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in Kirjath-jearim, in Judah: where- 21. So they turned and departed, fore they called that place Mahaneh. and put the little ones, and the catdan, unto this day: behold, it is be- tle, and the carriage, before them. hind Kirjath-jearim.
22. And when they were a good 13. And they passed thence unto way from the house of Micah, the mount Ephraim, and came unto the men that were in the houses pear to house of Micab.
Micah's house were gathered to14. Then answered the five men gether, and overtook the children of that went to spy out the country of Dan. Laish, and said unto their brethren, 23. And they cried unto the Do ye know that there is in these children of Dan : and they turned houses an ephod, and teraphim, and their faces, and said unto Micah, a graven image, and a molten im. What aileth thee, that thou comest age ? now, therefore, consider what with such a company? ye have to do.
24. And he said, Ye have taken 15. And they turned thitherward, away my gods which I made, and and came to the house of the young the priest, and ye are gone away: mau the Levite, even unto the house and what have I more? and what of Micah, and saluted him.
is this that ye say unto me, What 16. And the six hundred men ap. aileth thee? pointed with their weapons of war, 25. And the children of Dan said which were of the children of Dan, unto him, Let not thy voice be stood by the entering of the gate. heard among us, lest angry fellows
17. And the five men that went run upon thee, and thou lose thy to spy out the land went up, and life, with the lives of thy household. canie in thither, and took the graven 26. And the children of Dan went image, and the ephod, and the tera- their way: and when Micah saw phim, and the molten image; and that they were too strong for him, the priest stood in the entering of he turned, and went back unto his the gate with the six hundred men house. that were appointed with weapons of 27. And they took the things
which Micah had made, and the 18. And these went into Micah's priest which he had, and came unto house, and fetched the carved image, Laish, unto a people that were at the ephod, and the teraphim, and quiet and secure; and they smote the molten image. Then said the them with the edge of the sword, priest unto them, What do ye ? and burnt the city with fire.
19. And they said unto him, 28. And there was no deliverer, Hold thy peace, lay thine hand up- because it was far from Zidon, and on thy mouth, and go with us, and they had no business with any man; be to us a father and a priest: is it and it was in the valley that lieth better for thee to be a priest unto the by Beth-rehob. And they built a house of one man, or that thou be a city, and dwelt therein. priest unto a tribe and a family in 29. And they called the name of Israel ?
the city Dan, after the name of Dan 20. And the priest's heart was their father, who was born unto Isglad; and he took the ephod, and rael: howbeit, the name of the city the teraphim, and the graven image, was Laish at the first. and went in the midst of the people. 30. And the children of Dan set
up the graven image ; and Jonathan 31. And they set them Micah's the son of Gershom, the son of Ma- graven image, which he made, all nasseh, he and his sons were priests the time that the house of God was to the tribe of Dan until the day of in Shiloh. the captivity of the land.
The six hundred men are armed for the enterprise. They take with them their families and all their effects. They stop the first night, in the town of Kirjath-jearim, or near that place; and the place of their camp was af. terwards called Mahaneh-dan, or camp of Dan. This place was situated on their route to mount Ephraim. See Kirjath-jearim and Mahaneh-dan, page 118.
The priest's heart was glad, when he saw that this violence was likely to result to his advantage. We are glad to think that all priests are not so selfish. It was evidently not the priest they wished to injure. It is probable, however, that they despised him, and soon dismissed him and took another in his place.
The images must have been quite small, as the priest takes them, with the ephod, etc., and carries them in the midst of the people in the midst, as being the safest place!
There is nothing in the original that properly means carriage. The original term denotes wealth or riches. It here means their effects. There
have been some vehicles in the caravan, but they are not mentioned. The Septuagint has burden; (Búpos ;) the Vulgate "all that was valuable.” (omne quod erat pretiosum.)
“What aileth thee!” This expression, as uttered by Micah at the end of the 24th verse, was doubtless spoken with a tone of utter contempt. The question as coming from the Danites was a cruel insult.
“Ye have taken away my gods and what have I more?" Sure enough, and what has a man left, that is of any comparative value, when his gods are taken from him ?
Lest thou lose thy life, etc. Lest thy soul be gathered, etc. There is here a reference to an expression often used in full by the Hebrews, when speaking of death.
Only a part is spoken, the rest being sufficiently understood. "To be gathered to one's people" signifies a reunion with departed friends. It is not true that the Hebrews, in ancient times, knew nothing of a future life, and a re-union of the departed.
There was no deliverer. They were too far from their friends and acquaintances to get assistance from them. It is not well for people to withdraw too far from the rest of the world.
