Bible Chronology

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The following are in-depth analyses of Bible genealogies showing how many years have passed since God first created mankind.

Genealogies

Much of this is similar to Ussher's chronology.[1] It appears Ussher probably used the date Abraham entered Egypt as the starting point for the 430 years to the Exodus referenced in Exodus 12:40-41, which is probably why his early dates vary from my own by 200 years. After the Exodus his dates vary from my own by only 1-6 years. For a comparison between the dates I have reached and those reached by Ussher, see Ussher Comparison. Three dating methods are used below:

  • GC: Gregorian Calendar, the common method used today in which all years are in relation to the death/resurrection of Jesus.
  • YAC: Years After Creation, a total count of years since creation.
  • YAF: Years After the Flood, or the total number of years since the Noahic Flood.

The Patriarchs

S&d is shorthand for "sons & daughters" meaning that the Bible specifically says they had "sons and daughters" but does not give names.

Date GC Born YAC After Flood YAF Name Son Born Age Died YAC Other Children Reference
4203 B.C. 0 Adam 130 930 930 Abel, Cain, s&d Genesis 5:3-5
4073 B.C. 130 Seth 105 912 1042 s&d Genesis 5:6-8
3968 B.C. 235 Enos 90 905 1140 s&d Genesis 5:9-11
3878 B.C. 325 Cainan 70 910 1235 s&d Genesis 5:12-14
3808 B.C. 395 Mahalaleel 65 895 1290 s&d Genesis 5:15-17
3743 B.C. 460 Jared 162 962 1422 s&d Genesis 5:18-20
3581 B.C. 622 Enoch 65 365? 987 s&d Genesis 5:21-24
3516 B.C. 687 Methuselah 187 969 1656 s&d Genesis 5:25-27
3329 B.C. 874 Lamech 182 777 1651 s&d Genesis 5:28-31
2547 B.C. 1656 FLOOD[notes 1] Genesis 7:6
3147 B.C. 1056 Noah 500 950 1958 s&d Genesis 5:32, 9:29
2645 B.C. 1558 Shem[notes 2] 100 600 2158 Elam, Asshur, Lud, Aram, s&d Genesis 11:10-11
2545 B.C. 1658 2 Arphaxad 35 438 2096 s&d Genesis 11:10,12-13
2510 B.C. 1693 37 Salah 30 433 2126 s&d Genesis 11:14-15
2480 B.C. 1723 67 Eber 34 464 2187 Joktan, s&d Genesis 11:16-17
2446 B.C. 1757 101 Peleg 30 239 2026 s&d Genesis 11:18-19
2416 B.C. 1787 131 Reu 32 239 2026 s&d Genesis 11:20-21
2384 B.C. 1819 163 Serug 30 230 2049 s&d Genesis 11:22-23
2354 B.C. 1849 193 Nahor 29 148 1997 s&d Genesis 11:24-25
2325 B.C. 1878 222 Terah 130 205 2083 Nahor, Haran Genesis 11:26-32
2195 B.C. 2008 352 Abraham[notes 3] 100 175 2183 Ishmael, Zimram, et. al. Genesis 11:32, Genesis 12:4, Genesis 25:7, Romans 4:19
2120 B.C. 2083 427 GOD'S PROMISE TO ABRAHAM, ABRAHAM ENTERS EGYPT[notes 4] Genesis 12:1-4,10
2095 B.C. 2108 452 Isaac 40 180 2288 Esau Genesis 21:5, 25:20, 35:28
2055 B.C. 2148 492 Jacob Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Joseph, et. al. Genesis 47:28, Genesis 30, 35
1925 B.C. 2278 622 JACOB ENTERS EGYPT[notes 5] Genesis 47:28
Levi 137 Gershon, Merari Exodus 6:16
Kohath 133 Izhar, Hebron, Uzziel Exodus 6:18
Amram 137 Aaron, Miriam Exodus 6:20
1575 B.C. 2628 972 Moses Eliezer 120 Deuteronomy 34:7, Exodus 7:7, Exodus 18:4-6, Exodus 2:22, 1 Chronicles 23:15-17, 1 Chronicles 26:24-26
1495 B.C. 2708 1052 LEFT EGYPT, LAW OF MOSES GIVEN[notes 6] Galatians 3:16-17, Genesis 12:1-4, Exodus 12:40-41, Exodus 19:1
Gershom Deuteronomy 34:7, Exodus 7:7, Exodus 18:4-6, Exodus 2:22, 1 Chronicles 23:15-17, 1 Chronicles 26:24-26
1455 B.C. 2748 1092 THE EXODUS ENDS[notes 7] Deuteronomy 29:5, Deuteronomy 8:2-4, Exodus 16:35, Numbers 14:33-34, Numbers 32:13, Joshua 5:6

Kings of Judah

The main difference between the Kings and Patriarchs tables is that the Kings table below does not show children and instead shows the start and end ages for when kings reigned, as well as total length of their reign. With almost no exceptions, a king reigned until they died. Those exceptions include Uzziah, who defied God by going into the temple despite not being a priest. Uzziah became instantly leprous and resigned the kingship, living isolated and alone with his disease, and his son Jotham took over rule of the kingdom. (2 Chronicles 26:21) The last three kings of Israel, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah, were carried away in slavery to Babylon (2 Chronicles 36, 2 Kings 24-25).

Date GC Born YAC After Flood YAF Name Son Born Age Died YAC Reign Start Reign End Reign Length Reference
David 70 40 70 40 2 Samuel 5:4-5
1568 Solomon 3224 40 2 Chronicles 9:30
1015 B.C. 3188 1532 SOLOMON BUILDS THE TEMPLE IN 4TH YEAR OF HIS REIGN[notes 8] 1 Kings 6:1
1020 B.C. 3183 1527 Rehoboam 58 3241 41 58 17 2 Chronicles 12:13
Abijah 3244 3 2 Chronicles 13:1-2
Asa 3285 41 2 Chronicles 16:13
953 B.C. 3250 1594 Jehoshaphat 28 60 3310 35 60 25 2 Chronicles 20:31
925 B.C. 3278 1622 Jehoram 18 40 3318 32 40 8 2 Chronicles 21:5,20
907 B.C. 3296 1640 Ahaziah 22 23 3319 22 23 1 2 Kings 8:26, 2 Chronicles 22:2
3297 1641 Athaliah 3325 6 2 Kings 8:26, 2 Chronicles 22:2
885 B.C. 3318 1663 Joash 22 47 3365 7 47 40 2 Chronicles 24:1
863 B.C. 3340 1685 Amaziah 38 54 3394 25 54 29 2 Chronicles 25:1
825 B.C. 3378 1723 Uzziah 43 68 3446 16 68 52 2 Chronicles 26:3
782 B.C. 3421 1766 Jotham 21 41 3462 25 41 16 2 Chronicles 27:1
761 B.C. 3442 1787 Ahaz 11 36 3478 20 36 16 2 Chronicles 28:1
750 B.C. 3453 1797 Hezekiah 42 54 3507 25 54 29 2 Chronicles 29:1
708 B.C. 3495 1840 Manasseh 45 67 3562 12 67 55 2 Chronicles 33:1
663 B.C. 3540 1885 Amon 16 24 3564 22 24 2 2 Chronicles 33:21
647 B.C. 3556 1706 Josiah 16 39 3595 8 39 31 2 Chronicles 34:1
631 B.C. 3572 1917 Jehoahaz  ? 3595 23 23 0 2 Chronicles 36:2
633 B.C. 3570 1915 Jehoiakim  ? 3606 25 36 11 2 Chronicles 36:5
605 B.C. 3598 1943 Jehoiachin  ? 3606 8 8 0 2 Chronicles 36:9
618 B.C. 3585 1926 Zedekiah  ? 3617 21 32 11 2 Chronicles 36:11
587 B.C. 3617 1962 START OF THE BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY 2 Chronicles 36:20
517 B.C. 3687 2032 END OF THE BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY Jeremiah 25:12

Kings of Israel

Israel and Judah split into separate kingdoms during the time of Rehoboam. (2 Chronicles 10:16-19)

Date GC Born YAC After Flood YAF Name Son Born Age Died YAC Reign Start Reign End Reign Length Reference
Jeroboam[notes 9] 22 3225 1 Kings 14:20, 1 Kings 15:1
Nadab 2 Samuel 5:4-5
David 2 Samuel 5:4-5
David 2 Samuel 5:4-5
David 2 Samuel 5:4-5
David 2 Samuel 5:4-5
David 2 Samuel 5:4-5
David 2 Samuel 5:4-5
David 2 Samuel 5:4-5
David 2 Samuel 5:4-5
David 2 Samuel 5:4-5
David 2 Samuel 5:4-5

Population Growth

See also Genesis 9

First of all, population growth can be considerably faster when there is more room for expansion. That's why early Americans had such huge families in colonial America with approximately 9 children per family,[2] and few had less than 6.[3] Population growth spiked even higher during America's westward expansion.[4] Furthermore, even today less-developed countries have very high birth rates:[5] Niger's is 7.03, Mali's 6.25, and Somalia's 6.17 as compared to 2.06 for the United States, 1.90 for the United Kingdom, and 1.59 for Canada.[6]

However, to go by what the Bible says, that human lifespans exceeded 400 years on average after the Flood, you would logically see even higher birth rates since fertility would last longer and people would be able to keep bearing children much longer without any time lapse for age development. So instead of a birth rate of 10 or 15 in today's equivalent, we might even be talking as much as 15. When you realize that not only was the birth rate much higher, but the death rate much lower (given average lifespan roughly 6 times that of today's) it quickly becomes evident how population growth could skyrocket in such a short amount of time.

But just for curiosity's sake, lets do the math. Shem was Noah's son. Say Shem's wife lived about the same age as he did, or 600 years. (Genesis 11) We'll assume she could bear children from her teens until about 60% of her life was over, similar to today. So suppose she bore children from age 18 to age 360, or about 342 years, bearing 12 or 15 children every 60 years or so. By the end of her life, she alone will have born around 48-60 children by herself, right? That's a conservative minimum. And they'll each have had children of their own, who'll have had children of their own. And they won't die of natural causes for many centuries.

Critics only see a contradiction here because they try applying modern standards to the Bible without considering the scenario the Bible itself claims of vast lifespans, and because they ignore evidence showing the birth rate can drastically differ based on circumstantial factors.

Biblical Years

The Bible uses 360-day years instead of our current 365-day system. However, I am coming to believe this would make less of a difference than previously thought. As pointed out by Dean Coombs, the 360-day calendar inserts a 30-day month periodically which keeps the 360-day year consistent with our modern 365-day years.[7]

Notes

  1. The Flood occurred in the 600th year of Noah's life, so since Noah was born 1,056 Years After Creation, the Flood occurred 1,656 Years After Creation. For an exact date for the Flood, see Genesis 7:11 where the Flood was said to begin on the 2nd month, 17th day. This was presumably according to the Jewish calendar whose first month is Nisan (Esther 3:7) making this the month Iyar which typically falls from April-June, so the Flood appears to have begun around May. The Ark came to a rest on the 7th month, 17th day (Genesis 8:4), the month Cheshvan, so roughly September. Mountaintops were seen on the 10th month, 1st day; the Hebrew month Tevet - probably in December. The waters had receded fully by the 1st month, 1st day, Nisan, approximately March. The Earth had dried enough that Noah and the animals left the Ark on the 2nd month, 27th day, probably May. (Genesis 8:13) The dove and possibly other birds as well left even earlier. (Genesis 8:12)
  2. Noah's genealogy is given differently and doesn't mention who Noah's firstborn child was. Noah was 500 at the age of his firstborn (Genesis 5:32) but Shem's firstborn, Arphaxad, was born two years after the Flood when Shem was 100 years old and Noah was 602 years old. (Genesis 11:10) Thus, even though the timeline is continued through Shem just because of his importance as the progenitor of the Jewish people, he was not actually Noah's oldest child. Ham or Japheth apparently was. Given Japheth's being mentioned first in Genesis 10 he may well have been the oldest, born two years earlier before Shem.
  3. Abraham's genealogy is given similarly to Shem's, he is mentioned in conjunction with his other two siblings yet is actually the youngest of the three. (Genesis 11:26) Terah's firstborn was born when he was age 70 but a comparison of Genesis 11:32 and Genesis 12:4 reveals Abraham was not born until Terah was age 130. Haran appears to be the oldest and Nahor born sometime between Haran and Abraham, given the following evidence:
    • Haran died before his father Terah did, and before Abraham and Terah even left Ur. (Genesis 11:28)
    • Haran's son Lot appears to have been around Abraham's age, possibly even several decades older, and they traveled to the Promised Land together. (Genesis 12:4-5)
    • Nahor ended up marrying his brother Haran's daughter, Milcah (Genesis 11:29), and may have been age 90-100 when Abraham left (which in those days was roughly middle-aged - Genesis 11:19-23).
    • Nahor began having children before Abraham did, 12 male children and possibly an equal amount of female children, probably 20-30 children in all. (Genesis 22:20-24)
    It appears there was a pre-Flood practice adopted by early Mesopotamia of only giving the age of the eldest child, which causes confusion when an ancestor is a younger child (as in the case of Shem and Abraham).
  4. While Bible chronologists commonly begin the 430 year sojourn of Israel in Egypt (Exodus 12:40-41) at this point, it makes no sense to me for the sojourn to have begun during Abraham's lifetime. Abraham after all simply passed through Egypt on his way to Canaan. (Genesis 12:10-13:1)
  5. Jacob spent the final 17 years of his life in Egypt and lived 147 years (Genesis 47:11) so he must have entered Egypt in the 130th year of his life. Given this date, I expect the Israelites entered Egypt sometime around the period of Amenemhat II or Senusret I. Chronologically, the Vizier Siese would seem a good possibility for the Biblical Joseph. Per Exodus 12:40-41 the Israelites stayed in Egypt for 430 years exactly to the day. It would make no sense for this count to have begun earlier when Abraham first entered Egypt, as many chronologists have decided, as Abraham left Egypt on his way to Canaan. Rather, it would appear to begin when Jacob entered Egypt when his son Joseph held power and influence. It was during the lifetime of Joseph that Israel continuously stayed in Egypt, much of that time in slavery to the Egyptians. (Genesis 47:6-11) Therefore if the Israelites left Egypt in 1497 B.C. then they must have entered it 430 years earlier, in 1927 B.C.
  6. The Israelites had been in Egypt exactly 430 years to this point, much of it in slavery to the Egyptians (Exodus 12:40-41, Galatians 3:16-17). The departure from Exodus marks an interesting midpoint in Biblical chronology. 430 years were measured between Israel's arrival and departure from Egypt, and then another 480 years are measured after this point until the building of the temple by Solomon, for a total of 910 years.
  7. The Israelites were in the wilderness for 40 years. (Numbers 14:33-34)
  8. According to 1 Kings 6:1, Solomon's temple was built 480 years after the Israelites left Egypt, so if Solomon's temple was built in 1016 B.C. then the Exodus must have ended in 1496 B.C. Since Solomon reigned for 40 years, and the temple was built in his 4th year, this was 36 years before the start of Rehoboam's reign.
  9. A timeline for Jeroboam's rule and thus Israel's may be determined by comparing the chronology of Judah's kings. Interestingly, Israelite king's rulership is given only in relationship to Judah's kings, compare and 1 Kings 15:1. Since Jeroboam was in the 18th year of his rule when Abijah started ruling (1022 B.C.), in the 20th year of his rule when Asa started ruling (1 Kings 15:1-8), and reigned for twenty-two years (1 Kings 14:20), then he must have started ruling

Sources

  1. Ussher, James. Timeline of the Bible. Creation Ministries International.
    Ussher, James (1658). "The Annals of the World." E. Tyler.
  2. 1727: Colonial America. Western Washington University. Retrieved from http://www.acadweb.wwu.edu/osl/colonial_america.htm.
  3. Mintz, Steven, and Susan Kellogg. Domestic Revolutions: A Social History of American Family Life. NY: Free Press, 1988. Cited at Campbell University by Dr. Ken Vandergriff. Retrieved from http://web.campbell.edu/faculty/vandergriffk/FamColonial.html.
  4. University of Southern California (2008, February 29). What Caused Westward Expansion In The United States?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 10, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080228150402.htm
  5. Kuan Yew, Lee (2012, October 16). Warning Bell for Developed Countries: Declining Birth Rates. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/currentevents/2012/10/16/warning-bell-for-developed-countries-declining-birth-rates/.
  6. Country Comparison: Total Fertility Rate. CIA - The World Factbook. Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2127rank.html.
  7. Coombs, Dean. "Bible Prophecy Year of 360 Days." 360Calendar.com.