PresentsJudges chapter 18
Caution to students of God's Word - Please remember two things when using our studies: #1. Our commentary is not God's Word. It is only our interpretation or understanding of "His Word" and even though we try our best to be accurate we may or may not be correct. #2. The King James translation, or any other translation, of the original Hebrew text has some words which were given different translations at different places probably because of the interpreters preconceived ideas of what they think God meant to say. For example: According to the notes in the "Dake's Annotated Reference Bible" the Hebrew word hayah in the KJV is Trans. (became) 67 times, (becamest or came to pass) 505 times, (become) 66 times, and (come to pass) 131 times, but for some reason in Genesis 1:2 it is translated (was)! That sure changes the way a person perceives the original creation of the earth, doesn't it? Gen. 1:2 And the earth was (became) without form, ... Having said that, let us continue with our "Key Knowledge" lessons. These are pamphlets containing knowledge, we believe, you must have to fully and accurately unlock and understand the Word of God.
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.  He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
This Bible Study was originally written by Roger
published at http://www.theseason.org/
Without the leading by the Holy Spirit, there is no understanding of the truths, for all the truth of the Scriptures are revealed to us by God's Spirit.
Now here is our revised study of:
Judges Chapter 18
"Aggression of the Danites."
Remember that God said that He would not cleanse the sanctuary again, after He had cleansed it at the end of Joshua's days, and now a few generations had past. Can you see what is happening to God's sanctuary? Is it any wonder that God's children were sinking to their lowest point of their degradation?
Judges 18:1 "In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day all their inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel.
It won't be long now before the Israelites will get their first king to sit over them, however at this point there was no king or ruler over them, once Samson is dead. To this point in time the tribe of Dan had not taken the time to enter into the land that was allotted them. These Danites had not gone in and claimed the land from the heathen that were in their lands. It will be shown in this chapter why the tribe of Dan is not mentioned among the 144,000 in Revelation 7:4-8. The reason for this is that they liked to play at church and make up their own forms of idol worship that went against God's laws and commandments. This chapter will get into how and why they got into their mess.
Judges 18:2 "And the children of Dan sent of their family five men from their coasts, men of valour, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said unto them, "Go, search the land:" who when they came to mount Ephraim, to the house of Micah, they lodged there."
These five men sent out to spy the land were the best men that they had. The were sent out to go into the land assigned to tribe of Dan by Joshua, and where they were planning to settle and build their cities. It was important to them that they had an accurate appraisal of the land and the people that had occupied it.
As they are moving through the land of the tribe of Ephraim on their way to the land they hope to posses, these five men or spies of Dan stopped for the night to lodge at Micah's house. From the cities of Zorah and Eshtaol, Dans land was to the north other side of the land of the tribe of Ephraim.
Judges 18:3 "When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man the Levite: and they turned in thither, and said unto him, "Who brought thee hither? and what makest thou in this place? and what hast thou here?"
When these five spies approached Micah's house the voice of this super preacher that Micah bought for himself reached the ears of these spies. The knew the voice because they had heard it before. This then is probably an indication why this preacher or Levite priest was unemployed at the time he passed Micah's house. The five men couldn't understand why this Levitical priest would be in this back woods area at Micah's instead of leading some large congregation of many families.
Judges 18:4 "And he said unto them, "Thus and thus dealeth Micah with me, and hath hired me, and I am his priest."
Ask yourself, Did God hire this priest? No, Micah worked a deal out with this priest, and under the agreement, this priest came under the employment of Micah. When a deacon board is properly selected and meet all the criteria for being on the deacon board and they follow the instructions within God's Word, then their decisions are called "of God". Then they select the person that they feel can best teach and direct the congregation in the ways of God given in the Word of God.
For a Levitical priest to act and administer the priestly office and be a man of God, he must follow the ways that God had given to Moses for a Levitical priest to follow. As we read in the last chapter, Micah had built his own church of idols, and he appointed one of his sons to give order to this new religion that he created. The center of that religion was Micah's idols, graven images, and a molten image that Micah bought from the founder with the money that he stole from mother. So now this super preacher Levitical priest, for the sake of being employed, having food on the table and clothes on his back, was willing to let Micah dictate how the worship in God's house should be.
The things of God, His Word and His instructions were set aside for the sake of pleasing this man, and not God. Now these "five men of valor" from the tribe of Dan, have observed this so-called religious ceremony, and they desire it for their tribal families. The religious form was so emotional these men of Dan thought it was just right for their tribe.
