Shof'tim (Judges) Chapter 18

The corresponding letter to this chapter is Tzaddi – righteous; kneeling or standing.

This chapter is a continuation of the story started in the previous chapter.

Shof’tim 18:1-6 In those days there was no king of Israel; and in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking an inheritance for themselves to live in, for until that day an inheritance had not been allotted to them as a possession among the tribes of Israel. So the sons of Dan sent from their family five men out of their whole number, valiant men from Tzor’ah and Eshta’ol, to spy out the land and to search it; and they said to them, "Go, search the land." And they came to the hill country of Efrayim, to the house of Mikhah, and lodged there. When they were near the house of Mikhah, they recognized the voice of the young man, the Levite; and they turned aside there, and said to him, "Who brought you here? And what are you doing in this place? And what do you have here?" And he said to them, "Thus and so has Mikhah done to me, and he has hired me, and I have become his priest." And they said to him, "Inquire of G-d, please, that we may know whether our way on which we are going will be prosperous." And the priest said to them, "Go in peace; your way in which you are going has the L-rd's approval."

Again we read, there was no king in Israel, no one to lead them and guide them. Therefore, they were doing what they wanted. The wayward Levitical priest gives them his blessing that G-d is with them. He has no idea if G-d is with them or not because he has become the priest over false idols.

Shof’tim 18:7-10 Then the five men departed and came to Layish and saw the people who were in it living in security, after the manner of the Tzidonians, quiet and secure; for there was no ruler humiliating them for anything in the land, and they were far from the Tzidonians and had no dealings with anyone. When they came back to their brothers at Tzor’ah and Eshta’ol, their brothers said to them, "What do you report?" And they said, "Arise, and let us go up against them; for we have seen the land, and look, it is very good. And will you sit still? Do not delay to go, to enter, to possess the land. When you enter, you shall come to a secure people with a spacious land; for G-d has given it into your hand, a place where there is no lack of anything that is on the earth."

So the five Danite scouts report back to their clan that they have G-d’s blessing to take the city of Layish. This is not true because they have consulted with a false priest.

Shof’tim 18:11-13 Then from the family of the Danites, from Tzor’ah and from Eshta’ol, six hundred men armed with weapons of war set out. And they went up and camped at Kiryat-Ye’arim in Y’hudah. Therefore they called that place Machaneh-Dan to this day; look, it is west of Kiryat-Ye’arim. And they passed from there to the hill country of Efrayim and came to the house of Mikhah.

Now a small army of Danites head north to conquer the city of Layish but before they do they make a stop to see the false priest.

Shof’tim 18:14-20 Then the five men who went to spy out the country of Layish answered and said to their kinsmen, "Do you know that there are in these houses an ephod and household idols and a graven image and a molten image? Now therefore, consider what you should do." And they turned aside there and came to the house of the young man, the Levite, to the house of Mikhah, and asked him of his welfare. And the six hundred men armed with their weapons of war, who were of the sons of Dan, stood by the entrance of the gate. Now the five men who went to spy out the land went up and entered there, and took the graven image and the ephod and household idols and the molten image, while the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men armed with weapons of war. And when these went into Mikhah's house and took the graven image, the ephod and household idols and the molten image, the priest said to them, "What are you doing?" And they said to him, "Be silent, put your hand over your mouth and come with us, and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be a priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and a family in Israel?" And the priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod and household idols and the graven image, and went among the people.

Idolatry enters the tribe of Dan. Not one of the 600 men said, “Stop” we can’t do this! Don’t you all remember the story of the golden calf? The false priest, when he realizes what is happening, goes with the eagerly. He looks at this as some sort of promotion. No conscience shown at all. It makes you stop and think how the tribe of Dan reached this state. I think it is an example of parents failing to instruct their children in the things of the L-rd. Children need to see a consistent lifestyle in their parents with what they are being told. If parents say one thing to their children and do another they will loose creditability in the eyes of their children. The most important job we have as parents is to teach them about Yeshua.

Shof’tim 18:21-26 Then they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the livestock and the valuables in front of them. When they had gone some distance from the house of Mikhah, the men who were in the houses near Mikhah's house assembled and overtook the sons of Dan. And they cried to the sons of Dan, who turned around and said to Mikhah, "What is the matter with you, that you have assembled together?" And he said, "You have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and have gone away, and what do I have besides? So how can you say to me, 'What is the matter with you?'" And the sons of Dan said to him, "Do not let your voice be heard among us, lest fierce men fall upon you and you lose your life, with the lives of your household." So the sons of Dan went on their way; and when Mikhah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his house.

The Danites stole the false gods and now threaten the lives of the men from the household of Mikhah.

Shof’tim 18:27-31 Then they took what Mikhah had made and the priest who had belonged to him, and came to Layish, to a people quiet and secure, and struck them with the edge of the sword; and they burned the city with fire. And there was no one to deliver them, because it was far from Tzidon and they had no dealings with anyone, and it was in the valley which is near Beit-Rechov. And they rebuilt the city and lived in it. And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father who was born in Israel; however, the name of the city formerly was Layish. And the sons of Dan set up for themselves the graven image; and Y’honatan, the son of Gershom, the son of M’nasheh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land. So they set up for themselves Mikhah's graven image which he had made, all the time that the house of G-d was at Shiloh.

This town is in the Northern most section of Israel. The city of Dan now becomes a center of pagan worship.

Y’honatan a grandson of Moshe a priest setting up a graven image after G-d had said through Moshe you will have no other gods before me. We have some so-called Christians that follow after graven images of priests and pray to them expecting favor from G-d through them. Do you think the L-rd G-d hears them? He does not. He wants you to come to Him and pray to Him alone. If you pray to Mary, or any other Bible character, they would not want you to pray to them either. The Bible specifically forbids talking to the dead also. This Saul will do in one of our future studies. The righteous call out to G-d and if we want mercy there is only one mediator between us and the Father and that is the Son Yeshua.

1 Timothy 2:5-6 For there is one G-d, and one mediator also between G-d and men, the man Yeshua HaMashiach, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time.

Hebrews 12:23-25 to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to G-d, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Yeshua, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.