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Judges 17:1–20:11

Micah’s Idols

17 Now a man named Micaha from the hill country of Ephraim said to his mother, “The eleven hundred shekelsa of silver that were taken from you and about which I heard you utter a curse—I have that silver with me; I took it.”

Then his mother said, “The Lord bless you,b my son!”

When he returned the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, she said, “I solemnly consecrate my silver to the Lord for my son to make an image overlaid with silver.c I will give it back to you.”

So after he returned the silver to his mother, she took two hundred shekelsb of silver and gave them to a silversmith, who used them to make the idol.d And it was put in Micah’s house.

Now this man Micah had a shrine,e and he made an ephodf and some household godsg and installedh one of his sons as his priest.i In those days Israel had no king;j everyone did as they saw fit.k

A young Levitel from Bethlehem in Judah,m who had been living within the clan of Judah, left that town in search of some other place to stay. On his wayc he came to Micah’s house in the hill country of Ephraim.

Micah asked him, “Where are you from?”

“I’m a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah,n” he said, “and I’m looking for a place to stay.”

10 Then Micah said to him, “Live with me and be my fathero and priest,p and I’ll give you ten shekelsd of silver a year, your clothes and your food.” 11 So the Levite agreed to live with him, and the young man became like one of his sons to him. 12 Then Micah installedq the Levite, and the young man became his priestr and lived in his house. 13 And Micah said, “Now I know that the Lord will be good to me, since this Levite has become my priest.”s

The Danites Settle in Laish

18 In those days Israel had no king.t

And in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking a place of their own where they might settle, because they had not yet come into an inheritance among the tribes of Israel.u So the Danitesv sent five of their leading menw from Zorah and Eshtaol to spy outx the land and explore it. These men represented all the Danites. They told them, “Go, explore the land.”y

So they entered the hill country of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah,z where they spent the night. When they were near Micah’s house, they recognized the voice of the young Levite;a so they turned in there and asked him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? Why are you here?”

He told them what Micah had done for him, and said, “He has hired me and I am his priest.b

Then they said to him, “Please inquire of Godc to learn whether our journey will be successful.”

The priest answered them, “Go in peaced. Your journey has the Lord’s approval.”

So the five mene left and came to Laish,f where they saw that the people were living in safety, like the Sidonians, at peace and secure.g And since their land lacked nothing, they were prosperous.a Also, they lived a long way from the Sidoniansh and had no relationship with anyone else.b

When they returned to Zorah and Eshtaol, their fellow Danites asked them, “How did you find things?”

They answered, “Come on, let’s attack them! We have seen the land, and it is very good. Aren’t you going to do something? Don’t hesitate to go there and take it over.i 10 When you get there, you will find an unsuspecting people and a spacious land that God has put into your hands, a land that lacks nothingj whatever.k

11 Then six hundred menl of the Danites,m armed for battle, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol. 12 On their way they set up camp near Kiriath Jearimn in Judah. This is why the place west of Kiriath Jearim is called Mahaneh Danc o to this day. 13 From there they went on to the hill country of Ephraim and came to Micah’s house.p

14 Then the five men who had spied out the land of Laishq said to their fellow Danites, “Do you know that one of these houses has an ephod,r some household gods and an image overlaid with silver?s Now you know what to do.” 15 So they turned in there and went to the house of the young Levite at Micah’s place and greeted him. 16 The six hundred Danites,t armed for battle, stood at the entrance of the gate. 17 The five men who had spied out the land went inside and took the idol, the ephod and the household godsu while the priest and the six hundred armed menv stood at the entrance of the gate.

18 When the five men went into Micah’s house and tookw the idol, the ephod and the household gods,x the priest said to them, “What are you doing?”

19 They answered him, “Be quiet!y Don’t say a word. Come with us, and be our father and priest.z Isn’t it better that you serve a tribe and clana in Israel as priest rather than just one man’s household?” 20 The priest was very pleased. He took the ephod, the household gods and the idol and went along with the people. 21 Putting their little children, their livestock and their possessions in front of them, they turned away and left.

22 When they had gone some distance from Micah’s house, the men who lived near Micah were called together and overtook the Danites. 23 As they shouted after them, the Danites turned and said to Micah, “What’s the matter with you that you called out your men to fight?”