When a minister is called to preach, it is God that is supposed to call him, and not a group of men. Then that board had better be very careful in their selection process to make sure that this one they're choosing is truly called by God, and not with some other motive within their own mind. There is a big difference. Be careful of those that like to play church.
Judges 18:5 "And they said unto him, "Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous."
The Danites were little better (if any) then the heathen themselves, in their worship of Baal and other heathen gods. And when they saw this Levitical priest, the man of the cloth standing before these idols and images, and spouting off what Micah wanted to hear, the men of Dan were impressed. These spies were biblically illiterate, as most Christians are today, and what they saw impressed them. So they went to this dumb fake priest that is standing before these idols for counsel. What ever counsel they get from him will be what they deserve.
Judges 18:6 "And the priest said unto them, "Go in peace: before the Lord is your way wherein ye go."
They are asking this ignorant Levitical priest that doesn't know the ways of God from the stupid idol standing before him, for counsel on following the ways of God and being prosperous in those ways. This super preacher is definitely not in tune with God, and he will tell them exactly what his boss Micah would have him say. Micah has told this priest to get these boys on the road and out of his land.
You can almost hear the sweet tones of this priest telling these Danites; "Go in peace, the Lord God be with you on your journey." This priest even used the sacred name of the Lord to send them on their way. This sounded so religious that you could almost pass the plate as they waltzed out the door.
Judges 18:7 "Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people that were therein, how they dwelt careless, after the manner of the Zidonians, quiet and secure; and there was no magistrate in the land, that might put them to shame in any thing; and they were far from the Zidonians, and had no business with any man."
When these five men came to the city of Laish [Lion], they were taken back by these Zidonians and how they lived. Though it seemed that it was quiet and secure, the people lived a careless life, with no form of law and order in the land. There was no person to give direction and show them the wrong that they were doing, but every person did what seemed right to them, in their own eyes. This community was full of confusion and disorder. These Zidonians were farmers living far from their people and they just didn't want anything to do with any other man. They lived to themselves and for themselves.
Remember that the purpose that these spies to be here in the first place, is to spy out a land so that the tribe of Dan can take and settle in in for their own tribe. These Zidonians have kept to themselves and they have no form of defense for themselves, and this is what these five spies are observing and plotting out. These five spies must find the best method of overpowering these Zidonians.
Judges 18:8 "And they came unto their brethren to Zorah and Eshtaol: and their brethren said unto them, "What say ye?"
Judges 18:9 "And they said, "Arise, that we may go up against them: for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good: and are ye still? be not slothful to go, and to enter to possess the land."
When these men arrived back into Zorah and Eshtaol they can't wait to get on the move to their new promise land. They have seen the land, and the people on that land, and those Zidonians have left themselves defenseless. This urgent message is given to all the Danites and they are ready to take their promise land.
Judges 18:10 "When ye go, ye shall come unto a people secure, and to a large land: for God hath given it into your hands; a place where there is no want of any thing that is in the earth."
Did God give this land into their hands on the words of this fake priest? I don't think so.
Judges 18:11 "And there went from thence of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men appointed with weapons of war."
The tribe of Dan is sending six hundred military troops here, equipped for war, and they are heading for the land of the Zidonians to take their land. Remember that this should have happened many generations prior, only the tribe of Dan did not follow Joshua's instruction to go in and take the land for their own and claim it.
Judges 18:12 "And they went up, and pitched in Kirjath-jearim, in Judah: wherefore they called that place Mahaneh-dan unto this day: behold, it is behind Kirjath-jearim."
"Mahaneh-dan" in the Hebrew means "the camp of Dan".
Judges 18:13 "And they passed thence unto mount Ephraim, and came unto the house of Micah."
On their way to this camp sight, these six hundred men came to the house of Micah.
Judges 18:14 "Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish, and said unto their brethren, "Do ye know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, and a molten image? now therefore consider what ye have to do."
These Danites are good religious people. As they approached the house of Micah the spies told this army that within Micah's house were all the things necessary to start their own religion, the ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, and a molten image. The "ephod" is a priest's shoulder piece, and the "teraphim" is a family idol. Micah and his house had all the things necessary to start a new religion.
Judges 18:15 "And they turned thitherward, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, even unto the house of Micah, and saluted him."
This small army of the Danites came to Micah's house and the house of the Levite, and greeted them. Told them what wonderful people they were, however they were breaking every law in God holy Word.
Judges 18:16 "And the six hundred men appointed with their weapons of war, which were of the children of Dan, stood by the entering of the gate."