Jonathan was priest. The name of the Levite that went with this colony is not given. It may have been Jonathan. And it may be that the Levite was repudiated and another taken in his place. Jonathan was the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh. Some copies read son of Moses. The two names Moses and Manasseh differ in Hebrew, by one letter only. That Moses was the true reading is more likely for several reasons. In our Hebrew Bible the letter that makes the difference, between Moses and Manasseh, is placed over the word, to indicate its doubtful character. Moses was a Levite, while Manasseh was not; and it is more likely the Da-, nites would seek a priest from the Levites than from the Manassites. Moses had a son Gershom. 1 Chron. xxiii. 15. And though but one of the sons of Gershom is named, and that is not Jonathan, it is implied that there were others. 1 Chron. xxiii. 16.
It is true that the Levites, not descended from Aaron, had no right to be priests by the law of Moses ; but the law was imperfectly understood at that time. The priest employed by Micah was only a Levite. The Danites may have been no better informed. They probably felt satisfied with a priest that could show his lineage from Moses. The Septuagint has Manasseh; but the Vulgate has Moses. The Syriac and Chaldee have Manasseh.
That Jonathan was a son of Gershom, a son of Moses fixes the time when the events here recorded took place, namely, in the second generation after Moses. And as this story and that which is to follow, relating to the Levite and his concubine, are generally regarded as belonging to the same period, it is interesting to find here a confirmation of this view. A reference to Phinehas a grandson of Aaron in one, xx. 28, and a reference to Jonathan a grandson of Moses in the other, are quite conclusive on this point.
All the time the house of God was at Shiloh, this wor. ship was continued at Dan. That the tabernacle was so far away as Shiloh, appears to be given as the reason for this form of worship.
Stackhouse is of the opinion that the captivity of the ark by the Philistines is referred to; and the principal
idolatrous worship at Dan, as he must have done, if there is any reference to the captivity at Babylon. Vol. III. p. 164. But this was not idolatrous worship, save some of the forms that had that character.
SECTION II. - THE LEVITE AND His CONCUBINE.
JUD. XIX. 1. And it came to pass in those 5. And it came to pass on the days, when there was no king in 1s- fourth day, when they arose early rael, that there was a certain Levite in the morning, that he rose up to sojourning on the side of mount depart; and the camsel's father said Ephraim, who took to him a concu. unto his son-in-law, Comfort thipe bine out of Beth-lehem-judah. heart with a morsel of bread, and
2. And his concubine played the afterward go your way. whore against him, and went away 6. And they sat down, and did from him unto her father's house to eat and drink both of them togethBeth-lehem-judah, and was there er: for the damsel's father had said four whole months.
unto the man, Be content, I pray 3. And her husband arose, and thee, and tarry all night, and let went after her, to speak friendly un- thine heart be merry. to her, and to bring her again, hav- 7. And when the man rose up to ing his servant with him, and a depart, his father-in-law urged him; couple of asses; and she brought therefore he lodged there again. him into her father's house; and 8. And he arose early in the when the father of the damsel saw morning on the fifth day to depart; him, he rejoiced to meet him. and the damsel's father said, Com. sel's father, retained him; and he/they tarried until after noon, and abode with him three days: 80 he they did eat both of them. did eat and drink, and lodged there. 9. And when the man rose up to
depart, he and his corcubine and 12. And his master said unto bis servant, his father-in-law the him, We will not turn aside hither damsel's father, said unto him, Be- into the city of a stranger, that is hold, now, the day draweth toward not of the children of Israel; we evening; I pray you tarry all night: will pass over to Gibeah. behold, the day groweth to an end ; 13. And he said unto his servant, lodge here, that thine heart may be come, and let us draw near to one merry; and to-morrow get you early of these places to lodge all night, in on your way, that thou mayest go Gibeah, or in Ramah. home.
14. And they passed on and went 10. But the man would not tarry their way; and the sun went down that night, but he rose up and de- upon them when they were by Gibeah, parted, and came over against Jebus, which belongeth to Benjamin. which is Jerusalem; and there were 15. And they turned aside thithwith him two asses saddled; his er, to go in and to lodge in Gibeath: concubine also was with him. and when he went in, he sat him
11. And when they were by Jebus, down in a street of the city: for the day was far spent; and the ser- there was no man that took them invant said unto his master, Come, I to his house to lodging. pray thee, and let us turn in into this city of the Jebusi tes, and lodge ir it.
Bethlehem was five miles south of Jerusalem, and mount Ephraim was north, some of it only a few miles ; the rest further. In passing from one of these places to the other, it was necessary to go through Jerusalem and Gibeah or Ramah in Benjamin. Gibeah and Ramah were near together, as the passage intimates.
This story bears some relation apparently to the one in the two preceding chapters. We might think the Levite the same. That Levite was of Bethlehem in Judah; and he afterwards resided in mount Ephraim. It would not be a far-fetched conclusion that he had a wife when he applied to Micah for employment — that she deserted him when she saw his unfaithfulness to Micah that having been repudiated by the Danites, he came back to mount Ephraim and sought the return of his wife as here described
We learn from this story of the Levite and his concubine that the incidents at least the war that followed) took place in the days of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the latter being high priest with Joshua. This circumstance refers the event to the next generation after Josh