Judges 16-18 Now I know that the LORD will prosper me, because I have a Levite as priest

From Judges 16-18

07 Judges Samson walls thumb

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. We are about to see the start of some horrible times in Israel’s history. The people have no idea and run amok. Not knowing who to worship. Today’s passage exposes us to chaos and this world desperate need for a righteous king.

This post is part of my bible in a year series.


Passage and Comments

Samson is dead. We near the final chapters of Judges. Our passage describes the poor state of Israel and its people during this time.

1000 Bible Images Stuttgart Germany German Bible Society
1000 Bible Images Stuttgart Germany German Bible Society

17 There was a man of the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Micah. 2 And he said to his mother,

“The 1,100 pieces of silver that were taken from you, about which you uttered a curse, and also spoke it in my ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it.”

And his mother said,

“Blessed be my son by the LORD.”

3 And he restored the 1,100 pieces of silver to his mother. And his mother said,

“I dedicate the silver to the LORD from my hand for my son, to make a carved image and a metal image. Now therefore I will restore it to you.”

4 So when he restored the money to his mother, his mother took 200 pieces of silver and gave it to the silversmith, who made it into a carved image and a metal image. And it was in the house of Micah. 5 And the man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and household gods, and ordained one of his sons, who became his priest. (Jdg 17.1-5)

It appears that Micah stole from his mother. She cursed the event, not knowing at the time who stole the silver from her. Micah later admits that he took the silver.

Remarkably Micah’s mother pronounces a blessing on Micah. Perhaps hoping to cancel out the curse. Micah gives the silver back, at which his mother promises to get him household gods to worship. She does.

Micah clearly is superstitious and does not care for the LORD. He is a father and gives one of his sons the job of being his priest. To represent him before the household gods made for him.

Does all this seem right to you?

6 In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (Jdg 17.6)

The expression is ominous. It is repeated a few times near the end of Judges (Jdg 17.6; 18.1; 19.1; 21.25).

The LORD should be Israel’s king. But the have rejected him and have no king.

The covenant law should direct their worship. Micah is typical of what is happening in Israel. Israel has abandoned the law and its regulations for proper worship. Everyone does what is right in his own eyes.

7 Now there was a young man of Bethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there. 8 And the man departed from the town of Bethlehem in Judah to sojourn where he could find a place. And as he journeyed, he came to the hill country of Ephraim to the house of Micah.

9 And Micah said to him, “Where do you come from?”

And he said to him, “I am a Levite of Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going to sojourn where I may find a place.”

10 And Micah said to him, “Stay with me, and be to me a father and a priest, and I will give you ten pieces of silver a year and a suit of clothes and your living.”

And the Levite went in. 11 And the Levite was content to dwell with the man, and the young man became to him like one of his sons. 12 And Micah ordained the Levite, and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah.

13 Then Micah said, “Now I know that the LORD will prosper me, because I have a Levite as priest.” (Jdg 17.7-13)

The levite had nowhere to go. Clearly the tent of meeting was not in use.

Micah previously hired his son, but now he has someone better. An authentic levite. When the levite comes by Micah seizes the opportunity and gives him a place to stay and a job. The levite accepts.

Micah thinks the LORD will bless him because he has a priest. He thinks he can buy the LORD’s favour.

What we see here is clearly wrong. It surreal, tragic.

Story of Israel

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

The expression ‘In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes’ (Jdg 17.6) signals the need for Israel to have a king that would lead them and show them how to live righteously.

Judges is followed by Ruth and then Samuel. Both introduce king David. The man after the LORD’s own heart. The man the LORD God promised an eternal throne and kingdom. But while David was a great king, Israel needs someone better.

Story of Jesus

The gospel declares Jesus to be our rightful king.

12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” 13 So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, (Jn 19:12–16)

During the time of the judges the people did have a king. The LORD. But the rejected him and worship false gods. Pieces of metal. Before Jesus was crucified he was declared to be their king as well and the people rejected him.

Both passages are laden with tragic irony and ask the question. Who is our righteous king?

Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2016. All Rights Reserved.