A man named Micah lived in the hill country of Ephraim.
He said to his mother, "Someone took 28 pounds of silver from you. I heard you call down a curse because of it. I have the silver with me. I'm the one who took it." Then his mother said, "My son, may the LORD bless you!"
He gave the 28 pounds of silver back to his mother. She said to him, "I'm taking an oath and setting my silver apart to the Lord. My son, I want you to use part of it for a statue of a god that is made out of wood or stone and covered with silver. Use the rest of it to have another statue made out of silver. That's why I'll give the silver back to you."
He gave the silver back to his mother. She gave five pounds of it to a skilled worker who made things out of silver. He used the silver for the two statues. They were put in Micah's house.
That same Micah had a small temple. He made a sacred linen apron and some statues of gods. He prepared one of his sons to serve as his priest.
In those days Israel didn't have a king. The people did anything they thought was right.
A young Levite had been living in land that belonged to the tribe of Judah. He was from Bethlehem in Judah.
He left that town to look for some other place to stay. On his way he came to Micah's house. It was in the hill country of Ephraim.
Micah asked him, "Where are you from?" "I'm a Levite," he said. "I'm from Bethlehem in Judah. I'm looking for a place to stay."
Then Micah said to him, "Live with me. Be my father and priest. I'll give you four ounces of silver a year. I'll also give you clothes and food."
So the Levite agreed to live with him. The young man was just like a son to Micah.
Then Micah prepared the Levite to serve as his priest. He lived in Micah's house.
Micah said, "Now I know that the LORD will be good to me. This Levite has become my priest."