CREATION AND CATASTROPHE CHRONOLOGY
© Barry Setterfield, September 1999
A. FROM THE TEMPLE DESTRUCTION BACK TO ABRAHAM:
NOTE: This section of the
study is totally independent of what Scriptural text type is used.
(1). DATING THE TEMPLE CONSTRUCTION:
(a). The Fall Of Jerusalem.
A base-line is needed to anchor any scheme of chronology: a
date upon which everyone agrees. One date that is usually uncontroverted
is the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple by King Nebuchadnezzar
of Babylon in 586 BC ± 1 year.
There in Babylon as a captive, the prophet Ezekiel in 4:1-5 records
that Israel's idolatry had lasted 390 years from the kingdom division
unto the fall of Jerusalem. This places the division of the kingdom
as 976 BC ± 1 year at Solomon's
It is possible to cross-check that from the Scriptures. If
the king lists in 1 and 2 Kings are taken at face value, using
only the stated co-regencies and inter-regnal periods, then one
can readily conclude that 390 years have indeed elapsed from the
Kingdom Division to the destruction of the Temple. That is done
chapter and verse in my handbook 'Creation and Catastrophe'
page 74, and is reproduced here in the appended Table 1. Alternatively,
a Scriptural authority such as Dr. J. Sidlow Baxter also confirms
the calculation (see 'Explore the Book', Lesson 35, pp.120-121,
Zondervan). He concludes that the Division occurred in 975 BC,
in good agreement with the 976 BC ±
1 year stated above.
It has become customary in recent times to bring this date
for the Kingdom Division down from 976 BC to around 931 BC. This
revision was introduced by Thiele and others (see 'The Mysterious
Numbers of the Hebrew Kings'). This was done in order to obtain
agreement with Assyrian chronology which has a gap of 51 years
prior to 763 BC. As a consequence, Thiele et al. have had to invoke
surprisingly long co-regencies for the later kings that are not
supported by direct Scriptural evidence. If the problematic 51
years are added to Thiele's date of 931 BC, one arrives at 982
BC for Solomon's demise and the Division of the Kingdom. Given
that Thiele's treatment (apart from the 51 problematic Assyrian
years) is valid, this gives a maximum error of ±
6 years in the 976 BC date derived above.
Now Solomon reigned for 40 years, and the Temple building started
in his 4th year. If 36 years are now added to 976 BC, the date
for the commencement of the Temple becomes 1012 BC ±
(b). The Monarchy And Temple Destruction.
There is another way to check the date of the commencement
of the Temple construction. The total time from the start of Solomon's
Temple to the time of its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar can be
calculated as [1012 - 586] = 426 years. The Monarchy of the Hebrews
lasted from King Saul's enthronement to the Temple destruction.
This period may thus be asserted as [40 + 40 + 4 + 426] = 510
years. Saul was thus made king in 1096 BC ±
6 years. It is of interest to note that Dr. Lawrence Duff-Forbes,
that great scholar of Scripture and things Jewish, actually lists
the crowning of Saul as being in 1096 BC. He states from his studies
that there was a resultant 510 years for the inception of the
Monarchy to the Temple destruction (see 'The Vineyard',
July 1991, p.3). Thus, Dr. Sidlow Baxter and Dr. Duff-Forbes reinforce
the conclusion that is displayed in Table 1.
(c). The Missing 70 Seventh-Year Sabbaths
Importantly, there is an independent cross-check is available
on these dates. Both 2 Chronicles 36:21 and Jeremiah 25:11 say
the Babylonian Captivity was to last 70 years as a punishment.
This was inflicted because, since the Temple was built, the Jews
had not kept the sabbath that was to rest the Promised Land every
7 years. In other words, the 70 years represented [70 x 7 = 490]
years during which the 7 year sabbath had not been kept.
Now God made a specific statement through His prophet Haggai
when the period of Desolation of Land and Temple was complete,
saying that '..from this day I will bless you...' (Haggai
2:16 ff). Ignoring for the moment that this dated statement may
actually have fulfilled Jeremiah's prophecy of the 70 years to
the very day, we move on to notice that it was the 2nd year of
Darius I. It is not usually disputed that this date is close to
if not actually 520 BC (see 'The Bible as History', page
306, by archaeologist Dr. Werner Keller). Now accepting that the
490 years ended in 520 BC, the building of the Temple thus commenced
in [520 + 490 = 1010] BC. This independent line of inquiry gives
a result remarkably close 1012 BC ±
6 years as derived above. Several different methods of analysis
therefore give entirely consistent results.
(d). Sabbatic Years Only Kept After The Exile
While on the topic of Sabbatic Years, it should be noted that
some attempt to establish a chronology by this means. There is
indeed a post-Exile recorded succession of such years. On the
Jewish calendar these years ran from Tishri to Tishri, which corresponds
to our Sept/Oct. These records state, for example, that the years
163/162 BC, 135/134 BC, and 37/36 BC were all Sabbatic Years (see
W.E. Filmer 'The Chronology Of The Reign Of Herod The Great',
in Journal of Theological Studies, Vol. XVII Pt.2, pp.283-298,
Oct.1966). However, as the Hebrew prophets pointed out,
there had been a consistent failure to observe the Sabbatic Year
succession prior to the Exile. Once the Return from Exile occurred,
it was re-instituted. Therefore, as a result of this hiatus, the
Sabbatic Year succession cannot be traced back prior to the Exile
to establish an important date, such as the Entry into Canaan.
(2). THE TIMES OF THE JUDGES:
(a). The Omission Principle.
Before moving on, it is important to state a Principle that
often applies throughout Scripture. It is one that has been the
cause of many chronological schemes failing to fit all relevant
Biblical statements. It may be called the Omission Principle.
Briefly stated, it asserts that the years during which the Children
of Israel were out of fellowship with the LORD are often omitted
from the Divine Record. There are several examples of this. It
is not only done in the Bible, as kings throughout history have
omitted from the record their years of servitude to foreign powers.
In this, King Solomon was no exception. As we attempt to establish
the chronology one step further back, we encounter a statement
by Solomon in which this Principle is operating.
(b). Luke Implies 573 Years - Solomon Says 480!
In 1 Kings 6:1 there is a key comment that is the basis for
many chronologies. The record there states that 480 years elapsed
from the Exodus to 4th year of the reign of Solomon when work
began on the Temple. This needs to be examined closely as other
Biblical passages imply that the total length of this period amounted
to 573 years. This Scriptural conundrum is solved when all the
relevant statements are examined. The book of Acts provides us
with the first of these clues. There we find that the 573 years
is made up of 40 wilderness years (Acts 13:18); 450 years under
the Judges (Acts 13:20); 40 years under Saul (Acts 13:21); 40
years under David (l Kings 2:11); and 3 years under Solomon before
the Temple construction commenced (1 Kings 6:1). This totals 573
years, or 93 years longer then stated in l Kings 6:1.
(c). Evidence From The Early Church.
Despite this conundrum, the Church Fathers had no chronological
doubts! Their writings confirm that the time of the Judges was
accepted as 450 years. One typical example comes from about 150
AD. when Theophilus wrote to Autolychus. He spelled out the details
that from Joshua's death, after judging Israel for 32 years, to
David's death was 498 years [(450 - 32) + 40 + 40], (see 'Theophilus
to Autolycus' in 'The Ante-Nicene Fathers', Book III, Chapt.
23-30, A. Roberts and J. Donaldson, eds, Eerdmans Pub. Co.). From
this, one may deduce that an added full 3 years of Solomon's reign,
plus 32 years under Joshua, plus 40 years in the wilderness totals
573 years from the Exodus to the beginning of the Temple
construction. This is in complete accord with the Acts quotation.
We can assume that these Church Fathers had been instructed by
the Apostles on this matter, who in turn received it from Christ.
