Wesley's Notes on the Bible
And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah.
17:1 There was, and c. - The things mentioned here, and in the following chapter s, did not happen in the order in which they are put; but much sooner, even presently after the death of the elders that over - lived Joshua, as appears, because Phinehas the son of Eleazar was priest at this time, chap.20:28, who must have been about 350 years old, if this had been done after Samson's death.
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.
17:2 Cursedst - That is, didst curse the person who had taken them away. I took it - The fear of thy curse makes me acknowledge mine offence, and beg thy pardon. Blessed - 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 when he had restored the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, I had wholly dedicated the silver unto the LORD from my hand for my son, to make a graven image and a molten image: now therefore I will restore it unto thee.
17:3 The Lord - In the Hebrew it is, Jehovah, the incommunicable name of God. Whereby it is apparent, that neither she, nor her son, intended to forsake the true God; as appears from his rejoicing when he had got a priest of the Lord's appointment, but only to worship God by an image; which also both the Israelites, Exod 32:1, and c. and Jeroboam afterwards, designed to do. For my son - For the benefit of thyself and family; that you need not be continually going to Shiloh to worship, but may do it at home. To thee - To dispose of, as I say.
Yet he restored the money unto his mother; and his mother took two hundred shekels of silver, and gave them to the founder, who made thereof a graven image and a molten image: and they were in the house of Micah.
17:4 Restored - Though his mother allowed him to keep it, yet he persisted in his resolution to restore it, that she might dispose of it as she pleased. Two hundred - Reserving nine hundred shekels, either for the ephod or teraphim, or for other things relating to this worship.
And the man Micah had an house of gods, and made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest.
17:5 Of gods - That is, an house consecrated for the service of God in this manner. Teraphim - A sort of images so called. One of his sons - Because the Levites in that corrupt estate of the church, neglected the exercise of their office, and therefore they were neglected by the people, and others put into their employment.
In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
17:6 No king - 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 passage 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.
And there was a young man out of Bethlehemjudah of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there.
17:7 Bethlehem - judah - So called here, as Matt 2:1,5, to difference it from Bethlehem in Zebulun. There he was born and bred. Of Judah - That is, of or belonging to the tribe of Judah; not by birth, for he was a Levite; but by his habitation and ministration. For the Levites were dispersed among all the tribes; and this man's lot fell into the tribe of Judah. Sojourned - So he expresseth it, because this was not the proper place of his abode, this being no Levitical city.
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.
17:8 To sojourn - For employment and a livelihood; for the tithes and offerings, which were their maintenance, not being brought into the house of God, the Levites and priests were reduced to straights.
And Micah said unto him, Whence comest thou? And he said unto him, I am a Levite of Bethlehemjudah, and I go to sojourn where I may find a place.
And Micah said unto him, Dwell with me, and be unto me a father and a priest, and I will give thee ten shekels of silver by the year, and a suit of apparel, and thy victuals. So the Levite went in.
17:10 A father - That is, a priest, a spiritual father, a teacher or instructor. He pretends reverence and submission to him; and what is wanting in his wages, he pays him in titles.
And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons.
17:11 Content - Being infected with the common superstition and idolatry of the times. His sons - That is, treated with the same degree of kindness and affection.
And Micah consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah.
17:12 Consecrated - To be a priest, for which he thought a consecration necessary, as knowing the Levites were no less excluded from the priest's office than the people. The young man - Instead of his son, whom he had consecrated, but now seems to restrain him from the exercise of that office, and to devolve it wholly upon the Levite, who was nearer akin to it.
Then said Micah, Now know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest.
17:13 Do me good - I am assured God will bless me. So blind and grossly partial he was in his judgment, to think that one right circumstance would answer for all his substantial errors, in making and worshipping images against God's express command, in worshipping God in a forbidden place, by a priest illegally appointed.