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Judges Chapter 17

Introduction:   Last week we studied about the last two years of Samsonís life. His failure to control his lusts caused him much grief and heartache.  After giving up the secret of his strength to Delilah, Samson was bound and put into prison where he had to grind day after day.   Finally, on his last day, he was brought before a large number of Philistines in a huge house, and he pushed the beams of the house apart destroying both himself and more Philistines than he had slain earlier.  His total reign as king was 20 years.   This week, we cover Chapter 17 where we begin with the story of Micah.


I.  Confusion, Civil and Religious 

Judg 17:1  And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah. 

Micah, as we are told, lived in Mt. Ephraim.  He seemed important to many, but he was a great hindrance to the people of God. 

II.  Micahís Idols 

Judg 17:2  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. 

We find Micah discussing the 1100 shekels of silver that she lost.   Micah admits that he took the silver and is now returning it.   Perhaps Micah had heard that the curse had been placed on the silver and fears to keep it.   

Judg 17:3  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. 

There is open idolatry being done here as the mother suggests taking the silver and making a molten and graven image.    A molten image was metal heated and poured out to make a design.  The graven image was an image carved out of a rock or a piece of wood.  Regardless of which image you made, it was against the rules God laid down in Exodus 20 in the 10 commandments. 

Exo 20:4  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 

Have you ever been in a church where there are so many pictures and statues that you tend to get lost in the imagery of the building.  I believe that is why God does not want us to make any image that might confuse us with the true worship of God.  As Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well, true worship is to be from the heart. 

John 4:19  The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.

John 4:20  Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

John 4:21  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

John 4:22  Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

John 4:23  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

John 4:24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 

Godís desire is for each of us to worship him with a pure spirit.   Our hearts need to be pure and we need to worship God in truth.  

Judg 17:4  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. 

The women takes 200 of the shekels to pay the founder to make the molten image.

She says that she is building the image for her son.  As parents, we have a responsibility to teach our children correctly and lead them in the ways of the Lord.  It is sad to see Micahís mother leading him astray.  Either she did not know the commandments God had given her people, or she refused to live by them.   Be sure of this one fact.  We do affect our children in more ways than we realize.  They will tend to follow our pattern of living even more than the things they are taught.


2 Tim 3:14  But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

2 Tim 3:15  And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

2 Tim 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

2 Tim 3:17  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 

Young Timothy had known the scriptures from the time he was a child.  And what we learn when we are young, particularly in our formative years, sticks with us through our whole life-time.  How much greater the responsibility is to us to raise our children up in the church their whole life. 

In verse 4 Micah restores the money to his mother.  She takes this money and gives it to a founder to make the images.   Making images was a craft that many people used for making a living during biblical times.  We read the story of Demetrius over in Acts 19 that shows how he led the whole city in a riot. 

Acts 19:23  And the same time there arose no small stir about that way.

Acts 19:24  For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen;

Acts 19:25  Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.

Acts 19:26  Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands:

Acts 19:27  So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.

Acts 19:28  And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

Acts 19:29  And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.

Acts 19:30  And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not.

Acts 19:31  And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.

Acts 19:32  Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.

Acts 19:33  And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people.

Acts 19:34  But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

Acts 19:35  And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?

Acts 19:36  Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly.

Acts 19:37  For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.

Acts 19:38  Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another.

Acts 19:39  But if ye inquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.

Acts 19:40  For we are in danger to be called in question for this day's uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse.

Acts 19:41  And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly. 

This craft was associated with the false idol worship of Diana.  It is worthy to note that some things are associated one with another, that we might be wise in our daily lives.   Remembering that astrology tables are associated with the stars and witchcraft makes us know to not associate with these things.  Physics, mediums, witches, and Satanic worship are all much alike when you look into their associations.  And we are to shun even the appearance of evil in our lives.  There are other industries that are involved in producing products that conflict with the Christian way of life.  We as Christians should not work for companies that bring heartache and destruction to others (like the liquor industry does.)  There are many others, and God will direct your steps to stay away from those that are bad.

Judg 17:5  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. 

Micah sets up a whole house of false gods.  This one that his mother has made for him is just one of many that Micah builds for himself.  And it says that he makes an ephod and teraphim.  The ephod was for his son to wear.  This was a sacred vestment that was designed to be worn by the high priest only.  The high priest was not to serve one man, but the whole nation of Israel.  And it was in service to the true and living God. 

