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English Standard Version

Judges 17:1–21:25

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Micah and the Levite

17 There was a man of tthe hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Micah. And he said to his mother, “The 1,100 pieces of silver that were taken from you, about which you uttered a curse, and also spoke it in my ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it.” And his mother said, u“Blessed be my son by the Lord.” And he restored the 1,100 pieces of silver to his mother. And his mother said, “I dedicate the silver to the Lord from my hand for my son, to make va carved image and wa metal image. Now therefore I will restore it to you.” So when he restored the money to his mother, his mother xtook 200 pieces of silver and gave it to the silversmith, who made it into a carved image and a metal image. And it was in the house of Micah. And the man Micah had a shrine, and he made yan ephod and zhousehold gods, and aordained1 one of his sons, who became his priest. bIn those days there was no king in Israel. cEveryone did what was right in his own eyes.

Now there was a young man of dBethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there. And the man departed from the town of Bethlehem in Judah to sojourn where he could find a place. And as he journeyed, he came to ethe hill country of Ephraim to the house of Micah. And Micah said to him, “Where do you come from?” And he said to him, “I am a Levite of Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going to sojourn where I may find a place.” 10 And Micah said to him, “Stay with me, and be to me fa father and a priest, and I will give you ten pieces of silver a year and a suit of clothes and your living.” And the Levite went in. 11 And the Levite gwas content to dwell with the man, and the young man became to him like one of his sons. 12 And Micah hordained the Levite, and the young man ibecame his priest, and was in the house of Micah. 13 Then Micah said, “Now I know that the Lord will prosper me, because I have a Levite as priest.”

Danites Take the Levite and the Idol

18 jIn those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days kthe tribe of the people of Dan was seeking for itself an inheritance to dwell in, for until then no inheritance among the tribes of Israel had fallen to them. So the people of Dan sent five able men from the whole number of their tribe, lfrom Zorah and from Eshtaol, mto spy out the land and to explore it. And they said to them, “Go and explore the land.” And they came nto the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there. When they were by the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young Levite. And they turned aside and said to him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What is your business here?” And he said to them, “This is how Micah dealt with me: ohe has hired me, and I have become his priest.” And they said to him, p“Inquire of God, please, that we may know whether the journey on which we are setting out will succeed.” And the priest said to them, q“Go in peace. The journey on which you go is under the eye of the Lord.”

Then the five men departed and came to rLaish and saw the people who were there, how they lived in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, squiet and unsuspecting, lacking1 nothing that is in the earth and possessing wealth, and how tthey were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone. And when they came to their brothers at uZorah and Eshtaol, their brothers said to them, “What do you report?” They said, v“Arise, and let us go up against them, for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good. wAnd will you do nothing? xDo not be slow to go, to enter in and possess the land. 10 As soon as you go, you will come to an yunsuspecting people. The land is spacious, for God has given it into your hands, za place where there is no lack of anything that is in the earth.”

11 So 600 men of the tribe of Dan, aarmed with weapons of war, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol, 12 and went up and encamped at Kiriath-jearim in Judah. On this account that place is called bMahaneh-dan2 to this day; behold, it is west of cKiriath-jearim. 13 And they passed on from there to dthe hill country of Ephraim, and came to the house of Micah.

14 Then the five men who had gone to scout out the country of Laish said to their brothers, “Do you know that ein these houses there are an ephod, household gods, a carved image, and a metal image? Now therefore consider what you will do.” 15 And they turned aside there and came to the house of the young Levite, at the home of Micah, and fasked him about his welfare. 16 Now the 600 men of the Danites, garmed with their weapons of war, stood by the entrance of the gate. 17 And hthe five men who had gone to scout out the land went up and entered and took ithe carved image, the ephod, the household gods, and the metal image, while the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the 600 men armed with weapons of war. 18 And when these went into Micah’s house and took ithe carved image, the ephod, the household gods, and the metal image, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?” 19 And they said to him, “Keep quiet; jput your hand on your mouth and come with us and be to us ka father and a priest. Is it better for you to be priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and clan in Israel?” 20 And the priest’s heart was glad. He took the ephod and the household gods and the carved image and went along with the people.

