Judges 18:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 18:20, NIV: The priest was very pleased. He took the ephod, the household gods and the idol and went along with the people.

Judges 18:20, ESV: 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.

Judges 18:20, KJV: And the priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people.

Judges 18:20, NASB: The priest’s heart was glad, and he took the ephod, the household idols, and the carved image, and went among the people.

Judges 18:20, NLT: The young priest was quite happy to go with them, so he took along the sacred ephod, the household idols, and the carved image.

Judges 18:20, CSB: So the priest was pleased and took the ephod, household idols, and carved image, and went with the people.

What does Judges 18:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The five Danite spies (Judges 18:1) who had visited Micah's house (Judges 18:2) have returned with an army of six hundred warriors and their families (Judges 18:11–13). They are migrating north (Judges 18:7), but first they have stopped to steal Micah's religious objects and his personal Levite priest. That priest was content to have overseen a shrine with objects dedicated both to Yahweh and numerous false gods.

Now the priest has received an even better job offer. The Levite was content to live in Micah's household, serving as a paid private cleric. Now the Danites have demanded he come with them, upping his status to being "priest" of an entire tribe of Israel. Proving that he's nothing but a spiritual mercenary, he is thrilled at this proposition. The idea of going along with a raiding tribe and stealing his former employer's idols makes him happy. Instead of trying to stop the scouts from robbing a man who had treated him like a son, he helped take the sacred objects from Micah's house. He then joined the people of Dan as they continued their journey north.

The modern world has plenty of people with the same spirit as this fraudulent Levite "priest." He is a perfect example of a religious leader happy to accept status and security (Judges 17:7–12) without representing God in any meaningful way (Exodus 20:3–17). If he knew the commands of the Lord, he did not correct the wrong beliefs and misunderstandings of those he served. Like many modern religious leaders, he was unwilling to risk worldly security to confront those who employed him. Then and now, there are false teachers willing to pretend to represent God so they can enjoy the respect of a titled position (Matthew 23).