Title: Judges 17. The first appendix: Micah's Levite and the migration of Dan depict the character of Israel.
Samson's life was a paradox of good and evil as is the history of Israel. He was not the spiritual hero as the rabbis depicted him who revised the obvious history in the scripture.
This ends the body of the book of Judges.
The Appendices - 17:1 - 21:25
First: Micah's Levite and the Migration of Dan
The appendices furnish valuable materials for forming a correct idea of the actual character of this portion of the Israeli history. The first appendix is about the migration of the tribe of Dan and the second is about Israel's war with the tribe of Benjamin. We cannot say for certain when these events occurred in the period of the Judges. Evidence points to the first appendix to have occurred after the time of Samson and the second, the war with Benjamin, occurred much earlier in the book.
Both appendices reveal their national character. In the first one, the character of the later age of Israel is one of syncretism, which is combining the worship of Yavah with other false gods. In this way, the member of the nation can do what he likes and still convince himself that he is worshipping Yavah.
JDG 17:1 Now there was a man of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Micah.
JDG 17:2 And he said to his mother, "The eleven hundred pieces of silver which were taken from you, about which you uttered a curse in my hearing, behold, the silver is with me; I took it." And his mother said, "Blessed be my son by the Lord [Jehovah]."
JDG 17:3 He then returned the eleven hundred pieces of silver to his mother, and his mother said, "I wholly dedicate the silver from my hand to the Lord [Jehovah] for my son to make a graven image and a molten image; now therefore, I will return them to you."
JDG 17:4 So when he returned the silver to his mother, his mother took two hundred pieces of silver and gave them to the silversmith who made them into a graven image and a molten image, and they were in the house of Micah.
JDG 17:5 And the man Micah had a shrine and he made an ephod and household idols and consecrated one of his sons, that he might become his priest.
JDG 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.
As in the second appendix, there was no king, meaning no restraining force, which should have been Jehovah in their hearts, or a faithful earthly king like David.
Micah is the main character is this section. His name means "Who is like God," but Micah does not worship God. He lives in Ephraim, where the Tabernacle is in Shiloh, but this does not influence him.
If the people in Ephraim do not worship Jehovah, when the ark and the Tabernacle that houses it is in their land, how much less do the other tribes worship God?
Micah is convinced that he worships God, but it is only a man made religion. It is what Deitrich Bonhoffer termed cheap grace.
The calling from Jesus is a calling to death.
2CO 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves;
2CO 4:8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing;
2CO 4:9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;
2CO 4:10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
2CO 4:11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
2CO 4:12 So death works in us, but life in you.
In Israel, every person did what was right in his own eyes.
This is not new, nor will it ever disappear. We see such an attitude grow in every society that ever had some foundation of truth, and it has grown and is growing in our own.
People must justify their actions as Micah does here.
LUK 16:13 You cannot serve God and mammon."
LUK 16:14 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things, and they were scoffing at Him.
LUK 16:15 And He said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.
LUK 10:25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
LUK 10:26 And He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?"
LUK 10:27 And he answered and said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself."
LUK 10:28 And He said to him, "You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live."
LUK 10:29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
Jesus launches into a parable that is extremely clear.
LUK 10:36 "Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands?"
LUK 10:37 And he said, "The one who showed mercy toward him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same."
Go and do, but not discuss, evaluate, debate, think it over. One wonders why Christ doesn’t state faith in Him. This man likely would have intellectualized that as well. What can’t be intellectualized is doing.
MAT 7:24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock.”