The Tribe Of Dan
His name was Ammiel, he was from the Tribe Of Dan, but he died. More specifically, he died in the plague that God sent when Israel rebelled against God, refusing to take the Promised Land. He died primarily, because he helped cause the plague.
Ammiel was one of the spies chosen to spy out the land. He’s mentioned by name once in the Scripture, and like others, we get his Father’s name too. Sadly, that’s not all we get, or all Ammiel got from someone. I don’t know if his Dad passed down his fear and unbelief to his son, or it arrived to him elsewhere, but either way, it cost Ammiel his life.
As a Dad, that thought terrifies me. There is a story about Karl Marx, and how his Dad destroyed the influence of Faith in his life. I’m no expert, just a new parent, but I so want to instill the Love of God, and Love for the things of God, in my child’s life. I still believe what the Apostle John said in 3 John 1:4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (KJV)
The death of Ammiel, it’s not a pleasant way to introduce the Tribe Of Dan in this book. Some would argue it isn’t fair either, but it’s how I believe God gave it to me. You see, those of Dan had a tumultuous history. Before we completely focus on that, I’ve mentioned a person, let’s look at a place, and a thing.
The place was Eltekeh or Elteke, and unlike Ammiel, it gets two mentions by name, not one. In Joshua 19:44, it’s alotted to the tribe of Dan. In Joshua 21:23, it’s assigned to the Kohathite Levites as a city to dwell in.
Now Dan means Judge, and Kohath means Assembly. In one chapter it is assigned to Judgement. In another to those of Levi charged with carrying the Ark of the Covenant, and Tabernacle furniture. These are both vital to understand Dan.
Years later, in David’s day, the Kohathites would be assigned to sing in the Tabernacle, and later the Temple. As the Ark was not traveling any longer, David repurposed the Kohathites who were not part of the Priesthood.
The interesting thing is what Eltekeh means, either God Fearing, God is it’s fear, or Let God Spue Thee Out. What a perfect place for the Kohathites to setup housekeeping. If you take it as meaning the Fear Of God, then who better to inhabit it, than those who should reverently and carefully carry the Ark.
Revelation 3:14-16 (KJV Strong’s)
14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
If you take it as the warning about Let God Spue Thee Out, the Scripture in Revelation comes to mind. In The New Testament, He was warning the Laodiceans. In Joshua, the term was tied to a city in the Old Testament. A city which fell in battle.
In 701 B.C., Sennacherib destroyed the city. He defeated a group of soldiers which included Egyptian forces. The man whom God would not allow to destroy Jerusalem and Judah, did end Eltekeh. Eltekeh would fall, and the Tribe Of Dan would go into captivity.
Dan, like Israel, would fall because of idolatry. There own choices led to the events they faced, just as our mistakes do. However, like us, they would obtain mercy they did not deserve, and a remnant would return to their land according to Ezekiel.
A person, a place, and a thing. For the last one, we come back to the days of Moses. Ammiel, Eltekeh, and the Prophet’s blessing. Jacob said, Dan shall be a serpent in general, an adder specifically. Moses promotes Dan, from a serpent, to a Lion’s whelp. From biting at the horse heels, to leaping from Bashan.
I’m blown away at the contrast between the Patriarch and the Prophet’s blessings. One seems to be more negative, and the other more positive. Jacob knew his sons, Moses knew the tribes, and yet, the latter was more positive than the former.
If I would expect anyone to have been negative, I would have expected it to be Moses. After all, Jacob loved his boys with the love of a Father, but Moses had been threatened, rejected, and rebuffed by their descendants. An yet, he blessed them highly in his last chapter.
Deuteronomy 33:22 (KJV)
22 And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion’s whelp: he shall leap from Bashan.
It wasn’t the conversations with the tribes that caused Moses to be so favorable with them, as you probably guessed. It was the conversations with God, which began on the side of a mountain, that caused Moses to bless Israel. In fact, God would use Moses entire Ministry to bless Israel.
Jacob and his wives, not only gave their sons life, and names, he transferred his new name Israel to them. Like Jacob, Moses blessed Israel in a way no other Prophet did, in a farewell address. As Jacob, he too gave them a new name, Jeshurun.
Isaiah would use it later, the only other person who did, but it was first breathed by Moses. It means upright, which was Moses’ desire for the nation. In spite of all their murmurings, rebellions, and backbiting, he wanted them to be blessed. Why, because he was a Pastor.
Moses, like The God who led Him, wanted the best for the people. So when he looked at Dan, he didn’t look at what he was, he looked at what he could be. Dan could be a lion, if it listened to God.
If it didn’t, then it would hiss along, biting at everything it came near. The Lion has power, the snake has venom. To have true power, is to listen to God. To not listen, leaves you, and those you influence, open to poisonous thoughts, words, and deeds.
Please, please, if you take nothing else from this book, take heed to this. Seek to listen, not to just hear God. The difference is like a child and a doctor listening to a stethoscope. Both hear the patient’s heartbeat, but only one understands the rhythm of the heart. Don’t just hear the beat, learn God’s rhythm.
