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Judges 18:11-13: The Danite Warband

Verse 11:[1] And there went from thence of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men appointed (Heb. girded[2]) with weapons of war.

Of the family; by which it again appears, that the tribe, verse 1, is put for family.

Verse 12:[3] And they went up, and pitched in (Josh. 15:60) Kirjath-jearim, in Judah: wherefore they called that place (Judg. 13:25[4]) Mahaneh-dan unto this day: behold, it is behind Kirjath-jearim.

[They camped in Kirjath-jearim[5]] Here, clearly in is put in the place of before, or near. For they were not camping in the city itself, but by it, as follows. Thus, in Joshua 10:10, in Gibeon,[6] that is, near Gibeon (Drusius, Bochart’s Sacred Catalogue of Animals 1:2:50:590).

Kirjath-jearim, called Kirjath-baal, Joshua 15:60; a city lying in the northern parts of Judah, in the road to Laish; yet not in the city, but in the fields belonging to it, as the following words evince.

[Behind the back of Kirjath-jearim, אַחֲרֵ֖י קִרְיַ֥ת יְעָרִֽים׃] After, or, on the back of, Kirjath-jearim (thus all interpreters). [But Junius and Tremellius, to the west of it:] as in Joshua 8:2.[7] For, אֲחוֹר/behind is west, as קֶדֶם/before is east. Seeing that the one that faces the East has the West behind him: whence it is called the hinder sea, that is, the western, Deuteronomy 11:24[8] (Drusius).

Behind Kirjath-jearim, that is, westward from it, as the western sea is called the hindermost sea, Deuteronomy 11:24; and as, on the contrary, the east is called קֶדֶם/Kedem, which signifies the forepart.

Verse 13:[9] And they passed thence unto mount Ephraim, and came unto (Judg. 18:2) the house of Micah.

Unto the house of Micah: that is, To the town in which his house was, for they were not yet entered into it.

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּסְע֤וּ מִשָּׁם֙ מִמִּשְׁפַּ֣חַת הַדָּנִ֔י מִצָּרְעָ֖ה וּמֵאֶשְׁתָּאֹ֑ל שֵֽׁשׁ־מֵא֣וֹת אִ֔ישׁ חָג֖וּר כְּלֵ֥י מִלְחָמָֽה׃

[2] Hebrew: חָגוּר.

[3] Hebrew: וַֽיַּעֲל֗וּ וַֽיַּחֲנ֛וּ בְּקִרְיַ֥ת יְעָרִ֖ים בִּֽיהוּדָ֑ה עַל־כֵּ֡ן קָרְאוּ֩ לַמָּק֙וֹם הַה֜וּא מַחֲנֵה־דָ֗ן עַ֚ד הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה הִנֵּ֕ה אַחֲרֵ֖י קִרְיַ֥ת יְעָרִֽים׃

[4] Judges 13:25: “And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan (בְּמַחֲנֵה־דָן, in Mahaneh-dan) between Zorah and Eshtaol.”

[5] Hebrew: וַֽיַּחֲנ֛וּ בְּקִרְיַ֥ת יְעָרִ֖ים.

[6] Joshua 10:10: “And the Lord discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon (בְּגִבְעוֹן), and chased them along the way that goeth up to Beth-horon, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah.”

[7] Joshua 8:2: “And thou shalt do to Ai and her king as thou didst unto Jericho and her king: only the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves: lay thee an ambush for the city behind it (מֵאַחֲרֶיהָ).”

[8] Deuteronomy 11:24: “Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea (הַיָּ֣ם הָֽאַחֲר֔וֹן) shall your coast be.”

[9] Hebrew: וַיַּעַבְר֥וּ מִשָּׁ֖ם הַר־אֶפְרָ֑יִם וַיָּבֹ֖אוּ עַד־בֵּ֥ית מִיכָֽה׃

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