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Judges 17-19 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

III. Further Stories of the Tribes of Dan and Benjamin

Chapter 17

Micah and the Levite. There was a man from the mountain region of Ephraim whose name was Micah. [a]He said to his mother, “The eleven hundred pieces of silver that were taken from you, about which you pronounced a curse and even said it in my hearing—I have that silver. I took it. So now I will restore it to you.” Then his mother said, “May my son be blessed by the Lord!” When he restored the eleven hundred pieces of silver to his mother, she said, “I consecrate the silver to the Lord from my own hand on behalf of my son to make an idol overlaid with silver.”[b] So when he restored the silver to his mother, she took two hundred pieces and gave them to the silversmith, who made of them an idol overlaid with silver. So it remained in the house of Micah. The man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and teraphim,[c] and installed one of his sons, who became his priest. [d]In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in their own eyes.

There was a young man from Bethlehem of Judah, from the clan of Judah; he was a Levite residing there. The man set out from the city, Bethlehem of Judah, to take up residence wherever he could find a place. On his journey he came into the mountain region of Ephraim as far as the house of Micah. “Where do you come from?” Micah asked him. He answered him, “I am a Levite, from Bethlehem in Judah, and I am on my way to take up residence wherever I can find a place.” 10 “Stay with me,” Micah said to him. “Be father and priest to me, and I will give you ten silver pieces a year, a set of garments, and your living.” He pressed the Levite, 11 and he agreed to stay with the man. The young man became like one of his own sons. 12 [e]Micah installed the Levite, and the young man became his priest, remaining in the house of Micah. 13 Then Micah said, “Now I know that the Lord will prosper me, since I have the Levite as my priest.”

Chapter 18

Migration of the Danites. In those days there was no king in Israel. In those days the tribe of the Danites were in search of a heritage to dwell in, for up to that time no heritage had been allotted[f] to them among the tribes of Israel.

So the Danites sent from their clans five powerful men of Zorah and Eshtaol, to reconnoiter the land and scout it. “Go, scout the land,” they were told. They went into the mountain region of Ephraim, and they spent the night there. While they were near the house of Micah, they recognized the voice[g] of the young Levite, so they turned aside. They asked him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing here? What is your interest here?” “This is what Micah has done for me,” he replied to them. “He has hired me and I have become his priest.” They said to him, “Consult God, that we may know whether the journey we are making will lead to success.” The priest said to them, “Go in peace! The journey you are making is under the eye of the Lord.”

So the five men went on and came to Laish. They saw the people there living securely after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and trusting, with no lack of any natural resource. They were distant from the Sidonians and had no dealings with the Arameans.[h] When the five returned to their kin in Zorah and Eshtaol, they were asked, “What do you have to report?” They replied, “Come, let us attack them, for we have seen the land and it is very good. Are you going to hesitate? Do not be slow to go in and take possession of the land! 10 When you go you will come to a trusting people. The land stretches out in both directions, and God has indeed given it into your power—a place where no natural resource is lacking.”

11 So six hundred of the clan of the Danites, men armed with weapons of war, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol. 12 They marched up into Judah and encamped near Kiriath-jearim; for this reason the place is called Mahaneh-dan[i] to this day (it lies west of Kiriath-jearim).

13 From there they passed on into the mountain region of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah. 14 Then the five men who had gone to reconnoiter the land spoke up and said to their kindred, “Do you know that in these houses there are an ephod, teraphim, and an idol overlaid with silver? Now decide what you must do!” 15 So turning in that direction, they went to the house of the young Levite at the home of Micah and greeted him. 16 The six hundred Danites stationed themselves at the entrance of the gate armed with weapons of war. 17 The five men who had gone to reconnoiter the land went up 18 and entered the house of Micah with the priest standing there. They took the idol, the ephod, the teraphim and the metal image. When the priest said to them, “What are you doing?” 19 they said to him, “Be still! Put your hand over your mouth! Come with us and be our father and priest. Is it better for you to be priest for the family of one man or to be priest for a tribe and a clan in Israel?” 20 The priest, agreeing, took the ephod, the teraphim, and the idol, and went along with the troops. 21 As they turned to depart, they placed their little ones, their livestock, and their goods at the head of the column.

22 When the Danites had gone some distance from the house of Micah, Micah and the men in the houses nearby mustered and overtook them. 23 They called to the Danites, who turned and said to Micah, “What do you want that you have called this muster?” 24 “You have taken my god, which I made for myself, and you have gone off with my priest as well,” he answered. “What is left for me? How, then, can you ask me, ‘What do you want?’” 25 The Danites said to him, “Do not let your voice be heard near us, or aggravated men will attack you, and you will have forfeited your life and the lives of your family!” 26 Then the Danites went on their way, and Micah, seeing that they were too strong for him, turned back and went home.

