Judges 18:3
When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man the Levite: and they turned in thither, and said unto him, Who brought thee hither? and what makest thou in this place? and what hast thou here?
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(3) By the house of Micah.—Literally, withi.e., lodging in it, as in Genesis 27:43.

They knew the voice of the young man the Levite.—Again the narrative is too much compressed to enable us to fill up its details with any certainty. The youthful Jonathan had lived in Bethlehem. The grandson of Moses could not be wholly unknown. and at this time there was close intercourse between the tribes of Dan and Judah. Possibly, therefore they were personally acquainted with him; nor do they ask (as Micah had done), “Whence cometh thou? They recognised his voice, possibly by some dialectic peculiarity, but more probably by hearing him performing in the upper room his service before the pesel. Cassel renders “voice” by “sound,” and refers it to the bells on the priestly dress, as in Exodus 28:35. We notice that Micah had been reticent about the ephod, &c., perhaps out of suspicion as to their intentions.

Turned in thither.—Not necessarily into the house, but into the room—the oratory (aedicula), or Beth-Elohim (Judges 17:5). It seems to have been a kind of spurious Shiloh.

What makest thou in this place?—The accent of extreme surprise in their queries shows that they knew Jonathan, and did not expect to find a Judæan Levite in Ephraim.

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.It does not follow that they had known him before, and recognized his voice, though it may be so. But the Hebrew equally bears the sense that they heard the voice of the Levite; and, attracted by it, went into the chapel Judges 18:18 where Jonathan was. They were probably just starting on their journey, but were still within the court or precincts of Micah's house. Micah had evidently not told them of his house of God, and his Levite. Their questions indicate surprise. CHAPTER 18

Jud 18:1-26. The Danites Seek Out an Inheritance.

1-6. In those days … the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in—The Danites had a territory assigned them as well as the other tribes. But either through indolence, or a lack of energy, they did not acquire the full possession of their allotment, but suffered a considerable portion of it to be wrested out of their hands by the encroachments of their powerful neighbors, the Philistines. In consequence, being straitened for room, a considerable number resolved on trying to effect a new and additional settlement in a remote part of the land. A small deputation, being despatched to reconnoitre the country, arrived on their progress northward at the residence of Micah. Recognizing his priest as one of their former acquaintances, or perhaps by his provincial dialect, they eagerly enlisted his services in ascertaining the result of their present expedition. His answer, though apparently promising, was delusive, and really as ambiguous as those of the heathen oracles. This application brings out still more clearly and fully than the schism of Micah the woeful degeneracy of the times. The Danites expressed no emotions either of surprise or of indignation at a Levite daring to assume the priestly functions, and at the existence of a rival establishment to that of Shiloh. They were ready to seek, through means of the teraphim, the information that could only be lawfully applied for through the high priest's Urim. Being thus equally erroneous in their views and habits as Micah, they show the low state of religion, and how much superstition prevailed in all parts of the land.

They knew the voice of the young man; either,

1. By his manner of pronunciation, which was differing and distinguishable in several tribes, as appears from Judges 12:6 Mark 14:70. Or,

2. By the celebration of some part of his office, which they, then lodging in the neighbourhood, might be invited to. Or rather,

3. By some acquaintance which some of them formerly had with him which they might have upon many occasions.

What makest thou in this place; this being not thy usual place, nor proper for thy employment?

When they were by the house of Micah,.... At their inn, which might be next to it, or as they were passing by it:

they knew the voice of the young man the Levite; who had been in their country, and they had been in his company and conversation, and they knew the tone of his voice when they heard it; a particular brogue he might have. Abarbinel conjectures, that he was singing to Micah's idol, or multiplying his prayers before him:

and they turned in thither; into Micah's house, and into the apartment where the young man was:

and said unto him, who brought thee hither? they knew he was of Bethlehemjudah; they inquire therefore how he came there, who sent for him, and by what means he was brought to that place:

and what makest thou in this place? they knew he was a Levite, and that such an one had no business to minister but at the tabernacle, and therefore they inquire what was his employment here: and what hast thou here? to support himself with, what he had for his maintenance, or how he lived.

When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the {c} voice of the young man the Levite: and they turned in thither, and said unto him, Who brought thee hither? and what makest thou in this place? and what hast thou here?

(c) They knew by his speech that he was a stranger there.

3. When they were by the house of Micah] repeats what has just been said in Jdg 18:2; this verse must belong to the narrative of the young man the Levite Jdg 17:7; Jdg 17:11 b, 12a. Before he made his home with Micah, the young Levite lived, if not at Beth-lehem (his connexion with Beth-lehem Jdg 17:7 is questioned by Moore), then in the neighbourhood of the Danite villages; hence the spies were acquainted with him. Transl. They were by the house of M., when they recognized: cf. 1 Samuel 9:11, 1 Kings 14:17 b in Hebr.

Verse 3. - When. Rather, while. By the house. Rather, in or at the house. They knew the voice, having, as some think, known him before he left Bethlehem, or perceiving a southern accent. But it may merely mean that they discerned his voice as he was singing or reciting prayers in the house of God. Micah's house seems to have been a collection of houses (vers. 14, 22), approached by one gateway (ver. 16), in one of which the Levite dwelt. They turned in thither. This seems to have been next morning, when they were starting on their journey. Hearing the Levite's voice, they turned aside into his house. What makest thou, etc. Rather, What doest thou in this place? and what is thy business here? Judges 18:3When they were at Micah's house and recognised the voice of the young Levite, i.e., heard his voice, and perceived form his dialect that he was not a native of these mountains, they turned aside there, sc., from the road into the house, near to which they rested, and asked him, "Who brought thee hither, and what doest thou at this place? what hast thou to do here?" When he told them his history ("thus and thus," lit. according to this and that; cf. 2 Samuel 11:25; 1 Kings 14:5), they said to him, "Ask God, we pray thee, that we may learn whether our way will be prosperous." בּאלהים שׁאל, used for asking the will of God, as in Judges 1:1, except that here the inquiry was made through the medium of the imitation of the ephod and the worship of an image. And he said to them, sc., after making inquiry of the divine oracle, "Go in peace; straight before Jehovah is your way," i.e., it is known and well-pleasing to Him (vid., Proverbs 5:21; Jeremiah 17:16).
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