士师记 18

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1 但支派寻找可居之地

2 于是但人从琐拉和以实陶,差派他们家族中的个勇士,去窥探查察那地,对他们:“你们去查察那地吧。”他们以法莲地,进了米迦的家,就在那里住宿。

3 他们在米迦的家附近,认出那青年利未人的口音,就过去他那里问他:“谁你到这里?你在这里作什么?你在这里有什么?”

4 他回答他们:“米迦如此这般待我;他雇了我,我就作了他的祭司。”

5 他们对他:“请你求问,使我们知道我们要走的道路是否顺利。”

6 祭司对他们:“你们平安地去吧,你们要走的道路是蒙耶和华悦纳的。”

7 于是那个人离开了,到拉亿,见那里的人民安然居住,好像西顿人一样,生活平静安稳;在那地又没有人掌权,使他们受屈辱;他们离西顿人也很远,也没有与别人往。

8 他们回到琐拉和以实陶自己的族人那里去;族人问他们:“你们有什么话?”

9 他们回答:“起来我们上去攻击他们吧。因为我们已经过那地,见那地十分美,你们还静坐不动吗?不可再迟延,要赶快去取得那地。

10 你们到了那里的时候,你们必遇见安然居住的人民;那地的两边宽阔,已经把那地交在你们里;那地百物俱全,一无所缺。”

11 于是但的家族中有,带着兵器从那里出发,就是从琐拉和以实陶出发。

12 他们上去,在犹大的基列.耶琳安营;因此人把那地方作玛哈尼.但(“玛哈尼.但”意即“但的军营”),直到现在;这地方是在基列.耶琳的西边。

13 他们从那里经过,往以法莲地去,到米迦的家。

14 但支派取去神像和祭司从前去窥探拉亿地的个人,对他们的族人:“这些子里有以弗得、神像、雕像和铸像,你们知道吗?现在你们要考虑一下应该怎样行。”

15 于是他们五人转身进入米迦的家,到那青年利未人的里,向他问安。

16 ,带着兵器,都站在门口

17 从前去窥探那地的上前,进入里面,把雕像、以弗得、神像和铸像都拿去了;祭司着兵器的都站在门口

18 当那五个人进了米迦的家,拿走雕像、以弗得、神像和铸像的时候,祭司就问他们:“你们作什么呢?”

19 他们回答他:“不要出声,用掩着你的嘴,跟我们走吧,我们的师父和祭司。你作家的祭司呢?还是作以色列个支派个家族的祭司呢?”

20 祭司里高兴,就拿着以弗得、神像和雕像,到众人中间。

21 他们就转身离去,把妇孺和牲畜,以及财物,都放在前面。

22 他们离开米迦的家很远的时候,在米迦的家附近各家的人,都被召集出来,去追赶但人。

23 他们呼叫但人;但人过脸来,问米迦:“你召集了这么多人出来作什么?”

24 米迦回答:“你们把我所做的像和我的祭司都带走了,我还有什么呢?你们怎么还问我:‘你作什么’呢?”

25 但人对米迦:“不要再让我们见你的声音,恐怕有暴躁的人攻击你们,以致你和你全家尽都丧失性命。”

26 但人继续走他们的;米迦见他们比自己强,就转身回自己的家去了。

27 但支派攻取拉亿改名为但但人把米迦所做的神像和他的祭司走,他们到拉亿,去到平静安居的人民那里,就用刀击杀了他们,又用烧了那城。

28 没有人搭,因为离西顿很远,他们又与别人没有来往。这城位于靠近伯.利合的山谷中。但人重建那城,在其中。

29 按着他们的祖宗,以色列所生的儿子但的名字,给那城起名但;其实那城原先的名字拉亿。

30 但人就为自己把那雕像立起来;摩西的孙子、革顺的儿子约拿单和他的子孙,都作了但支派的祭司,直到那地遭受掳掠的日子。

31 的殿在示罗有多少日子,但人为自己设立米迦所做的雕像也有多少日子。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士师记 18      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

The Tribe of Dan Adopts Micah’s Idolatry

This chapter shows the way in which one person’s distortion of truth, turning it into a falsity, can have severe consequences on a larger scale.

The tribe of Dan – one of the twelve tribes of Israel – was given land to the west, by the coast, but they found it hard to hold on to. The name of the tribe of Dan means ‘to judge’, but if judgment isn't based on the Word there will be chaos. (Arcana Caelestia 842)

Faced with competition for their homeland, the tribal leaders of Dan went looking for a place for themselves elsewhere. They sent five men of valour to spy out the land. These men came to Micah’s house, and they recognised the voice of the young Levite there. They questioned him about his situation, and he told them that Micah had hired him to be a priest to his household. The men of Dan asked the Levite to ask the Lord if their search would be prosperous, and he told them that it would be.

The spiritual meaning of this part of the chapter is to do with an intensifying wrongness. At the textual level, there is reference to the Lord, and an apparent normality in what takes place. But underlying it, there's a wrongness, which will become apparent later in the chapter. The pointers to it here are the five men from Dan, them coming straight to Micah’s house, and the hiring of a priest.

The number ‘five’ has a good meaning in many parts of the Word, but it can also have a bad meaning, as it does here. In this context, it stands for only a little, for disunion and the destruction of the Word (Apocalypse Revealed 738).

Coming directly to Micah’s house and recognising the Levite brings together two evil intentions: Micah’s idol and the men of Dan’s search to take a home for themselves. An example for us could be where two people plot to seek the harm of a third person. (Arcana Caelestia 4724)

The hiring of a priest is something disallowed, for priests are there to serve the Lord and they are provided for by the people, not to be hired. Hiring, spiritually, stands for seeking reward for what you do, whereas the true reward is heaven for those who serve without expecting a reward. (Arcana Caelestia 8002)

The five men leave Micah's house, and go on to Laish in the far north, where there are people who dwell securely in peace and without rulers, far from others and with no ties. Laish means ‘fearless and kneaded together’. It is a picture of perfection, of heaven. (Divine Love and Wisdom 200)

The five men then return to their tribe of Dan and report about Laish. They say that it is ideal for the taking because it has plenty of land and its people are secure. They say that “God has given it into your hands”.

Six hundred men of the tribe of Dan set out and they too, come to the house of Micah. The five spies tell them about the idols and they meet and greet the young Levite. Then the five spies go in and take all the idols in the house. The Levite joins up with the men from Dan and they go on together.

One spiritual meaning in the story is that evil (Dan, gone bad) loves to destroy peace and innocence (Laish).

The complete loss to Micah of all his idols and his hired priest, shows, too, that in fully turning to evil, there is the final loss of everything that might bring a person back. (Arcana Caelestia 9039)

People living near Micah go and accost the men of Dan about what they have taken -- but Micah is told to stop complaining or his household will be killed.

The Danites leave, and go and capture Laish, killing and burning, and re-naming the city Dan. There they set up the images and appoint priests. These images remain in Dan all the time that the house of God is in Shiloh.

The spiritual meaning of one evil or falsity becoming greater or more numerous is in the way that we might hold a negative emotion or a distorted view in our mind where it then spreads to other emotions and views we have and brings them into greater evil and falsity. This is the intention of evil and also of hell’s influence, to extend it to be as widespread as possible.

This is the outcome of everything that has developed through this and the previous chapter. It describes the spread of evil to become a terrible force for destruction and spiritually, for an individual person, for self-destruction. In the context of the decline of Israel to where ‘everyone did what was right in their own eyes’ this progression presents the pathway and process of that spiritual loss. (Divine Providence 19)

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