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Judges 17:4: Forging Idols of Silver

Verse 4:[1] Yet he restored the money unto his mother; and his mother (Is. 46:6) 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.


Yet he restored the money unto his mother; though his mother allowed him to keep it, yet he persisted in his resolution to restore it, that she might dispose of it as she pleased; and did actually restore it, as was said before; and now confirms the former restitution, and therefore is twice said to restore it.



[She took two hundred silver pieces] Question: What was done with the rest? Responses: 1. All the remaining shekels she kept for herself. Whence her son Micah provided from his own wealth that an Ephod and other idols be made (Lapide out of Montanus’ Commentary). 2. The remaining sum of money was to be gathered in the shrine, and it appears to have been spent on the Ephod, and the remaining sacred idol apparatus (Menochius, similarly Bonfrerius). Or, she gave two hundred silver pieces to the silversmith as the price, and she put out the rest for forming the graven and cast thing. She also made a temple, etc. (Munster).


His mother took two hundred shekels of silver; reserving nine hundred shekels, either for the ephod and teraphim, or for other things relating to this worship, or for her own private use; being, it seems, cooled in her first zeal, and willing to have as cheap a religion as she could, as also her son Micah was, verse 10.



[She gave to the silversmith (thus Pagnine, Montanus), לַצּוֹרֵף[2]] Ἀργυροκόπῳ, that is, a sculptor of silver (Septuagint), a goldsmith (Syriac, Arabic), caster (Junius and Tremellius), a metal-caster (Munster, Vatablus, Drusius). Who first poured that, and then sculpted it (Drusius).


Who made thereof; made them, either first, of that matter; or secondly, for that money.

[1] Hebrew: וַיָּ֥שֶׁב אֶת־הַכֶּ֖סֶף לְאִמּ֑וֹ וַתִּקַּ֣ח אִמּוֹ֩ מָאתַ֙יִם כֶּ֜סֶף וַתִּתְּנֵ֣הוּ לַצּוֹרֵ֗ף וַֽיַּעֲשֵׂ֙הוּ֙ פֶּ֣סֶל וּמַסֵּכָ֔ה וַיְהִ֖י בְּבֵ֥ית מִיכָֽיְהוּ׃


[2] צָרַף signifies to smelt or refine.

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I thought Matthew Henry's statements were very insightful to this text; namely, how this "opened the door to the worship of other gods." To answer your question, what if anything, does the Hebrew imply about the number of idols. The Hebrew word מַסֵּכָה implies a pouring over in order to cast images. Thus, it could have been a larger number of gods which were forged based on the money she gave the founder.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
09 במרץ 2019

George Swinnock's The Beauty of Magistracy: 'It is ill with that state where men are left like the fishes of the sea, which have no ruler, but the greater devour the less, Habakkuk 1:14. Where all will rule, there is no rule, and where there is none to rule, there is all manner of misrule; as idolatry, murder, plunder, thefts, rapes, riots, and all uncleanness, Judg 17:4-6; 18:30, and 19:1-2. So that it is a very bad government that is worse than none at all; where there is magistracy, some may be oppressed and wronged, but none can be righted where there is none at all. Better poor people should sit under a scratching bramble, than have no hedge a…

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
09 במרץ 2019

Matthew Henry: 'Micah and his mother agreeing to turn their money into a god, and set up idolatry in their family; and this seems to have been the first instance of the revolt of any Israelite from God and his instituted worship after the death of Joshua and the elders that outlived him, and is therefore thus particularly related. And though this was only the worship of the true God by an image, against the second commandment, yet this opened the door to the worship of other gods, Baalim and the groves, against the first and great commandment. Observe...


The son's compliance with her. It should seem, when she first proposed the thing he stumbled at it, knowing what the…

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
09 במרץ 2019

Hebrew: What, if anything, does the Hebrew imply about the number of idols?

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