27 Having taken what Micah had made and his priest, they marched against Laish, a quiet and trusting people; they put them to the sword and destroyed the city by fire. 28 No one came to their aid, since the city was far from Sidon and they had no dealings with the Arameans; the city was in the valley that belongs to Beth-rehob. The Danites then rebuilt the city and occupied it. 29 They named it Dan after their ancestor Dan, who was born to Israel. But Laish was the name of the city formerly. 30 [j]The Danites set up the idol for themselves, and Jonathan, son of Gershom, son of Moses, and his descendants were priests for the tribe of the Danites until the time the land went into captivity. 31 They maintained the idol Micah had made as long as the house of God was in Shiloh.[k]

Chapter 19

The Levite from Ephraim. In those days, when there was no king in Israel,[l] there was a Levite residing in remote parts of the mountain region of Ephraim who had taken for himself a concubine from Bethlehem of Judah. But his concubine spurned him and left him for her father’s house in Bethlehem of Judah, where she stayed for some four months. Her husband then set out with his servant and a pair of donkeys, and went after her to soothe her and bring her back. He arrived at her father’s house, and when the young woman’s father saw him, he came out joyfully to meet him. His father-in-law, the young woman’s father, urged him to stay, and so he spent three days eating and drinking and passing the night there. On the fourth day they rose early in the morning and he prepared to go. But the young woman’s father said to his son-in-law, “Fortify yourself with a little food; you can go later on.” So they stayed and the two men ate and drank together. Then the young woman’s father said to the husband, “Why not decide to spend the night here and enjoy yourself?” The man made a move to go, but when his father-in-law pressed him he went back and spent the night there.

On the fifth morning he rose early to depart, but the young woman’s father said, “Fortify yourself!” He coaxed him, and he tarried until the afternoon, and the two of them ate. Then when the husband was ready to go with his concubine and servant, the young woman’s father said to him, “See, the day is wearing on toward evening. Stay for the night. See, the day is coming to an end. Spend the night here and enjoy yourself. Early tomorrow you can start your journey home.” 10 The man, however, refused to stay another night; he and his concubine set out with a pair of saddled donkeys, and traveled until they came opposite Jebus, which is Jerusalem. 11 Since they were near Jebus with the day far gone, the servant said to his master, “Come, let us turn off to this city of the Jebusites and spend the night in it.” 12 But his master said to him, “We will not turn off to a foreigner’s city, where there are no Israelites. We will go on to Gibeah. 13 Come,” he said to his servant, “let us make for some other place and spend the night in either Gibeah or Ramah.” 14 So they continued on their way until the sun set on them when they were opposite Gibeah of Benjamin.

15 [m]There they turned off to enter Gibeah for the night. The man went in and sat down in the town square, but no one took them inside to spend the night. 16 In the evening, however, an old man came from his work in the field; he was from the mountain region of Ephraim, though he was living in Gibeah where the local people were Benjaminites. 17 When he noticed the traveler in the town square, the old man asked, “Where are you going, and where have you come from?” 18 He said to him, “We are traveling from Bethlehem of Judah far up into the mountain region of Ephraim, where I am from. I have been to Bethlehem of Judah, and now I am going home; but no one has taken me into his house. 19 We have straw and fodder for our donkeys, and bread and wine for myself and for your maidservant and the young man who is with your servant; there is nothing else we need.” 20 “Rest assured,” the old man said to him, “I will provide for all your needs, but do not spend the night in the public square.” 21 So he led them to his house and mixed fodder for the donkeys. Then they washed their feet, and ate and drank.

The Outrage at Gibeah. 22 [n]While they were enjoying themselves, the men of the city, a bunch of scoundrels, surrounded the house and beat on the door. They said to the old man who was the owner of the house, “Bring out the man who has come into your house, so that we may get intimate with him.” 23 The man who was the owner of the house went out to them and said, “No, my brothers; do not be so wicked. This man has come into my house; do not commit this terrible crime. 24 Instead, let me bring out my virgin daughter and this man’s concubine. Humiliate them, or do whatever you want; but against him do not commit such a terrible crime.” 25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and thrust her outside to them. They raped her and abused her all night until morning, and let her go as the sun was coming up. 26 At the approach of morning the woman came and collapsed at the entrance of the house in which her husband was, and lay there until morning. 27 When her husband rose in the morning and opened the door of the house to start out again on his journey, there was the woman, his concubine, collapsed at the entrance of the house with her hands on the threshold. 28 “Come, let us go,” he said to her, but there was no answer. So the man placed her on a donkey and started out again for home.

