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Morrish Bible Dictionary


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Fifth son of Jacob, and first of Bilhah, Rachel's maid. Genesis 30:6 , etc. Little is recorded of him personally: only one son is mentioned in Genesis 46:23 . The tribe of Dan was, however, numerous: at the Exodus there were 62,700 fighting men, exceeding all the tribes except Judah; and at the second numbering they had increased to 64,400. Numbers 1:39 ; Numbers 26:42,43 . Yet when in the land the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountains: for they would not suffer them to come down to the valley. Judges 1:34 . This showed great want of faith in the DANITES (as they are called in Judges 13:2 ; Judges 18:1,11 ; 1 Chronicles 12:35 ); and Deborah in her song said, 'Why did Dan remain in ships,' when the Lord's enemies were being destroyed?

Their portion fell on the sea-coast between those of Manasseh and Judah. It was small in comparison with their numbers, which occasioned some going north and building the city of Dan, q.v. Dan was not conspicuous among the tribes, but Aholiab, who helped Bezaleel in the work of the tabernacle, was of the tribe, Exodus 31:6 ; and Samson also.

When Jacob blessed his sons he said, "Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward." Genesis 49:16,17 . This tribe was guilty of setting up very early in the land the idolatry, which continued until the people were carried into captivity. Judges 18:30,31 . One naturally associates 'the adder that biteth the heels' with the serpent that would bruise the heel of the seed of the woman. Genesis 3:15 . It seems to suggest that the Antichrist will arise out of the tribe of Dan, and this indeed has been the judgement of Christians from the earliest times. Moses said, "Dan is a lion's whelp: he shall leap from Bashan," Deuteronomy 33:22 , which may be a prophecy that Dan would do the work of Satan: cf. Psalm 22:12,13 . This thought is confirmed by Dan's name being absent from 1 Chronicles 2 - 8 (the book that records much of grace and blessing), and being omitted also from the list of tribes from each of which twelve thousand will be sealed in a future day. Revelation 7:3-8 . Still God's promises to the twelve tribes will be kept, and the tribe of Dan will have its portion in the land as prophesied in Ezekiel 48:1,2,32 .

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Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Dan '. Morrish Bible Dictionary. 1897.

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