[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
What time did all this take place? It is narrated at the end of the Book of
Judges. We prefer to assume that the Bible is written in chronological
order and so do many of the Commentators. Nevertheless there were those who
said that even though the Bible usually does tells us about events in the
order they happened sometimes it does not. According to this opinion
sometimes events are related NOT in the order of their occurrence but
otherwise due to an association the Narrator wished to make.
In this case a point is being made:
<<IN THOSE DAYS THERE WAS NO KING IN ISRAEL>>: This is presented as
negative. The next chapter tells us about homosexual mob violence, the mass
rape and murder of a female guest wayfarer and fratricidal strife almost
resulting in the complete obliteration of an Israelite Tribes at the hands
of his brother tribes. This too was because:
<<IN THOSE DAYS THERE WAS NO KING IN ISRAEL>>.
The Levite in our story is referred to as "JONATHAN, THE SON OF GERSHOM,
THE SON OF MANASSEH" [Judges 18:30] and Manasseh here really means Moses as
we will explain. According to this, He was a grandson of Moses and the
events must have taken place at the beginning of the Period of Judges.
The Period of Judges in our book is described as more or less beginning
well (despite the failure to expel the Canaanites) and ending badly.
Actually it is quite plain that at the beginning there was good and bad and
at the end mainly "bad". The Narrator may have wanted to emphasis the 'bad"
aspects of the end by pushing his account of this incident to the last
Another reason why the story is given here may be connected with Samson. It
comes just after the story of Samson that describes the situation of the
Tribe of Dan in the south and in this chapter it goes on to tell us about
the movement of part of Dan towards the North.
One of Commentators brought up an interesting point: The amount of money
that Micah stole from his mother was THE ELEVEN HUNDRED SHEKELS OF SILVER
(Judges 17:2). Delilah had been paid the same amount by each of the Princes
of Philistia to betray Samson.
<<AND THE LORDS OF THE PHILISTINES CAME UP UNTO HER, AND SAID UNTO HER,
ENTICE HIM, AND SEE WHEREIN HIS GREAT STRENGTH LIETH, AND BY WHAT MEANS WE
MAY PREVAIL AGAINST HIM, THAT WE MAY BIND HIM TO AFFLICT HIM; AND WE WILL
GIVE THEE EVERY ONE OF US ELEVEN HUNDRED PIECES OF SILVER>> [Judges 16:5].
Was there a connection? Could Delilah have been an Israelite and the mother
of Micah? Psychologically a person who received a lot of money in five
different simultaneous payments might be inclined to hide one section of it away.
If such was the case however we would have to suppose that the events told
here happened as they are spoken ofaround the time of Samson and there are Commentators
who tend in this direction.
Incidentally there is a movement in Israel to restore the House of David
over Judah. I was invited some time ago to one of their meetings as an
observer. It was surprisingly impressive, all kinds of important people and
a lot of them. There were quite a few intellectuals including University
Professors, known thinkers, and others. The events was held at the Heichal
Shlemoh hall which is in the building of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.
[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.
<<FROM ZORAH, AND FROM ESHTAOL>>: We are familiar with this region from the
story of Samson. Samson was born in Zorah (Judges 13:2) where the angel
appeared to his parents. Samson was aroused by the spirit of God in this area:
"AND THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD BEGAN TO MOVE HIM AT TIMES IN THE CAMP OF DAN
BETWEEN ZORAH AND ESHTAOL:" [Judges 13:25]. Note that the area was called
"THE CAMP OF DAN" (in Hebrew "MAHANEH-DAN" see Judges 18:12 below) and it
was given this name because those of the Tribe of Dan who went north camped
[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? >>KNEW THE VOICE OF THE YOUNG MAN THE LEVITE>>: It has been
suggested that they had a familiar association with the Levite or that the
Levite had a unique accent that revealed that he had come from the region
of Judah or that he was a Levi. Alternately it may be that the people of
Ephraim had their own unique way of pronunciation (Judges 12:6) and the
Levi stood out because, unlike them, he spoke like everybody else (OT).
