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The same melancholy subject of idolatry is the burden of this Chapter'. Certain Danites having called at the house of Micah, impiously consult the priest of Micah concerning their journey: being joined by others, they rob the house of Micah of his gods: and his priest, as might reasonably be expected, leaves the service of Micah to be priest to the robbers. Idolatry is long established among the children of Dan.
Judges 18:1 In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day all their inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel.
The same preface introduceth this chapter as the former. No king, no government, no order. And what can the nation so circumstanced expect? How this tribe of Israel came to be so unprovided for in the general division of Canaan, is not said. Their father Jacob had prophesied of them, that they should be worldly-wise as the serpent, Genesis 49:17 . And Moses declared them to be endued with the courage of the lion's whelp. Deuteronomy 33:1
It appears that this Levite was known to the Danites. But what a sad and disgraceful wretch, and how lost to shame, to acknowledge himself the hireling of an idolater, and the priest of an idol.
And still advancing in iniquity, instead of recommending them to the God of their fathers, to give them the pretended oracle of a god of silver! Was there no God in Israel, that they should enquire of such a contemptible deity?
Is it not strange, that only 600 men went up armed on this occasion, when we know that the tribe of Dan when they first entered Canaan, were more than 64 thousand? Had sin and a departure from the Lord thinned their numbers? A solemn question!
Though they seemed to be in earnest in their intended conquest of Laish, yet we see how slow they moved, that even a second day's march only brought them as far as the house of Micah.
What a banditti was Israel become? Had they had zeal for God's honor, and destroyed those molten images, oh! what a noble spirit would this have been?
It is impossible sufficiently to detest the character of this time-serving Levite. But indeed, how shall he be just to man that is unfaithful to God. And that all this base and perfidious conduct was not the effect of constraint, is evident from hence, that it is said he was glad.
It is impossible to pity the deluded Micah, whose heart was so set upon idols. He confesses he had lost all in losing them. But alas! what loss could there be in them. Think Reader! what contemptible idols must those be, that could not protect themselves. And what a wretched resource must that man ' s be, which is thus capable of being lost. And yet even under the purest of all religions, even under the dispensation of mercy in Jesus, if any man lays stress upon anything of his own, his frames, his feelings, his supposed attainments, as all these pray be taken away, wherein doth this man differ from Micah? Precious Jesus! thou only art the one thing needful, the everlasting good, the Father's irrevocable gift, the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 .
I hasten to close the awful account of this tribe, for nothing can give a more horrible description of their degeneracy, than that as soon as they had conquered Laish, and settled themselves in their new city of Dan, they set up public idolatry. Whether this Jonathan was the Levite of Micah, and now called for the first time by his name, is not said. But I rather incline to think not. It is not probable, that the Holy Ghost would close his character with the record of his name, who had thus become the wretched instrument of establishing idolatry in one of the tribes of Israel. Of all such little mention is made in the sacred word, for the most part their memorial is perished with them.
BEHOLD my soul! what dreadful effects the fall of man and his apostacy from God, hath wrought in the human heart. Behold! how general and even universal that apostacy is by nature. Well might the Prophet, contemplating the horrid picture, confess; all we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way. For though the different tracks, the different characters of men take lead into various bye paths; yet the bias and direction of every man's mind, in a state of nature, is all turning from God. And how very dear ought that rich dipensation of mercy which sought us in our lost estate to be, which brings back sinners from the error of their way, and turns them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to the living God.
Precious Jesus! may it my portion to learn from hence, how much I owe to thee and to thy rich mercy, who, when running after the idols of my sinful heart, came and delivered me from this dreadful captivity. And no less to thy mercy, heavenly Father, do I desire to ascribe the great salvation, whose everlasting love made such ample provision for my recovery, in the complete redemption of thy dear Son! And thou Almighty Spirit, from whose effectual teaching, and in thy glorifying both the Father's love and Jesus' grace to my view, I am brought over from the dominion of Satan, and made willing to be saved in Jesus, in the day of thy power! Lord, let the cry of my heart evermore be like that of Ephraim, What have I anymore to do with idols! In the Lord Jesus do I desire to rejoice all the day, and in thy righteousness to make my boast. Thou art my God, and I will prepare thee an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt thee.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Judges 18". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13