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Dan

dan (judgment; he that judges, a judge)
RELATED:
Bilhah, Jacob, Jordan (River), Kingdom of Israel, Laish, Rachel
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Easton's Bible Dictionary

a judge.

(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 Holy Fields.

(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.)


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Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names

judgment; he that judges


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Smith's Bible Dictionary

(a judge).

(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.


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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

(1) Dan; Dan Tribe of


(dan, "judge"; Dan).

1. Name:

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).

3. Territory:

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 Septuagint).

(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.




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Tags:

bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, city, dan, dananni, define, jacob (son of), laish, leshem, tell el-kadi, territory, tribe

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