17 There was a man named Micah from the mountain region of Ephraim. 2 He told his mother, “You were upset about the 1,100 pieces of silver that were taken from you. I even heard you put a curse on them. Here’s the silver. I took it!”
His mother said, “Yahweh bless you, my son!”
3 So Micah gave the 1,100 pieces of silver back to his mother. Then his mother said, “I dedicate this silver to Yahweh for my son’s benefit. I want to make a carved idol and a metal idol. So now I’m giving the silver back to you.”
4 When Micah returned the silver to his mother, she took 200 pieces of the silver and gave it to a silversmith. He made a carved idol and a metal idol. Both were placed in Micah’s home. 5 Micah owned a house of Elohim. He also made an ephod[a] and household idols. He ordained one of his sons to be his priest. 6 In those days Israel didn’t have a king. Everyone did whatever he considered right.
7 There was a young man from Bethlehem in Judah. (Bethlehem belongs to the family of Judah.) He was a Levite but was living in Bethlehem. 8 This man left Bethlehem in Judah to live wherever he could find a place. He came to Micah’s house in the mountains of Ephraim to carry on his work.
9 Micah asked him, “Where do you come from?”
The man told him, “I’m a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah. I’m going to live wherever I can find a place.”
10 Micah told him, “Stay with me! Be a father and a priest to me. I’ll give you ten pieces of silver a year, a set of clothes, and your room and board.”
The Levite accepted the offer 11 and agreed to live with Micah. The young man became like one of Micah’s sons. 12 Micah ordained the Levite. So the young man became his priest and a part of his family.
13 Then Micah said, “Now I know that Yahweh will be good to me. I have a Levite for my priest.”
Micah Brings Idolatry to the Tribe of Dan
18 In those days Israel didn’t have a king. And in those days the tribe of Dan was looking for a place to live. Up to that time they had not received land as an inheritance among the tribes of Israel as they should have. 2 So all the families of Dan sent out five qualified men from Zorah and Eshtaol. They were sent to spy throughout the land and explore it. They were told, “Go and explore the land!”
They came to Micah’s house in the mountains of Ephraim. They spent the night there. 3 While they were at Micah’s house, they recognized the young Levite’s voice. So they stopped to ask him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing here? Why are you here?”
4 The Levite told them what Micah had done for him and added, “Micah hired me, so I became his priest.”
5 They said to him, “Please find out from Elohim if our journey will be successful.”
6 The priest told them, “Go in peace. Yahweh approves of your journey.”
7 The five men left there and came to the city of Laish. They saw that the people there lived without a care. These people were like the people of Sidon. They were peaceful and secure. There was no one around who threatened to take away their property by force. They were far from the people of Sidon and totally independent.
8 The men went back to their relatives in Zorah and Eshtaol. Their relatives asked them, “What did you find?”
9 They replied, “Get up, let’s attack Laish. We saw the land. It’s very good!
“Don’t just sit there! Go at once and take the land. 10 When you get there, you will come to a secure people. The land is wide open to you. Elohim will hand it over to you. It’s a place where you will have everything you could want.”
11 So 600 men from the tribe of Dan left Zorah and Eshtaol armed for war. 12 They camped at Kiriath Jearim in Judah. This is why the place just west of Kiriath Jearim is still called Mahaneh Dan [The Camp of Dan] today. 13 From there they marched to the mountains of Ephraim as far as Micah’s house. 14 Then the five men who had gone to spy throughout the land around Laish spoke up. They said to the other men of Dan, “Do you know that there’s an ephod, a carved idol, a metal idol, and household idols in these houses? What do you think we should do?”
15 So they stopped and entered Micah’s house and greeted the young Levite. 16 The 600 armed men from Dan stood at the entrance to the city. 17 The five men who had gone to spy throughout the land went inside. They took the carved idol, the ephod, the household idols, and the metal idol. The priest stood at the entrance to the city with the 600 armed men. 18 When these men entered Micah’s house and took the carved idol, the ephod, the household idols, and the metal idol, the priest asked them, “What are you doing?”
19 They told him, “Keep quiet! Don’t say a word! Come with us and be our father and priest. Is it better for you to be a priest for one man’s house or for a tribe in Israel and its families?”
20 The priest was content. He took the ephod, the household idols, and the carved idol and went with the people. 21 When they left, they put their children, livestock, and property in front of them.
22 When they had already gone some distance from Micah’s house, Micah’s neighbors were called together to help him catch up to the people of Dan. 23 They shouted at them. But the people of Dan turned around and said to Micah, “What’s your problem? Why did you call your neighbors together to attack us?”
