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At the last census, Dan had numbered 64,400 males of 20 years old upward and the land alotted to them would have been sufficient had the Amorites not forced them into the mountains (see Num_26:42-43 and Jdg_1:34 ). The men of Dan decided they did not have enough land to pass from father to son for an inheritance. So, they sent five men to spy out a land they could occupy.
They spent the night with Micah and heard an accent obviously not from that region. They asked the Levite how he came to be in the house of Micah and he told them he was serving as his priest. When they asked him to inquire of God as to their efforts, he said God knew of their plans and approved. They then went to Laish, which is called Leshem in Jos_19:47 , and found the people living by trade and commerce like the Sidonians with no one ruling over them and far away from their people ( Jdg_18:1-7 ).
Encouraged by the report of the spies, 600 men of Dan set off with weapons to attack the city. When they came to mount Ephraim, the spies told them about the house of God with the image and priest. They greeted him in a friendly way and went in to take the image, ephod and household idols. The priest asked them what they were doing and they urged him to keep quiet, asking him if it was not better to serve a tribe in Israel instead of just one man.
The priest happily went with them. They placed the children, household goods and livestock in front of the column, apparently expecting Micah to have a hostile reaction. Micah and the men who worked with him pursued them, but the Danites turned and asked why they followed. Micah responded that they had taken everything from his house of God and left him nothing. They told him he should leave things as they were or be in jeopardy of his life as well as sacrificing the lives of his family. He saw their strength and returned home. Notice, false worship of the true God had not helped him as he thought it would ( Jdg_18:8-26 ; Jdg_17:13 ).
The people of Dan took the things that had belonged to Micah and went on to Laish. They defeated the people with the sword and burned their city which lay in the valley which was the source of the Jordan river. They rebuilt the city and renamed it Dan. Jonathan, who was the grandson of Gershom the son of Moses, served with his descendants as priests of the people until they were taken captive ( Jdg_18:27-31 ; 1Ch_23:14-15 ).
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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Judges 18". "Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany