17 In the hill country of Ephraim lived a man named Micah.
2 One day he said to his mother, “That thousand dollars you thought was stolen from you, and you were cursing about—well, I stole it!”
“God bless you for confessing it,” his mother replied. 3 So he returned the money to her.
“I am going to give it to the Lord as a credit for your account,” she declared. “I’ll have an idol carved for you and plate it with the silver.”
4-5 So his mother took a fifth of it to a silversmith, and the idol he made from it was placed in Micah’s shrine. Micah had many idols in his collection, also an ephod and some teraphim, and he installed one of his sons as the priest. 6 (For in those days Israel had no king, so everyone did whatever he wanted to—whatever seemed right in his own eyes.)
7-8 One day a young priest[a] from the town of Bethlehem, in Judah, arrived in that area of Ephraim, looking for a good place to live. He happened to stop at Micah’s house as he was traveling through.
9 “Where are you from?” Micah asked him.
And he replied, “I am a priest from Bethlehem, in Judah, and I am looking for a place to live.”
10-11 “Well, stay here with me,” Micah said, “and you can be my priest. I will give you one hundred dollars a year plus a new suit and your board and room.” The young man agreed to this and became as one of Micah’s sons. 12 So Micah consecrated him as his personal priest.
13 “I know the Lord will really bless me now,” Micah exclaimed, “because now I have a genuine priest working for me!”[b]