The Danites send five men to seek out an inheritance.
Judges 18:1 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 to that day [their lot] had not fallen to them for inheritance among the tribes of Israel. Judges 18:2 And the children of Dan sent of their family five men of their whole number, men of valour, from Zoreah and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to examine it; and they said to them, Go, examine the land. And they came to the hill-country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there.
At the house of Micah they consult with Jonathan, and are encouraged in their way.
Judges 18:3 When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man, the Levite; and they turned in thither, and said to him, Who brought thee hither? and what doest thou in this [place]? and what hast thou here? Judges 18:4 And he said to them, Thus and thus has Micah done to me; and he has hired me, and I am his priest. Judges 18:5 And they said to him, Inquire, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way on which we go shall be prosperous. Judges 18:6 And the priest said to them, Go in peace: before Jehovah is your way on which ye go.
They search Laish, and bring back news of good hope.
Judges 18:7 And the five men departed, and came to Laish; and they saw the people that were therein, dwelling securely, after the manner of the Zidonians, quiet and secure; and no one was in the land who possessed authority, that might put [them] to shame in anything; and they were far from the Zidonians, and had nothing to do with [any] man. Judges 18:8 And they came to their brethren at Zoreah and Eshtaol. And their brethren said to them, What [say] ye? Judges 18:9 And they said, Arise, and let us go up against them; for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good; and ye are still! Be not slothful to go, to enter to take possession of the land. Judges 18:10 When ye go in, ye shall come to a people secure, and the land is spacious in every direction; for God has given it into your hands; [it is] a place where there is no want of anything that is on the earth.
Six hundred men are sent to surprise it.
Judges 18:11 And there went from thence of the family of the Danites, out of Zoreah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men girded with weapons of war. Judges 18:12 And they went up and encamped in Kirjath-jearim, in Judah; therefore they call that place Mahaneh-Dan to this day: behold, it is behind Kirjath-jearim. Judges 18:13 And they passed thence to mount Ephraim, and came to the house of Micah.
In the way they rob Micah of his priest and his consecrate things.
Judges 18:14 Then the five men that had gone to spy out the country of Laish spoke and said to their brethren, Do ye know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, and a molten image? And now ye know what to do. Judges 18:15 And they turned thither, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, the house of Micah, and inquired after his welfare. Judges 18:16 And the six hundred men of the children of Dan, girded with their weapons of war, stood at the entrance of the gate. Judges 18:17 And the five men that had gone to spy out the land went up, entered in thither, [and] took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image; and the priest stood at the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men that were girded with weapons of war. Judges 18:18 And these came into Micah's house, and took the carved image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image. And the priest said to them, What do ye? Judges 18:19 And they said to him, Hold thy peace, lay thy hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for thee to be a priest for the house of one man, or to be priest for a tribe and a family in Israel? Judges 18:20 Then the priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people. Judges 18:21 And they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the cattle and the baggage before them.
Judges 18:22 They were already far from the house of Micah, when the men that were in the houses near to Micah's house were gathered together, and overtook the children of Dan. Judges 18:23 And they cried to the children of Dan. And they turned their faces, and said to Micah, What aileth thee, that thou comest with such a company? Judges 18:24 And he said, Ye have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and ye are gone away; and what have I more? and what is this that ye say to me, What aileth thee? Judges 18:25 And the children of Dan said to him, Let not thy voice be heard among us, lest men of exasperated spirit run upon you, and thou lose thy life and the lives of thy household. Judges 18:26 And the children of Dan went their way; and Micah saw that they were too strong for him, and he turned and went back to his house.
They win Laish, and call it Dan.
Judges 18:27 And they took that which Micah had made, and the priest that he had had, and came upon Laish, upon a people quiet and secure; and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and burned the city with fire. Judges 18:28 And there was no deliverer, for it was far from Zidon, and they had nothing to do with [any] man; and it [lay] in the valley that is by Beth-rehob. And they built the city and dwelt therein. Judges 18:29 And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born to Israel; howbeit Laish was the name of the city at the first.
They set up idolatry, wherein Jonathan inheriteth the priesthood.
Judges 18:30 And the children of Dan set up the graven image; and Jehonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Moses; he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land. Judges 18:31 And they set up for themselves Micah's graven image, which he had made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.