1 In those days there was no king in Yisrael, and in those days the tribe of Dan was seeking a territory in which to settle; for to that day no territory had fallen to their lot among the tribes of Yisrael.
2 The Danites sent out five of their number, from their clan seat at Tzora and Eshtaol—valiant men—to spy out the land and explore it. “Go,” they told them, “and explore the land.” When they had advanced into the hill country of Efraim as far as the house of Micha, they stopped there for the night.
ב וַיִּשְׁלְחוּ בְנֵי־דָן מִמִּשְׁפַּחְתָּם חֲמִשָּׁה אֲנָשִׁים מִקְצוֹתָם אֲנָשִׁים בְּנֵי־חַיִל מִצָּרְעָה וּמֵאֶשְׁתָּאֹל לְרַגֵּל אֶת־הָאָרֶץ וּלְחָקְרָהּ וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֲלֵהֶם לְכוּ חִקְרוּ אֶת־הָאָרֶץ וַיָּבֹאוּ הַר־אֶפְרַיִם עַד־בֵּית מִיכָה וַיָּלִינוּ שָׁם׃
3 While in the vicinity of Micha‘s house, they recognized the speech of the young Levite, so they went over and asked him, “Who brought you to these parts? What are you doing in this place? What is your business here?”
ג הֵמָּה עִם־בֵּית מִיכָה וְהֵמָּה הִכִּירוּ אֶת־קוֹל הַנַּעַר הַלֵּוִי וַיָּסוּרוּ שָׁם וַיֹּאמְרוּ לוֹ מִי־הֱבִיאֲךָ הֲלֹם וּמָה־אַתָּה עֹשֶׂה בָּזֶה וּמַה־לְּךָ פֹה׃
ד וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם כָּזֹה וְכָזֶה עָשָׂה לִי מִיכָה וַיִּשְׂכְּרֵנִי וָאֱהִי־לוֹ לְכֹהֵן׃
5 They said to him, “Please, inquire of Hashem; we would like to know if the mission on which we are going will be successful.”
ה וַיֹּאמְרוּ לוֹ שְׁאַל־נָא בֵאלֹהִים וְנֵדְעָה הֲתַצְלִיחַ דַּרְכֵּנוּ אֲשֶׁר אֲנַחְנוּ הֹלְכִים עָלֶיהָ׃
6 “Go in peace,” the Kohen said to them, “Hashem views with favor the mission you are going on.”
7 The five men went on and came to Laish. They observed the people in it dwelling carefree, after the manner of the Sidonians, a tranquil and unsuspecting people, with no one in the land to molest them and with no hereditary ruler. Moreover, they were distant from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anybody.
ח וַיָּבֹאוּ אֶל־אֲחֵיהֶם צָרְעָה וְאֶשְׁתָּאֹל וַיֹּאמְרוּ לָהֶם אֲחֵיהֶם מָה אַתֶּם׃
9 They replied, “Let us go at once and attack them! For we found that the land was very good, and you are sitting idle! Don’t delay; go and invade the land and take possession of it,
ט וַיֹּאמְרוּ קוּמָה וְנַעֲלֶה עֲלֵיהֶם כִּי רָאִינוּ אֶת־הָאָרֶץ וְהִנֵּה טוֹבָה מְאֹד וְאַתֶּם מַחְשִׁים אַל־תֵּעָצְלוּ לָלֶכֶת לָבֹא לָרֶשֶׁת אֶת־הָאָרֶץ׃
10 for Hashem has delivered it into your hand. When you come, you will come to an unsuspecting people; and the land is spacious and nothing on earth is lacking there.”
י כְּבֹאֲכֶם תָּבֹאוּ אֶל־עַם בֹּטֵחַ וְהָאָרֶץ רַחֲבַת יָדַיִם כִּי־נְתָנָהּ אֱלֹהִים בְּיֶדְכֶם מָקוֹם אֲשֶׁר אֵין־שָׁם מַחְסוֹר כָּל־דָּבָר אֲשֶׁר בָּאָרֶץ׃
יא וַיִּסְעוּ מִשָּׁם מִמִּשְׁפַּחַת הַדָּנִי מִצָּרְעָה וּמֵאֶשְׁתָּאֹל שֵׁשׁ־מֵאוֹת אִישׁ חָגוּר כְּלֵי מִלְחָמָה׃
14 Here the five men who had gone to spy out the Laish region remarked to their kinsmen, “Do you know, there is an ephod in these houses, and teraphim, and a sculptured image and a molten image? Now you know what you have to do.”
