Monday, October 12, 2015

Biblical Chronology

Someone new has entered the pass-time of interpreting Biblical Chronology, a project called The Tetra-Scroll.

My first annoyance is that like many others she has made the mistake of using the standard Secular date for Solomon as her starting point, which has his reign begin in 970 BC, and The Temple construction starting in 966 BC, and his death about 930 BC.  And thus the Exodus in 1446 BC.

The starting point should be the Fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar when Solomon's Temple was destroyed.  Which there is a two year discrepancy for, 588-586 BC.  Though I have seen one reference to 584 BC.  It was definitely in the 580s.

Ezekiel 4:4-6 tells us that there would be 390 years from the division of the Kingdom to the fall of Jerusalem.  That puts the division of the Kingdom in the 970s BC.  The division happens soon after Solomon died.  Many have counted all the reigns of the Kings of Judah to match that, with disagreement on the details but basically they match that.  Here is one website doing so without mentioning Ezekiel.

The problem was there are apparent inconsistencies between the Biblical Chronology and the conclusions historians have drawn from Assyrian Chronology.  And so secular historians chose to believe Assyria over The Bible, and then many believers sought to force The Bible to match the presumed Assyrian Chronology.  But there have been good arguments against using Assyrian chronology this way at Answers In Genesis and Creation Wiki, though I don't always agree with them exactly, I made my own post that deals with Ahab and Jehu.

Bishop James Ussher's Chronology in Annals of The World I think made mistakes, but I believe he got the Kingdom Period right, from Saul down to Zedekiah.  Ussher's Chronology is summarized here.  My only variation from Ussher on the Kingdom period would be I'd have Solomon 2 or 3 years younger when he becomes King because I believe Solomon was the youngest of Bathsheba's sons.  So Ussher had him 18 I have him as 15 or 16.  That doesn't effect the other dates at all however.

So I place the beginning of Solomon's reign about 1015 BC.  And the completion of The Temple in 1004 BC.  With 1011 or 1012 BC as when The Temple construction was started.

Some will also try to use the way Josephus synchronized Solomon with a Tyrian historian in Against Apion to support a younger date for Solomon.  Josephus goal in that part of that book was to show the Israelite nation had antiquity from gentile histories.  If he was aware that date for Hiram's reign conflicted with his other information he may not have even concerned himself with it.  Some think the copies he had of those Tyrian historians may have already been corrupted from the originals, today we don't have them independent of Josephus at all unfortunately.

In Wars of The Jews, after The Temple is destroyed in Book 6 at the end of chapter 4 he says it had been since it's first foundation was laid by Solomon 1130 years plus 7 months and 15 days.  Counting back from 70 AD that gives us 1061 BC, which is older then Ussher's date, (during his time frame for the reign of Saul).  If someone can find a way to interpret the chronology of the Kingdom period consistent with that I'd be interested, but for now I still favor Ussher's.

Josephus also said in Wars 6.10 it was 477 years and 6 months from David's taking Jerusalem till it was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar.  (Counting from a 588 BC date that is 1065 BC and 2 years later for the more popular 586 BC date) And that there was 1179 years from David till the destruction in 70 AD.  That's 1110 BC.  Not sure how those 3 dates he gave can be reconciled with each other much less The Bible.

When discussing the High Priesthood in Antiquities 20.10.2 he says there was 466 years and 6 months and 10 days form the dedication of Solomon's Temple till it was destroyed in 588-6 BC.  That gives us about 1054 BC for the completion of the Temple which is consistent with his date for when it began.  Which sounds like it makes 1065 BC his date for David's death and Solomon becoming King.  And 1110 BC his date for David being given Ziklag.  In Antiquities he corrects many mistakes he made in Wars.  These dates would add exactly 50 years to Ussher's for David and Solomon.

One thing that I feel confirms Ussher's date for the reigns of David and Solomon (about 1055-975 BC), is that Diodorus list of Thalasocracies (preserved by Eusebius) has the Pelasgians as the dominant seas power at about exactly that time (1057-972 BC).  And I've argued elsewhere how Pelesgians could come from Pelegians or descendants of Peleg, and thus be a term some Greeks might have called the Hebrews.  Also about 972 or 971 BC was when Ussher dated Shishak's sacking of Jerusalem in the early reign of Rehoboam.

Ussher's date for the Exodus was 1492 BC,  1 Kings 6:1 says there were 480 years from the Exodus to when The Temple was started.  Ussher and many others chose to just assume the one verse without a second witness settles the issue.

