Dan

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The Tribe of Dan.

Census. At the time of the migration into Egypt while Joseph was still ruling in Egypt only one son is attributed to Dan (Gen. 46:23). At the Exodus the tribe of Dan numbered 62,700 warriors (Num. 1:39) and at the second census 64,400, holding their rank as second.

Position. Dan's position was on the north side of the tabernacle, with Asher and Naphtali.

Standard. The standard of the tribe was of white and red and the crest upon it an eagle, the great foe to serpents. Jacob had compared Dan to a serpent. Ahiezer substituted the eagle, the destroyer of serpents, as he shrank from carrying an adder upon his flag.

Journeying. "All who were numbered of the forces with Dan (Naphtali and Asher), one hundred and fifty-seven thousand six hundred-- they shall break camp last (fourth), with their standards." (Num 2:31).

Representatives. The prince of the tribe was Ahiezer (Num 1:12). Among the spies Dan was represented by Ammiel the son of Gemalli (13:12).

Interesting Notes. Of the tribe of Dan was Oholiab one of the wise-hearted workman engaged in the construction of the tabernacle (Exo 31:6). One who was stoned for blasphemy was the son of a Danite woman (Lev 24:10). At the ceremony of blessing and cursing, Dan and Naphtali stood on Mount Ebal, while the other Rachel tribes were on Gerizim (Deut 27:13). Later Samson was from this tribe (Judg. 13:2). Apparently, Dan was among the tribes that were the least supportive of the Israelite tribes. The Song of Deborah, which celebrates the Israelite victory over the Canaanite king Jabin and his mighty general Sisera, reproves the tribes of Gilead, Dan, and Asher. Of Dan, Deborah asked: "And why did Dan remain on ships?" (Judg. 5:17). Dan's apparent lack of interest in assisting the other tribes suggests that Dan, situated on Israel's northernmost border, had more in common with its foreign neighbors to the north than with Israel's other tribes.

The Land Division. The area allotted to Dan included the towns of Aijalon, Ekron, Eltekeh, and Zorah in the west central part of Canaan (Josh. 19:40-46; 21:5, 23-24) and stretched to Joppa on the Mediterranean Sea. The Danites, however were unable to conquer much of the territory assigned to them. The original inhabitants, the Amorites, kept the Danites confined to the hill country of Ephraim and Benjamin. Unable to conquer their allotted territory, some members of the tribe of Dan migrated far to the northernmost area of the Promised Land and conquered the isolated city of LAISH, which they renamed Dan.

The Man Dan

Heb. Dahn ('judge"). The fifth son of Jacob and the first of Bilhah, Rachel's maid At his birth Rachel, being barren proclaimed:

Gen 30:6 Then Rachel said, "God has judged my case; and He has also heard my voice and given me a son." Therefore she called his name Dan.

He was full brother of Naphtali.

As far as the life of Dan nothing is recorded. By the blessing of Jacob on his deathbed it was settled that Dan and his other sons by handmaids should be legally entitled to a portion of the family inheritance and that "Dan shall judge his people" (Gen 49:16).

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