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Judges 18:27, 28: Dan's Conquest of Laish

Verse 27:[1] And they took the things which Micah had made, and the priest which he had, and (Judg. 18:7, 10; Deut. 33:22) came unto Laish, unto a people that were at quiet and secure: (Josh. 19:47) and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and burnt the city with fire.

[And they came unto Laish, עַל־לַיִשׁ] Upon Laish (Malvenda). Or עַל/upon in the place of אֶל/unto. Thus עַל־עַם, unto a people, secure and quiet (Drusius).

[They delivered the city to flame] Question: Why was this done by them, when they had decided to inhabit it? Responses: 1. They were advancing by sword and flame together, as it was done in war (Malvenda). 2. So that they (because they were fewer) might more advantageously overwhelm their enemies, occupied as they were with extinguishing the flames (Junius, similarly Munster). So that, with the citizens agitated both with danger and evil, no opportunity of counsel, or of defense, or even of flight, might remain (Montanus’ Commentary). 3. So that they might instill fear in the neighboring inhabitants (Munster). The Danites were wont to conduct their affairs by cunning, rather than by open war, and so they are compared with the Asp by Moses[2] (Bochart’s Sacred Catalogue of Animals 2:3:12:420).

And burnt the city with fire: Not wholly, but in great measure, to strike the greater terror into the inhabitants, and to make their conquest of the place more easy.

Verse 28:[3] And there was no deliverer, because it was (Judg. 18:7) far from Zidon, and they had no business with any man; and it was in the valley that lieth by (Num. 13:21; 2 Sam. 10:6) Beth-rehob. And they built a city, and dwelt therein.

[Now, the city was situated in the region of Rehob, אֲשֶׁ֣ר לְבֵית־רְח֑וֹב] Which was adjacent to the region of Rehob (Junius and Tremellius). Whether בֵּית/house denotes a region, is to be questioned (Drusius). Which was in the region of Beth-rehob (Vatablus). Of Rehob we spoke on Numbers 13:21 (Malvenda). It was a part of Syria of Trachonitis,[4] concerning which 2 Samuel 10:6, 8 (Junius). The city of Rehob is ascribed to the Tribe of Asher, Joshua 19:28, which nevertheless they did not possess, Judges 1:31: granting that it was to be given to the Levites, Joshua 21:31; 1 Chronicles 6:75 (Bonfrerius).

Beth-rehob; a place near Libanus and Hamath; of which see Numbers 13:21; Joshua 19:28; 21:31; Judges 1:31.

[1] Hebrew: וְהֵ֙מָּה לָקְח֜וּ אֵ֧ת אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂ֣ה מִיכָ֗ה וְֽאֶת־הַכֹּהֵן֮ אֲשֶׁ֣ר הָיָה־לוֹ֒ וַיָּבֹ֣אוּ עַל־לַ֗יִשׁ עַל־עַם֙ שֹׁקֵ֣ט וּבֹטֵ֔חַ וַיַּכּ֥וּ אוֹתָ֖ם לְפִי־חָ֑רֶב וְאֶת־הָעִ֖יר שָׂרְפ֥וּ בָאֵֽשׁ׃

[2] Genesis 49:17.

[3] Hebrew: וְאֵ֙ין מַצִּ֜יל כִּ֧י רְֽחוֹקָה־הִ֣יא מִצִּיד֗וֹן וְדָבָ֤ר אֵין־לָהֶם֙ עִם־אָדָ֔ם וְהִ֕יא בָּעֵ֖מֶק אֲשֶׁ֣ר לְבֵית־רְח֑וֹב וַיִּבְנ֥וּ אֶת־הָעִ֖יר וַיֵּ֥שְׁבוּ בָֽהּ׃

[4] Trachonitis was a region in south-eastern Syria.

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