Micah’s Private Priest

 

Judges 17-18

 

So far, Judges has given us an incestuous marriage initiated by Israel’s eldest statesman; the tent-peg incident; a foreign king so obese that the whole sword could enter him and leave no exit wound; a woman who sees herself bigger than God; a mentally demented judge; Israel placing Jehovah God somewhere in line behind almost every other god known to man; a child sacrifice; and a city destroyed by setting loose 300 foxes who were set on fire.

 

Now, Judges 17 and following is where the book of Judges starts to get strange.

 

Eleven times in the first sixteen chapters, we read that the people did evil in the sight of the Lord. Just in case you got jaded by the phrase, God inserts two side-stories that highlight what He was talking about when he called the times “evil.”

 

· Micah’s Private Priest (not the prophet Micah) – chapters 17-18

· The Levite’s concubine – chapters 19-21

 

Judges 17:1-6 sets the background for the first side-story. I count a dozen errors in behavior, attitude or speech in the four verses of verses 2-5. How many can you find? But this is just the background; nothing has actually happened yet. Judges 17:6 is the first verse of the chapter that makes sense. By the end of Judges 17, Micah has successfully purchased the services of an enterprising Priest.

 

In Judges 18, the focus seems to be on idolatry. And that would be sufficiently vile if that were the only evil. Yet a second disobedience emerges:

 

When Joshua was giving out land, the tribe of Dan got a portion (Joshua 19:40-46). But they failed to drive out the inhabitants of the land. In this extreme case, they themselves got driven out (Judges 1:34-36). By the time of Judges 18, they were nomadic and without land. And now, empowered by the idols and the Priest they stole from Micah, they are able to claim their land (Judges 18:27-31).

 

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