Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish, and said to their brothers…
The spies had evidently taken counsel with the 600, for the theft of the gods is done in a cool, business-like way; and they have evidently a settled design concerning them. Everything that would encumber or be detrimental to them is sent on in front. The real or feigned remonstrance of the priest, and his willing compliance with their desire, and the pursuit by Micah, are realistic touches that add greatly to the interest and naturalness of the narrative. That the slaughter, etc. at Laish was of the most horrible description is suggested - "There was no helper."
I. THOSE WHO SUBVERT THE PRINCIPLES OF MORALITY SHOULD NOT EXPECT TO BE TREATED ACCORDING TO THOSE PRINCIPLES.
II. HOWEVER APPARENTLY RELIGIOUS WRONG-DOERS ARE, THEIR CONDUCT DOES NOT LOSE ITS ESSENTIAL CHARACTER, AND WILL BE JUDGED. The record of the occurrence has preserved it for all time, and it is condemned before the bar of the righteous conscience.
III. THE GREATEST CARE SHOULD BE TAKEN AT THE FIRST INDICATION OF SCHISM OR ERROR, AS SUCH THINGS TEND TO PERPETUATE THEMSELVES. A regular priesthood is instituted, with its hereditary privileges and duties.
IV. THE REAL EFFECT OF SUCH RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS IS TO THE DETRIMENT OF TRUE RELIGION. The "house of gods" at Laish is a rival to the "house of God" at Shiloh. During those early days of Hebrew nationalisation and religious training, the mischief and hindrance occasioned by it must have been enormous. True religion is ever opposed in the world. Its worst foes are those who most nearly resemble it in outward ceremony, but whose motives are impure. - M.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish, and said unto their brethren, Do ye know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, and a molten image? now therefore consider what ye have to do.
WEB: 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."