Mga hukom 17

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1 At may isang lalake sa lupaing maburol ng Ephraim, na ang pangala'y Michas.

2 At sinabi niya sa kaniyang ina, Ang isang libo at isang daang putol na pilak na kinuha sa iyo, na siyang ikinapagtungayaw mo, at sinalita mo rin sa aking mga pakinig, narito, ang pilak ay nasa akin; aking kinuha. At sinabi ng kaniyang ina, Pagpalain nawa ng Panginoon ang aking anak.

3 At isinauli niya ang isang libo at isang daang putol na pilak sa kaniyang ina, at sinabi ng kaniyang ina, Aking tunay na itinalaga ng aking kamay ang pilak na ito sa Panginoon, na ukol sa aking anak, upang igawa ng isang larawang inanyuan at ng isang larawang binubo: kaya ngayo'y isasauli ko sa iyo.

4 At nang kaniyang isauli ang salapi sa kaniyang ina, ay kinuha ng kaniyang ina ang dalawang daang putol na pilak na ibinigay sa mga mangbububo, na siyang gumawa ng isang larawang inanyuan at ng isang larawang binubo: at nasa bahay ni Michas.

5 At ang lalaking si Michas ay nagkaroon ng isang bahay ng mga dios, at siya'y gumawa ng isang epod at mga terap at itinalaga ang isa ng kaniyang mga anak, na maging kaniyang saserdote.

6 Nang mga araw na yaon ay walang hari sa Israel: bawa't tao'y gumagawa ng minamatuwid niya sa kaniyang sariling mga mata.

7 At may isa namang may kabataan sa Bethlehem-juda, sa angkan ni juda; na isang Levita; at siya'y nakikipamayan doon.

8 At ang lalake ay umalis sa bayan, sa Bethlehem-juda, upang makipamayan kung saan siya makakasumpong ng matutuluyan: at siya'y naparoon sa lupaing maburol ng Ephraim, sa bahay ni Michas habang siya'y naglalakbay.

9 At sinabi ni Michas sa kaniya, Saan ka nanggaling? At sinabi niya sa kaniya, Ako'y Levita sa Bethlehem-juda, at ako'y yayaong makikipamayan kung saan ako makasumpong ng matutuluyan.

10 At sinabi ni Michas sa kaniya, Tumahan ka sa akin, at ikaw ay maging sa akin ay isang ama at isang saserdote, at bibigyan kita ng sangpung putol na pilak isang taon, at ng bihisan, at ng iyong pagkain. Sa gayo'y ang Levita ay pumasok.

11 At ang Levita ay nakipagkasundong tumahang kasama ng lalake: at ang binata sa kaniya'y parang isa sa kaniyang mga anak.

12 At itinalaga ni Michas ang Levita, at ang binata ay naging kaniyang saserdote, at nasa bahay ni Michas.

13 Nang magkagayo'y sinabi ni Michas, Ngayo'y talastas ko, na gagawan ako ng mabuti ng Panginoon, yamang ako'y may isang Levita na pinakasaserdote ko.


Exploring the Meaning of Mga hukom 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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