1 IN THOSE days there was no king in Israel. And in those days the tribe of the Danites sought for itself an inheritance to dwell in, for until then no [sufficient] inheritance had been acquired by them among the tribes of Israel.
2 So the Danites sent from the whole number of their tribe five brave men from Zorah and Eshtaol to spy out the land and to explore it, and they said to them, Go, explore the land. They came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there.
3 When they went by the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young Levite, and they turned aside there and said to him, Who brought you here? And what do you do in this place? And what have you here?
4 And he said to them, Thus and thus Micah deals with me and has hired me, and I am his priest.
5 And they said to him, Ask counsel, we pray you, of God that we may know whether our journey will be successful.
6 And the priest said to them, Go in peace. The way in which you go is before (under the eye of) the Lord.
7 Then the five men departed and came to Laish and saw the people who were there, how they dwelt securely after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and feeling safe; and there was no magistrate in the land, who might put them to shame in anything or injure them; and they were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone.
8 The five men came back to their brethren at Zorah and Eshtaol, and their brethren said to them, What do you say?
9 They said, Arise, let us go up against them, for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very fertile. And will you do nothing? Do not be slow to go and enter in and possess the land.
10 When you go, you will come to people [feeling] safe and secure. The land is broad [widely extended on all sides]; and God has given it into your hands–a place where there is no want of anything that is in the earth.
11 And there went from there of the tribe of the Danites, out of Zorah and Eshtaol, 600 men armed with weapons of war.
12 And they went up and encamped at Kiriath-jearim in Judah. Therefore they called that place Mahaneh-dan [camp of Dan] to this day; it is west of Kiriath-jearim.
13 And they passed from there to the hill country of Ephraim and came to Micah's house.
14 Then the five men who had gone to spy out the country of Laish said to their brethren, Do you know that there are in these houses an ephod, teraphim, a graven image, and a molten image? Now therefore, consider what you have to do.
15 And they turned in that direction and came to the house of the young Levite, at the home of Micah, and saluted him.
16 Now the 600 Danites with their weapons of war stood at Micah's gate.
17 And the five men who had gone to spy out the land went up and entered the house and took the graven image, the ephod, the teraphim, and the molten image, while the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the 600 men armed with weapons of war.
18 And when these went into Micah's house and took the carved image, the ephod, the teraphim, and the molten image, the priest said to them, What are you doing?
19 And they said to him, Be still, put your hand over your mouth, and come with us, and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be a priest to the house of one man, or that you be a priest to a tribe and family in Israel?
20 And the priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod, 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, the cattle, and the baggage in front of them.
22 When they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men who were Micah's near neighbors were called out and overtook the Danites.
23 They shouted to the Danites, who turned and said to Micah, What ails you, that you come with such a company?
24 And he said, You take away my gods which I made and the priest, and go away; and what have I left? How can you say to me, What ails you?
25 And the men of Dan said to him, Let not your voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows fall upon you and you lose your life with the lives of your household.
26 And the Danites went their way; and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his house.
27 And they took the things which Micah had made, and his priest, and came to Laish, to a people quiet and feeling secure, and they smote them with the sword and burned the city.
28 And there was no deliverer because it was far from Sidon, and they had no business with anyone. It was in the valley which belongs to Beth-rehob. And they rebuilt the city and dwelt in it.
29 They named the city Dan, after Dan their forefather who was born to Israel; however, the name of the city was Laish at first.
30 And the Danites set up the graven image for themselves; and Jonathan son of Gershom, the son of Moses, and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land.
31 So they set them up Micah's graven image which he made, as long as the house of God was at Shiloh.