July 21st, 2010 by Kristi Stephens
Yesterday we started to look at the first of two stories which conclude the book of Judges. This account involves a lot of different people – an Ephraimite man named Micah and his family, a Levite who wandered through and became Micah’s private priest over his shrine of idols, and the tribe of Dan as they traveled by on search of a different land from what God had allotted for them.
We concluded yesterday’s post with the Danites discovering the Levite and Micah’s idol shrine. We said that according to the law in Leviticus 17, if the Danites were obedient Israelites who were seeking to follow the Lord, we would expect them to confirm the reports of Micah’s idolatry and then stone Micah and the Levite to death. Idolatry was that serious. Unfortunately, we do not see them agreeing with God’s law about the serious sin of idolatry.
So they turned in there and went to the house of the young Levite at Micah’s place and greeted him. The six hundred Danites, armed for battle, stood at the entrance to the gate. The five men who had spied out the land went inside and took the carved image, the ephod, the other household gods and the cast idol while the priest and the six hundred armed men stood at the entrance to the gate.
When these men went into Micah’s house and took the carved image, the ephod, the other household gods and the cast idol, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?”
They answered him, “Be quiet! Don’t say a word. Come with us, and be our father and priest. Isn’t it better that you serve a tribe and clan in Israel as priest rather than just one man’s household?” Then the priest was glad. He took the ephod, the other household gods and the carved image and went along with the people. Putting their little children, their livestock and their possessions in front of them, they turned away and left. (Judges 18:15-21)
They did the opposite of obedience! Leviticus warned solemnly to purge the evil of idolatry from their midst. Rather than purging, they embraced this idolatry and took it to be their own!
The text says that Micah and other men from his household chase after them, and in their confrontation he says, “You took the gods I made, and my priest, and went away. What else do I have?” What a horribly sad statement! What else do you have?? Try Yahweh, the True God of Israel!!
So, the Danites continue on their way, and the description of their conquest is disturbing.
Then they took what Micah had made, and his priest, and went on to Laish, against a peaceful and unsuspecting people. They attacked them with the sword and burned down their city. There was no one to rescue them because they lived a long way from Sidon and had no relationship with anyone else. (18:27-28)
But it gets worse.
There the Danites set up for themselves the idols, and Jonathan son of Gershom, the son of Moses, and his sons were priests for the tribe of Dan until the time of the captivity of the land. (18:30)
Moses’ own grandson and his family were the priests over this wicked scene. Every man was doing as he saw fit, and they were woefully, horribly wrong. As we saw in the story of Jephthah, their understanding of God was so skewed that they thought he would bless this flagrant rebellion against His nature and His Word.
Hold on, because as we’ll see tomorrow, it just keeps getting worse.
In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.