24 He replied, “You tookb the gods I made, and my priest, and went away. What else do I have? How can you ask, ‘What’s the matter with you?’ ”

25 The Danites answered, “Don’t argue with us, or some of the men may get angry and attack you, and you and your family will lose your lives.” 26 So the Danites went their way, and Micah, seeing that they were too strong for him,c turned around and went back home.

27 Then they took what Micah had made, and his priest, and went on to Laish, against a people at peace and secure.d They attacked them with the sword and burnede down their city.f 28 There was no one to rescue them because they lived a long way from Sidong and had no relationship with anyone else. The city was in a valley near Beth Rehob.h

The Danites rebuilt the city and settled there. 29 They named it Dani after their ancestor Dan, who was born to Israel—though the city used to be called Laish.j 30 There the Danites set up for themselves the idol, and Jonathan son of Gershom,k the son of Moses,d and his sons were priests for the tribe of Dan until the time of the captivity of the land. 31 They continued to use the idol Micah had made,l all the time the house of Godm was in Shiloh.n

A Levite and His Concubine

19 In those days Israel had no king.

Now a Levite who lived in a remote area in the hill country of Ephraimo took a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah.p But she was unfaithful to him. She left him and went back to her parents’ home in Bethlehem, Judah. After she had been there four months, her husband went to her to persuade her to return. He had with him his servant and two donkeys. She took him into her parents’ home, and when her father saw him, he gladly welcomed him. His father-in-law, the woman’s father, prevailed on him to stay; so he remained with him three days, eating and drinking,q and sleeping there.

On the fourth day they got up early and he prepared to leave, but the woman’s father said to his son-in-law, “Refresh yourselfr with something to eat; then you can go.” So the two of them sat down to eat and drink together. Afterward the woman’s father said, “Please stay tonight and enjoy yourself.sAnd when the man got up to go, his father-in-law persuaded him, so he stayed there that night. On the morning of the fifth day, when he rose to go, the woman’s father said, “Refresh yourself. Wait till afternoon!” So the two of them ate together.

Then when the man, with his concubine and his servant, got up to leave, his father-in-law, the woman’s father, said, “Now look, it’s almost evening. Spend the night here; the day is nearly over. Stay and enjoy yourself. Early tomorrow morning you can get up and be on your way home.” 10 But, unwilling to stay another night, the man left and went toward Jebust (that is, Jerusalem), with his two saddled donkeys and his concubine.

11 When they were near Jebus and the day was almost gone, the servant said to his master, “Come, let’s stop at this city of the Jebusitesu and spend the night.”

12 His master replied, “No. We won’t go into any city whose people are not Israelites. We will go on to Gibeah.” 13 He added, “Come, let’s try to reach Gibeah or Ramahv and spend the night in one of those places.” 14 So they went on, and the sun set as they neared Gibeah in Benjamin.w 15 There they stopped to spend the night.x They went and sat in the city square,y but no one took them in for the night.

16 That eveningz an old man from the hill country of Ephraim,a who was living in Gibeah (the inhabitants of the place were Benjamites), came in from his work in the fields. 17 When he looked and saw the traveler in the city square, the old man asked, “Where are you going? Where did you come from?”b

18 He answered, “We are on our way from Bethlehem in Judah to a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim where I live. I have been to Bethlehem in Judah and now I am going to the house of the Lord.a c No one has taken me in for the night. 19 We have both straw and fodderd for our donkeyse and bread and winef for ourselves your servants—me, the woman and the young man with us. We don’t need anything.”

20 “You are welcome at my house,” the old man said. “Let me supply whatever you need. Only don’t spend the night in the square.” 21 So he took him into his house and fed his donkeys. After they had washed their feet, they had something to eat and drink.g

22 While they were enjoying themselves,h some of the wicked meni of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.j

23 The owner of the house went outsidek and said to them, “No, my friends, don’t be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don’t do this outrageous thing.l 24 Look, here is my virgin daughter,m and

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That is, about 28 pounds or about 13 kilograms

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That is, about 5 pounds or about 2.3 kilograms

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Or To carry on his profession

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That is, about 4 ounces or about 115 grams

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The meaning of the Hebrew for this clause is uncertain.

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Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts with the Arameans

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Mahaneh Dan means Dan’s camp.

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Many Hebrew manuscripts, some Septuagint manuscripts and Vulgate; many other Hebrew manuscripts and some other Septuagint manuscripts Manasseh

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Hebrew, Vulgate, Syriac and Targum; Septuagint going home

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