Problem is Acts 13 says there was 40 years in the Wilderness, 450 years of Judges, 40 years for Saul and 40 years for David.  That doesn't agree with only 480 years total, but when you count the time periods in Judges and 1 Samuel it agrees with 450 years from the first time Israel was subjugated to the start of Saul's reign.

Many have argued that the 480 year reference intentionally didn't count the foreign oppressions or the brief reign of Abimelech.  Which means you can add 114 years to the 480 to get 594 and then everything fits nicely.  That would move Ussher's Exodus date to 1606 BC, the end of the wandering in the Wilderness to 1566, the end of Joshua's 7 years conquest to 1559, and the death of Joshua in 1557 BC.

Josephus in Antiquities of The Jews 8.3.1 gave 592 years for this period.  Which suggests he considered the foreign oppressions to be excluded from the 480 but not Abimelech's 2 years.  He also said in 20.10.1 there were 612 years from Aaron till Solomon' Temple was dedicated.  Again Josephus numbers have issues, but he clearly recognized the Judges period was at least 450 years independent of trying to reconcile with Acts 13.

The Tetra-Scroll has the 430 years that ended with the Exodus begin when Abraham was 70.  This is based on her own convoluted explanation for two references being 430 years (Exodus 12:40 and Galatians 3:17) and another in Genesis 15 saying 400 years being a difference of 30 years before Issac was born.

But that doesn't work, nothing in The Bible is actually dated to when Abraham was 70, Genesis 12 begins with Abraham being 75 and that is where the 430 years references start.  Genesis 15 could just be saying about 400 years and the exact number we have to get elsewhere.

That is if you agree that the 430 years should begin with Abraham and not with Joseph.  As Ussher, the Tetra-Scroll and Rob Skiba all agree it should.  But I haven't made up my mind on that entirely yet.

The Prophecy being given to Abraham by no means proves it starts with him.  Galatians 3:17 is the main reason I have sometimes leaned towards 430 years from God making his promise to Abraham (which was when Abraham was 75, not 70) until the Torah was given.

The context of Galatians 3 earlier talked a great deal about Abraham.  But Promises were given more then once, so it could be Paul meant The Law was 430 years after the last Promise God gave the Patriarchs.  Which could arguably refer to the Death of either Jacob of Joseph.   Also what Paul meant could have been at least 430 years as he no doubt knew Exodus 12:40.

The way the 430 years is expressed in Exodus 12:40 makes it sound like it was entirely in Egypt.   Jacob died in 2315 AM.  Joseph died in 2369 AM.  According to Ussher, who's Biblical AM dates I consider correct up to the Death of Levi in 2385 AM.  The Death of Joseph is when the narrative of Genesis ends.  It could be the enslavement happened 30 years after Joseph died, which would make a lot of things fit.

I used to agree with Rob Skiba that they were not necessarily slaves for the entire 400 years, the disagreement is only if the 430 or 400 years should begin when either Joseph or the family as a whole entered Egypt rather then Abraham.  But the wording of Genesis 15 as I've studied it in more then just the KJV, says they will be in the nation that will afflict them for 400 years.

One mistake Skiba makes is he thinks the Pharaoh who "did not remember Joseph" literally lived so long later after that Joseph was forgotten.  If that's the case that actually supports a longer sojourn in Egypt model.

That statement could be just an expression meaning he didn't regard Joseph, he was willingly ignorant of what Joseph accomplished.  There is no guarantee that Pharaoh was born after Joseph died, and no reason he couldn't have been the very next new Pharaoh to be crowned after Joseph died.

Stephen in Acts further says that the Israelites suffered in Egypt for 400 years.  The Enslavement can't happen till after Joseph dies because it requires a New Pharaoh.  Perhaps it was 30 years after Joseph died.

Joseph's brothers entered Egypt over 200 years after God called Abraham, in the second year of the 7 year famine.  Joseph lived some time past that point and Moses was born 80 years before the Exodus.  So there would not be that many generations from Joseph to Moses.  If you start the 430 years with Abraham.  Yet the Hebrews had reproduced into a very large population.

Some might argue the genealogies don't give enough generations to fit my longer interpretation of the the Sojourn and Judges periods.  It can be demonstrated from The Bible repeatedly that Hebrew genealogies are willing to skip generations.  The Genesis 5 and 11 genealogies are exceptions because they mention dates, they're chrono-genealogies.  Matthew 1's genealogy skipped at least a few names the Old Testament records.  So I think there were more then two generations from Levi to Moses (certainly more then one mater-lineally).

There being more then only 10 generations from Pharez to David may hurt the way Chuck Missler likes to tie Genesis 38 to Deuteronomy 23:1-2's law about bastard lines not entering the assembly before the 10th generation as a prophecy of David.  But it may also be The Holy Spirit only recorded 10 generations to make it spiritually fit that even if it didn't literally.  The family of Boaz and Naomi certainly doesn't seem like one that didn't have full citizenship due to descending from bastards, they were actually pretty prominent locally.

