士师记 18

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1 那时,以色列中没有。但支派的人仍是寻地居住;因为到那日子,他们还没有在以色列支派中得地为业。

2 但人从琐拉和以实陶打发本族中的个勇士,去仔细窥探那地,吩咐他们:你们去窥探那地。他们以法莲地,进了米迦的住宅,就在那里住宿。

3 他们临近米迦的住宅,听出那少年利未人的口音,就进去问他:谁领你到这里?你在这里做甚麽?你在这里得甚麽?

4 他回答:米迦待我如此如此,请我作祭司

5 他们对他:请你求问,使我们知道所行的道路通达不通达。

6 祭司对他们:你们可以平平安安地去,你们所行的道路是在耶和华面前的。

7 人就走了,到拉亿,见那里的民安居无虑,如同西顿人安居一样。在那地没有人掌权扰乱他们;他们离西顿人也远,与别人没有往。

8 五人回到琐拉和以实陶,见他们的弟兄;弟兄问他们:你们有甚麽话?

9 他们回答起来我们上去攻击他们罢!我们已经窥探那地,见那地甚。你们为何静坐不动呢?要急速前往得那地为业,不可迟延。

10 你们到了那里,必看见安居无虑的民,地也宽阔。□已将那地交在你们中;那地百物俱全,一无所缺。

11 於是但族中的,各带兵器,从琐拉和以实陶前往,

12 上到犹大的基列耶琳,在基列耶琳边安营。因此那地方玛哈尼但,直到今日。

13 他们从那里往以法莲地去,到米迦的住宅。

14 从前窥探拉亿地的个人对他们的弟兄:这宅子里有以弗得和家中的神像,并雕刻的像与铸成的像,你们知道麽?现在你们要想一想当怎样行。

15 五人就进入米迦的住宅,到了那少年利未人的房内问他好。

16 各带兵器,站在门口

17 窥探地的走进去,将雕刻的像、以弗得、家中的神像,并铸成的像,都拿了去。祭司兵器的,一同站在门口

18 那五个人进入米迦的住宅,拿出雕刻的像、以弗得、家中的神像,并铸成的像,祭司就问他们:你们做甚麽呢?

19 他们回答:不要作声,用,跟我们去罢!我们必以你为父、为祭司。你作家的祭司呢?还是作以色列支派的祭司呢?

20 祭司里喜悦,便拿着以弗得和家中的神像,并雕刻的像,进入他们中间。

21 他们就转身离开那里,妻子、儿女、牲畜、财物都在前头。

22 离米迦的住宅已远,米迦的近邻都聚集来,追赶但人,

23 呼叫但人。但人回头问米迦:你聚集这许多人来做甚麽呢?

24 米迦:你们将我所做的像和祭司都带了去,我还有所剩的麽?怎麽还问我做甚麽呢?

25 但人对米迦:你不要使我们见你的声音,恐怕有性暴的人攻击你,以致你和你的全家尽都丧命。

26 但人还是走他们的。米迦见他们的势力比自己强盛,就转身回家去了。

27 但人将米迦所做的神像和他的祭司到拉亿,见安居无虑的民,就用刀杀了那民,又放烧了那城,

28 并无人搭;因为离西顿远,他们又与别人没有来往。城在平原,那平原靠近伯利合。但人又在那里修城居住

29 照着他们始祖以色列之子但的名字,给那城起名但;原先那城名拉亿。

30 但人就为自己设立那雕刻的像。摩西的孙子、革舜的儿子约拿单,和他的子孙作但支派的祭司,直到那地遭掳掠的日子。

31 的殿在示罗多少日子,但人为自己设立米迦所雕刻的像也在但多少日子。

  

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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