Judges 18:1-31, NLT
Idolatry in the Tribe of Dan
1Now in those days Israel had no king. And the tribe of Dan was trying to find a place where they could settle, for they had not yet moved into the land assigned to them when the land was divided among the tribes of Israel.
When these warriors arrived in the hill country of Ephraim, they came to Micah’s house and spent the night there.
5Then they said, “Ask God whether or not our journey will be successful.”
6“Go in peace,” the priest replied. “For the Lord is watching over your journey.”
7So the five men went on to the town of Laish, where they noticed the people living carefree lives, like the Sidonians; they were peaceful and secure.*18:7 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain. The people were also wealthy because their land was very fertile. And they lived a great distance from Sidon and had no allies nearby.
8When the men returned to Zorah and Eshtaol, their relatives asked them, “What did you find?”
9The men replied, “Come on, let’s attack them! We have seen the land, and it is very good. What are you waiting for? Don’t hesitate to go and take possession of it.
11So 600 men from the tribe of Dan, armed with weapons of war, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol.
14The five men who had scouted out the land around Laish explained to the others, “These buildings contain a sacred ephod, as well as some household idols, a carved image, and a cast idol. What do you think you should do?”
18When the priest saw the men carrying all the sacred objects out of Micah’s shrine, he said, “What are you doing?”
19“Be quiet and come with us,” they said. “Be a father and priest to all of us. Isn’t it better to be a priest for an entire tribe and clan of Israel than for the household of just one man?”
20The young priest was quite happy to go with them, so he took along the sacred ephod, the household idols, and the carved image.
22When the people from the tribe of Dan were quite a distance from Micah’s house, the people who lived near Micah came chasing after them.
24“What do you mean, ‘What’s the matter?’” Micah replied. “You’ve taken away all the gods I have made, and my priest, and I have nothing left!”
25The men of Dan said, “Watch what you say! There are some short-tempered men around here who might get angry and kill you and your family.”
27Then, with Micah’s idols and his priest, the men of Dan came to the town of Laish, whose people were peaceful and secure. They attacked with swords and burned the town to the ground.
Then the people of the tribe of Dan rebuilt the town and lived there.
30Then they set up the carved image, and they appointed Jonathan son of Gershom, son of Moses,*18:30 As in an ancient Hebrew tradition, some Greek manuscripts, and Latin Vulgate; Masoretic Text reads son of Manasseh. as their priest. This family continued as priests for the tribe of Dan until the Exile.