יד וַיַּעֲנוּ חֲמֵשֶׁת הָאֲנָשִׁים הַהֹלְכִים לְרַגֵּל אֶת־הָאָרֶץ לַיִשׁ וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֶל־אֲחֵיהֶם הַיְדַעְתֶּם כִּי יֵשׁ בַּבָּתִּים הָאֵלֶּה אֵפוֹד וּתְרָפִים וּפֶסֶל וּמַסֵּכָה וְעַתָּה דְּעוּ מַה־תַּעֲשׂוּ׃
15 So they turned off there and entered the home of the young Levite at Micha‘s house and greeted him.
טו וַיָּסוּרוּ שָׁמָּה וַיָּבֹאוּ אֶל־בֵּית־הַנַּעַר הַלֵּוִי בֵּית מִיכָה וַיִּשְׁאֲלוּ־לוֹ לְשָׁלוֹם׃
16 The six hundred Danite men, girt with their weapons of war, stood at the entrance of the gate,
טז וְשֵׁשׁ־מֵאוֹת אִישׁ חֲגוּרִים כְּלֵי מִלְחַמְתָּם נִצָּבִים פֶּתַח הַשָּׁעַר אֲשֶׁר מִבְּנֵי־דָן׃
17 while the five men who had gone to spy out the land went inside and took the sculptured image, the ephod, the teraphim, and the molten image. The Kohen was standing at the entrance of the gate, and the six hundred men girt with their weapons of war,
19 But they said to him, “Be quiet; put your hand on your mouth! Come with us and be our father and Kohen. Would you rather be Kohen to one man’s household or be Kohen to a tribe and clan in Yisrael?”
20 The Kohen was delighted. He took the ephod, the household gods, and the sculptured image, and he joined the people.
כ וַיִּיטַב לֵב הַכֹּהֵן וַיִּקַּח אֶת־הָאֵפוֹד וְאֶת־הַתְּרָפִים וְאֶת־הַפָּסֶל וַיָּבֹא בְּקֶרֶב הָעָם׃
21 They set out again, placing the children, the cattle, and their household goods in front.
כא וַיִּפְנוּ וַיֵּלֵכוּ וַיָּשִׂימוּ אֶת־הַטַּף וְאֶת־הַמִּקְנֶה וְאֶת־הַכְּבוּדָּה לִפְנֵיהֶם׃
23 They called out to the Danites, who turned around and said to Micha, “What’s the matter? Why have you mustered?”
כג וַיִּקְרְאוּ אֶל־בְּנֵי־דָן וַיַּסֵּבּוּ פְּנֵיהֶם וַיֹּאמְרוּ לְמִיכָה מַה־לְּךָ כִּי נִזְעָקְתָּ׃
24 He said, “You have taken my Kohen and the gods that I made, and walked off! What do I have left? How can you ask, ‘What’s the matter’?”
כד וַיֹּאמֶר אֶת־אֱלֹהַי אֲשֶׁר־עָשִׂיתִי לְקַחְתֶּם וְאֶת־הַכֹּהֵן וַתֵּלְכוּ וּמַה־לִּי עוֹד וּמַה־זֶּה תֹּאמְרוּ אֵלַי מַה־לָּךְ׃
25 But the Danites replied, “Don’t do any shouting at us, or some desperate men might attack you, and you and your family would lose your lives.”
כה וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו בְּנֵי־דָן אַל־תַּשְׁמַע קוֹלְךָ עִמָּנוּ פֶּן־יִפְגְּעוּ בָכֶם אֲנָשִׁים מָרֵי נֶפֶשׁ וְאָסַפְתָּה נַפְשְׁךָ וְנֶפֶשׁ בֵּיתֶךָ׃
26 So Micha, realizing that they were stronger than he, turned back and went home; and the Danites went on their way,
כו וַיֵּלְכוּ בְנֵי־דָן לְדַרְכָּם וַיַּרְא מִיכָה כִּי־חֲזָקִים הֵמָּה מִמֶּנּוּ וַיִּפֶן וַיָּשָׁב אֶל־בֵּיתוֹ׃
28 There was none to come to the rescue, for it was distant from Sidon and they had no dealings with anyone; it lay in the valley of Beth-rehob. They rebuilt the town and settled there,
ל וַיָּקִימוּ לָהֶם בְּנֵי־דָן אֶת־הַפָּסֶל וִיהוֹנָתָן בֶּן־גֵּרְשֹׁם בֶּן־מְנַשֶּׁה הוּא וּבָנָיו הָיוּ כֹהֲנִים לְשֵׁבֶט הַדָּנִי עַד־יוֹם גְּלוֹת הָאָרֶץ׃
The idolatrous priest Yonatan is identified as being the son of Gershom, the son of Menashe (מנשה). However, Rashi writes that Yonatan’s actual grandfather was Moshe (משה). Out of respect for the greatest prophet in history, the prophet Shmuel (who authored this book) disguised Moshe’s name, inserting the letter nun (נ) between the first two letters, mem (מ) and shin (ש). The sad fact is that the grandson of Moshe left the ways of the Torah. This tragic betrayal was the result of living in a society that was spiritually adrift. Clearly, if this can happen to a grandchild of the greatest prophet in history, it can happen to any person, in any family. Moshe’s grandson Yonatan is a sobering reminder of the importance of making sure that our children are surrounded by positive role models, have a strong religious education and grow up in a just society that seeks to do Hashem’s will.Comment