Judges 18:25, 26: The Limits of Micah's Love for His Idols

Verse 25:[1] And the children of Dan said unto him, Let not thy voice be heard among us, lest angry (Heb. bitter of soul;[2] 2 Sam. 17:8[3]) fellows run upon thee, and thou lose thy life, with the lives of thy household.



Thy voice; thy complaints and reproaches.



[Men of violent spirit, מָ֣רֵי נֶ֔פֶשׁ] Men bitter of soul (Montanus, Septuagint, Jonathan, Munster, Pagnine, similarly the Syriac, Junius and Tremellius), that is, hot-tempered (Vatablus, Drusius out of Kimchi). A bitter soul is not so much sad, as hot-tempered and severe. Plautus, Old age makes me more bitter,[4] that is, sharper. A bitter spirit is mentioned in Job 7:11;[5] 10:1; 21:25[6] (Drusius).


Angry fellows; the soldiers, who are in themselves sharp and fierce, and will soon be inflamed by thy provoking words.



[And thou thyself perish with thy household, וְאָסַפְתָּ֥ה נַפְשְׁךָ֖ וְנֶ֥פֶשׁ בֵּיתֶֽךָ׃[7]] And thou gather, or repossess, thy life, etc. (Vatablus, Montanus, Piscator), that is, into the place destined for souls after they have passed from their bodies. It is a Periphrasis of death (Piscator). That is to say, Be not the reason that God recalls and recovers for Himself thy soul, and the souls of thy domestics: that is, Be not the reason that thou perish, etc. (Vatablus, similarly Drusius). And thou lose thy life, etc. (Pagnine, Arabic, Junius and Tremellius). And they shall add/gather (other codices, thou shalt add [Nobilius]) thy life (Septuagint), understanding, to the fathers, or, to thy people (Nobilius). Here, אָסַף is taken for סוּף, to make an end. For often the same verb is found in diverse arrangements (Munster).


And thou lose thy life; which, notwithstanding all thy pretences, thou dost value more than thy images, as indeed appeared from his following practice.



Verse 26:[8] And the children of Dan went their way: and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back unto his house.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּאמְר֤וּ אֵלָיו֙ בְּנֵי־דָ֔ן אַל־תַּשְׁמַ֥ע קוֹלְךָ֖ עִמָּ֑נוּ פֶּֽן־יִפְגְּע֣וּ בָכֶ֗ם אֲנָשִׁים֙ מָ֣רֵי נֶ֔פֶשׁ וְאָסַפְתָּ֥ה נַפְשְׁךָ֖ וְנֶ֥פֶשׁ בֵּיתֶֽךָ׃


[2] Hebrew: מָ֣רֵי נֶ֔פֶשׁ.


[3] 2 Samuel 17:8: “For, said Hushai, thou knowest thy father and his men, that they be mighty men, and they be chafed in their minds (וּמָרֵ֥י נֶ֙פֶשׁ֙ הֵ֔מָּה), as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field: and thy father is a man of war, and will not lodge with the people.”


[4] Cicero’s To Atticus 14:21.


[5] Job 7:11: “Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul (בְּמַ֣ר נַפְשִֽׁי).” Thus also in Job 10:1.


[6] Job 21:25: “And another dieth in the bitterness of his soul (וְזֶ֗ה יָ֭מוּת בְּנֶ֣פֶשׁ מָרָ֑ה), and never eateth with pleasure.”


[7] אָסַף signifies to gather or to remove.


[8] Hebrew: וַיֵּלְכ֥וּ בְנֵי־דָ֖ן לְדַרְכָּ֑ם וַיַּ֣רְא מִיכָ֗ה כִּי־חֲזָקִ֥ים הֵ֙מָּה֙ מִמֶּ֔נּוּ וַיִּ֖פֶן וַיָּ֥שָׁב אֶל־בֵּיתֽוֹ׃

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ABOUT US

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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