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Chapter 18

1In 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 to that day their inheritance had not fallen to them among the tribes of Israel. 2The children of Dan sent of their family five men from their whole number, men of valor, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said to them, Go, search the land. They came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there. 3When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man the Levite; and they turned aside there, and said to him, Who brought you here? and what do you in this place? and what have you here? 4He said to them, Thus and thus has Micah dealt with me, and he has hired me, and I am become his priest. 5They said to him, Ask counsel, we pray you, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous. 6The priest said to them, Go in peace: before Yahweh is your way wherein you go. 7Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people who were therein, how they lived in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure; for there was none in the land, possessing authority, that might put them to shame in anything, and they were far from the Sidonians, and had no dealings with any man. 8They came to their brothers to Zorah and Eshtaol: and their brothers said to them, What say you? 9They said, Arise, and let us go up against them; for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good: and are you still? don’t be slothful to go and to enter in to possess the land. 10When you go, you shall come to a people secure, and the land is large; for God has given it into your hand, a place where there is no want of anything that is in the earth. 11There set forth from there of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men girt with weapons of war. 12They went up, and encamped in Kiriath Jearim, in Judah: therefore they called that place Mahaneh Dan, to this day; behold, it is behind Kiriath Jearim. 13They passed there to the hill country of Ephraim, and came to the house of Micah. 14Then the five men who went to spy out the country of Laish answered, and said to their brothers, Do you know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and an engraved image, and a molten image? now therefore consider what you have to do. 15They turned aside there, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, even to the house of Micah, and asked him of his welfare. 16The six hundred men girt with their weapons of war, who were of the children of Dan, stood by the entrance of the gate. 17The five men who went to spy out the land went up, and came in there, and took the engraved image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image: and the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men girt with weapons of war. 18When these went into Micah’s house, and fetched the engraved image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image, the priest said to them, What do you? 19They said to him, Hold your peace, lay your hand on your mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest: is it better for you to be priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and a family in Israel? 20The priest’s heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the engraved image, and went in the midst of the people. 21So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the livestock and the goods before them. 22When they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men who were in the houses near to Micah’s house were gathered together, and overtook the children of Dan. 23They cried to the children of Dan. They turned their faces, and said to Micah, What ails you, that you come with such a company? 24He said, you have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and are gone away, and what have I more? and how then say you to me, What ails you? 25The children of Dan said to him, “Don’t let your voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows fall on you, and you lose your life, with the lives of your household.” 26The 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. 27They took that which Micah had made, and the priest whom he had, and came to Laish, to a people quiet and secure, and struck them with the edge of the sword; and they burnt the city with fire. 28There was no deliverer, because it was far from Sidon, and they had no dealings with any man; and it was in the valley that lies by Beth Rehob. They built the city, and lived therein. 29They called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born to Israel: however the name of the city was Laish at the first. 30The children of Dan set up for themselves the engraved 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. 31So they set them up Micah’s engraved image which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.

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