One then wonders why there is a 93 year difference compared with
I Kings 6:1.
(d). Judges Lists The 93 Missing Years!
To find the answer, one only has to turn to the book of
Judges! In there, the nation of Israel was punished 5 times
for sin between the Exodus and Solomon's reign: 8 years under
the King of Mesopotamia (Judges 3:8); 18 years under the king
of Moab (Judges 3:14); 20 years under the King of Canaan (Judges
4:2-3); 7 years under the Midianites (Judges 6:1); and 40 years
under the Philistines (Judges 13:1). Fascinatingly enough, this
totals just 93 years - the exact period omitted from 1 Kings 6:1
! The Omission Principle is thereby exactly illustrated by this
example. Furthermore it amplifies the necessity of taking all
Biblical statements into account before arriving at a final conclusion.
(3). THE EXODUS AND CONQUEST OF CANAAN:
(a). Exodus, Joshua And The Bronze Age
We are now in a position to move one step further back in our
chronological system. The date of the Exodus can be obtained by
adding 573 years to 1012 BC. This gives a result of 1585 BC ± 6 years. The identification of
the Pharaoh of the Exodus is discussed in Addendum (2) below.
The conquest of Canaan thus began under Joshua just 40 years later
in 1545 BC ± 6 years. To some
who have become accustomed to dates around 1400 to 1200 BC this
seems impossibly early. Yet what is the observational evidence?
These later dates lie at or near the close of what is archaeologically
called the Late Bronze Age. By contrast the date of 1545 BC ± 6 years lies squarely at the close
of the Middle Bronze II C, which is usually dated at 1550 BC.
Let us put this to an observational test from the existing evidence.
(b). Were There Any Cities For Joshua To Conquer?
As was pointed out in the Biblical Archaeology Review
for Sept/Oct 1987, p.53, there were NO cities at the sites of
Jericho, Gibeon, Hebron, Hormah/Zephath, Ai, or Arad (either Tell
Arad or the alternative site at Tell Malhata), near the close
of the Late Bronze Age. By contrast there were cities at ALL the
above sites plus Debir, Lachish, Hazor and Bethel at the close
of the Middle Bronze. Interestingly, the majority of them were
surrounded by walls as the Biblical account requires. In addition,
they were ALL destroyed at the end of the Middle Bronze II C.
The sole exception is Ai which seems to have been miss-identified.
The alternative site (Khirbet Nisya) satisfies all the Scriptural
and archaeological needs. Also Gibeon was abandoned; its destruction
is not recorded in Joshua 9:27.
(c). Believing The Observational Evidence.
The main point is immediately obvious. At six sites listed
by Scripture as being conquered by Joshua, no evidence for the
cities' existence was found at dates usually assigned to his entry
into Canaan. The Short Chronology date for Joshua's entry around
1400 BC leaves only abandoned ruins for him to conquer at the
key sites. A date near 1200 BC fares no better. Another option
is to try and re-date the Middle Bronze. Bimson and Livingston
attempt to do that in the above reference. However, that procedure
was subsequently shown to be invalid by Halpern. In any case,
it is entirely unnecessary. When the Omission Principle is applied
to the dating difficulty, the potential problem evaporates. The
date of 1545 BC ± 6 years for
Joshua's conquest of Canaan accords with both the Bible and archaeology.
(4). THE BEGINNING OF THE EGYPTIAN SOJOURN:
(a]. Moses States 430 Years Precisely.
With the observational verification of the Canaan Entry date
we turn to the Egyptian Sojourn. Moses stated in Exodus 12:40-41
that the Exodus occurred 430 years to the very day that Jacob
(Israel) and his family came into Egypt. This accords well with
Genesis 15:13 where the LORD told Abraham that his descendants
would be afflicted in Egypt for 400 years. This was reiterated
in Acts 7:6, so the Old Testament and New Testament comments are
completely in accord. Indeed, as is shown below, the Church Fathers
totally supported Moses' statement that a full 430 years were
spent in Egypt. Time-wise, this meant that a political change
of climate began 39 years after Joseph was made Prime Minister,
and 41 years before he died at 110.
