1 At that time there was no king in Israel. The tribe of Dan was looking for a territory to dwell in, because until that day they had not received a share in the inheritance of the tribes of Israel. 2 So the Danites sent five valiant men from Zorah and Eshtaolall from the Danite tribeto go around the land and explore it. They said to them, Go and explore the country. These men came to the mountains of Ephraim near the house of Micah and spent the night there.
3 When they were near the house, they recognized the voice of the young Levite, so they went in. They asked him, Who has brought you here? What are you doing in this place? Why are you here? 4 He answered, Such and such a thing Micah has done for me. He has hired me to become his priest. 5 They said to him, Ask God so we may know whether the journey we are making shall be successful or not. 6 The priest answered them, Go in peace, the journey you make is under the eye of Yahweh.
7 The five men left and came to Laish. They saw that the inhabitants of that place were living in security according to the customs of the Sidoniansquiet and trusting peoplewith no one creating trouble. They lived far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone else.
8 Upon their return to their brothers in Zorah and Eshtaol, 9 they were asked, What news do you bring? They answered, Come on, let us go and attack them for the country we have seen is an excellent place. But why are you silent? Do not delay in setting out to conquer the land. l0 When you go, you shall meet a quiet people
11 So six hundred armed men of the tribe of Dan set out from Zorah and Esh taol
14 Then the five men who had gone to explore the land addressed their brothers and said, Do you not know that in one of these houses, there is an ephod used to consult Yahweh, some small idols and a statue cast in metal? Now decide what you have to do.
15 The troops made a detour and entered the house of the young Levite, the house of Micah. They greeted him 16 while the six hundred armed Danites stood at the threshold of the gate. 17 Then the five men who had earlier gone up to explore the land went up again, entered Micahs house 18 and took the statue, the ephod that is used to consult Yahweh and the small idols, while the priest stood at the gate with the six hundred armed men. The priest said to them, What are you doing? 19 They said to him, Be quiet! Put your hand on your mouth and come with us. You shall be a father and priest to us. Do you prefer to be a priest in the house of one individual or to be a priest for a tribe of Israel?
20 This made the priest happy, so he took the ephod, the small idols and the statue, and went with the troops.
21 The Danites went on their way, putting the women, children, livestock and precious objects in front of them. 22 They were already far from the house of Micah when the people of the neighboring houses started shouting and set out to pursue them. 23 But the Danites turned around and said to Micah, Why are you shout ing? 24 He answered, You have taken the gods which I made, and my priest is going away with you. What else is left to me? And yet you still ask me: What is the matter with you? 25 The Danites answered him, Be quiet now lest some ill-tempered men fall upon you, and kill you and your household. 26 So the Danites went their way, and Micah, seeing that they were stronger, returned home.
27 As for them, they now had the gods which Micah had fashioned and the priest he had in his service, and they marched on against Laish, a quiet and trusting peo ple. They put the inhabitants to the sword and burned the city. 28 No one came to help them for they lived far from Sidon, and had no relationship with any one else. This city was in the valley which ex tended to Beth-rehob.
29 The Danites rebuilt the city and lived there, and they gave it the name Dan in memory of their ancestor Dan, son of Israel, though the city was formerly called Laish. 30 They set aside a place for the statue, and Jonathana descendant of Gershom, son of Mosesand his sons after him, became priests of the tribe of Dan until the people were driven out of the land. 31 They set up the image Micah had made, and there it remained as long as the house of God was in Shiloh.