The Canons of Biblical Chronology
O.k. Now that I've posted this article enough, it needs an introduction. The format is some principles of Biblical Chronology or key points, that should be obvious, but that were thrown out the door when the Higher Critical Assyrian school decided Assyrian Chronology was superior to Biblical Chronology. The results of that live on in just about every Study Bible and Biblical reference tool you can buy. This paper seeks to correct it. Here are the key dates for the context of this paper.
597 BC Exile of Jehoiachin
593 BC 390 year era, Ezek. 4:5
983 BC Commencement of 390 years
1019 BC 4th year of Solomon
1632 BC Exodus
The Biblical chronology is to be completed based on the dates that the Scripture alone supplies. Outside chronologies should not determine the Scriptural results. But if they can be constructed from the tatters of ancient near east history, they should be so constructed as to agree with Biblical Chronology, and where possible the independence of the secular chronology established so that it might confirm the Biblical Chronology. Using this principle we will achieve the most parsimonious explanation of both the Biblical data and the secular chronologies. This principle is a faith based principle well founded on the facts. But there are many people who claim to create chronologies agreeing with Scripture who have violated this principle by introducing secular Chronology that is not vouchsafed by Scripture, and then on the basis of the secular chronology introducing arbitrary interpretations of Scripture that have their foundations in the secular chronology. The only way to clear the field of higher critics and humanists, and others who claim they take account of the Scripture is to check and see if their world view is subject to this principle. The current Evangelical chronology created by Leslie McFall and Edwin Thiele violate this principle because they introduce arbitrary coregencies which cannot be confirmed by Scripture’s own statements, and in fact contradict some of the statements in Scripture. Namely, the results of the higher critic, secular-athiest, and humanist Assyrian school of Chronology has been used to revise Biblical Chronology.
No arbitrary assumption shall be based on a date not supplied in Scripture.
If Scripture supplies a date based on the chronology of a nation outside of Scripture, then the outside chronology is to be regarded as secure. This only extends to the necessary outside support for the actual date given. Scripture supplies Neo-Babylonian datings, Persian dates, and a Roman date in Luke 3:1. The Scripture approved of these dates, and so they must be considered secure within the normal ranges of interpretation, i.e. a regnal year may use accession counting, or non-accession counting. But the normal method used by the nation in question shall be assumed unless an adjustment is needed to avoid two biblical statements from contradicting each other.
The foundation securing Neo-Babylonian dates is astronomical. 2 Kings 24:12. The 8th year of Nebuchadnezzar began the exile of Jehoiachin. This is astronomically dated to begin with the spring of 597 BC using VAT 4956 in the 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar. We expect the
597 BC = 8th year of Nebuchadnezzar to be correct because this is the accepted dating, and also because Scripture deigned to use the date, the Holy Spirit knowing that the date would be able to be anchored in history. The same reign of Nebuchadnezzar is anchored by other astronomical observations.
Prior to the Neo-Babylonian Empire, Scripture does not condescend to use a single outside or secular dating of Assyria, Egypt, or any other nation. And after the Neo-Babylonian period, Scripture ceases to continue the continuous internal chronology that started with Adam. This is because the Spirit knew that it would not be necessary to continue it once the the Biblical Chronology was linked up with non-biblical human history with sufficient record keeping and preservation of records to keep history in order.
Scripture gives some long numbers to check the Biblical Chronology. In the 5th year of the exile we learn that the prophet was the lie on one side for 390 days, a year for a day for the sin of Israel (cf. Ezekiel 1:1-2; 4:5):
Count forward Count Backward
597 = 1 593 = 390
596 = 2 594 = 389
595 = 3 +388 -388
594 = 4 982 = 1
593 = 5 = 390.
The year 982 BC converts to a Tishri to Tishri epoch 983 Fall to 982 Fall. Most of this year is in 982, i.e. Jan 1 to October 4, 982 BC. This is when the kingdom of Israel was divided into Israel and Judah. The date in Evangelical Bible Commentaries is closer to 930 or 931 BC. The 50 year difference is due to the fact that Leslie McFall and Edwin Thiele compacted the chronology of Israel by 52 years or so by adding arbitrary coregencies. The motive for this was they wanted the Biblical Chronology to match the results of the higher critics and secular humanists in the school of Assyrian Chronology. These scholars saw fit to deny that the Biblical Chronology was complete, and decided that Assyrian Chronology as determined by their archaeologists was complete. Namely, they decided there were no gaps in the Assyrian eponymous lists. And this was despite the fact that the lists do not all agree with one another.
