Judges 17:6
In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) In those days there was no king.—This shows that these narratives were written, or more probably edited, in the days of the monarchy. (See Judges 18:1; Judges 19:1; Judges 21:25.)

Did that which was right in his own eyes.—The notice is added to show why there was no authoritative interference of prince or ruler to prevent idolatrous or lawless proceedings. (Deuteronomy 12:8 : “Ye shall not do after all the things which we do here this day, every man what is right in his own eyes.”)

Jdg 17:6. There was no king in Israel — No judge to govern and control them; the word king being used largely for a supreme magistrate. God raised up judges to rule and deliver the people when he saw fit; and at other times for their sins he suffered them to be without them, and such a time this was; and therefore they ran into that idolatry from which the judges usually kept them; as appears by that solemn and oft-repeated declaration in this book, that after the death of such or such a judge, the people forsook the Lord, and turned to idols. His own eyes — That is, not what pleased God, but what best suited his own fancy.

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.In those days ... - This phrase, indicating distinctly that the writer lived after the establishment of the kingly government in Israel, is unique to the author of these last five chapters. 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. No king, i.e. no judge to govern and control them. The word king being here used largely for a supreme magistrate; as Genesis 36:31 Deu 33:5. God raised up judges to rule and deliver the people when he saw fit; and at other times for their sins he suffered them to be without them, and such a time this was; and therefore they ran into that idolatry from which the judges usually kept them, as appears by that solemn and oft-repeated passage in this book, that after the death of such or such a judge the people forsook the Lord, and turned to idols.

That which was right in his own eyes, i.e. not what pleased God, but what best suited his own fancy or lusts.

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.

In those days there was no {e} king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

(e) For where there is no Magistrate fearing God, there can be no true religion or order.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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. Judges 17:6His mother did this, because her son Micah had a house of God, and had had an ephod and teraphim made for himself, and one of his sons consecrated to officiate there as a priest. מיכה האישׁ (the man Micah) is therefore placed at the head absolutely, and is connected with what follows by לו: "As for the man Micah, there was to him (he had) a house of God." The whole verse is a circumstantial clause explanatory of what precedes, and the following verbs ויּעשׂ, וימלּא, and ויהי, are simply a continuation of the first clause, and therefore to be rendered as pluperfects. Micah's beth Elohim (house of God) was a domestic temple belonging to Micah's house, according to Judges 18:15-18. את־יד מלּא, to fill the hand, i.e., to invest with the priesthood, to institute as priest (see at Leviticus 7:37). The ephod was an imitation of the high priest's shoulder-dress (see at Judges 8:27). The teraphim were images of household gods, penates, who were worshipped as the givers of earthly prosperity, and as oracles (see at Genesis 31:19). - In Judges 17:6 it is observed, in explanation of this unlawful conduct, that at that time there was no king in Israel, and every one did what was right in his own eyes.
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