New International Version
The Danites Settle in Laish
18 In those days Israel had no king.(A)
And in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking a place of their own where they might settle, because they had not yet come into an inheritance among the tribes of Israel.(B) 2 So the Danites(C) sent five of their leading men(D) from Zorah and Eshtaol to spy out(E) the land and explore it. These men represented all the Danites. They told them, “Go, explore the land.”(F)
So they entered the hill country of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah,(G) where they spent the night. 3 When they were near Micah’s house, they recognized the voice of the young Levite;(H) so they turned in there and asked him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? Why are you here?”
4 He told them what Micah had done for him, and said, “He has hired me and I am his priest.(I)”
5 Then they said to him, “Please inquire of God(J) to learn whether our journey will be successful.”
6 The priest answered them, “Go in peace(K). Your journey has the Lord’s approval.”
7 So the five men(L) left and came to Laish,(M) where they saw that the people were living in safety, like the Sidonians, at peace and secure.(N) And since their land lacked nothing, they were prosperous.[a] Also, they lived a long way from the Sidonians(O) and had no relationship with anyone else.[b]
8 When they returned to Zorah and Eshtaol, their fellow Danites asked them, “How did you find things?”
9 They answered, “Come on, let’s attack them! We have seen the land, and it is very good. Aren’t you going to do something? Don’t hesitate to go there and take it over.(P) 10 When you get there, you will find an unsuspecting people and a spacious land that God has put into your hands, a land that lacks nothing(Q) whatever.(R)”
11 Then six hundred men(S) of the Danites,(T) armed for battle, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol. 12 On their way they set up camp near Kiriath Jearim(U) in Judah. This is why the place west of Kiriath Jearim is called Mahaneh Dan[c](V) to this day. 13 From there they went on to the hill country of Ephraim and came to Micah’s house.(W)
14 Then the five men who had spied out the land of Laish(X) said to their fellow Danites, “Do you know that one of these houses has an ephod,(Y) some household gods and an image overlaid with silver?(Z) Now you know what to do.” 15 So they turned in there and went to the house of the young Levite at Micah’s place and greeted him. 16 The six hundred Danites,(AA) armed for battle, stood at the entrance of the gate. 17 The five men who had spied out the land went inside and took the idol, the ephod and the household gods(AB) while the priest and the six hundred armed men(AC) stood at the entrance of the gate.
19 They answered him, “Be quiet!(AF) Don’t say a word. Come with us, and be our father and priest.(AG) Isn’t it better that you serve a tribe and clan(AH) in Israel as priest rather than just one man’s household?” 20 The priest was very pleased. He took the ephod, the household gods and the idol and went along with the people. 21 Putting their little children, their livestock and their possessions in front of them, they turned away and left.
22 When they had gone some distance from Micah’s house, the men who lived near Micah were called together and overtook the Danites. 23 As they shouted after them, the Danites turned and said to Micah, “What’s the matter with you that you called out your men to fight?”
24 He replied, “You took(AI) the gods I made, and my priest, and went away. What else do I have? How can you ask, ‘What’s the matter with you?’”
25 The Danites answered, “Don’t argue with us, or some of the men may get angry and attack you, and you and your family will lose your lives.” 26 So the Danites went their way, and Micah, seeing that they were too strong for him,(AJ) turned around and went back home.
27 Then they took what Micah had made, and his priest, and went on to Laish, against a people at peace and secure.(AK) They attacked them with the sword and burned(AL) down their city.(AM) 28 There was no one to rescue them because they lived a long way from Sidon(AN) and had no relationship with anyone else. The city was in a valley near Beth Rehob.(AO)
The Danites rebuilt the city and settled there. 29 They named it Dan(AP) after their ancestor Dan, who was born to Israel—though the city used to be called Laish.(AQ) 30 There the Danites set up for themselves the idol, and Jonathan son of Gershom,(AR) the son of Moses,[d] and his sons were priests for the tribe of Dan until the time of the captivity of the land. 31 They continued to use the idol Micah had made,(AS) all the time the house of God(AT) was in Shiloh.(AU)
- Judges 18:7 The meaning of the Hebrew for this clause is uncertain.
