Judges 18:11
And there went from there of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men appointed with weapons of war.
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(11) Appointed.—Literally, girded. This was not a mere raid of warriors, but the migration of a section from the tribe, accompanied by their wives and children, and carrying their possessions with them (Judges 18:21). The numbers of the whole tribe at the last census had been 64,400 (Numbers 26:43).

17:7-13 Micah thought it was a sign of God's favour to him and his images, that a Levite should come to his door. Thus those who please themselves with their own delusions, if Providence unexpectedly bring any thing to their hands that further them in their evil way, are apt from thence to think that God is pleased with them.Laish - Afterward called "Dan" Judges 18:29. The exact site has not been identified, but it was the northern extremity of Israel, near the sources of the Jordan, and about four miles from Panium, or Caesarea-Philippi. It is thought to have stood where the village Tell-el-Kadi now stands.

After the manner of the Zidonians - The genius of the Zidonians being mechanical and commercial, not military, their colonists were apt to neglect fortifications and similar warlike precautions. In Solomon's time the Zidonians were especially skillful in hewing timber 1 Kings 5:6; 1 Chronicles 22:4, and it is highly probable, from their proximity to Lebanon, that such was the occupation of the men of Laish.

Quiet and secure ... - This is a very obscure and difficult passage. Translate thus: "Quiet and secure, and none of them doing any injury in the land, possessing wealth," or "dominion."

11-21. there went from thence of the family of the Danites … six hundred men—This was the collective number of the men who were equipped with arms to carry out this expeditionary enterprise, without including the families and furniture of the emigrants (Jud 18:21). Their journey led them through the territory of Judah, and their first halting place was "behind," that is, on the west of Kirjath-jearim, on a spot called afterwards "the camp of Dan." Prosecuting the northern route, they skirted the base of the Ephraimite hills. On approaching the neighborhood of Micah's residence, the spies having given information that a private sanctuary was kept there, the priest of which had rendered them important service when on their exploring expedition, it was unanimously agreed that both he and the furniture of the establishment would be a valuable acquisition to their proposed settlement. A plan of spoliation was immediately formed. While the armed men stood sentinels at the gates, the five spies broke into the chapel, pillaged the images and vestments, and succeeded in bribing the priest also by a tempting offer to transfer his services to their new colony. Taking charge of the ephod, the teraphim, and the graven image, he "went in the midst of the people"—a central position assigned him in the march, perhaps for his personal security; but more probably in imitation of the place appointed for the priests and the ark, in the middle of the congregated tribes, on the marches through the wilderness. This theft presents a curious medley of low morality and strong religious feeling. The Danites exemplified a deep-seated principle of our nature—that men have religious affections, which must have an object on which these may be exercised, while they are often not very discriminating in the choice of the objects. In proportion to the slender influence religion wields over the heart, the greater is the importance attached to external rites; and in the exact observance of these, the conscience is fully satisfied, and seldom or never molested by reflections on the breach of minor morals. Of the family; by which it again appears, that the tribe, Judges 18:1, is put for family. And there went from thence of the family of the Danites,.... Or families, the singular being put for the plural; for it can hardly be thought that such a number of men, as after mentioned, went out of one family:

out of Zorah, and out of Eshtaol; the two places the spies were sent from, and now had returned unto: and upon their report, and at their instigation, and by the encouragement they gave, there were

six hundred men appointed with weapons of war; that set out armed from the above places, on the expedition to take Laish.

And there went from thence of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men appointed with weapons of war.
11. six hundred men] Not the whole clan, but only the more enterprising members of it; the rest remained behind in the south. The armed men took their women and children with them (Jdg 18:21); altogether the numbers must have reached a thousand.Verse 11. - The family - meaning the tribe (see Judges 13:2, note, and cf. Joshua 7:17). Possibly a reason for the use of the word family here and in ver. 2, as applied to Dan, may be that there was only one family in the tribe of Dan, that of the Shuhamites (Numbers 26:42). Six hundred men. With their wives and sisters and children (see ver. 21), the whole company, must have amounted to two or three thousand souls. When they were at Micah's house and recognised the voice of the young Levite, i.e., heard his voice, and perceived form his dialect that he was not a native of these mountains, they turned aside there, sc., from the road into the house, near to which they rested, and asked him, "Who brought thee hither, and what doest thou at this place? what hast thou to do here?" When he told them his history ("thus and thus," lit. according to this and that; cf. 2 Samuel 11:25; 1 Kings 14:5), they said to him, "Ask God, we pray thee, that we may learn whether our way will be prosperous." בּאלהים שׁאל, used for asking the will of God, as in Judges 1:1, except that here the inquiry was made through the medium of the imitation of the ephod and the worship of an image. And he said to them, sc., after making inquiry of the divine oracle, "Go in peace; straight before Jehovah is your way," i.e., it is known and well-pleasing to Him (vid., Proverbs 5:21; Jeremiah 17:16).
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