Judges 18

1 In those days there was no king in Yisrael; 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 Yisrael.

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.” And they came to Mount Efrayim, to the house of Mikhah, they lodged there.”

3 When they were by the house of Mikhah, they knew the voice of the young man the Lewite; and they turned in thither, and said unto him, “Who brought you hither? And what makest you in this place? And what have you here?”

4 And he said unto them, “Thus and thus dealeth Mikhah with me, and hath hired me, and I am his priest (kohen).”

5 And they said unto him, “Please ask counsel of God (Elohim), that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous.”

6 And the priest (kohen) said unto them, “Go in peace; before יהוה is your way wherein you go.

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.

8 And they came unto their brethren to Zorah and Eshtaol; and their brethren said unto them, “What say you?”

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 you still? Be not slothful to go, and to enter to possess the land.

10 When you go, you shall come unto a people secure, and to a large land; for God (Elohim) hath given it into your hands; a place where there is no want of any thing that is in the earth.”

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.

12 And they went up, and pitched in Qiryat-Yearim, in Judah (Yehudah): wherefore they called that place Mahanehdan unto this day; behold, it is behind Qiryat-Yearim.

13 And they passed thence unto Mount Efrayim, and came unto the house of Mikhah.

14 Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish, and said unto their brethren, “Do you know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, and a molten image? Now therefore consider what you have to do.”

15 And they turned thitherward, and came to the house of the young man the Lewite, even unto the house of Mikhah, and saluted him.

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

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 (kohen) stood in the entering of the gate with the six hundred men that were appointed with weapons of war.

18 And these went into Mikhah’s house, and fetched the carved image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image. Then said the priest (kohen) unto them, “What do you?”

19 And they said unto him, “Hold your peace, lay your hand upon your mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest (kohen); is it better for you to be a priest (kohen) unto the house of one man, or that you be a priest (kohen) unto a tribe and a family in Yisrael?

20 And the priest (kohen)’s heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people.

21 So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the cattle and the carriage before them.

22 And when they were a good way from the house of Mikhah, the men that were in the houses near to Mikhah’s house were gathered together, and overtook the children of Dan.

23 And they cried unto the children of Dan. And they turned their faces, and said unto Mikhah, “What aileth you, that you have gathered such a company?”

24 And he said, “You have taken away my gods (elohim) which I made, and the priest (kohen), and you are gone away; and what have I more? And what is this that you say unto me, ‘What aileth you?’”

25 And the children of Dan said unto him, “Let not your voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows run upon you, and you lose your life, with the lives of your household!”

26 And the children of Dan went their way; and when Mikhah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back unto his house.

27 And they took the things which Mikhah had made, and the priest (kohen) 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.

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 Beit-Rechov. And they built a city, and dwelt therein.

29 And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born unto Yisrael; howbeit the name of the city was Laish at the first.

30 And the children of Dan set up the graven image; and N33Jonathan (Yehonatan), the son of Gershom, the son of Menashsheh, he and his sons were priests (kohanim) to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land.

31 And they set them up Mikhah’s graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God (Elohim) was in Shiloh.