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24 March. Judges chapters 17-18
In these chapters we meet Micah (presumably not the prophet of the same name). The opening story is ambiguous – had he stolen his mother’s money, which seems to be the plain reading of the text, in which case surely she would have chastised him even when he returned it, or had someone else stolen it and he had somehow got it back, which would explain her rejoicing? But this being one of the periods of widespread idolatry, she makes an idol in thanksgiving.
What is surprising is that through the remainder of these chapters, when first a Levite priest accepts an offer to be priest at this pagan shrine, and then the men of Dan (another tribe of Israel) steal the idol along with its priest, there is no condemnation of them (other than the oft-repeated phrase “every man did what was right in his own eyes”), although idol-worship is consistently the worst of all sins for Jews. Nor is there condemnation for the men of Dan attacking the peace-loving Phoenecian town of Laish. Why is this? I don’t know.