Judges 17:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 17:11, NIV: So the Levite agreed to live with him, and the young man became like one of his sons to him.

Judges 17:11, ESV: And the Levite was content to dwell with the man, and the young man became to him like one of his sons.

Judges 17:11, KJV: And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons.

Judges 17:11, NASB: The Levite agreed to live with the man, and the young man became to him like one of his sons.

Judges 17:11, NLT: The Levite agreed to this, and the young man became like one of Micah's sons.

Judges 17:11, CSB: and agreed to stay with the man, and the young man became like one of his sons.

What does Judges 17:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

According to Exodus 32:25–29, the tribe of the Levites were dedicated to the service of the Lord by Moses when they stood with him against the worship of the golden calf by the people of Israel. At the time, that included purging idolatry and sin from the people of Israel by force. One purpose of the book of Judges is to show how far the Israelites had fallen from their original dedication to the Lord (Judges 2:16–19). Statements such as the one made in verse 6 show that Israel was not merely without a central government—they were spiritually lawless, not submitting to their rightful King, the Lord God (Judges 17:6).

Further examples of this spiritual decay are seen in Micah and the Levite. A young man from the tribe of Levi accepted a job offer from an idol-worshipper (Judges 17:1–5). Instead of serving the Lord, the Levite became Micah's personal family priest, including a household shrine which included objects of worship to many different gods. Rather than confronting Micah over this obvious disregard for the commands of the Lord, this Levite man is now said to be content. From a worldly perspective, this is a better situation than he had likely dared hope for. All his needs were provided, and he even became part of a family, like one of Micah's sons.

Worldly culture—both of Micah's era and of the modern world—would suggest this was a good thing. The typical attitude is something like saying, "What's so wrong with that? These spiritually open-minded people are happy doing their own thing. Just leave them alone. Why make a fuss?"

That attitude is exactly why God had repeatedly allowed Israel to fall under oppression by their enemies (Judges 2:16–19). He had rescued them from slavery (Exodus 6:6) and set them apart to be His one and only chosen people (Deuteronomy 14:2). He rightly wanted to be their only God. He wanted them to trust in Him alone. He wanted Israel to demonstrate dependence on Him by obeying His commands for life and worship. He wanted them to love Him with all their hearts, minds, and bodies (Deuteronomy 6:5).

However, fallen human beings want to do what feels right in our own eyes (Judges 17:6; Proverbs 14:12). That's what Micah and this Levite man are doing.