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Judges 18

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 1 In those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days the tribe of the Danites sought for themselves an inheritance to dwell in, for until that day their inheritance had not been acquired by them among the tribes of Israel.

 2 So the children of Dan sent five men of valor from their family, from Zorah and Eshtaol to spy out the land and to explore it, and they said to them, "Go, explore the land." And they came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there.

 3 When they went by the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young Levite, and they turned in there and said to him, "Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? Why are you here?"

 4 And he said to them, "Thus and so is how Micah deals with me and he has hired me, and I am his priest."

 5 Then they said to him, "Inquire of God, we pray you, that we may know whether our journey will be prosperous."

 6 And the priest said to them, "Go in peace. The way in which you go is before the LORD."

 7 Then the five men departed and came to Laish and saw the people who were there, how they dwelt safely after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure; and there was no magistrate in the land, who might put them to shame in anything; and they were far from the Sidonians and had no business with anyone.

 8 Then they came back to their brethren at Zorah and Eshtaol, and their brethren said to them, "What do you say?"

 9 And they said, "Arise, let us go up against them, for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good. Will you still do nothing? Do not be slow to go and enter in to possess the land.

 10 When you go, you will come to a secure people and a large land. God has given it into your hands, a place where there is no want of anything that is on the earth."

 11 So there went from there six hundred men armed with weapons of war of the tribe of the Danites, out of Zorah and Eshtaol.

 12 And they went up and encamped in Kirjathjearim in Judah. Therefore they call that place Mahaneh-dan[Dan's camp] to this day; it is west of Kirjathjearim.

 13 And they passed from there to the hill country of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah.

 14 Then the five men who had gone to spy out the country of Laish said to their brethren, "Do you know that there are in these houses an ephod, teraphim, a graven image, and a molten image? Now therefore, consider what you have to do."

 15 And they turned aside there and came to the house of the young Levite, at the house of Micah, and saluted him.

 16 Now the six hundred men armed with their weapons of war, which were of the children of Dan, stood by the entrance of the gate.

 17 And the five men who went to spy out the land came in there and took the graven image, the ephod, the teraphim, and the molten image. The priest stood at the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men who were armed with weapons of war.

 18 And when these went into Micah's house and took the carved image, the ephod, the teraphim, and the molten image, the priest said to them, "What are you doing?"

 19 And they said to him, "Hold your peace, put your hand over your mouth, and go with us, and be a father and a priest to us. Is it better for you to be a priest to the house of one man, or that you be a priest to a tribe and a family in Israel?"

 20 And the priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod, the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people.

 21 So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the cattle and the possessions in front of them.

 22 When they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men who were in the houses near Micah's house were gathered together and overtook the children of Dan.

 23 And they shouted to the children of Dan. And the Danites turned and said to Micah, "What is the matter with you, that you come with such a company?"

 24 And he said, "You have taken away my gods that I made, and the priest, and have gone away; what more do I have left? How can you say to me, 'What is the matter with you?'"

 25 And the children of Dan said to him, "Let not your voice be heard among us, lest angry men fall upon you and you lose your life with the lives of your household."

 26 So the children of Dan went their way; and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his house.

 27 Then they took the things Micah had made, and his priest, and came to Laish, to a people who were quiet and secure, and they struck them with the edge of the sword and burned the city with fire.

 28 And there was no deliverer because it was far from Sidon, and they had no business with anyone. It was in the valley that belongs to Bethrehob. And they rebuilt the city and dwelt in it.

 29 They called the city Dan, after the name of Dan their forefather, who was born to Israel; however, the name of the city was Laish at the first.

 30 And the children of Dan set up the graven image; and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the time of the captivity of the land.

 31 So they continued to use for themselves Micah's graven image that he had made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.


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