Judges 17:7 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 17:7, NIV: A young Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, who had been living within the clan of Judah,

Judges 17:7, ESV: Now there was a young man of Bethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there.

Judges 17:7, KJV: And there was a young man out of Bethlehemjudah of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there.

Judges 17:7, NASB: Now there was a young man from Bethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah, who was a Levite; and he was staying there.

Judges 17:7, NLT: One day a young Levite, who had been living in Bethlehem in Judah, arrived in that area.

Judges 17:7, CSB: There was a young man, a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, who was staying within the clan of Judah.

What does Judges 17:7 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This introduces a new character into Micah's story (Judges 17:1–5). Only later will this young man be identified as Jonathan, a grandson of Moses (Judges 18:30). That the young man is a Levite means he is from the tribe of Levi (Exodus 1:1–3). He lives in Bethlehem in Judah, but is said to have "sojourned" there, meaning he was not from Bethlehem originally.

The Law of Moses assigned the Levites as the priests of Israel, overseeing worship in the places which God approved (Numbers 1:49–53). The Levite tribe did not have its own territory. Instead, they were given cities to occupy scattered throughout Israel so that they could lead the people in the worship of Yahweh. They were to be supported by the offerings of the people (Joshua 21).

Bethlehem was not one of the Levite cities. This means that, at the time this young man arrives in the story, he was neither serving as a priest in the temple nor living in one of the cities appointed for Levites. Deuteronomy 18:6–8 allowed for Levites to travel and settle elsewhere if the Lord led them to do so and still be supported by the people.