Genealogically, God also told Abraham that the 4th generation
of those that entered Egypt would return to Canaan. However, these
430 years are often reduced. For example, from the 2nd century
AD, the Jewish Rabbis have often held to a 210 year sojourn. From
the time of Archbishop Ussher, a 215 year sojourn has been proposed
by some Christian chronologists. Others again propose a shortened
chronology of 239 years for Israel in Egypt. The rabbinical argument
for a short chronology appears to have come on genealogical grounds
from Exodus 6:20, while the (more recent) Christian argument swings
around the Apostle Paul's statement in Galatians 3:16-17. Let
us examine these two passages and their interpretation.
[b). The Genealogical Problem
In the Exodus 6:20 example, we find Moses is stated to be the
son of Amram. This necessitates a short sojourn as Amram was the
son of Levi who entered Egypt with Jacob! This violates the LORD's
explicit statement to Abraham about the fourth generation. There
is a further problem. Just after the Exodus when the Israelites
were counted, Numbers 3:17-19, and 27-28 inform us that the Amramites
numbered 8,600 males! That is a lot of cousins for Moses in one
(c). The Reason For The Genealogical Discrepancy
As the Bible is searched, it becomes apparent that many other
genealogies of the Children of Israel frequently omit those born
during the Egyptian Sojourn. After the first generation, the Israelites
were out of fellowship with the LORD and worshipping Egyptian
gods. In the example being considered here, the name of Jacob's
son, Levi, and the son who entered Egypt with him (Amram) is given.
The lists only resume at the time of the Exodus, in this case
with Moses. Here is another example of the Omission Principle
at work. An important exception will serve to make this point
(d). The Exception Of The Tribe Of Judah
The prime example of this is Judah's offspring. Judah's grandson
Hezron went into Egypt with Judah (Genesis 46:12) and so constitutes
the first generation of the Sojourn. However, in this case we
have the information that Hezron begat Ram, who begat Amminadab
(Ruth 4:19-20) who begat Nahshon who was captain of the tribe
of Judah in the wilderness (Numbers 1:7). Nahshon's son Salmon
was under 20 when the census took place in the wilderness. But
he was the one to enter Canaan and marry Rehab the harlot (Ruth
4:20 and 1 Chronicles 2:10-11 ). This listing indeed confirms
the LORD's statement to Abraham that the Children of Israel
would return to Canaan in the 4th generation. Hezron went in with
Judah, but Ram, Amminadab and Nahshon were born in Egypt. Only
Salmon was alive at the conquest of Canaan. This contrasts sharply
with Moses' contracted genealogy which thereby illustrates the
(e). Is It Really 430 Years?
Then there is the late Christian addition to the problem on
the basis of Paul's statement in Galatians 3. There we find that
a total of 430 years elapsed from the confirmation of the Abrahamic
Covenant to the giving of the Law at Sinai immediately following
the Exodus. The issue turns on when the confirmation of this Covenant
was made. Some take the 430 years from Abraham's entry into Canaan
at age 75. This subtracts 215 years from the Egyptian Sojourn,
which in turn leaves only 215 years for their time in Egypt. That
allows just 144 years from Joseph's death to the Exodus, Alternatively,
others date the 430 years from the Circumcision Covenant when
Abraham was 99. This deletes 191 years, leaving 239 years in Egypt,
with 168 years from the death of Joseph to the Exodus.
(f). Moses Had Egyptian Records Of Israel's Entry
However, these solutions to the problem contradict the words
of the LORD to Abraham about 400 years of affliction under one
nation. In fact they compound the problem since the Children of
Israel were not afflicted during the reign of Joseph. Neither
were Abraham, Isaac and Jacob afflicted in the Land of Canaan.
