DOMINO EFFECT (JUDGES 17-18)
A man remarked to a stranger standing near him, “Just look at that young person with the short hair and blue jeans. Is it a boy or a girl?”
The bystander angrily replied, “It’s a girl. She’s my daughter.”
The embarrassed man apologized, “Oh, please forgive me, sir. I had no idea you were her father.”
The bystander bluntly replied, “I’m not her father. I’m her mother.”
Judges was an upside down society and culture, the darkest period in Israel’s history, where men do not lead, leaders are weak and families are no better. This period produced more than its fair share of unhealthy and unhappy families, including Gideon and his idolatrous father (Judg 6:25), Jephthah, the son of a prostitute (Jud 11:1) and the father of a virgin (Judg 11:34), the disobedient Samson (Judg 14:2) and Micah. By chapter 17, it was a time of parenting without morality, ethics or standards. The domino effect spread from home to temple to cities. It engulfed the parent, the priest and the public - the home and the priesthood and the country.
The last chapters of Judges are a transition from the first part of Judges when “the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord” to the second part when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (v 6). Note that the transition includes from “doing evil” (Judg 2:11, 3:7, 12, 4:1, 6:1, 10:6, 13:1) in the beginning of the book to “doing right” (17:6, 21:25), but only in one’s eyes at the end of the book. Doing what was right in their own eyes from chapter 17 on, a mother’s self-style parenting negatively shaped her son’s life, her son’s self-taught religion disastrously impacted a priest’s life, and a priest’s self-made status determined a tribe’s destiny.
The story of Micah and the priest from Ephraim is inseparable from the rise of pagan idolatrous worship in Dan, where the worship of the golden calf was naturally officially established in the north after the death of Solomon(1 Kings 12:29).
What happens when people look to themselves and not God for answers, when they take things into their own hands? How can we turn things around?
Be Consistent and Not Contradictory with Words 言語一致不矛盾
1 Now a man named Micah from the hill country of Ephraim 2 said to his mother, “The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from you and about which I heard you utter a curse? I have that silver with me; I took it.” Then his mother said, “The Lord bless you, my son!” 3 When he returned the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, she said, “I solemnly consecrate my silver to the Lord for my son to make a carved image and a cast idol. I will give it back to you.” 4 So he returned the silver to his mother, and she took two hundred shekels of silver and gave them to a silversmith, who made them into the image and the idol. And they were put in Micah's house. (Judg 17:1-4)