Chapter 18

1In those days (there was) no king in Israel; and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought for themselves an inheritance (in which) to dwell, for until that day there had not fallen to them among the tribes of Israel an inheritance.   אבַּיָמִ֣ים הָהֵ֔ם אֵ֥ין מֶ֖לֶךְ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וּבַיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵ֗ם שֵׁ֣בֶט הַדָּנִ֞י מְבַקֶּשׁ־ל֚וֹ נַֽחֲלָה֙ לָשֶׁ֔בֶת כִּי֩ לֹֽא־נָ֨פְלָה לּ֜וֹ עַד־הַיּ֥וֹם הַה֛וּא בְּתוֹךְ־שִׁבְטֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל בְּנַחֲלָֽה:
for (until that day) there had not fallen to them: An inheritance befitting them in the previously conquered land, as it says, (Joshua 19:47) “And the border of the children of Dan went out from them.” From here we can also derive that this occurred at the immediate beginning of the Judges’ period.   כי לא נפלה לו: ירושה כפי הראוי להם בארץ מכובשת, כמו שנאמר ביהושע (יט מז): ויצא גבול בני דן מהם, ואף מכאן יש ללמוד שהיה מעשה זה בתחלת השופטים מיד:
2And the children of Dan sent from their families five men, part of them (being) men of valor, from Zorah and Eshtaol, to spy out the land and to search it; and they said to them, "Go search the land." And they came to the mountain of Ephraim, up to Micah's house, and lodged there.   בוַיִּשְׁלְח֣וּ בְנֵי־דָ֣ן | מִֽמִּשְׁפַּחְתָּ֡ם חֲמִשָּׁ֣ה אֲנָשִׁ֣ים מִקְצוֹתָם֩ אֲנָשִׁ֨ים בְּנֵי־חַ֜יִל מִצָּרְעָ֣ה וּמֵֽאֶשְׁתָּאֹ֗ל לְרַגֵּ֚ל אֶת־הָאָ֙רֶץ֙ וּלְחָקְרָ֔הּ וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ אֲלֵהֶ֔ם לְכ֖וּ חִקְר֣וּ אֶת־הָאָ֑רֶץ וַיָּבֹ֚אוּ הַר־אֶפְרַ֙יִם֙ עַד־בֵּ֣ית מִיכָ֔ה וַיָּלִ֖ינוּ שָֽׁם:
3(When) they (were) by the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the lad, the Levite. And they turned aside there and said to him, "Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? And what (profit) have you here?"   גהֵ֚מָּה עִם־בֵּ֣ית מִיכָ֔ה וְהֵ֣מָּה הִכִּ֔ירוּ אֶת־ק֥וֹל הַנַּ֖עַר הַלֵּוִ֑י וַיָּס֣וּרוּ שָׁ֗ם וַיֹּ֚אמְרוּ לוֹ֙ מִֽי־הֱבִיאֲךָ֣ הֲלֹ֔ם וּמָֽה־אַתָּ֥ה עֹשֶֹ֛ה בָּזֶ֖ה וּמַה־לְּךָ֥ פֹֽה:
Who brought you here…: There are many questions here. Are you not of the descendants of Moses our teacher of whom it is said: (Ex. 3:5) “Do not draw near here;” (ibid. 4:11) “Who gave speech (פֶּה same letters as פֹּה) to a person;” and (ibid 4:2) “What is this in your hand?”   מי הביאך הלם: יש כאן תמיהות הרבה, (בבא בתרא קי ב) לא מזרעו של משה רבינו אתה, שנאמר בו (שמות ג ה): אל תקרב הלם, (שם ד יא): מי שם פה לאדם, (שם שם ב): מה זה בידך:
