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Mother of Micah: Midrash and Aggadah

by Tamar Kadari

In Brief

One midrash posits that Delilah was Micah’s mother, based on two stories in the Bible that mention Delilah and Micah immediately after one another. However, Rashi argued that the timelines of Delilah and Micah’s lives meant that they could not be related.

Article

An anonymous midrashic tradition mentioned by the medieval commentators posits that Micah’s mother was Delilah. This tradition is based on the wording “eleven hundred shekels of silver” that appears in two Biblical narratives: in Jud. 16:5 this is the sum promised to Delilah if she will deliver Samson to the Philistines; and in Jud. 17:2 it is the money dedicated by Micah’s mother for the making of her son’s idol.

The connection between Delilah and Micah is explained by the fact that the narrative of Micah’s statue immediately follows the account of Samson and Delilah (see Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac; b. Troyes, France, 1040Rashi on Jud. 17:3; R. David Kimhi on Jud. 17:1; see the references in Louis Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews, part 13, vol. 6, Philadelphia 19463 p. 209 n. 125). Rashi cites this tradition, but argues that it is fundamentally erroneous, since the Rabbis maintain that Micah preceded Samson by many years and lived during the time of Cushan-rishathaim and of the Judge Othniel the Kenizzite (Lit. "order." The regimen of rituals, songs and textual readings performed in a specific order on the first two nights (in Israel, on the first night) of Passover.Seder Olam Rabbah 12).

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How to cite this page

Kadari, Tamar. "Mother of Micah: Midrash and Aggadah." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 31 December 1999. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on September 18, 2021) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/mother-of-micah-midrash-and-aggadah>.