Lavish (Heb. La'yish, לִיַשׁ, Jg 18:14,27,29; 1Sa 25:44, a lion, as in Isa 30:6, etc., in pause לָיַשׁ text לָוַֹשׁ, 2Sa 3:15, with ה local לָישָׁה; Jg 18:7; Isa 10:30; Sept. Λάις in Samuel, Λαισά in Judges, Λαϊσά in Isaiah; Vulg. Lais, but Laisa in Isaiah), the name of at least one place and perhaps also of a man.
1. A city in the extreme northern border of Palestine (Jg 18:7,14,27,29), also called LESHEM (Jos 19:47), and subsequently, after being occupied by a colony of Danites (Jos 19:47; Jg 18:27 sq.), also DAN (Jg 18:29; Jer 8:16), a name sometimes given to it in anticipation (Ge 14:14; De 34:1; comp. Jahn, Einleit. II, i, 66; Hug, in the Freibulrsq. Zeitschr. 5:137 sq.). It lay in a fruitful district, near the sources of the upper Jordan (Josephus, Ant. 8:8,4), four miles from Paneas towards Tyre (Eusebius, Onomast.). Saadias and the Samaritan version falsely give, instead of Dan (in Ge 14:14), "Paneas" (see Winer, Diss. de vers. Saem. p. 54), which also Jerome (at Eze 27:15, and Am 8:14) gives as an equivalent. Laish was long the seat of a corrupt worship of Jehovah (Jg 18:14 sq.), and as it fell within the kingdom of Israel, Jeroboam established there the idolatry of the golden calf (1Ki 12:28 sq.).
The occupation of this place by the Sidonians is easily accounted for. Sidon was a commercial city. Situated on the coast, with only a narrow strip of plain beside it, and the bare and rocky side of Lebanon impending over it, a large and constant supply of food had to be brought :from a distance. The plain around Laish is one of the richest in Syria, and the enterprising Phoenicians took possession of it, built a town, and placed in it a large colony of laborers, expecting to draw from it an unfailing supply of corn and fruit. Josephus calls this plain " the great plain of the city of Sidon" (Ant. 5:3, 1). A -road was made across the mountains to it at an immense cost, and still forms one of the main roads from the seacoast to the interior. Strong castles were built to protect the road and the colony. Kulat esh- Shukif, one of the strongest fortresses in Syria, stands on a commanding hill over the place where the ancient road crosses the river Lcontes, and it is manifestly of Phoenician origin. So also the great castles of Banias, four miles east of Laish, and Hunin, about six miles west of it, were founded by the Phoenicians, as is evident from the character of their architecture (Porter. Handbook, p. 444, 447; Robinson, Researches, 3:50, 2, 371, 403). It is most interesting to discover, after the lapse of more than three thousand years, distinct traces of the wealth and enterprise of the Phoenicians around the site and fertile plain of Laish. SEE DAN.
2. A place mentioned in Isa 10:30, where the prophet, in describing the advance of the Assyrian host upon Jerusalem, enumerates Laish with a number of other towns on the north of the city. It is not quite certain whether the writer is here relating a real event, or detailing a prophetic vision, or giving a solemn warning under a striking allegory; but, however this may be, the description is singularly graphic, and the line of march is pointed out with remarkable minuteness and precision. Aiath, Migron, and Michmash are passed; the deep ravine which separates the latter from Geba is then crossed; Ramah sees and is afraid-" Gibeah of Saul is fled." The writer now, with great dramatic effect, changes his mode of description. To terror and flight he appends an exclamation of alarm, representing one place as crying, another as listening, and a third as responding-—"Lift up thy voice, daughter of Gallim ! Hea.ken, Laishah! Alas, poor Anathoth !" The words הִקשַׁבַי לִישָׁה are rendered in the A.V., "Cause it (thy voice) to be heard unto Laish' — that is, apparently, to the northern border-city of Palestine; following the version of Junius and Tremellius, and the comment of Grotius, because the last syllable of the name which appears here as Laishah is taken to be the Hebrew particle of motion, "to Laish" (agreeably to the Hebrew accent), as is undoubtedly the case in Jg 18:7. But such a rendering is found neither in any of the ancient versions, nor in those of modern scholars, as Gesenius, Ewald, Zunz, etc.; nor is the Hebrew word here rendered " cause it to be heard" found elsewhere in that voice, but always absolute — " hearken" or "attend." There is a certain violence in the sudden introduction amongst these little Benjamite villages of the frontier town so very far remote, and not less in the use of its ancient name, elsewhere so constantly superseded by Dan (see Jer 8:16). Laishah was doubtless a small town on the line of march near Anathoth (see Lowth, Umbreit, Alexander, Gesenius, ad loc.).
Many, therefore, understanding a different place from Dan (Rosenmiiller, Alterth. III, ii, 191; Hitzig and Knobel, Comment. ad loc.), regard it as the Laisa (Ε᾿λεασά, Cod. Alex. Α᾿λασά) mentioned in 1 Macc. 9:5; but Reland has shown that the city of Judah there referred to is Adasa, and the form of the word in Isaiah does not warrant this interpretation (see Gesenius, Comment. ad loc.). This Adasa has been discovered by Eli Smith in the modern ruined village Adasa. immediately north of Jerusalem (Robinson, Researches, 3, Append. p. 121).
A writer in Fairbairn's Dictionary plausibly suggests that the Laishah in question may be found in the present little village El-Isawiyeh, in a valley about a mile N.E. of Jerusalem (Robinson, Researches, ii, 108), beautifully situated, and unquestionably occupying an ancient site (Tobler, Topographie von Jerusalem, ii, § 719).
3. A native of Gallim, and father of Phalti or Phaltiel, to which latter Saul gave David's wife Michal (1Sa 25:44; 2Sa 3:15, in which latter passage the text appears to have read לוּשׁ, Lush). B.C. ante 1062. "It is very remarkable that the names of Laish (Laishah) and Gallim should be found in conjunction at a much later date (Isa 10:30)" (Smith). "This association of names makes it more than probable that Laishah was founded by Michal's father-in-law, who, according to the custom of those times, gave it his own name. The allusion to the lion which it involves is interesting: for this neighborhood was another of the favorite haunts of that animal. It was by such ravines as wadys Farah and Seliem that it was wont to 'come up from the swelling of Jordan' (Jer 49:19); in the opposite direction we have a further trace of it in the Chephirah (' young lion,' now Kefir) of western Benjamin (Jos 9:17; Jos 18:26); northward, we find it encountering the disobedient prophet on his return from Bethel (1Ki 13:24); while in the pastures of Bethlehem to the south we see it vanquished by the superior prowess of the youthful David (1Sa 17:14-17)."