4And he said to them, "Such and such has Micah done for me, and he has hired me, and I have become his priest."   דוַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֲלֵהֶ֔ם כָּזֹ֣ה וְכָזֶ֔ה עָ֥שָׂה לִ֖י מִיכָ֑ה וַיִּשְׂכְּרֵ֕נִי וָאֱהִי־ל֖וֹ לְכֹהֵֽן:
5And they said to him, "Ask now of God, that we may know whether we shall be prosperous on our way upon which we are going."   הוַיֹּ֥אמְרוּ ל֖וֹ שְׁאַל־נָ֣א בֵאלֹהִ֑ים וְנֵ֣דְעָ֔ה הֲתַצְלִ֣יחַ דַּרְכֵּ֔נוּ אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֲנַ֖חְנוּ הֹלְכִ֥ים עָלֶֽיהָ:
Ask now of God: (translation follows Targum Jonathan. Rashi, however, explains:) Of the teraphim that speak through magic.   שאל נא באלהים: בתרפים שמדברים על ידי מכשפות:
6And the priest said to them, "Go in peace; before the Lord is (revealed) the way in which you shall go."   ווַיֹּ֧אמֶר לָהֶ֛ם הַכֹּהֵ֖ן לְכ֣וּ לְשָׁל֑וֹם נֹ֣כַח יְהוָ֔ה דַּרְכְּכֶ֖ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר תֵּֽלְכוּ־בָֽהּ:
before the Lord is your way in which you shall go: (Lit.) Before the Holy One, blessed be He, it is revealed, however, this one is worthless.   נוכח ה' דרככם: נוכח הקדוש ברוך הוא גלוי, כי זה אין בו ממש:
7And the five men went, and arrived in Laish. And they saw the people that were therein dwelling in security, after the manner of the Zidonians, tranquil and secure; for there was none in the land to put them to shame for any thing; (their) heirs being few, and they were far from the Zidonians, and had no bond with any man.   זוַיֵּלְכוּ֙ חֲמֵ֣שֶׁת הָאֲנָשִׁ֔ים וַיָּבֹ֖אוּ לָ֑יְשָׁה וַיִּרְא֣וּ אֶת־הָעָ֣ם אֲשֶׁר־בְּקִרְבָּ֣הּ יוֹשֶֽׁבֶת־לָ֠בֶטַח כְּמִשְׁפַּ֨ט צִדֹנִ֜ים שֹׁקֵ֣ט | וּבֹטֵ֗חַ וְאֵין־מַכְלִ֨ים דָּבָ֚ר בָּאָ֙רֶץ֙ יוֹרֵ֣שׁ עֶ֔צֶר וּרְחֹקִ֥ים הֵ֙מָּה֙ מִצִּ֣דֹנִ֔ים וְדָבָ֥ר אֵין־לָהֶ֖ם עִם־אָדָֽם:
for there was none in the land to put them to shame for any thing: Not one of them ever needs his friend’s assistance that he should have the opportunity to send him back empty-handed and embarass him, as it says, (v. 10) “Where there is nothing lacking.” So I have heard. יוֹרֵשׁ עֶצֶר There are few heirs, consequently, if these are killed there will not remain any other opposition to battle with the occupants of the portion.   ואין מכלים דבר: אין אחד מהם צריך לחבירו שיחזירנו ריקם ויכלימנו, כמו שנאמר בסוף הענין (פסוק י): אין מחסור כל דבר, כך שמעתי:
(their) heirs being few: There are few heirs, consequently, if these are killed there will not remain any other opposition to battle with the occupants of the portion.   יורש עצר: יורשים מועטים, שאם יהרגו את אלו, אין עוד עוררין נלחמים עם המחזיקים בנחלה:
