Judges 18:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 18:3, NIV: When they were near Micah's house, they recognized the voice of the young Levite; so they turned in there and asked him, 'Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? Why are you here?'

Judges 18:3, ESV: When they were by the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young Levite. And they turned aside and said to him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What is your business here?”

Judges 18:3, KJV: When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man the Levite: and they turned in thither, and said unto him, Who brought thee hither? and what makest thou in this place? and what hast thou here?

Judges 18:3, NASB: When they were near the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young man, the Levite; and they turned aside there and said to him, 'Who brought you here? And what are you doing in this place? And what do you have here?'

Judges 18:3, NLT: While at Micah's house, they recognized the young Levite's accent, so they went over and asked him, 'Who brought you here, and what are you doing in this place? Why are you here?'

Judges 18:3, CSB: While they were near Micah's home, they recognized the accent of the young Levite. So they went over to him and asked, "Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What is keeping you here? "

What does Judges 18:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Five spies—meaning "scouts"—from the tribe of Dan are on a mission. They seek a region where they can take more land for their own tribe. They are even willing to take it from a territory originally designated for another of Israel's twelve tribes. This mission brings them from the region near Zorah and Eshtaol to the hill country of Ephraim and, along the way, to the house of Micah (Judges 17:1–5). This was the man described in the prior chapter who'd hired a Levite as the priest of his own customized religion (Judges 17:7–13).

Now comes a plot twist. The spies recognize the voice of the young man Micah hired and ordained as his personal priest. Commentators differ about what, exactly, that means. Some believe these Danite men knew the Levite from his former wandering. What's much more likely is that they recognized his accent; other stories in the book of Judges show that regional pronunciations were notably different (Judges 12:6). The scouts realize the young man is originally from Judea and not the territory of Ephraim.

The men are curious about why this travelling Levite priest is living with Micah. They ask who brought him there, what he is doing there, and what his business is there. That they are so surprised and curious shows how unusual Micah's arrangement was.