The Danites send five men to seek out an inheritance.
Judges 18:1 In those days there was no king in Israel, and the tribe of Dan sought them an inheritance to dwell in: for unto that day they had not received their lot among the other tribes. Judges 18:2 So the children of Dan sent five most valiant men, of their stock and family, from Saraa and Esthaol, to spy out the land, and to view it diligently: and they said to them: Go, and view the land. They went on their way, and when they came to mount Ephraim, they went into the house of Michas, and rested there:
At the house of Micah they consult with Jonathan, and are encouraged in their way.
Judges 18:3 And knowing the voice of the young man the Levite, and lodging with him, they said to him: Who brought thee hither? what dost thou here? why wouldst thou come hither? Judges 18:4 He answered them: Michas hath done such and such things for me, and hath hired me to be his priest. Judges 18:5 Then they desired him to consult the Lord, that they might know whether their journey should be prosperous, and the thing should have effect. Judges 18:6 He answered them: Go in peace: the Lord looketh on your way, and the journey that you go.
They search Laish, and bring back news of good hope.
Judges 18:7 So the five men going on came to Lais: and they saw how the people dwelt therein without any fear, according to the custom of the Sidonians, secure and easy, having no man at all to oppose them, being very rich, and living separated, at a distance from Sidon and from all men. Judges 18:8 And they returned to their brethren in Saraa and Esthaol, who asked them what they had done: to whom they answered: Judges 18:9 Arise, and let us go up to them: for we have seen the land which is exceeding rich and fruitful: neglect not, lose no time: let us go and possess it, there will be no difficulty. Judges 18:10 We shall come to a people that is secure, into a spacious country, and the Lord will deliver the place to us, in which there is no want of any thing that groweth on the earth.
Six hundred men are sent to surprise it.
Judges 18:11 There went therefore of the kindred of Dan, to wit, from Saraa and Esthaol, six hundred men, furnished with arms for war. Judges 18:12 And going up they lodged in Cariathiarim of Juda: which place from that time is called the camp of Dan, and is behind Cariathiarim. Judges 18:13 From thence they passed into mount Ephraim. And when they were come to the house of Michas,
In the way they rob Micah of his priest and his consecrate things.
Judges 18:14 The five men, that before had been sent to view the land of Lais, said to the rest of their brethren: You know that in these houses there is an ephod and theraphim, and a graven and a molten god: see what you are pleased to do. Judges 18:15 And when they had turned a little aside, they went into the house of the young man the Levite, who was in the house of Michas: and they saluted him with words of peace. Judges 18:16 And the six hundred men stood before the door, appointed with their arms. Judges 18:17 But they that were gone into the house of the young man, went about to take away the graven god, and the ephod, and the theraphim, and the molten god, and the priest stood before the door, the six hundred valiant men waiting not far off. Judges 18:18 So they that were gone in took away the graven thing, the ephod, and the idols, and the molten god, And the priest said to them: What are you doing? Judges 18:19 And they said to him: Hold thy peace, and put thy finger on thy mouth, and come with us, that we may have thee for a father, and a priest. Whether is better for thee, to be a priest in the house of one man, or in a tribe and family in Israel? Judges 18:20 When he heard this, he agreed to their words, and took the ephod, and the idols, and the graven god, and departed with them. Judges 18:21 And when they were going forward, and had put before them the children and the cattle, and all that was valuable,
Judges 18:22 And were now at a distance from the house of Michas, the men that dwelt in the houses of Michas gathering together followed them, Judges 18:23 And began to shout out after them. They looked back, and said to Michas: What aileth thee? Why dost thou cry? Judges 18:24 And he answered: You have taken away my gods which I have made me, and the priest, and all that I have, and do you say: What aileth thee? Judges 18:25 And the children of Dan said to him: See thou say no more to us, lest men enraged come upon thee, and thou perish with all thy house. Judges 18:26 And so they went on the journey they had begun. But Michas seeing that they were stronger than he, returned to his house.
They win Laish, and call it Dan.
Judges 18:27 And the six hundred men took the priest, and the things we spoke of before, and came to Lais, to a people that was quiet and secure, and smote them with the edge of the sword: and the city they burnt with fire, Judges 18:28 There being no man at all who brought them any succour, because they dwelt far from Sidon, and had no society or business with any man. And the city was in the land of Rohob: and they rebuilt it, and dwelt therein, Judges 18:29 Calling the name of the city Dan, after the name of their father, who was the son of Israel, which before was called Lais.
They set up idolatry, wherein Jonathan inheriteth the priesthood.
Judges 18:30 And they set up to themselves the graven idol, and Jonathan the son of Gersam, the son of Moses, he and his sons were priests in the tribe of Dan, until the day of their captivity. Judges 18:31 And the idol of Michas remained with them all the time that the house of God was in Silo. In those days there was no king in Israel.