Friday, March 22, 2019

The Danites and their Inheritance

Revelation 7 curiously omits the name of Dan from the list of the tribes of the 144,000 witnesses. One wonders why this is so. Many hold that Dan was probably omitted because he represented full-fledged idolatry in Israel (Judges 18:30). Judges 17 and 18 tell the story of how the priesthood is commercialized and treated in a pagan utilitarian way by a family of Ephraim and a clan of Dan. Revelation 7 does not also mention Ephraim, though it mentions Manasseh and Joseph (the father of Ephraim and Manasseh). Both Ephraim and Dan were guilty of idolatrous worship throughout the Old Testament. 
And the sons of Dan set up the engraved image. And Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land. And they set up Micah's engraved image for themselves, the image which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh. (Judges 18:30-31)
And the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold and said to them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Behold your gods, O, Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt! And he set the one in Bethel, and he put the other in Dan. And this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one, even to Dan. And he made a house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, who were not the sons of Levi. (1Kings 12:28-31)
Notably, Dan's problems in the book of Judges revolved around their difficulties with inheriting the land.
When the territory of the people of Dan was lost to them, the people of Dan went up and fought against Leshem, and after capturing it and striking it with the sword they took possession of it and settled in it, calling Leshem, Dan, after the name of Dan their ancestor. (Joshua 19:47)
And in those days the tribe of the people of Dan was seeking for itself an inheritance to dwell in, for until then no inheritance among the tribes of Israel had fallen to them. (Judges 18:1)
The Amorites pressed the people of Dan back into the hill country, for they did not allow them to come down to the plain. (Judges 1:34) 
 In contrast, the Amorites were not able to defeat and drive out the people of Joseph:
The Amorites persisted in dwelling in Mount Heres, in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim, but the hand of the house of Joseph rested heavily on them, and they became subject to forced labor. (Judges 1:35)
Revelation is a book of victory, of overcomers; so, it is not surprising if a perpetual loser (Dan) is omitted from the list of overcomers and an overcomer (Joseph) is included in it.

Surprisingly, however, Dan is the first listed in the division of the new land by Ezekiel 48.
Ezekiel 48:1  “These are the names of the tribes: Beginning at the northern extreme, beside the way of Hethlon to Lebo-hamath, as far as Hazar-enan (which is on the northern border of Damascus over against Hamath), and extending from the east side to the west, Dan, one portion.

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