Anachronisms in the Torah

In the Torah (Genesis-Deuteronomy), there are many Anachronisms, or things that dont belong there. Why is this? It is because the Torah was not written by 1 author and wasnt written by Moses. It was written by multiple authors in the first millenium BC. What are the anachronisms? 

  • If Moses wrote Deuteronomy, He didnt write about his death.
  • Exodus 19:22, 24 talk about Priests. At first this may not seem significant. But looking closer, one realizes that the priesthood could not nor was established until after “Moses went up to Mt. Sinai”. 
  • Genesis 47:1-6,11 is suppose to take place sometime 1561-1451 BCE which is Joseph’s lifetime, but the reign of Rameses the Great did not begin until about 1279 BCE. It lasted until about 1213 BCE. Consequently, the area at issue was not named for Rameses until the 13th century BCE or subsequently, but at least two hundred years after the initial settlement of Jacob’s family according to Genesis. Moreover, the name Goshen may be related to an Arabic tribe whose domination of the area did not occur prior to the 6th or 5th centuries BCE.
  • In Genesis 26:1, we read that at a time when famine forced him to move, Isaac traveled to the King of the Philistines. The story seems perfectly reasonable, until one realizes that the Philistines, as part of the Seas Peoples migration, did not arrive in Canaan until about 1200 BCE, centuries after Isaac died.
  • In Genesis 11:28, we read that Haran, brother of Abram (as he was then named) died in his native land, called Ur of the Chaldeans. Ur, located in what is now Iraq, was an ancient city, once the capital of Sumer. But the Chaldean Empire existed only relatively briefly, from about 626 to 539 BCE. That is, there were no Chaldeans until the late 7th or 6th centuries BCE, perhaps a thousand years or more after the reported death.
  • Genesis 36:31-39 “The Jewish court physician Isaac ibn Yashush, for example, observed in the later half of the eleventh century that the Edomite kings list in Genesis 36:31-39 could not possibly have been written by Moses; the list recalls names of Edomite kings who were active in the times of David and Solomon. Furthermore, Gen 36:31 strongly implies that its author was writing after the monarchy was established in Israel, since he possesses knowledge of a monarchal period in Israelite history: “These are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the Israelites.” This passage must have been written by someone living in the 9th century BC at the earliest” 

More from an article that I got support from:

There are additionally numerous political and religious institutions, and even city names throughout the Hexateuch (the books of Genesis through Joshua) which did not exist in the time of the patriarchs, the exodus, the wilderness narratives, or the conquest narratives. That is to say, they did not yet exist in the narrative’s purported historical setting. They are anachronisms and reflect the geopolitical world of a much later time period, the actual author’s time period. The 9th-8th century BC border between the Israelites and the Philistines, for example, is anachronistically portrayed as a treaty made between Abraham/Isaac and the Philistine king Abimelek in Genesis 21:30-32 and 26:32-33. Likewise Israel and Aram’s 9th-8th century BC political border is portrayed through the covenant made between Jacob and Laban. As is visible from these two examples, tribal or kin relationships depicted in the book of Genesis often recall the political realities of a much later time period, that is of the author of the text’s own time period. The relationship between Jacob and Esau in Genesis 25 and 27, which our narrative informs us are eponyms for Israel and Edom respectively, reflects the political relationship between Israel and Edom in the 9th and 8th centuries BC—the time in which this narrative was most likely written, and thus it aims at explaining the origins of its own historico-political circumstances. There are many more anachronisms throughout the Hexateuch and they have served later generations of biblical scholars and readers as clues to the dates of composition of the texts and traditions that make up its books

The Torah, and other book of the Old Testament (OT) includes anachronisms. 

What does this mean for the Bible?

Do Anachronisms disprove the Bible? No. The Bible was originally written to convey God’s message and the History of God’s interaction with Humanity; All while presenting it all Culturally throughout the OT. You notice that God never went into detail about science things such as photosynthesis, the digestive system, gravity, etc….”Why” you may ask; because the culture of that time didnt know about gravity, cells, UV rays, ATP, Chlorophyll, etc. So why would God cause confusion about this stuff instead of just conveying Hus message culturally? God is the inspiration and He inspired the different Authors to write the different parts that fit their culture. 

I hope this helped you all and God bless! 

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