There is evidence of proto-Israelite settlement in Canaan
around 1400BC. The Iron Age in Canaan is dated to 1150BC at the earliest.
How then can Moses be the author of Leviticus when he reports God as
speaking of iron in 26;19 when it was not to be discovered until 200 years
after his death ?
A few points.
1. The Hebrew word in Leviticus 26:19 barzel seems to definitely denote
something made out of iron.
2. I have never held that Moses wrote the book of Leviticus. This is a
tradition with no evidence behind it. Moses brought the law to the
people, but he probably did not produce the book we now call Leviticus.
3. Nevertheless, whether or not Moses wrote the book, your question still
stands. It is not relevant who wrote the book, but when the laws were
4. Estimates for the time of the invention of iron vary, but
archaeologists have found evidence of iron in Anatolia from about 2000 BC
onward. There is evidence that the rise of the Hittite empire in the
period around 1500 BC was largely due to its advanced use of iron
weapons. By 1500 BC it had already become apparent that iron weapons were
superior to bronze. We know that in conquering Palestine, Israel came
into contact with Hittite power and culture. Therefore, it is quite
reasonable that a writer of Leviticus in around 1400 BC (I am open to a
later date of writing for this book, but I prefer this date) would use the
metal iron as a metaphor for stubbornness, as it was the most stubborn
metal available at that time.
Whoever produced this supposed evidence against the Bible ought to be
reminded to do a better job of scholarship before he or she puts out
insupportable “dirt” on the Bible.
John Oakes, PhD