Judges Chapter 18  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Commentary on Judg 18
Dan’s Invasion and Idolatry

1In those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days the tribe of the Danites sought an inheritance to live in, for up to that day their inheritance had not fallen to them among the tribes of Israel.
  2So the children of Dan sent of their family five men from among all their people, men of valor from Zorah and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land and to explore it. And they said to them, “Go, explore the land!” And they came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and they spent the night there.
  3When they were at the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young man the Levite, and they turned aside there and said to him, “Who brought you here? What do you do in this place? What business do you have here?”
  4And he said to them, “Thus and thus has Micah dealt with me, and he has hired me and I have become his priest.”

5And they said to him, “Please inquire of God, so that we may know whether the way on which we are going will be successful.”

6And the priest said to them, “Go in peace. Acceptable before Yahweh is your way on which you are going.”

7Then the five men departed and came to Laish. And they saw the people who were in it living securely, in the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure; lacking nothing that is in the earth and possessing wealth, and they were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone.

8They came back to their brothers—to Zorah and Eshtaol—and their brothers said to them, “What do you think?”

9And they said, “Arise, and let us go up against them, for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good. Do you stand still? Do not be slothful to go and to enter in to possess the land.
  10When you go, you will come to a secure people, and the land is wide; for God has given it into your hand, a place where there is no lack of anything that is on the earth.”
  11So they set out from there—out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol—600 men of the family of the Danites armed with weapons of war.
  12They went up and encamped in Kiriath-jearim in Judah, so they called that place Mahaneh-Dana to this day; behold, it is west of Kiriath-jearim.
  13And they passed from there to the hill country of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah.

14Then the five men who went to spy out the country of Laish answered and said to their brothers, “Do you know that in these houses there are an ephod and teraphimb and a carved image and a cast metal image? Now, therefore, consider what you have to do.”
  15So they turned aside there and came to the house of the young man the Levite, to the house of Micah, and greeted him.
  16And the 600 men who were of the children of Dan, armed with their weapons of war, stood by the entrance of the gate.
  17The five men who went to spy out the land came up and went in there, and took the carved image and the ephod, and the teraphim and the cast metal image, and the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the 600 men armed with weapons of war.

18When these men went into Micah’s house and took the engraved image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the cast metal image, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?”

19But they said to him, “Be quiet! Put your hand over your mouth and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be a priest to the house of one man, or to be a priest to a tribe and a family in Israel?”
  20And the priest’s heart was glad, and he took the ephod and the teraphim and the carved image and went along with the people.
  21So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the livestock and the goods before them.

22And when they had gone quite far from the house of Micah, the men who were in the houses near Micah’s house were gathered together and caught up with the children of Dan.
  23And they called out to the children of Dan, and the Danites turned their faces and said to Micah, “What is the matter with you, that you have gathered yourselves together to fight?”

24Then he said, “You have taken away my gods that I made, and the priest, and have gone away, and what do I have left? So how can you say to me, ‘What is the matter with you?’”

25Then the children of Dan said to him, “Do not let your voice be heard among us, lest angry men fall on you and you lose your life and the lives of your household.”
  26So the children of Dan went their way, and Micah saw that they were too strong for him so he turned and went back to his house.

27So they took what Micah had made and the priest that he had and came to Laish, to a people quiet and secure, and struck them with the mouth of the sword and they burned the city with fire.
  28And there was no deliverer because it was far from Sidon, and they had no dealings with any man, and it was in the valley that lies by Beth-rehob. And they built the city and lived in it.
  29And they called the name of the city Dan after the name of Dan their father, who was born to Israel, however, formerly the name of the city was Laish.

30And the children of Dan set up the carved image for themselves, and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land.
  31So they set up for themselves Micah’s carved image that he made, all the days that the house of God was in Shiloh.

Mahaneh-Dan means “Camp of Dan”
Teraphim were household gods

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