1 In those days, there was no king in Israel. And the tribe of Dan sought a possession for themselves, so that they might live in it. For even to that day, they had not received their lot among the other tribes.
2 Therefore, the sons of Dan sent five very strong men, of their stock and family, from Zorah and Eshtaol, so that they might explore the land and diligently inspect it. And they said to them, “Go, and consider the land.” And after traveling, they arrived at mount Ephraim, and they entered into the house of Micah. There they rested.
3 And they recognized the speech of the youth who was a Levite. And while making use of an inn with him, they said to him: “Who brought you here? What are you doing here? For what reason did you want to come here?”
4 And he answered them, “Micah has offered me one thing and another, and he has paid me wages, so that I may be his priest.”
5 Then they begged him to consult the Lord, so that they might be able to know whether the journey they undertook would be prosperous, and whether the matter would have success.
6 And he responded to them, “Go in peace. The Lord looks with favor on your path, and on the journey that you have undertaken.”
7 And so the five men, going on, arrived at Laish. And they saw the people, living in it without any fear, according to the custom of the Sidonians, secure and peaceful, having hardly anyone to oppose them, and with great wealth, and living separately, far from Sidon and from all men.
8 And they returned to their brothers at Zorah and Eshtaol, who questioned them as to what they had done. And they responded:
9 “Rise up. Let us ascend to them. For we have seen that the land is very wealthy and fruitful. Do not delay; do not refrain. Let us go out and possess it. There will be no difficulty.
10 We shall enter to those who dwell securely, in a very wide region, and the Lord will deliver the place to us, a place in which there is no lack of anything that grows upon the earth.”
11 And so, those of the kindred of Dan set out, that is, six hundred men from Zorah and Eshtaol, girded with the weapons of warfare.
12 And going up, they stayed at Kiriath-jearim of Judah. And so the place, from that time, received the name the Camp of Dan, and it is behind the back of Kiriath-jearim.
13 From there, they crossed over to mount Ephraim. And when they had arrived at the house of Micah,
14 the five men, who before had been sent to consider the land of Laish, said to the rest of their brothers: “You know that in these houses there is an ephod and theraphim, and a molten idol and a graven image. Consider what it may please you to do.”
15 And when they had turned aside a little, they entered the house of the Levite youth, who was in the house of Micah. And they greeted him with peaceful words.
16 Now the six hundred men, who were all armed, were standing before the door.
17 But those who had entered the house of the youth strove to take away the graven image, and the ephod, and the theraphim, and the molten idol. But the priest was standing in front of the door, with the six hundred very strong men waiting not far away.
18 And so, those who had entered took away the graven image, the ephod, and the theraphim, and the molten idol. And the priest said to them, “What are you doing?”
19 And they responded to him: “Be silent and place your finger over your mouth. And come with us, so that we may have you as a father as well as a priest. For which is better for you: to be a priest in the house of one man, or in one tribe and family in Israel?”
20 And when he had heard this, he agreed to their words. And he took the ephod, and the idols, and the graven image, and he set out with them.
21 And while traveling, they had also sent the children, and the cattle, and all that was valuable to go ahead of them.
22 And when they were far from the house of Micah, the men who were living in the houses of Micah, crying out together, followed them.
23 And they began to shout behind their backs. And when they had looked back, they said to Micah: “What do you want? Why are you crying out?”
24 And he responded: “You have taken away my gods, which I made for myself, and the priest, and all that I have. And do you say, ‘What is it that you want?’ ”
25 And the sons of Dan said to him, “Take care that you no longer speak to us, otherwise men with a mind for violence may overwhelm you, and you yourself would perish with all your house.”
26 And so, they continued on the journey that they had begun. But Micah, seeing that they were stronger than he was, returned to his house.
27 Now the six hundred men took the priest, and the things we stated above, and they went to Laish, to a people quiet and secure, and they struck them down with the edge of the sword. And they burned the city with fire.
28 For no one at all sent reinforcements, because they lived far away from Sidon, and they had no association or business with any man. Now the city was situated in the region of Rehob. And building it up again, they lived in it,
29 calling the name of the city Dan, according to the name of their father, who had been born of Israel, though before it was called Laish.
30 And they established for themselves the graven image. And Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, with his sons, were priests in the tribe of Dan, even until the day of their captivity.
31 And the idol of Micah remained with them during the entire time that the house of God was in Shiloh. In those days, there was no king in Israel.