Judges 17:8
And the man departed out of the city from Bethlehemjudah to sojourn where he could find a place: and he came to mount Ephraim to the house of Micah, as he journeyed.
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(8) To sojourn where he could find.—Or, as we should say, to get his living. It may easily be supposed that in the disorganisation of these days, the due support of the Levites would be much neglected. The same neglect occurred in the troubled days of Nehemiah: “I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field,” &c. (Nehemiah 13:10-11).

To the house of Micah.—Probably he was induced to go there by the rumour of Micah’s chapel and worship.

Jdg 17:8. To sojourn where he could find a place — For employment and a livelihood; for the tithes and offerings, which were their maintenance, not being brought unto the house of God, the Levites and priests were reduced to difficulties.

17:7-13 Micah thought it was a sign of God's favour to him and his images, that a Levite should come to his door. Thus those who please themselves with their own delusions, if Providence unexpectedly bring any thing to their hands that further them in their evil way, are apt from thence to think that God is pleased with them.Jonathan's state without a home gives us vivid picture of what must have been the condition of many Levites. 8. the man departed … to sojourn where he could find a place—A competent provision being secured for every member of the Levitical order, his wandering about showed him to have been a person of a roving disposition or unsettled habits. In the course of his journeying he came to the house of Micah, who, on learning what he was, engaged his permanent services. Where he could find a place, for employment and a livelihood; for the tithes and offerings, which were their maintenance, not being brought in to the house of God, the Levites and priests must needs be reduced to great straits.

And the man departed out of the city from Bethlehemjudah, to sojourn where he could find a place,.... Either being a man that had a rambling head, and of an unsettled mind, and could not easily fix any where; or else there being no supreme magistrate, to take care that the Levites had their due maintenance, for which there was a sufficient provision made by law; and the people being negligent of paying their tithes, there being none to oblige them to it, and they indifferent to the true worship of God, and prone to idolatry; this man was obliged to go abroad, and seek for a livelihood where he could get it, and sojourn in a place the most convenient for him:

and he came to Mount Ephraim, to the house of Micah, as he journeyed: not with a design to stay there, but called by the way, having heard perhaps that Micah was both a wealthy and an hospitable man, and he also might have heard of the new form of worship he had set up in his house.

And the man departed out of the city from Bethlehemjudah to sojourn where he could find a place: and he came to mount Ephraim to the house of Micah, as he journeyed.
8. And the man departed] Here comes the wandering Levite, who, in the course of his travels, arrives at Micah’s house; he is the counterpart of the young man already settled there. This narrative no doubt began with some such words as ‘Now there was a Levite out of Beth-lehem-judah,’ which naturally would not be repeated after Jdg 17:7, though out of Beth-lehem-judah had to be retained. Jdg 17:9-11 a, 12a continue the story.

Verse 8. - From Bethlehem-judah. Rather, out cf. The whole phrase means, out of the city, viz., out of Bethlehem. Mount Ephraim - the hill country of Ephraim, as ver. 1, where see note. Judges 17:8Appointment of a Levite as Priest. - Judges 17:7. In the absence of a Levitical priest, Micah had first of all appointed one of his sons as priest at his sanctuary. He afterwards found a Levite for this service. A young man from Bethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah, who, being a Levite, stayed (גּר) there (in Bethlehem) as a stranger, left this town to sojourn "at the place which he should find," sc., as a place that would afford him shelter and support, and came up to the mountains of Ephraim to Micah's house, "making his journey," i.e., upon his journey. (On the use of the inf. constr. with ל in the sense of the Latin gerund in do, see Ewald, 280, d.) Bethlehem was not a Levitical town. The young Levite from Bethlehem was neither born there nor made a citizen of the place, but simply "sojourned there," i.e., dwelt there temporarily as a stranger. The further statement as to his descent (mishpachath Judah) is not to be understood as signifying that he was a descendant of some family in the tribe of Judah, but simply that he belonged to the Levites who dwelt in the tribe of Judah, and were reckoned in all civil matters as belonging to that tribe. On the division of the land, it is true that it was only to the priests that dwelling-places were allotted in the inheritance of this tribe (Joshua 21:9-19), whilst the rest of the Levites, even the non-priestly members of the family of Kohath, received their dwelling-places among the other tribes (Joshua 21:20.). At the same time, as many of the towns which were allotted to the different tribes remained for a long time in the possession of the Canaanites, and the Israelites did not enter at once into the full and undisputed possession of their inheritance, it might easily so happen that different towns which were allotted to the Levites remained in possession of the Canaanites, and consequently that the Levites were compelled to seek a settlement in other places. It might also happen that individuals among the Levites themselves, who were disinclined to perform the service assigned them by the law, would remove from the Levitical towns and seek some other occupation elsewhere (see also at Judges 18:30).

(Note: There is no reason, therefore, for pronouncing the words יהוּדה ממּשׁפּחת (of the family of Judah) a gloss, and erasing them from the text, as Houbigant proposes. The omission of them from the Cod. Vat. of the lxx, and from the Syriac, is not enough to warrant this, as they occur in the Cod. Al. of the lxx, and their absence from the authorities mentioned may easily be accounted for from the difficulty which was felt in explaining their meaning. On the other hand, it is impossible to imagine any reason for the interpolation of such a gloss into the text.)

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