[Judges 18:4] AND HE SAID UNTO THEM, THUS AND THUS DEALETH MICAH WITH ME,
AND HATH HIRED ME, AND I AM HIS PRIEST.
[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.
[Judges 18:6] AND THE PRIEST SAID UNTO THEM, GO IN PEACE: BEFORE THE LORD
IS YOUR WAY WHEREIN YE GO.
[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.
<<THE MANNER OF THE ZIDONIANS>>: They had a Phoenician-Canaanite type
culture and life-style. Sidon (Zidon) was the chief city of
Phoneician-Canaan. The other major city was Tyre. Tyre later became more
important but even them it was known as a "daughter" of Sidon. In Homer the
expression "Sidonian" is interchangeable with "Phoenician".
[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.
[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.
[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
This does not sound like a lot but Pizarro conquered Peru from the Incas
[Judges 18:12] AND THEY WENT UP, AND PITCHED IN KIRJATHJEARIM, IN JUDAH:
WHEREFORE THEY CALLED THAT PLACE MAHANEHDAN UNTO THIS DAY: BEHOLD, IT IS
<<KIRJATHJEARIM>>: In Modern Hebrew "KIRIYAT-YEARIM", literally interpreted
as meaning "The City of the Forests" but actually an alternate construct
meaning "The Townships of the Forest".
<<MAHANEHDAN>> i.e. MAHANEH-DAN, the Encampment of Dan.
[Judges 18:13] AND THEY PASSED THENCE UNTO MOUNT EPHRAIM, AND CAME UNTO 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.
[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.
[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
[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.
[Judges 18:18] AND THESE WENT INTO MICAH'S HOUSE, AND FETCHED THE CARVED
IMAGE, THE EPHOD, AND THE TERAPHIM, AND THE MOLTEN IMAGE. THEN SAID THE
PRIEST UNTO THEM, WHAT DO YE?
[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?
They were on their way for a do-or-die dangerous mission on which their
whole future depended. They felt that stealing a whole semi-pagan
Tabernacle complex along with idols and a priest could only help them.
[Judges 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.
[Judges 18:21] SO THEY TURNED AND DEPARTED, AND PUT THE LITTLE ONES AND
THE CATTLE AND THE CARRIAGE BEFORE THEM.
They had brought children with them but for some reason women are not
mentioned. They placed the children and the equipment at the front while
the warriors marched at the back to protect the caravan from a possible
raid by Micah and his neighbors from the Mount of Ephraim.
[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.
[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?
[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?
[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.
<<ANGRY FELLOWS>>: The word "angry" is translated from the Hebrew
"Mari" (bitter-plural)-"Nefesh" (of spirit). Mari is from the root "mar"
and is related to the English "marr" meaning to impair. In Hebrew it means
"bitter" or "embittered".
"nefesh" in Biblical Hebrew means "mind" or "life-force". Apparently the
Children of Dan had suffered greatly from the Canaanites and Philistines
and these experiences had made hard of heart and reckless of attitude. Cf.
"BE CHAFED IN THEIR MINDS [Hebrew: mari-nefesh"], AS A BEAR ROBBED OF HER
WHELPS IN THE FIELD" [2-Samuel 17:8]
[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
We understand from the action of Micah and his attempted use of a
"posse" to get his idols back that his whole sanctuary was not just a
private matter but rather served as a center of worship for the region
round about. Micah was apparently an Ephraim and this is one example of a
mixed pagan-Canaanite-Israelite types of religion amongst Ephraim. .
Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer's gone, and all the flowers are dying
'tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide.
But come you back when summer's in the meadow
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow
'tis I'll be there in sunshine or in shadow
Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.
And if you come, when all the flowers are dying
And I am dead, as dead I well may be
You'll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an "Ave" there for me.
And I shall hear, tho' soft you tread above me
And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be
If you'll not fail to tell me that you love me
I simply sleep in peace until you come to me.
Danny Boy (1910) is one of over 100 songs composed to the same tune. The
author was an English lawyer, Frederic Edward Weatherly (1848-1929), who
was also a songwriter and radio entertainer.
Danny Boy has become a favorite song amongst people of Irish descent and it
has been suggest that it calls to mind the Patriarch Dan.
