Chapter 17: Priesthood Authority
There was a man who lived near the mount of Ephraim, his name was Micah. He tells his mother about 1,100 shekels of silver that were taken from her and that she had cursed. Well that same 1,100 shekels he tells his mother, he took and has it. His mother responds with blessings on his head. Micah’s mother takes the silver back and says she will consecrate it unto the Lord.
So Micah’s mother takes the silver t an idol maker, to have it made into an idol to place in his house. So Micah has a shrine made and consecrates one of his sons to be a priest. Micah’s shrine is the “house of gods” It says that this was done, because Israel had no king, and everyone “…did that which was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6). So it seems like there was a lack of order.
A Levite happens to wonder by and Micah asks him to stay and be a priest, the Levite agrees and is paid room and board, food and a salary of 110 grams of silver per year. Micah thinks that the Lord will be pleased with him, because he is worshiping him and he has a Levite as one of his priests. We learned earlier in the Bible that the Levites (one of the twelve tribes of Israel) were given charge of the ordinances and rituals of the temple. In other words the Levites had the priesthood authority.
Chapter 18: Idolatry
As the tribe of Dan wanders looking for a place to settle in the Promised Land, they send some spies to check out the land and find a good place to settle. During this search they come across the Levite that is living in Micah’s house (from the last chapter). They ask this Levite to inquire of the Lord and find out if their trip will be successful, the Levite sends them on their way in peace, that the Lord was with them.
These men of Dan leave and go to a place called Laish were they find some very desirable land that was a little quiet. The spies decide that this land would be suitable and go back to the tribe of Dan to tell them the good news.
The spies return to their brothers in Zorah and Eshtaol and tell them to “…Arise, that we may go up against them: for we have seen the land, and, behold it is very good… be not slothful to god, and to enter to possess the land.” (Judges 18:9).
They get the people pumped for war, and the Danites get ready for battle with 600 of their men. The 600 warriors start their journey to the land of Laish. On their journey they pass by the house of Micah and the 5 spies that had been there previously get an idea. Their idea is simple, rob Micah and convince the Levite priest to come with them. As they enter into the house of Micah, the priest asks them what they are doing, they tell him the obvious and then convince the Levite that it would be better that he put his priesthood to good use among a whole tribe and not in just one man’s house. He agrees and goes with them.
As the Danites are leaving, Micah gets angered and chases after them with some men. The Danites ask him what his problem is, Micah says basically “are you kidding me? You stole everything from me, and you are asking me why I am mad?” (this of course is a paraphrase of what he really said. But Micah realizes that the Danites are too massive and powerful for him and his men, and decides to back off. The Danites arrive in the land of Laish and conquer the region.
The people living there were unable to do something, because they lived very far from anyone else and they had no relationship with anyone else. Once they conquer the land, they set up the idols of Micah and they will continue to serve those idols until they are captured.