1At that time the Israelis had no king. Also at that time, the tribe of Dan was still searching for some land where they could live. The other Israeli tribes had been able to ◄ capture/take possession of► the land that had been allotted to them, but the tribe of Dan had not been able to do that.
2So they chose five soldiers from their clans, men who lived in Zorah and Eshtaol cities, to go through the land and explore it and try to find some land where their tribe could live. They came to Micah's house in the hilly area where the tribe of Ephraim lived, and they stayed there that night.
3While they were in his house and they heard the young man who had become Micah's priest talking, they recognized from ◄his accent/the way that he talked► that he was from the southern part of Israel. So they went to him and asked him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing here? Why did you come here?”
4He told them the things that Micah had done for him. And he said, “Micah ◄has hired me/is paying me to work for him►, and I have become his priest.”
5So they said to him, “Please ask God if we will succeed in what we are trying to do on this journey.”
6The young man replied, “Things will go well for you. Yahweh will go with you on this journey.”
7The next day the five men left. When they came to Laish city, they saw that the people there lived safely, like the people in Sidon city did. The people there thought that they were safe/protected from any enemies, and they had plenty of good fertile land. They lived very far from the people of Sidon, so the people of Sidon would not be able to help defend/protect them. They had no other ◄allies/groups nearby that would help them in battles►.
8When those five men returned to Zorah and Eshtaol, their relatives asked them “What did you find out?”
9They replied, “We have found some land, and it is very good. We should go and attack the people who live there. Why are you staying here and doing nothing RHQ? Do not wait any longer! We should go immediately and take possession of that land!
10When you go there, you will see that there is plenty of land, and it has everything that we will need. The people there are not expecting anyone to attack them. Surely God is giving that land to us.”
11So six hundred men from the tribe of Dan left Zorah and Eshtaol, carrying their weapons.
12On their way they set up their tents near Kiriath-Jearim city in the area where the tribe of Judah lives. That is why the area west of Kiriath-Jearim was named ❛Camp of Dan❜, and that is still its name.
13From there, they went to the hilly area where the tribe of Ephraim lives. And they arrived at Micah's house.
14The five men who had explored the land near Laish said to their fellow Israelis, “Do you know that in one of these houses there is a sacred vest, several idols, and a statue? We think that you know what you should do.” RHQ
15So they went to the house where the man from the tribe of Levi lived, which was the house where Micah lived, and they greeted the young man from the tribe of Levi who had become Micah's priest.
16The six hundred men of the tribe of Dan stood outside the gate of the house, carrying their weapons.
17The five men who had explored the land went into Micah's house, and took all the idols, the sacred vest, and the statue. While they did that, the six hundred men stood outside the gate, talking with the priest.
18When the priest saw them bringing out the idols and the sacred vest and the statue, he said to them, “What are you doing?”
19They replied, “Be quiet! Do not say anything! You come with us and be like a father to us and a priest for us. Is it better for you to stay here and be a priest for the people in the house of one man, or to be a priest for a clan, and a priest for a whole tribe of Israelis?” RHQ
20The priest liked what they were suggesting. So he took the sacred vest and the idols, and he prepared to go with the men from the tribe of Dan.
21They all put their little children and their animals and everything else that they owned in front of them.
22After they had gone a little distance from Micah's house, Micah saw what was happening. He quickly summoned the men who lived near him, and they ran and caught up with the men from the tribe of Dan.
23They shouted at them. The men of the tribe of Dan turned around and said to Micah, “What is the problem? Why have you gathered these men to pursue us?”
24Micah shouted, “You took the silver idols that were made for me! You also took my priest! I do not have anything left RHQ! So why do you ask me, ‘What is the problem?’”
25The men from the tribe of Dan replied, “You should not shout loudly like that! One of our angry men might attack you and kill you and your family!”
26Then the men from the tribe of Dan continued walking. Micah realized that there was a very large group of them, so that it would be useless for him to try to fight them. So he turned around and went home.
27The men of the tribe of Dan were carrying the things that had been made for Micah, and they also took his priest, and they continued traveling to Laish. They attacked the people who were peacefully living there, and killed them with their swords, and then they burned everything in the city.
28Laish was far from the city of Sidon, so the people of Sidon could not rescue the people of Laish. And the people of Laish had no other allies. Laish was in a valley near Beth-Rehob town. The people of the tribe of Dan rebuilt the city and started to live there.
29They gave to the city a new name, Dan, in honor of their ancestor Dan, who was one of the sons of Jacob.
30The people of the tribe of Dan set up in the city the idols that had been made for Micah. Jonathan, who was the son of Gershom and the grandson of Moses, was appointed to be their priest. His descendants continued to be priests until the Israelis were captured and taken to Assyria.
31After the people of the tribe of Dan set up the idols that had been made for Micah, they worshiped those idols, even though the Sacred Tent where they had been commanded to worship God, was at Shiloh.