Dan also settled in Denmark. In WW2 the Danes rescued their Jewish population.
<<Christian X of Denmark (September 26, 1870 at Charlottenlund palace near
Copenhagen - April 20, 1947) was King of Denmark 1912-1947 (and of Iceland
1912-1943), a period including two World Wars. In contrast to the monarchs
of Norway and the Netherlands, who went into exile during the Nazi
occupation of their countries, Christian X remained in his capital
throughout the Occupation of Denmark, being to the Danish people a visible
symbol of the national cause. In spite of his advanced age and of the
precarious situation, he took a daily ride on horseback through his city --
not accompanied by a groom, let alone by a guard.
His queen was Alexandrine, Duchess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.
King Christian once answered a Nazi occupation forces official who was
complaining about the Jews in Germany: "Each country receives the Jews it
deserves. Denmark got the best".
He also said: "Unlike the Germans, the Danish never felt inferior to the
Jews. Therefore we do not hate them".
[Judges 18:27] AND THEY TOOK THE THINGS WHICH MICAH HAD MADE AND THE PRIEST
WHICH HE HAD, AND CAME UNTO LAISH, UNTO A PEOPLE THAT WERE AT QUIET AND
SECURE: AND THEY SMOTE THEM WITH THE EDGE OF THE SWORD, AND BURNT THE CITY
[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 BETHREHOB. AND THEY BUILT A CITY, AND DWELT THEREIN.
[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.
>> AND THEY CALLED THE NAME OF THE CITY DAN<<: This was a tribal trait of
theirs to call localities by the name Dan. See verse 18:12 above where even
a place of temporary encampment was also given a name recalled Dan. This
was foreseen in the blessing of Jacob:
<<DAN SHALL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE, AS ONE OF THE TRIBES OF
<<DAN SHALL BE A SERPENT BY THE WAY, AN ADDER IN THE PATH, THAT BITETH
THE HORSE HEELS, SO THAT HIS RIDER SHALL FALL BACKWARD>> [Genesis
49:16-17]. Just like a snake leaves the traces of his passing by in the
prints of his wriggling stomach embedded in the dust of the pathway so too
would the Tribe of Dan leave traces of their migrations in the names of
places and river valleys they passed through: Dan, Danaper, Doneister,
Danube, Denmark, Donegal, etc.
<<THE NAME OF DAN THEIR FATHER>>: The descendants of Dan were pround of
their forefather and always recalled their ancestry. We find The Children
of Don in Wales, the Tribe of Dana in Ireland, and the Danes in Denmark who
said they descended from Dan the Great and had come from the city of Dana
in Western Turkey and were brothers to the Angles and Jutes who like them
were descended from Israel their forefather.
<<WHO WAS BORN UNTO ISRAEL>> This may hint (as has been suggested, e.g.
Yigal Yadin) that at some stage the Tribe of Dan was to distance itself
from the other Israelites and doubts would arise as to whether or not they
really were descendants of Israel. Perhaps this why Jacob had to include in
his blessing to Dan the expression "AS ONE OF THE TRIBES OF ISRAEL"
[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.
<<JONATHAN, THE SON OF GERSHOM, THE SON OF MANASSEH>>: Instead of Menasseh
it should probably read Moses as explained below. Literally this would mean
that the described event took place shortly after the Children of Israel
entered the Land and this would be consistent with the opinion that does
place these events at an early date. On the other hand "son of" can
mean "descendant of" and the less important intermediate forefathers are
not mentioned in the same way that the future Messiah is sometimes referred
to as "son of David" even though he will actually only be a descendant.
<<HIS SONS WERE PRIESTS>>: They were Levites and descendants of Moses as
explained below. Elchanan Bin Nun, ("Harari Oz" p. 397) quotes from Rabbi
Avraham Kook ("Mamaari HaRiah" pp.194-6 and Hascomah to "Kol Mevaser") that
there are three types of Lost Israelites:
1. Descendants of Jethro (through Yonadav son of Receb) who converted, have
This is new information to me. I have not heard of this opinion before,
nether have I YET read the quoted source itself, BUT the quotation is
reliable in my opinion.
