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Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Judges 18

 

 

Introduction
1The Danites send five men to seek out an inheritance.
3At the house of Micah they consult with Jonathan, and are encouraged on their way.
7They search Laish, and bring back news of good hope.
11Six hundred men are sent to surprise it.
14In their way they rob Micah of his priest and his consecrated things.
27They win Laish, and call it Dan.
30They set up idolatry, wherein Jonathan inherits the priesthood.

Verse 1
In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day all their inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel.
no king
The word mailech, which generally means a king, is sometimes taken for a supreme ruler, governor, or judge (see Ge 36:31. De 33:5;) and it is probable it should be so understood here, and in the parallel passages.
17:6; 19:1; 21:25
the tribe
Joshua 19:40-48
for unto
1:34

Verse 2
And the children of Dan sent of their family five men from their coasts, men of valour, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said unto them, Go, search the land: who when they came to mount Ephraim, to the house of Micah, they lodged there.
men
Heb. sons. Zorah.
8,11; 13:2,25; 16:31; Genesis 42:9; Joshua 19:41
to spy
Numbers 13:17; Joshua 2:1; Proverbs 20:18; Luke 14:31
mount
17:1; 19:1,18; Joshua 17:15-18

Verse 3
When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man the Levite: and they turned in thither, and said unto him, Who brought thee hither? and what makest thou in this place? and what hast thou here?
they knew
They knew by his dialect or mode of pronunciation, that he was not an Ephraimite: see the parallel texts.
12:6; Genesis 27:22; Matthew 26:73
and what hast
Isaiah 22:16

Verse 4
And he said unto them, Thus and thus dealeth Micah with me, and hath hired me, and I am his priest.
hired me
17:10; Proverbs 28:21; Isaiah 56:11; Ezekiel 13:19; Hosea 4:8,9; Malachi 1:10; John 10:12,13; Acts 8:18-21; 20:33; 1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:11; 2 Peter 2:3,14,15

Verse 5
And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous.
Ask counsel
1 Kings 22:5; 2 Kings 16:15; Isaiah 30:1; Ezekiel 21:21; Hosea 4:12; Acts 8:10
of God
14; 17:5,13

Verse 6
And the priest said unto them, Go in peace: before the LORD is your way wherein ye go.
Go in peace
1 Kings 22:6,12,15; Jeremiah 23:21,22,32
before
Deuteronomy 11:12; Psalms 33:18; 1 Thessalonians 3:11
the Lord
As the Levite uses the word Jehovah, and as the Danites succeeded according to the oracle delivered by him, some learned men are of opinion, that the worship established by Micah was not of an idolatrous kind.

Verse 7
Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people that were therein, how they dwelt careless, after the manner of the Zidonians, quiet and secure; and there was no magistrate in the land, that might put them to shame in any thing; and they were far from the Zidonians, and had no business with any man.
Laish
Joshua 19:47
called Leshem
how they.
27,28; Revelation 18:7
magistrate
Heb. possessor, or, heir of restraint.
1 Samuel 3:13; 1 Kings 1:6; Romans 13:3; 1 Peter 2:14
and had no
In the most correct copies of the LXX. this clause stands thus; [kai logos ouk en autois meta Syrias;] "and they had no transactions with Syria;" evidently reading instead of [ ()] adam, man, [ ()] aram, Syria; words so nearly similar that the only difference between them is in the [Rêysh] raish, and [Dâleth] daleth, which in both MSS. and printed books is sometimes indiscernible. Laish was situated on the frontiers of Syria.

