Dan in Smiths Bible Dictionary
1. The fifth son of Jacob, and the first of Bilhah,
Rachel's maid. Ge 30:6 (B.C. after 1753.) The origin of the
name is given in the exclamation of Rachel. The records of
Dan are unusually meagre. Only one son is attributed to him,
Ge 46:23 but his tribe was, with the exception of Judah, the
most numerous of all. In the division of the promised land
Dan was the last of the tribes to receive his portion, which
was the smallest of the twelve. Jos 19:48 But
notwithstanding its smallness it had eminent natural
advantages. On the north and east it was completely embraced
by its two brother tribes Ephraim and Benjamin, while on the
southeast and south it joined Judah, and was thus surrounded
by the three most powerful states of the whole confederacy.
It was a rich and fertile district; but the Amorites soon
"forced them into the mountain," Jud 1:34 and they had
another portion granted them. Judges 18. In the "security"
and "quiet," Jud 18:7,10 of their rich northern possession
the Danites enjoyed the leisure and repose which had been
denied them in their original seat. In the time of David Dan
still kept its place among the tribes. 1Ch 12:35 Asher is
omitted, but the "prince of the tribe of Dan" is mentioned
in the list of 1Ch 27:22 But from this time forward the name
as applied to the tribe vanishes; it is kept alive only by
the northern city. In the genealogies of 1Chr 2-12, Dan is
omitted entirely. Lastly, Dan is omitted from the list of
those who were sealed by the angel in the vision of St.
John. Re 7:5-7
2. The well-known city, so familiar as the most
northern landmark of Israel, in the common expression "from
Dan even to beersheba." The name of the place was originally
LAISH or LESHEM.
Jos 19:47 After the establishment of the Danites at
Dan it became the acknowledged extremity of the country. It
is now Tell el-Kadi, a mound, three miles from Banias, from
the foot of which gushes out one of the largest fountains in
the world, the main source of the Jordan.
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