I’m still in a pit, but you just keep putting one foot in front of the other, right?
We’re at the end of the book of Judges, and so, we’re no longer going to talk about actual Judges. Instead, we get some stories about various characters doing bad things. So we’re introduced to a man named Micah.
Micah: Hey, mom, that money you’re missing that you put a curse on the thief? Yeah, I took it. I was going to go to town and see a movie with Tim and really wanted to buy some popcorn. Here you go.
Mom: Blessed are you, son! I dedicate this money to God. Here, take it to the silversmith and have him make an idol.
God: Okay, maybe I can understand that you didn’t make it through my first five books. Some of them were pretty boring, but I condensed it to TEN things. TEN THINGS! Right at the top, what does that say?
So Micah makes the idol and some priestly garments and starts his own household cult of Yahweh. And he meets and hires a Levite to be his personal priest.
Micah: Surely God must bless me now that I have a real, live Levite for a priest!
God: TEN THINGS!
The tribe of Dan is wandering about looking for a place to settle. I thought they had a place to settle back in Joshua… Yep, Joshua 19:40-48. Maybe they didn’t like it. Or maybe the author of Judges skipped that part of the book of Joshua.
In any case, some scouts from Dan show up at Micah’s house, they recognize the priest’s voice and catch up on what happened to him and they ask him to magic up to Yahweh and see if they’re venture is going to be successful. The cleric tells them to go and have success.
So the scouts come to the area of Laish and see a happy people, living quietly without a ruler oppressing them and they think, “Well, can’t have that.”
So they march back to the tribe of Dan and say, “Let’s go kill some peaceful hippies who aren’t bothering anyone and are just living quietly on their own land for God.”
So the Danites send 600 men to do the murderin’.
But they stop at Micah’s house first and they take the idols and convince the priest to come join them and be their tribe’s priest. Micah gathers a posse and pursues them and the men of Dan “persuade” him to go home and be silent about it, you know… or they’ll kill him and his friends. So Micah goes home without his gods.
Then the Danites go and slaughter every last peaceful hippie who wasn’t bothering anyone, but was living secure in their own land without a ruler, and there was no one to stop them because those hippies didn’t live under a king. And they burned their city/commune to the ground and rebuilt it and called it Dan. And they set up the cult of Yahweh there with the idols and priest they took from Micah.
And I really like it that what’s presented as the bad thing here is the idolatry instead of the wanton murder of people who weren’t hostile or bothering anyone.