Verse 8
And they came unto their brethren to Zorah and Eshtaol: and their brethren said unto them, What say ye?
Zorah and Eshtaol
2,11; 13:2; 16:31

Verse 9
And they said, Arise, that we may go up against them: for we have seen the land, and, behold, it is very good: and are ye still? be not slothful to go, and to enter to possess the land.
Arise
Numbers 13:30; 14:7-9; Joshua 2:23,24
are ye still
1 Kings 22:23
be not
Joshua 18:3; 1 Samuel 4:9; 2 Samuel 10:12; John 6:27; Hebrews 6:11,12; 2 Peter 1:10,11

Verse 10
When ye go, ye shall come unto a people secure, and to a large land: for God hath given it into your hands; a place where there is no want of any thing that is in the earth.
secure
7,27
God hath
Deuteronomy 2:29; 4:1; Joshua 6:16
where there
Exodus 3:8; Deuteronomy 8:7-9; 11:11,12; Ezekiel 20:6; 1 Timothy 6:17

Verse 11
And there went from thence of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men appointed with weapons of war.
appointed
Heb. girded.

Verse 12
And they went up, and pitched in Kirjathjearim, in Judah: wherefore they called that place Mahanehdan unto this day: behold, it is behind Kirjathjearim.
Kirjath-jearim
A city of Judah, on the confines of Benjamin; distant nine miles from Ælia or Jerusalem, in going towards Diospolis or Lydda, according to Eusebius.
Joshua 15:60; 1 Samuel 7:1; 1 Chronicles 13:5,6; 2 Chronicles 1:4
Mahaneh-dan
13:25; *marg:

Verse 13
And they passed thence unto mount Ephraim, and came unto the house of Micah.
mount Ephraim
2,3; 17:1; 19:1; Joshua 24:30,33

Verse 14
Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish, and said unto their brethren, Do ye know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, and a molten image? now therefore consider what ye have to do.
Then
1 Samuel 14:28
in these
3,4; 17:5
now therefore
Proverbs 19:27; Isaiah 8:19,20

Verse 15
And they turned thitherward, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, even unto the house of Micah, and saluted him.
saluted him
Heb. asked him of peace.
Genesis 37:14; 43:27; 1 Samuel 17:22; *marg:; 2 Kings 4:26; Matthew 10:12,13; Luke 10:4-6; John 14:27

Verse 16
And the six hundred men appointed with their weapons of war, which were of the children of Dan, stood by the entering of the gate.
six hundred

Verse 17
And the five men that went to spy out the land went up, and came in thither, and took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image: and the priest stood in the entering of the gate with the six hundred men that were appointed with weapons of war.
five men
2,14
the graven
6:31; 17:4,5; Exodus 32:20; 1 Samuel 4:11; 6:2-9; 2 Kings 19:18,19; Isaiah 46:1,2,7

Verse 19
And they said unto him, Hold thy peace, lay thine hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest: is it better for thee to be a priest unto the house of one man, or that thou be a priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel?
lay thine
This was the token of silence. These men were evidently very ignorant; and absurdly concluded that they should, by taking Micah's gods, secure the presence and favour of the God of Israel, in their expedition and settlement. They perhaps supposed the piety of their motives, and the goodness of their end, would justify the means. But it was a base robbery of Micah, aggravated by the Levite's ingratitude, and their menaces.
Job 21:5; 29:9; 40:4,5; Proverbs 30:32; Micah 7:16
a father
17:10; 2 Kings 6:21; 8:8,9; 13:14; Matthew 23:9

Verse 20
And the priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people.
heart
17:10; Proverbs 30:15; Isaiah 56:11; Ezekiel 13:19; Hosea 4:3; Acts 20:33; Philippians 3:19; 2 Peter 2:3,15,16
went
He was glad of his preferment among the Danites; and went into the crowd, that he might not be discovered by Micah or his family.

Verse 21
So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the cattle and the carriage before them.
and put
These men were so confident of success, that they removed their whole families, household goods, cattle, and all.
the carriage
Kevoodah, from kavad, to be heavy, denotes the luggage or baggage.

Verse 23
And they cried unto the children of Dan. And they turned their faces, and said unto Micah, What aileth thee, that thou comest with such a company?
What aileth
Genesis 21:17; 1 Samuel 11:5; 2 Samuel 14:5; 2 Kings 6:28; Psalms 114:5; Isaiah 22:1
comest
Heb. art gathered together.