Certain ones from The Tribe Of Dan, didn’t listen. In Judges 18, they embraced idolatry. Laish, the city they captured, meant Lion. They changed the name to Dan, meaning Judge, and they setup idolatry there. Scary isn’t it? A book removed from Joshua, two books from the last book of Moses, at least part of Dan, chose idolatry.
Judges 18:1 (ESV)
1 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.
I’m not here to judge them, only to pass along the warning. Two chapters before this group of Danites embraced idolatry, Samson, himself of the Tribe Of Dan, died. I say embraced, because they went passionately after wrong. Much like Samson after Delilah, and both fell. One of the greatest ever named from the tribe ended up a prisoner, and now his tribe were descending into false doctrine.
In this last day, it can’t be overstated, we must hold fast to the doctrines given to us by Christ and the Apostles. No matter how strong the previous generation before you was, or how weak, doesn’t decide the decisions you and I make.
Samson was like the sun, as his name means, but he lost his sight. My friends, we cannot afford to lose our spiritual vision in these last and final days. Dan lost more than their champion, they lost their vision of God. Again, I’m not condemning the entire tribe, this was one city, but it could be our city, our family, if we don’t take it to heart.
Because of various things, people have written off Dan. I’m so glad God didn’t. Dan is mentioned in Ezekiel, as part of Israel. If you’ve made mistakes, like Dan, there is hope. Don’t allow others to tell you there isn’t.
Our God is merciful. Maybe you’ve come back to God, but haven’t forgiven yourself of your past. If God can choose to redeem a tribe that left him for images, who are we not to let go of what He has already washed away?
Dan is not mentioned among those sealed of God in Revelation chapter seven. Some of pondered why. They have shared thoughts and theories, and I’m no scholar. I would not elaborate on them, but I would point out again, he is included in the visions of Ezekiel for chapter forty eight.
How can he be in one chapter, and not the next? Could it be for the sake of illustration? As those who are sealed have been spared from the final judgement? We know that God does not speak without intent.
If something or someone is mentioned, there is a reason, and if not, there is also a reason. While you can speculate on that, it’s not speculation to say, when God came to Earth the first time, His focus wasn’t on judging, it was on saving.
Luke 12:14 (KJV Strong’s)
14 And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?
We are sealed, not by judgement, but by Mercy. God Who could have chosen to enter the gate of this world as Judge, instead first walked through as Savior. While walking the Earth, He even said once, Who made me a judge over you?
In other words, there will arrive a day when I stand as Judge, but today, I stand as Savior. Perhaps that’s why Dan is not listed in Revelation, I don’t know. I do know that I’m so thankful Our Lord sprang from Judah, and not Dan.
James 2:13 (ESV Strong’s)
13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Psalms 85:8-13 (KJV Strong’s)
8 I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.
10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
12 Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.
13 Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.
Aren’t you glad that Mercy triumphs, or rejoices against judgement? Christ reconciled both Mercy and Truth, and brought to birth both righteousness and peace in marriage through the blood of His cross.
How does all this relate to the tribe of Dan? The tribe that was neither Judah Praise, or Levi Priesthood? It goes back to a phrase scattered throughout the Old Testament, one that I have loved since I was a young man. One that a very special Pastor’s wife, Sis Gloria Livingston used often.
It’s mentioned nine times in the Scripture. On nine occurrences, God referenced the borders of the Promised land. One one end was judgement or Dan. On the other end, was the well of the oath, or Beersheba. Out of those nine times, only twice is it reference in reverse, from Beersheba to Dan.
2 Chronicles 30:5 (ESV Strong’s)
5 So they decreed to make a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, that the people should come and keep the Passover to the LORD, the God of Israel, at Jerusalem, for they had not kept it as often as prescribed.
This is also the last time in Scripture that the boundaries are referred to this way. Beersheba to Dan, or from Dan to Beersheba, indicated the borders of Israel. I can’t believe it’s an accident, that when mentioning the Passover, he says Beersheba to Dan, and not Dan to Beersheba. The Passover signifies God protecting Israel against death and judgement, through The Blood.
1 Kings 4:25 (ESV)
25 And Judah and Israel lived in safety, from Dan even to Beersheba, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, all the days of Solomon.
Of the other seven times, when it’s Dan to Beersheba, I’d like to focus on one. It is in the days of Solomon. “Judah and Israel lived in safety, from Dan to Beersheba, every man under his vine and under his fig tree.” The problem was, when they were safe physically, Solomon allowed his head to be turned by the women he married. As a result, the kingdom was split, and a new king was chosen for the ten tribes, including Dan.
Jeroboam, soon after gaining the kingdom, setup idols in Bethel, and in Dan, golden calves. Not only did Judah and Israel separate, they separated themselves from He Who was their safety. Where God is not the center, there is no center to hold on too. If golden calves sounds familiar, it’s the same description of the idol Aaron fashioned when Moses was on the mountain.
