Micah’s Idols and Priest & Tombs in Ancient Israel

I got the picture here: the gift You gave Samson was supposed to be used to glorify You, but he used it for himself and doing that is a sin, so 1 You allowed him to pay the repercussions.  

Yet, 2 You didn’t fail him, as You said You wouldn’t, when he prayed for forgiveness and the ability to punish his enemies You honored that prayer.  So I see that freewill You give us can cause us some problems if we don’t always walk with you.

And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was 3  Micah. 

Tomb of Ancient Egyptian Princess Unearthed
Researchers from the Czech Institute of Egyptology in Prague announced the discovery of an ancient Egyptian princess’ tomb dating from roughly 2500 B.C.

The location of her final resting place has puzzled experts because it lies more than a mile away from the tombs of other Fifth Dynasty royals.

Archaeologists have unearthed the court and tomb of a previously unknown ancient Egyptian princess who lived some 4,500 years ago.

Led by Miroslav Bárta of the Czech Institute of Egyptology, the team made the discovery at Abusir, a pyramid and necropolis complex located south of Cairo and near the legendary Saqqara site.

Along with clues about a mysterious branch of Fifth Dynasty royals, the dig has yielded a number of beautifully crafted statues, limestone sarcophagi and other precious artifacts.

“By this unique discovery we open a completely new chapter in the history of Abusir and Saqqara necropolis,” Bárta said in a press release issued by the Czech Institute of Egyptology.

And he said unto his mother, The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from thee, about which thou cursedst, and spakest of also in mine ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it.  And his mother said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my son. 

And when he had restored the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, I had wholly dedicated the silver unto the LORD from my hand for my son, to make a graven image and a molten image: now therefore I will restore it unto thee.Yet he restored the money unto his mother; and his mother 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 (Jdg 17:1-4).

At this time there was no king in Israel and people did as they pleased.  A man Levite from the family of Judah came to Micah’s house.

And Micah said unto him, Whence comest thou?  And he said unto him, I am a Levite of Beth-lehem-Judah, and I go to sojourn where I may find a place. 

And Micah said unto him, Dwell with me, and be unto me a father and a priest, and I will give thee ten shekels of silver by the year, and a suit of apparel, and thy victuals. So the Levite went in.  And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons. 

And Micah consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah. 

Then said Micah, Now know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest (Jdg 17:9-13).

The tribe of Dan, known as Danites (Samson’s father was a Danite), searched for a place to live because at this time they hadn’t received their inheritance.

While the excavation of the site is still underway, archaeologists have already uncovered a pillared court with inscriptions identifying it as the domain of Shert Nebti, the daughter of a king called Men Salbo.

The princess’ tomb and those of several high-ranking officials—including an individual referred to as Nefer, meaning “beautiful one”—flank the court.

Shert Nebti’s remains have not yet been found, so the researchers can’t confirm whether she was actually interred beside her court.

But the location of her tomb has puzzled experts because most members of Fifth Dynasty royal families are buried over a mile to the north or further south at nearby Saqqara.

Whatever the reason for the tomb’s placement, archaeologists think ancient builders used a natural step in the bedrock to create the court, which reaches 13 feet into the ground.

Bárta and his team believe the site has only begun to give up its many treasures, and that their ongoing excavation might reveal even more monuments and hints as it continues.

And the children of Dan sent of their family five men from their coasts, men of valor, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said unto them, Go, search the land: who when they came to mount Ephraim, to the house of Micah, they lodged there. 

When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man the Levite: and they turned in thither, and said unto him, Who brought thee hither?  And what makest thou in this place?  And what hast thou here?

And he said unto them, Thus and thus dealeth Micah with me, and hath hired me, and I am his priest. 

And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous. 

And the priest said unto them, Go in peace: before the LORD is your way wherein ye go.

Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people that were therein, how they dwelt careless, after the manner of the Zidonians, quiet and secure; and there was no magistrate in the land, that might put them to shame in anything; and they were far from the Zidonians, and had no business with any man.

And they came unto their brethren to Zorah and Eshtaol: and their brethren said unto them, What say ye?

And they said, Arise, that we may go up against them: for we have seen the land, and, behold, it is very good: and are ye still?   Be not slothful to go, and to enter to possess the land. 

When ye go, ye shall come unto a people secure, and to a large land: for God hath given it into your hands; a place where there is no want of anything that is in the earth (Jdg 18:2-10).

Six hundred Danites went and camped out in Kirjath-jearim, and from there they went to Mount Ephraim and then to Micah’s house. 

