士師記 18

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1 但支派尋找可居之地在那些日子,以色列中沒有。那時,但支派還在尋找可居住的地業,因為直到那一天,在以色列的眾支派中,但支派仍沒有得著地業。

2 於是但人從瑣拉和以實陶,差派他們家族中的個勇士,去窺探查察那地,對他們:“你們去查察那地吧。”他們以法蓮地,進了米迦的家,就在那裡住宿。

3 他們在米迦的家附近,認出那青年利未人的口音,就過去他那裡問他:“誰你到這裡?你在這裡作甚麼?你在這裡有甚麼?”

4 他回答他們:“米迦如此這般待我;他雇了我,我就作了他的祭司。”

5 他們對他:“請你求問,使我們知道我們要走的道路是否順利。”

6 祭司對他們:“你們平安地去吧,你們要走的道路是蒙耶和華悅納的。”

7 於是那個人離開了,到拉億,見那裡的人民安然居住,好像西頓人一樣,生活平靜安穩;在那地又沒有人掌權,使他們受屈辱;他們離西頓人也很遠,也沒有與別人往。

8 他們回到瑣拉和以實陶自己的族人那裡去;族人問他們:“你們有甚麼話?”

9 他們回答:“起來我們上去攻擊他們吧。因為我們已經看過那地,見那地十分美,你們還靜坐不動嗎?不可再遲延,要趕快去取得那地。

10 你們到了那裡的時候,你們必遇見安然居住的人民;那地的兩邊寬闊,已經把那地交在你們裡;那地百物俱全,一無所缺。”

11 於是但的家族中有,帶著兵器從那裡出發,就是從瑣拉和以實陶出發。

12 他們上去,在猶大的基列.耶琳安營;因此人把那地方作瑪哈尼.但(“瑪哈尼.但”意即“但的軍營”),直到現在;這地方是在基列.耶琳的西邊。

13 他們從那裡經過,往以法蓮地去,到米迦的家。

14 但支派取去神像和祭司從前去窺探拉億地的個人,對他們的族人:“這些子裡有以弗得、神像、雕像和鑄像,你們知道嗎?現在你們要考慮一下應該怎樣行。”

15 於是他們五人轉身進入米迦的家,到那青年利未人的裡,向他問安。

16 ,帶著兵器,都站在門口

17 從前去窺探那地的上前,進入裡面,把雕像、以弗得、神像和鑄像都拿去了;祭司著兵器的都站在門口

18 當那五個人進了米迦的家,拿走雕像、以弗得、神像和鑄像的時候,祭司就問他們:“你們作甚麼呢?”

19 他們回答他:“不要出聲,用掩著你的嘴,跟我們走吧,我們的師父和祭司。你作家的祭司呢?還是作以色列個支派個家族的祭司呢?”

20 祭司裡高興,就拿著以弗得、神像和雕像,到眾人中間。

21 他們就轉身離去,把婦孺和牲畜,以及財物,都放在前面。

22 他們離開米迦的家很遠的時候,在米迦的家附近各家的人,都被召集出來,去追趕但人。

23 他們呼叫但人;但人過臉來,問米迦:“你召集了這麼多人出來作甚麼?”

24 米迦回答:“你們把我所做的像和我的祭司都帶走了,我還有甚麼呢?你們怎麼還問我:‘你作甚麼’呢?”

25 但人對米迦:“不要再讓我們見你的聲音,恐怕有暴躁的人攻擊你們,以致你和你全家盡都喪失性命。”

26 但人繼續走他們的;米迦見他們比自己強,就轉身回自己的家去了。

27 但支派攻取拉億改名為但但人把米迦所做的神像和他的祭司走,他們到拉億,去到平靜安居的人民那裡,就用刀擊殺了他們,又用燒了那城。

28 沒有人搭,因為離西頓很遠,他們又與別人沒有來往。這城位於靠近伯.利合的山谷中。但人重建那城,在其中。

29 按著他們的祖宗,以色列所生的兒子但的名字,給那城起名但;其實那城原先的名字拉億。

30 但人就為自己把那雕像立起來;摩西的孫子、革順的兒子約拿單和他的子孫,都作了但支派的祭司,直到那地遭受擄掠的日子。

31 的殿在示羅有多少日子,但人為自己設立米迦所做的雕像也有多少日子。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士師記 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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