Judges 18:1 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 18:1, NIV: In those days Israel had no king. And in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking a place of their own where they might settle, because they had not yet come into an inheritance among the tribes of Israel.

Judges 18:1, ESV: In those days there was no king in Israel. 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, KJV: In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day all their inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel.

Judges 18:1, NASB: In those days there was no king of Israel; and in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking an inheritance for themselves to live in, for until that day an inheritance had not been allotted to them as a possession among the tribes of Israel.

Judges 18:1, NLT: Now in those days Israel had no king. And the tribe of Dan was trying to find a place where they could settle, for they had not yet moved into the land assigned to them when the land was divided among the tribes of Israel.

Judges 18:1, CSB: In those days, there was no king in Israel, and the Danite tribe was looking for territory to occupy. Up to that time no territory had been captured by them among the tribes of Israel.

What does Judges 18:1 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The writer of Judges once more states that there was no king in Israel during this era. Some commentators speculate the writer is suggesting Israel needed a king to stop the kind of lawlessness described in these stories. More likely, this is a statement of political fact: Israel had neither a central government, nor a monarchy. Further, the repeated mention of the idea (Judges 17:6; 19:1; 21:25) seems to express Israel's overall spiritual anarchy. The people's primary flaw was rebellion against their Creator King—the One True God, which directly led to the awful incidents of these last chapters.

The Lord's intention for Israel during this period was that He would be their king (Exodus 6:7). Yet the people repeatedly set Him aside in their pursuit of false gods, taken from the Canaanites and the surrounding nations (Deuteronomy 12:29–32). They neither honored Yahweh as king nor served Him faithfully, which is why they underwent cycles of oppression and freedom (Judges 2:16–19).

This chapter begins a new plot which quickly intersects with the story of Micah told in the previous chapter (Judges 17:1–5, 13). There is trouble amongst the tribe of Dan. Samson, the final judge described in the previous chapters (Judges 13:1–5), was from Dan. He was raised around the Danite cities of Zorah and Eshtaol under the rule of the Philistines. The story in this chapter seems to have taken place earlier in Israel's history.

The tribe of Dan never fully secured the land allotted to them during the time of Joshua (Joshua 19:40–46). The territory given them was located between Judah to the south and Ephraim to the north, stretching in an arc from the center of the nation to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. When the people of Dan first tried to drive out the inhabitants of their territory, the Amorites were too strong for them and pushed them back up into the hill country (Judges 1:34–36). Dan occupied the region around Zorah and Eshtaol for many years, but never fully controlled it. It was theirs, by right, but it had not "fallen" to their control.

Now the Danites have decided they need more room for their people. They are ready to take more land for themselves even if it means taking it from another tribe's apportioned territory.