Judges 18

Danites Seek Territory

1 a  In those days there was no king of Israel; and b  in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking an inheritance for themselves to live in, for until that day
Lit it
an inheritance had not
Lit fallen
been allotted to them as a possession among the tribes of Israel.
2So the sons of Dan sent from their family five men out of their whole number
Lit men, sons of valor
valiant men from f  Zorah and Eshtaol, to spy out the land and to search it; and they said to them, “Go, search the land.” And they came to g  the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there.
3When they were near 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? And what are you doing in this place? And what do you have here?” 4He said to them, “Thus and so has Micah done to me, and he has hired me and h  I have become his priest.” 5They said to him, “Inquire of God, please, that we may know whether our way on which we are going will be prosperous.” 6The priest said to them, “Go in peace; your way in which you are going
Lit is before the  Lord
has the  Lord’s approval.”

7Then the five men departed and came to j  Laish and saw the people who were in it living in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure; for there was no
Lit possessor of restraint
ruler humiliating them for anything in the land, and they were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone.
8When they came back to their brothers at Zorah and Eshtaol, their brothers said to them, “What do you report?” 9They said, “Arise, and let us go up against them; for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good. And will you
Lit be
sit still? Do not delay to go, to enter, to possess the land.
10When you enter, you will come to a secure people with a spacious land; for God has given it into your hand, m  a place where there is no lack of anything that is on the earth.”

11Then from the family of the Danites, from Zorah and from Eshtaol, six hundred men armed with weapons of war set out. 12They went up and camped at Kiriath-jearim in Judah. Therefore they called that place
I.e. the camp of Dan
o  Mahaneh-dan to this day; behold, it is
Lit behind
west of Kiriath-jearim.
13They passed from there to the hill country of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah.

Danites Take Micah’s Idols

14Then the five men who went to spy out the country of Laish said to their kinsmen, “Do you know that there are in these houses q  an ephod and
Heb teraphim
household idols and a graven image and a molten image? Now therefore, consider what you should do.”
15They turned aside there and came to the house of the young man, the Levite, to the house of Micah, and asked him of his welfare. 16The six hundred men armed with their weapons of war, who were of the sons of Dan, stood by the entrance of the gate. 17Now the five men who went to spy out the land went up and entered there, and took s  the graven image and the ephod and
Heb teraphim
household idols and the molten image, while the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men armed with weapons of war.
18When these went into Micah’s house and took the graven image, the ephod and
Heb teraphim
household idols and the molten image, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?”
19They said to him, “Be silent v  put your hand over your mouth and come with us, and be to us w  a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be a priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and a family in Israel?” 20The priest’s heart was glad, and he took the ephod and
Heb teraphim
household idols and the graven image and went among the people.

21Then they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the livestock and the valuables in front of them. 22When they had gone some distance from the house of Micah, the men who were in the houses near Micah’s house assembled and overtook the sons of Dan. 23They cried to the sons of Dan, who turned
Lit their faces
around and said to Micah, “What is the matter with you, that you have assembled together?”
24He said, “You have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and have gone away, and what do I have besides? So how can you say to me, ‘What is the matter with you?’” 25The sons of Dan said to him, “Do not let your voice be heard among us, or else
Lit bitter of soul
fierce men will fall upon you and you will
Lit gather
lose your life, with the lives of your household.”
26So the sons of Dan went on their way; and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his house.

27Then they took what Micah had made and the priest who had belonged to him, and came to ab  Laish, to a people quiet and secure, and struck them with the edge of the sword; and they burned the city with fire. 28And there was no one to deliver them, because it was far from Sidon and they had no dealings with anyone, and it was in the valley which is near ac  Beth-rehob. And they rebuilt the city and lived in it. 29 ad  They called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father who was born in Israel; however, the name of the city formerly was Laish. 30The sons of Dan set up for themselves ae  the graven image; and Jonathan, the son of af  Gershom, the son of
Some ancient versions read Moses
Manasseh ah  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 graven image which he had made, all the time that the ai  house of God was at Shiloh.
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