Judicum 18

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1 In diebus illis non erat rex in Israël, et tribus Dan quærebat possessionem sibi, ut habitaret in ea : usque ad illum enim diem inter ceteras tribus sortem non acceperat.

2 Miserunt ergo filii Dan stirpis et familiæ suæ quinque viros fortissimos de Saraa et Esthaol, ut explorarent terram, et diligenter inspicerent : dixeruntque eis : Ite, et considerate terram. Qui cum pergentes venissent in montem Ephraim, et intrassent domum Michæ, requieverunt ibi :

3 et agnoscentes vocem adolescentis Levitæ, utentesque illius diversorio, dixerunt ad eum : Quis te huc adducit ? quid hic agis ? quam ob causam huc venire voluisti ?

4 Qui respondit eis : Hæc et hæc præstitit mihi Michas, et me mercede conduxit, ut sim ei sacerdos.

5 Rogaverunt autem eum ut consuleret Dominum ut scire possent an prospero itinere pergerent, et res haberet effectum.

6 Qui respondit eis : Ite in pace : Dominus respicit viam vestram, et iter quo pergitis.

7 Euntes igitur quinque viri venerunt Lais : videruntque populum habitantem in ea absque ullo timore, juxta consuetudinem Sidoniorum, securum et quietum, nullo ei penitus resistente, magnarumque opum, et procul a Sidone atque a cunctis hominibus separatum.

8 Reversique ad fratres suos in Saraa et Esthaol, et quid egissent sciscitantibus responderunt :

9 Surgite, ascendamus ad eos : vidimus enim terram valde opulentam et uberem : nolite negligere, nolite cessare : eamus, et possideamus eam : nullus erit labor.

10 Intrabimus ad securos, in regionem latissimam, tradetque nobis Dominus locum, in quo nullius rei penuria, eorum quæ gignuntur in terra.

11 Profecti igitur sunt de cognatione Dan, id est, de Saraa et Esthaol, sexcenti viri accincti armis bellicis,

12 ascendentesque manserunt in Cariathiarim Judæ : qui locus ex eo tempore Castrorum Dan nomen accepit, et est post tergum Cariathiarim.

13 Inde transierunt in montem Ephraim. Cumque venissent ad domum Michæ,

14 dixerunt quinque viri, qui prius missi fuerant ad considerandam terram Lais, ceteris fratribus suis : Nostis quod in domibus istis sit ephod, et theraphim, et sculptile, atque conflatile : videte quid vobis placeat.

15 Et cum paululum declinassent, ingressi sunt domum adolescentis Levitæ, qui erat in domo Michæ : salutaveruntque eum verbis pacificis.

16 Sexcenti autem viri ita ut erant armati, stabant ante ostium.

17 At illi, qui ingressi fuerant domum juvenis, sculptile, et ephod, et theraphim, atque conflatile tollere nitebantur, et sacerdos stabat ante ostium, sexcentis viris fortissimis haud procul expectantibus.

18 Tulerunt igitur qui intraverant sculptile, ephod, et idola, atque conflatile. Quibus dixit sacerdos : Quid facitis ?

19 Cui responderunt : Tace et pone digitum super os tuum : venique nobiscum, ut habeamus te patrem, ac sacerdotem. Quid tibi melius est, ut sis sacerdos in domo unius viri, an in una tribu et familia in Israël ?

20 Quod cum audisset, acquievit sermonibus eorum, et tulit ephod, et idola, ac sculptile, et profectus est cum eis.

21 Qui cum pergerent, et ante se ire fecissent parvulos ac jumenta, et omne quod erat pretiosum,

22 et jam a domo Michæ essent procul, viri qui habitabant in ædibus Michæ conclamantes secuti sunt,

23 et post tergum clamare cœperunt. Qui cum respexissent, dixerunt ad Micham : Quid tibi vis ? cur clamas ?

24 Qui respondit : Deos meos, quos mihi feci, tulistis, et sacerdotem, et omnia quæ habeo, et dicitis : Quid tibi est ?

25 Dixeruntque ei filii Dan : Cave ne ultra loquaris ad nos, et veniant ad te viri animo concitati, et ipse cum omni domo tua pereas.

26 Et sic cœpto itinere perrexerunt. Videns autem Michas quod fortiores se essent, reversus est in domum suam.

27 Sexcenti autem viri tulerunt sacerdotem, et quæ supra diximus : veneruntque in Lais ad populum quiescentem atque securum, et percusserunt eos in ore gladii : urbemque incendio tradiderunt,

28 nullo penitus ferente præsidium, eo quod procul habitarent a Sidone, et cum nullo hominum haberent quidquam societatis ac negotii. Erat autem civitas sita in regione Rohob : quam rursum exstruentes habitaverunt in ea,

29 vocato nomine civitatis Dan, juxta vocabulum patris sui, quem genuerat Israël, quæ prius Lais dicebatur.

30 Posueruntque sibi sculptile, et Jonathan filium Gersam filii Moysi, ac filios ejus sacerdotes in tribu Dan, usque ad diem captivitatis suæ.

31 Mansitque apud eos idolum Michæ omni tempore, quo fuit domus Dei in Silo. In diebus illis non erat rex in Israël.

  

Exploring the Meaning of Judicum 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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