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 them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day [their] inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel. Judges 18:2 And the children of Dan sent of their family five men from their whole number, men of valour, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said unto them, Go, search the land: and they came to the hill country of Ephraim, unto 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 aside thither, and said unto him, Who brought thee hither? and what doest thou in this place? and what hast thou here? Judges 18:4 And he said unto them, Thus and thus hath Micah dealt with me, and he hath hired me, and I am become his priest. Judges 18:5 And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous. Judges 18:6 And the priest said unto them, Go in peace: before the LORD is your way wherein ye go.
They search Laish, and bring back news of good hope.
Judges 18:7 Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people that were therein, how they dwelt in security, after the manner of the Zidonians, quiet and secure; for there was none in the land, possessing authority, that might put [them] to shame in any thing, and they were far from the Zidonians, and had no dealings with any man. Judges 18:8 And they came unto their brethren to Zorah and Eshtaol: and their brethren said unto 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 are ye still? be not slofthful to go and to enter in to possess the land. Judges 18:10 When ye go, ye shall come unto a people secure, and the land is large: for God hath given it into your hand; a place where there is no want of any thing that is in the earth.
Six hundred men are sent to surprise it.
Judges 18:11 And there set forth from thence of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men girt with weapons of war. Judges 18:12 And they went up, and encamped in Kiriath-jearim, in Judah: wherefore they called that place Mahaneh-dan unto this day: behold, it is behind Kirjath-jearim. Judges 18:13 And they passed thence unto the hill country of Ephraim, and came unto the house of Micah.
In the way they rob Micah of his priest and his consecrate things.
Judges 18:14 Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish, and said unto their brethren, 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. Judges 18:15 And they turned aside thither, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, even unto the house of Micah, and asked him of his welfare. Judges 18:16 And the six hundred men girt with their weapons of war, who were of the children of Dan, stood by the entering of the gate. Judges 18:17 And the five men that went to spy out the land went up, and came in thither, and took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image: and the priest stood by the entering of the gate with the six hundred men girt with weapons of war. Judges 18:18 And when these went into Micah's house and fetched the graven image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image, the priest said unto them, What do ye? Judges 18:19 And they said unto him, Hold thy peace, lay thine hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest: is it better for thee to be priest unto the house of one man, or to be priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel? Judges 18:20 And 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 So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the cattle and the goods before them.
Judges 18:22 When they were a good way from the house of Micah, 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 unto the children of Dan. And they turned their faces, and said unto 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 are gone away, and what have I more? and how then say ye unto me, What aileth thee? Judges 18:25 And the children of Dan said unto him, Let not thy voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows fall upon you, and thou lose thy life, with the lives of thy household. Judges 18:26 And the children of Dan went their way: and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back unto his house.
They win Laish, and call it Dan.
Judges 18:27 And they took that which Micah had made, and the priest which he had, and came unto Laish, unto a people quiet and secure, and smote them with the edge of the sword; and they burnt the city with fire. Judges 18:28 And there was no deliverer, because it was far from Zidon, and they had no dealings with any man; and it was in the valley that lieth 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 unto Israel: howbeit the name of the city was Laish at the first.
They set up idolatry, wherein Jonathan inheriteth the priesthood.
Judges 18:30 And the children of Dan set up for themselves the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land. Judges 18:31 So they set them up Micah's graven image which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.