1In those days there was no king in Israel; and in those days the tribe of the Danites were seeking for themselves an inheritance to dwell in; for there had not fallen to their share up to that day among the tribes of Israel a sufficient inheritance.
2And the children of Dan sent from their family five men from among themselves, men of valor, from Zor'ah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said unto them, Go, search the land. And they came to the mountain of Ephraim, as far as the house of Micah, and lodged there.
3They were just by the house of Micah, when they recognized the voice of the young man the Levite; and they turned in thither, and said unto him, Who brought thee hither? and what doest thou in this place? and what hast thou here?
4And he said unto them, Thus and thus hath Micah done unto me; and he hired me, and I became his priest.
5And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way on which we are going shall be prosperous.
6And the priest said unto them, Go in peace: before the Lord is your way on which ye will go.
7And the five men departed, and came to Layish, and saw the people that were therein, dwelling in security, after the manner of the Zidonians, quiet and secure; and no one inflicted any wrong in the land, as hereditary ruler; and they were far from the Zidonians, and had no concern with any man.
8And they came unto their brethren to Zor'ah and Eshtaol: and their brethren said unto them, What news bring ye?
9And they said, Arise, and let us go up against them; for we have seen the land, and, behold, it is very good: and you keep still! be not slothful, to go, to enter to take possession of the land.
10When ye enter, ye will come unto a secure people, and the land is roomy; for God hath given it into your hand; a place where there is no want of anything that is on the earth.
11And there went from there of the family of the Danites, out of Zor'ah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men girded with weapons of war.
12And they went up, and encamped in Kiryath-ye'arim, in Judah; wherefore they called that place Machaneh-dan until this day; behold, it is behind Kiryath-ye'arim.
13And they passed thence unto the mountain of Ephraim, and came as far as the house of Micah.
14Then commenced the five men that had gone to spy out the country of Layish, and said unto their brethren, Do ye know that there are in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven and molten image? and now consider what ye have to do.
15And they turned thitherward, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, unto the house of Micah, and asked him after his welfare.
16And the six hundred men who were of the children of Dan, girded with their weapons of war, remained standing by the entrance of the gate.
17And the five men that had gone to spy out the land went up, and came in thither, and took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image; and the priest stood in the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men that were girded with the weapons of war.
18And these went into Micah's house, and took the graven image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image; and the priest said unto them, What are ye doing?
19And they said unto him, Be still, lay thy hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and become to us a father and a priest: is it better that thou be a priest unto the house of one man, or that thou be a priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel?
20And the priest's heart became glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and came into the midst of the people.
21And they turned and went away, and placed the little ones and the cattle and the heavy things before them.
22When they were at a distance from the house of Micah, the men that were in the houses near to Micah's house were called together, and they overtook the children of Dan.
23And they called unto the children of Dan, who turned their faces, and said unto Micah, What aileth thee, that thou hast called out thy people?
24And he said, My god which I made have ye taken away, and the priest, and are gone away; and what have I more? and what is this ye say unto me, What aileth thee?
25And the children of Dan said unto him, Cause not thy voice to be heard among us, lest men of an embittered spirit assail thee, and thou lose thy life, with the life of thy household.
26And the children of Dan went on their way; and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back unto his house.
27And they took what Micah had made, and the priest whom he had had, and came over Layish, over a people that were quiet and secure; and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and the city they burnt with fire.
28And there was no deliverer; because it was far from Zidon, and the people had no business with any man; and it was in the valley that lieth by Beth-rechob. And they rebuilt the city, and dwelt therein.
29And they called the name of the city, Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born unto Israel: nevertheless, Layish was the name of the city at first.
30And the children of Dan erected for themselves the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Menasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the exile of the land.
31And they set up for themselves Micah's graven image, which he had made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.