Joshua 17 – 21
There’s an unexpected leap. According to the Bible Timeline website these chapters precede the rest of Judges. I’m not sure about the accuracy of the claims of this site, but felt that having these parts first allows us to get some kind of context for the kind of Israel that the Judges had to contend with.
Judges ends with the line, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Indicating that this was time when moral relativism seemed to be the norm. The reason given for this is that without the guidance of a King, the people wouldn’t maintain the moral laws upheld by Moses and Joshua.
There’s probably a lot that can be said about this, but I’m going to carry on the way I have been and address just the contradiction.
The city of Dan
Dan is mentioned as a city in Genesis 14, but apparently only named in the book of the Judges. For liberal Christianity this actually presents no problem, since they believe the Mosaic books were written by numerous (I think 5) authors over many hundreds of years. Their explanation would be that the person who authored Genesis 14:14 came after the incident mentioned in Judges, and just used the new name for what should have been called Laish.
This isn’t helpful for those who believe Moses’ work was respected and unedited. While this sounds like a rationalisation (because it is), the simple answer is, there was another city called Dan that no longer existed when Joshua led the Israelites into Canaan. This isn’t really satisfying, but it is a possibility which should be born in mind before saying there is a contradiction.
What are your thoughts?
Please give the reading through the Bible page a look if you haven’t already, there are some background posts and the index to this reading plan. Share it with others who you think can benefit from Reading the Bible.