The 983/982 date for the division of the Kingdom was computed independently of The Scroll of Biblical chronology by Willis Judson Beecher around the turn of the 20th century. And even though I used the long number of 390 years above, all the smaller independent reigns of the kings also add up to the 983/982 date for the division of the kingdom. It is a shame that Beecher’s solution was abandoned in the face of the humanist Assyrian School, which though started by George Smith, a good man, and who accepted the biblical Chronology, was soon infiltrated and overrun by secular humanists the same way many other Christian institutions were subverted by men not led by the Spirit.
How is it that 390 years just happens to exactly fit the time from the division of the kingdom to the date on which the Prophet Ezekiel was informed of the fact? It is no coincidence, but by the design of the Spirit. And there is a wheel within the wheel, or a cipher within the cipher, which I will get to later in this paper. But the counting of years from the divided kingdom is noted in 2 Chronicles 15:10, 15:19 and 16:1. The 15th year of Asa is the 35th year of the kingdom of Asa, namely the divided kingdom of Judah, and the 16th year is the 36th year. Baasha made war on Asa in the 36th year of the divided kingdom (16th year of Asa), but Baasha died in the 25th year of Asa. So the 35th and 36th years date the divided kingdom starting off the 390 year era to Ezekiel 1:1-2, 4:5. The 35th and 36th years are not a mistake, but they are a cipher meant to be solved at the right time. By simply continuing the count up to 390 the endpoint comes to the prophecy of Ezekiel, where it is revealed what the total sum of years is.
Era shall be added upon era without overlaps. This principle is obvious common sense when writing or reading a history. If one king or ruler follows the next in succession then the historian does not overlap administrations without telling the reader. Again higher critical interpreters of Scripture have assumed arbitrary overlaps in order to force the biblical chronology to fit the preconceived history of other nations. Arbitrarily overlapping Biblical Chronological ears or rules of kings is the same as rejecting the Scripture. A coregency can only be justified if it can be proved from scripture itself that a coregency occurred.
Continue counting back from
/982 by adding era to era:
Solomon 40 years
David 40 years
Saul 40 years
/x means the Tishri year
x+1/x in which the majority of the year lies in year
/982 = 983/982.
/982 BC Division of Kingdom = 1st year of Rehoboam
/983 BC 40th year of Solomon
/1022 BC 1st year of Solomon
/1023 BC 40th year of David
/1062 BC 1st year of David
/1063 BC 40th year of Saul
/1102 BC 1st year of Saul
Sometimes Scripture contains ciphers which only the initiated can understand. Sometimes these are called parables. A lot of people are going to despise this principle. The beauty of a cipher is that it keeps hidden at the appropriate times the answer. But a cipher can also be solved once the key is known, and then the solution verified correct by another line of evidence. The ciphers keep the solution from the higher critics, who demand that we reinterpret Scripture according to their understanding. If they knew the solution to the whole puzzle, then instead of demanding we interpret it their way, they would resort to banning or burning Scripture. This is why ciphers (or parables) are required. And of course viewing Scripture from a human point of view prevents one from recognizing that the Spirit guided the writing of the writer to include the cipher. They will simply ridicule it and proceed to revise Scripture with their human speculations, and then end up denying that it is precisely accurate altogether.
