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The Migration of Dan

18 In those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking for itself a territory to live in, for until then no territory among the tribes of Israel had been allotted to them.(A) So the Danites sent five valiant men from the whole number of their clan, from Zorah and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land and to explore it, and they said to them, “Go, explore the land.” When they came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, they stayed there.(B) While they were at Micah’s house, they recognized the voice of the young Levite, so they went over and asked him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What is your business here?” He said to them, “Micah did such and such for me, and he hired me, and I have become his priest.”(C) Then they said to him, “Inquire of God that we may know whether the mission we are undertaking will succeed.”(D) The priest replied, “Go in peace. The mission you are on is under the eye of the Lord.”(E)

The five men went on, and when they came to Laish, they observed the people who were there living securely, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and unsuspecting, lacking[a] nothing on earth, and possessing wealth.[b] Furthermore, they were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with Aram.[c](F) When they came to their kinsfolk at Zorah and Eshtaol, they said to them, “What do you report?”(G) They said, “Come, let us go up against them, for we have seen the land, and it is very good. Will you do nothing? Do not be slow to go, but enter in and possess the land.(H) 10 When you go, you will come to an unsuspecting people. The land is broad—God has indeed given it into your hands—a place where there is no lack of anything on earth.”(I)

11 Six hundred men of the Danite clan, armed with weapons of war, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol 12 and went up and encamped at Kiriath-jearim in Judah. On this account that place is called Mahaneh-dan[d] to this day; it is west of Kiriath-jearim.(J) 13 From there they passed on to the hill country of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah.(K)

14 Then the five men who had gone to spy out the land (that is, Laish) said to their comrades, “Do you know that in these buildings there are an ephod, teraphim, and an idol of cast metal? Now, therefore, consider what you will do.”(L) 15 So they turned in that direction and came to the house of the young Levite at the home of Micah and greeted him. 16 While the six hundred men of the Danites, armed with their weapons of war, stood by the entrance of the gate,(M) 17 the five men who had gone to spy out the land proceeded to enter and take the idol of cast metal, the ephod, and the teraphim.[e] The priest was standing by the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men armed with weapons of war.(N) 18 When the men went into Micah’s house and took the idol of cast metal, the ephod, and the teraphim, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?” 19 They said to him, “Keep quiet! Put your hand over your mouth, and come with us, and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be priest to the house of one person or to be priest to a tribe and clan in Israel?”(O) 20 Then the priest accepted the offer. He took the ephod, the teraphim, and the idol and went along with the people.

21 So they resumed their journey, putting the little ones, the livestock, and the goods in front of them. 22 When they were some distance from the home of Micah, the men who were in the houses near Micah’s house were called out, and they overtook the Danites. 23 They shouted to the Danites, who turned around and said to Micah, “What is the matter that you come with such a company?” 24 He replied, “You take my gods that I made and the priest and go away, and what have I left? How then can you ask me, ‘What is the matter?’ ”(P) 25 And the Danites said to him, “You had better not let your voice be heard among us, or else hot-tempered fellows will attack you, and you will lose your life and the lives of your household.” 26 Then the Danites went their way. When Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his home.

The Danites Settle in Laish

27 The Danites, having taken what Micah had made and the priest who belonged to him, came to Laish, to a people quiet and unsuspecting, put them to the sword, and burned down the city.(Q) 28 There was no deliverer because it was far from Sidon, and they had no dealings with Aram.[f] It was in the valley that belongs to Beth-rehob. They rebuilt the city and lived in it.(R) 29 They named the city Dan after their ancestor Dan, who was born to Israel, but the name of the city was formerly Laish.(S) 30 Then the Danites set up the idol for themselves. Jonathan son of Gershom son of Moses[g] and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the time the land went into captivity.(T) 31 So they maintained as their own Micah’s idol that he had made, as long as the house of God was at Shiloh.(U)

