14 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.
NASB  Genesis 14:14

47 Then they struck it with the edge of the sword and possessed it and settled in it; and they called Leshem Dan after the name of Dan their father.
NASB  Joshua 19:47

29 They called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father who was born in Israel; however, the name of the city formerly was Laish.
NASB  Judges 18:29

SAB Contradiction 113 

A corrupted Law?

The name ‘Dan’ in Genesis 14:14 is generally considered as an intervention from the time after Moses. Because then the name Dan was given to the city Laïs (or Leshem). Abraham lived many years earlier so how is it possible that we read: ' … and he [Abraham] went in pursuit as far as Dan.’? (Genesis 14:14) It is seen as the only possibility that this name was inserted in Genesis 14:14 long after Moses. E.g. the NIV Study Bible remarks in a note: ‘Thus the designation here is most likely a later editorial updating.’ But how valid is this point of view?

Skeptic’s Annotated Bible 

About Genesis 14:14: ‘”Abram … pursued them unto Dan.”  This is an obvious anachronism, since the city of Dan was not named “Dan” until the time of the Judges (Judges 18:29). In fact, Dan (for whom the city was named) was not even born yet (Genesis 30:6).’

No unlawful primacy

When we observe city names of other tribes, we may ask: The Rubenites, did they call a city ‘Ruben’? Answer: No. The Simeonites, did they call a city ‘Simeon’? Answer: No. And the Naphtalites, did they call a city  ‘Naphtali’? Answer: No. We may conclude: No tribe used the single name of their forefather for a city. Had they done that, then that city would have claimed in fact an unacceptable primacy above the other cities.

Into its own again

From the previous it is clear: there was another reason for the Danites to call the city Laish ‘Dan’. In fact they restored an old name. In Abraham’s time it was already named Dan and so they decided to give it this name again. They restored an old tradition.

The expression ‘after the name of Dan’ can be translated more accurately: ‘as the name of Dan ’ (Joshua; Hebr. kesjem) or ‘in accordance with the name of Dan’ (Judges; Hebr. besjem)

Benefits of the old name

1. With the restoration of the old name, the Danites made it clear that they considered themselves to be the legitimate heirs of the city.
2. They could defend their choice of the name against the other cities of their tribe and of Israel with reference to Abraham, who had already known the city with the name Dan.
3. And last but not least, the accordance with the name of their forefather meant that the city would be connected with the tribe of Dan forever.


There is no any reason for suggesting an anachronism or editorial updating, as there is no corruption in Genesis 14:14; no trickery in the Law of Moses.

No Bible Contradiction