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vite for his priest, without inquiring into hi* character, said unto him, Dwell with me, and be unto me a father and a priest, a teacher and governor in the family., as well as a ftriest in the chapel; and I will give thee ten [shekels] of silver by the year, about twenty five shillings a year wages, and a suit of apparel, a double suit, one for summer, and one for winter, and thy victuals. So the Levite -went in; this shabby wretch consented to the proposal; he should have known better, and re

11 proved Micah for his idolatry, and taught him the law. And the Levite was content to dwell with the man ; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons, both of them were highly

12 pleased. And Micah consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah. This was the highest presumption in both s the Levite, not being of Aaron's family, was incapable of being a priest; and Micah

13 had no authority to consecrate him. Then said Micah, Now know I that the Lord will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to [my] priest. He thought this was a mark of the divine favour, and that his services would be more acceptable to God s such was the darkness and confusion of those times.

REFLECTIONS.

i. "T T TE see in Micah, what evils the love of money produces;

V V it tempted him to rob his mother, and her to fly into such a violent rage as to curse the person that had meddled with her treasure. Her silver was her god before she had made an image of it; or else she would not have been so outrageous when it was stolen. The loss of a little money makes covetous men impatient and fretful; and they are ready to curse the persona by whom they have suffered. But good men are easy and contented ; they can smile at such disappointments; and instead of cursing, will pity the thief, and pray for him. Would we govern our passions, let us lessen our value for the things of this world; well knowing that the love of money is the root of all evil.

2. We may learn hence, that parents should be very careful to Set their children good examples, for they will easily be seduced by bad ones. We do not find that Micah had any thoughts of idolatry, till his superstitious mother put it into his head. She would have a graven image, and therefore he would have a house of gods, and garments, and sacred utensils. This suggests to us, that when parents do wickedly, their children in all probability will do the same; yea, be worse than they ; as streams are wider than their fountains. As parents therefore regard their own comfort, and the happiness of their children,, let them never do any thing which may lead them into sin, or give them, in the least degree, an handle to do wickedly.

S. It is common for men to think that God approves and favours them, because they enjoy some external privileges, or reform some irregularities. Perhaps Micah was convinced that he had done wrong in consecrating his son ; but now having, as he thought, done right in one particular, that is, in having a Levife for his priest, he thought that God would do him good. He probably looked upon the rest of the Israelites as carnal and ungodly; and said to them, Stand by, I am holier than thou, when really he was turned to a pagan. He was guilty of many aggravated crimes in this transaction, and should rather have argued thus; 1 How will God punish me, and blast all my designs, because I have broken his law, affronted his worship, and set up idols in my house !' Thus men are apt to think that God is pleased with them, because they enjoy some advantages, have godly parents, or live in praying families, and the like; or because God favours them in one instance, they think he is not displeased at their evil doings. A very common, but a very dangerous error this; because one instance of right conduct can never atone for allowed errors and guilt ; no privileges will answer for an unholy life. If we desire to be accepted of God, and to receive good at his hand* we must be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.

CHAP. XVIII.

Contains the history of the spread of idolatry from the family qf Micah into a considerable part of the tribe of Dan. There are some hints of this story in Joshua xix. 47. but here it is enlarged .upon.

1 TN those days [there was] no king in Israel: and in those X days the tribe of the Danites, that is, a large family in that tribe, sought them an inheritance to dwell in, for unto that day [all their] inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel; they were straitened for room by the

2 old inhabitants, the Amorites, chap. i. 34. And the children of Dan sent of their family five men from their coasts northwards, men of valour, ftom Zorah and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said unto them, Go, search the land: who, when they came to mount Ephraiiu, to the house of Micah, they lodged there, near to Micah's house; probably at an inn, where the people that attended at Micah's

3 c/mpel used to put up. When they [were] by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man the Levite: and they turned in thither, and said, unto him, Who brought thee hither? and what makest thou in this [place ?] and

Vgl. II. Aaa

what hast thou here ? how art thou employed, and how matnA tabled? And he said unto them, Thus and thus dealeth Micali 5 with me, ami hath hired me, and I am his priest. And they, being as ignorant and stupid as himself, said unto him, Ask counsel we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our S way which we go shall be prosperous. And the priest gave them such as pleased them, and said unto them, Go in peace: before the Lord, under his eye and protection, [is] your way wherein ye go.

7 . Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, in the north of Canaan, at the foot of mount Lebanon; and saw the people that [were] therein, how they dwelt careless, after the manner of the Zidonians, quiet and secure : and [there was] no magistrate in the land, that might put [them] to shame in [any} jthing; and they [were] far from the Zidonians, so that they could not come to help them, and had no business with [any] man, no trade or commerce, but were an idle, voluptuous people,

8 and therefore secure and confident. And they came unto their brethren to Zorah and Eshtaol: and their brethren said unto them, What [say] ye 1 What news have ye got ? what report

9 do ye bring? And they said, Arise, that we may go up against them: for we have seen the land, and, behold, it [is] very good: and [are] ye still? do you question our report? be not slothful to go, [and] to enter to possess the land; you have

10 nothing to do but to march and possess it. When ye go, ye shall come unto a people secure, and to a large land: for God hath given it into your hands; a place where [there is] no want of any thing that [is] in the earth: encouraging them by three arguments : it is a good country ; it may be easily obtained; and, from the Levite's answer, they concluded that God had

11 given it them. And there went from thence of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men appointed, or girded with weapons of war, and who car

12 lied their wives and children and stuff with them. And they went up, and pitched in Kirjathjearim, in Judah, in the camp of Dan, where Samson afterward lived; see chap. xiii. 25. wherefore they called that place Mahanehdan, unto this day:

13 behold, [it is] behind Kirjathjearim. And they passed thence unto motint Ephraim, and came unto the house of Micah | this was their second day's journey.

