According to Genesis 14, Lot, the nephew of Abraham, was captured by certain kings of the east. The Genesis record states that
Abraham pursued the
abductors as far as Dan (Genesis 14:14). Some writers claim that this city was not named Dan until the time of
the judges (Judges
18:29), and thus this section of the book of Genesis must be dated at that time. Is such a charge correct?
We certainly are aware of this liberal approach to the authorship of the book of Genesis. One writer, commenting upon Genesis 14:14,
Therefore, the date of the present final form of the book of Genesis cannot be earlier than that time [period of the JudgesWJ], although the events that it relates and the oral or written sources from which it was composed are much earlier (Willis,
1979, p. 229).
The Mosaic authorship should not be repudiated upon such a flimsy basis. There are several ways of resolving the alleged difficulty.
(1) It is possible that the name was given by inspiration in anticipation of later historical developments (Thornton, 1887; Judges
18:29). Although this
is not a popular view of this circumstance, who can absolutely prove that it is incorrect? Must the supernatural always be eliminated
from the divine
(2) Some maintain that the name Dan actually was in use at the time of Abraham, but that it later was called Laish by
the Sidonians, into
whose hands it fell (Judges 18). Subsequently, it is suggested, in the time of the judges it received its original name again (Jacobus,
(3) Another view is that there was another Dandifferent from Laish Dan(possibly referred to in 2 Samuel
24:6; 1 Kings 15:20; cf.
2 Chronicles 16:4), which was situated near the sources of the Jordan. It is, therefore, in the highest degree probable that the
Dan mentioned in
Genesis 14:14 was a Phoenician town already existing in the time of Abraham, or at least in the Mosaic age. The narrative in
which the remark about
Dan occurs bears every mark of antiquity and accuracy, and such a blunder as making Abraham pursue the kings to a Dan that was
not so called until
five or eight centuries later is not to be thought of in such a connection (Harman, 1878, p. 160).
(4) Finally, we must note that even some of the most liberal scholars have surrendered their argument on Dan. Cheyne
reference to Genesis 14:14, that one of the supposed arguments for the late date of Genesis 14 must therefore be abandoned
Cheyne, T.K., ed. (1899), Encyclopedia Biblica (London: A & C Black).
Harman, Henry M. (1878), Introduction to the Holy Scriptures (New York: Eaton and Mains).
Jacobus, Melancthon W. (1864), Notes on Genesis (Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian Board of Publication).
Thornton, R. (1887), Commentary on the Old TestamentHistorical Books (London: Society for Promoting Christian
Willis, John T. (1979), Genesis (Austin, TX: Sweet).
Copyright © 2004 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
We are happy to grant permission for items in the "Alleged Discrepancies" section to be reproduced in their entirety, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) the authors name must remain attached to the materials; (4) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (5) alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, quotations, etc. must be reproduced exactly as they appear in the original); (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, in whole or in part, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken.
For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
Phone (334) 272-8558