Genesis 21:32, 34—Did the Bible mistakenly place the Philistines in Palestine at the time of Abraham?
Problem: The earliest allusion to Philistines by Palestinian or Egyptian sources is the twelfth century b.c., yet these verses place them in the area some 800 years earlier.
Solution: This is not the first time critics have come to false conclusions based on the general lack of historical knowledge concerning this period. Sodom and Gomorrah are examples of cities the Bible mentioned that were supposedly not historical. When the Ebla tablets were discovered, the charge of myth was refuted. These tablets contained references to both cities. It may just be a matter of time before similar evidence turns up to confirm the biblical testimony here regarding the Philistines. Until then, we can rest assured that the biblical record is accurate in this case, having confidence in the Scriptures based on its past record of trustworthiness. Furthermore, the critics’ argument is the traditional fallacious argument from ignorance. Simply because we lack evidence from extrabiblical sources of the earlier date for the Philistines does not mean they didn’t exist then. It simply means we lack the information.
See All Problems
This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.