Judges 18:7
(7) Laish.--It is called Leshem in Joshua 19:47, and is now called Tel el-Kadi, "the mound of the judge," possibly (though not probably) with some reference to the name of Dan (Genesis 49:16). It is four miles from Paneas and Caesarea Philippi, and was the northernmost city of Palestine (Judges 20:1). As such, its name recurs in Isaiah 10:30, if our version is there correct. It is sometimes called el-Leddan, because it is at the source of the Leddan, the chief stream of the Jordan. The position of the town, on a round hill girt with trees, is very striking, and fully bears out the description of this chapter (Robinson, Bible Res. 3:392). The name "Dan" in Genesis 14:14 may have been altered from Laish at a later date (Ewald, Gesch. 1:73).

After the manner of the Zidonians--i.e., in luxurious commercial ease. There can be little doubt that they were a colony from Zidon.

Quiet and secure . . . There are three peculiarities in this clause:--(1) Although the word for "people" (am) is masculine, yet the word for "dwelling" (yoshebeth) is feminine, perhaps because the writer had the word "city" in his mind, just as ????? is feminine in Acts 27:14, though the word for "ship" has been neuter, because the writer has ???? in his mind. (2) The word for "careless" and the word for "secure" are from the same root, and are tautological. (3) The clause "no magistrate," &c., is curiously expressed. It is difficult not to suppose that the text is in some way corrupt.

There was no magistrate . . . This difficult clause seems to mean, "no one possessing wealth" (LXX., "heir of treasure") "among them doing harm in the land in any matter." The various versions differ widely from each other, and the text is almost certainly corrupt.

They were far from the Zidonians.--As Josephus says, the town is a day's journey distant from Zidon.

No business with any man.--The reading of some MSS. of the LXX., "They had no business with Syria," rises from reading Aram for Adam.

Verse 7. - To Laish. Called in Joshua 19:47 Leshem, which is perhaps a corruption caused by the statement that they called it after the name (Ke-shem) of Dan, or it may be only another form. The name is strangely corrupted in the Septuagint of ver. 29 of this chapter into Oulamais, and in Joshua 19:47 into Lesem-dan. St. Jerome, misled by the Septuagint, has Lesem Dan. Laish was situated four Roman miles from Bahias, on the road to. Tyre, on one of the sources of the Jordan. Robinson identifies it unhesitatingly with Tell-el-Kady, "the mount of the judge" (where Kady has the same meaning as Dan), close to the great fountain, "one of the largest fountains in the world," called el-Leddan, which is the source of the lesser Jordan (Josephus), and which may very possibly be the ultimate form of ed-Dan, corrupted into Eddan, el-Eddan, Led-dan, el-Leddan, by successive incorporations of the article el into the word itself, of which there are other examples. The remainder of this verse is exceedingly obscure; a probable translation is as follows: "And they saw the people that was in the midst of it dwelling in security after the manner of the Zidonians, 'quiet and secure, and none doing any injury to any one in the land, possessing wealth;' and they were far from the Zidonians, and had no business with any man." The words in italics are probably a poetical quotation, descriptive of the people of Laish, which would account for the peculiar diction and the grammatical changes; for whereas the word dwelling is in the feminine gender, agreeing with people, the words quiet and secure and possessing are in the masculine, which can be readily accounted for if they are a quotation. This would also account for the tautology, "dwelling in security," "quiet and secure," and for the poetical character of the phrase "possessing wealth," and for the unusual form of the word here rendered wealth (etzer with an ain, instead of the usual otzar with an aleph), in accordance with the Septuagint and Vulgate and Gesenius, who derive the meaning of wealth from collecting, from which the common word atzereth derives its meaning of a collection or congregation of people.

17:7-13 Micah thought it was a sign of God's favour to him and his images, that a Levite should come to his door. Thus those who please themselves with their own delusions, if Providence unexpectedly bring any thing to their hands that further them in their evil way, are apt from thence to think that God is pleased with them.And the five men departed,.... From Mount Ephraim, and Micah's house there:

and came to Laish; which, according to Bunting (s), was one hundred and four miles from Mount Ephraim, and so many he makes it to be from Jerusalem; it lay at the furthest northern border of the land of Canaan, at the foot of Mount Lebanon, near the fountain of Jordan; it was four miles from Paneas, as Jerom says (t), as you go to Tyre; it is the Caesarea Philippi of the New Testament, and the same that is called Leshem; see Gill on Joshua 19:47,

and saw the people that were therein; went into the city, and made their observations on the inhabitants of it, their number, strength, and manner of living:

how they dwelt careless, after the manner of the Zidonians, quiet and secure; the inhabitants of Zidon, whose customs they might imitate, whose laws they might use, and might be under their government, since they are said to have no magistrate within themselves; and their carelessness and confidence might arise from their strong fortresses; or rather because they thought their city, and the land adjacent to it, did not belong to the land of Israel, and did not know that the Israelites made any pretensions to it, and therefore were quite easy, and in no fear of them; had no watchmen to guard their city, and did not take care to furnish themselves with weapons of war for their defence, even as the Zidonians; who, besides their city being a strong and fortified one, were in no fear of the Israelites, because their city was not in the land of Canaan, only the border of it reached to it:

and there was no magistrate in the land that might put them to shame in anything; to restrain them from vice, and punish them for it, or even to reprove and correct them, and so put them to shame; or put any mark of infamy and disgrace upon them in a public manner, that might shame them; hence they lived in a disorderly and dissolute manner, whereby they became the more easy prey to others: or the sense is, there was no king, nor an heir of the kingdom, as Kimchi interprets it, so that there were none to contest his right to the government of the place, or to accuse another, and put him to shame for taking it away from him. Jarchi takes the sense to be, that none needed to turn back his neighbour empty, when he asked anything of him for his relief, since there was no want of anything in the land, as after observed; but the first sense seems best:

and they were far from the Zidonians; who were the only people that could help them, being in friendship with them; and it may be they were under their government, as before observed; they are said (u) to be about eleven miles from them; Josephus (w) says, a day's journey:

and had no business with any man; no trade or commerce, but lived independent of others, and within themselves, their land affording them everything sufficient for them. Some understand it of their not being in any league or alliance with any other people, and so had none to call in to their assistance in case of any attack upon them.

(s) Ut supra. (Travels of the Patriarchs, &c. p. 112.) (t) De loc. Heb. fol. 90. H. (u) Adrichom. Theatrum Terrae Sanct. p. 105. (w) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 3. sect. 1.

Judges 18:6
Top of Page
Top of Page