Judges 18:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 18:4, NIV: He told them what Micah had done for him, and said, 'He has hired me and I am his priest.'

Judges 18:4, ESV: And he said to them, “This is how Micah dealt with me: he has hired me, and I have become his priest.”

Judges 18:4, KJV: And he said unto them, Thus and thus dealeth Micah with me, and hath hired me, and I am his priest.

Judges 18:4, NASB: He said to them, 'Micah has done this and that for me, and he has hired me and I have become his priest.'

Judges 18:4, NLT: He told them about his agreement with Micah and that he had been hired as Micah's personal priest.

Judges 18:4, CSB: He told them, "This is what Micah has done for me: He has hired me, and I became his priest."

What does Judges 18:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The Levite priest (Judges 17:13) in Micah's home (Judges 17:1–5) is under rapid-fire questioning. His interrogators are five strong Danite scouts. Their mission is to find a new region for their people to occupy, taking them through the hill country of Ephraim (Judges 18:1–3). It's possible Micah ran a kind of lodging house for travelers.

The Danites recognized the Levite man's voice. While that might mean they knew him from previous travels, it's far more likely they recognize his accent. This clearly identifies him as being from Judah and not Ephraim. They pepper him with questions about what he is doing there. The Levite tells them the story. Micah hired him to serve as a personal priest to the family, as part of a personalized family religion.

Everyone involved in the conversation is an Israelite who should have cared about following God's law. Every detail of this scenario ought to have generated concern. There was no room in God's commands for a personal priest to serve just one family in that family's home (Numbers 3:5–10). Even more alarming, Micah had a shrine with other gods in it (Exodus 20:1–6). As for the Danites, they are in Ephraim instead of their own territory (Joshua 19:40–46), seeking other lands to conquer.

This spiritual anarchy is likely the reason the book of Judges often repeats that Israel had no king during this era (Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25). They were without government leadership, but far more dangerously, they were not living in submission to their Lord (Exodus 6:7).

Here, all the Danites see is an opportunity. Like Micah, they seem to think that the Levite man's heritage automatically makes him a conduit to the voice of God (Judges 17:13). They take their chance to ask if their quest—one blatantly in defiance of God's commands—is blessed.