Judges 17:10
And Micah said to him, Dwell with me, and be to me a father and a priest, and I will give you ten shekels of silver by the year, and a suit of apparel, and your victuals. So the Levite went in.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) Be unto me a father and a priest.—The title “father” is here ecclesiastical, like “papa,” “pope,” &c, and this title was given to spiritual directors, as we find in several other passages in the Bible (2Kings 2:12; 2Kings 5:13; 2Kings 6:21; Isaiah 22:21, &c.). Micah knew enough of the law to be aware of the extreme irregularity of his conduct in making one of his own sons his priest.

Ten shekels of silver.—Thus the grandson of Moses became priest of an idolatrous worship at a salary of 25s. a year!

By the year.—Literally, by days. (Comp. Leviticus 25:29.)

A suit of apparel.—The Vulgate renders these words “a double robe.” It seems to mean either “an order of garments” or “the value of garments,” i.e., “your clothes.”

Jdg 17:10. Be unto me a father — That is, a priest, a spiritual father, a teacher or instructer. He pretends reverence and submission to him; and what is wanting in his wages, he pays him in titles.17:7-13 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.Ten shekels - About 25 shillings to 26 shillings (see Exodus 38:24). 10. Micah said unto him, Dwell with me, and be unto me a father—a spiritual father, to conduct the religious services of my establishment. He was to receive, in addition to his board, a salary of ten shekels of silver, equal to 25 shillings a year.

a suit of apparel—not only dress for ordinary use, but vestments suitable for the discharge of his priestly functions.

A father and a priest; for, a father; that is, a priest; a spiritual father, a teacher or instructor, for such are called fathers: see 2 Kings 6:21 8:9 13:14 Isaiah 22:21. He pretends reverence and submission to him; and what is wanting in his wages he pays him in empty titles. And Micah said unto him, dwell with me,.... Hearing that he was a Levite, he thought him a fit man for his purpose, and would give some credit to, and put a better face upon his new form of worship, and therefore, without further inquiry after him and his character, invites him to make his abode with him:

and be unto me a father and a priest; a father 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 before him by his teraphim upon occasion:

and I will give thee ten shekels of silver by the year; or yearly, which was but a small sum, a poor salary for a priest, at most amounting but to twenty five shillings, and scarce so much:

and a suit of apparel; or "an order of apparel" (m); such as was fit for one of his rank and order as a priest to wear, so Jarchi and Abarbinel; or a couple of garments, as the Targum and Septuagint, a double suit of apparel, according to the order of the season, one for summer and another for winter, as Kimchi and Ben Melech:

and thy victuals; his meat and drink:

so thy Levite went in; into his house, and it looks as if the parley was made, and the bargain struck at the door, Micah being at it as the Levite passed by, or came to it upon his knocking at it; he went after his counsel and advice, as Jarchi, or to do his business, as Kimchi.

(m) "irdinem vestimentorum", Pagninus, Montanus, Muuster, Vatablus; "demensum vestimentorum", Tigurine version.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. father] A title of honour given to a priest Jdg 18:19, a counsellor Genesis 45:8, cf. [Apocr.] Esther 16:11, 1Ma 11:32, a prophet 2 Kings 2:12; 2 Kings 6:21, a master 2 Kings 5:13, a king 1 Samuel 24:11.

ten pieces of silver … victuals] The Levite has to seek a home and maintenance; and he receives a payment of money for his services, cf. 1 Samuel 2:36. At the more important sanctuaries, however, or when the cultus was more developed, the priests derived their income from portions of the sacrifices and offerings, cf. 1 Samuel 2:13 ff., 1 Samuel 2:28. This was the rule in the Babylonian and Phoenician cults, and the Deuteronomic law reflects a similar custom: ‘no portion nor inheritance’ is allowed to the Levitical priests (Deuteronomy 10:9 etc., cf. Numbers 18:23 P); they are dependent upon firstfruits, sacrificial feasts, tithes; and their support is a moral charge on the community, Deuteronomy 12:18 f., Deuteronomy 14:25-29, Deuteronomy 16:11, Deuteronomy 18:1-8. In a supplementary law of the Priestly Code a change was introduced, and 48 cities were assigned to the Levites (Numbers 35:1-8, Joshua 21:1-42), but there is no evidence that this regulation was ever carried out.

So the Levite went in] Hebr. went away, departed, as in Jdg 17:8; but this gives a wrong sense. Moreover, no writer could have composed anything so clumsy as and the Levite departed, and the Levite was content (Jdg 17:11). The first phrase may be a stray fragment of one of the two narratives, or it is merely a doublet of the phrase which follows (Studer and others). The Vulgate omits and the L. departed; the LXX in Jdg 17:11 reads and he was content.

