The story starts in chapter 17 when a man named Micah steals a very large amount of silver from his mother. The exact amount that he takes is 1100 pieces of silver. An average yearly salary in Micah’s day was ten pieces of silver which can be found in verse 10, so he stole a small fortune. Micah’s mom gets very upset, as is her right, and she pronounces a curse on the person that had stolen the silver. When Micah learns of his mother’s curse, he gets worried and returns the silver. The Old Testament law required Micah to add 1/5 (Exodus 22) to what he had stolen, 220 pieces of silver, but he does not do this.
It is not a reverential fear of the Lord that makes Micah feel the need to confess his crime and return the money; it is his fear of his mother’s curse. Micah does not feel guilty because of his sin but he is merely trying to save himself from a curse.
Micah’ mother also sins. When Micah returns the silver, she doesn’t curse but she blesses him. Her values, like Micah’s, are not in line with God’s. She blesses him and the hires a silversmith to make her son idols, a clear sin against God, and he keeps them. The mother doesn’t condemn her son because she is as much of a thief as he is. In 17:3 she says, “I wholly dedicate the silver from my hand to the Lord for my son to make a graven image and a molten image; now therefore, I will return them to you.” however, in the very next verse she only gives 200 pieces of the silver. So, she kept 900 pieces of the silver that