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Andries Hendrik Potgieter Andries Pretorius FW Reitz General Louis Botha Gideon Jacobus Scheepers Jacobus Herculaas de la Rey Johanna Brandt Johannes Cornelius Lötter Koos De La Rey Pres MT Steyn Sarel Cilliers Siener van Rensburg

Debat oor Christendom en Godsdiens

The Biblical Antiquities of Philo

Or the history of philo from the beginning of the world to king david

Chapter 44.

Micah and his mother Dedila. The idols described. God's anger.

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1. And in those days there was no prince in Israel: but every man did that which was pleasing in his sight.

p. 200

Jud. 17:6

2. At that time Michas arose, the son of Dedila the mother of Heliu, and he had 1000 drachms of gold and four wedges of molten gold, and 40 didrachms of silver. And his mother Dedila said unto him: My son, hear my voice and thou shalt make thee a name before thy death: take thou that gold and melt it, and thou shalt make thee idols, and they shall be to thee gods, and thou shalt become a priest to them.

Jud. 17:2

3. And it shall be that whoso will inquire by them, they shall come to thee and thou shalt answer them. And there shall be in thine house an altar and a pillar built, and of that gold thou hast, thou shalt buy thee incense for burning and sheep for sacrifices. And it shall be that whoso will offer sacrifice, he shall give for sheep 7 didrachms, and for incense, if he will burn it, he shall give one didrachm of silver of full weight. And thy name shall be Priest, and thou shalt be called a worshipper of the gods.

4. And Michas said unto her: Thou hast well counselled me, my mother, how I may live: and now shall thy name be greater than my name, and in the last days these things shall be required of thee.

5. And Michas went and did all that his mother had commanded him. And he carved out and made for himself three images of boys, and of calves, and a lion and an eagle and a dragon and a dove.(1) And it was so that all that were led astray came to him, and if any would ask for wives, they inquired of him by the dove; and if for sons, by the image of the boys: but he that would ask for riches took counsel by the likeness of the eagle, and he that asked for strength by the image of the lion: again, if they asked for men and maidens they inquired by the images of calves, but if for length of days, they inquired by the image of the dragon. And his iniquity was of many shapes, and his impiety was full of guile.

p. 201

6. Therefore then, when the children of Israel departed from the Lord, the Lord said: Behold I will root out the earth and destroy all the race of men, because when I appointed great things upon mount Sina, I showed myself unto the children of Israel in the tempest and I said that they should not make idols, and they consented that they should not carve the likeness of gods. And I appointed to them they should not take my name in vain, and they chose this, even not to take my name in vain. And I commanded them to keep the sabbath day, and they consented unto me to sanctify themselves. And I said to them that they should honour their father and mother: and they promised that they would so do. And I appointed unto them not to steal, and they consented. And I bade them do no murder, and they received it, that they should not. And I commanded them not to commit adultery, and they refused not. And I appointed unto them to bear no false witness, and not to covet every man his neighbour's wife or his house or anything that is his: and they accepted it.

7. And now, whereas I spake unto them that they should not make idols, they have made the works of all those gods that are born of corruption by the name of a graven image. And also of them through whom all things have been corrupted. For mortal men made them, and the fire served in the melting of them: the act of men brought them forth, and hands have wrought them, and understanding contrived them. And whereas they have received them, they have taken my name in vain, and have given my name to graven images, and upon the sabbath day which they accepted, to keep it, they have wrought abominations therefrom. Because I said unto them that they should love their father and mother, they have dishonoured me their maker. And for that I said to them they should not steal, they have dealt thievishly in their understanding with graven images. And whereas I said they should not kill, they do kill them when they deceive. And when I had commanded them not to commit adultery, they have played the adulterer with their jealousy. And where they did choose not to bear false witness, they have received false witness from them whom they cast out, and have lusted after strange women.

p. 202

8. Therefore, behold, I abhor the race of men, and to the end I may root out my creation, they that die shall be multiplied above the number of them that are born. For the house of Jacob is defiled with iniquities and the impieties of Israel are multiplied and I cannot [some words lost] wholly destroy the tribe of Benjamin, because that they first were led away after Michas. And the people of Israel also shall not be unpunished, but it shall be to them an offence for ever to the memory of all generations.

9. But Michas will I deliver unto the fire. And his mother shall pine away in his sight, living upon the earth, and worms shall issue forth out of her body. And when they shall speak one to the other, she shall say as it were a mother rebuking her son: Behold what a sin hast thou committed. And he shall answer as it were a son obedient to his mother and dealing craftily: And thou hast wrought yet greater iniquity. And the likeness of the dove which he made shall be to put out his eyes, and the likeness of the eagle shall be to shed fire from the wings of it, and the images of the boys he made shall be to scrape his sides, and for the image of the lion which he made, it shall be unto him as mighty ones tormenting him.

p. 203

10. And thus will I do not only unto Michas but to all them also that sin against me. And now let the race. of men know that they shall not provoke me by their own inventions. Neither unto them only that make idols shall this chastisement come, but it shall be to every man, that with what sin he hath sinned therewith shall he be judged. Therefore if they shall speak lies before me, I will command the heaven and it shall defraud them of rain. And if any will covet the goods of his, neighbour, I will command death and it shall deny them the fruit of their body. And if they swear by my name falsely I will not bear their prayer. And when the soul parteth from the body, then they shall say: Let us not mourn for the things which we have suffered, but because whatsoever we have devised, that shall we also receive.(2)


(1) 200:1 Images of boys, calves, lion, eagle, dragon, dove. This recalls the furniture of a sanctuary of Mithras, in which two torch-bearing youths, Mithras slaying a bull, a lion, a serpent, and a bird (not, I think, an eagle) commonly appeared.

The words ask for are my rendering of interrogare pro: perhaps inquire concerning would be better.

(2) 203:1 The doctrine that the punishment shall be suited to the offence is perhaps first enunciated in a crude form in Jubilees 4:32. It is a recurrent thought in the Wisdom of Solomon, and runs through many of the Apocalypses that describe hell. It grows out of the lex talionis.

Philo's treatment of the story of Micah is a notewortny example of his freedom in dealing with the Biblical narrative. Evidently Micah is here represented as remaining in possession of his idols until his death; there is no hint that he was deprived of them by the Danites.