Verse 24
And he said, Ye have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and ye are gone away: and what have I more? and what is this that ye say unto me, What aileth thee?
what have
17:13; Psalms 115:8; Isaiah 44:18-20; Jeremiah 50:38; 51:17; Ezekiel 23:5; Habakkuk 2:18,19; Acts 19:26; Revelation 17:2

Verse 25
And the children of Dan said unto him, Let not thy voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows run upon thee, and thou lose thy life, with the lives of thy household.
angry
Heb. bitter of soul.
1 Samuel 30:6; 2 Samuel 17:8; Job 3:5; 27:2; *marg:

Verse 27
And they took the things which Micah had made, and the priest which he had, and came unto Laish, unto a people that were at quiet and secure: and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and burnt the city with fire.
Laish
7,10
they smote
Deuteronomy 33:22; Joshua 19:47
burnt
Joshua 11:11

Verse 28
And there was no deliverer, because it was far from Zidon, and they had no business with any man; and it was in the valley that lieth by Bethrehob. And they built a city, and dwelt therein.
And there
2 Samuel 14:6; *marg:; Psalms 7:2; 50:22; Daniel 3:15-17
far from
Probably the people of Laish were originally a colony of the Zidonians; who being an opulent people, and in possession of a strong city, lived in a state of security, not being afraid of their neighbours. In this the Leshemites imitated them, though they appear not to have had the same reason for their confidence; and though they might naturally expect help from their countrymen, yet as they lived at a considerable distance from Sidon, the Danites saw they could strike the blow before the news of the invasion could reach that city.
1,7; Joshua 11:8; Isaiah 23:4,12
Beth-rehob
Numbers 13:21
Rehob
2 Samuel 10:6

Verse 29
And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born unto Israel: howbeit the name of the city was Laish at the first.
Dan
20:1; Genesis 14:14; Joshua 19:47; 2 Samuel 17:11; 1 Kings 12:29,30; 15:20
who was
Genesis 30:6; 32:28; Laish, or Dan, was situated at the northern extremity of the land of Canaan, in a beautiful and fertile plain, at the foot of mount Lebanon, on the springs of Jordan, and, according to Eusebius, four miles from Cæsarea Philippi, or Paneas, now Banias, (with which some have confounded it,) towards Tyre. Burckhardt says, that the source of the river El Dhan, or Jordan, is at an hour's distance from Banias, which agrees with Eusebius.

Verse 30
And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land.
set up
Exodus 20:4; Leviticus 26:1; Deuteronomy 17:2-7; 27:15; 31:16,29; Joshua 19:40-48; Psalms 78:58-61; God had graciously performed his promise, in putting these Danites in possession of that which fell to their lot, obliging them thereby to be faithful to him who had been so to them; inherited:; )]">as it is found in some MSS., in the Vulgate and in the concessions of the most intelligent Jews. But Bp. Patrick takes this to be an idle conceit of the Rabbins, and supposes this Jonathan to be of some other family of the Levites. Yet Kimchi acknowledges, that the Jews, deeply concerned for the honour of their lawgiver, to whom they thought it would be a great dishonour to have a grandson who was an idolater, suspended the letter, [Nûwn] {noon,} over the word [ ()]
until
13:1; 1 Samuel 4:2,3,10,11; Psalms 78:60-62
the land
Houbigant contends, that, instead of haäretz, "the land," we should read haäron, "the ark;" for the [Vâv] wav, and [Nûwn, noon final, might easily be mistaken for [Tsâdêy] tzadday final; which is the only difference between the two words. This conjecture is the more likely, as the next verse tells us, that Micah's graven image continued at Dan "all the time that the house of God was at Shiloh;" which was till the ark was taken by the Philistines.

Verse 31
And they set them up Micah's graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.
all the time
19:18; 21:21; Joshua 18:1; 1 Samuel 1:3; 4:4; Jeremiah 7:12

 


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Bibliography Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Judges 18:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/judges-18.html.

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