We certainly are aware of this liberal approach to the authorship of the book of Genesis. One writer, commenting upon Genesis 14:14, has stated: 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 record?
(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, 1:253).
(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 concedes, with reference to Genesis 14:14, that one of the supposed arguments for the late date of Genesis 14 must therefore be abandoned (1899, 1:997).
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 Knowledge).
Willis, John T. (1979), Genesis (Austin, TX: Sweet).
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