Exo 28:4  And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.

Exo 28:5  And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.

Exo 28:6  And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work. 

The teraphim that he made was a household god, most likely formed to look like a human.  In the dictionary, the teraphim is a word that occurs only in the plural form, and denotes images connected with magical rites.  All of this practice of idolatry was strictly forbidden to Godís people. 

Josh 24:14  Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.

Josh 24:15  And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Josh 24:16  And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods;

Josh 24:17  For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed:

Josh 24:18  And the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God. 

Oh for people today to desire to serve God with this vigor and determination.  Not many care much for Godís house, or even for God at all it seems.  And while we donít think of men and women today building their own god house as Micah was said to have made, I wonder if in Godís eyes men and women are not still doing that.   If we have two television sets in every room tied into 200 cable channels, a home entertainment center, a personal computer or two, a stereo with 10 or 15 attachments, an x-Box game system, a Sony play station, and 150 games to keep our minds off God, I wonder if in Godís sight we havenít built our own little idol house.  Iím as guilty as anyone, and not one thing mentioned here is bad to it self when used properly and not abused with our time, but if we are too busy to read our bibles and come to church, maybe we need to reevaluate our position.  The Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth the Lord promised.  Letís be tender to His leading, and shun things that may be wasting many of our valuable hours each week.    

John 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. 

Psa 90:12  So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. 

Judg 17:6  In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes. 

Does this sound familiar?   I thought about how our nation is in a state of confusion, and it is due to each one deciding what is right or wrong on their own without regard to God.  God has set up the rules, and unless we obey those rules and follow after His commands, we will not have a happy and fulfilling life.  Israel did that which was right in their own eyes.   Why do we agree about what is right and wrong?  It is because of the Bible being our final authority as to right and wrong.  But the lost, and even carnal Christians, do not have that consistency to know what is right and wrong.   We should thank the Lord for giving us the signs along the road of life to keep us from running off into the ditch or plunging over an embankment to destruction.   This doing what we think is right or wrong is dangerous.  And if we look to the world for its prevailing standards, you will have no morals due to the standards changing everyday.  Godís rules conflict with the worlds, because the children of this world are not serving, in many cases, the true God Jehovah. 

Mat 10:16  Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Mat 10:17  But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;

Mat 10:18  And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.

Mat 10:19  But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.

Mat 10:20  For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. 

In Joshuaís farewell speech, he spoke of the need of men and women to look to God for their value system. 

Josh 24:19  And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.

Josh 24:20  If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.

Josh 24:21  And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD.

Josh 24:22  And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.

Josh 24:23  Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel.

Josh 24:24  And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.


III.  Micah Hires his own Servant 

Judg 17:7  And there was a young man out of Bethlehemjudah of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there. 

This young man, who came from Bethlehem-Judah was named as a member of a significant Levite family.  He had lived for a while in Bethlehem-Judah, but now had moved on and arrives at Micahís home. 

Judg 17:8  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.

Judg 17:9  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.

Judg 17:10  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. 

The young man pleases Micah.  He is free to go to work, and is not attached to anyone or any place at this time.  This would appear to be the perfect religious attachment to his own personal god-house.  A Levite, one of Bethlehem-Judah.  So Micah makes a deal with the young man, Jonathan.  If we would live with Micah and be a father (a confessor) and priest, he would pay him 10 shekels annually.  Not only that, but he would furnish him with a new suit of clothes each year, and provide for his food.  As we all know, there are many in this life that will do almost anything for money.  Even if it contradicts the standards God has set down, if it is a money making proposition, they still will do it.   God help us to have high standards of integrity, and never stoop so low as to compromise our lives for money. 

1 Tim 6:10  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

1 Tim 6:11  But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 

Judg 17:11  And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons.

Judg 17:12  And Micah consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah.

Judg 17:13  Then said Micah, Now know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest. 

Jonathan looks the situation over, and accepts this offer.  The young man is treated like one of Micahís sons.  No doubt, Micah thought he now would have God on a string and be assured of blessings because he now had a Levite as a priest.  This shows how little Micah really understood about God.  Many today have no idea that we need to worship the Lord a specific way and specific method, according to His rules which are laid down in the Word of God.   Many activities in churches today are not God honoring, but rather bring gratification to the person, not to God.




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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.




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