There is also the problem of how 70 children of Israel became
more than 2 million in just 150 years from Joseph's death to the
Exodus numbering which is related to the number of Moses' cousins.
Additionally, Moses stated that the Exodus from Egypt occurred
'on the selfsame day ' that the children of Israel went
in to Egypt. It would be difficult to pinpoint an exact day when
Abraham entered into Canaan as one solution requires, and Canaan
is not Egypt. Nor is Abraham to be confused with the Children
of Israel. Remember! Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the
Egyptians, and had access to all extant records in Egypt. He would
therefore be well aware of the precise time when Israel (Jacob)
and his family arrived there.
(g). What Did Paul Say In Galatians 3?
As stated in paragraph (e), the issue turns on when the Covenant
was confirmed. The answer to the problem may be found by comparing
Genesis 15 and 46:2-4 with Galatians 3:16-17. In Gal.3:16, the
original covenant given to Abram in Genesis 15 is definitely in
view. Indeed, Genesis 15:5 is quoted in Galatians 3:16. This was
the one specific occasion when the Egyptian Sojourn and Exodus
were promised. Galatians 3:17 goes on to refer to the CONFIRMATION
of that Covenant, not to its original giving. There is only one
other instance when God actually confirmed and restated these
same Sojourn details with a patriarch as Galatians 3:17 requires.
(h). The Covenant Sojourn Was Confirmed With Jacob
God appeared to Jacob on six occasions. God's sixth and final
appearance to Jacob is recorded in Genesis 46:2-4, just as Israel
was setting out from Canaan to go into Egypt. There the Egyptian
Sojourn was confirmed, as was the making of a great nation, which
would afterwards return to the Promised Land that Jacob was leaving.
This was the same as God's original Promise to Abraham. Consequently,
this was the required confirmation of that Promise to Jacob (Israel).
The Galatian text states that this confirmation was given 430
years before the reception of the Law at Sinai, just after the
Exodus. On this basis, the Sojourn indeed lasts 430 years exactly.
God's statement to Abraham, the plain record of Moses, and
Paul's Galatian comments are then in entire harmony.
(5). FROM THE SOJOURN BACK TO ABRAHAM:
(a). The Birth Dates Of Jacob And Abraham.
Given the date for the Exodus of 1585 BC ±
6 years, we can now add the 430 years with a clear conscience
to obtain the entry of Jacob (Israel) into Egypt in 2015 BC ± 6 years when Jacob was 130 years
old (Genesis 47:9). Note that the entry would have been some time
in April from the Passover celebration that came 430 years later.
Jacob was therefore born in 2145 BC. Since Isaac was 60 years
old when Jacob was born, and Abraham was 100 when Isaac was born,
we backtrack 160 years from Jacob's birth to find that Abram was
born in 2305 BC with an error of less than ±
10 years, and maybe less than ±
5. Abraham's visit to Egypt thereby occurred in (2305 - 75) =
2230 BC. It is of extreme interest to note that this chronology
was upheld by the Church Fathers, who obtained it from the Apostles,
who in turn had been instructed by Messiah. Examination of this
point is worthwhile here.
(b). Support From The Early Church.
Theophilus of Antioch outlined the chronology held by the Church
Fathers. He pointed out that there were 660 years from the birth
of Isaac to the end of the wilderness wanderings and death of
Moses. This comprised Isaac's 60 years to the birth of Jacob;
then Jacob's 130 years at his entry into Egypt; then the 430 year
Sojourn in Egypt; and finally the 40 years in the wilderness -
a total of 660 years. As Abraham was 100 when Isaac was born,
this inevitably means that Abram himself was born [660 + 100 =
760] years before Moses' death and Israel's entry into the Promised
Land. This information from Theophilus indicates that both Abram's
birth date of 2305 BC ± 5 years,
and the 430 year Egyptian Sojourn is in complete accord with the
teaching of the Church Fathers. It is also worthy of note that
the Koran and Arab tradition also put Abram's birth near 2300
(c). Support From The Ebla Tablets
An archaeologist Professor D.N. Freedman of the University
of Michigan made some important comments about this date in 1978.
