CLAIM: This passage refers to a time “before any king ruled over the Israelites.” But, critics argue, this was supposedly written 500 years before Israel became a monarchy. If this is truly Mosaic authorship, how could the author have known about the future kingship in Israel?
RESPONSE: This is a case of an antisupernatural bias. If God exists, then he can know and impart the future to finite human beings through supernatural revelation. Moreover, God had made promises to Abraham (Gen. 17:16) and Jacob (Gen. 25:23; 35:11) about kings being among their descendants. Since Moses knew these promises, he was aware that a king would eventually come about in Israel’s future. This is why God gave Moses laws for the future king (Deut. 17:14-15). God had promised the Jews land and a nation. It only made sense to see the need for a future king, as well. In this passage, Moses was comparing and contrasting Israel’s future kingdom with Edom’s, demonstrating that Israel would overcome Edom. For more on this subject, see the article titled “Authorship of the Pentateuch.”