Although I am only going to comment briefly on a specific portion of this passage, I am including the two chapters in their entirety because the events recorded are instructive on so many levels.
Judges 17 & 18
Now there was a man of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Micah. He said to his mother, "The eleven hundred pieces of silver which were taken from you, about which you uttered a curse in my hearing, behold, the silver is with me; I took it."
And his mother said, "My son, be blessed by Yahowah!"
He then returned the eleven hundred pieces of silver to his mother, and his mother said, "I wholly dedicate the silver from my hand to Yahowah for my son to make a graven image and a molten image. Therefore, I will return them to you now."
So when he returned the silver to his mother, his mother took two hundred pieces of silver and gave them to the silversmith who made them into a graven image and a molten image, and they were in the house of Micah. And the man Micah had a shrine and he made an ephod and household idols and consecrated one of his sons, that he might become his priest.
In those days there was no king in Isra'el; every man did what was right in his own eyes.
Now there was a young man from Beyth Lehem in Yahuda, of the family of Yahuda, who was a Lowy; and he was staying there. Then the man departed from the city, from Beyth Lehem in Yahuda, to stay wherever he might find a place; and as he made his journey, he came to the hill country of Ephraim to the house of Micah. Micah said to him, "Where do you come from?"
And he said to him, "I am a Lowy from Beyth Lehem in Yahuda, and I am going to stay wherever I may find a place."
Then Micah said to him, "Dwell with me and be a father and a priest to me, and I will give you ten pieces of silver a year, a suit of clothes, and your maintenance."
So the Lowy went in. The Lowy agreed to live with the man, and the young man became to him like one of his sons. So Micah consecrated the Lowy, and the young man became his priest and lived in the house of Micah. Then Micah said, "Now I know that Yahowah will prosper me, seeing I have a Lowy as priest!"
In those days there was no king of Isra'el. 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 Isra'el. So the sons of Dan sent from their family, out of their whole number, five men, valiant men from Zorah and Eshtaol, to spy out the land and to search it. They said to them, "Go, search the land."
And they came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there. When they were near the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young man, the Lowy. So they turned aside there and said to him, "Who brought you here? And what are you doing in this place? And what do you have here?"
He said to them, "Thus and so has Micah done to me, and he has hired me, and I have become his priest."
They said to him, "Inquire of God, please, that we may know whether our way on which we are going will be prosperous."
The priest said to them, "Go in peace: your way in which you are going has Yahowah's approval."
Then the five men departed and came to Laish and saw the people who were in it living in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure; for there was no ruler humiliating them for anything in the land, and they were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone. When they came back to their brothers at Zorah and Eshtaol, their brothers said to them, "What do you report?"
They said, "Arise, and let us go up against them! For we have seen the land, and look! It is very good. And will you sit still? Do not delay to go, to enter, to possess the land. When you enter, you will come to a secure people with a spacious land; for God has given it into your hand, a place where there is no lack of anything that is on the earth."
Then from the family of the Danites, from Zorah and from Eshtaol, six hundred men armed with weapons of war set out. They went up and camped at Kiriath-yearim in Yahuda. Therefore they called that place Mahaneh-dan to this day; behold, it is west of Kiriath-yearim. They passed from there to the hill country of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah. Then the five men who went to spy out the country of Laish said to their kinsmen, "Do you know that there are in these houses an ephod and household idols and a graven image and a molten image? Now therefore, consider what you should do."
They turned aside there and came to the house of the young man, the Lowy, to the house of Micah, and asked him of his welfare. The six hundred men armed with their weapons of war, who were of the sons of Dan, stood by the entrance of the gate. Now the five men who went to spy out the land went up and entered there, and took the graven image and the ephod and household idols and the molten image, while the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men armed with weapons of war.
When these went into Micah's house and took the graven image, the ephod, the household idols, and the molten image, the priest said to them, "What are you doing?!"
They said to him, "Shut up! Put your hand over your mouth and come with us, and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be a priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and a family in Isra'el?"
The priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod, household idols, and the graven image and went among the people. Then they turned and departed, and put the little ones, the livestock, and the valuables in front of them. When they had gone some distance from the house of Micah, the men who were in the houses near Micah's house assembled and overtook the sons of Dan. They cried to the sons of Dan, who turned around and said to Micah, "What's the matter with you, that you have assembled together?"
He said, "You have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and have gone away, and what do I have left? So how can you say to me, 'What is the matter with you?'"
The sons of Dan said to him, "Do not let your voice be heard among us, or else fierce men will fall upon you and you will lose your life along with the lives of your household."
When Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his house. So the sons of Dan went on their way.
Then they took what Micah had made and the priest who had belonged to him, and came to Laish, to a people quiet and secure, and struck them with the edge of the sword. They also burned the city with fire. And there was no one to deliver them, because it was far from Sidon and they had no dealings with anyone, and it was in the valley which is near Beth-rehob.
And they rebuilt the city and lived in it. They called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father who was born in Isra'el; however, the name of the city formerly was Laish. The sons of Dan set up for themselves the graven image. And Yaonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land. So they set up for themselves Micah's graven image which he had made, all the time that the house of God was at Shiloh.
I want you notice two things in this story. Actually, it is a single thing that is mentioned twice. Here's the first time:
"Then the five men departed and came to Laish and saw the people who were in it living in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure; for there was no ruler humiliating them for anything in the land, and they were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone."
Here's the second time:
"[T]here was no one to deliver them, because it was far from Sidon and they had no dealings with anyone."
It would seem the people of Laish thought they had it made. They had no dealings with anyone. They lived in peace and they kept to themselves, nice and quiet and secure. Or so they imagined. But when trouble came to them in the form of a superior force of armed and trained warriors, they were unable to defend themselves and had no one to reach out to for help. They all perished because of it.
That really leaped out at me when I read it.
Isolation is not a good thing, even for Yahowah's children. We need to "have dealings" with others, if for no other reason than because it's good to have someone to turn to when the chips are down. Yes, we must always turn to Yahowah first. Always. But we ought to also let ourselves bless others and allow them to bless us with friendship and fellowship. We are the Family of Yahowah, and a strong family sticks together. So when the enemy ambushes one of us with his own hellacious version of Shock & Awe, others of us can rush to their aid in prayer, in material help, and in physical protection.
I don't know who I just wrote all that for, but whoever you are, Yahowah be with you.
= יהוה = ee-ah-oh-ah = Yahowah
Song / Mizmor / Psalm 19:7
Yahowah's Towrah is complete and entirely perfect, returning and restoring the soul. Yahowah's testimony is trustworthy and reliable, making understanding and obtaining wisdom simple for the open-minded and receptive.
Yahowah's () Towrah (torah – teaching, guidance, direction, and instruction) is complete and entirely perfect (tamym – without defect, lacking nothing, correct, genuine, right, helpful, beneficial, and true), returning and restoring (suwb – transforming) the soul (nepesh – consciousness). Yahowah's testimony ('eduwth – restoring and eternal witness) is trustworthy and reliable ('aman – verifiable, confirming, supportive, and establishing), making understanding and obtaining wisdom (hakam – educating and enlightening oneself to the point of comprehension) simple for the open-minded and receptive (pethy – easy for those who are receptive).