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18 In those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days the Danite tribe was looking for a domain to live in, because till that day nothing had fallen to them as a domain among the tribes of Israel; 2 and the children of Dan sent out of their clan five men of all classes, stalwart men from Soreah and Eshtaol, to spy around the country and to examine it, and said to them “Go examine the country”; and they came to Micah’s home in the highland of Ephraim and spent the night there. 3 They had come opposite Micah’s house when they recognized the Levite youth’s voice and turned in there, and said to him “Who brought you here? what are you doing in these parts? what are you here for?” 4 And he said to them “Micah has done such things for me, and he has hired me to be priest to him.” 5 And they said to him “Put the question to God to let us know whether our errand that we are going on will be successful.” 6 And the priest said to them “Go, and good betide you; your errand that you are on is under Jehovah’s eye.” 7 * And the five men went on, and came to Laish, and saw the people in it, living off its guard in Phenician fashion, at rest and off their guard, with no one in the country to balk anything, no holder of sway, and they far away from the Phenicians and having no relations with Syria. 8 * And they came to their brothers at Soreah and Eshtaol, and their brothers said to them “What is your word?” 9 and they said “Come on, let us go up against them; for we have seen the city and found it very good; and you are lying still! do not be slack about going to enter and take possession of the country. 10 * When you come you will come to a people off their guard, plenty of elbowroom in their country, because God has given it into your hands: a place where there is no lack of anything the country produces.” 11 And six hundred men of the Danite clan from Soreah and Eshtaol set out from there in fighting outfit, 12 and went up and camped at Kirjath-Jeʽarim in Judah: that place has consequently been called Dan’s Camp to this day; it lies west of Kirjath-Jeʽarim. 13 And from there they crossed over to the highland of Ephraim, and came to Micah’s home; 14 and the five men who had gone to spy around the country (Laish) spoke up and said to their brothers “Do you know that in these houses there is an ephod and teraphim and a statue? now make up your minds what you will do.” 15 And they turned in there and went into the Levite youth’s house, Micah’s home, and asked him how he did; 16 and while six hundred men in fighting outfit stood at the gate of the place, who belonged to the sons of Dan, 17 up went the five men who had gone to spy around the country, went in there, took the statue and the ephod and the teraphim, the priest standing at the gate of the place, and the six hundred men in fighting outfit: 18 those went into Micah’s home and took the statue, the ephod, and the teraphim. And the priest said to them “What are you doing?” 19 and they said to him “Be still, put your hand over your mouth and go with us and be father and priest to us: is it better for you to be priest to one man’s house or for you to be priest to a tribe and clan in Israel?” 20 And the priest was in high glee, and he took the ephod and the teraphim and the statue and went into the midst of the people. 21 And they turned and went, putting the women and children and the stock and the goods in front. 22 They had got to some distance from Micah’s home when the men in the houses near Micah’s came out in arms and overtook the sons of Dan, 23 and they called out to the sons of Dan and they faced about and said to Micah “What is the matter, that you have come out in arms?” 24 ** And he said “You have taken my gods that I made, and the priest, and gone off with them; what more have I? what do you mean by saying to me ‘What is the matter?’” 25 And the sons of Dan said to him “Do not let your voice be heard around us, for fear some fellows with bad tempers should get after you, and you should make away with your life and the lives of your family”; 26 and the sons of Dan went on their way. And Micah saw that they were too strong for him, and he turned and went back home, 27 * while they took that Micah had made and the priest that he had had and came on Laish, on a people at rest and off their guard, and massacred them and burned down the city; 28 and there was no rescuer because they were far away from Sidon and had no relations with Syria, though it was in the vale that belongs to Beth-Rehob. 29 And they rebuilt the city and lived in it, and named the city Dan after Dan their ancestor; but Laish was the name of the city originally. 30 And the sons of Dan set the statue up for themselves, and Jonathan the son of Gershom the son of Moses, he and his descendants, were priests to the Danite tribe till the day of the deportation of the country. 31 And they put up for themselves Micah’s statue that he had made, all the time the house of God was at Shiloh.
^ 18:7 Conj. that living off its guard in Phenician fashion, perhaps with a word or two before it that are now left out, belongs next after Laish
^ 18:8 Lit. What you?
^ 18:10 Conj. that the last part of this verse belongs at the end of verse 9
^ 18:24 Or my god
^ 18:24 Lit. and gone; what more
^ 18:27 Conj. took the god that Micah or took the gods that Micah or took the ephod that Micah