In the expression, "stood by", meant that these six hundred men stood ready for action. They were military men, and it was time to fight should there be any resistance.
Judges 18:17 "And the five men that went to spy out the land went up, and came in thither, and took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image: and the priest stood in the entering of the gate with the six hundred men that were appointed with weapons of war."
As the six hundred men stood ready at the gate of Micah's house, the five spies went in to Micah's church house and took Micah's things of idolatry worship. This priest stood by with the men of war at the gate while all this was happening.
Judges 18:18 "And these went into Micah's house, and fetched the carved image, and ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image. Then said the priest unto them, "What do ye?"
As the priest was watching the idols being removed, he asked them what they were doing.
Judges 18:19 "And they said unto him, "Hold thy peace, lay thine hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest: is it better for thee to be a priest unto the house of one man, or that thou be a priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel?"
The Danites told this priest to shut his mouth and just keep quiet. Then they gave this Levite priest a offer that he just couldn't refuse; They were going to make a super preacher out of this Levite priest. They are asking this Levitical priest, aren't you better off being a priest over an entire tribe of Israel, then just one man's family? They are offering him a job of leading the whole tribe of Dan. Remember, in a prophecy of Revelation 7 that Dan is not mentioned in the entire group of the 144,000. The act of what they are doing here as well as other similar actions of idolatry, caused the tribe of Dan to lose favor with the True God. These people wouldn't follow God's way but went into idol worship.
The message to us today is that we become aware of those super-preachers they say that they have something religiously special to draw us to them. They come with all their religious forms, singing their songs that sound so good, and go through their actions that look so spiritual, yet the words that come from their mouth is from their own mind, and not from God's Word. Yes, they may recite scripture, but what they say is tailored to captivate your mind and pocket book, and it is taken out of context. They say that what they are saying was given them was by the Holy Spirit, but how intelligent are you? The Holy Spirit never says anything that goes against God's own Word.
So these men of Dan are promising to fix this Levitical priest up, and give him honor and position if he will lead them.
Judgea 18:20 "And the priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people."
This priest was more then glad to take the priestly garment, and step right to the head of the tribe. The tribe of Dan now had their own preacher, and the idols that went with him. Do you think for one minute that the tribe of Dan had a slight chance to be informed of God's Word by this fake priest, with his idols and graven images? Amongst the idols was this little teraphim, the family idol of Micah's house.
Even the method of obtaining their religious form went against God's Word; however, even with this priest these people of Dan will remain ignorant of God and His ways.
Stop for a moment and apply this to what is going on today. There is a large percent of our population that does go to church, and while they are in their church houses, what do they learn of God and His ways. Most of them have sat in their pews for many years, and they remain biblically illiterate. If they are Christians, they have never gone beyond the milk of the Word. Over and over the milk of the Word is dumped upon them, salvation and baptism, over and over and yet these souls are left defenseless. We are living in the one generation that must have their gospel armor on and in place to stand against the spiritual darts of the devil, Satan. Satan is coming in his role of Antichrist "instead of Christ" and he will deceive the world. Yet their preachers and super-preachers stand behind their pulpits and soothe the congregation's minds Sunday after Sunday with love songs, and sweet sounding messages of man's traditions. They just never get around to the meat of the word that will strengthen them, to prepare them for the coming of the great deceiver. They leave the services without hearing God's Word to prepare them for the generation that they live in.
This is exactly what is happening to the tribe of Dan under this Levitical preacher [priest], for he will tell them what they want to hear, and what makes them feel good.
Judges 18:21 "So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the cattle and the carriage before them."
The Danites now sent the women and children in front of them as they head on to their promise land, the land of the Zidonians. This placed this army of fighting men between Micah and their loved ones, in case Micah comes after them to do them harm.
Judges 18:22 "And when they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men that were in the houses near to Micah's house were gathered together, and overtook the children of Dan."
It did not take long for the men around Micah's house to recognize that those Danites have stole our super-preacher, our idols and all of our religion. They mounted up and headed after the people of Dan.
Judges 18:23 "And they cried unto the children of Dan, And they turned their faces, and said unto Micah, "What aileth thee, that thou comest with such a company?"
When they finally caught up to these people of the tribe of Dan, Micah started whining and crying like a wounded puppy. When these armed men saw Micah come with his company of men and the way that they were carrying on, they wanted to know what this was all about. "What aileth thee, and why did you come with all these people?" they ask.
