Judges 18

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1 ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις οὐκ ἦν βασιλεὺς ἐν ισραηλ καὶ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις ἡ φυλὴ δαν ἐζήτει αὑτῇ κληρονομίαν κατοικῆσαι ὅτι οὐκ ἐνέπεσεν αὐτῇ ἕως τῆς ἡμέρας ἐκείνης ἐν μέσῳ φυλῶν ισραηλ κληρονομία

2 καὶ ἀπέστειλαν οἱ υἱοὶ δαν ἀπὸ δήμων αὐτῶν πέντε ἄνδρας υἱοὺς δυνάμεως ἀπὸ σαραα καὶ ἀπὸ εσθαολ τοῦ κατασκέψασθαι τὴν γῆν καὶ ἐξιχνιάσαι αὐτὴν καὶ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτούς πορεύεσθε καὶ ἐξιχνιάσατε τὴν γῆν καὶ ἦλθον ἕως ὄρους εφραιμ ἕως οἴκου μιχαια καὶ ηὐλίσθησαν ἐκεῖ

3 αὐτοὶ ἐν οἴκῳ μιχαια καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐπέγνωσαν τὴν φωνὴν τοῦ νεανίσκου τοῦ λευίτου καὶ ἐξέκλιναν ἐκεῖ καὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ τίς ἤνεγκέν σε ὧδε καὶ τί σὺ ποιεῖς ἐν τῷ τόπῳ τούτῳ καὶ τί σοι ὧδε

4 καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς οὕτως καὶ οὕτως ἐποίησέν μοι μιχαιας καὶ ἐμισθώσατό με καὶ ἐγενόμην αὐτῷ εἰς ἱερέα

5 καὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ ἐρώτησον δὴ ἐν τῷ θεῷ καὶ γνωσόμεθα εἰ εὐοδωθήσεται ἡ ὁδὸς ἡμῶν ἐν ᾗ ἡμεῖς πορευόμεθα ἐν αὐτῇ

6 καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ ἱερεύς πορεύεσθε ἐν εἰρήνῃ ἐνώπιον κυρίου ἡ ὁδὸς ὑμῶν ἐν ᾗ πορεύεσθε ἐν αὐτῇ

7 καὶ ἐπορεύθησαν οἱ πέντε ἄνδρες καὶ ἦλθον εἰς λαισα καὶ εἶδαν τὸν λαὸν τὸν ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῆς καθήμενον ἐπ' ἐλπίδι ὡς κρίσις σιδωνίων ἡσυχάζουσα καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν διατρέπων ἢ καταισχύνων λόγον ἐν τῇ γῇ κληρονόμος ἐκπιέζων θησαυροῦ καὶ μακράν εἰσιν σιδωνίων καὶ λόγον οὐκ ἔχουσιν πρὸς ἄνθρωπον

8 καὶ ἦλθον οἱ πέντε ἄνδρες πρὸς τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτῶν εἰς σαραα καὶ εσθαολ καὶ εἶπον τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς αὐτῶν τί ὑμεῖς κάθησθε

9 καὶ εἶπαν ἀνάστητε καὶ ἀναβῶμεν ἐπ' αὐτούς ὅτι εἴδομεν τὴν γῆν καὶ ἰδοὺ ἀγαθὴ σφόδρα καὶ ὑμεῖς ἡσυχάζετε μὴ ὀκνήσητε τοῦ πορευθῆναι καὶ εἰσελθεῖν τοῦ κληρονομῆσαι τὴν γῆν

10 καὶ ἡνίκα ἂν ἔλθητε εἰσελεύσεσθε πρὸς λαὸν ἐπ' ἐλπίδι καὶ ἡ γῆ πλατεῖα ὅτι ἔδωκεν αὐτὴν ὁ θεὸς ἐν χειρὶ ὑμῶν τόπος ὅπου οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκεῖ ὑστέρημα παντὸς ῥήματος τῶν ἐν τῇ γῇ

11 καὶ ἀπῆραν ἐκεῖθεν ἀπὸ δήμων τοῦ δαν ἀπὸ σαραα καὶ ἀπὸ εσθαολ ἑξακόσιοι ἄνδρες ἐζωσμένοι σκεύη παρατάξεως

12 καὶ ἀνέβησαν καὶ παρενέβαλον ἐν καριαθιαριμ ἐν ιουδα διὰ τοῦτο ἐκλήθη ἐν ἐκείνῳ τῷ τόπῳ παρεμβολὴ δαν ἕως τῆς ἡμέρας ταύτης ἰδοὺ ὀπίσω καριαθιαριμ

13 καὶ παρῆλθον ἐκεῖθεν ὄρος εφραιμ καὶ ἦλθον ἕως οἴκου μιχαια

14 καὶ ἀπεκρίθησαν οἱ πέντε ἄνδρες οἱ πεπορευμένοι κατασκέψασθαι τὴν γῆν λαισα καὶ εἶπαν πρὸς τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτῶν ἔγνωτε ὅτι ἔστιν ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ τούτῳ εφωδ καὶ θεραφιν καὶ γλυπτὸν καὶ χωνευτόν καὶ νῦν γνῶτε ὅ τι ποιήσετε

15 καὶ ἐξέκλιναν ἐκεῖ καὶ εἰσῆλθον εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ νεανίσκου τοῦ λευίτου οἶκον μιχαια καὶ ἠρώτησαν αὐτὸν εἰς εἰρήνην

