18 In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day all their inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel.

And the children of Dan sent of their family five men from their coasts, men of valour, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said unto them, Go, search the land: who when they came to mount Ephraim, to the house of Micah, they lodged there.

When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man the Levite: and they turned in thither, and said unto him, Who brought thee hither? and what makest thou in this place? and what hast thou here?

And he said unto them, Thus and thus dealeth Micah with me, and hath hired me, and I am his priest.

And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous.

And the priest said unto them, Go in peace: before the Lord is your way wherein ye go.

Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people that were therein, how they dwelt careless, after the manner of the Zidonians, quiet and secure; and there was no magistrate in the land, that might put them to shame in any thing; and they were far from the Zidonians, and had no business with any man.

And they came unto their brethren to Zorah and Eshtaol: and their brethren said unto them, What say ye?

And they said, Arise, that we may go up against them: for we have seen the land, and, behold, it is very good: and are ye still? be not slothful to go, and to enter to possess the land.

10 When ye go, ye shall come unto a people secure, and to a large land: for God hath given it into your hands; a place where there is no want of any thing that is in the earth.

11 And there went from thence of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men appointed with weapons of war.

12 And they went up, and pitched in Kirjathjearim, in Judah: wherefore they called that place Mahanehdan unto this day: behold, it is behind Kirjathjearim.

13 And they passed thence unto mount Ephraim, and came unto the house of Micah.

14 Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish, and said unto their brethren, Do ye know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, and a molten image? now therefore consider what ye have to do.

15 And they turned thitherward, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, even unto the house of Micah, and saluted him.

16 And the six hundred men appointed with their weapons of war, which were of the children of Dan, stood by the entering of the gate.

17 And the five men that went to spy out the land went up, and came in thither, and took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image: and the priest stood in the entering of the gate with the six hundred men that were appointed with weapons of war.

18 And these went into Micah's house, and fetched the carved image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image. Then said the priest unto them, What do ye?

19 And they said unto him, Hold thy peace, lay thine hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest: is it better for thee to be a priest unto the house of one man, or that thou be a priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel?

20 And the priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people.

21 So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the cattle and the carriage before them.

22 And when they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men that were in the houses near to Micah's house were gathered together, and overtook the children of Dan.

23 And they cried unto the children of Dan. And they turned their faces, and said unto Micah, What aileth thee, that thou comest with such a company?

24 And he said, Ye have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and ye are gone away: and what have I more? and what is this that ye say unto me, What aileth thee?

25 And the children of Dan said unto him, Let not thy voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows run upon thee, and thou lose thy life, with the lives of thy household.

26 And the children of Dan went their way: and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back unto his house.

27 And they took the things which Micah had made, and the priest which he had, and came unto Laish, unto a people that were at quiet and secure: and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and burnt the city with fire.

28 And there was no deliverer, because it was far from Zidon, and they had no business with any man; and it was in the valley that lieth by Bethrehob. And they built a city, and dwelt therein.

29 And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born unto Israel: howbeit the name of the city was Laish at the first.

30 And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land.

31 And they set them up Micah's graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.

The Danites Adopt Micah’s Idolatry

18 In (A)those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days (B)the tribe of the Danites was seeking an inheritance for itself to dwell in; for until that day their inheritance among the tribes of Israel had not fallen to them. So the children of Dan sent five men of their family from their territory, men of valor from (C)Zorah and Eshtaol, (D)to spy out the land and search it. They said to them, “Go, search the land.” So they went to the mountains of Ephraim, to the (E)house of Micah, and lodged there. While they were at the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young Levite. They turned aside and said to him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What do you have here?”

He said to them, “Thus and so Micah did for me. He has (F)hired me, and I have become his priest.”

So they said to him, “Please (G)inquire (H)of God, that we may know whether the journey on which we go will be prosperous.”

And the priest said to them, (I)“Go in peace. [a]The presence of the Lord be with you on your way.”

So the five men departed and went to (J)Laish. They saw the people who were there, (K)how they dwelt safely, in the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure. There were no rulers in the land who might put them to shame for anything. They were far from the (L)Sidonians, and they had no ties [b]with anyone.

Then the spies came back to their brethren at (M)Zorah and Eshtaol, and their brethren said to them, “What is your report?

So they said, (N)“Arise, let us go up against them. For we have seen the land, and indeed it is very good. Would you (O)do nothing? Do not hesitate to go, and enter to possess the land. 10 When you go, you will come to a (P)secure people and a large land. For God has given it into your hands, (Q)a place where there is no lack of anything that is on the earth.”

11 And six hundred men of the family of the Danites went from there, from Zorah and Eshtaol, armed with weapons of war. 12 Then they went up and encamped in (R)Kirjath Jearim in Judah. (Therefore they call that place (S)Mahaneh Dan[c] to this day. There it is, west of Kirjath Jearim.) 13 And they passed from there to the mountains of Ephraim, and came to (T)the house of Micah.

14 (U)Then the five men who had gone to spy out the country of Laish answered and said to their brethren, “Do you know that (V)there are in these houses an ephod, household idols, a carved image, and a molded image? Now therefore, consider what you should do.” 15 So they turned aside there, and came to the house of the young Levite man—to the house of Micah—and greeted him. 16 The (W)six hundred men armed with their weapons of war, who were of the children of Dan, stood by the entrance of the gate. 17 Then (X)the five men who had gone to spy out the land went up. Entering there, they took (Y)the carved image, the ephod, the household idols, and the molded image. The priest stood at the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men who were armed with weapons of war.

18 When these went into Micah’s house and took the carved image, the ephod, the household idols, and the molded image, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?”

19 And they said to him, “Be quiet, (Z)put your hand over your mouth, and come with us; (AA)be a father and a priest to us. Is it better for you to be a priest to the household of one man, or that you be a priest to a tribe and a family in Israel?” 20 So the priest’s heart was glad; and he took the ephod, the household idols, and the carved image, and took his place among the people.

21 Then they turned and departed, and put the little ones, the livestock, and the goods in front of them. 22 When they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men who were in the houses near Micah’s house gathered together and overtook the children of Dan. 23 And they called out to the children of Dan. So they turned around and said to Micah, (AB)“What ails you, that you have gathered such a company?”

24 So he said, “You have (AC)taken away my [d]gods which I made, and the priest, and you have gone away. Now what more do I have? How can you say to me, ‘What ails you?’ ”

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

Danites Settle in Laish

27 So they took the things Micah had made, and the priest who had belonged to him, and went to Laish, to a people quiet and secure; (AD)and they struck them with the edge of the sword and burned the city with fire. 28 There was no deliverer, because it was (AE)far from Sidon, and they had no ties with anyone. It was in the valley that belongs (AF)to Beth Rehob. So they rebuilt the city and dwelt there. 29 And (AG)they called the name of the city (AH)Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born to Israel. However, the name of the city formerly was Laish.

30 Then the children of Dan set up for themselves the carved image; and Jonathan the son of Gershom, the son of [f]Manasseh, and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan (AI)until the day of the captivity of the land. 31 So they set up for themselves Micah’s carved image which he made, (AJ)all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.

Footnotes

  1. Judges 18:6 Lit. The Lord is before the way in which you go
  2. Judges 18:7 So with MT, Tg., Vg.; LXX with Syria
  3. Judges 18:12 Lit. Camp of Dan
  4. Judges 18:24 idols
  5. Judges 18:25 Lit. bitter of soul
  6. Judges 18:30 LXX, Vg. Moses
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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