Easton's Bible Dictionary
(1) The fifth son of Jacob. His mother was Bilhah, Rachel's maid ( Genesis 30:6
, "God hath judged me", Hebrew dananni). The blessing pronounced on him by his
father was, "Dan shall judge his people" ( Genesis 49:16 ), probably in allusion
to the judgeship of Samson, who was of the tribe of Dan. The tribe of Dan had
their place in the march through the wilderness on the north side of the tabernacle
( Numbers 2:25 , 2:31 ; 10:25 ). It was the last of the tribes to receive a portion
in the Land of Promise. Its position and extent are described in Joshua 19:40
- 48 .
The territory of Dan extended from the west of that of Ephraim and Benjamin to
the sea. It was a small territory, but was very fertile. It included in it, among
others, the cities of Lydda, Ekron, and Joppa, which formed its northern boundary.
But this district was too limited. "Squeezed into the narrow strip between the
mountains and the sea, its energies were great beyond its numbers." Being pressed
by the Amorites and the Philistines, whom they were unable to conquer, they longed
for a wider space. They accordingly sent out five spies from two of their towns,
who went north to the sources of the Jordan, and brought back a favourable report
regarding that region. "Arise," they said, "be not slothful to go, and to possess
the land," for it is "a place where there is no want of any thing that is in the
earth" ( Judges 18:10 ). On receiving this report, 600 Danites girded on their
weapons of war, and taking with them their wives and their children, marched to
the foot of Hermon, and fought against Leshem, and took it from the Sidonians,
and dwelt therein, and changed the name of the conquered town to Dan ( Joshua
19:47 ). This new city of Dan became to them a new home, and was wont to be spoken
of as the northern limit of Palestine, the length of which came to be denoted
by the expression "from Dan to Beersheba", i.e., about 144 miles.
"But like Lot under a similar temptation, they seem to have succumbed to the evil
influences around them, and to have sunk down into a condition of semi-heathenism
from which they never emerged. The mounds of ruins which mark the site of the
city show that it covered a considerable extent of ground. But there remains no
record of any noble deed wrought by the degenerate tribe. Their name disappears
from the roll-book of the natural and the spiritual Israel.", Manning's Those
(2) This old border city was originally called Laish. Its modern name is Tell
el-Kady, "Hill of the Judge." It stands about four miles below Caesarea Philippi,
in the midst of a region of surpassing richness and beauty.
(3) This name occurs in Ezekiel 27:19 , Authorized Version; but the words there,
"Dan also," should be simply, as in the Revised Version, "Vedan," an Arabian city,
from which various kinds of merchandise were brought to Tyre. Some suppose it
to have been the city of Aden in Arabia. (See MAHANEH-DAN.)
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
judgment; he that judges
Smith's Bible Dictionary
(1) The fifth son of Jacob, and the first of Bilhah, Rachels maid. ( Genesis 30:6
) (B.C. after 1753.) The origin of the name is given in the exclamation of Rachel.
The records of Dan are unusually meagre. Only one son is attributed to him, (
Genesis 46:23 ) but his tribe was, with the exception of Judah, the most numerous
of all. In the division of the promised land Dan was the last of the tribes to
receive his portion, which was the smallest of the twelve. ( Joshua 19:48 ) But
notwithstanding its smallness it had eminent natural advantages. On the north
and east it was completely embraced by its two brother tribes Ephraim and Benjamin,
while on the southeast and south it joined Judah, and was thus surrounded by the
three most powerful states of the whole confederacy. It was a rich and fertile
district; but the Amorites soon "forced them into the mountain," ( Judges 1:34
) and they had another portion granted them. Judges 18. In the "security" and
"quiet," ( Judges 18:7 , 18:10 ) of their rich northern possession the Danites
enjoyed the leisure and repose which had been denied them in their original seat.
In the time of David Dan still kept its place among the tribes. ( 1 Chronicles
12:35 ) Asher is omitted, but the "prince of the tribe of Dan" is mentioned in
the list of ( 1 Chronicles 27:22 ) But from this time forward the name as applied
to the tribe vanishes; it is kept alive only by the northern city. In the genealogies
of 1 Chronicles 2 - 12, Dan is omitted entirely. Lastly, Dan is omitted from the
list of those who were sealed by the angel in the vision of St. John. ( Revelation
7:5 - 7 )
(2) The well-known city, so familiar as the most northern landmark of Palestine,
in the common expression "from Dan even to beersheba." The name of the place was
originally LAISH or LESHEM. ( Joshua 19:47 ) After the establishment of the Danites
at Dan it became the acknowledged extremity of the country. It is now Tell el-Kadi
, a mound, three miles from Banias, from the foot of which gushes out one of the
largest fountains in the world, the main source of the Jordan.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
(1) Dan; Dan Tribe of
|(dan, "judge"; Dan).
The fifth of Jacob's sons, the first borne to him by Bilhah, the maid of Rachel,
to whom, as the child of her slave, he legally belonged. At his birth Rachel,
whose barrenness had been a sore trial to her, exclaimed "God hath judged me ....
and hath given me a son," so she called his name Dan, i.e. "judge" (Genesis 30:6).
He was full brother of Naphtali. In Jacob's Blessing there is an echo of Rachel's
words, "Dan shall judge his people" (Genesis 49:16). Of the patriarch Dan almost
nothing is recorded. Of his sons at the settlement in Egypt only one, Hushim,
is mentioned (Genesis 46:23). The name in Numbers 26:42 is Shuham.
2. The Tribe:
The tribe however stands second in point of numbers on leaving Egypt, furnishing
62,700 men of war (Numbers 1:39); and at the second census they were 64,400 strong
(Numbers 26:43). The standard of the camp of Dan in the desert march, with which
were Asher and Naphtali, was on the north side of the tabernacle (Numbers 2:25
; 10:25; compare Joshua 6:9 the King James Version margin, "gathering host").
The prince of the tribe was Ahiezer (Numbers 1:12). Among the spies Dan was represented
by Ammiel the son of Gemalli (Numbers 13:12). Of the tribe of Dan was Oholiab
(the King James Version "Aholiab") one of the wise-hearted artificers engaged
in the construction of the tabernacle (Exodus 31:6). One who was stoned for blasphemy
was the son of a Danite woman (Leviticus 24:10). At the ceremony of blessing and
cursing, Dan and Naphtali stood on Mount Ebal, while the other Rachel tribes were
on Gerizim (Deuteronomy 27:13). The prince of Dan at the division of the land
was Bukki the son of Jogli (Numbers 34:22).
The portion assigned to Dan adjoined those of Ephraim, Benjamin and Judah, and
lay on the western slopes of the mountain. The reference in Judges 5:17: "And
Dan, why did he remain in ships?" seems to mean that on the West, Dan had reached
the sea. But the passage is one of difficulty. We are told that the Amorites forced
the children of Dan into the mountain (Judges 1:34), so they did not enjoy the
richest part of their ideal portion, the fertile plain between the mountain and
the sea. The strong hand of the house of Joseph kept the Amorites tributary, but
did not drive them out. Later we find Dan oppressed by the Philistines, against
whom the heroic exploits of Samson were performed (Judges 14). The expedition
of the Danites recorded in Judges 18 is referred to in Joshua 19:47.
4. The Danite Raid:
The story affords a priceless glimpse of the conditions prevailing in those days.
Desiring an extension of territory, the Danites sent out spies, who recommended
an attack upon Laish, a city at the north end of the Jordan valley. The people,
possibly a colony from Sidon, were careless in their fancied security. The land
was large, and there was "no want of anything that was in the earth." The expedition
of the 600, their dealings with Micah and his priest, their capture of Laish,
and their founding of an idol shrine with priestly attendant, illustrate the strange
mingling of lawlessness and superstition which was characteristic of the time.
The town rebuilt on the site of Laish they called Dan--see following article.
Perhaps 2 Chronicles 2:14 may be taken to indicate that the Danites intermarried
with the Phoenicians. Divided between its ancient seat in the South and the new
territory in the North the tribe retained its place in Israel for a time (1 Chronicles
12:35 ; 27:22), but it played no part of importance in the subsequent history.
The name disappears from the genealogical lists of Chronicles; and it is not mentioned
among the tribes in Revelation 7:5.
Samson was the one great man produced by Dan, and he seems to have embodied the
leading characteristics of the tribe: unsteady, unscrupulous, violent, possessed
of a certain grim humor; stealthy in tactics--"a serpent in the way, an adder
in the path" (Genesis 49:17)--but swift and strong in striking--"a lion's whelp,
that leapeth forth from Bashan" (Deuteronomy 33:22). Along with Abel, Dan ranked
as a city in which the true customs of old Israel were preserved (2 Samuel 20:18
(2) Dan (city of)
|A city familiar as marking the northern limit of the land of Israel in the
common phrase "from Dan even to Beer- sheba" (Judges 20:1; 1 Samuel 3:20, etc.).
Its ancient name was Laish or Leshem (Judges 18:7, etc.). It was probably an outlying
settlement of Tyre of Sidon. Its inhabitants, pursuing the ends of peaceful traders,
were defenseless against the onset of the Danite raiders. Having captured the
city the Danites gave it the name of their own tribal ancestor (Judges 18). It
lay in the valley near Beth-rehob (Judges 18:28). Josephus places it near Mt.
Lebanon and the fountain of the lesser Jordan, a day's journey from Sidon (Ant.,
V, iii, 1; VIII, viii, 4; BJ, IV, i, 1). Eusebius, Onomasticon says it lay 4 Roman
miles from Paneas on the way to Tyre, at the source of the Jordan.
This points decisively to Tell el-Qady, in the plain West of Banias. The mound
of this name--Kady is the exact Arabic equivalent of the Hebrew Dan--rises from
among the bushes and reeds to a height varying from 40 to 80 ft. The largest of
all the springs of the Jordan rises on the west side. The waters join with those
of a smaller spring on the other side to form Nahr el-Leddan which flows southward
to meet the streams from Banias and Chasbeiyeh. The mound, which is the crater
of an extinct volcano, has certain ancient remains on the south side, while the
tomb of Sheikh Marzuk is sheltered by two holy trees. The sanctuary and ritual
established by the Danites persisted as long as the house of God was in Shiloh,
and the priesthood in this idolatrous shrine remained in the family of Jonathan
till the conquest of Tiglath-pileser (Judges 18:30; 2 Kings 15:29). Here Jeroboam
I set up the golden calf. The ancient sanctity of the place would tend to promote
the success of his scheme (1 Kings 12:28, etc.). The calf, according to a Jewish
tradition, was taken away by Tiglath-pileser. Dan fell before Benhadad, king of
Syria (1 Kings 15:20; 2 Chronicles 16:4). It was regained by Jeroboam II (2 Kings
14:25). It shared the country's fate at th hands of Tiglath-pileser (2 Kings 15:29).
It was to this district that Abraham pursued the army of Chedorlaomer (Genesis
14:14). For Dr. G. A. Smith's suggestion that Dan may have been at Banias see
HGHL1, 473, 480 f.
(3) (Ezekiel 27:19 the King James Version). See VEDAN.
bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, city, dan, dananni, define, jacob (son of), laish, leshem, tell el-kadi, territory, tribe