and they were far: From the assistance of the Zidonians.   ורחוקים המה: מעזרת צידונים:
and had no bond (lit., word) with any man: (They do not have) any treaty contracted that anyone should come to their aid when necessary.   ודבר אין להם עם אדם: שום ברית כרותה שיבאו לעזרתם לעת הצורך:
8And they came to their brothers, (to) Zorah and Eshtaol; and their brothers said to them, "What do you (have to respond)?"   חוַיָּבֹ֙אוּ֙ אֶל־אֲחֵיהֶ֔ם צָרְעָ֖ה וְאֶשְׁתָּאֹ֑ל וַיֹּאמְר֥וּ לָהֶ֛ם אֲחֵיהֶ֖ם מָ֥ה אַתֶּֽם:
What do you: (Lit.) Meaning, What do you have to respond? What did you find on the territory of our lot? What about the people, are they strong or weak?   מה אתם: כלומר מה אתם משיבים דבר, מה מצאתם במקום שנפל לנו גורלנו, מה העם, החזק הוא הרפה:
9And they said, "Arise, and let us go up against them, for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good; and you are silent, do not be lazy to go and enter to possess the land.   טוַיֹּאמְר֗וּ ק֚וּמָה וְנַעֲלֶ֣ה עֲלֵיהֶ֔ם כִּ֚י רָאִ֙ינוּ֙ אֶת־הָאָ֔רֶץ וְהִנֵּ֥ה טוֹבָ֖ה מְאֹ֑ד וְאַתֶּ֣ם מַחְשִׁ֔ים אַל־תֵּעָ֣צְל֔וּ לָלֶ֥כֶת לָבֹ֖א לָרֶ֥שֶׁת אֶת־הָאָֽרֶץ:
and you are silent: You are slothful.   ואתם מחשים: מתעצלים:
10When you arrive, you will come to a secure people, and the land is sufficiently large, for God has given it into your hands; a place where there is nothing lacking of anything which is in the land."   יכְּבֹאֲכֶ֞ם תָּבֹ֣אוּ | אֶל־עַ֣ם בֹּטֵ֗חַ וְהָאָ֙רֶץ֙ רַחֲבַ֣ת יָדַ֔יִם כִּֽי־נְתָנָ֥הּ אֱלֹהִ֖ים בְּיֶדְכֶ֑ם מָקוֹם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֵֽין־שָׁ֣ם מַחְס֔וֹר כָּל־דָּבָ֖ר אֲשֶׁ֥ר בָּאָֽרֶץ:
11And there journeyed from there, of the Danite family, out of Zorah and Eshtaol, six hundred men girded with weapons.   יאוַיִּסְע֚וּ מִשָּׁם֙ מִמִּשְׁפַּ֣חַת הַדָּנִ֔י מִצָּרְעָ֖ה וּמֵאֶשְׁתָּאֹ֑ל שֵֽׁשׁ־מֵא֣וֹת אִ֔ישׁ חָג֖וּר כְּלֵ֥י מִלְחָמָֽה:
12And they went up and encamped near Kiryath-jearim, in Judah; therefore they called that place "The camp of Dan" until this day; behold (it is) behind Kiryath-jearim.   יבוַֽיַּעֲל֗וּ וַֽיַּחֲנ֛וּ בְּקִרְיַ֥ת יְעָרִ֖ים בִּֽיהוּדָ֑ה עַל־כֵּ֡ן קָרְאוּ֩ לַמָּק֨וֹם הַה֜וּא מַחֲנֵה־דָ֗ן עַ֚ד הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה הִנֵּ֕ה אַחֲרֵ֖י קִרְיַ֥ת יְעָרִֽים:
13And they passed from there to the mountain of Ephraim, and came up to Micah's house.   יגוַיַּעַבְר֥וּ מִשָּׁ֖ם הַר־אֶפְרָ֑יִם וַיָּבֹ֖אוּ עַד־בֵּ֥ית מִיכָֽה:
