Judges 18:17
And the five men that went 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 entering of the gate with the six hundred men that were appointed with weapons of war.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Jdg 18:17-19. The five men came in thither — Into the house and that part of it where the things were. The priest stood in the gate — Whither they had drawn him forth, that they might without noise or hinderance take the things away. And these went into Micah’s house — Namely, the five men, to whom when they were fetching out the image, &c., the priest said, What do ye? And they said, Lay thy hand upon thy mouth — That is, be silent. A priest unto a tribe and a family — A tribe or family.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.The five went back to Micah's chapel (Micah's house, Judges 18:18) and took the ephod, teraphim, etc., and brought them to the gate where the priest was talking to the 600 men. 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. Come in thither, to wit, into the house, and that part of it where those things were.

In the entering of the gate; whither they had drawn him forth that they might without noise or hinderance take them away. And the five men that went out to spy the land went up and came thither,.... They first came to Micah's house, and saluted the young man, and after that salutation told him there was such a number of their brethren at the gate of the city, very probably, who would be glad to see him; and the young man being desirous also of seeing them, and paying his respects to them, went with them thither, and after they had introduced him, left him discoursing with them, and then returned to his apartment:

and took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image; and brought them away with them; and from hence it appears plainly that there were two images, the one graven, and the other molten, since they are so manifestly distinguished, and the ephod and teraphim are spoken of between them:

and the priest stood in the entering of the gate, with the six hundred men that were appointed with the weapons of war; who kept him in talk, while the five men went and stole the above things.

And the five men that went to spy out the land went up, and came in thither, and took the {g} graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image: and the priest stood in the entering of the gate with the six hundred men that were appointed with weapons of war.

(g) Superstition blinded them so that they thought God's power was in the idols, and that they would have good success because of them, though they took them away by robbery and violence.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. and came in … molten image] Again, the clumsy and irregular construction as well as the contents of the clause shew that it is not original; a doublet from Jdg 18:18; lit. they came in thither, they took; the RV. inserts and twice.

and the priest … with the six hundred] The text seems to say that, while the spies went up to Micah’s house, the priest and the 600 armed men stood at the entrance of the village. In Jdg 18:18-19, however, the priest is not at the entrance of the village, but at the door of the house; with the six hundred etc. should rather be and the six hundred men girt with weapons of war …, an unfinished sentence without a verb. It is impossible to recover the original form of the text here. The general sense intended may be this: while the 600 warriors stood at the entrance of the village, the five spies went up to Micah’s house, were confronted by the priest, and, silencing his expostulations, plundered the sanctuary.

by the entering of the gate] Always of the gate of a city (e.g. Jdg 9:35; Jdg 9:44, Joshua 8:29; Joshua 20:4 etc.), not the door of a house. The use of the expression here implies at least a group of houses, such as a farm, or a village.

The LXX. cod. B has a brief equivalent for Jdg 18:17, ‘and the five men who went to spy out the land went up, (Jdg 18:18) and entered into Micaiah’s house, and the priest was standing [there]; and they fetched’ etc. It is doubtful, however, whether this can be taken to represent the original text.Verse 17. - Went up, viz., into the upper chamber, where it appears the chapel wan So we read in 2 Kings 23:12 that there were altars on the roof of the upper chamber of Ahaz (cf. Jeremiah 19:13). And came up, and took. There is no and in the Hebrew, and the tense of the verb is changed. A fuller stop must be put after went up. And then the account proceeds, with a certain solemnity of diction, They came in thither; they took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image (full stop). The narrative goes on, Now the priest was standing in the entering of the gate, etc. But these five went into Micah's house, etc., as just related, and of course brought them out to the gate where the priest was standing with the 600 Danites. Removal of Six Hundred Danites to Laish - Robbery of Micah's Images - Conquest of Laish, and Settlement There. - Judges 18:11, Judges 18:12. In consequence of the favourable account of the spies who returned, certain Danites departed from Zorea and Eshtaol, to the number of 600 men, accoutred with weapons of war, with their families and their possessions in cattle and goods (see Judges 18:21), and encamped by the way at Kirjath-jearim (i.e., Kuriyet Enab; see Joshua 9:17), in the tribe territory of Judah, at a place which received the permanent name of Mahaneh Dan (camp of Dan) from that circumstance, and was situated behind, i.e., to the west of, Kirjath-jearim (see at Judges 13:25). The fact that this locality received a standing name from the circumstance described, compels us to assume that the Danites had encamped there for a considerable time, for reasons which we cannot determine from our want of other information. The emigrants may possibly have first of all assembled here, and prepared and equipped themselves for their further march.
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