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A guest brought up this question at the shabbos table, and no one had an answer.

In D'Varim 8:9 it says "...a land whose stones are iron...". The question this guest asked was: How is it that the chumash refers to iron if this was before the iron age, and therefore iron was useless to the Jews?

  • Can you provide a source for what you know about the iron age and its implications for usefulness of Iron to Torah-period Jews? – Isaac Moses Aug 12 '14 at 17:33
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    (Comments from deleted target.) – Double AA Aug 12 '14 at 17:35
  • They had iron before the iron age. "Iron age" is when iron became the #1 go to metal. Furthermore, you can use meteorite iron without iron age level smelting. Also, if you are in the bronze age, then iron would seem extra hard, which is what the passage is trying to convey. – Clint Eastwood Dec 7 '17 at 12:59
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In Tanach the word Barzel - ברזל appears 44 times.

Per Wikipedia

The Iron Age in the Ancient Near East is believed to have begun with the discovery of iron smelting and smithing techniques in Anatolia or the Caucasus and Balkans in the late 2nd millennium BC (c. 1300 BC)

The Torah was given in the year 1313 BCE.

Notwithstanding the above, even if iron was useless prior to the iron age, it is likely that it was known as a strong metal, which is what the Torah is referring too.

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http://www.sciencealert.com/bronze-age-artefacts-have-meteorite-iron -- just saw this article from a scientific journal that says that the iron weapons used during the Bronze Age came from meteorites.

That also fits with the language of the verse, which says that the stones are iron.

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