Sefer Shoftim-Chapter 17: Pesel Micha

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Chapter 17: Pesel Micha

*The Mefarshim debate as to when this story, as well as the story of Pilegesh Bigiva occurred. Some say it occurred prior to the times of the Shoftim, before the reign of Asniel Ben Kenaz, and hence is not in chronological order, while others say that it occurred during the times of the Shoftim, between Shimshon and Elkana. Some even suggest that the mother Micha was none other than Delila. Rashi negates these two latter approaches and remarks that they are a clear mistake.[1]

1. Micha returns the stolen money to his mother:

  • There was a man from the mountains of Efraim named Michiyahu.
  • Micha returns the stolen money: Micha told his mother: The 1,100 silver coins which were stolen from you, and you cursed the robber, as I overheard, well I have it. His mother replied: Blessed be my son to Hashem. So, he returned the 1,100 silver coins to his mother.

2. The silver is turned into an idol and returned to Micha:

  • Micha’s mother told him that she had sanctified the money to G-d, and that she would return it to her son to make an idol out of it. So, Micha returned the money to his mother and she took 200 silver coins and gave it to a silversmith who formed an idol out of it.
  • A House of idolatry is made: The idol remained in the home of Micha. Micha made a home for the idol, forming priestly garments and trained and inaugurated his son to be a priest for the idol. He also formed human sculptures called Terafim.
  • In those days there was no king amongst Israel and every man did as he seemed fit.

3. A Levite man is adopted by Micha and becomes a priest for the idolatry:

  • The Levite man: There was a lad who lived in Beis Lechem Yehuda, from the family of Yehuda, who was a Levite. [Some say his father was from the tribe of Yehuda while his mother was a Levite. Others say that he was a pure Levite, and was the son of Gershom, who was the son of Moshe. His name was Gershom.[2]]
  • Traveling to Micha: The man left the city of Beis Lechem yehuda, searching for another place to live. He arrived by Har Efraim, to the house of Micha, during his travels.
  • The offer from Micha to the Levite man: Micha asked the arrival from where he was from, and he replied that he is a Levi from the city of Beis Lechem Yehuda, and that he is looking for a place to live. Micha offered him a place to live and in exchange he will become for him a leader and priest [for his idolatry]. He offered to give him annually ten silver coins, changes of clothing, and food. The Levite man agreed to the proposition.
  • The Levite man becomes a member of Micha’s household: The Levite agreed to dwell with Micha, and he became like one of his sons. The lad became appointed as priest for Micha [to bring offerings to the idolatry]. Micha exclaimed that now he knows that G-d has provided him with good, as he has given him a Levite as a priest.


[1] See Rashi 17:3; Radak 17:1; Metzudos David 17:7

[2] See Rashi 17:7

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