18:1 In those days [there was] no a 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.
(a) Meaning, no ordinary magistrate to punish vice according to Gods word. 18:2 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, b Go, search the land: who when they came to mount Ephraim, to the house of Micah, they lodged there.
(b) For the portion which Joshua gave them, was not sufficient for all their tribe. 18:3 When they [were] by the house of Micah, they knew the c 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?
(c) They knew by his speech that he was a stranger there. 18:6 And the priest said unto them, d Go in peace: before the LORD [is] your way wherein ye go.
(d) Thus sometimes God grants the idolaters requests to the destruction of those who delight in errors. 18:9 And they said, Arise, that we may go up against them: for we have seen the land, and, behold, it [is] very good: and e [are] ye still? be not slothful to go, [and] to enter to possess the land.
(e) Would you lose this good opportunity because of your laziness? 18:14 Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish, and said unto their brethren, f 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.
(f) Because before they had had good success, they wanted their brethren to be encouraged by hearing the same tidings. 18:17 And the five men that went to spy out the land went up, [and] came in thither, [and] took the g 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.
(g) Superstition blinded them so that they thought Gods power was in the idols, and that they would have good success because of them, though they took them away by robbery and violence. 18:20 And the priests heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the h people.
(h) With the six hundred men. 18:21 So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the cattle and the carriage i before them.
(i) Suspecting them that pursued them. 18:24 And he said, Ye have taken away my k 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?
(k) This declares the opinion the idolaters have of their idols. 18:27 And they took [the l 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.
18:30 And the children of Dan set up the n 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 o captivity of the land.
(l) Meaning, the idols, as in ( Judges 18:18 ).
(n) Thus instead of giving glory to God, they attributed the victory to their idols, and honoured them therefore.
(o) That is, till the Ark was taken, ( 1 Samuel 5:1 ).