The Antiquities of the Jews, 5.175–5.184

Flavius Josephus  translated by William Whiston

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1751. Now it happened that the tribe of Dan suffered in like manner with the tribe of Benjamin; and it came to do so on the occasion following:— 176When the Israelites had already left off the exercise of their arms for war, and were intent upon their husbandry, the Canaanites despised them, and brought together an army, not because they expected to suffer by them, but because they had a mind to have a sure prospect of treating the Hebrews ill when they pleased, and might thereby for the time to come dwell in their own cities the more securely; 177they prepared therefore their chariots, and gathered their soldiery together, their cities also combined together, and drew over to them Askelon and Ekron, which were within the tribe of Judah, and many more of those that lay in the plain. They also forced the Danites to fly into the mountainous country, and left them not the least portion of the plain country to set their foot on. 178Since then these Danites were not able to fight them, and had not land enough to sustain them, they sent five of their men into the midland country, to seek for a land to which they might remove their habitation. So these men went as far as the neighborhood of Mount Libanus, and the fountains of the Lesser Jordan, at the great plain of Sidon, a day’s journey from the city; and when they had taken a view of the land, and found it to be good and exceeding fruitful, they acquainted their tribe with it, whereupon they made an expedition with the army, and built there the city Dan, of the same name with the son of Jacob, and of the same name with their own tribe.

1792. The Israelites grew so indolent, and unready of taking pains, that misfortunes came heavier upon them, which also proceeded in part from their contempt of the divine worship; for when they had once fallen off from the regularity of their political government, they indulged themselves further in living according to their own pleasure, and according to their own will, till they were full of the evil doings that were common among the Canaanites. 180God therefore was angry with them, and they lost that their happy state which they had obtained by innumerable labors, by their luxury; for when Chushan, king of the Assyrians, had made war against them, they lost many of their soldiers in the battle, and when they were besieged, they were taken by force; 181nay, there were some who, out of fear, voluntarily submitted to him, and though the tribute laid upon them was more than they could bear, yet did they pay it, and underwent all sort of oppression for eight years; after which time they were freed from them in the following manner:—

1823. There was one whose name was Othniel, the son of Kenaz, of the tribe of Judah, an active man and of great courage. He had an admonition from God not to overlook the Israelites in such a distress as they were now in, but to endeavor boldly to gain them their liberty; so when he had procured some to assist him in this dangerous undertaking, (and few they were, who, either out of shame at their present circumstances, or out of a desire of changing them, could be prevailed on to assist him,) 183he first of all destroyed that garrison which Chushan had set over them; but when it was perceived that he had not failed in his first attempt, more of the people came to his assistance; so they joined battle with the Assyrians, and drove them entirely before them, and compelled them to pass over Euphrates. 184Hereupon Othniel, who had given such proofs of his valor, received from the multitude authority to judge the people; and when he had ruled over them forty years, he died.

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