The Levite’s Concubine

19 In those days, when there was no king in Israel, a certain Levite residing in the remote parts of the hill country of Ephraim took to himself a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah.(V) But his concubine became angry with[h] him, and she went away from him to her father’s house at Bethlehem in Judah and was there some four months. Then her husband set out after her, to speak tenderly to her and bring her back. He had with him his servant and a couple of donkeys. When he reached[i] her father’s house, the young woman’s father saw him and came with joy to meet him.(W) His father-in-law, the young woman’s father, made him stay, and he remained with him three days; so they ate and drank, and he[j] stayed there. On the fourth day they got up early in the morning, and he prepared to go, but the young woman’s father said to his son-in-law, “Fortify yourself with a bit of food, and after that you may go.”(X) So the two men sat and ate and drank together, and the young woman’s father said to the man, “Why not spend the night and enjoy yourself?”(Y) When the man got up to go, his father-in-law kept urging him until he spent the night there again. On the fifth day he got up early in the morning to leave, and the young woman’s father said, “Fortify yourself and linger until the day declines.” So the two of them ate. When the man with his concubine and his servant got up to leave, his father-in-law, the young woman’s father, said to him, “Look, the day has worn on until it is almost evening. Spend the night. See, the day has drawn to a close. Spend the night here and enjoy yourself. Tomorrow you can get up early in the morning for your journey and go home.”

10 But the man would not spend the night; he got up and departed and arrived opposite Jebus (that is, Jerusalem). He had with him a couple of saddled donkeys, and his concubine was with him.(Z) 11 When they were near Jebus, the day was far spent, and the servant said to his master, “Come now, let us turn aside to this city of the Jebusites and spend the night in it.”(AA) 12 But his master said to him, “We will not turn aside into a city of foreigners, who do not belong to the people of Israel, but we will continue on to Gibeah.”(AB) 13 Then he said to his servant, “Come, let us try to reach one of these places and spend the night at Gibeah or at Ramah.” 14 So they passed on and went their way, and the sun went down on them near Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin. 15 They turned aside there, to go in and spend the night at Gibeah. He went in and sat down in the open square of the city, but no one took them in to spend the night.(AC)

16 Then at evening there was an old man coming from his work in the field. The man was from the hill country of Ephraim, and he was residing in Gibeah. (The people of the place were Benjaminites.)(AD) 17 When the old man looked up and saw the wayfarer in the open square of the city, he said, “Where are you going, and where do you come from?” 18 He answered him, “We are passing from Bethlehem in Judah to the remote parts of the hill country of Ephraim, from which I come. I went to Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going to my home.[k] Nobody has offered to take me in.(AE) 19 We have straw and fodder for our donkeys, with bread and wine for me and the woman and the young man along with us. Your servants need nothing more.” 20 The old man said, “Peace be to you. I will care for all your wants; only do not spend the night in the square.” 21 So he brought him into his house and fed the donkeys; they washed their feet and ate and drank.(AF)

Gibeah’s Crime

22 While they were enjoying themselves, the men of the city, a perverse lot, surrounded the house and started pounding on the door. They said to the old man, the master of the house, “Bring out the man who came into your house, so that we may have intercourse with him.”(AG) 23 And the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Since this man is my guest, do not do this vile thing.(AH) 24 Here are my virgin daughter and his concubine; let me bring them out now. Ravish them and do whatever you want to them, but against this man do not do such a vile thing.”(AI) 25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and put her out to them. They wantonly raped her and abused her all through the night until the morning. And as the dawn began to break, they let her go. 26 As morning appeared, the woman came and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her master was, until it was light.

27 In the morning her master got up, opened the doors of the house, and when he went out to go on his way, there was the woman, his concubine, lying at the door of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28 “Get up,” he said to her, “we are going.” But there was no answer. Then he put her on the donkey, and the man set out for his home.(AJ) 29 When he had entered his house, he took a knife, and grasping his concubine he cut her into twelve pieces, limb by limb, and sent her throughout all the territory of Israel.(AK) 30 Then he commanded the men whom he sent, saying, “Thus shall you say to all the Israelites: Has such a thing ever happened[l] since the day that the Israelites came up from the land of Egypt until this day? Consider it, take counsel, and speak out.”(AL)


  1. 18.7 Cn: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  2. 18.7 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  3. 18.7 Gk: Heb with anyone
  4. 18.12 That is, camp of Dan
  5. 18.17 Gk: Heb teraphim and the cast metal
  6. 18.28 Cn: Heb with anyone
  7. 18.30 Another reading is son of Manasseh
  8. 19.2 Gk OL: Heb prostituted herself against
  9. 19.3 Gk: Heb she brought him to
  10. 19.4 Compare Gk: Heb they
  11. 19.18 Gk: Heb to the house of the Lord
  12. 19.30 Compare Gk: Heb And all who saw it said, “Such a thing has not happened or been seen