Today I would like to speak to you from the theme, “Ten Shekels and a Shirt,” as we find it in Judges chapter 17. I’ll read the chapter, and then I will read a portion also from the 18th chapter so that the background might be clear in our minds.
“And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah.” (Judges 17:1) There was a situation where the Amorites refused to allow the people of the tribe of Dan any access to Jerusalem1, and they crowded them up into Mount Ephraim. It is a sad thing when the people of God allow the world to crowd them into an awkward position! So the people of Dan were unable to get to Jerusalem. Out of this comes the problems that we are about to see.
[Presumably the speaker meant Shiloh, where the house of God was during the time of the judges (see Judges 18:31).]
And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah. And he said unto his mother, The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from thee, about which thou cursedst, and spakest of also in mine ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it.
And his mother said, Blessed be thou of the Lord, my son. And when he had restored the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, I had wholly dedicated the silver unto the Lord from my hand for my son, to make a graven image and a molten image: now therefore I will restore it unto thee.
Yet he restored the money unto his mother; and his mother took two hundred shekels of silver, and gave them to the founder, who made thereof a graven image and a molten image: and they were in the house of Micah. And the man Micah had an house of gods, and made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest. In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
And there was a young man out of Beth-lehem-judah of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there. And the man departed out of the city from Beth-lehem-judah to sojourn where he could find a place: and he came to mount Ephraim to the house of Micah, as he journeyed.
And Micah said unto him, Whence comest thou?
And he said unto him, I am a Levite of Beth-lehem-judah, and I go to sojourn where I may find a place.
And Micah said unto him, Dwell with me, and be unto me a father and a priest, and I will give thee ten shekels of silver by the year, and a suit of apparel, and thy victuals.
So the Levite went in. And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons. And Micah consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah.
Then said Micah, Now know I that the Lord will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest.
In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day all their inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel. And the children of Dan sent of their family five men from their coasts, men of valour, from 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 Ephraim, to the house of Micah, they lodged there.
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 what hast thou here?
And he said unto them, Thus and thus dealeth Micah with me, and hath hired me, and I am his priest.
And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous.
And the priest said unto them, Go in peace: before the Lord is your way wherein ye go….
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.
And they turned thitherward, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, even unto the house of Micah, and 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 five men that went to spy out the land went up, 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 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?
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 it 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?
And the priest’s heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people.
So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the cattle and the carriage before them.