14And the five men that went to spy out the area of Laish spoke up, and said to their brothers, "Do you know that in these houses there is an ephod, teraphim, a graven image, and a molten one? And now know what you have to do."   ידוַֽיַּעֲנ֞וּ חֲמֵ֣שֶׁת הָאֲנָשִׁ֗ים הַהֹלְכִים֘ לְרַגֵּל֘ אֶת־הָאָ֣רֶץ לַיִשׁ֒ וַיֹּֽאמְרוּ֙ אֶל־אֲחֵיהֶ֔ם הַיְדַעְתֶּ֗ם כִּ֠י יֵ֣שׁ בַּבָּתִּ֚ים הָאֵ֙לֶּה֙ אֵפ֣וֹד וּתְרָפִ֔ים וּפֶ֖סֶל וּמַסֵּכָ֑ה וְעַתָּ֖ה דְּע֥וּ מַֽה־תַּעֲשֹֽוּ:
15And they turned there, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, in Micah's house, and greeted him.   טווַיָּס֣וּרוּ שָׁ֔מָּה וַיָּבֹ֛אוּ אֶל־בֵּֽית־הַנַּ֥עַר הַלֵּוִ֖י בֵּ֣ית מִיכָ֑ה וַיִּשְׁאֲלוּ־ל֖וֹ לְשָׁלֽוֹם:
16Now the six hundred men of the children of Dan girded with their weapons, stood by the entrance of the gate.   טזוְשֵׁשׁ־מֵא֣וֹת אִ֗ישׁ חֲגוּרִים֙ כְּלֵ֣י מִלְחַמְתָּ֔ם נִצָּבִ֖ים פֶּ֣תַח הַשָּׁ֑עַר אֲשֶׁ֖ר מִבְּנֵי־דָֽן:
17And the five men that went to spy out the land went up; they came in there, (and) took the graven image, the ephod, the teraphim, and the molten image. And the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with six hundred men that were girded with weapons.   יזוַֽיַּעֲל֞וּ חֲמֵ֣שֶׁת הָאֲנָשִׁ֗ים הַהֹלְכִים֘ לְרַגֵּ֣ל אֶת־הָאָרֶץ֒ בָּ֣אוּ שָׁ֔מָּה לָקְח֗וּ אֶת־הַפֶּ֙סֶל֙ וְאֶת־הָ֣אֵפ֔וֹד וְאֶת־הַתְּרָפִ֖ים וְאֶת־הַמַּסֵּכָ֑ה וְהַכֹּהֵ֗ן נִצָּב֙ פֶּ֣תַח הַשַּׁ֔עַר וְשֵׁשׁ־מֵא֣וֹת הָאִ֔ישׁ הֶחָג֖וּר כְּלֵ֥י הַמִּלְחָמָֽה:
18And these came into Micah's house, and took the graven image with the ephod, the teraphim, and the molten image. And the priest said to them, "What are you doing?"   יחוְאֵ֗לֶּה בָּ֚אוּ בֵּ֣ית מִיכָ֔ה וַיִּקְחוּ֙ אֶת־פֶּ֣סֶל הָאֵפ֔וֹד וְאֶת־הַתְּרָפִ֖ים וְאֶת־הַמַּסֵּכָ֑ה וַיֹּ֚אמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם֙ הַכֹּהֵ֔ן מָ֥ה אַתֶּ֖ם עֹשִֹֽים:
19And they said to him, "Be still, put your hand over your mouth and go with us, and be to us an instructor and a priest. Is it better for you to be a priest to the house of one man, or to be a priest to a tribe and family in Israel?"   יטוַיֹּאמְרוּ֩ ל֨וֹ הַחֲרֵ֜שׁ שִֹֽים־יָדְךָ֚ עַל־פִּ֙יךָ֙ וְלֵ֣ךְ עִמָּ֔נוּ וֶֽהְיֵה־לָ֖נוּ לְאָ֣ב וּלְכֹהֵ֑ן הֲט֣וֹב | הֱיוֹתְךָ֣ כֹהֵ֗ן לְבֵית֙ אִ֣ישׁ אֶחָ֔ד א֚וֹ הֱיוֹתְךָ֣ כֹהֵ֔ן לְשֵׁ֥בֶט וּלְמִשְׁפָּחָ֖ה בְּיִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
20And the priest was pleased, and he took the ephod, the teraphim, and the graven image, and he came in the midst of the people.   כוַיִּיטַב֙ לֵ֣ב הַכֹּהֵ֔ן וַיִּקַּח֙ אֶת־הָ֣אֵפ֔וֹד וְאֶת־הַתְּרָפִ֖ים וְאֶת־הַפָּ֑סֶל וַיָּבֹ֖א בְּקֶ֥רֶב הָעָֽם:
