Bible Commentary: Judges 18

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Judges 18

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Dan Takes Laish and Consecrates a Priest

When the Danite force moved north from Judah through Ephraim on their way to conquer Laish, they moved through the highlands of Ephraim, probably because the lowlands were still occupied by Canaanites. To aid them in their battle, the Danites decided to take the shrine of Micah and the Levite with them, probably in imitation of the Israelite practice of having a priest head their fighting forces (compare Deuteronomy 20). We are told that Laish was "far from the Zidonians, and they had no ties with anyone" (Judges 18:7 Judges 18:7Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people that were therein, how they dwelled 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.
American King James Version×
). Thus, they appear to have lived an isolated life, having neither trading nor diplomatic relations with outsiders. In such a condition, without allies, Laish fell to Dan.

After the conquest of Laish, the men of Dan set up Micah's idolatrous figures and consecrated Jonathan, who may very well have been the grandson of Moses (see earlier highlight on Judges 17, "History Out of Sequence"), as their priest, and his sons as their priesthood. The northern Danites retained this idolatrous worship until the time of the captivity of northern Israel around 722 B.C. Moreover, all Israel knew about it, but did nothing to stop it, as required by the law God had given (see Deuteronomy 13:12 Deuteronomy 13:12If you shall hear say in one of your cities, which the LORD your God has given you to dwell there, saying,
American King James Version×
).