Judges 17:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 17:5, NIV: Now this man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and some household gods and installed one of his sons as his priest.

Judges 17:5, ESV: And the man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and household gods, and ordained one of his sons, who became his priest.

Judges 17:5, KJV: And the man Micah had an house of gods, and made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest.

Judges 17:5, NASB: And the man Micah had a shrine and he made an ephod and household idols, and consecrated one of his sons, so that he might become his priest.

Judges 17:5, NLT: Micah set up a shrine for the idol, and he made a sacred ephod and some household idols. Then he installed one of his sons as his personal priest.

Judges 17:5, CSB: This man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and household idols, and installed one of his sons to be his priest.

What does Judges 17:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Micah, an Israelite of the tribe of Ephraim, stands as a representative of all Israelites. He may have claimed allegiance to the one true God of Israel, but he completely disregarded the commands given to God's people. So far, he has coveted (Exodus 20:17), dishonored his mother (Exodus 20:12), stolen (Exodus 20:15), probably lied (Exodus 20:16), and has now created an idol (Exodus 20:4) to keep with his other images of false gods (Exodus 20:3). He and his family appear to have worshipped many gods, alongside Yahweh, creating a self-styled system of religion.

Home shrines have been a common part of human religion across all history and in many cultures. God's command to the Israelites, however, was not compatible with this approach. He commanded they worship Him, and Him alone, in a single place which He approved (Deuteronomy 12:1–14). Micah's shrine held his new carved idols, along with other household gods and an ephod he had made. An ephod was a kind of ceremonial breastplate often worn by priests as they carried out the worship of their gods. During this era, ephods sometimes became objects of worship themselves (Judges 8:27), which is likely what happened with this one.

Finally, Micah's family ignored God's law about selecting and ordaining priests for worship (Numbers 3:10). He is ordaining one of his own sons, to serve as a false priest, in his own false shrine, with his own false self-selection of gods and sacred objects. Blatant disobedience like this was at the core of Israel's spiritual disobedience and is what led God to repeatedly subject His people to other nations (Judges 2:16–19).

Before a reader dismisses Micah and his family as superstitious people from a superstitious time, consider the present day. How many people today continue to select which parts of God's Word they will follow, and which they will ignore? Or, who senselessly decide which pieces and parts of other religious teachings they will add alongside of Scripture?