Thursday, October 18, 2012

Judges 17-18: An idol is stolen, and I'm not sure why I'm supposed to care

Now we move on to some guy named Micah.

Micah's story starts with him confessing to his mother that he stole 1100 shekels of silver from her. But she's not in the slightest bit mad, for some reason: “The LORD bless you, my son!” She took 200 shekels of the silver and had an idol made out of them, to put in Micah's house. We've already seen how much God loves it when his people make idols, so I'm sure this will end well.

Apparently this silver idol will fit in well with the rest of Micah's household decor – he also has “some household gods” (whatever that is), a shrine, and an ephod (apparently some sort of priest garment?). The Bible also says “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.” I will take that to mean that this is not supposed to be an example of good behavior? Lol.

Then Micah takes in a Levite, so now he has a live-in priest for some reason. This guy never gets a name, he's just “the Levite”. Okie then.

Then we meet the Danites, one of the tribes of Israel who were “seeking a place of their own where they might settle, because they had not yet come into an inheritance among the tribes of Israel.”

Now, there is a general lack of any clear time-frame for the entire Bible so far, but I was of the impression that since at least the beginning of Judges (which seems to be several generations ago), the Israelites were in the promised land, and that this whole covenant God made with Abraham thing had been fulfilled. But apparently not. Why is God so very horrible at keeping promises?

Anyway, five Danite scouts or spies or something come to Micah's house and spend the night. While there they talk to “The Levite”, who tells them that God says “Go in peace. Your journey has the Lord’s approval.” Yeah God, finding them a place to live was supposed to be your job, remember? Pretty magnanimous of you to “approve” of them doing it for themselves.

The five scouts moved on to some other place called Laish, which they quite liked. So they went back to their people are were like, “Come on, let's attack them!” Because that is the solution to everything in this book.

600 Danite men armed for battle head out, and on the way they stop by Micah's house to steal that silver idol from the previous chapter. While they are there “The Levite” confronts them, and they suggest that he join them and be their priest instead: “Isn’t it better that you serve a tribe and clan in Israel as priest rather than just one man’s household?” Can't argue with that, I guess. So he goes with them.

Micah gets some of his neighbors together and goes after the Danites, and has this silly argument with them.

Danites: “How dare you try to fight us? Waaah!”
Micah: “You broke into my house and stole my stuff, of course I'm going to fight you.”
Danites: “But we don't want to fight you!”
Micah: *Goes home*

After that very exciting confrontation, the Danites go on to Laish. And they kill everyone there so they can build themselves a city there, it's just like every other Bible story so far, and I'm simultaneously bored and horrified by it.

It goes on for some time about how the Danites used the idol they tool from Micah's house, so apparently that's important.

Well, that's the story of Micah. I don't know what that was all about. I thought that Micah, with his house full of idols and false gods, was going to get the old “wrath of God” at some point, but that didn't really happen.

Maybe it's a story about how you can have all the outer paraphernalia of religion, but all of that can be gone in an instant, and you need to have something more. (At one point, Micah says this: “You took the gods I made, and my priest, and went away. What else do I have?”) Hey, I'm trying to be generous.

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