Judges 18:2: Five Danite Explorers Commissioned

Verse 2:[1] And the children of Dan sent of their family five men from their coasts, men (Heb. sons[2]) of valour, from (Judg. 13:25) Zorah, and from Eshtaol, (Num. 13:17; Josh. 2:4) 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 (Judg. 17:1) house of Micah, they lodged there.



Of their family; which shows that it was but one, though a large family, which was engaged in this expedition.


[Five men, etc., חֲמִשָּׁ֣ה אֲנָשִׁ֣ים מִקְצוֹתָם֩] Five men of their extremity. The same expression is found in Genesis 47:2[3] (Munster). [Some take it of the lowest sort;] the meanest of their soldiers: they were sending such so that they might more readily deceive (Castalio). Objection: What follows refutes this sense, sons of war, or of fortitude (Munster). Response: Those called בְּנֵי־חַיִל, sons of might, are not always mighty, but soldiers, as it is evident from any passages in Numbers, and in 2 Samuel 17 (Castalio). [Others, of the foremost men, or nobles, of the people.] Thus the Spanish interpreter. Thus they take 1 Kings 12:31[4] (Malvenda). It is not taken for the lower sort, but for the extremity of those that hold a high degree. And the מ/Mem here is not a preposition, since the Dagesh (ּ) does not follow, but constitutes the denominative. But the Hebrews misuse this expression for a certain or some one, since the extremity is a part in something whole and entire (Munster). Others translate it, men of the borders (cities [Dutch], parts [Jonathan]) of them (Pagnine, Montanus, Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius, English).

[The bravest, בְּנֵי־חַיִל] Sons of strength (Septuagint, Jonathan, Vatablus), or, of activity (Piscator); mighty sons (Pagnine, Tigurinus, Vatablus); men trained for military service (Munster).


Eshtaol; of which see Joshua 19:41; Judges 13:2, 25.



[So that they might spy out, לְרַגֵּל[5]] To explore on foot (Montanus).


[And so that they might diligently inspect, וּלְחָקְרָהּ] And so that they might thoroughly search, or, inspect (Vatablus). חָקַר signifies ἐξιχνιάζειν[6] (that is, to investigate) (Drusius).

[And they entered the house of Micah, עַד־בֵּ֣ית מִיכָ֔ה] They proceeded into the house of Micah (Arabic, thus Syriac). Others: all the way to the house of Micah (Pagnine, Montanus, Septuagint, Jonathan, Tigurinus, Drusius).


[They rested there] Not in the house, but in his neighborhood; perhaps in that village (Drusius).


They lodged there; not in the same house, but near it, as appears from the next verse, in a neighbouring place.

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּשְׁלְח֣וּ בְנֵי־דָ֣ן׀ מִֽמִּשְׁפַּחְתָּ֡ם חֲמִשָּׁ֣ה אֲנָשִׁ֣ים מִקְצוֹתָם֩ אֲנָשִׁ֙ים בְּנֵי־חַ֜יִל מִצָּרְעָ֣ה וּמֵֽאֶשְׁתָּאֹ֗ל לְרַגֵּ֤ל אֶת־הָאָ֙רֶץ֙ וּלְחָקְרָ֔הּ וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ אֲלֵהֶ֔ם לְכ֖וּ חִקְר֣וּ אֶת־הָאָ֑רֶץ וַיָּבֹ֤אוּ הַר־אֶפְרַ֙יִם֙ עַד־בֵּ֣ית מִיכָ֔ה וַיָּלִ֖ינוּ שָֽׁם׃


[2] Hebrew: בְּנֵי.


[3] Genesis 47:2: “And he took some of his brethren (וּמִקְצֵ֣ה אֶחָ֔יו לָקַ֖ח), even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh.”


[4] 1 Kings 12:31: “And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the extremity of the people (מִקְצ֣וֹת הָעָ֔ם), which were not of the sons of Levi.”


[5] רָגַל, clearly related to רֶגֶל/foot, signifies to go about on foot, or to explore.


[6] Thus the Septuagint.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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