Judges 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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) He said unto his mother.—The story is singularly abbreviated, and all details as to how she had acquired the money, &c., are left to conjecture.

The eleven hundred shekels of silver.—The value of eleven hundred skekels would be about £136. It is the same sum which each of the lords of the Philistines promised to give Delilah (Judges 16:5), and only six hundred shekels less than the entire mass of the earrings given to Gideon—only that those were golden shekels. It is hard to say whence this Ephraimitish lady could have amassed so large a sum.

That were taken from thee.—This is probably the true rendering. The LXX. (Cod. B) have “which thou tookest for thyself,” and (Cod. A) “those taken by thee,” as though she had stolen them.

About which thou cursedst.—Literally, and thou didst adjure. The LXX. (Cod. B) add, “dost adjure me.” The adjuration was clearly that commanded in Leviticus 5:1 : “And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity.” (Comp. Ecclus. iii. 9: “The curse of a mother rooteth out foundations.”)

I took it.—Micah is terrified into confession by his mother’s adjuration. He shows throughout a singular mixture of superstition and ignorance.

Blessed be thou of the Lord, my son.—Because of his penitence and confession.

Jdg 17:2. About which thou cursedst — That is, didst curse the person who had taken it away. The mother seems to have uttered this curse in the hearing of her son; who, being struck therewith, confessed that he had taken the money; upon which his mother wishes that her curses may be turned into blessings upon him.

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.Thou cursedst - or, "adjuredst me by God." Compare Matthew 26:63; Leviticus 5:1. CHAPTER 17

Jud 17:1-4. Micah Restoring the Stolen Money to His Mother, She Makes Images.

1. a man of mount Ephraim—that is, the mountainous parts of Ephraim. This and the other narratives that follow form a miscellaneous collection, or appendix to the Book of Judges. It belongs to a period when the Hebrew nation was in a greatly disordered and corrupt state. This episode of Micah is connected with Jud 1:34. It relates to his foundation of a small sanctuary of his own—a miniature representation of the Shiloh tabernacle—which he stocked with images modelled probably in imitation of the ark and cherubim. Micah and his mother were sincere in their intention to honor God. But their faith was blended with a sad amount of ignorance and delusion. The divisive course they pursued, as well as the will-worship they practised, subjected the perpetrators to the penalty of death.

About which thou cursedst, i.e. didst curse the person who had taken them away, and that in my hearing, as it follows. I took it; the fear of thy curse makes me acknowledge mine offence, and beg thy pardon.

Blessed be thou of the Lord; I willingly consent to and beg from God the removal of the curse, and a blessing instead of it. Be thou free from my curse, because thou hast so honestly restored it.

And he said unto his mother,.... Who seems to have been a widow, and an ancient woman since Micah had sons, and one of them at age to become a priest:

the eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from thee: which were taken away by stealth from her, though it may be rendered "taken to thee" (i); which she had taken to herself out of the rest of her substance, and had separated and devoted it to religious uses; but Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it as we do, and which seems to be the best sense; of the value of this sum; see Gill on Judges 16:5 and because the like sum is there offered, and was given to Delilah, hence some have thought, as Jarchi relates, that this woman was Delilah; but, as he observes, it is a mistake; for this woman lived long before the times of Samson and Delilah:

about which thou cursedst; which when she perceived was stolen from her, she fell into a passion, and cursed and swore, cursed the thief that took it, whether of her own family or another; or adjured her son, that if he knew anything of it, that he would declare it, suspecting him of the robbery; some think this refers to the oath she had made, that she would devote the silver to a religious use:

and spakest of also in mine ears; of the sum how much it was, and of the use she had designed it for; or rather the curse was delivered in his hearing, and cut him to the heart, and wrought that conviction in him, that he could not retain the money any longer, not being able to bear his mother's curse; though Abarbinel connects this with the following clause, "behold, the silver is with me"; as if the sense was, that she spake in his ears, and charged him with the theft to his face; saying, verily the silver is with thee, thou hast certainly taken it; upon which he confessed it, "I took it"; but the former sense seems best, that not being willing to lie under his mother's curse, he owned that the money was in his hands, and he had taken it from her:

and his mother said, blessed be thou of the Lord, my son; she reversed the curse, and pronounced a blessing on him, or wished one to him, and that without reproving him for his sin, rejoicing to hear of her money again.

