Judges – Chapter 17

Idols in Our Midst

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

There was a man from Mt. Ephraim named Micah, who stole a large sum of silver from his mother, but returned it fearing her curse on the thief. She had already resolved to consecrate the money, so she gave it back to him to have made into a statue.

When he received the statue from the silver smith, Micah set it up in his house as an idol and he made one of his sons the priest of his new religion. Eventually, a Levite came traveling by. Micah was thrilled to have a Levite, from whose Tribe come real Kohanim (Jewish priests). He offered him a hefty salary to stay and be his priest. The Levite joined Micah’s household and Micah took his presence as a sign of G-d’s approval. (It wasn’t.)

Please note that in the earliest verses of the chapter, the man’s name is Micayehu. The suffix of his name, indicating G-d’s Name, was dropped as soon as he embraced idolatry. Nothing makes G-d (metaphorically) depart quicker!

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