In those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking for itself an inheritance to dwell in; for until then no inheritance among the tribes of Israel had fallen to them.
So the Danites sent five able men from the whole number of their tribe, from Zorah and from Esh'ta-ol, to spy out the land and to explore it; and they said to them, "Go and explore the land." And they came to the hill country of E'phraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there.
When they were by the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young Levite; and they turned aside and said to him, "Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What is your business here?"
And he said to them, "Thus and thus has Micah dealt with me: he has hired me, and I have become his priest."
And they said to him, "Inquire of God, we pray thee, that we may know whether the journey on which we are setting out will succeed."
And the priest said to them, "Go in peace. The journey on which you go is under the eye of the LORD."
Then the five men departed, and came to La'ish, and saw the people who were there, how they dwelt in security, after the manner of the Sido'nians, quiet and unsuspecting, lacking nothing that is in the earth, and possessing wealth, and how they were far from the Sido'nians and had no dealings with any one.
And when they came to their brethren at Zorah and Esh'ta-ol, their brethren said to them, "What do you report?"
They said, "Arise, and let us go up against them; for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very fertile. And will you do nothing? Do not be slow to go, and enter in and possess the land.
When you go, you will come to an unsuspecting people. The land is broad; yea, God has given it into your hands, a place where there is no lack of anything that is in the earth."
And six hundred men of the tribe of Dan, armed with weapons of war, set forth from Zorah and Esh'ta-ol,
and went up and encamped at Kir'iath-je'arim in Judah. On this account that place is called Ma'haneh-dan to this day; behold, it is west of Kir'iath-je'arim.
And they passed on from there to the hill country of E'phraim, and came to the house of Micah.
Then the five men who had gone to spy out the country of La'ish said to their brethren, "Do you know that in these houses there are an ephod, teraphim, a graven image, and a molten image? Now therefore consider what you will do."
And they turned aside thither, and came to the house of the young Levite, at the home of Micah, and asked him of his welfare.
Now the six hundred men of the Danites, armed with their weapons of war, stood by the entrance of the gate;
and the five men who had gone to spy out the land went up, and entered and took the graven image, the ephod, the teraphim, and the molten image, while the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men armed with weapons of war.
And when these went into Micah's house and took the graven image, the ephod, the teraphim, and the molten image, the priest said to them, "What are you doing?"
And they said to him, "Keep quiet, put your hand upon your mouth, and come with us, and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and family in Israel?"
And the priest's heart was glad; he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people.
So they turned and departed, putting the little ones and the cattle and the goods in front of them.
When they were a good way from the home of Micah, the men who were in the houses near Micah's house were called out, and they overtook the Danites.
And they shouted to the Danites, who turned round and said to Micah, "What ails you that you come with such a company?"
And he said, "You take my gods which I made, and the priest, and go away, and what have I left? How then do you ask me, 'What ails you?'"
And the Danites said to him, "Do not let your voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows fall upon you, and you lose your life with the lives of your household."
Then the Danites went their way; and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his home.
And taking what Micah had made, and the priest who belonged to him, the Danites came to La'ish, to a people quiet and unsuspecting, and smote them with the edge of the sword, and burned the city with fire.
And there was no deliverer because it was far from Sidon, and they had no dealings with any one. It was in the valley which belongs to Beth-rehob. And they rebuilt the city, and dwelt in it.
And they named the city Dan, after the name of Dan their ancestor, who was born to Israel; but the name of the city was La'ish at the first.
And the Danites set up the graven image for themselves; and Jonathan the son of Gershom, son of Moses, and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land.
So they set up Micah's graven image which he made, as long as the house of God was at Shiloh.
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Revised Standard Version - Holy Bible)