Judges 18

The Danites Settle in Laish

1 In those days Israel had no king. And in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking a place of their own where they might settle, because they had not yet come into an inheritance among the tribes of Israel.
2 So the Danites sent five of their leading men from Zorah and Eshtaol to spy out the land and explore it. These men represented all the Danites. They told them, “Go, explore the land.” So they entered the hill country of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah, where they spent the night.
3 When they were near Micah’s house, they recognized the voice of the young Levite; so they turned in there and asked him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? Why are you here?”
4 He told them what Micah had done for him, and said, “He has hired me and I am his priest.”
5 Then they said to him, “Please inquire of God to learn whether our journey will be successful.”
6 The priest answered them, “Go in peace. Your journey has the LORD’s approval.”
7 So the five men left and came to Laish, where they saw that the people were living in safety, like the Sidonians, at peace and secure. And since their land lacked nothing, they were prosperous.[a] Also, they lived a long way from the Sidonians and had no relationship with anyone else.[b]
8 When they returned to Zorah and Eshtaol, their fellow Danites asked them, “How did you find things?”
9 They answered, “Come on, let’s attack them! We have seen the land, and it is very good. Aren’t you going to do something? Don’t hesitate to go there and take it over.
10 When you get there, you will find an unsuspecting people and a spacious land that God has put into your hands, a land that lacks nothing whatever.”
11 Then six hundred men of the Danites, armed for battle, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol.
12 On their way they set up camp near Kiriath Jearim in Judah. This is why the place west of Kiriath Jearim is called Mahaneh Dan[c] to this day.
13 From there they went on to the hill country of Ephraim and came to Micah’s house.
14 Then the five men who had spied out the land of Laish said to their fellow Danites, “Do you know that one of these houses has an ephod, some household gods and an image overlaid with silver? Now you know what to do.”
15 So they turned in there and went to the house of the young Levite at Micah’s place and greeted him.
16 The six hundred Danites, armed for battle, stood at the entrance of the gate.
17 The five men who had spied out the land went inside and took the idol, the ephod and the household gods while the priest and the six hundred armed men stood at the entrance of the gate.
18 When the five men went into Micah’s house and took the idol, the ephod and the household gods, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?”
19 They answered him, “Be quiet! Don’t say a word. Come with us, and be our father and priest. Isn’t it better that you serve a tribe and clan in Israel as priest rather than just one man’s household?”
20 The priest was very pleased. He took the ephod, the household gods and the idol and went along with the people.
21 Putting their little children, their livestock and their possessions in front of them, they turned away and left.
22 When they had gone some distance from Micah’s house, the men who lived near Micah were called together and overtook the Danites.
23 As they shouted after them, the Danites turned and said to Micah, “What’s the matter with you that you called out your men to fight?”
24 He replied, “You took the gods I made, and my priest, and went away. What else do I have? How can you ask, ‘What’s the matter with you?’ ”
25 The Danites answered, “Don’t argue with us, or some of the men may get angry and attack you, and you and your family will lose your lives.”
26 So the Danites went their way, and Micah, seeing that they were too strong for him, turned around and went back home.
27 Then they took what Micah had made, and his priest, and went on to Laish, against a people at peace and secure. They attacked them with the sword and burned down their city.
28 There was no one to rescue them because they lived a long way from Sidon and had no relationship with anyone else. The city was in a valley near Beth Rehob. The Danites rebuilt the city and settled there.
29 They named it Dan after their ancestor Dan, who was born to Israel—though the city used to be called Laish.
30 There the Danites set up for themselves the idol, and Jonathan son of Gershom, the son of Moses,[d] and his sons were priests for the tribe of Dan until the time of the captivity of the land.
31 They continued to use the idol Micah had made, all the time the house of God was in Shiloh.

Judges 18 Commentary

Chapter 18

The Danites seek to enlarge their inheritance, and rob Micah.

- The Danites determined to take Micah's gods with them. Oh the folly of these Danites! How could they imagine those gods should protect them, that could not keep themselves from being stolen! To take them for their own use, was a double crime; it showed they neither feared God, nor regarded man, but were lost both to godliness and honesty. What a folly was it for Micah to call those his gods, which he had made, when He only is to be worshipped by us as God, that made us! That is put in God's place, which we are concerned about, as if our all were bound up in it. If people will walk in the name of their false gods, much more should we love and serve the true God!

Cross References 47

  • 1. S Judges 17:6; Judges 19:1
  • 2. Joshua 19:47; Judges 1:34
  • 3. S Genesis 30:6; Judges 13:25
  • 4. ver 17
  • 5. S Numbers 21:32
  • 6. S Joshua 2:1
  • 7. S Judges 17:1
  • 8. Judges 17:7
  • 9. Judges 17:12
  • 10. S Genesis 25:22; Jdg 20:18,23,27; 1 Samuel 14:18; 2 Samuel 5:19; 2 Kings 1:2; 2 Kings 8:8; 1 Kings 22:5
  • 11. 1 Kings 22:6
  • 12. ver 17
  • 13. S Joshua 19:47
  • 14. S Genesis 34:25
  • 15. ver 28; Joshua 11:8
  • 16. Numbers 13:30; 1 Kings 22:3
  • 17. ver 7,27; Deuteronomy 8:9
  • 18. 1 Chronicles 4:40
  • 19. ver 16,17
  • 20. Judges 13:2
  • 21. S Joshua 9:17
  • 22. Judges 13:25
  • 23. S Judges 17:1
  • 24. S Joshua 19:47
  • 25. S Judges 8:27
  • 26. S Genesis 31:19; Judges 17:5
  • 27. S ver 11
  • 28. S Genesis 31:19; Micah 5:13
  • 29. ver 11
  • 30. ver 24; Isaiah 46:2; Jeremiah 43:11; Jeremiah 48:7; Jeremiah 49:3; Hosea 10:5
  • 31. S Genesis 31:19
  • 32. Job 13:5; Job 21:5; Job 29:9; Job 40:4; Isaiah 52:15; Micah 7:16
  • 33. Judges 17:10
  • 34. Numbers 26:42
  • 35. S ver 17-18
  • 36. 2 Samuel 3:39; Psalms 18:17; Psalms 35:10
  • 37. ver 7,10; S Genesis 34:25
  • 38. S Numbers 31:10
  • 39. Genesis 49:17; S Joshua 19:47
  • 40. S ver 7; S Genesis 10:19
  • 41. S Numbers 13:21; 2 Samuel 10:6
  • 42. S Genesis 14:14
  • 43. S Joshua 19:47; 1 Kings 15:20
  • 44. Exodus 2:22; Judges 17:3,5
  • 45. ver 17
  • 46. Judges 19:18; Judges 20:18
  • 47. S Joshua 18:1; Jeremiah 7:14

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. The meaning of the Hebrew for this clause is uncertain.
  • [b]. Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts "with the Arameans"
  • [c]. "Mahaneh Dan" means "Dan’s camp."
  • [d]. Many Hebrew manuscripts, some Septuagint manuscripts and Vulgate; many other Hebrew manuscripts and some other Septuagint manuscripts "Manasseh"

Chapter Summary


This chapter relates how the Danites, being overcrowed in their inheritance, sent out spies to search the land, and see if they could find any proper place to add unto it, and enlarge it, Jud 18:1-6 who returned and reported Laish as such, and encouraged the Danites to go and possess it; for which purpose they sent six hundred men up to it, Jud 18:7-12 and as they went, called at the house of Micah, and took away his priests and his gods, Jud 18:13-27 and having taken Laish, set up Micah's graven image there, Jud 18:28-31.

Judges 18 Commentaries

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