14 Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish, and said unto their brethren, Do ye know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, and a molten image ? now therefore consider what ye have to do, whether it may not be adviseable to take them along with us; they will be a good booty, we hax>e had a favozirable answer from than already s and they will be very

15 convenient for us, being so far from Shi/o/i. And they turned

thitherward, and came to the house, or apartments, of the young man the Levite, [even] unto the house of Micah, and

IS saluted him. And the six hundred men appointed with their weapons of war, which [were] of the children of Dan, stood by the entering of the gate ; and the Levite came out, and sa

17 luted them, and wished them success. And, while the Levite was paying his respects to them, the five men that went to spy out the land went up to the chapel, [and] came in thither, [and] took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image: and the priest stood in the entering of the gate with the six hundred men [that

J 8 were] appointed with weapons of war. And these went into Micah's house and fetched the carved image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image. Then said the priest unto them, What do ye ? He expostulated with them for the sacrilege, as it was an injury to himself,

19 spoiled his trade and craft, whereby he got his wealth. And they said unto him, Hold thy peace, lay thine hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest: [is ifl better for thee to be a priest unto the house of one man, or that thou be a priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel-? Better be chaplain to a regiment, than a private gentleman; better be priest to a city, than to a single house: and this ambitious, covetous man was easily influenced.

20 And the priest's heart was glad of such encouragement, and he took the ephod and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people, the better to secure his trinkets, or in an apish imitation of the manner m which the ark was

21 carried. So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the cattle and the carriage before them ; being exposed to more danger from Micah in the rear, than from the Amorites in the front.

22 [And] when they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men that [were] in the houses near to Micah's house were gathered together, and overtook the children of Dan; finding his chapel robbed, and his chaplain had outrun him, he gathered his neighbours together, and after some time overtook

23 the robbers: And they cried unto the children of Dan. And they turned their faces, and said unto Micah, What aileth thee, that thou comest with such a company ? that thou art

24 gathered together in this hostile manner? And he said, ye have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and ye are gone away: (fine gods that could be- stolen '.) and what have I more? and what [is] this [that] ye say unto me, What aileth thee? Strange that ye should ask me what is the matter, when ye have taken from me what I valued above -all

•25 the world. And the children of Dan gave Mm a right soldier's answer; and said unto himj Let not thy voice be heard among

lis, lest angry fellows run upon thee, and thou lose thy life, 26 with the lives of thy household. And the children of Dan went their way, turned from him in scorn. And when Micah saw that they [were] too strong for him, he turned and went back unto his house; he laved his life better than his god* i he knew they could not defend him whatever noise he made about them.

tT And they took [the things] which Micah had made, and the priest which he had; an8 came unto Laish, unto a people [that were] at quiet and secure, just as the spies had repre-i tented and they smote them with the edge of the sword,

28 and took the spoil, and burnt the city with fire. And [there was] no deliverer, because it [was] far from Zidon, their patrons and protectors, and they had no business with f-any] man, they could send no intelligence, nor were any persona con-, cernedfor them; and it was in the valley that [lieth] by Beth.* rehob. And they built a larger and more convenient city, and

29 dwelt therein. And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was bom unto Israel: howbeit, the name of the city [was] Lakh at the first.*

30 And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan, to that part of the tribe, until the day of the captivity of the land, that is, till the ark and many Israelites were taken captive by the Philistines at Eli's death, as appears by the last ver~se compared ninth Psalm

31 lxxviii. 60, 61. i Sam.iv. 10. And they set them up Micah's graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh .t

REFLECTIONS.

!. "TTTT E learn from these idolaters, the reasonableness of VV acknowledging God in all our ways. They were desirous to consult idolatrous images, to know whether it was agreeable to the will of God that they should proceed in their design. How proper is it for us to inquire by prayer, what God would have us to do, and to take him with Us. If our way is before tjte Lord, we may go in peace^ and depend on success.

* This was the northern boundary of Canaan. Hence came fhe efcpression, frm Dan events Beersheba. This place was afterward called Casarea Philippi: iu this, Moses prophecy was fulfilled, Deut. Jtxfciii. 2?. Dan is a It/fit's whelp, ire.

t Idolatry lurked here all the time of the judges, and was so famous for the resort of 'Worshippers, that Jeroboam set up one of his calves there. This Was the first public idolatry in Israel; and thus Jacob's prophecy was fulfilled, Dan is a serpent by the <w*y> Gen. *H*. 17. he shall seduce the rest of the people; in allusion to the fitllhy the'eja %erperir. And this illustrates Jacob's words which foHow, I have waited for .thy. satiation, that is, for deliverance by the Messiah, who .was to turn men from iddls (0 the tiring and true

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