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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Judges 17

 

 

Verses 1-6

Judges 17:1-6. Micah's Graven Image.—The dread of a curse, uttered by an indignant mother against the unknown thief of her money, made the culprit, her own son, confess his guilt. At a certain stage of religious development, blessings and curses are supposed to have supernatural potency (p. 143). In this instance the mother made her curse still more effective by "devoting" the lost money to Yahweh.

Judges 17:2 f. Change the order: "I took it; now therefore I restore it to thee. And his mother said," etc.

Judges 17:4. Comparing "a graven image and a molten image" with "it was in the house" and "the graven image" in Judges 18:30 f., we conclude that "a molten image" is throughout a later addition.

Judges 17:5. Read "house of God" (Beth-elohim), Micah being a worshipper of Yahweh. As a wealthy man he had his own shrine. On ephod see Judges 8:27*. Teraphim were also images, but for private, domestic use (p. 101). Micah consecrated, lit. "filled the hand of" (Leviticus 8*. Numbers 3:3*, 1 Chronicles 29:5*), one of his sons, as priest.

Judges 17:6. This is the apology of a later writer for proceedings of which his age could not approve.


Verses 1-13

Judges 17-18. This section is the first of two supplements. It explains the origin of the famous shrine at Dan, and the navet of its moral and religious ideas proves how ancient it is. In not a few places the text has evidently been tampered with by scribes, who took offence at practices which were from a later point of view irregular. The events in question must have occurred before the time of Deborah (Judges 5:17).


Verses 7-13

Judges 17:7-13. Micah Secures a Levite as Priest.

Judges 17:7. The young man was a Judan by birth, and a Levite by profession. It is a contradiction to say that he "sojourned" among his own people. The clause should perhaps stand after "a man" in Judges 17:11.

Judges 17:8. End with "to fulfil the purpose of the journey."

Judges 17:10. Even a young Levite could be a "father," the title being given out of respect for himself or his sacred office. Ten pieces of silver is about thirty shillings.

Judges 17:13. Micah had a priest before (Judges 17:5), but only a layman, his own son. Now he has a Levite, trained for the sacred office, skilful in using the oracles and interpreting Yahweh's mind.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Judges 17:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/judges-17.html. 1919.

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