In Acts 13:21 we actually have that Saul reigned 40 years. But nowhere do the Torah and Prophets state this outright. The answer is stated in Acts 13:21 because someone had solved the cipher. But the solution being in the Apostolic Writings is easily dismissed by many critics as just being a piece of tradition, since it comes in a speech by Stephen. The Cipher is in 2 Samuel 2:10. Ish-bosheth was “a son of forty years” and ended up being king when his older brothers all went to war with Saul and were slain. Ish-bosheth was much too young to go to war with his brothers (1 Samuel 31:2), and indeed, too young to effectively rule. He is omitted in 1 Samuel 14:49 because he was not born yet (cf. 1 Chronicles 8:33) as of the time that part of Samuel was written. The meaning of the cipher is that his father ruled forty years, and Ish-bosheth was the son of a kingdom lasting 40 years, i.e. the heir of it. Several other passages set the precedent for the cipher. First 1 Samuel 13:1. Saul was the son of a year in his kingdom, and reigned two years. Of course, like Ish-bosheth, this does not refer to Saul’s age. Son of a year means one year was completed and he was in his second. In the same way Ish-bosheth was the son of a kingdom lasting forty years. Common sense, of course, tells us that Saul reigned more than two years. The notation in 1 Samuel 13:1 is merely saying how long he had reigned up to that point in time. The next clue is that 2 Chronicles 22:2 has precisely the same Cipher. Ahaziah was the son of forty-two years, which is not to be explained by changing the Hebrew text as some translators do. The 42 years date the dynasty of Omri, from whom Ahaziah was descended. A closely related cipher is used in 2 Chronicles 15:19 and 16:1, which dates from the inception of the divided kingdom the same era we computed the 390 years above.
That these ciphers are correctly solved may be shown by linking up the Sabbatical and Jubilee periods when the chronology is all done, and by taking eclipse records before and after Joshua’s Long Day into account.
The granddaddy of all ciphers is 1 Kings 6:1. The genius of a cipher is that it appears to be one thing on the surface, but it is really another in reality. This is the nature of parables. Parables are not supposed to be taken too literally. 1 Kings 6:1 has bedeviled most attempts to give a straight forward account of Israel’s history. This is because it states,
In the 480th year of the going out of Egypt […] in the fourth year of Solomon […] in the month of Ziv. It appears at first sight that we are to simply add 480 years from the 4th year of Solomon to the Exodus. There is just one problem with this. The smaller chronological units given in the book of Judges, 1st Samuel, and 2nd Samuel will not fit into 480 years when they are all added up. To make matters even worse, the actual years of Samuel’s judgeship are completely omitted from the chronology. Interlocking data is given all the way to the Neo-Babylonian periods, and before it all the way back to the Exodus. It is as if the cipher maker is daring us to calculate around this road block if we can.
I am not certain if I should give the answer to the whole world. But what harm will it do? There are so many skeptics and hard hearts in religion and outside of religion that there will be no shortage of naysayers. And it is doubtful if they can burn or ban the Scripture effectively at this point once the answer is known. They can only howl in protest as they rebel against the divine law. Biblical Chronology is a creation of glorious perfection by the Spirit of the Almighty for those of us who know it, to be revealed at a critical time when multitudes are ready to depart from the faith under the withering onslaught of higher critics reinterpreting Scripture, because where evil prevails, righteous testimony to the truth will increase so that the remnant is not overcome.
If we add a few figures we will find that the period under consideration exceeds 480 years:
40 years Wilderness
300 years Israel occupies Heshbon (Judges 11:26)
22 years Jair
18 years Ammonites
6 years Jepthah
7 years Ibzan
10 years Elon
8 years Abdon
40 years Philistines I
40 years Eli
20 years Philistines II
? years Samuel
40 years Saul
40 years David
3 years Solomon
594 years Total
We see the sum is not just over 480. It is over 480 by an awful amount of at least
114 years + ?. So what is the solution to the cipher? The solution is thus: The 480 years add up all the years during which Israel was left in peace by the surrounding nations to observe the “going out of Egypt,” i.e. the Passover. The 480th year is an ordinal number which counts the 480th observance of the “going out of Egypt.” There were times that Israel rebelled against this and followed the idolatry of the nations instead. Then they were oppressed by those nations. And the Scripture gives us the sum of these times:
8 years Cushan
18 years Eglon
20 years Jabin
7 years Midian
3 years Abimelech
18 years Ammonites
40 years Philistines I
20 years Philistines II
134 years Total
Now 480 passovers is counted as 479 full years and 1 month since the period begins at a Passover and ends just one month after the Passover. This we will round off to 479. Adding the missing years in:
134 + 479 = 613 years. We may now compute the
? for Samuel at
613 - 594 = 19.
The date of the Exodus. Solomon’s first year was
/1022 BC. This makes his 4th year
/1019. So we add 613 years on top of this:
1019 + 613 = 1632 BC. The Exodus was in 1632 BC in the spring of the year.
