Judges 18:8-10: Report of the Danite Spies

Verse 8:[1] And they came unto their brethren to (Judg. 18:2) Zorah and Eshtaol: and their brethren said unto them, What say ye?



[What they had done] Hebrew: What ye?[2] (Pagnine, Montanus), understanding, say[3] (Vatablus), or, report (Piscator): What news? what good do ye report? (Vatablus). Why do ye sit? (Septuagint). Whence come ye? (Syriac, Arabic).


Verse 9:[4] And they said, (Num. 13:30; Josh. 2:23, 24) Arise, that we may go up against them: for we have seen the land, and, behold, it is very good: and are ye (1 Kings 22:3) still? be not slothful to go, and to enter to possess the land.


[Arise, קוּמָה] The verb is put in the place of an adverb of exhortation, Come! (Vatablus, Drusius). Either it is a singular in the place of a plural, or it is an infinitive in the place of a future/imperfect (Vatablus). Arise (Septuagint, Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic, Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius). קוּמוּ, arise ye, which is noted in the margin in one Venetian edition, is a Massoretic note in the other,[5] but nothing besides; whence I suspect that קוּמוּ, arise ye, was in the reading (Drusius).



[Be not negligent, וְאַתֶּ֣ם מַחְשִׁ֔ים] And are ye silent? (Montanus), are ye quiet? (Pagnine, Vatablus), that is, are ye remiss? that is, are ye sluggish and slow to assault it? (Vatablus). To be silent is here put in the place of to rest (Drusius, Junius), and to remain idle. Thus in Exodus 14:14[6] (Junius); in Isaish 62:1, for Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace,[7] that is, will I not rest, or, as Jonathan has it, will I not cease, will I not be remiss, from the punishment of the peoples. In Lamenations 2:18, let the apple of thine eye be not silent,[8] that is, let it not rest (Drusius). Others read it affirmatively, and ye are remiss: but the former is to be preferred (Bonfrerius).


Are ye still? Hebrew, silent?[9] Silence is oft put for stillness or cessation from action or motion, as Exodus 14:14; Isaiah 62:1; Lamentations 2:18. For they do not accuse them for want of speaking, for that they did; but for want of doing, and putting their words and resolves into execution.


Verse 10:[10] When ye go, ye shall come unto a people (Judg. 18:7, 27) secure, and to a large land: for God hath given it into your hands; (Deut. 8:9) a place where there is no want of any thing that is in the earth.



[Into an exceedingly broad region, רַחֲבַ֣ת יָדַ֔יִם] Broad in hands (Bonfrerius), that is, in places (Pagnine), borders, spaces (Bonfrerius, Drusius). Concerning this expression see Genesis 34:21[11] (Malvenda). The expression is thence taken, that the ancients would station bands/hands on their borders, which bands/ hands would mark them. In Psalm 104:25, the sea spacious with respect to hands;[12] where hands are borders and shores (Bonfrerius). There are two heads of this exhortation; from ease, and from utility (Martyr).


[He shall deliver it] Hebrew: God hath given it.[13] They add this, either, because of the words of the Levite;[14] or, because that portion of the land in the division had fallen to the Tribe of Dan (Martyr).


God hath given it into your hands: this they gather partly from God’s word or promise, which they supposed they had from the Levite’s mouth; and partly from his providence, which hath so disposed them, that they will be an easy prey to you.

[1] Hebrew: וַיָּבֹ֙אוּ֙ אֶל־אֲחֵיהֶ֔ם צָרְעָ֖ה וְאֶשְׁתָּאֹ֑ל וַיֹּאמְר֥וּ לָהֶ֛ם אֲחֵיהֶ֖ם מָ֥ה אַתֶּֽם׃


[2] Hebrew: מָ֥ה אַתֶּֽם׃.


[3] That is, What say ye?


[4] Hebrew: וַיֹּאמְר֗וּ ק֚וּמָה וְנַעֲלֶ֣ה עֲלֵיהֶ֔ם כִּ֤י רָאִ֙ינוּ֙ אֶת־הָאָ֔רֶץ וְהִנֵּ֥ה טוֹבָ֖ה מְאֹ֑ד וְאַתֶּ֣ם מַחְשִׁ֔ים אַל־תֵּעָ֣צְל֔וּ לָלֶ֥כֶת לָבֹ֖א לָרֶ֥שֶׁת אֶת־הָאָֽרֶץ׃


[5] This appears to be a reference to Daniel Bomberg’s first two Rabbic Bibles, printed in Venice: the first in 1517 under the supervision of Felix Pratensis; the second in 1525 under Jacob ben Hayyim of Tunis.


[6] Exodus 14:14: “The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peaceוְאַתֶּ֖ם) תַּחֲרִישֽׁוּן).”


[7] Hebrew: לְמַ֤עַן צִיּוֹן֙ לֹ֣א אֶחֱשֶׁ֔ה.


[8] Hebrew: אַל־תִּדֹּ֖ם בַּת־עֵינֵֽךְ.


[9] Hebrew: מַחְשִׁים.


[10] Hebrew: כְּבֹאֲכֶ֞ם תָּבֹ֣אוּ׀ אֶל־עַ֣ם בֹּטֵ֗חַ וְהָאָ֙רֶץ֙ רַחֲבַ֣ת יָדַ֔יִם כִּֽי־נְתָנָ֥הּ אֱלֹהִ֖ים בְּיֶדְכֶ֑ם מָקוֹם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֵֽין־שָׁ֣ם מַחְס֔וֹר כָּל־דָּבָ֖ר אֲשֶׁ֥ר בָּאָֽרֶץ׃


[11] Genesis 34:21a: “These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, it is large enough for themוְהָאָ֛רֶץ הִנֵּ֥ה) רַֽחֲבַת־יָדַ֖יִם לִפְנֵיהֶ֑ם)…”


[12] Hebrew: הַיָּ֥ם גָּדוֹל֮ וּרְחַ֪ב יָ֫דָ֥יִם.


[13] Hebrew: נְתָנָ֥הּ אֱלֹהִ֖ים.


[14] See verse 6.

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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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