His lecture was entitled 'Archaeology and Biblical Religion'.
As a result of the discovery of the Ebla Tablets (written during
the 23rd century BC) he stated that: 'It is now my belief that
the story in Genesis 14 not only corresponds in content to the
Ebla Tablet, but that the Genesis account derives from the same
period. ... Briefly put, the account in Genesis 14, and also in
Chapters 18-19, does not belong to the second millennium BC, still
less to the first millennium BC, but rather to the third millennium
B.C.' (quoted in 'Ebla Tablets - Secrets of a Forgotten
City' by Dr. Clifford Wilson, p.126-127, Master Books, 1979).
This evidence thus makes Abraham an individual who lived in the
23rd century BC. Such a testimony from archaeological discovery,
is worthy of serious consideration.
B. CHRONOLOGY FROM ABRAHAM BACK TO ADAM:
NOTE: This section of the study
involves a discussion of various Scriptural text types.
(1). INTRODUCING THE TOPIC
(a). Chronology Prior To Abraham Depends On Text Type
The date of 2305 BC ± 6 years
for Abram's birth is independent of any translation, and is obtainable
from any version of Scripture as outlined above. The chronology
prior to Abraham, however, depends heavily on which text type
is used. To get back to Adam then we must be sure of the chronological
information contained in Genesis 5 and 11. It is therefore essential
that we know which text was the original.
(b). Who's Opinion Do We Trust?
To begin this segment, we note that the Apostles had the benefit
of Christ's opinion on a variety of matters. These were then passed
on to the Church Fathers. We might expect that Scriptural quotations
by Christ, the Apostles and Church Fathers would therefore assist
us in this task. Furthermore, the testimony of 1st century or
earlier Jewish writings, such as those of Josephus and the Dead
Sea scrolls, might be of significance. They were much closer to
the original Old Testament (OT) text than we are. Consequently,
their quotations, writings and opinions may be of considerable
importance to us in determining the correct text some 2000 years
(c). Ezra And Nehemiah Got It ALL Together
Ezra and Nehemiah are usually accredited with assembling the
complete Old Testament, which was accepted shortly after by the
so-called Great Synagogue. It is at that point that our investigation
(2). THREE MAIN VERSIONS FROM ONE ORIGINAL TEXT:
(a). The Original And The Samaritan Pentateuch (SP)
From the time of Ezra and Nehemiah (about 440 BC) until the
Council of Jamnia (around 100 AD) there existed a 'Vorlage Text'
of the Old Testament in paleo-Hebrew. This Vorlage was essentially
the original complete Old Testament text. With time the Vorlage
gave rise to three 'recensions'. The first of these was the Samaritan
Pentateuch (SP), again in paleo-Hebrew, about 408 BC. Tobiah the
Ammonite allegedly took a copy of the Law with him when he was
cast out of the Temple by Nehemiah (see Nehemiah13:4-9 and Ezra
4:1-4) and set up the rival system of worship in Samaria. This
was essentially a copy of the Vorlage Pentateuch. For the Samaritans
in Israel today, this comprises their Scriptures.
(b). The Septuagint Greek (LXX] Translation
The second recension was the Septuagint Greek (LXX) which was
translated from the Vorlage Text about 250 BC by 72 Jewish scholars
in Alexandria. This version became necessary because of the number
of Greek-speaking Jews that were resident in Egypt under the favourable
Ptolemaic Dynasty. It has been noted by most authorities that
the LXX translation of the Vorlage Hexateuch (Genesis to Joshua)
was particularly carefully done because of its revered position
in the canon. The Eastern Christian Church still considers the
LXX to be the authoritative OT text today.
