What is called matriarchy is simply moral anarchy, in which the mother alone remains fixed because all the fathers are fugitive and irresponsible. — G. K. Chesterton

Story of the Bible Told for Young and Old - Jesse Hurlbut

The Idol Temple at Dan, and Its Priest

While the judges were ruling in Israel, at one time there was living in the mountains of Ephraim, near the road which ran north and south, a man named Micah. His mother, who was dwelling with him, found that some one had stolen from her a large sum of money. Now, the money had been taken by her son Micah, and after a time he said to her:

"Those eleven hundred pieces of silver which you lost, and of which you spoke, are with me; for I took them myself."

And his mother answered, "May the blessing of God rest upon you, my son, for bringing again to me my silver. This money shall be the Lord's. I will give it back to you, to be used in the service of the Lord."

But instead of taking the money to the Tabernacle of the Lord at Shiloh, Micah used it to make two images of silver, one carved and the other cast in metal. These he set up in his house to be worshipped. He appointed one of his sons as a priest, and thus made of his house an idol temple.

One day a man on a journey was passing by Micah's house. Micah saw from his dress that he belonged to the tribe of Levi, from which the priests came. He said to him, "Who are you? From what place do you come?"

The young man said, "I am a Levite, from Bethlehem in the land of Judah, and I am trying to find a place where I can earn my living."

"Stay here with me," said Micah, "and be a priest in my house. I will give you your food, and a place to sleep, and for each year a suit of clothes and ten pieces of silver."

The Levite was well pleased at this, and stayed in Micah's house, and became his priest. And Micah said to himself:

"I am sure that now the Lord will be pleased with me, since I have a house with gods and a Levite as my priest."

Already many in Israel had forgotten that God would not bless those who set up idols when they should worship the Lord God.

The tribe of Dan was living at that time between the country of the Philistines and the tribe of Benjamin, having Judah on the south and Ephraim on the north. The Philistines pressed closely upon them, and they sought some place where they could live with more room and at peace.

They sent out from their tribe-land five men as spies, to go through the country and find some better place for the home of their tribe. These five men walked through the land, and they came to the house of Micah. Micah took them into his house, for it was the custom thus to care for people who were on a journey.

These men from Dan, who were called Danites, had seen Micah's priest before in his earlier home. They knew him, and asked him how he came to be there. The young Levite told them that Micah had hired him to become his priest. He took them into the temple-room and showed them the images and the altar, and he offered a sacrifice and a prayer for them.

Then the five men left Micah's house and went on their way. They walked through all the tribes in the north; and far up among the mountains, near one of the great fountains where the river Jordan begins, they found a little city called Laish. The people of Laish were not Isrealites, but came from the country of Zidon. The Danites saw that their little city was far from Zidon, and that its people were living alone, with none of their own race to help them.

The men of Dan walked back over the mountains to their own people, near the Philistine country; and they brought back an account of their journey through the land. They said:

"We have found a good place, far up in the north, where there is room for us, and a rich soil, and plenty of water. Come with us, and let us that that place for our home."

A harvest field in the time of the judges

So a large part of the tribe of Dan, with their wives and their children, went up toward this place. Among them were six hundred men with shields, and swords, and spears for war. As they came near to Micah's house, one of the five men who had been there before said to them:

"Do you know that in one of these houses there is an altar, and a carved image, and another image, both of silver? Now think what you would better do."

Then the five men came again into Micah's temple while the six hundred soldiers stood outside. They were just about to carry away the silver images when the Levite said to them, "What are you doing?"

And the men said to him, "Never mind what we are doing. Keep still and come with us. Is it not better for you to be a priest to a whole tribe than to one man?"

Then the young priest said no more. He took away all the priestly robes, and the silver ornaments, and the images, and went away with the people of Dan. When Micah came home he found that his temple had been robbed and his images and his priest were taken away.

He gathered some of his neighbors, and they hastened after the people of Dan. When they caught up with them Micah cried out aloud to them. The men of Dan turned, and said to Micah:

"What is the matter with you, that you come after us with a company and make such a noise?"

And Micah answered, "You have taken away my gods which I made, and my priest; and now what is left to me? And you say to me, 'What is the matter?'"

Then the men of Dan said, "Be careful what you say, or you may make some of our men angry, and they will fall on you, and then you will lose your life!"

Micah saw that the men of Dan were too strong for him to fight them, so he went back to his house without his priest and without his images. The Danites went up to the little city of Laish, in the north. They took it, and killed all the people who were living there. Then they built the city again, and changed its name to Dan, the name of the father of their tribe.

There, at Dan, they built a temple, and in it they set up the images, and this Levite became their priest. And the strangest part of all the story is, that this Levite was a grandson of Moses, the man of God and the great prophet. So soon did the people of Israel fall into sin, and so deeply, that the grandson of Moses became the priest in a temple of idols. And at this time the house of God was at Shiloh; yet at Dan during those years and for many years afterward was a temple of idols, and within its walls a line of priests descended from Moses were worshipping and offering sacrifices to images.

And as the temple of idols in Dan was much nearer to the people in the northern part of the land than was the house of the Lord, the Tabernacle at Shiloh, very many of those who lived in the north, went to this idol-temple to worship. So the people of Israel were led away from God to serve idols. This was very displeasing to God.


