1In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought for themselves an inheritance to dwell in; for to that day all their inheritance had not fallen to them among the tribes of Israel.
2And the children of Dan sent of their family five men from their borders, men of valor, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to explore the land, and to search it; and they said to them, Go, search the land: who when they came to mount Ephraim, to the house of Micah, they lodged there.
3When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man the Levite: and they turned in thither, and said to him, Who brought thee hither? and what makest thou in this place ? and what hast thou here?
4And he said to them, Thus and thus dealeth Micah with me, and hath hired me, and I am his priest.
5And they said to him, Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous.
6And the priest said to them, Go in peace: before the LORD is your way in which ye go.
7Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people that were in it, how they dwelt careless, after the manner of the Zidonians, quiet and secure; and there was no magistrate in the land, that might put them to shame in any thing; and they were far from the Zidonians, and had no business with any man.
8And they came to their brethren to Zorah and Eshtaol: and their brethren said to them, What say ye?
9And they said, Arise, that we may go up against them: for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good: and are ye still? be not slothful to go, and to enter to possess the land.
10When ye go, ye shall come to a people secure, and to a large land: for God hath given it into your hands; a place where there is no want of any thing that is on the earth.
11And there went from thence of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men appointed with weapons of war.
12And they went up, and encamped in Kirjath-jearim, in Judah: wherefore they called that place Mahaneh-dan to this day: behold, it is behind Kirjath-jearim.
13And they passed thence to mount Ephraim, and came to the house of Micah.
14Then answered the five men that went to explore the country of Laish, and said to their brethren, Do ye know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, and a molten image? now therefore consider what ye have to do.
15And they turned thitherward, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, even to the house of Micah, and saluted him.
16And the six hundred men appointed with their weapons of war, who were of the children of Dan, stood by the entrance of the gate.
17And the five men that went to explore 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 appointed with weapons of war.
18And these went into Micah's house, and brought the carved image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image. Then said the priest to them, What do ye?
19And they said to him, Hold thy peace, lay thy hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest: Is it better for thee to be a priest to the house of one man, or that thou shouldst be a priest to a tribe and a family in Israel?
20And the priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people.
21So they turned and departed, and put the little ones, and the cattle, and the furniture before them.
22And when they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men that were in the houses near to Micah's house were collected, and overtook the children of Dan.
23And they cried to the children of Dan. And they turned their faces, and said to Micah, What aileth thee, that thou comest with such a company?
24And he said, Ye have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and ye have gone away: and what have I more? and what is this that ye say to me, What aileth thee?
25And the children of Dan said to him, Let not thy voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows rush upon thee, and thou lose thy life, with the lives of thy household.
26And the children of Dan departed: and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his house.
27And they took the things which Micah had made, and the priest which he had, and came to Laish, to a people that were at quiet and secure: and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and burnt the city with fire.
28And there was no deliverer, because it was far from Zidon, and they had no business with any man; and it was in the valley that lieth by Beth-rehob. And they built a city and dwelt in it.
29And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born to Israel: but the name of the city was Laish at the first.
30And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land.
31And they set up for themselves Micah's graven image which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.