Were Aijalon and Gathrimmon taken from Dan (Joshua 21:23-24) or Ephraim (1 Chronicles 6:66, 69) and given to the Levites? Is there a contradiction?
First, let us acknowledge that these two documents are not contemporary. In fact, there are about 900 years between the dates of Joshua (1370 BC) and the Chronicles (450 BC).
How much can things change in a land over the course of 900 years? If we go back 900 years from today, neither the United States nor Canada existed! I suspect the names and borders in many regions have changed over the past 900 years. Why should we be surprised to find city names or regional borders changing in over a period of 900 years in the Bible?
Joshua 21:20-26 records the cities which were given to the children of Kohath. Their cities were supplied by the tribes of Ephraim, Dan, and the half-tribe of Manasseh which was on the west side of the Jordan river.
1 Chronicles 6:66-70 records the same allotment of cities, but as indicated, 900 years later. A few differences can be noted:
- Kibzaim became Jokmeam
- Eltekeh & Gibbethon are not listed in 1 Chronicles.
- Aijalon & Gath Rimmon not associated with Dan
- Tanach & Gath Rimmon of Manasseh are listed as Aner and Bileam
- Joshua lists locations from all three tribes, Chronicles only mentions Ephraim & Manasseh.
Do the texts agree? No. Does that mean there is a contradiction? No. Over the course of 900 years, cities and regional boundaries can and do change. If the questioner can demonstrate that the geography of 450 BC was different from the Chronicles record, then a contradiction exists. Otherwise, there is no contradiction.
A response to 1001 Bible Contradictions.