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Judges 18:11-31

Context

18:11 So six hundred Danites, fully armed, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol. 1  18:12 They went up and camped in Kiriath Jearim in Judah. (To this day that place is called Camp of Dan. 2  It is west 3  of Kiriath Jearim.) 18:13 From there they traveled through the Ephraimite hill country and arrived at Micah’s house. 18:14 The five men who had gone to spy out the land of Laish 4  said to their kinsmen, 5  “Do you realize that inside these houses are an ephod, some personal idols, a carved image, and a metal image? Decide now what you want to do.” 18:15 They stopped 6  there, went inside the young Levite’s house (which belonged to Micah), 7  and asked him how he was doing. 8  18:16 Meanwhile the six hundred Danites, fully armed, stood at the entrance to the gate. 9  18:17 The five men who had gone to spy out the land broke in and stole 10  the carved image, the ephod, the personal idols, and the metal image, while the priest was standing at the entrance to the gate with the six hundred fully armed men. 11  18:18 When these men broke into Micah’s house and stole 12  the carved image, the ephod, the personal idols, and the metal image, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?” 18:19 They said to him, “Shut up! Put your hand over your mouth and come with us! You can be our adviser 13  and priest. Wouldn’t it be better to be a priest for a whole Israelite tribe than for just one man’s family?” 14  18:20 The priest was happy. He took the ephod, the personal idols, and the carved image and joined the group. 15 

18:21 They turned and went on their way, but they walked behind the children, the cattle, and their possessions. 16  18:22 After they had gone a good distance from Micah’s house, Micah’s neighbors 17  gathered together and caught up with the Danites. 18:23 When they called out to the Danites, the Danites 18  turned around and said to Micah, “Why have you gathered together?” 18:24 He said, “You stole my gods that I made, as well as this priest, and then went away. What do I have left? How can you have the audacity to say to me, ‘What do you want?’” 19  18:25 The Danites said to him, “Don’t say another word to us, or some very angry men 20  will attack you, and you and your family will die.” 21  18:26 The Danites went on their way; when Micah realized 22  they were too strong to resist, 23  he turned around and went home.

18:27 Now the Danites 24  took what Micah had made, as well as his priest, and came to Laish, where the people were undisturbed and unsuspecting. They struck them down with the sword and burned the city. 25  18:28 No one came to the rescue because the city 26  was far from Sidon 27  and they had no dealings with anyone. 28  The city 29  was in a valley near Beth Rehob. The Danites 30  rebuilt the city and occupied it. 18:29 They named it Dan after their ancestor, who was one of Israel’s sons. 31  But the city’s name used to be Laish. 18:30 The Danites worshiped 32  the carved image. Jonathan, descendant 33  of Gershom, son of Moses, 34  and his descendants 35  served as priests for the tribe of Dan until the time of the exile. 18:31 They worshiped 36  Micah’s carved image 37  the whole time God’s authorized shrine 38  was in Shiloh.

1 tn Heb “They journeyed from there, from the tribe of the Danites, from Zorah and from Eshtaol, six hundred men, equipped with weapons of war.”

2 tn Or “Mahaneh Dan”; the Hebrew term “Mahaneh” means “camp [of].” Many English versions retain the transliterated Hebrew expression, but cf. CEV “Dan’s Camp.”

3 tn Heb “behind.”

4 tc Codex Alexandrinus (A) of the LXX lacks the phrase “of Laish.”

5 tn Heb “brothers.”

6 tn Heb “turned aside.”

7 tn Heb “Micah’s house.”

8 tn Heb “they asked him concerning peace.”

9 tn Heb “And the six hundred men, equipped with the weapons of war…from the sons of Dan.”

10 tn Heb “went up, went in there, took.”

11 tn Heb “six hundred men, equipped with the weapons of war.”

12 tn Heb “These went into Micah’s house and took.”

13 tn See the note on the word “adviser” in 17:10.

14 tn Heb “Is it better for you to be priest for the house of one man or for you to be priest for a tribe, for a clan in Israel?”

15 tn Heb “and went into the midst of the people.”

16 tn Heb “They turned and went and put the children, the cattle, and the possessions in front of them.”

17 tn Heb “the men who were in the houses near Micah’s house.”

18 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the Danites) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

19 tn Heb “What is this you say to me, ‘What to you?’”

20 tn Heb “bitter in spirit.” This phrase is used in 2 Sam 17:8 of David and his warriors, who are compared to a bear robbed of her cubs.

21 tn Heb “and you will gather up your life and the life of your house.”

22 tn Heb “saw.”

23 tn Heb “they were stronger than he.”

24 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the Danites) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

25 tn The Hebrew adds “with fire.” This has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons, because it is redundant in English.

26 tn Heb “it.” The Hebrew pronoun is feminine singular here, referring to the “city” (a grammatically feminine singular noun) mentioned in v. 27.

27 map For location see Map1 A1; JP3 F3; JP4 F3.

28 tn Heb “and a thing there was not to them with men.”

29 tn Heb “it.” The Hebrew pronoun is feminine singular here, referring to the “city” (a grammatically feminine singular noun) mentioned in v. 27.

30 tn Heb “They”; the referent (the Danites) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

31 tn Heb “They called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who had been born to Israel.”

32 tn Heb “erected for themselves.”

33 tn Heb “son.”

34 tc Several ancient textual witnesses, including some LXX mss and the Vulgate, support the reading “Moses” (מֹשֶׁה, mosheh) here. Many Hebrew mss have a nun (נ) suspended above the name between the first two letters (מנשׁה), suggesting the name Manasseh (מְנַשֶּׁה, mÿnasheh). This is probably a scribal attempt to protect Moses’ reputation. For discussion, see G. F. Moore, Judges (ICC), 401-2.

35 tn Heb “sons.”

36 tn Heb “they set up for themselves.”

37 tn Heb “the carved image that Micah had made.”

38 tn Heb “the house of God.”



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