Judges 18International Children’s Bible (ICB)
Dan’s Family Captures Laish
18 At that time the Israelites did not have a king. The people of Dan were still looking for a land where they could live. They wanted a land of their own. The other tribes of Israel already had their own lands. But the Danites did not yet have their own land. 2 So they chose five soldiers from all their family groups. These five men were from the cities of Zorah and Eshtaol. They sent the men to spy out and explore the land. They were told, “Go, explore the land.”
So they came to the mountains of Ephraim. They came to Micah’s house, where they spent the night. 3 When they came near Micah’s house, they recognized the voice of the young Levite.[a] So they stopped at Micah’s house. They asked the young Levite, “Who brought you to this place? What are you doing here? Why are you here?”
4 He told them what Micah had done for him. “He has hired me. I am his priest.”
5 They said to him, “Please ask God something for us. Will our search for a place to live be successful?”
6 The priest said to them, “Go in peace. The Lord is pleased with your journey.”
7 So the five men left. They came to the city of Laish. They saw that the people there lived in safety. They were like the people of Sidon. They lived in peace and were not afraid of others. They had plenty of everything. They lived a long way from the Sidonians. And they had no dealings with anyone else.
8 The five men went back to Zorah and Eshtaol. Their relatives asked them, “What did you find?”
9 They answered, “We have seen the land. And it is very good. We should attack them. Aren’t you going to do something? Don’t wait! Let’s go and take that land! 10 When you go, you will see there is plenty of land. There is plenty of everything! The people are not expecting an attack. Surely God has given that land to us!”
11 So 600 men of Dan left Zorah and Eshtaol. They were ready for war. 12 On their way they stopped near the city of Kiriath Jearim in Judah. They set up camp there. That is why the place is named Mahaneh Dan[b] to this very day. It is west of Kiriath Jearim. 13 From there they traveled on to the mountains of Ephraim. Then they came to Micah’s house.
14 So the five men who had explored the land around Laish spoke. They said to their relatives, “There is a vest for a priest in one of these houses. And there are household gods in these houses. There are also a carved idol and an idol of melted silver in these houses. You know what to do.” 15 So they stopped at the Levite’s house. This was also Micah’s house. And they greeted the Levite. 16 The 600 men of Dan stood at the gate entrance. They wore their weapons of war. 17 The five spies went into the house. They took the carved idol, the vest for a priest, the household idols and the silver idol. The priest and the 600 men ready for war stood by the gate entrance.
18 When the spies went into Micah’s house and took the carved image, the vest for a priest, the household idols and the silver idol, the priest asked them, “What are you doing?”
19 They answered, “Be quiet! Don’t say a word. Come with us. Be our father and our priest. Is it better for you to be a priest for the people in one man’s house? Or is it better for you to be a priest for a tribe and family group in Israel?” 20 This made the Levite happy. So he took the vest for a priest, the household idols and the carved idol. And he went with the men of Dan. 21 They left Micah’s house. They put their little children, their animals and everything they owned in front of them.
22 The men of Dan went a long way from Micah’s house. Then the men who lived near Micah were called out. They chased the men of Dan and caught up with them. 23 The men with Micah shouted at the men of Dan. The men of Dan turned around. They said to Micah, “What’s the matter with you? Why have you called out your men to fight?”
24 Micah answered, “You took my idols! I made those idols. You have also taken my priest. What do I have left? How can you ask me, ‘What’s the matter?’”
25 The men of Dan answered, “You should not argue with us. Some of our men have hot tempers. If you shout at us, they might attack you. You and your family might be killed.” 26 Then the men of Dan went on their way. Micah knew they were too strong for him. So he turned and went back home.
27 So the men of Dan took what Micah had made. They also took his priest and went on to Laish. They attacked those peaceful people. The people of Laish had not expected an attack. The men of Dan killed them with their swords. Then they burned the city. 28 There was no one to save the people of Laish. They lived too far from Sidon. And they had no dealings with anyone else. Laish was in a valley near Beth Rehob.
The people of Dan rebuilt the city in that place. And they lived there. 29 They changed the name of Laish to Dan. They named it after their ancestor Dan. He was one of the sons of Israel.
30 The people of Dan set up the idols in the city of Dan. They made Jonathan son of Gershom their priest. Gershom was the son of Moses. Jonathan and his sons were priests for the tribe of Dan. They served as priests until the Israelites were taken captive. 31 The people of Dan worshiped the idols Micah had made. They worshiped them as long as the Holy Tent of God was in Shiloh.
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