Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
jdg 17:1There was, &c. - The things mentioned here, and in the following chapters, did not happen in the order in which they are put; but much sooner, even presently after the death of the elders that over - lived Joshua, as appears, because Phinehas the son of Eleazar was priest at this time, Jdg 20:28, who must have been about 350 years old, if this had been done after Samson's death.
jdg 17:2Cursedst - That is, didst curse the person who had taken them away. I took it - The fear of thy curse makes me acknowledge mine offence, and beg thy pardon. Blessed - I willingly consent to, and beg from God the removal of the curse, and a blessing instead of it. Be thou free from my curse, because thou hast so honestly restored it.
jdg 17:3The Lord - In the Hebrew it is, Jehovah, the incommunicable name of God. Whereby it is apparent, that neither she, nor her son, intended to forsake the true God; as appears from his rejoicing when he had got a priest of the Lord's appointment, but only to worship God by an image; which also both the Israelites, Exo 32:1, &c. and Jeroboam afterwards, designed to do. For my son - For the benefit of thyself and family; that you need not be continually going to Shiloh to worship, but may do it at home. To thee - To dispose of, as I say.
jdg 17:4Restored - Though his mother allowed him to keep it, yet he persisted in his resolution to restore it, that she might dispose of it as she pleased. Two hundred - Reserving nine hundred shekels, either for the ephod or teraphim, or for other things relating to this worship.
jdg 17:5Of gods - That is, an house consecrated for the service of God in this manner. Teraphim - A sort of images so called. One of his sons - Because the Levites in that corrupt estate of the church, neglected the exercise of their office, and therefore they were neglected by the people, and others put into their employment.
jdg 17:6No king - No judge to govern and control them. The word king being used largely for a supreme magistrate. God raised up judges to rule and deliver the people, when he saw fit; and at other times for their sins he suffered them to be without them, and such a time this was; and therefore they ran into that idolatry, from which the judges usually kept them; as appears by that solemn and oft - repeated passage in this book, that after the death of such or such a judge, the people forsook the Lord, and turned to idols. His own eyes - That is, not what pleased God, but what best suited his own fancy.
jdg 17:7Bethlehem - judah - So called here, as Mat 2:1, Mat 2:5, to difference it from Bethlehem in Zebulun. There he was born and bred. Of Judah - That is, of or belonging to the tribe of Judah; not by birth, for he was a Levite; but by his habitation and ministration. For the Levites were dispersed among all the tribes; and this man's lot fell into the tribe of Judah. Sojourned - So he expresseth it, because this was not the proper place of his abode, this being no Levitical city.
jdg 17:8To sojourn - For employment and a livelihood; for the tithes and offerings, which were their maintenance, not being brought into the house of God, the Levites and priests were reduced to straights.
jdg 17:10A father - That is, a priest, a spiritual father, a teacher or instructor. He pretends reverence and submission to him; and what is wanting in his wages, he pays him in titles.
jdg 17:11Content - Being infected with the common superstition and idolatry of the times. His sons - That is, treated with the same degree of kindness and affection.
jdg 17:12Consecrated - To be a priest, for which he thought a consecration necessary, as knowing the Levites were no less excluded from the priest's office than the people. The young man - Instead of his son, whom he had consecrated, but now seems to restrain him from the exercise of that office, and to devolve it wholly upon the Levite, who was nearer akin to it.
jdg 17:13Do me good - I am assured God will bless me. So blind and grossly partial he was in his judgment, to think that one right circumstance would answer for all his substantial errors, in making and worshipping images against God's express command, in worshipping God in a forbidden place, by a priest illegally appointed.