Judges 17:8: Levite for Hire

Verse 8:[1] 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 (Heb. in making his way[2]).



[He wished to sojourn wherever he found advantage for himself,לָג֖וּר בַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר יִמְצָ֑א] To sojourn, or abide, or live, wherever he might find (Junius and Tremellius, Pagnine, Montanus), understanding, either, a place (Tigurinus, Septuagint), or, advantage (Munster, Junius and Tremellius), or, an advantageous seat, or habitation, or, living (Vatablus). He is poor; because, since the Levites had no fields, and the piety and Religion of the people toward God had grown cold, meager were the returns wherewith the Levites were sustained, which otherwise, with piety thriving, were not only sufficient, but abundant (Menochius). The tithes owed to the Levites were not recompensed to them at that time, partly because the Philistines were oppressing the Jews [he says this because he thinks that these matters were conducted after the death of Samson: concerning which see what things are on verse 1], partly because there was no Magistrate that might see to this; finally, because the Israelites at that time were inclined to idolatry, neither were they valuing the worship and ministers of God (Martyr).


Where he could find a place, for employment and a livelihood; for the tithes and offerings, which were their maintenance, not being brought in to the house of God, the Levites and priests must needs be reduced to great straits.


Mount Ephraim

[Making his way, and he had turned aside for a short while unto the house of Micah, עַד־בֵּ֥ית מִיכָ֖ה לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת דַּרְכּֽוֹ׃] And he came unto the house of Micah, to make his journey (Montanus, Pagnine, Septuagint, Vatablus), or, his way (Jonathan); that is, so that he might pass that way. That is, he began to make his journey near the house of Micah (Vatablus). Others otherwise: with a mind to accomplish his journey (Syriac); so that he might proceed in his way (Tigurinus); so that he might complete his way (Munster); so that he might accomplish the rest of the journey. For he was not hoping to find there an convenient place to stay (Osiander).

[1] Hebrew: וַיֵּ֙לֶךְ הָאִ֜ישׁ מֵהָעִ֗יר מִבֵּ֥ית לֶ֙חֶם֙ יְהוּדָ֔ה לָג֖וּר בַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר יִמְצָ֑א וַיָּבֹ֧א הַר־אֶפְרַ֛יִם עַד־בֵּ֥ית מִיכָ֖ה לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת דַּרְכּֽוֹ׃


[2] Hebrew: לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת דַּרְכּֽוֹ׃.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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