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Dictionaries :: Dan

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Easton's Bible Dictionary

Dan:

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 Jos 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" (Jdg 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 (Jos 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.

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 Eze 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.)

Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary

Dan:

judgment; he that judges

Smith's Bible Dictionary

Dan:

(a judge).

(1.) The fifth son of Jacob, and the first of Bilhah, Rachel's 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 meager. 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). SEE [LESHEM]. 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.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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