Front Matter

The Story of a Beautiful Garden
The First Baby in the World and His Brother
The Great Ship That Saved Eight People
The Tower That Was Never Finished
The Story of a Long Journey
How Abram's Choice Brought Blessing
The Angel by the Well
The Rain of Fire That Fell on a City
The Boy Who Became an Archer
How an Angel's Voice Saved a Boy's Life
The Story of a Journey after a Wife
How Jacob Stole His Brother's Blessing
Jacob's Wonderful Dream
A Midnight Wrestling Match
The Rich Man's Son Who Was Sold as a Slave
From the Prison to the Palace
How Joseph's Dream Came True
A Lost Brother Found
From the Land of Famine to the Land of Plenty
The Beautiful Baby Who Was Found in a River
The Voice from the Burning Bush
The River That Ran Blood
The Night When a Nation Was Born
How the Sea Became Dry Land and the Sky Rained Bre
The Mountain That Smoked and Words That Were Spoke
How Aaron Made a Golden Calf and What Became of It
The Tent Where God Lived Among His People
How They Worshipped God in the Tabernacle
What Strong Drink Brought to Aaron's Sons
The Scapegoat in the Wilderness
The Cluster of Grapes from the Land of Canaan
How the Long Journey of the Israelites Came to an
What a Wise Man Learned from an Ass
How Moses Looked upon the Promised Land
The Story of Job
The Story of a Scarlet Cord
How the River Jordan Became Dry
The Story of a Wedge of Gold
How Joshua Conquered the Land of Canaan
The Old Man Who Fought Against the Giants
The Avenger of Blook and the Cities of Refuge
The Story of an Altar Beside the River
The Presnt That Ehud Brought to King Eglon
How a Woman Won a Great Victory
Gideon and His Brave Three Hundred
Jephthah's Rash Promise and What Came from It
The Strong Man: How He Lived and How He Died
The Idol Temple at Dan and Its Priest
How Ruth Gleaned in the Field of Boaz
The Little Boy with a Linen Coat
How the Idol Fell Down Before the Ark
The Last of the Judges
The Tall Man Who Was Chosen King
How Saul Saved the Eyes of the Men of Jabesh
The Brave Young Prince
Saul's Great Sin and His Great Loss
The Shepherd Boy of Bethlehem
The Shepherd Boy's Fight with the Giant
The Little Boy Looking for the Arrows
Where David Found the Giant's Sword
How David Spared Saul's Life
The Last Days of King Saul
The Shepherd Boy Becomes a King
The Sound in the Treetops
The Cripple at the King's Table
The Prophet's Story of the Little Lamb
David's Handsome Son and How He Stole the Kingdom
Absalom in the Wood; David on the Throne
The Angel with the Drawn Sword on Mount Moriah
Solomon on This Father's Throne
The Wise Young King
The House of God on Mount Moriah
The Last Days of Solomon's Reign
The Breaking Up of a Great Kingdom
The King Who Led Israel to Sin
The Prophet Who Raised a Boy to Life
The Prayer That Was Answered in Fire
The Voice That Spoke to Elijah in the Mount
The Wounded Prophet and His Story
What Ahab Paid for His Vineyard
The Arrow That Killed a King
Elijah's Chariot of Fire
A Spring Sweetened by Salt
The Pot of Oil and the Pot of Poison
The Little Boy at Shunem
How a Little Girl Helped to Cure a Leper
The Chariots of Fire around Elisha
What the Lepers Found in the Camp
Jehu, the Furious Driver of His Chariot
Elisha and the Bow; Jonah and Nineveh
How the Ten Tribes Were Lost
The First Four Kings of Judah
The Little Boy Who Was Crowned King
Three Kings and a Great Prophet
The Good King Hezekiah
The Lost Book Found in the Temple
The Last Four Kings of Judah and the Weeping Proph
What Ezekiel Saw in the Valley
The Jewish Captives in the Court of the King
The Golden Image and the Fiery Furnace
The Tree That Was Cut Down and Grew Again
The Writing upon the Wall
Daniel in the Den of Lions
The Story of a Joyous Journey
The New Temple on Mount Moriah
The Beautiful Queen of Persia
The Scribe Who Wrote the Old Testament
The Nobleman Who Built the Wall of Jerusalem
Ezra's Great Bible Class in Jerusalem
The Angel by the Altar
The Manger of Bethlehem
The Star and the Wise Men
The Boy in his Father's House
The Prophet in the Wilderness
Jesus in the Desert, and beside the River
The Water Jars at the Wedding Feast
The Stranger at the Well
The Story of a Boy in Capernaum and a Riot
A Net Full of Fishes
The Leper and the Man Let Down through the Roof
The Cripple at the Pool and the Withered Hand
The Twelve Disciples and the Sermon on the Mount
The Captain's Servant, the Widow's Son, and a Sinn
Some Stories Jesus Told by the Sea
"Peace, Be Still"
The Little Girl Who Was Raised to Life
A Dancing Girl and What Was Given Her
The Feast beside the Sea and What Followed It
The Answer to a Mother's Prayer
The Glory of Jesus on the Mountain
The Little Child in the Arms of Jesus
At the Feast of Tabernacles
The Man with Clay on His Face
The Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan
Lazarus Raised to Life
Some Parables in Perea
The Poor Rich Man and the Rich Poor Man
Jesus at Jericho
Palm Sunday
The Last Vistis of Jesus to the Temple
The Parables on the Mount of Olives
The Last Supper
The Olive Orchard and the High Priests Hall
The Crown of Thorns
The Darkest Day of All the World
The Brightest Day of All the World
The Stranger on the Shore
The Church of the First Days
The Man at the Beautiful Gate
The Right Way to Give, and the Wrong Way
Stephen with the Shining Face
The Man Reading in the Chariot
The Voice That Spoke to Saul
What Peter Saw by the Sea
How the Iron Gate Was Opened
The Earliest Missionaries
The Song in the Prison
Paul's Speech on the Hill
Paul at Corinth
Paul at Ephesus
Paul's Last Journey to Jerusalem
The Speech on the Stairs
Two Years in Prison
The Story That Paul Told to the King
Paul in the Storm
How Paul Came to Rome and How He Lived There
The Throne of God
The City of God