The Danites Search for New Territory

Let’s imagine dialogue between Abraham and God. “Abraham, this is God speaking. I want you to leave everything and go to the land I will show you.” “Where’s that?""It’s 1500 miles from here in a place called Canaan.” “Never heard of it.” &q … More


The Danites search for living space (vv. 1-11). Their tribe was pressed for lack of space, They had  been assigned territory that was occupied by the Philistines. Even though they had a military force of 64,000 men (Num. 26:43) they were unable to occupy the territory allocated to them (Josh. 19:41-46). Their failure to drive out the Ammorites wasn’t due to lack of power but to lack of faith. Remember that Sampson the strongest man came from Dan the weakest tribe.

This chapter begins with the fact there was no king in Israel (v. 1). It was a time of utter confusion. There was no leadership. In desperation, the Danites decided to seek a more secure location. The sending of five men to spy out the land was a common Israelite tactic (v. 2). The northward journey took them about 100 miles which was beyond the region occupied by the Israelites, into a small fertile valley occupied by the people of Phoenicia (vv. 3-7). The spies found that they had no strong cental government and it was far removed from the Phoenicians of Zidon itself. This made it an ideal place for the Danites to conquer. When the spies returned to their camp in Zorah and Eshtaol they said it would be easy for them to go and conquer this land (vv. 8-10). Therefore, six hundred men were sent out as a war party to take the land (v. 11).


The failure of the tribe of Dan to drive out the Ammorites was not due to lack of power but to lack of faith. This is a warning to me that I should never decide to do something different than what God instructs me to do even though there seems to be easier solutions to the problem.

Judges 18:1-11 (English Standard Version)

In those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days the 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. So the people of Dan sent five able men from the whole number of their tribe, from Zorah and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land and to explore it. And they said to them, "Go and explore the land." And they came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there. 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?" And he said to them, "This is how Micah dealt with me: he has hired me, and I have become his priest." And they said to him, "Inquire of God, please, that we may know whether the journey on which we are setting out will succeed." And the priest said to them, "Go in peace. The journey on which you go is under the eye of the LORD." Then the five men departed and came to Laish and saw the people who were there, how they lived in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and unsuspecting, lacking nothing that is in the earth and possessing wealth, and how they were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone. And when they came to their brothers at Zorah and Eshtaol, their brothers said to them, "What do you report?" They said, "Arise, and let us go up against them, for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good. And will you do nothing? Do not be slow to go, to enter in and possess the land. As soon as you go, you will come to an unsuspecting people. The land is spacious, for God has given it into your hands, a place where there is no lack of anything that is in the earth." So 600 men of the tribe of Dan, armed with weapons of war, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol....

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »