Iron and Bronze. The tribe of Dan

David Stabnow dstabno at
Tue Sep 17 09:44:58 EDT 2002


You are right.  My argument for "according to" is not strong.  I am only
trying to introduce a possibility, "reasonable doubt" in the American legal
jargon.  And I am working from a presupposition that the Bible is
consistent and accurate in all it asserts, and hence I look for ways to
reconcile all the mentions of Dan without violating linguistic principles.
Since Dan is implied here in Gen 49 and elsewhere to be a son of Jacob and
a tribe in Israel, I am looking for a way to read this sentence that does
not exclude this implication.

I (DKS) wrote:

>> Thus linguistically one could argue that the meaning is, Dan will judge
>> people in accordance with the norms of judgment applied by one of the
>> tribes of Israel.  That is, prophetically speaking, Dan will judge
>> according to the Torah.

Ian Hutchesson replied:

> However, with this last "prophetic" idea, I think the
> argument has taken a leap off the limb, ie there is no
> logical way to extract such a meaning from the text as
> is, so I can only take "prophetically speaking" as an
> indication of eisegesis.

DKS: My decision to bring the notion of prophecy into this verse is not by
any means eisegesis.  On the contrary, I am interpreting the text as the
text reads.  The beginning of the section, Gen 49:1, clearly indicates that
Jacob is speaking prophetically ("I will tell you what will happen to you
in the after-days.").  To deny that it is prophecy is to dismiss the clear
intention and indication of the text -- probably on the basis of
presuppositions.  To allow presuppositions to lead one to contradict the
clear meaning of a text is a definition of eisegesis.  What we need to do
is to be conscious of our presuppositions, and then interpret the text
without violating linguistic principles.  We also need to be open to
adjusting our presuppositions to fit what we encounter in the text -- but
realistically we both know that doesn't often happen.

Now excuse me a moment while I put on my flame-resistant outfit.

Dave Stabnow
Bible Translation Editor
Broadman & Holman Publishers
Nashville, Tennessee
david.stabnow at

    Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do,
do everything for God's glory.  (1 Cor 10:31, HCSB)

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