1. Judges 17:1 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

What is the significance of Micah’s name?

Judges 17:1 (ESV)

1 There was a man of the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Micah.

Micah’s name in Hebrew means, Who is like Yahweh? His name is an orthodox one (later used by the prophets Micaiah (1 Kings 22:8–28) and Micah of Moresheth (Micah 1:1)). And it asks a rhetorical question that anticipates the answer, No one! More often in the ancient world, names that included a reference to a god generally reflected the faith of the one who named the person. Accordingly one might surmise that the parent who named Micah was a devotee of Yahweh and considered Yahweh to be in a class all his own, completely distinct from all the Canaanite gods.1 But the name will serve to point up the ironies in Micah’s actions. (Perhaps the irony is emphasized by the text itself, which uses the long form of the name, Mikayehu, in Judges 17:1, Judges 17:4, but then uses the more common form, Mikah, in the rest of the narrative (Judges 17:5 – 18:31). In other words, the part that is dropped is the yehu, which is a short form of Yahweh. This could be intentional by the narrator, since Micah acts contrary to his name.)