11b. and the young man was] Continuing Jdg 17:7.

12a. consecrated] installed, Jdg 17:5 n., continuing 11b: and was in the house of M. continues 11a.Verses 10, 11. - A father. This is not a common application of the word father in the Old Testament. The prominent idea seems to be one of honour, combined with authority to teach and advise. It is applied to prophets (2 Kings 2:12; 2 Kings 6:21; 2 Kings 13:14), and to Joseph (Genesis 45:8). The idea is implied in the converse phrase of son, applied to those to whom the prophets stood in 'the relation of spiritual fathers (see 2 Kings 8:9; Proverbs 4:10, 20, and frequently elsewhere). The abuse of the feeling which dictates the term as applied to human teachers is reproved by our Lord (Matthew 23:9). It has been freely used in the Christian Church, as in the titles papa or pope applied to bishops, abbot and abbas, father in God, fathers of the Church, etc. Here there is perhaps a special reference to the function of Micah's priest to ask counsel of God, and then give that counsel to those who came to inquire (see note to ver. 5). It may be added that the idea of counsellor seems to be inherent in the word cohen or priest, as in 2 Samuel 8:18; 1 Kings 4:5, etc. Ten shekels - a little over a pound of our money, but probably equivalent to £20, when considered relatively to articles of consumption. 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." Thence 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. Others, including St. Jerome and the Septuagint, interpret it a pair of vestments, meaning summer and winter clothing. But perhaps the A.V., suit, meaning the whole set of under and upper garments, is after all the best interpretation. The Levite went in. The Hebrew is went, i.e. according to the common use of the word, went his way. And such is probably the meaning here. He went his way to consider the proposal made to him. The result is given in the next verse: And the Levite was content, etc. Hereupon-namely, when her son had given her back the silver ("he restored the silver unto his mother" is only a repetition of Judges 17:3, introduced as a link with which to connect the appropriation of the silver)-the mother took 200 shekels and gave them to the goldsmith, who made an image and molten work of them, which were henceforth in Micah's house. The 200 shekels were not quite the fifth part of the whole. What she did with the rest is not stated; but from the fact that she dedicated the silver generally, i.e., the whole amount, to Jehovah, according to Judges 17:3, we may infer that she applied the remainder to the maintenance of the image-worship.

(Note: There is no foundation for Bertheau's opinion, that the 200 shekels were no part of the 1100, but the trespass-money paid by the son when he gave his mother back the money that he had purloined, since, according to Leviticus 6:5, when a thief restored to the owner any stolen property, he was to add the fifth of its value. There is no ground for applying this law to the case before us, simply because the taking of the money by the son is not even described as a theft, whilst the mother really praises her son for his open confession.)

Pesel and massecah (image and molten work) are joined together, as in Deuteronomy 27:15. The difference between the two words in this instance is very difficult to determine. Pesel signifies an idolatrous image, whether made of wood or metal. Massecah, on the other hand, signifies a cast, something poured; and when used in the singular, is almost exclusively restricted to the calf cast by Aaron or Jeroboam. It is generally connected with עגל, but it is used in the same sense without this definition (e.g., Deuteronomy 9:12). This makes the conjecture a very natural one, that the two words together might simply denote a likeness of Jehovah, and, judging from the occurrence at Sinai, a representation of Jehovah in the form of a molten calf. But there is one obstacle in the way of such a conjecture, namely, that in Judges 18:17-18, massecah is separated from pesel, so as necessarily to suggest the idea of two distinct objects. But as we can hardly suppose that Micah's mother had two images of Jehovah made, and that Micah had both of them set up in his house of God, no other explanation seems possible than that the massecah was something belonging to the pesel, or image of Jehovah, but yet distinct from it-in other words, that it was the pedestal upon which it stood. The pesel was at any rate the principal thing, as we may clearly infer from the fact that it is placed in the front rank among the four objects of Micah's sanctuary, which the Danites took with them (Judges 18:17-18), and that in Judges 18:30-31, the pesel alone is mentioned in connection with the setting up of the image-worship in Dan. Moreover, there can hardly be any doubt that pesel, as a representation of Jehovah, was an image of a bull, like the golden calf which Aaron had made at Sinai (Exodus 32:4), and the golden calves which Jeroboam set up in the kingdom of Israel, and one of which was set up in Dan (1 Kings 12:29).

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