(c). The Council Of Jamnia And The Masoretic Text (MT)
Finally the Masoretic Hebrew (MT) was re-written in square
'modern' Hebrew characters at the Council of Jamnia around 100
AD with the vowel points added around 900 AD. In 'Our Bible and
the Ancient Manuscripts', p.49 (Eyre and Spottiswoode, London),
Sir Frederick Kenyon commented that this dual procedure could
easily be 'one considerable source of corruption' in the
MT. But let us put this all in its proper context.
(d). The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Council of Jamnia
A very important article, that impinges on the question of
the best manuscript to use for dating, was written by Siegfried
H. Horn, Professor Emeritus of Archaeology at Andrews University,
Berrien Springs, Michigan. It appeared in 'Ministry' for
November 1987, pages 4-8, and was entitled 'The Old Testament
Text in Antiquity.' He pointed out that the biblical Dead Sea
scroll material can be clearly divided into two groups. In the
first group, there are 170 manuscripts from the 11 Qumran caves
and fragments from Masada. Professor Horn states that 'Paleographical
studies show that the earliest Qumran scrolls were produced in
the third century BC, and that the latest was in the first half
of the first century AD The biblical text material from Masada
predates the capture of that mountain fortress in AD 73, so all
of the Qumran and Masada manuscripts were produced before the
end of the first century AD'' The second group of manuscripts
comprise scrolls from the desert caves in the Wadi Murabba'at,
the Nahal Hever, and the Nahal Se'elim. The records show that
this group were hidden there shortly after 100 AD.
Importantly, these two groups of scrolls show two distinct
text types. Those pre-dating 70 AD have a text that agrees with
both the LXX and the OT quotations used by Josephus, Christ and
the Apostles in the New Testament (NT). In fact, as Professor
Horn states, 'I am quite sure that Matthew quoted from a Hebrew
text that agreed with the Vorlage that the Greek translators [of
the LXX] used.' These Hebrew and Greek texts existed and were
quoted prior to the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in 70 AD.
As Professor Horn also points out, that the first group of scrolls
'can be considered to represent the text type for the Hebrew
Bible that was circulating during the ministry of Jesus and the
apostles.' Indeed, in 1953, in the Bulletin of the American
Schools of Oriental Research, No. 132, pp.15-26, Frank Cross
showed that this first group of manuscripts agreed more with the
LXX than with the MT.
By contrast, that second group of scrolls which post-date 100
AD unquestioningly have a text virtually identical with the Masoretic
Text (MT) in our present OT. What happened to change the text
type? Remember, the original Hebrew (Vorlage) version existed
from the days of Ezra and Nehemiah and was extant down to at least
70 AD. By contrast, the Masoretic Hebrew can be traced directly
to 100 AD. The dividing line between text types in the Dead Sea
scrolls also occurs about 100 AD. What happened at that time?
(e). The Action Taken By The Council of Jamnia
As Professor Horn points out, the answer is the Council of
Jamnia that convened around 100 AD. He states that 'A unified
text suddenly became the standard at the end of the first century
and [the fact] that not one copy of a divergent text survived
(except the Dead Sea scrolls that had already been hidden when
Jamnia convened), indicate clearly that the Council of Jamnia
must have taken actions in this matter.'
Rabbi Akiba ben Joseph was this Council's undisputed leader,
though its Chairman was Yohannan ben Zakkai. In his later years,
Akiba endorsed the rebellion of Bar Kokba against Rome, and supported
him with his wealth, even endorsing him as the Messiah. Akiba
was eventually captured and taken to Rome where he was executed
in 137 AD at the age of 82.
The Council of Jamnia rejected the original Hebrew versions
and the LXX based upon them. Professor Horn stated that '...the
Jews rejected it (the pre-70 AD Hebrew version) and LXX since...
it had become the Bible of the Christians.' Indeed, as textual
expert Sir Frederick Kenyon writes (op. cit. p.56): 'In the
second century of our Era, this repudiation took form in the production
of a rival version.' Professor Horn, Sir Frederick Kenyon
and other textual scholars all agree that this 'rival version'
was the Masoretic Text (MT) which, with some variations, has been
used as the basis of most OT translations since the end of the
fourth century AD.