29 [o]On reaching home, he got a knife and took hold of the body of his concubine. He cut her up limb by limb into twelve pieces and sent them throughout the territory of Israel. 30 He instructed the men whom he sent, “Thus you shall say to all the men of Israel: ‘Has such a thing ever happened from the day the Israelites came up from the land of Egypt to this day?[p] Take note of it; form a plan and give orders.’”


  1. 17:2 The narrator picks up the story after a number of events, including a theft and a mother’s curse, have already taken place.
  2. 17:3 An idol overlaid with silver: two nouns in Hebrew, one indicating a wooden image and the other denoting an image cast from metal. The probable interpretation is that the woman intends for her silver to be recast as a covering for an image of a god, possibly the Lord. This was forbidden in Mosaic law (cf. Ex 20:4 and Dt 5:8).
  3. 17:5 An ephod and teraphim: cultic paraphernalia. An ephod was a priestly garment, especially that worn by the high priest (cf. Ex 28 and 39), which contained a pocket for objects used for divination. Teraphim were household idols (Gn 31:19, 34–35; 1 Sm 19:13), which may also have had a divinatory function.
  4. 17:6 This refrain, which will be repeated fully or in part three more times (18:1; 19:1; 21:25), calls attention to the disorder and lawlessness that prevailed before the establishment of kingship in Israel. In this case the problem is cultic impropriety, seen not only in the making of an idol but in the establishment of a local temple, complete with an ephod and teraphim.
  5. 17:12–13 Previously one of Micah’s sons served as priest (v. 5). But Micah’s family were probably Ephraimites (cf. v. 1) rather than Levites, and the story reflects a sense that only Levites were to be consecrated as priests; cf. Nm 18:7, where descent from Aaron is further specified as a requirement to be a priest. Thus Micah believes it will be to his advantage to retain the itinerant Levite.
  6. 18:1 No heritage…allotted: according to Jos 19:40–48, the Danites received an allotment in the central part of the country (cf. note on 13:2 above). The point here may be that since they were unable to take full possession of that original allotment, as indicated by the notice in Jgs 1:34, they are now seeking territory elsewhere.
  7. 18:3 Recognized the voice: this might indicate that the Danite scouts were personally acquainted with the young Levite, but it is more likely to mean that, being originally from Judah, his dialect or accent was noticeably different from others in Micah’s household.
  8. 18:7 The Sidonians…the Arameans: the people of Laish were not in regular contact with their neighbors, including the Sidonians or Phoenicians in the coastal district to the west and the Arameans in the regions to the north and east. This isolation is mentioned to underscore the vulnerability of the peaceful and unfortified city.
  9. 18:12 Mahaneh-dan: Hebrew, “camp of Dan.”
  10. 18:30 Micah’s shrine is now reinstalled at Laish-Dan. In the time of the kings of Israel and Judah, Dan was the site of one of the two national sanctuaries of the Northern Kingdom, both of which are strongly condemned by the editors of the Books of Kings, who regarded Jerusalem as the only acceptable place for a temple (1 Kgs 12:26–30). This verse draws a direct connection between Micah’s temple and the later royal sanctuary at Dan. Seen in this light the account of the establishment of Micah’s shrine, with its idol cast from stolen silver, becomes a highly polemical foundation story for the temple at Dan. Jonathan, son of Gershom, son of Moses: Micah’s Levite is now identified as the son or descendant of Gershom, Moses’ eldest son (Ex 2:22; 18:3). In the traditional Hebrew text an additional letter has been suspended over the name “Moses” to alter it to “Manasseh,” thus protecting Moses from association with idol worship. Captivity: although Samaria fell in 722/721 B.C., much of the northern part of the country, probably including Dan, had been subjugated about a decade earlier by the Assyrian emperor Tilgath-pileser III.
  11. 18:31 Shiloh: a major sanctuary which has a role in the final episode of Judges (21:12, 21).
  12. 19:1 No king in Israel: see note on 17:6. The violent story that follows is offered as another example of the disorder that prevailed before the inauguration of the monarchy.
  13. 19:15–21 The narrative casts a very unfavorable light on Gibeah of Benjamin, the town from which Israel’s first king would come (cf. 1 Sm 9:1–2). No Benjaminite offers hospitality to the Levite and his travel party, who are obliged to wait at night in the town square until an Ephraimite residing in Gibeah welcomes them into his home.
  14. 19:22–25 This part of the grim story closely parallels that of the assault on Lot’s angelic visitors in Gn 19:4–8.
  15. 19:29 The Levite’s gruesome way of summoning the tribes is a drastic version of that used by Saul in 1 Sm 11:7, where he dismembers a yoke of oxen.
  16. 19:30 Has such a thing ever happened…?: the outrage became a byword in Israel, so that in the eighth century the prophet Hosea could invoke “the days of Gibeah” (Hos 9:9; cf. 10:9) to signify corruption and wrongdoing.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Psalm 119:65-80 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)


