Notes on Judges 18, verses 8-12

by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)

Judges 18:8, KJV: And they came unto their brethren to Zorah and Eshtaol: and their brethren said unto them, What (say) ye?

The Five Spies made it back to their home territory apparently unscathed. Now the rest of the tribe, or at least their families, wanted to know what they had to say. Note that the Five did not bring any kind of proof or evidence such as the cluster of grapes which the Twelve Spies brought back in Numbers 13.

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.

The Five Spies recommended immediate action. They said the land was very good (but did not explain further) and that they should not be “slothful” to go and take control of the land. Note that there is no mention of the Levite, Micah’s house, or even a suggestion to seek the will of the True God, the God of Israel about what they should do.

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.

Here the Five Spies describe the land in general terms: secure people, a large (area of?) land, and no want or lack of anything in the earth, because “God (gave) it into your hands”. They did not say how much of the land was still forested, how much was cultivated, how mountainous or level it was, etc.

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 Danites sent 600 men from Zorah and Eshtaol, all equipped with “weapons of war”. The Five Spies were regarded as “men of valour ((sic); verse 2)” but no such description is applied here. The weapons were not specified, nor what materials were used in their construction.

12 And they went up, and pitched in Kirjathjearim, in Judah: wherefore they called that place Mahanehdan unto this day: behold, (it is) behind Kirjathjearim.

Kirjathjearim was one of the cities of the Gibeonites, who all surrendered to Joshua (Joshua 9). This city was given to Judah. Now the 600 Danite soldiers left Dan and traveled northwest into Judah’s territory first. Perhaps they followed a valley or relatively easy route to travel. Finding food and water for 600 soldiers is seldom easy in any military campaign.

Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV).

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