16 καὶ οἱ ἑξακόσιοι ἄνδρες οἱ ἀνεζωσμένοι τὰ σκεύη τῆς παρατάξεως αὐτῶν ἑστῶτες παρὰ θύρας τῆς πύλης οἱ ἐκ τῶν υἱῶν δαν

17 καὶ ἀνέβησαν οἱ πέντε ἄνδρες οἱ πορευθέντες κατασκέψασθαι τὴν γῆν

18 καὶ εἰσῆλθον ἐκεῖ εἰς οἶκον μιχαια καὶ ὁ ἱερεὺς ἑστώς καὶ ἔλαβον τὸ γλυπτὸν καὶ τὸ εφωδ καὶ τὸ θεραφιν καὶ τὸ χωνευτόν καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτοὺς ὁ ἱερεύς τί ὑμεῖς ποιεῖτε

19 καὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ κώφευσον ἐπίθες τὴν χεῖρά σου ἐπὶ τὸ στόμα σου καὶ δεῦρο μεθ' ἡμῶν καὶ γενοῦ ἡμῖν εἰς πατέρα καὶ εἰς ἱερέα μὴ ἀγαθὸν εἶναί σε ἱερέα οἴκου ἀνδρὸς ἑνὸς ἢ γενέσθαι σε ἱερέα φυλῆς καὶ οἴκου εἰς δῆμον ισραηλ

20 καὶ ἠγαθύνθη ἡ καρδία τοῦ ἱερέως καὶ ἔλαβεν τὸ εφωδ καὶ τὸ θεραφιν καὶ τὸ γλυπτὸν καὶ τὸ χωνευτὸν καὶ ἦλθεν ἐν μέσῳ τοῦ λαοῦ

21 καὶ ἐπέστρεψαν καὶ ἀπῆλθαν καὶ ἔθηκαν τὰ τέκνα καὶ τὴν κτῆσιν καὶ τὸ βάρος ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν

22 αὐτοὶ ἐμάκρυναν ἀπὸ οἴκου μιχαια καὶ ἰδοὺ μιχαιας καὶ οἱ ἄνδρες οἱ ἐν ταῖς οἰκίαις ταῖς μετὰ οἴκου μιχαια ἐβόησαν καὶ κατελάβοντο τοὺς υἱοὺς δαν

23 καὶ ἐπέστρεψαν τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτῶν υἱοὶ δαν καὶ εἶπαν τῷ μιχαια τί ἐστίν σοι ὅτι ἐβόησας

24 καὶ εἶπεν μιχαιας ὅτι τὸ γλυπτόν μου ὃ ἐποίησα ἐλάβετε καὶ τὸν ἱερέα καὶ ἐπορεύθητε καὶ τί ἐμοὶ ἔτι καὶ τί τοῦτο λέγετε πρός με τί κράζεις

25 καὶ εἶπον πρὸς αὐτὸν οἱ υἱοὶ δαν μὴ ἀκουσθήτω δὴ φωνή σου μεθ' ἡμῶν μήποτε συναντήσωσιν ἐν ἡμῖν ἄνδρες πικροὶ ψυχῇ καὶ προσθήσουσιν ψυχὴν καὶ τὴν ψυχὴν τοῦ οἴκου σου

26 καὶ ἐπορεύθησαν οἱ υἱοὶ δαν εἰς ὁδὸν αὐτῶν καὶ εἶδεν μιχαιας ὅτι δυνατώτεροί εἰσιν ὑπὲρ αὐτόν καὶ ἐπόστρεψεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ

27 καὶ οἱ υἱοὶ δαν ἔλαβον ὃ ἐποίησεν μιχαιας καὶ τὸν ἱερέα ὃς ἦν αὐτῷ καὶ ἦλθον ἐπὶ λαισα ἐπὶ λαὸν ἡσυχάζοντα καὶ πεποιθότα ἐπ' ἐλπίδι καὶ ἐπάταξαν αὐτοὺς ἐν στόματι ῥομφαίας καὶ τὴν πόλιν ἐνέπρησαν ἐν πυρί

28 καὶ οὐκ ἦν ὁ ῥυόμενος ὅτι μακράν ἐστιν ἀπὸ σιδωνίων καὶ λόγος οὐκ ἔστιν αὐτοῖς μετὰ ἀνθρώπου καὶ αὐτὴ ἐν τῇ κοιλάδι τοῦ οἴκου ρααβ καὶ ᾠκοδόμησαν τὴν πόλιν καὶ κατεσκήνωσαν ἐν αὐτῇ

29 καὶ ἐκάλεσαν τὸ ὄνομα τῆς πόλεως δαν ἐν ὀνόματι δαν πατρὸς αὐτῶν ὃς ἐτέχθη τῷ ισραηλ καὶ ουλαμαις τὸ ὄνομα τῆς πόλεως τὸ πρότερον

30 καὶ ἔστησαν ἑαυτοῖς οἱ υἱοὶ δαν τὸ γλυπτόν καὶ ιωναθαμ υἱὸς γηρσομ υἱὸς μανασση αὐτὸς καὶ οἱ υἱοὶ αὐτοῦ ἦσαν ἱερεῖς τῇ φυλῇ δαν ἕως ἡμέρας ἀποικίας τῆς γῆς

31 καὶ ἔθηκαν αὐτοῖς τὸ γλυπτόν ὃ ἐποίησεν μιχαιας πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας ἃς ἦν ὁ οἶκος τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν σηλωμ

  

Exploring the Meaning of Judges 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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