The five men that had spied entered the home, while the 600 stood outside the gate, and they took the ephod, teraphim (idol), graven image, and a molten image.  The priest asked them what they thought they were doing.

And they said unto him, Hold thy peace, lay thine hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest: is it better for thee to be a priest unto the house of one man, or that thou be a priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel? 

A recently discovered statue in a complex of tombs, including one of a pharaonic princess, in the Abusir region, south of Cairo, Egypt.

And the priest’s heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people (Jdg 18:19-20).

When Micah found out what happened he ran after them.  And he said, Ye have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and ye are gone away: and what have I more?  And what is this that ye say unto me, What aileth thee? 

And the children of Dan said unto him, Let not thy voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows run upon thee, and thou lose thy life, with the lives of thy household (Jdg 18:24-25).

Micah knew that he wouldn’t have a chance against them so he went back home, and the Danites went to Laish where they killed everyone, burnt the city, and built the city of Dan.

And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land (Jdg 18:30).

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.  Because thou has rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king (1 Sam 15:23)See 1 Sam 15:17-23 Jn 6:63-64

2 Let not your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Heb 13:5).  See Gen 28:15.

This Micah is not the prophet that you will read about much later.

Tomb of ancient Egyptian princess unearthed near Cairo
Statues of two men and a woman in a complex of 4500-year-old tombs, including one of a Pharaonic princess recently discovered south of Cairo.

CZECH archaeologists have unearthed the 4500-year-old tomb of a Pharaonic princess south of Cairo.

Egypt’s antiquities ministry says Princess Shert Nebti’s burial site is surrounded by the tombs of four high officials from the Fifth Dynasty dating to around 2500 BC in the Abu Sir complex near the famed step pyramid of Saqqara.

Tombs in Ancient Israel

Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
In Jesus’s day there were already thousands of graves

and tombs on the city’s north, east, and south sides.

One specific area where significant progress has been made by scholars is the subject of 1st century Jewish burial practices.

Jewish writings of the period of the New Testament reveal the implicit general belief among Jews that the spirit survives death.

This is true, the spirit doesn’t die, we (our spirit) will spend eternity in heaven or hell.

Additionally, Jews generally believed that the time of death was determined by God, as Creator.

This is also true:

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27).

Judgment is when one finds out if they will spend eternity in heaven or hell.

Among the Jews of the first century, some also believed in the literal resurrection of the dead.

This is incorrect., as the above scripture explains.

Jesus was resurrected, but He was not just a man, but God Himself.

As a result, Jews believed that the body was to be respected in life and death and that a proper burial was a duty of family members.

That is incorrect, the body is just a tent for the spirit, God loves the person, not the body, just like God hates the sinful acts, but loves the person.

The most important feature of ancient Israelite burials is reflected in the interment of Samson in the tomb of his father. Other individuals are specified to have been buried in their father’s tombs, including Gideon (Jdg 8:32), Asahel (2 Sam 2:32) and Ahithophel (2 Sam 17:23).

The first such burial noted in Scripture is that of Abraham, interred in the tomb of Sarah, his wife, later followed by their children and grand-children. Caves were often used for such tombs. Only the wealthi¬est could afford a tomb that had been quarried out of rock; the prophet Isaiah condemned the royal steward Shebna for his arro¬gance in constructing just such a burial monument (Is 22:15-16).

The poor could not afford a rock- hewn tomb and were buried in common graves dug into the soil (cf.2 Kgs 23:6; Jer 26:23).

The graves of the poor have generally not been preserved for archaeologists. Excava¬tions have unearthed many examples of family burials in caves and rock-hewn tombs from the Old Testament period, with in¬stances of more than 100 individuals interred in a single tomb.

These tombs consisted of a square chamber or, in more elaborate examples, up to nine chambers for members of the extended family. Each chamber typically contained three waist-high benches that lined the room on every side except the entrance.

The deceased were laid out on these benches immediately after death, along with burial gifts, including bowls for food, perfume juglets,oil lamps, weapons and jewelry.

The benches included ledges to prevent the contents from falling off, and headrests were frequently carved out of the rock to hold the deceased’s head. After the flesh of the corpse had decayed, the bones were collected along with the gifts and deposited into a repository hewn beneath one of the burial benches.

Thus the repositories were filled with the bones and objects of generations of the family. This process of burial makes it clear that the Biblical phrase”gathered to their fathers’ was more than metaphorical.