Judges 18:24 "And he said, "Ye have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and ye are gone away: and what have I more? and what is this that ye say unto me, 'What aileth thee?' "
In most of these so called houses of God, if the idolatry and traditions were ripped away from them, it would be the greatest thing that God could do for them. There are so many religious institutions that never get around to teaching God's Word, however this is not talking about those churches that do teach God's Word chapter by chapter and verse by verse. The problem today is that many so-called Christian churches are nothing but shadows of buildings with steeples that teach nothing but men's traditions and the things that seem right, but lead to the way of destruction. Micah feels that all is lost because these people have taken his idols, images and his priest, and not one of them is any good. Micah is far better off, and he just doesn't know it.
Judges 18:25 "And the children of Dan said unto him, "Let not thy voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows run upon thee, and thou lose thy life, with the lives of thy household."
The men of Dan told Micah and his men to keep their voices down and if you carry on and make us angry we will kill you. They told Micah and his people to get lost.
Judges 18:26 "And the children of Dan went their way: and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back unto his house."
Judges 18:27 "And they took the things which Micah had made, and the priest which he had, and came unto Laish, unto the people that were at quiet and secure: and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and burnt the city with fire."
The men of Dan, with their families came on these peace loving people, and killed them all with their swords, burnt their city with fire, and claimed the land.
Judges 18:28 "And there was no deliverer, because it was far from Zidon, and they had no business with any man; and it was in the valley that lieth by Beth-rehob. And they built a city and dwelt therein."
The Zidonians were farmers, and they did not set up any plans to defend themselves should some event like this take place. They were far from the protection of the people of their kind, and now the tribe of Dan is claiming the land that had been farmed by these Zidonians and their city.
Judges 18:29 "And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born unto Israel: howbeit the name of the city was Laish at the first."
So now that the dead are buried, the old city is burned to the ground, and the new city can be built and ready to be lived in. The town was named after their forefather Dan, one of the twelve sons of Jacob, who's name was changed to Israel. It is time now to start their new lives in their promised land.
Judges 18:30 "And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land."
The first thing that these people of Dan did when they established their community was to build their little church, put their steeple on it, and move their graven images and idols into this church house. So here we learn the name of this Levite priest that sold himself to Micah, and later accepted his position with these Danites. His name is Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh. Jonathan it now appears was not of the tribe of Levi but of the tribe of Manasseh, the son of Joseph.
Genesis 48:1 "And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, "Behold, thy father is sick:" and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim."
Jacob [Israel] blessed these two sons of Joseph, but though even they received the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant, they did not receive the position of the priestly duties. That position was reserved for Aaron the Levite, and his son and their offspring. After God had instructed Moses as to how the tabernacle was to be set up, and what should be in that tabernacle, and before the altar of God, God gave him instruction as to who would be acceptable to him to stand before that altar.
Exodus 40:12 "And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water."
Exodus 40:13 "And thou shall put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto Me in the priest's office."
The word "Sanctify" means to set him aside for a specific duty, and that duty is to fulfill the priest's office in administering the laws of God.
Exodus 40:14 "And thou shalt bring his sons, and clothe them with coats:"
Exodus 40:15 "And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto Me in the priest's office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generation."
This Moses did, exactly as God had commanded him to do. Is there any confusion now to who is able to serve as a Levite priest? The only people to serve as Levitical priest's are those on the lineage of Aaron and his sons, and not of Manasseh. This priest was a fake all along, and these Danites kept this fake all the time that they held their lands, and Dan's priests from this time on were all from the sons of Jonathan. So Dan is in his new promised land, with a fake priest, and a religious for that was stolen, made of nothing but graven images. No wonder God turned his back on these people.
Judges 18:31 "And they set them up Micah's graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh."
Remember Micah's mother who set aside eleven hundred pieces of silver to be given to the Lord? Micah came along and stole it and mother placed a curse on him and the money. When Micah told his mother he stole the money, the money became diverted from God to the founder, who was hired to pour the images and make the things that went to form Micah and his mother's new religion. "Eleven" is the number in biblical numerics that stands for "defective administration", and that is exactly what happened to the Lord's money. Do you consider what happens to the tithe you give to the Lord, and what it is going to promote?
Micah had his images but not his priest, and when the first hireling came down the road Micah bought himself a priest. Though this priest told Micah that he was a Levite, we come to find out much later the man was not even from the tribe of Levi, but the offspring of the lineage of Manasseh, the son of Joseph. It didn't matter to Micah, just as it didn't matter to these Danites that there super preacher was a fake. What mattered to each of them was that this fake priest would tell them what they wanted to hear, and that he would set up whatever religious form that pleased them.
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