(i) "captum est tibi", Montanus, Junius & Tremellius.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. eleven hundred pieces of silver] See on Jdg 16:5.

and didst also speak it] A paraphrase; lit. ‘and didst also say.…’ The text of Jdg 17:2-3 has suffered disturbance; the words of the speech are missing here; the sequence ‘and he restored … I will restore (Jdg 17:3) … And he restored (Jdg 17:4)’ is unintelligible. Of the various corrections proposed the most satisfactory is that of Moore: ‘and thou didst utter a curse and didst also say in mine ears, I verily dedicate the silver unto the Lord from my hand for my son, to make a graven image [and a molten image]; behold, the silver is with me; I took it; now therefore I will restore it unto thee. And his mother said, Blessed be my son of the Lord. Jdg 17:4. So he restored the silver unto his mother, and his mother took two hundred pieces of silver’ etc. That is to say, when the mother of Micah discovered that the money had been stolen, she cursed the thief (never dreaming that her son was guilty), and further consecrated the money forthwith to Jehovah. Under dread of the curse, and fearing the consequences of sacrilege, Micah confessed the theft and restored the money. In the text as rearranged, the words ‘And he restored the eleven hundred pieces of silver to his mother’ in Jdg 17:3 have been struck out as a mistaken anticipation of Jdg 17:4.

The curse was held to possess a living, potent efficacy (cf. Zechariah 5:3); it called upon the offender to come forward; and whoever heard it was bound to make it known, as we learn from the law in Leviticus 5:1, cf. Proverbs 29:24. To augment the curse in the present case the ‘money was solemnly consecrated to Jehovah; it became taboo, and the thief could not make use of it without incurring the Deity’s retaliation. The curse could not be withdrawn, but it might be neutralized by a blessing.

Verse 2. - The eleven hundred. See Judges 16:5, note. Thou cursedst. The Cethib and the Alexandrian Codex of the Septuagint read, Thou cursedst, i.e.. adjuredst me, which is a better reading. There is a direct and verbal reference to the law contained in Leviticus 5:1. The word thou cursedst here and the voice of swearing in Leviticus are the same root. It was in consequence of this adjuration that Micah confessed his guilt. Compare Matthew 26:63, when our Lord, on the adjuration of the high priest, broke his silence and confessed that he was Christ, the Son of God. In Achan's confession (Joshua 7:19, 20) there is no distinct reference to Leviticus 5:1, though this may have been the ground of it. Judges 17:2A man of the mountains of Ephraim named Micah (מיכיהוּ, Judges 17:1, Judges 17:4, when contracted into מיכה, Judges 17:5, Judges 17:8, etc.), who set up this worship for himself, and "respecting whom the Scriptures do not think it worth while to add the name of his father, or to mention the family from which he sprang" (Berleb. Bible), had stolen 1100 shekels of silver (about 135) from his mother. This is very apparent from the words which he spoke to his mother (v. 2): "The thousand and hundred shekels of silver which were taken from thee (the singular לקּח refers to the silver), about which thou cursedst and spakest of also in mine ears (i.e., didst so utter the curse that among others I also heard it), behold, this silver is with me; I have taken it." אלה, to swear, used to denote a malediction or curse (cf. אלה קול, Leviticus 5:1). He seems to have been impelled to make this confession by the fear of his mother's curse. But his mother praised him for it, - "Blessed be my son of Jehovah," - partly because she saw in it a proof that there still existed a germ of the fear of God, but in all probability chiefly because she was about to dedicate the silver to Jehovah; for, when her son had given it back to her, she said (v. 3), "I have sanctified the silver to the Lord from my hand for my son, to make an image and molten work." The perfect הקדּשׁתּי is not to be taken in the sense of the pluperfect, "I had sanctified it," but is expressive of an act just performed: I have sanctified it, I declare herewith that I do sanctify it. "And now I give it back to thee," namely, to appropriate to thy house of God.
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