The Sons of Jethro (Yitro) I would place in Africa and possibly India.
The Lost Ten Tribes in Western Europe.
The Sons of Moses also in Europe but possibly in other regions as well.
[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.
(adapted from "The Tribes" 3rd edition see also "Lost Israelite Identity"):
The Book of Judges (chapter 18) relates how 600 men from Dan
in the south went north and found a place named Laish whose inhabitants
lived like Sidonian-Phoenicians. They conquered Laish, wiped out the
inhabitants, and renamed the place Dan.
The Book of Joshua related a very similar account:
<<AND THE COAST OF THE CHILDREN OF DAN WENT OUT [(too little)] FOR THEM:
THEREFORE THE CHILDREN OF DAN WENT UP TO FIGHT AGAINST LESHEM, AND TOOK IT,
AND SMOTE IT WITH THE EDGE OF THE SWORD, AND POSSESSED IT, AND DWELT
THEREIN, AND CALLED LESHEM, DAN, AFTER THE NAME OF DAN THEIR FATHER>>
Both versions relate how the inheritance of the children of
Dan in the south was either too small for them (Joshua ch.18) or how they
had not taken possession of that which had been allocated to them (Judges
ch.19). Both tell how the Danites went north seized a city, slew its
inhabitants and re-settled it naming it after DAN their father.
Nevertheless LESHEM and LAISH were two different places!
"Leshem" means a precious stone (maybe amber) whereas "Liash"
means "a young lion". The place called Leshem and renamed Dan in the Book
of Joshua was the site of DAN in Northern Galilee otherwise known as
Daphne. On the other hand, LAISH which was also renamed DAN and is
recalled in the Book of Judges (ch.19) was otherwise known as LUASH of the
DANANU! LUASH belonged to Smal of Cilicia in modern Southeast Turkey. This
region (of Liash-Dan) was known in ancient times as the Kingdom(s) of Smal
of the Dananu and of Yadi and of Luash and Hamath. It encompassed the areas
in Ptolemy's Map (of Arabia Deserta and Syria) depicting Chalybonitis,
Cyrrestica, Commagena, Cilicia, and extending into Armenia Minor. To the
east and southeast of this area were the territories of Bathanaei and the
Kingdom of Bathanaea. Bathan is an Aramaic ("Syrian") pronunciation of
BASHAN. Moses had blessed the Tribe of Dan: <<Dan is a lion's whelp, he
shall leap from Bashan>> (Deuteronomy 33:22). The area of Luash (Liash) was
part of Bashan. "LIASH" means young male lion and therefore connects with
the expression "Dan is a lion's whelp", i.e. Dan is a young lion, a
"Liash", leaping forth from the Bashan: Luash-Liash is a geographical
extension, a "leaping forward" from the area denoted as Bathan or
Bashan. Near Luash was the entity of Yadi which was an enclave of Judaeans
adjoining the Dananu of Smal and usually ruled by the same monarch. The
Bible mentions Yair of Judah (Deuteronomy 3:14) in the Bashan. Yair was
connected both with Manasseh and with the Chelubie of Judah. The Chelubie
are recalled in Chalybonitis which was to the Northwest of Bathanae
(Bashan) on Ptolemy's Map. Yair was mentioned in Assyrian inscriptions as
the IARI in the region of Chalybonitis and the surrounding area (including
at times in Gauzanitis and elsewhere) raiding and waging wars on both sides
of the Euphrates River2. Yadi was settled by the IARI of Judah and these
were united with the Dananu i.e. Danites from Dan. The name Yair is often
transliterated as "Jair" (Deuteronomy 3:14).
