1 In those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days the tribe of the Danites was looking for an inheritance to dwell in; for to that day, their inheritance had not fallen to them among the tribes of Israel.
2 The children of Dan sent of their family five men from their whole number, men of valor, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said to them, "Go, explore the land!" They came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and stayed there.
3 When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man the Levite; and they turned in that direction, and said to him, "Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? And what is your business here?"
4 He said to them, "Thus and so has Micah dealt with me, and he has hired me, and I have become his priest."
5 They said to him, "Please ask counsel of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous."
6 The priest said to them, "Go in peace. The Lord will watch over you on your journey."
7 Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people who were there, and how they lived in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure; for there was no one in the land possessing authority that might trouble them in anyway, and they were far from the Sidonians, and had no dealings with anyone.
8 They came to their brothers to Zorah and Eshtaol: and their brothers said to them, "What do you say?"
9 They said, "Arise, and let us go up against them; for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good. Will you do nothing? Do not hesitate to go and to enter in to possess the land.
10 When you go, you shall come to a secure people, and the land is large; for God has given it into your hand, a place where there is no want of anything that is on the earth."
11 Then the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men armed with weapons of war, set forth from there.
12 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.
13 They passed there to the hill country of Ephraim, and came to the house of Micah.
14 Then the five men who went to spy out the country of Laish answered, and said to their brothers, "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."
15 They turned aside there, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, even to the house of Micah, and asked him of his welfare.
16 The six hundred men armed with their weapons of war, who were of the children of Dan, stood by the entrance of the gate.
17 The five men 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 priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men armed with weapons of war.
18 When these went into Micah's house, and took the engraved image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image, the priest said to them, "What are you doing?"
19 They said to him, "Hold your peace, lay your hand on your mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and a family in Israel?"
20 The priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the engraved image, and went in the midst of the people.
21 So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the livestock and the goods before them.
22 When they were some distance from the house of Micah, the men who were in the houses near to Micah's house were gathered together, and overtook the children of Dan.
23 They cried to the children of Dan. They turned their faces, and said to Micah, "What's wrong with you, that you come with such a company?"
24 He said, "You have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and have gone away, and what more do I have? How then do you say to me, 'What's wrong with you?'"
25 The children of Dan said to him, "Do not let your voice be heard among us, or angry men will attack you, and you lose your life, with the lives of your household."
26 The children of Dan went their way; and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his house.
27 They took that which Micah had made, and the priest whom he 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.
28 There was no deliverer, because it was far from Sidon, and they had no dealings with anyone, and it was in the valley that lies by Beth Rehob. They built the city, and lived there.
29 They called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born to Israel. However the name of the city was originally Laish.
30 The children of Dan set up for themselves the engraved image. And Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the exile from the land.
31 So they set up for themselves Micah's engraved image which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.