Jueces 17

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1 Hubo un varón del monte de Efraín, que se llamaba Micaía.

2 El cual dijo a su madre: Los mil cien siclos de plata que te fueron hurtados, por lo que tú maldecías oyéndolo yo, he aquí que yo tengo este dinero; yo lo había tomado. Entonces la madre dijo: Bendito seas del SEÑOR, hijo mío.

3 Y luego que él hubo vuelto a su madre los mil cien siclos de plata, su madre dijo: Yo he dedicado este dinero al SEÑOR de mi mano para ti, hijo mío, para que hagas una imagen de talla o de fundición; ahora, pues, yo te lo devuelvo.

4 Mas volviendo él a su madre el dinero, tomó su madre doscientos siclos de plata, y los dio al fundidor; y él le hizo de ellos una imagen de talla y de fundición, la cual fue puesta en casa de Micaía.

5 Y tuvo este hombre Micaía burdel de idolatría, y se hizo hacer efod y terafin (los vasos, vestidos e instrumentos pertenecientes al culto idolátrico ), y consagró uno de sus hijos; y le fue por sacerdote.

6 En estos días no había rey en Israel; cada uno hacía como mejor le parecía.

7 Y había un joven de Belén de Judá, de la tribu de Judá, el cual era levita; y peregrinaba allí.

8 Este varón se había partido de la ciudad de Belén de Judá, para ir a vivir donde hallase; y llegando al monte de Efraín, vino a casa de Micaía, para de allí hacer su camino.

9 Y Micaía le dijo: ¿De dónde vienes? Y el levita le respondió: Soy de Belén de Judá, y voy a vivir donde hallare.

10 Entonces Micaía le dijo: Quédate en mi casa, y me serás en lugar de padre y sacerdote; y yo te daré diez siclos de plata por año, y el ordinario de vestidos, y tu comida. Y el levita se quedó.

11 Acordó, pues, el levita en morar con aquel hombre, y él lo tenía como a uno de sus hijos.

12 Y Micaía consagró al levita, y aquel joven le servía de sacerdote, y estaba en casa de Micaía.

13 Y Micaía dijo: Ahora sé que el SEÑOR me hará bien, pues que el levita es hecho mi sacerdote.


Exploring the Meaning of Jueces 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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