|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
17:1-6 What is related in this, and the rest of the chapters to the end of this book, was done soon after the death of Joshua: see chap. Jud 20:28. That it might appear how happy the nation was under the Judges, here is showed how unhappy they were when there was no Judge. The love of money made Micah so undutiful to his mother as to rob her, and made her so unkind to her son, as to curse him. Outward losses drive good people to their prayers, but bad people to their curses. This woman's silver was her god, before it was made into a graven or a molten image. Micah and his mother agreed to turn their money into a god, and set up idol worship in their family. See the cause of this corruption. Every man did that which was right in his own eyes, and then they soon did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.
Verse 6. - There was no king. This must have been written in the days of the kings of Israel and Judah, and perhaps with reference to the efforts of such kings as Ass (1 Kings 15:13) and Jehoshaphat (1 Kings 22:43) to put down idolatry.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
In those days there was no king in Israel,.... That is, no supreme magistrate, judge, or ruler, Joshua being dead and Caleb also, and the elders contemporary with them; for what the Samaritan Chronicle says (l) is without foundation, that Joshua a little before his death cast a lot in the presence of the congregation, to know who should govern after him, and the lot came to one Abel, of the tribe of Judah:
but every man did that which was right in his own eyes; which accounts for the idolatry of Micah, there being no supreme magistrate to take cognizance of his sin, and restrain him from it, or punish him for it according to the law of God.
(l) Apud Hottinger. Smegma Orient. p. 522.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. every man did that which was right in his own eyes—From want of a settled government, there was no one to call him to account. No punishment followed any crime.
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