Danites Take the Levite and the Idol
18 jIn those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days kthe tribe of the people of Dan was seeking for itself an inheritance to dwell in, for until then no inheritance among the tribes of Israel had fallen to them. 2 So the people of Dan sent five able men from the whole number of their tribe, lfrom Zorah and from Eshtaol, mto spy out the land and to explore it. And they said to them, “Go and explore the land.” And they came nto the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there. 3 When they were by the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young Levite. And they turned aside and said to him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What is your business here?” 4 And he said to them, “This is how Micah dealt with me: ohe has hired me, and I have become his priest.” 5 And they said to him, p“Inquire of God, please, that we may know whether the journey on which we are setting out will succeed.” 6 And the priest said to them, q“Go in peace. The journey on which you go is under the eye of the Lord.”
7 Then the five men departed and came to rLaish and saw the people who were there, how they lived in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, squiet and unsuspecting, lacking1 nothing that is in the earth and possessing wealth, and how tthey were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone. 8 And when they came to their brothers at uZorah and Eshtaol, their brothers said to them, “What do you report?” 9 They said, v“Arise, and let us go up against them, for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good. wAnd will you do nothing? xDo not be slow to go, to enter in and possess the land. 10 As soon as you go, you will come to an yunsuspecting people. The land is spacious, for God has given it into your hands, za place where there is no lack of anything that is in the earth.”
11 So 600 men of the tribe of Dan, aarmed with weapons of war, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol, 12 and went up and encamped at Kiriath-jearim in Judah. On this account that place is called bMahaneh-dan2 to this day; behold, it is west of cKiriath-jearim. 13 And they passed on from there to dthe hill country of Ephraim, and came to the house of Micah.
14 Then the five men who had gone to scout out the country of Laish said to their brothers, “Do you know that ein these houses there are an ephod, household gods, a carved image, and a metal image? Now therefore consider what you will do.” 15 And they turned aside there and came to the house of the young Levite, at the home of Micah, and fasked him about his welfare. 16 Now the 600 men of the Danites, garmed with their weapons of war, stood by the entrance of the gate. 17 And hthe five men who had gone to scout out the land went up and entered and took ithe carved image, the ephod, the household gods, and the metal image, while the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the 600 men armed with weapons of war. 18 And when these went into Micah’s house and took ithe carved image, the ephod, the household gods, and the metal image, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?” 19 And they said to him, “Keep quiet; jput your hand on your mouth and come with us and be to us ka father and a priest. Is it better for you to be priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and clan in Israel?” 20 And the priest’s heart was glad. He took the ephod and the household gods and the carved image and went along with the people.
21 So they turned and departed, putting the little ones and the livestock and lthe goods in front of them. 22 When they had gone a distance from the home of Micah, the men who were in the houses near Micah’s house were called out, and they overtook the people of Dan. 23 And they shouted to the people of Dan, who turned around and said to Micah, “What is the matter with you, that you come with such a company?” 24 And he said, m“You take my gods that I made and the priest, and go away, and what have I left? How then do you ask me, ‘What is the matter with you?’” 25 And the people of Dan said to him, “Do not let your voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows fall upon you, and you lose your life with the lives of your household.” 26 Then the people of Dan went their way. And when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his home.
27 But the people of Dan took what Micah had made, and the priest who belonged to him, and they came to Laish, to a people nquiet and unsuspecting, and ostruck them with the edge of the sword and burned the city with fire. 28 And there was no deliverer because it was pfar from Sidon, and they had no dealings with anyone. It was in the valley that belongs to qBeth-rehob. Then they rebuilt the city and lived in it. 29 And they named the city rDan, after the name of Dan their ancestor, who was born to Israel; but sthe name of the city was Laish at the first. 30 And the people of Dan set up the carved image for themselves, and Jonathan the son of Gershom, tson of Moses,3 uand his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day vof the captivity of the land. 31 So they set up Micah’s carved image that he made, was long as the house of God was at Shiloh.
A Levite and His Concubine
19 In those days, xwhen there was no king in Israel, a certain Levite was sojourning in the remote parts of ythe hill country of Ephraim, who took to himself a concubine from zBethlehem in Judah. 2 And his concubine was unfaithful to4 him, and she went away from him to her father’s house at Bethlehem in Judah, and was there some four months. 3 Then her husband arose and went after her, to speak kindly to her and bring her back. He had with him his servant and a couple of donkeys. And she brought him into her father’s house. And when the girl’s father saw him, he came with joy to meet him. 4 And his father-in-law, the girl’s father, made him stay, and he remained with him three days. So they ate and drank and spent the night there. 5 And on the fourth day they arose early in the morning, and he prepared to go, but the girl’s father said to his son-in-law, a“Strengthen your heart with a morsel of bread, and after that you may go.” 6 So the two of them sat and ate and drank together. And the girl’s father said to the man, “Be pleased to spend the night, and blet your heart be merry.” 7 And when the man rose up to go, his father-in-law pressed him, till he spent the night there again. 8 And on the fifth day he arose early in the morning to depart. And the girl’s father said, c“Strengthen your heart and wait until the day declines.” So they ate, both of them. 9 And when the man and his concubine and his servant rose up to depart, his father-in-law, the girl’s father, said to him, “Behold, now the day has waned toward evening. Please, spend the night. Behold, the day draws to its close. Lodge here and let your heart be merry, and tomorrow you shall arise early in the morning for your journey, and go home.”