21 So they turned and departed, putting the little ones and the livestock and lthe goods in front of them. 22 When they had gone a distance from the home of Micah, the men who were in the houses near Micah’s house were called out, and they overtook the people of Dan. 23 And they shouted to the people of Dan, who turned around and said to Micah, “What is the matter with you, that you come with such a company?” 24 And he said, m“You take my gods that I made and the priest, and go away, and what have I left? How then do you ask me, ‘What is the matter with you?’ ” 25 And the people of Dan said to him, “Do not let your voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows fall upon you, and you lose your life with the lives of your household.” 26 Then the people of Dan went their way. And when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his home.

27 But the people of Dan took what Micah had made, and the priest who belonged to him, and they came to Laish, to a people nquiet and unsuspecting, and ostruck them with the edge of the sword and burned the city with fire. 28 And there was no deliverer because it was pfar from Sidon, and they had no dealings with anyone. It was in the valley that belongs to qBeth-rehob. Then they rebuilt the city and lived in it. 29 And they named the city rDan, after the name of Dan their ancestor, who was born to Israel; but sthe name of the city was Laish at the first. 30 And the people of Dan set up the carved image for themselves, and Jonathan the son of Gershom, tson of Moses,3 uand his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day vof the captivity of the land. 31 So they set up Micah’s carved image that he made, was long as the house of God was at Shiloh.

A Levite and His Concubine

19 In those days, xwhen there was no king in Israel, a certain Levite was sojourning in the remote parts of ythe hill country of Ephraim, who took to himself a concubine from zBethlehem in Judah. And his concubine was unfaithful to1 him, and she went away from him to her father’s house at Bethlehem in Judah, and was there some four months. Then her husband arose and went after her, to speak kindly to her and bring her back. He had with him his servant and a couple of donkeys. And she brought him into her father’s house. And when the girl’s father saw him, he came with joy to meet him. And his father-in-law, the girl’s father, made him stay, and he remained with him three days. So they ate and drank and spent the night there. And on the fourth day they arose early in the morning, and he prepared to go, but the girl’s father said to his son-in-law, a“Strengthen your heart with a morsel of bread, and after that you may go.” So the two of them sat and ate and drank together. And the girl’s father said to the man, “Be pleased to spend the night, and blet your heart be merry.” And when the man rose up to go, his father-in-law pressed him, till he spent the night there again. And on the fifth day he arose early in the morning to depart. And the girl’s father said, c“Strengthen your heart and wait until the day declines.” So they ate, both of them. And when the man and his concubine and his servant rose up to depart, his father-in-law, the girl’s father, said to him, “Behold, now the day has waned toward evening. Please, spend the night. Behold, the day draws to its close. Lodge here and let your heart be merry, and tomorrow you shall arise early in the morning for your journey, and go home.”

10 But the man would not spend the night. He rose up and departed and arrived opposite dJebus (that is, Jerusalem). He had with him a couple of saddled donkeys, and his concubine was with him. 11 When they were near Jebus, the day was nearly over, and the servant said to his master, “Come now, let us turn aside to this city of the Jebusites and spend the night in it.” 12 And his master said to him, “We will not turn aside into the city of foreigners, who do not belong to the people of Israel, but we will pass on to eGibeah.” 13 And he said to his young man, “Come and let us draw near to one of these places and spend the night at Gibeah or at fRamah.” 14 So they passed on and went their way. And the sun went down on them near Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin, 15 and they turned aside there, to go in and spend the night at Gibeah. And he went in and sat down in the open square of the city, gfor no one took them into his house to spend the night.

16 And behold, an old man was coming from his work in the field at evening.

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