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Dan

Judge. Son of Bilhah, Rachel’s maid, and brother to Naphtali. After the settlement in Canaan, the district assigned to the tribe of Dan was small in area but had an admirable situation, adjoining Ephraim, Benjamin, and Judah, parts of it being extremely fertile (Josh. 19:40–48). There was a good deal of difficulty in holding it against the Amorites (Judg. 1:34) and against the Philistines (Judg. 13:2, 25; 18:1). Consequently the Danites made for themselves a settlement in the north of Palestine (Judg. 18), around Laish, to which city they gave the name of Dan. This town is well known as the northern limit of Palestine, which extended “from Dan even to Beer-sheba.” It was chosen by Jeroboam as one of the places in which to establish the calf worship for the northern tribes (1 Kgs. 12:29; 2 Kgs. 10:29). The city was laid waste by Benhadad (1 Kgs. 15:20; 2 Chr. 16:4); and Jewish tradition records that the calf was carried off to Assyria by Tiglath-pileser (2 Kgs. 15:29). The reason for the omission of the tribe of Dan in John’s list in Rev. 7:5–7 is not known. Its character is sketched in the blessings of Jacob and Moses (Gen. 49:16–18; Deut. 33:22).