Dommernes 17



1 Det var en mann fra Efra'imfjellene som hette Mika.

2 Han sa til sin mor: De elleve hundre sekel sølv* som blev tatt fra dig, og som du har uttalt forbannelse over, så også jeg hørte på det - disse penger er hos mig; det er jeg som har tatt dem. Da sa hans mor: Velsignet være du, min sønn, av Herren! / {* DM 16, 5.}

3 Så gav han sin mor de elleve hundre sekel sølv tilbake; men hans mor sa: Disse penger vier jeg nu til Herren og overgir dem til min sønn, forat han kan gjøre et utskåret billede med et støpt fotstykke til, og nu gir jeg dig dem tilbake.

4 Han gav da pengene tilbake til sin mor; og hans mor tok to hundre sekel sølv og gav det til en gullsmed, og for disse penger gjorde han et utskåret billede med et støpt fotstykke; det var siden i Mikas hus.

5 Og mannen Mika hadde et gudshus, og han hadde gjort en livkjortel og husguder og hadde vidd en av sine sønner til prest for sig.

6 I de dager var det ingen konge i Israel; hver mann gjorde hvad rett var i hans øine.

7 Der var en ung mann fra Betlehem i Juda; han var en levitt av dem som hørte til i Juda stamme, og der bodde han som fremmed.

8 Denne mann drog bort fra sin by, fra Betlehem i Juda, for å ta ophold hvor det kunde falle sig; og han kom på sin vandring til Efra'imfjellene, til Mikas hus.

9 Mika sa til ham: Hvor kommer du fra? Han svarte: Jeg er en levitt fra Betlehem i Juda og er nu på vandring for å ta ophold hvor jeg finner leilighet.

10 Da sa Mika til ham: Bli hos mig og vær far og prest for mig! Så vil jeg gi dig ti sekel sølv om året og holde dig med klær og kost. Da gikk levitten inn til ham.

11 Og levitten samtykket i å bli hos mannen, og den unge mann var for ham som en av hans egne sønner.

12 Mika innvidde levitten, og den unge mann blev hans prest; og han blev boende i Mikas hus.

13 Og Mika sa: Nu vet jeg at Herren vil gjøre vel imot mig siden jeg har fått en levitt til prest.

Exploring the Meaning of Dommernes 17      

Ni 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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