And the coast of the children of Dan went out [too little]
Being a very numerous tribe, the cities allotted them were not sufficient for them; or rather, leaving out the supplement "too little", the words will run, it "went out from them"; they lost part of it, being driven out of the valley into the mountain by the Amorites, ( Judges 1:34 Judges 1:35 ) ; which obliged them to seek out elsewhere for habitations:
therefore the children of Dan went out to fight against Leshem;
called Laish, ( Judges 18:1-31 ) , where the whole story is related of their lighting against this place and taking it; which, though some time after the death of Joshua, is here recorded to give at once an account of the inheritance of Dan; and which is no argument against Joshua's being the writer of this book, as is urged; since it might be inserted by another hand, Ezra, or some other inspired man, for the reason before given:
and took and smote it with the edge of the sword, and possessed it,
and dwelt therein;
being a Canaanitish city, they put all in it to the sword, as the Lord had commanded, and took possession of it for an habitation:
and called Leshem Dan, after the name of Dan their father;
this is the place which is always meant, where the phrase is used "from Dan to Beersheba", ( Judges 20:1 ) ( 1 Samuel 3:20 ) ( 2 Samuel 3:10 ) ( 17:11 ) ( 2 Samuel 24:2 2 Samuel 24:15 ) ( 1 Kings 4:25 ) , this being at the utmost northern border of the land of Canaan, as Beersheba was at the further part of the southern coast of it. It was, according to Jerom F3, situated near Paneas, out of which the river Jordan flowed; and Kimchi on the text observes, their Rabbins F4 say, that Leshem is Pamias (i.e. Paneas), and that Jordan flows from the cave of Pamias, and had its name (Ndm ddwyv) because it descended from Dan; and so Josephus F5 says, that Panium is a cave under a mountain, from whence rise the springs of Jordan, and is the fountain of it; and Pliny also says F6, the river Jordan rises out of the fountain Paneas. This city was enlarged and beautified by Philip Herod, and he called it by the name of Caesarea Philippi, both in honour of Tiberius Caesar F7 and after his own name, by which name it goes in ( Matthew 16:13 ) ( Mark 8:27 ) ; and is called in the Jerusalem Targum on ( Genesis 14:14 ) , Dan of Caesarea.
F3 De loc. Heb. fol. 93. A.
F4 T. Bab. Megillah, fol. 6. 1. & Bava Bathra, fol. 74. 2.
F5 Antiqu. l. 15. c. 10. sect. 3. De Bello Jud. l. 1. c. 21. sect. 3. & l. 3. c. 9. sect. 7.
F6 Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 15.
F7 Joseph. Antiqu. l. 18. c. 2. sect. 1.