士师记 17

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1 以法莲地有一个名叫米迦。

2 他对母亲:你那一舍客勒子被人拿去,你因此咒诅,并且告诉了我。看哪,这子在我这里,是我拿去了。他母亲:我儿啊,愿耶和华赐福与你!

3 米迦就把这一舍客勒子还他母亲。他母亲:我分出这子来为你献给耶和华,好雕刻一个像,铸成一个像。现在我还是交给你。

4 米迦将子还他母亲,他母亲将二舍客勒子交匠,雕刻一个像,铸成一个像,安置在米迦的内。

5 这米迦有了堂,又制造以弗得和家中的像,分派他儿子祭司

6 那时以色列中没有,各任意而行。

7 犹大伯利恒有一个少年人,是犹大族的利未人,他在那里寄居。

8 离开犹大伯利恒城,要一个可住的地方。行的时候,到了以法莲地,走到米迦的家。

9 米迦问他:你从哪里?他回答:从犹大伯利恒。我是利未人,要一个可住的地方。

10 米迦:你可以在我这里,我以你为父、为祭司。我每年舍客勒子,一套衣服和度日的食物。利未人就进了他的

11 利未情愿与那;那看这少年如自己的儿子样。

12 米迦分派这少年的利未人作祭司,他就住在米迦的家里。

13 米迦:现在我知道耶和华必赐福与我,因我有一个利未人作祭司


Exploring the Meaning of 士师记 17      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

The Story of Micah’s Idols

In this chapter, the story moves from the various judges of Israel to an anecdote that illustrates the overall worsening spiritual situation in the land. The people turn from the Lord and do more and more wrong among themselves. The last verse of the book of Judges is very telling, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” The same words come in the present chapter, in Judges 17:6.

In this story, a man named Micah (not to be confused with the prophet Micah) took a lot of silver money from his mother. He confesses that he did this, and returns the money to her. She says, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my son!” She finds a silversmith to melt down the silver money to make an idol which gets set up in their house. One of Micah’s sons is then appointed as the priest to serve this idol.

The spiritual meaning of this is that an idol of any kind is a falsifying of our own worship and sense of the Lord. An idol is a ‘thing’ in a ‘place’, vested with power, whereas our worship and sense of the Lord is that he is fully everywhere and in everything. (Arcana Caelestia 3479, 3732) The essence of idolatry is that it emphasises external forms with no attention to the place and purpose of internal forms and realities. Our ‘idols’ can be whatever we love or desire or feel is important to us, over and above the Lord.

The story then shifts to a wandering Levite, a priest of Israel, who came from Bethlehem in Judah, and is looking for any place to stay. Israel had appointed six cities for Levites to live in, but this Levite is a wanderer. He eventually meets Micah, who takes him into his house and makes him a paid priest. Micah feels important because of this development.

This part of the story depicts the decline of Israel from its worship of the Lord to a state of allowing anything to be done if it seems right in someone’s eyes. The Levite is a trained priest, trained in the law of Moses, someone who should know the commandments of the Lord and also their prohibitions. This Levite is ‘looking for a place to go to’ which describes his apparent falling away from true priesthood. (See the description in Apocalypse Explained 444, about the Levites, and in Doctrine of Life 39 about priests.)

As well as indicating the extent of the spiritual fall of Israel into idolatry and wrong practices, this chapter representatively describes our own scope for moving away from a genuine worship of the Lord into a worship of ourselves and of the world, and the change that comes within us in doing this. It often changes very gradually and inexorably so that it is imperceptible even to ourselves. This is a danger, and the reason for our self-examination and vigilant care.

The name Micah means, “Who is like Jehovah God?” which is an ironical name for someone who turns away from God to substitute an idol made from silver money, in a completely false worship. In genuine repentance, we may ask, “Who is like Jehovah God?” implying that no one is like God, including ourselves, because we are all involved in wrong feelings, thinking and actions, and we know our need of and dependence on the Lord. (Apocalypse Revealed 531)

It is important to note the mother’s first words, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my son!” saying this for his confession and return of the money. She begins her part in the story with the truest of statements, i.e. that the Lord wants to bless us, even while she may just be glad to have all her money back.

“Silver” in the Word can mean truths, truths of faith and truth of good, but in an opposite sense, when used dishonestly, it means falsities. (Arcana Caelestia 1551)

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