24 Micah answered, “You’ve taken away the gods I made as well as my priest. What do I have left? How can you say to me, ‘What’s your problem?’”
25 The people of Dan replied, “Don’t make another sound, or some violent men will attack you. Then you and your family will lose your lives.” 26 The people of Dan went on their way. Micah saw they were stronger than he was, so he turned around and went home.
27 The people of Dan took what Micah had made and the man who had become his priest and went to the city of Laish. They attacked a peaceful and secure people, killed them all with swords, and burned their city. 28 There was no one to rescue them because their city was far from Sidon and totally independent. The city was in the valley that belonged to Beth Rehob. The people of Dan rebuilt the city and lived in it. 29 They named the city Dan in honor of their ancestor Dan, Israel’s son. Originally, the city was called Laish.
30 The people of Dan set up the carved idol for themselves. Jonathan (son of Gershom and grandson of Moses) and his descendants were priests for Dan’s tribe until the people living in that land were taken captive. 31 So they set up for themselves the carved idol Micah had made. It stayed there the whole time the house of Elohim was at Shiloh.
- Judges 17:5 Ephod is a technical term for a part of the priest’s clothes. Its exact usage and shape are unknown.
A Conversation with Nicodemus
3 Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Jewish council. 2 He came to Yeshua one night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that God has sent you as a teacher. No one can perform the miracles you perform unless God is with him.”
3 Yeshua replied to Nicodemus, “I can guarantee this truth: No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”[a]
4 Nicodemus asked him, “How can anyone be born when he’s an old man? He can’t go back inside his mother a second time to be born, can he?”
5 Yeshua answered Nicodemus, “I can guarantee this truth: No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh and blood give birth to flesh and blood, but the Spirit gives birth to things that are spiritual. 7 Don’t be surprised when I tell you that all of you must be born from above. 8 The wind[b] blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where the wind comes from or where it’s going. That’s the way it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
9 Nicodemus replied, “How can that be?”
10 Yeshua told Nicodemus, “You’re a well-known teacher of Israel. Can’t you understand this? 11 I can guarantee this truth: We know what we’re talking about, and we confirm what we’ve seen. Yet, you don’t accept our message. 12 If you don’t believe me when I tell you about things on earth, how will you believe me when I tell you about things in heaven? 13 No one has gone to heaven except the Son of Man, who came from heaven.
14 “As Moses lifted up the snake on a pole in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up. 15 Then everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.”
16 God loved the world this way: He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but to save the world. 18 Those who believe in him won’t be condemned. But those who don’t believe are already condemned because they don’t believe in God’s only Son.
19 This is why people are condemned: The light came into the world. Yet, people loved the dark rather than the light because their actions were evil. 20 People who do what is wrong hate the light and don’t come to the light. They don’t want their actions to be exposed. 21 But people who do what is true come to the light so that the things they do for God may be clearly seen.
1 Praise Yahweh my soul!
O Yahweh my Elohim, you are very great.
You are clothed with splendor and majesty.
2 You cover yourself with light as though it were a robe.
You stretch out the heavens as though they were curtains.
3 You lay the beams of your home in the water.
You use the clouds for your chariot.
You move on the wings of the wind.
4 You make your angels winds
and your servants flames of fire.
5 You set the earth on its foundations
so that it can never be shaken.
6 You covered the earth with an ocean as though it were a robe.
Water stood above the mountains
7 and fled because of your threat.
Water ran away at the sound of your thunder.
8 The mountains rose and the valleys sank
to the place you appointed for them.
9 Water cannot cross the boundary you set
and cannot come back to cover the earth.
10 You make water gush from springs into valleys.
It flows between the mountains.
11 Every wild animal drinks from them.
Wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds live by the streams.
They sing among the branches.
13 You water the mountains from your home above.
You fill the earth with the fruits of your labors.
14 You make grass grow for cattle
and make vegetables for humans to use
in order to get food from the ground.
15 You make wine to cheer human hearts,
olive oil to make faces shine,
and bread to strengthen human hearts.
16 Yahweh’s trees, the cedars in Lebanon which he planted,
drink their fill.
17 Birds build their nests in them.
Storks make their homes in fir trees.
18 The high mountains are for wild goats.
The rocks are a refuge for badgers.
19 He created the moon, which marks the seasons,
and the sun, which knows when to set.
20 He brings darkness, and it is nighttime,
when all the wild animals in the forest come out.
21 The young lions roar for their prey
and seek their food from God.
22 When the sun rises,
they gather and lie down in their dens.
23 Then people go to do their work,
to do their tasks until evening.
20 A poor person is hated even by his neighbor,
but a rich person is loved by many.
21 Whoever despises his neighbor sins,
but blessed is the one who is kind to humble people.