Bible: Judges 17-18

Micah Makes His Own Religion

17:1 There was a man named Micah from the Ephraimite hill country. 17:2 He said to his mother, “You know 1  the eleven hundred pieces of silver which were stolen 2  from you, about which I heard you pronounce a curse? Look here, I have the silver. I stole 3  it, but now I am giving it back to you.” 4  His mother said, “May the Lord reward 5  you, my son! 17:3 When he gave back to his mother the eleven hundred pieces of silver, his mother said, “I solemnly dedicate 6  this silver to the Lord. It will be for my son’s benefit. We will use it to make a carved image and a metal image.” 7  17:4 When he gave the silver back to his mother, she 8  took two hundred pieces of silver 9  to a silversmith, who made them into a carved image and a metal image. She then put them in Micah’s house. 10  17:5 Now this man Micah owned a shrine. 11  He made an ephod 12  and some personal idols and hired one of his sons to serve as a priest. 13  17:6 In those days Israel had no king. Each man did what he considered to be right. 14 

Micah Hires a Professional

17:7 There was a young man from Bethlehem 15  in Judah. He was a Levite who had been temporarily residing among the tribe of Judah. 16  17:8 This man left the town of Bethlehem in Judah to find another place to live. He came to the Ephraimite hill country and made his way to Micah’s house. 17  17:9 Micah said to him, “Where do you come from?” He replied, “I am a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah. I am looking for a new place to live.” 18  17:10 Micah said to him, “Stay with me. Become my adviser 19  and priest. I will give you ten pieces of silver per year, plus clothes and food.” 20  17:11 So the Levite agreed to stay with the man; the young man was like a son to Micah. 21  17:12 Micah paid 22  the Levite; the young man became his priest and lived in Micah’s house. 17:13 Micah said, “Now I know God will make me rich, 23  because I have this Levite as my priest.”

The Tribe of Dan Finds an Inheritance

18:1 In those days Israel had no king. And in those days the Danite tribe was looking for a place 24  to settle, because at that time they did not yet have a place to call their own among the tribes of Israel. 25  18:2 The Danites sent out from their whole tribe five representatives, 26  capable men 27  from Zorah and Eshtaol, to spy out the land and explore it. They said to them, “Go, explore the land.” They came to the Ephraimite hill country and spent the night at Micah’s house. 28  18:3 As they approached 29  Micah’s house, they recognized the accent 30  of the young Levite. So they stopped 31  there and said to him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What is your business here? 32  18:4 He told them what Micah had done for him, saying, 33  “He hired me and I became his priest.” 18:5 They said to him, “Seek a divine oracle for us, 34  so we can know if we will be successful on our mission.” 35  18:6 The priest said to them, “Go with confidence. 36  The Lord will be with you on your mission.” 37 

18:7 So the five men journeyed on 38  and arrived in Laish. They noticed that the people there 39  were living securely, like the Sidonians do, 40  undisturbed and unsuspecting. No conqueror was troubling them in any way. 41  They lived far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone. 42  18:8 When the Danites returned to their tribe 43  in Zorah and Eshtaol, their kinsmen 44  asked them, “How did it go? 45  18:9 They said, “Come on, let’s attack them, 46  for 47  we saw their land and it is very good. You seem lethargic, 48  but don’t hesitate 49  to invade and conquer 50  the land. 18:10 When you invade, 51  you will encounter 52  unsuspecting people. The land is wide! 53  God is handing it over to you – a place that lacks nothing on earth!” 54 

18:11 So six hundred Danites, fully armed, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol. 55  18:12 They went up and camped in Kiriath Jearim in Judah. (To this day that place is called Camp of Dan. 56  It is west 57  of Kiriath Jearim.) 18:13 From there they traveled through the Ephraimite hill country and arrived at Micah’s house. 18:14 The five men who had gone to spy out the land of Laish 58  said to their kinsmen, 59 Do you realize that inside these houses are an ephod, some personal idols, a carved image, and a metal image? Decide now what you want to do.” 18:15 They stopped 60  there, went inside the young Levite’s house (which belonged to Micah), 61  and asked him how he was doing. 62  18:16 Meanwhile the six hundred Danites, fully armed, stood at the entrance to the gate. 63  18:17 The five men who had gone to spy out the land broke in and stole 64  the carved image, the ephod, the personal idols, and the metal image, while the priest was standing at the entrance to the gate with the six hundred fully armed men. 65  18:18 When these men broke into Micah’s house and stole 66  the carved image, the ephod, the personal idols, and the metal image, the priest said to them, “What are you doing? 18:19 They said to him, “Shut up! Put your hand over your mouth and come with us! You can be our adviser 67  and priest. Wouldn’t it be better to be a priest for a whole Israelite tribe than for just one man’s family? 68  18:20 The priest was happy. He took the ephod, the personal idols, and the carved image and joined the group. 69 

18:21 They turned and went on their way, but they walked behind the children, the cattle, and their possessions. 70  18:22 After they had gone a good distance from Micah’s house, Micah’s neighbors 71  gathered together and caught up with the Danites. 18:23 When they called out to the Danites, the Danites 72  turned around and said to Micah, “Why have you gathered together? 18:24 He said, “You stole my gods that I made, as well as this priest, and then went away. What do I have left? How can you have the audacity to say to me, ‘What do you want?’ 73  18:25 The Danites said to him, “Don’t say another word to us, or some very angry men 74  will attack you, and you and your family will die.” 75  18:26 The Danites went on their way; when Micah realized 76  they were too strong to resist, 77  he turned around and went home.

18:27 Now the Danites 78  took what Micah had made, as well as his priest, and came to Laish, where the people were undisturbed and unsuspecting. They struck them down with the sword and burned the city. 79  18:28 No one came to the rescue because the city 80  was far from Sidon 81  and they had no dealings with anyone. 82  The city 83  was in a valley near Beth Rehob. The Danites 84  rebuilt the city and occupied it. 18:29 They named it Dan after their ancestor, who was one of Israel’s sons. 85  But the city’s name used to be Laish. 18:30 The Danites worshiped 86  the carved image. Jonathan, descendant 87  of Gershom, son of Moses, 88  and his descendants 89  served as priests for the tribe of Dan until the time of the exile. 18:31 They worshiped 90  Micah’s carved image 91  the whole time God’s authorized shrine 92  was in Shiloh.

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