In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in…
A special instance of the manner in which it wrought mischief afforded in the migration of the Danites. The proximity of Micah's house to the great northern highway made it a natural resting-place for travellers, and so the spies find their way there. By them the young priest, who turns out to be a previous acquaintance, is recognised. The existence of the "house of gods" is thus made known, and they desire him to consult the oracle concerning their fortunes. Although their adventure was a wicked and unscrupulous one, they are told, "Go in peace: before the Lord is your way wherein ye go." The visit of the spies to Laish, their report to their brethren, and the setting out of the 600 Danites, who arrive in the first stage of their march once more at Micah's house, are then narrated. We see, therefore -
I. HOW A MERCENARY PRIESTHOOD AND SHRINE MAY BE PROSTITUTED TO BASE USES. The oracle at Shiloh was symbol and seal of the national, unity, and its priesthood represented the national conscience. It would have been impossible for them to sanction such a crime. But it was otherwise with Micah's priest and "house of gods." The latter was a mercantile speculation, a private enterprise, and was therefore obnoxious to any temptation like this. A striking parallel to this is afforded by the Church of Rome, with its sale of indulgences, etc.
II. HOW EAGER UNHOLY MEN ARE FOR RELIGIOUS SANCTIONS IN THEIR FRAUDULENT AND MURDEROUS DEEDS. When religion becomes a matter of money, and its advantages are sold to the highest bidder, it ceases to be the judge of right and wrong. The contradiction between the errand upon which they were sent and the spirit of God's revelation ought to have struck them. Yet this is but one instance of an all but universal error. They imagine that true religion can call evil good and good evil.
III. HOW THEREBY A TURBULENT TRIBE IS ENCOURAGED IN ITS DESIGNS UPON' A PEACEFUL DISTRICT, AND A PERMANENT WRONG IS INFLICTED. The moral latent in the incident is thereby sharply pointed. It must appear to all how mischievous, how subversive of human society and of religion, such an institution must be. The only safeguard against such evils is in the central authority at Shiloh being recognised, and that authority being enforced by a duly elected king. - M.
Parallel VersesKJV: In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day all their inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel.
WEB: In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for to that day [their] inheritance had not fallen to them among the tribes of Israel.