel, is unique to the author of these last five chapters.

And there was a young man out of Bethlehemjudah of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there.
The Hebrew words for "he sojourned there" are, שׁם גר gêr shām, which words are used Judges 18:30 in the genealogy of this young Levite, whose name was "Jonathan, the son of Gershom" (גרשׁם gêreshôm). Hence, some read here, "the son of Gershom."

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.
Jonathan's state without a home gives us vivid picture of what must have been the condition of many Levites.

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.
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.
Ten shekels - About 25 shillings to 26 shillings (see Exodus 38:24).

And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons.
And Micah consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah.
Then said Micah, Now know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest.
This shows the ignorance as well as the superstition of the age (compare 2 Kings 18:22), and gives a picture of the lawlessness of the times. The incidental testimony to the Levitical priesthood is to be noted; but the idolatrous worship in the immediate neighborhood of Shiloh is passing strange.

Notes on the Bible by Albert Barnes [1834].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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