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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Judges 17

 

 

Verses 1-13


The Story of Micah

This story, which is continued in the following c, is undoubtedly a very old one. In striking contrast to many other narrative portions of the Old Testament, there is in the body of this narrative no condemnation of the image-worship to which the Danites attached such importance, nor of their mode of securing it. We can but wonder the more at the heights, which the religion of Israel was to climb from such beginnings as this. Cp. Joshua 19:47.

1-6. Micab's idols.

1 Ephraim] see on Judges 3:27.

2. Eleven hundred] see on Judges 16:5. Taken] as appears from the following clause, stolen. The mother's curse (though she is ignorant of the thief) will not allow Micah to rest till the money is restored.

3, 4. As the text stands, Micah restored the money twice over. This can hardly be correct. 'Yet' (Judges 17:4) should be 'and,' as in RV. Observe that the images are to be made in honour of Jehovah.

3. Graven image] specifically, an idol carved out of wood or stone, or, generally, any kind of idol. 'Molten image' was added, not (as it would seem) to denote a second idol ('they' in Judges 17:4 should be 'it'; see also Judges 18:30-31), but to show that the idol was covered over with the silver.

5. House of gods] i.e. a private shrine, la Heb. the word for 'god' may be read; either as singular or plural. Ephod] see on Judges 8:27. The ephod is often connected with oracular responses (cp. Isaiah 23:6-9 also Exodus 28 Leviticus 8); the priest in charge of it can make inquiry of Jehovah. Teraphim] cp. Hosea 3:4 : also Genesis 31:19; 1 Samuel 15:23; 1 Samuel 19:13. The word is plural in form, and seems to denote household idols of some kind; cp Judges 18:24. Consecrated] Took into his employment for the performance of religious duties: cp. Judges 17:10, Judges 18:4; 1 Samuel 7:1.

6. Cp. Judges 18:1; Judges 19:1; Judges 21:25.

7-13. The engagement of the Levite. Levite] The word denotes not his tribe but his calling. Sojourned] The regular term used in connexion with a 'resident alien' who intends at some time to return to his home.

10. Father] cp. 2 Kings 2:12; 2 Kings 6:21 : also Genesis 45:8 a title of respect, which might be quite consistent with the priest's being supported as a son (Judges 17:11).

13. The professional knowledge of the Levite, in matters of ritual, gives him (and his employer) an advantage over others who might be selected as priests.


Verses 1-25


The Migrations of the Danites, and the Feud between Benjamin and the other tribes (Judges 17-21)

This concluding section is really an appendix. Instead of describing a further deliverance, it recounts two tribal stories m which the rough manners and primitive religious ideas of the time are shown with most valuable and vivid detail. Redundancies and discrepancies in the narratives (see on Judges 17:3; Judges 18:17) as well as differences in the language, suggest that more than one account has been used in each of the stories. This is no sign, however, that they are not historical; and they must probably be placed earlier rather than later in the general framework of the period.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Judges 17:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/judges-17.html. 1909.

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