Genesis 11:36 days Terah was 70 when he began having children.  Abraham is listed first because he's the most important to this chronicler, like Shem being listed first usually even though Genesis 10 tells us Japheth was the oldest and Shem the youngest.

The Chapter divisions were not in the original text, Genesis 11 ends with telling us Terah died then 12:1 God calls Abraham.  Acts 7:14 clarified Abraham left Haran when Terah died, which Genesis 12 makes clear was when Abraham was 75.  Since one of Abraham's brothers already had a full grown son at this time, it's not at all absurd to conclude Abraham was born 60 years after the firstborn.

The so called Book of Jasher supports a 1948 AM birth-date for Abraham because it's author wanted to have Abraham and Noah meet (it's basically Medieval Jewish Fan Fiction), and Noah died between 1948 and 2008 AM.  But since Noah was the first generation born after Adam died, Abraham being born after Noah died I feel fits better thematically.

So, Abraham was born in 2008 AM and called in 2083 AM.  Isaac was born 2108 AM and Abraham died in 2183 AM.

Ussher's Creation date I currently think was certainly 114 years off.  That gives us a Creation date of 4118 BC and the Flood in 2462 BC.  But I still haven't made up my mind exactly on chronology.

Also I do not believe The Tower of Babel incident happened the year Peleg was born, the Hebrew used a different word for divided there then when describing Babel.  I think it refereed to geographical divisions happening from the sea levels rising.  Babel would have happened sooner.  Peleg's Birth in the above model would be 2361 BC.

The author of the Tetra-Scroll eschatologically believes in the Seven Millenniums theory which I do not.  So she makes a big deal out of 6000 years from Creation being in her estimation 2107 AD and 7000 years being 3107.  My calculation above would give the 6000 years date as being 1883.

That is all assuming the 430 years begins with the call of Abraham.  No matter what I date 430 years before The Exodus to 2036 BC.

A longer Soujorn model would require a 4333 BC creation date at least, but if my hunch developed above of possibly beginning the 430 years with the Death of Joseph is correct, that would be a Creation date of 4405 BC and 2749 BC for The Flood and 2648 for the birth of Peleg.  That would place the year 6000 in 1596 AD.

I have trouble with using a Flood date as young as Ussher's (2348 BC) much less younger based on the conclusions I've come to studying Ancient History.

I don't mean Egypt (which conventional Chronology says started around 3100 BC) I know from the revised Chronology discussed on this blog Egypt is probably much younger.  And that Ussher's 2188 BC date for Egypt's founding is plausible.  Though I'd make it a little older then that.

China is not effected by revising Egyptian Chronology.  The dates for China's earliest Emperors are older even then the oldest Flood date proposed above.  The Earliest Chinese Emperors are highly mythologized, but I think their dates are accurate at least as early as Shun.

The date for the beginning of Fuxi's reign is right when Shem would have been born with a 2749 Flood date, 2852 BC.  Fuxi is the brother of Nuwa, a female Chinese deity with a name oddly similar to Noah, who is linked to China's Flood legend.  I feel it's possible Noah could have been married to his Sister, so they could be corrupted Pagan memorizes of Noah and his Wife.  The Yan Emperor is often identified with Shennong, he could be based on Shem.

2333 BC is the traditional date of the founding of the Korean kingdom of Gojoseon by Dangun.

But more directly relevant I expressed on this Blog before why I do feel The Sumerian Kings List isn't changed by Revised Chronology.  Though whether I favor the Short Chronology or Middle Chronology remains to be seen.  It's the Short Chronology that places the 2234 BC date for the founding of Babylon during the reign of Sargon of Akkad which fits the theories of my earlier Babel Post.  So I'll favor that for now.

That puts the Death of Gilgamesh at possibly 2623 BC but no later then 2503 BC.  Two Kings were between him and Enmerkar who I view as Nimrod.  Noah died 2006 AM which in this Creation model would be 2399 BC.  So Gilgamesh could have met him.

Deciding to randomly round down the exaggerated reigns of Enmerkar to 42, Lugalbanda 12, Dmuzid 10 and Gilgamesh to 12.  Gives them 76 years total.  Which could put the beginning of Nimrod's reign in 2699 BC.  Which in China happens to be the same year the Yellow Emperor began his reign.  I'm not gonna speculate they're the same person, but it's an interesting coincidence.  Sima-Qian considered him possibly the earliest historical Emperor.