21And they turned and departed, and put the little ones, the cattle, and the goods before them.   כאוַיִּפְנ֖וּ וַיֵּלֵ֑כוּ וַיָּשִֹ֨ימוּ אֶת־הַטַּ֧ף וְאֶת־הַמִּקְנֶ֛ה וְאֶת־הַכְּבוּדָּ֖ה לִפְנֵיהֶֽם:
and the goods: The burdens. (This refers to) any thing which has difficulty in moving, not being able to run if pursued by people.   ואת הכבודה: משאות, כל דבר שהוא כבד בהליכתו שאינו יכול לרוץ אם ירדפו בני המקום אחריהם:
the goods: Pezantume in O.F.   הכבודה: פיזנטו"מא בלע"ז:
22They were at a distance from the house of Michah, when the men that were in the houses which were near Micah's house were gathered, and they overtook the children of Dan.   כבהֵ֥מָּה הִרְחִ֖יקוּ מִבֵּ֣ית מִיכָ֑ה וְהָאֲנָשִׁ֗ים אֲשֶׁ֚ר בַּבָּתִּים֙ אֲשֶׁר֙ עִם־בֵּ֣ית מִיכָ֔ה נִֽזְעֲק֔וּ וַיַּדְבִּ֖יקוּ אֶת־בְּנֵי־דָֽן:
23And they called to the children of Dan, and they turned their faces. And they said to Micah, "What is with you, that you are gathered?"   כגוַֽיִּקְרְאוּ֙ אֶל־בְּנֵי־דָ֔ן וַיַּסֵּ֖בּוּ פְּנֵיהֶ֑ם וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ לְמִיכָ֔ה מַה־לְּךָ֖ כִּ֥י נִזְעָֽקְתָּ:
and they turned their faces: I.e., the children of Dan to those that called them.   ויסבו פניהם: בני דן אל הקוראים אליהם:
24And he said, "My god which I made you took away, in addition to the priest, and you have gone away. What else have I? How then can you say to me, 'What is with you?' "   כדוַיֹּ֡אמֶר אֶת־אֱלֹהַי֩ אֲשֶׁר־עָשִֹ֨יתִי לְקַחְתֶּ֧ם וְֽאֶת־הַכֹּהֵ֛ן וַתֵּלְכ֖וּ וּמַה־לִּ֣י ע֑וֹד וּמַה־זֶּ֛ה תֹּאמְר֥וּ אֵלַ֖י מַה־לָּֽךְ:
What else have I: what remains to me?   ומה לי עוד: ומה נשאר לי עוד:
25And the children of Dan said to him, "Let not your voice be heard among us, lest men of embittered souls assail you, and you will lose your life, and the lives of your household."   כהוַיֹּאמְר֚וּ אֵלָיו֙ בְּנֵי־דָ֔ן אַל־תַּשְׁמַ֥ע קוֹלְךָ֖ עִמָּ֑נוּ פֶּֽן־יִפְגְּע֣וּ בָכֶ֗ם אֲנָשִׁים֙ מָ֣רֵי נֶ֔פֶשׁ וְאָסַפְתָּ֥ה נַפְשְׁךָ֖ וְנֶ֥פֶשׁ בֵּיתֶֽךָ:
men of embittered souls: The tempermental ones of our group.   אנשים מרי נפש: כעסנים שיש בסיעתנו:
26And the children of Dan went their way. And Micah saw that they were stronger than he, and he turned and went back to his house.   כווַיֵּלְכ֥וּ בְנֵי־דָ֖ן לְדַרְכָּ֑ם וַיַּ֣רְא מִיכָ֗ה כִּי־חֲזָקִ֥ים הֵ֙מָּה֙ מִמֶּ֔נּוּ וַיִּ֖פֶן וַיָּ֥שָׁב אֶל־בֵּיתֽוֹ:
27And they took that which Micah had made, and the priest whom he had; and they came to Laish, to a people tranquil and secure, and they struck them with the edge of the sword. And the city they burnt with fire.   כזוְהֵ֨מָּה לָקְח֜וּ אֵ֧ת אֲשֶׁר־עָשָֹ֣ה מִיכָ֗ה וְֽאֶת־הַכֹּהֵן֘ אֲשֶׁ֣ר הָיָה־לוֹ֒ וַיָּבֹ֣אוּ עַל־לַ֗יִשׁ עַל־עַם֙ שֹׁקֵ֣ט וּבֹטֵ֔חַ וַיַּכּ֥וּ אוֹתָ֖ם לְפִי־חָ֑רֶב וְאֶת־הָעִ֖יר שָׂרְפ֥וּ בָאֵֽשׁ:
Laish: This was the name of the city. In the book of Joshua (19:47) it is called Leshem because they found there a precious stone named Leshem (turquoise) which was used on the breastplate (of the High Priest see Ex. 28:19) representing the tribe of Dan. His (i.e., Dan’s) name was written on (the) Leshem, thereby verifying that this was their rightful portion.   ליש: שם העיר, ובספר יהושע (יט מז) קורא שמה 'לשם', על שם שמצאו שם אבן טובה ששמה 'לשם', והיא היתה על החשן לשבט דן, שמו כתוב על 'לשם', וידעו שבאמת היא נחלתם:
28And there was no one to save (them), because it was far from Zidon, and they had no bond with any man, and it was in the valley that lies by Beth-rehob. And they built the city and dwelt therein.   כחוְאֵ֨ין מַצִּ֜יל כִּ֧י רְֽחוֹקָה־הִ֣יא מִצִּיד֗וֹן וְדָבָ֚ר אֵין־לָהֶם֙ עִם־אָדָ֔ם וְהִ֕יא בָּעֵ֖מֶק אֲשֶׁ֣ר לְבֵית־רְח֑וֹב וַיִּבְנ֥וּ אֶת־הָעִ֖יר וַיֵּ֥שְׁבוּ בָֽהּ:
29And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born to Israel, but actually Laish was the name of the city at first.   כטוַיִּקְרְא֚וּ שֵׁם־הָעִיר֙ דָּ֔ן בְּשֵׁם֙ דָּ֣ן אֲבִיהֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר יוּלַּ֖ד לְיִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וְאוּלָ֛ם לַ֥יִשׁ שֵׁם־הָעִ֖יר לָרִאשֹׁנָֽה:
30And the children of Dan set up for themselves the graven image. And Jonathan the son of Gershom, the son of Menasseh, (both) he and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the exile of the land.   לוַיָּקִ֧ימוּ לָהֶ֛ם בְּנֵי־דָ֖ן אֶת־הַפָּ֑סֶל וִ֠יהוֹנָתָן בֶּן־גֵּרְשֹׁ֨ם בֶּן־מְנַשֶּׁ֜ה ה֣וּא וּבָנָ֗יו הָי֚וּ כֹהֲנִים֙ לְשֵׁ֣בֶט הַדָּנִ֔י עַד־י֖וֹם גְּל֥וֹת הָאָֽרֶץ:
the son of Menasseh: Out of respect for Moses (משֶׁה) a “nun” was inserted thereby changing the name (מְנַשֶּׁה). This letter was written suspended to indicate that it was not Menasseh but actually Moses.   בן מנשה: מפני כבודו של משה כתוב נו"ן לשנות את השם, ונכתב תלויה לומר שלא היה מנשה אלא משה:
until the day of the exile of the land: In the days of Sancherib, during the first exile.   עד יום גלות הארץ: בימי סנחריב בגלות ראשונה:
31And they accepted for themselves the graven image of Micah which he had made, throughout the period that the house of God was in Shiloh.   לאוַיָּשִֹ֣ימוּ לָהֶ֔ם אֶת־פֶּ֥סֶל מִיכָ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָֹ֑ה כָּל־יְמֵ֛י הֱי֥וֹת בֵּית־הָאֱלֹהִ֖ים בְּשִׁלֹֽה: