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Bible Commentaries
Judges 18

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-31

Chapter 18

Now that is setting the stage for the rest of this story. You got now this Levite, young kid from Bethlehem as a professional religious priest, personal priest of Micah in his house.

Now, in those days there was no king in Israel: and the tribe of the Danites sought an inheritance to dwell in ( Judges 18:1 );

For they were unable to drive the Philistines out of that territory of Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gaza and that beautiful valley area. And they were only, at this point, occupied a small little territory, oh, twenty miles from Jerusalem, fifteen miles from Jerusalem towards Tel Aviv, the little valley of Eshcol. But this whole territory was still occupied by the Philistines and they couldn't drive them out and so they were beginning to look for another place to live. And so they sent out six men to sort of look out over the whole country to see if there isn't another place that they might move that the tribe of Dan might inhabit in order that they can have more territory for farming and all because that area that they had taken just wasn't sufficient for their needs.

And so these men started north and they came to Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and they stayed there. And when they were by thou house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man the Levite: and so they turned in, they said unto him, What brought you here? And how much are you making in this place? And what are you doing? And he said unto them, Well, I came to Micah, and he needed a priest, so he hired me [and he gives me ten shekels of silver a year, a new suit, all my food], and I'm his priest. And they said, Well ask counsel of God, for us, that we might know whether we're gonna be prosperous in our search. And so the priest said unto them, Go in peace: before the LORD is our way wherein you go ( Judges 18:2-6 ).

In other words, go in peace God is going before you and He's gonna prosper you in your way.

So the five men departed, and they came to Laish, and they saw the people that were there, how they dwelt carelessly, after the manner of the Zidonians, they were quiet and they were secure; and there was no magistrate in the land, that might put them to shame for any thing; and they were far from the Zidonians, and had no business with any man ( Judges 18:7 ).

So they found the city of people there in Laish and the people were just really living very carelessly. They didn't have business or trade with anybody else. They were a long way from Zidon, actually, they were clear over the Lebanese mountain range from Zidon and they were isolated and really they looked to be an easy prey.

Now they dwelt in a beautiful section of land. Right past the city there flowed the Jordan River and it was near the headwaters of Jordan. So there was no water pollution, the water was clear; it's great and there's good farming territory around there and it's just a beautiful valley, fertile valley.

And they said, "Wow, look at this, you know, be nice to live up here." So they came back to their tribe and they described the place that they had found; it's beauty and its advantages. Ah, there's plenty of water, good area to live and all and it's beautiful, and it really is. It's one of the most beautiful places in Israel.

And so they sent back an army of six hundred men in order to take this city. And so when they came back to the mount of Ephraim, they came back again to this priest. And these fellows went in and they said, "Hey fellow, look we need a priest, our tribe. Wouldn't it be better for you to be a priest over a whole tribe than a priest in just one family? We'd give you a better salary."

So the young man went with them but he ripped off the little idols and all that were there and took them with him. And so when Micah came home he found that the idols had been ripped off, the priest was gone, and so some of his neighbors gathered together and they were having big conflict and said, "Well they went that direction." And so Micah went chasing after them. And these guys are six hundred tough guys heading off for war.

And Micah came up, said, "Hey, what's the big idea ripping me off, taking away my priest and taking away my silver idols?" and so forth and he was really laying it on them.

And they said, "Hey man, looking for trouble? You might as well, you better go home, there's no sense getting hurt." And so he looked around and saw all these guys with their swords and everything else and so he decided to go home. Wisdom the better part of valor.

And so they went up with this young man and they came to Laish and they captured it. They destroyed the inhabitants and the tribe of Dan, a good portion of them, moved on up and inhabited the upper part of this Hula Valley where the headwaters of the Jordan River come out from Mount Hermon. And thus, that became the territory of the tribe of Dan and the city was called Dan, and the river itself was named Jordan or "out of Dan," because there is the headwaters of the Jordan River and it comes out of Dan. And so that river became named Jordan, "out of Dan."

So that is just one of the little stories that is told here. And the second story that gives us an insight to the confusion that existed, both civil and religious, during this particular time has to do with a story of a man who was a Levite. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Judges 18". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/judges-18.html. 2014.
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