10 But the man would not spend the night. He rose up and departed and arrived opposite dJebus (that is, Jerusalem). He had with him a couple of saddled donkeys, and his concubine was with him. 11 When they were near Jebus, the day was nearly over, and the servant said to his master, “Come now, let us turn aside to this city of the Jebusites and spend the night in it.” 12 And his master said to him, “We will not turn aside into the city of foreigners, who do not belong to the people of Israel, but we will pass on to eGibeah.” 13 And he said to his young man, “Come and let us draw near to one of these places and spend the night at Gibeah or at fRamah.” 14 So they passed on and went their way. And the sun went down on them near Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin, 15 and they turned aside there, to go in and spend the night at Gibeah. And he went in and sat down in the open square of the city, gfor no one took them into his house to spend the night.
16 And behold, an old man was coming from his work in the field at evening. The man was from hthe hill country of Ephraim, and he was sojourning in Gibeah. iThe men of the place were Benjaminites. 17 And he lifted up his eyes and saw the traveler in the open square of the city. And the old man said, “Where are you going? And where do you come from?” 18 And he said to him, “We are passing from Bethlehem in Judah to the remote parts of the hill country of Ephraim, from which I come. I went to Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going jto the house of the Lord,5 gbut no one has taken me into his house. 19 We have straw and feed for our donkeys, with bread and wine for me and your female servant and the young man with your servants. kThere is no lack of anything.” 20 And the old man said, l“Peace be to you; I will care for all your wants. mOnly, do not spend the night in the square.” 21 So he brought him into his house and gave the donkeys feed. nAnd they washed their feet, and ate and drank.
22 As they were omaking their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, worthless fellows, psurrounded the house, beating on the door. And they said to the old man, the master of the house, “Bring out the man who came into your house, that we may know him.” 23 And the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brothers, qdo not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, rdo not do this vile thing. 24 sBehold, here are my virgin daughter and his concubine. Let me bring them out now. tViolate them and do with them what seems good to you, but against this man rdo not do this outrageous thing.” 25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and made her go out to them. And they knew her and abused her all night until the morning. And as the dawn began to break, they let her go. 26 And as morning appeared, the woman came and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her master was, until it was light.
27 And her master rose up in the morning, and when he opened the doors of the house and went out to go on his way, behold, there was his concubine lying at the door of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28 He said to her, “Get up, let us be going.” uBut there was no answer. Then he put her on the donkey, and the man rose up and went away to his home. 29 And when he entered his house, he took a knife, and taking hold of his concubine he vdivided her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, and sent her throughout all the territory of Israel. 30 wAnd all who saw it said, “Such a thing has never happened or been seen from the day that the people of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt until this day; xconsider it, take counsel, and speak.”
False Prophets and Teachers
2 But mfalse prophets also arose among the people, njust as there will be false teachers among you, who will osecretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master pwho bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth qwill be blasphemed. 3 And rin their greed they will exploit you swith false words. tTheir condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
4 For if God did not spare uangels when they sinned, but vcast them into hell1 and committed them to chains2 of gloomy darkness wto be kept until the judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but xpreserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought ya flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 if by zturning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, amaking them an example of bwhat is going to happen to the ungodly;3 7 and cif he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, dhe was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9 then ethe Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials,4 and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially fthose who indulge5 in the lust of defiling passion and gdespise authority.
Bold and willful, they do not tremble gas they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11 hwhereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. 12 iBut these, like irrational animals, jcreatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13 suffering wrong as kthe wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure lto revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions,6 while mthey feast with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery,7 ninsatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts otrained in greed. pAccursed children! 15 Forsaking the right way, qthey have gone astray. They have followed rthe way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved sgain from wrongdoing, 16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; ta speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
17 uThese are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. vFor them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. 18 For, wspeaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely xescaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them yfreedom, zbut they themselves are slaves8 of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20 For if, aafter they have escaped the defilements of the world bthrough the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, cthe last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For dit would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from ethe holy commandment delivered to them. 22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The fdog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”