a judge. (1.) The fifth son of Jacob. His mother was Bilhah,
Rachel's maid (Gen. 30:6, "God hath judged me", Heb. dananni).
The blessing pronounced on him by his father was, "Dan shall
judge his people" (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 (Num. 2:25, 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
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" (Judg. 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
(Josh. 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 Israel,
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.
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.
(2.) This name occurs in Ezek 27:19, Authorize 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 T0002375.)