This chapter records a very sorry episode in Israel’s history.
It had been a long time since Israel had entered the Promised Land, and yet this portion of the tribe of Dan had not yet taken possession of their inheritance. The reason? Likely a lack of initiative and also being satisfied with the status quo. So they really just took for granted God’s promise of delivering to them their portion of the land that He had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To me, that sounds like an insult to God.
But eventually, they found that they needed their own land because the Philistines were crowding them. So they began to look for a place, and they sent the five scouts out.
They found Micah’s house, with his hired Levite so-called priest and the idols and other paraphernalia that Micah had made.
And they found Laish. A city with unwise leaders who should have known better than to leave it unguarded and with no allies. They had to have known by this time that they were in an area that God had given to the people of Israel, and what kind of victories the other tribes had had when they came to possess their allotted cities. But they had become fat and lazy.
So the scouts reported the condition of Laish, and that there was a priest and idols at Micah’s house. The decision was made to take Laish, after stopping to steal both Micah’s idols and his personal priest. Now, understand what’s happening here. These Danites see no problem with having idols, which breaks the second commandment, and they don’t mind getting them by breaking the eighth commandment, “Do not steal”. Great way to start in their campaign to take a city, right?
But in spite of the sorry state of just about every aspect of this story, God honors the promise He had made so many years before, and Dan got their territory.
And the first thing they did was set up the idols, and this priest that had been cajoled and flattered into leaving Micah, is at last identified near the end of the chapter as the grandson of none other than Moses himself. Sad, sad, sad.
It gives one pause, doesn’t it? Seems to me that it is critically important to establish, as much as possible, a deep and abiding family tradition and identity of godliness. Of course, there is no guarantee, but let us not take lightly the responsibility to raise up our children and grandchildren to know that “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
What do you think?