The enemy may put a new coat of paint on an old idea. Yet the end of the day, it’s still the same heartless, cold, blind ambition to replace God as the center of our focus, our lives, and our eternity. Those who choose something other than God, are trading a Burning Bush for a hunk of metal, something dug out of the earth, instead of something set afire from Heaven.
Notice, where Israel in the wilderness had one golden calf, Jeroboam setup two. Evil doesn’t only try again, it tries to multiply it’s wrong. That’s another reason it’s vital to hold on to God, and reject all that is unlike God.
It may seem like I’m focusing only on the negative Danites. There were others in Dan, which made better choices. One of which had served Solomon’s Father, King David. He was the Leader of the Tribe of Dan during the time of the Psalmist.
His name was Azareel, the son of Jeroham. His name means God has helped, and his Father’s name means compassionate. In this case, as telling as those names might be, that’s not what I would like to focus on.
Instead, I would like to point out, that he served King David. We know that David inspired men to become great men. David saw what God could do, and believed that He would perform it, both in his life, and in others.
David had men in his court who started out as part of the Philistines, Ishmaelites, and Hagarites. There was something about David that drew people to him. There was something about David that drew Him closer to God, and others around him followed suit.
Solomon was led closer to God by David. His problems didn’t start until years after David was gone. Before David left, he prepared treasures for Solomon to use in building the Temple.
Another man that would help Solomon to build the Temple, did so, because he loved David. King Hiram was always a friend and fan of David. King Hiram also knew a Danite that needed to come home.
2 Chronicles 2:13-14 (KJV Strong’s)
13 And now I have sent a cunning man, endued with understanding, of Huram my father’s,
14 The son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of Tyre, skilful to work in gold, and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson; also to grave any manner of graving, and to find out every device which shall be put to him, with thy cunning men, and with the cunning men of my lord David thy father.
It was this Hiram who sent another Hiram, also called Huram, to assist Solomon. It should be mentioned, that 1 Kings refers to him as a Widow’s son of Naphtali. Gill explains that scholars say, the Widow was most likely from the Tribe of Dan, and her husband whom she had been widowed of, was from Naphtali.
Where one group of Danites chose a golden calf, another served under Solomon, casting the brass pillars of The Temple, the brass lavers, the shovels, and the basins. All that Hiram made was of brass, itself a representation of judgement. These representations of judgement though, held the sacrifices that would be a type and shadow of God taking our judgement for us.
Each of us will have our work judged by God, whether it is good or bad. It is imperative that we strive to build under His direction, and not in opposition, or ignoring His leading. Hiram’s pillars were called Jachin and Boaz, He will establish, and In It Is Strength. When God establishes your work, there is strength in it.
This craftsman was the last Danite mentioned by name in Scripture. His work stood for generations. Will your and my work leave a lasting impression? I believe it will, if we do it as unto The Lord.
One thing he made, was a large brazen sea, or container, filled with water. As I had said, the saying was from Dan to Beersheba, two points so distant one from another, there was no way of connecting. Yet this Danite, built not a well, but a molten sea.
John 7:37-38 (KJV Strong’s)
37 — In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
A sea that represented the washing of the Priests. A symbol of a far greater well, springing up within our soul. The well that Jesus cried about the last day of the feast.
Like Hiram the Danite, God will call you beyond your borders. He will call you beyond the borders of your possible, to go farther than your limitations, to reach deeper than you have the ability to reach. Priests would wash in this molten sea, to be ready to appear before God. The hands that placed incense on the altar, first touched the laver the Danite made.
Maybe you are in a time when you feel like Huram, of the Tribe of Dan, had to living in Tyre. He wasn’t used to Israel, but his heritage was more than Tyre had to offer. Perhaps, you feel like you don’t belong anywhere, not sure which way to turn.
Please let me encourage you today. Whatever work you’re involved in, whatever your dream. If it is founded in God, then He will establish you, and provide you the strength to accomplish your goal. No matter how awkward you feel, or how out of place. Being out of place by the way, may not be a bad thing.
Had Huram grew up in Israel, perhaps he wouldn’t have learned the skills he would need to build the Temple. Had he refused the king, and stayed in Tyre, he would never have fulfilled his destiny. Don’t allow fear to dictate to you your legacy.
Whether you face pain or prosperity, for we are all called to times of each, Christ will insure that your life and labor will be successful. This doesn’t mean their won’t be setbacks, or that it will be easy. Casting hot brass, shaping it into the form needed, and satisfying a King were not easy tasks, but Hiram accomplished them.
This widow’s son. This man, who was isolated in a strange city from at least some of his family. Dan, in Hiram’s case, became a lion’s whelp. This orphan, would by the way, fashion lions as decorations for the molten sea. The building he did for the Temple, had to be the highlight of his career. This work, his calling, was the project of a lifetime. A project that both honored God, and blessed Israel from Dan to Beersheba.