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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Judges 18

 

 

Verses 1-7

Judges 18:1-7. The Danite Scouts at the House of Micah.—This chapter is of great value as an illustration of the mode in which an Israelitish tribe found a settlement in the country. We are taken back almost to the time of the Conquest. On the difficulty which the Danites had in taking possession of the territory first allotted to them see Judges 1:34. Some of them determined to seek their fortune in fresh fields. Their five scouts passed the house of Micah on the way north. How they knew the Levite's voice we are not told. Either he was an old acquaintance, or the words mean that they heard a voice intoning, which they knew to be a Levite's. Seizing their opportunity, they bade him ask counsel of God for them, and obtained a gratifying response.


Verses 1-31

Judges 17-18. This section is the first of two supplements. It explains the origin of the famous shrine at Dan, and the navet of its moral and religious ideas proves how ancient it is. In not a few places the text has evidently been tampered with by scribes, who took offence at practices which were from a later point of view irregular. The events in question must have occurred before the time of Deborah (Judges 5:17).


Verses 8-10

Judges 18:8-10. The Scouts at Laish.—Laish was at the source of the Jordan, being either the modern Tell el Kâdi or Banias (p. 32). "Zidonians" stands here for Phœnicians (cf. Judges 10:12). These were a quiet, industrious trading people, and the men of Laish were after their "manner," being, indeed perhaps a Phœnician settlement They were the kind of people for whom the Danite scouts were looking—a people easy to conquer! The moral question as to the right of overpowering and disinheriting a "quiet and secure" peasantry was never raised. At the Bedouin stage of culture, might is right.


Verses 11-31

Judges 18:11-26. The Danites Get Possession of a Sacred Image.—Kiriath-jearim (the city of forests) is perhaps Kuriat el 'enab. There was a Mahaneh-dan (camp of Dan) between Zorah and Eshtaol, but more than one place might bear such a name.

Judges 18:14. "Consider what he hath to do" is the language of highwaymen. What had the Danites to do? To respect the rights of property? To avoid sacrilege? They knew better.

Judges 18:19. They stole not only the sacra but the priest, whose "heart was glad," for was it not better to be the "father and priest" of a tribe than of a single family?

Judges 18:25. Unmoved by the despairing cry of one who had been robbed of his most sacred treasures, the Danites warned Micah that there were angry fellows among them, who might, if molested, proceed to extremities. Finding no redress, Micah turns back, and disappears from the scene. At least his life had been spared; but the "angry fellows" treat their next victims differently. "They came unto Laish, and to a people quiet and secure, and smote them with the edge of the sword, and they burned the city with fire, and there was no deliverer." How modern it all seems—with the exception of the last clause! Beth-rehob ("house of the broad place") may be another name of Banias.

Judges 18:30. The name and descent of the young Levite, who was the first priest of the famous sanctuary, are stated at the end of the story. He was a grandson of Moses; but by the insertion of an "n" the great name was afterwards changed into Manasseh, the idolatrous king! "The day of the captivity of the land" was either 734 or 721 B.C.

Judges 18:31. It is nowhere stated how or when Shiloh lost its importance as a sacred shrine. The destruction of its temple is first distinctly mentioned in Jeremiah 7:12; Jeremiah 7:14; Jeremiah 26:9.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Judges 18:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/judges-18.html. 1919.

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