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사사기 17

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1 에브라임 산지에 미가라 이름하는 사람이 있더니

2 그 어미에게 이르되 `어머니께서 은 일천 일백을 잃어버리셨으므로 저주하시고 내 귀에도 말씀하셨더니 보소서 그 은이 내게 있나이다 내가 그것을 취하였나이다' 어미가 가로되 `내 아들이 여호와께 복 받기를 원하노라' 하니라

3 미가가 은 일천 일백을 그 어미에게 도로 주매 어미가 가로되 `내가 내 아들을 위하여 한 신상을 새기며 한 신상을 부어만들 차로 내 손에서 이 은을 여호와께 거룩히 드리노라 그러므로 내가 이제 이 은을 네게 도로 돌리리라'

4 미가가 그 은을 어미에게 도로 주었으므로 어미가 그 은 이백을 취하여 은장색에게 주어 한 신상을 새기며 한 신상을 부어 만들었더니 그 신상이 미가의 집에 있더라

5 이 사람 미가에게 신당이 있으므로 또 에봇과 드라빔을 만들고 한 아들을 세워 제사장을 삼았더라

6 그 때에는 이스라엘에 왕이 없으므로 사람마다 자기 소견에 옳은 대로 행하였더라

7 유다 가족에 속한 유다 베들레헴에 한 소년이 있으니 그는 레위인으로서 거기 우거하였더라

8 이 사람이 거할 곳을 찾고자 하여 그 성읍 유다 베들레헴을 떠나서 행하다가 에브라임 산지로 가서 미가의 집에 이르매

9 미가가 그에게 묻되 `너는 어디서부터 오느뇨' 그가 이르되 `나는 유다 베들레헴의 레위인으로서 거할 곳을 찾으러 가노라'

10 미가가 그에게 이르되 `네가 나와 함께 거하여 나를 위하여 아비와 제사장이 되라 내가 해마다 은 열과 의복 한 벌과 식물을 주리라' 하므로 레위인이 들어갔더니

11 레위인이 그 사람과 함께 거하기를 만족히 여겼으니 이는 그 소년이 미가의 아들 중 하나같이 됨이라

12 미가가 레위인을 거룩히 구별하매 소년이 미가의 제사장이 되어 그 집에 거한지라

13 이에 미가가 가로되 `레위인이 내 제사장이 되었으니 이제 여호와께서 내게 복 주실 줄을 아노라' 하니라

  

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Exploring the Meaning of Judges 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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Arcana Coelestia # 3732

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3732. 'Jacob made a vow, saying' means a state of Providence. This is clear from the meaning of 'making a vow' in the internal sense as wishing the Lord to provide; and therefore in the highest sense, in which the Lord is the subject, a state of Providence is meant. The reason why in the internal sense 'making a vow' means wishing the Lord to provide is that present within vows there is a desire and affection that what is wished for may come about, thus that the Lord may provide it. Within them something of a bargain is present, and at the same time on man's part something of a bounden duty to keep his side of it, should he obtain his desire. This was the case with Jacob, in that Jehovah was to be his God, and the stone which he placed as a pillar was to be God's house, and he would devote a tenth of everything He had given him, if Jehovah guarded him on the road, gave him bread to eat and clothing to wear, and he went back in peace to his father's house. From this it is evident that the vows made in those times were particular agreements, involving primarily men's acknowledgement of God as their God if He provided them with what they desired, and involving also their repayment to Him with some gift if He did provide it.

[2] That state of affairs shows quite clearly what the fathers of the Jewish nation were like. They were like Jacob here, who did not as yet acknowledge Jehovah and was still at the stage of choosing whether to acknowledge Him or some other as his own God. It was a special feature of that nation, even of their fathers, that everyone wished to have his own God; and anyone who worshipped Jehovah worshipped Him merely as some god called Jehovah, the name which distinguished Him from the gods of other nations. Accordingly their worship even in this respect was idolatrous, for the worship of the name only, even of Jehovah's, is nothing but idolatrous, 1094. This is like people who call themselves Christians and say that they worship Christ, but do not live according to His commandments. They worship Him in an idolatrous way since they worship only His name, it being a false Christ whom they worship; reference to that false Christ is made in Matthew 24:23-24 - see 3010.

(Odkazy: Genesis 28:20)

  
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Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.


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