1. Judges 17:11 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Why is the Levite’s acceptance of the offer so appalling?

Judges 17:11 (ESV)

11 And the Levite was content to dwell with the man, and the young man became to him like one of his sons.

The Levite accepted Micah’s offer to serve as a father and a priest to him, and was content to dwell with the man. Instead of denouncing Micah for his idolatrous worship (see Deuteronomy 13:6–11), the Levite is happy to be in the pay of Micah, as a priest at his pagan shrine. The Levites are supposed to be the teachers and guardians of the worship of the Lord. This is the tribe that, at Mount Sinai, after Israel’s sin with the golden calf, came to Moses’ aid, with sword in hand, and killed the calf-worshipers (Exodus 32:25–28). But money, employment, and the prospect of being regarded as a spiritual mentor of this rich man are all intoxicating. He may be a consecrated priest, but in practice he is an apostate Levite who is now in the pay of Micah. The silver that once tempted Micah into stealing from his mother has now enticed the young Levite to both apostasy and promoting apostasy by serving as priest at a pagan shrine. He does not protest, or walk out in disgust; he does not rather, he settles right in. He too represents what it is to do what is right in one’s own eyes. This is false, impure priestly service, another symptom of the pervasive Canaanization of Israelite society…. The religious establishment in Israel has been thoroughly infected with the Canaanite disease.1