The 1632 date takes the book of Judges seriously, and provides a sensible solution to 1 Kings 6:1. No arbitrary overlaps of judges and oppressions are necessary as with lower dates. Also the 1632 date solves several difficult archaeological problems. The first of these is that the destruction of Jericho should have a Middle Bronze age date for its destruction. And we see with the 1632 Exodus that 40 years later is 1592 BC. 1592 BC fits the Middle Bronze age dating of the destruction of Jericho.
Another archaeological problem solved is that conventional Egyptian chronology agrees with the 1632 BC date. The Exodus occurs in the Second Intermediate period at the time of the demise of the 16th Hyksos Dynasty and the end of the 13th dynasty. Going back further, Joseph lines up with the height of the Middle Kingdom. Archeologist’s have proposed revising Egyptian history downwards by 200 years or so in order to match what they’ve been told is correct Biblical Chronology. But it is not the Egyptian history that is in need of revision. It is the deceptive interpretations of Biblical Chronology placing the Exodus in the 1495-1440 BC period. Once it is realized that the problem lies with the interpreters who arbitrarily reduce the history of the Judges by creating speculative overlaps and contradicting the texts which say the rest periods followed or preceded the oppressions, then the solution is at hand.
When multiple texts contradict one text, the honest thing to do is to side with the the majority of the texts, and seek another explanation for the one text that does not fit. This is the case with 1 Kings 6:1. It simply does not fit. The explanation that the number of years omits the oppressions is an old one. It was discovered when someone hundreds of years ago discovered that the numbers balance if the 480 year figure does not include the oppression periods. This solution was explained by Martin Antsey and David Cooper, and also by Bullinger in the Companion Bible. But it is rudely ignored by the majority of scholars who would rather take higher critical views that Judges just is not accurate, and therefore 1 Kings 6:1 cannot possibly be a clever cipher, but just a plain number that contradicts Judges. What I have done beyond these early pioneers is make some necessary slight adjustments turning their rough shod solution into a work of precision. I have worked out the bugs and minor discrepancies. Then I have put the whole on a solid basis of astronomy and biblical calendar science.
Other than the amazing archaeological results, which can be seen in the movie, Patterns of Evidence, and in author’s like David Rohl’s Pharoah’s and kings, are there any other confirmations of the 1632 BC date? The answer is that Scripture provides at least four more lines of evidence. The first of these is that summing up the oppressions or times when Israel was said to be in sin against the Almighty adds up to 390 years. And this is independent of the other use of the 390 years we made for the divided kingdom. The second is that the Jubilee and Sabbatical years link up. The third confirmation is that 70 years of rest may be found in the rebellion periods which explain the Babylonian exile. And the fourth confirmation is that astronomy on both sides of Joshua’s Long day can be connected.
Confirmations of the 1632 BC date of the Exodus:
- It allows the total sum of 390 years to be reached for Israel’s rebellions between the Exodus and the final exile of the northern kingdom of Israel.
- Adding the 40 years for the sin of Judah to the 390 yields 430 years, and in these 430 years are to be found years of rest totaling 70 which explain the Babylonian exile.
- Further the sabbatical and jubilee years actually link up with the 1632 date of the Exodus hitting jubilees of creation, Joseph, after the entry into the land, Saul, David, Hezekiah, the fall of Nineveh, and Nebuchadnezzar’s madness. All these synchronisms are achieved exactly on target.
- Astronomical link up us achieved with the Akkadian Empire, the Gutian period, Uruk, UR-III, Assyria, and the Amorite Babylonian Dynasty. This link up has defied solution by the best minds, not because they are not smart enough, but because they did not take into account the effect of Joshua’s Long day on observable eclipses before this miracle. The real miracle of the long day is that we can use the data provided with previous historical records.
- The 1632 BC date agrees with the standard archaeological periods.
- The 1632 BC does not require a radical revision of Egyptian history. In fact, it only requires slight adjustments within the range of very conservative scholarship.
- The 1632 BC date requires no radical revisions of Assyrian History, and only a very slight adjustment of UR-III, Gutian, and Akkadian chronology.
If you find these demonstrations compelling, then you cannot afford not to examine the Scroll of Biblical Chronology. The material presented here is only a tiny fraction of the evidence available. Indeed it is only some guidelines to enable the reader to get some inkling, some notion, of just what has gone wrong with Biblical Chronology. Some claims, though well documented, are simply too sensational to make without a lot of context and background and getting up to speed.