- Judges 18:7 Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts with the Arameans
- Judges 18:12 Mahaneh Dan means Dan’s camp.
- Judges 18:30 Many Hebrew manuscripts, some Septuagint manuscripts and Vulgate; many other Hebrew manuscripts and some other Septuagint manuscripts Manasseh
New King James Version
The Danites Adopt Micah’s Idolatry
18 In (A)those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days (B)the tribe of the Danites was seeking an inheritance for itself to dwell in; for until that day their inheritance among the tribes of Israel had not fallen to them. 2 So the children of Dan sent five men of their family from their territory, men of valor from (C)Zorah and Eshtaol, (D)to spy out the land and search it. They said to them, “Go, search the land.” So they went to the mountains of Ephraim, to the (E)house of Micah, and lodged there. 3 While they were at the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young Levite. They turned aside and said to him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What do you have here?”
4 He said to them, “Thus and so Micah did for me. He has (F)hired me, and I have become his priest.”
7 So the five men departed and went to (J)Laish. They saw the people who were there, (K)how they dwelt safely, in the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure. There were no rulers in the land who might put them to shame for anything. They were far from the (L)Sidonians, and they had no ties [b]with anyone.
8 Then the spies came back to their brethren at (M)Zorah and Eshtaol, and their brethren said to them, “What is your report?”
9 So they said, (N)“Arise, let us go up against them. For we have seen the land, and indeed it is very good. Would you (O)do nothing? Do not hesitate to go, and enter to possess the land. 10 When you go, you will come to a (P)secure people and a large land. For God has given it into your hands, (Q)a place where there is no lack of anything that is on the earth.”
11 And six hundred men of the family of the Danites went from there, from Zorah and Eshtaol, armed with weapons of war. 12 Then they went up and encamped in (R)Kirjath Jearim in Judah. (Therefore they call that place (S)Mahaneh Dan[c] to this day. There it is, west of Kirjath Jearim.) 13 And they passed from there to the mountains of Ephraim, and came to (T)the house of Micah.
14 (U)Then the five men who had gone to spy out the country of Laish answered and said to their brethren, “Do you know that (V)there are in these houses an ephod, household idols, a carved image, and a molded image? Now therefore, consider what you should do.” 15 So they turned aside there, and came to the house of the young Levite man—to the house of Micah—and greeted him. 16 The (W)six hundred men armed with their weapons of war, who were of the children of Dan, stood by the entrance of the gate. 17 Then (X)the five men who had gone to spy out the land went up. Entering there, they took (Y)the carved image, the ephod, the household idols, and the molded image. The priest stood at the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men who were armed with weapons of war.
18 When these went into Micah’s house and took the carved image, the ephod, the household idols, and the molded image, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?”
19 And they said to him, “Be quiet, (Z)put your hand over your mouth, and come with us; (AA)be a father and a priest to us. Is it better for you to be a priest to the household of one man, or that you be a priest to a tribe and a family in Israel?” 20 So the priest’s heart was glad; and he took the ephod, the household idols, and the carved image, and took his place among the people.
21 Then they turned and departed, and put the little ones, the livestock, and the goods 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 gathered together and overtook the children of Dan. 23 And they called out to the children of Dan. So they turned around and said to Micah, (AB)“What ails you, that you have gathered such a company?”
25 And the children of Dan said to him, “Do not let your voice be heard among us, lest [e]angry men fall upon you, and you lose your life, with the lives of your household!” 26 Then 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.
Danites Settle in Laish
27 So they took the things Micah had made, and the priest who had belonged to him, and went to Laish, to a people quiet and secure; (AD)and they struck them with the edge of the sword and burned the city with fire. 28 There was no deliverer, because it was (AE)far from Sidon, and they had no ties with anyone. It was in the valley that belongs (AF)to Beth Rehob. So they rebuilt the city and dwelt there. 29 And (AG)they called the name of the city (AH)Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born to Israel. However, the name of the city formerly was Laish.
30 Then the children of Dan set up for themselves the carved image; and Jonathan the son of Gershom, the son of [f]Manasseh, and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan (AI)until the day of the captivity of the land. 31 So they set up for themselves Micah’s carved image which he made, (AJ)all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.