1 In those days there was no king in Israel; and in those days the tribe of the Danites were seeking for themselves an inheritance to dwell in; for there had not fallen to their share up to that day among the tribes of Israel a sufficient inheritance.
2 And the children of Dan sent from their family five men from among themselves, men of valor, 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 the mountain of Ephraim, as far as the house of Micah, and lodged there.
3 They were just by the house of Micah, when they recognized the voice of the young man the Levite; and they turned in thither, and said unto him, Who brought thee hither? and what doest thou in this place? and what hast thou here?
4 And he said unto them, Thus and thus hath Micah done unto me; and he hired me, and I became his priest.
5 And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way on which we are going shall be prosperous.
6 And the priest said unto them, Go in peace: before the Lord is your way on which ye will go.
7 And the five men departed, and came to Layish, and saw the people that were therein, dwelling in security, after the manner of the Zidonians, quiet and secure; and no one inflicted any wrong in the land, as hereditary ruler; and they were far from the Zidonians, and had no concern with any man.
8 And they came unto their brethren to Zorah and Eshtaol: and their brethren said unto them, What news bring ye?
9 And they said, Arise, and let us go up against them; for we have seen the land, and, behold, it is very good: and you keep still! be not slothful, to go, to enter to take possession of the land.
10 When ye enter, ye will come unto a secure people, and the land is roomy; for God hath given it into your hand; a place where there is no want of anything that is on the earth.
11 And there went from there of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men girded with weapons of war.
12 And they went up, and encamped in Kiryathyearim, in Judah; wherefore they called that place Machanehdan until this day; behold, it is behind Kiryathyearim.
13 And they passed thence unto the mountain of Ephraim, and came as far as the house of Micah.
14 Then commenced the five men that had gone to spy out the country of Layish, and said unto their brethren, Do ye know that there are in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven and molten image? and now consider what ye have to do.
15 And they turned thitherward, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, unto the house of Micah, and asked him after his welfare.
16 And the six hundred men who were of the children of Dan, girded with their weapons of war, remained standing by the entrance of the gate.
17 And the five men that had gone 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 stood in the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men that were girded with the weapons of war.
18 And these went into Micahs house, and took the graven image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image; and the priest said unto them, What are ye doing?
19 And they said unto him, Be still, lay thy hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and become to us a father and a priest: is it better that thou be a priest unto the house of one man, or that thou be a priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel?
20 And the priests heart became glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and came into the midst of the people.
21 And they turned and went away, and placed the little ones and the cattle and the heavy things before them.
22 When they were at a distance from the house of Micah, the men that were in the houses near to Micahs house were called together, and they overtook the children of Dan.
23 And they called unto the children of Dan, who turned their faces, and said unto Micah, What aileth thee, that thou hast called out thy people?
24 And he said, My god which I made have ye taken away, and the priest, and are gone away; and what have I more? and what is this ye say unto me, What aileth thee?
25 And the children of Dan said unto him, Cause not thy voice to be heard among us, lest men of an embittered spirit assail thee, and thou lose thy life, with the life of thy household.
26 And the children of Dan went on their way; and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back unto his house.
27 And they took what Micah had made, and the priest whom he had had, and came over Layish, over a people that were quiet and secure; and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and the city they burnt with fire.
28 And there was no deliverer; because it was far from Zidon, and the people had no business with any man; and it was in the valley that lieth by Bethrechob. And they rebuilt the 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 Israel: nevertheless, Layish was the name of the city at first.
30 And the children of Dan erected for themselves the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Menasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the exile of the land.
31 And they set up for themselves Micahs graven image, which he had made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.