The Fall of Laish


During the days of the judges, the tribe of Dan “was seeking an inheritance for themselves to live in” (Judges 18:1). Five men were sent to spy out the land and find a place they could take as their possession. As they searched the land, they found a suitable target – the city of Laish.

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” (Judges 18:7).

Then they…came to Laish, to a people quiet and secure, and struck them with the edge of the sword; and they 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 Israel; however, the name of the city formerly was Laish” (Judges 18:27-29).

These verses explain why Laish was vulnerable to an attack. However, in looking at these verses, we are not just reading something of historical note. As we consider these points, we can make a spiritual application. Peter wrote, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). With the devil seeking a suitable target, we do not want to be in the same vulnerable state as the inhabitants of Laish against the Danites.

  • The people of Laish were secure and thought they were in no danger. We must never allow ourselves to become complacent. Paul wrote, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). If we believe that there is no danger around us, we are more susceptible to the devil’s attacks.
  • The people of Laish were unsuspecting and not watching for threats. We already noticed Peter’s warning about how the devil “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). John warned that “many deceivers have gone out into the world” and said, “Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward” (2 John 7-8). If we are not watchful, we can be overcome by the devil and forfeit our salvation.
  • The people of Laish were isolated and far from help. We need encouragement and strength from our brethren. The Hebrew writer explained that “an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God” can develop within us (Hebrews 3:12). To help prevent this from happening, we are to “encourage one another day after day” (Hebrews 3:13) and “stimulate one another to love and good deeds…encouraging one another” (Hebrews 10:24-25). If we are isolated from faithful brethren, we are vulnerable.

We must never forget the threat that the devil poses to our spiritual well-being. Let us not be like the inhabitants of Laish. Instead, let us “be of sober spirit, be on the alert” (1 Peter 5:8), and always encouraging and being encouraged by our brethren in Christ.

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