65 You have treated your servant well,
    according to your word, O Lord.
66 Teach me wisdom and knowledge,
    for in your commandments I trust.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
    but now I hold to your promise.
68 You are good and do what is good;
    teach me your statutes.
69 The arrogant smear me with lies,
    but I keep your precepts with all my heart.
70 Their hearts are gross and fat;
    as for me, your law is my delight.
71 It was good for me to be afflicted,
    in order to learn your statutes.
72 The law of your mouth is more precious to me
    than heaps of silver and gold.


73 Your hands made me and fashioned me;
    give me understanding to learn your commandments.
74 Those who fear you rejoice to see me,
    because I hope in your word.
75 I know, Lord, that your judgments are righteous;
    though you afflict me, you are faithful.
76 May your mercy comfort me
    in accord with your promise to your servant.
77 Show me compassion that I may live,
    for your law is my delight.
78 Shame the proud for leading me astray with falsehood,
    that I may study your testimonies.
79 Let those who fear you turn to me,
    those who acknowledge your testimonies.
80 May I be wholehearted toward your statutes,
    that I may not be put to shame.

New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Mark 2:1-17 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 2

The Healing of a Paralytic. [a]When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home.[b] Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. [c]When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” [d]Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way?[e] He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’? 10 [f]But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”— 11 he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.” 12 He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”

The Call of Levi. 13 [g]Once again he went out along the sea. All the crowd came to him and he taught them. 14 As he passed by,[h] he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. 15 While he was at table in his house,[i] many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him. 16 [j]Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 Jesus heard this and said to them [that], “Those who are well do not need a physician,[k] but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

The Question About Fasting.[l]


  1. 2:1–3:6 This section relates a series of conflicts between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees in which the growing opposition of the latter leads to their plot to put Jesus to death (Mk 3:6).
  2. 2:1–2 He was at home: to the crowds that gathered in and outside the house Jesus preached the word, i.e., the gospel concerning the nearness of the kingdom and the necessity of repentance and faith (Mk 1:14).
  3. 2:5 It was the faith of the paralytic and those who carried him that moved Jesus to heal the sick man. Accounts of other miracles of Jesus reveal more and more his emphasis on faith as the requisite for exercising his healing powers (Mk 5:34; 9:23–24; 10:52).
  4. 2:6 Scribes: trained in oral interpretation of the written law; in Mark’s gospel, adversaries of Jesus, with one exception (Mk 12:28, 34).
  5. 2:7 He is blaspheming: an accusation made here and repeated during the trial of Jesus (Mk 14:60–64).
  6. 2:10 But that you may know that the Son of Man…on earth: although Mk 2:8–9 are addressed to the scribes, the sudden interruption of thought and structure in Mk 2:10 seems not addressed to them nor to the paralytic. Moreover, the early public use of the designation “Son of Man” to unbelieving scribes is most unlikely. The most probable explanation is that Mark’s insertion of Mk 2:10 is a commentary addressed to Christians for whom he recalls this miracle and who already accept in faith that Jesus is Messiah and Son of God.
  7. 2:13 He taught them: see note on Mk 1:21–45.
  8. 2:14 As he passed by: see note on Mk 1:16–20. Levi, son of Alphaeus: see note on Mt 9:9. Customs post: such tax collectors paid a fixed sum for the right to collect customs duties within their districts. Since whatever they could collect above this amount constituted their profit, the abuse of extortion was widespread among them. Hence, Jewish customs officials were regarded as sinners (Mk 2:16), outcasts of society, and disgraced along with their families. He got up and followed him: i.e., became a disciple of Jesus.
  9. 2:15 In his house: cf. Mk 2:1; Mt 9:10. Lk 5:29 clearly calls it Levi’s house.
  10. 2:16–17 This and the following conflict stories reflect a similar pattern: a statement of fact, a question of protest, and a reply by Jesus.
  11. 2:17 Do not need a physician: this maxim of Jesus with its implied irony was uttered to silence his adversaries who objected that he ate with tax collectors and sinners (Mk 2:16). Because the scribes and Pharisees were self-righteous, they were not capable of responding to Jesus’ call to repentance and faith in the gospel.
  12. 2:18–22 This conflict over the question of fasting has the same pattern as Mk 2:16–17; see notes on Mt 9:15; 9:16–17.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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