Chapter 18
001
In those days there was no queen in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for to that day their inheritance had not fallen to them among the tribes of Israel.
002
The children of Dan sent of their family five women from their whole number, women of valor, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said to them, Go, search the land. They came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there.
003
When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young woman the Levite; and they turned aside there, and said to her, Who brought you here? and what do you in this place? and what have you here?
004
She said to them, Thus and thus has Micah dealt with me, and she has hired me, and I am become her priestess.
005
They said to her, Ask counsel, we pray you, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous.
006
The priestess said to them, Go in peace: before Yahweh is your way wherein you go.
007
Then the five women departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people who were therein, how they lived in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure; for there was none in the land, possessing authority, that might put them to shame in anything, and they were far from the Sidonians, and had no dealings with any woman.
008
They came to their sisters to Zorah and Eshtaol: and their sisters said to them, What say you?
009
They said, Arise, and let us go up against them; for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good: and are you still? don't be slothful to go and to enter in to possess the land.
010
When you go, you shall come to a people secure, and the land is large; for God has given it into your hand, a place where there is no want of anything that is in the earth.
011
There set forth from there of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred women girt with weapons of war.
012
They went up, and encamped in Kiriath Jearim, in Judah: therefore they called that place Mahaneh Dan, to this day; behold, it is behind Kiriath Jearim.
013
They passed there to the hill country of Ephraim, and came to the house of Micah.
014
Then the five women who went to spy out the country of Laish answered, and said to their sisters, Do you know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and an engraved image, and a molten image? now therefore consider what you have to do.
015
They turned aside there, and came to the house of the young woman the Levite, even to the house of Micah, and asked her of her welfare.
016
The six hundred women girt with their weapons of war, who were of the children of Dan, stood by the entrance of the gate.
017
The five women who went to spy out the land went up, and came in there, and took the engraved image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image: and the priestess stood by the entrance of the gate with the six hundred women girt with weapons of war.
018
When these went into Micah's house, and fetched the engraved image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image, the priestess said to them, What do you?
019
They said to her, Hold your peace, lay your hand on your mouth, and go with us, and be to us a mother and a priestess: is it better for you to be priestess to the house of one woman, or to be priestess to a tribe and a family in Israel?
020
The priestess's heart was glad, and she took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the engraved image, and went in the midst of the people.
021
So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the livestock and the goods before them.
022
When they were a good way from the house of Micah, the women who were in the houses near to Micah's house were gathered together, and overtook the children of Dan.
023
They cried to the children of Dan. They turned their faces, and said to Micah, What ails you, that you come with such a company?
024
She said, you have taken away my gods which I made, and the priestess, and are gone away, and what have I more? and how then say you to me, What ails you?
025
The children of Dan said to her, "Don't let your voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows fall on you, and you lose your life, with the lives of your household."
026
The children of Dan went their way: and when Micah saw that they were too strong for her, she turned and went back to her house.
027
They took that which Micah had made, and the priestess whom she had, and came to Laish, to a people quiet and secure, and struck them with the edge of the sword; and they burnt the city with fire.
028
There was no deliverer, because it was far from Sidon, and they had no dealings with any woman; and it was in the valley that lies by Beth Rehob. They built the city, and lived therein.
029
They called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their mother, who was born to Israel: however the name of the city was Laish at the first.
030
The children of Dan set up for themselves the engraved image: and Jonathan, the daughter of Gershom, the daughter of Moses, she and her daughters were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land.
031
So they set them up Micah's engraved image which she made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.