The end of the reign of queen Kug-Bau/Kubaba of Kish would be 2409 BC.  The reign of Enshagkushana who she was contemporary with would be 2483-2423 BC using the calculation that has Gilgamessh die in 2623 BC.

Ur-Zababa of Kish's reign would have been from 2383-2377.  Sargon of Akkad was supposed to have been his Cup bearer at some point.  Which would make Sargon over 100 years old when he became King in about 2270 BC, and then reigned 56 years after that.  Genesis tells us that is possible.

The Death of Terah and Abraham leaving Haran would have been in 2322 BC.  During the reign of Ishme-Shamash of Kish, and possibly Lugal-Kinshe-dudu or Lugal-ure of Uruk.  A post I already linked to shows why I do NOT believe Abraham's Ur was the Sumerian Ur as popularly thought.

Chedolaomer was probably a King of the Awan dynasty who reigned before the Akadian period.  And Amraphel was probably an alternate name for either the contemporary ruler of Kish or Uruk.

I think it's possible the Babel project happened about a Jubilee (49 years) after The Flood around 2700 BC.  Giving Nimrod/Enmerkar about a year to establish himself via his Hunting prowess as a leading figure in Uruk, to then consolidate his power and build an Emperor over the next 42 years.

If you're thinking  "that isn't enough time to produce enough people" you're wrong.  Babel was at the time the dispersion happened probably not a Metropolis by modern standards, I'd be shocked if it had a whole 500 people.  I've done math that tells me you could easily get over 120 people who would be adults by modern standards, and did some rounding down to be safe.

So I feel the 4405 BC Creation date works.  Making now, October of 2015 AD the year 6419 AM.

Update December 8 2015:  I've been rethinking the material from Ezekiel 4:4-6 where the 390 years comes from.  It also refers to 40 years for Judah specifically.  40 years before the finale deportation in 584 BC was 624 BC when Josiah's special Second Passover occurred that brought many of the North to Judah.  It could be that's the end of the Iniquity of the House of Israel followed by 40 remaining years for Judah.  I'm unsure on this though because it would mean finding room for another 40 years in the chronology of the divided kingdom.

But if I could push my Creation and Flood dates down another 40 years to 4445 BC and 2789 BC Flood date.  That gives 89 rather then 49 years between the Flood and when I've calculated the reign of Enmerkar to begin.  Plenty of time for the Tower of Babel to have possibly happened 70-75 years after The Flood.

Also about 635-634 BC was when Josiah began to after God.  So that could add another decade.  And make an interesting thing to speculate with regard to Josephus numbers.

That would change my year 6000 AM date from 1596 to 1556.

But because of certain secular correlations discussed above and how it'd revamp the Kingdom period, I still favor the 4405 BC Creation date.  I found one random site online predating my first making this post that states a 4405 BC Creation date, but it doesn't explain why.  It's Here, that seems to have taken it's info from this Yahoo Answers entry, where a comment leaver named Voice in The Wilderness gave a 4405 BC date 4 years ago.

There is also the option of counting the 390 years as including Solomon's reign since the iniquity did begin with his mistakes, including marrying the Daughter of Pharaoh right at the start.  And so you could end it with Josiah's Passover and still get the same time frame for the Divided Kingdom.

Now it's popular to interpret this 390 years as a prophecy about the Northern Kingdom's captivity and play all kind of games with it misusing the "seven times" statement from Levitcus which was not about time periods.

The Hebrew word translated iniquity means guilt and offense.  The few senses where it can be used of punishment it would mean punishment equivalent to the sin.  Like the captivity in Babylon being 70 years because for 490 years they didn't keep the sabbatical year, that's 70 sabbatical years.  So I have looked at eschatological applications for the 390 years, but they still must be proceeded by 390 years of sin.

February 3rd 2016 Update: I speculate on some Pre-Flood chronology in a new post.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

1 Samuel 13:1

Is a verse that is difficult to translate, many skeptics suspect the text itself has lost some of it's original information in the copying.

Most translations ignore that the Hebrew word for "son" is in the verse.  Many translations are easy to mock for making it sound like Saul was only a year old when he began his reign.

My view is that it is saying Saul had a son early in his reign. possibly in it's first year, then it cuts forward 12 years or so to when his sons are much older.

Lots of people think there is no Old Testament basis for Paul's statement in Acts 13 that Saul reigned 40 years, and that the Old Testament narrative implies a reign probably much shorter.

But 2 Samuel 2:10 says Ish-Bosheth was 40 when his reign began.  He was Saul's youngest son born to his wife, so if Saul had at least one son during his reign, he reigned at least 40 years.  My hypothesis is Ish-Bosheth was born during Saul's first year as King.