New Defender's Study Bible Notes
17:1 man of Mount Ephraim. The last five chapters of Judges provide a direct insight unto the moral depravity in Israel during one of their many periods of religious apostasy. The latter is indicated in this case by the establishment of a household shrine with an image supposedly depicting Jehovah. Thus Micah could, he thought, have his own worship center without having to travel to the tabernacle at Shiloh. This was in spite of the fact that Micah lived in Ephraim, and the tabernacle had been set up at Shiloh, in Ephraim. Even this Levite–and no doubt others also–had fallen into this apostasy.
17:6 no king in Israel. Four times (Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25), we are told in this book that “there was no king in Israel in those days,” indicating that the book must have been compiled either by Samuel or someone else of his or a later generation. The first and last of these add that “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” With no centralized government, except for the spiritual center in the tabernacle at Shiloh, the judges were tribal leaders who managed to secure some following in tribes other than their own who would respect and follow their authority. Some of these judges (i.e., Jephthah and Samson) may well have exercised leadership contemporaneously over different groups of tribes in Israel. There are no clear chronological and genealogical summaries in Joshua and Judges, as there are in the Pentateuch.