In both accounts (The Book of Joshua and The Book of Judges)
the Danites conquered and re-settled a city which they renamed DAN "after
the name of their forefather Dan" (Joshua 19:47 Judges 18:47). This may
reflect a Tribal characteristic and some have interpreted the phrase "Dan
shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path" (Genesis 49:16) as
referring to a Tribal Trait of leaving their namesake everywhere along the
path they went just as a snake leaves the trail of his crawling in the dust
of the path, e.g. "Mahaneh Dan" (Judges 18:12), Dan, Dananu, Danaoi, Don,
Daneister, Danaper, Danube, Denmark, Dana, Dannonia.. The king of Sma'al in
the valley north of ASI (Orontes embouchement) on the edge of LUASH (LIASH)
called himself "KING of the DANIM"3. The Danes (Dananu) also controlled the
neighboring area of Cilicia and at one stage their capital was Adana by
Tarsis of Cilicia and their suzerainty reached as far north as Karatepe in
Central Turkey. A bi-lingual inscription of the Dananu found at Karatepe
employs a Phoenician type of Hebrew and a version of Hittite. Thanks to
this inscription the Dananu of Cilicia are identifiable with the people of
Mopsus of Anatolia. Mopsus was also known as Moxus and is a variation of
the name Moses. [Just as "Samson" became "Sampson"]. The northern portion
of Dan is referred to variously as Dananu, Danau, Denye, Denyen, Danuna.
They are identical with the Danaioi of Classical Greek writings. The
Dananu ruled Cyprus which was named "Yadnana" ("Isle of the Dana") in their
honor. Other sources indicate a strong Israelite influence in Cyprus at
that time and later. Culturally Cyprus was very much a Phoenician island.
This shows the possibility of an overlap between Dan and the Phoenicians.
AN EARLY EXILE OF NORTHERN DAN?
Judges (chapter 17) says that when the Danites took Laish they
took with them a graven image. This idol had formerly been in the house of
Micah in the territory of Ephraim. It had been attended to by a Levite
named Yehonathan who previously had promised their emissaries a successful
mission. The Danites in their journey northward also took Yehonathan the
Levite along with the idol and assorted appurtenances used in the
idolatrous (or semi-idolatrous) cult. As recounted, the Danites conquered
Laish, burnt it, and renamed it DAN after "their father who was born to Israel" (Judges 18:39).
"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" (Judges 18:40). [In the
Hebrew Bible the text indicates that Manasseh should be read as
Moses. Only one letter (N) in the Hebrew text distinguishes between
Manasseh and Moseh (Moses). The Hebrew text has the letter (N) in the name
Manasseh (Judges 18:40) in an elevated position from the other letters in
the word©. This is the only place in the Bible were the letters are
consistently arranged in this way as if the "N" does not belong and should
not be there. The reason traditionally is in order to tell us that
Yehonathan, the Levite Priest, was descended from Moses. Since however he
became a priest to idolatry Scripture partially hid the identity of his
forefather out of respect for Moses who was the greatest prophet who ever
lived (Deuteronomy 34:10). The Dananu revered Mopsus (Moxus, Moses) as the
founder of their nation. They also revered Sandon or Samson and Greek
accounts (our main source) seem to have confused Mopsus (Moses) with Sandon (Samson).
Was there an early exile of Dan? We have seen above that different sources
state that at least part of Dan left the land at an early date. What does Scripture say?
"AND THEY SET THEM UP MICAH'S GRAVEN IMAGE, WHICH HE MADE, ALL THE DAYS
THAT THE HOUSE OF GOD WAS IN SHILOH" (Judges 18: 31).
Shiloh and the Tabernacle were destroyed by the Philistines in about 1000
BCE. The above verse seems to link the time of "the captivity of the land"
(Judges 18:40) with the presence of the Tabernacle at Shiloh (Judges 18:
31) i.e. until about 1000 BCE. The Hebrew original for "captivity of the
land" is "Galut Ha-aretz" or literally, `The Exile of the Country'. It
follows that part of the Tribe of Dan may have been exiled already in
ca.1000 BCE. Also in the south (around Jaffo) there appears to have been an
early evacuation or exile of the Danites. Eldad HaDani (ca 880 CE) related
a legend that when Jeroboam son of Nebat led the Northern Tribes away from
Judah and hostilities broke out the Tribe of Dan went into voluntary exile
in order to avoid fraternal strife.
All these possibilities and sources obviously deserve much more examination
and serious research. At least we have helped reveal them.
"And I will bless them that bless you" (Genesis 12:15).