And they passed there to mount Ephraim, and came to the house of Micah.
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) Unto the house of Micah.
—Probably the precincts of the new sanctuary gave their name to a sort of village—Beth-Micah.
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.
Kurjath-jearim - "City of forests," otherwise called "Kirjath-Baal" (marginal reference.), identified by Robinson with the modern "Kurit-el-Enab," on the road from Jaffa to Jerusalem and by Conder with Soba.
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.
i.e. To the town in which his house was, for they were not yet entered into it.
And they passed thence unto Mount Ephraim,.... Steering their coast still northward; this, according to Bunting (b), was eight miles from Kirjathjearim, or Mahanehdan, in which Micah's house was, for as yet they were not come to it, see Judges 18:15
(b) Ibid. (Travels of the Patriarchs, &c. p. 112.) And they passed thence unto mount Ephraim, and came unto the house of Micah.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Thus the five men proceeded to Laish, which is called Leshem in Joshua 19:47
, and was named Dan after the conquest by the Danites-a place on the central source of the Jordan, the present Tell el Kadi (see at Joshua 19:47
)-and saw the people of the town dwelling securely after the manner of the Sidonians, who lived by trade and commerce, and did not go out to war. יושׁבת is the predicate to את־העם, and the feminine is to be explained from the fact that the writer had the population before his mind (see Ewald, 174, b.); and the use of the masculine in the following words וּבטח שׁקט, which are in apposition, is not at variance with this. The connection of יושׁבת with בּקרבּהּ, which Bertheau revives from the earlier commentators, is opposed to the genius of the Hebrew language. וּבטח שׁקט, "living quietly and safely there." וגו ואין־מכלים, "and no one who seized the government to himself did any harm to them in the land." הכלים, to shame, then to do an injury (1 Samuel 25:7
). דּבר מכלים, shaming with regard to a thing, i.e., doing any kind of injury. עצר, dominion, namely tyrannical rule, from עצר, imperio coercere. The rendering "riches" (θησαυρός, lxx), which some give to this word, is founded simply upon a confounding of עצר with אוצר. ירשׁ does not mean "to possess," but "to take possession of," and that by force (as in 1 Kings 21:18
). "And they were far from the Sidonians," so that in the event of a hostile invasion they could not obtain any assistance from this powerful city. Grotius draws the very probable conclusion from these words, that Laish may have been a colony of the Sidonians. "And they had nothing to do with (other) men," i.e., they did not live in any close association with the inhabitants of other towns, so as to be able to obtain assistance from any other quarter.
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