(f). The Masoretic Text And The New Greek Versions
The Council of Jamnia therefore produced this unified text
of the Old Testament and ensured that all divergent texts were
destroyed. This unified version, the MT, underwent a two-fold
process. First, a change from paleo-Hebrew script of the Vorlage
to square 'modern' characters. Second, the vowels were added to
the text about 900 AD on the basis of the traditions held by the
Masoretes school. For this latter reason it became known as the
Masoretic text. As stated above, Sir Frederick Kenyon (op. cit.,
p.49) concluded that this dual process was ''one considerable
source of corruption.'
Sir Frederick then went on to point out that the standardised
Masoretic Text spawned 3 Greek versions, namely that of Aquila,
Theodotion and Symmachus. In this regard, Professor Horn also
makes an interesting comment about events immediately following
the Council of Jamnia. He states: Moreover, the fact that Aquila,
one of Akiba's pupils, soon thereafter produced a new Greek translation
that slavishly translated the Hebrew unified text for the use
of the Diaspora Jews, gives credence to the idea that Akiba must
have been a key influence in the standardization of the Hebrew
The next act in the drama occurred around 200 AD when Origen
produced his Hexapla or sixfold version of the Old Testament.
This version contained the above 3 Greek versions in parallel,
plus the MT in Hebrew, the MT in Greek, and then the LXX as revised
by Origen. Note that, except for the LXX, all 5 other versions
in Origen's Hexapla were simply variations on the Masoretic text.
Furthermore, as Sir Frederick noted on p. 58, '...Origen's
efforts were not directed towards the recovery of the original
form of the Septuagint LXX, but at bringing it into harmony with
the Masoretic Hebrew Text then current, and to do this he introduced
alterations into it with utmost freedom.' This indeed is a
serious matter, particularly as all the other versions were simply
variations on the MT. Fortunately, in the year 617 AD, Bishop
Paulus of Tella in Mesopotamia made a Syriac translation that
detailed all Origen's alterations. As a consequence, the form
of the original LXX has been preserved for us, and is today still
(3). WHAT WAS IN THE VORLAGE TEXT?
(a). The Testimony Of The SP And The LXX
The Vorlage Text is quoted in scrolls from Qumran and Masada
written prior to Jamnia. After that Council, the Jews used the
new MT exclusively and destroyed all other versions. But Christ,
the Apostles, and Josephus all quote from the Vorlage, and its
LXX translation, as did the Church Fathers. In most matters, the
differences between the texts are usually relatively minor. However
the chronologies have some significant differences. It is just
at this point that we need to know what was in the Vorlage for
our chronology. This chronology is found in Genesis 5 and 11 where
the genealogy of the 21 patriarchs from Adam to Abraham is given.
Genesis 5 details the genealogy from Adam to Noah (and the Flood),
while Genesis 11 takes the list from the Flood (and Shem) down
In this matter it is useful to consider the testimony of the
Septuagint, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and Josephus. Here are three
independent links with the Vorlage original. The situation is
fairly clear-cut. In Genesis 5, the LXX and Josephus are in complete
agreement with the sole exception of the patriarch Lamech, where
Josephus and the MT agree. The chronology adopted here accepts
this majority verdict. Note that all texts agree on Noah, while
the MT agrees on Jared and Methuselah as well. Furthermore, in
Genesis 11 there is total agreement between the LXX and the SP
on all patriarchs, with Josephus also lending support to 6 out
of the 11. Again this majority opinion is accepted here. Again,
note that all texts agree on Abraham, with the MT also supporting
Shem. Therefore the LXX is confirmed by Josephus in Genesis 5,
and by the SP in Genesis 11. It would appear, then, that the LXX
is giving a chronological record that is an accurate representation
of what was in the Vorlage. The situation is summarised in Table
2. From this result it is apparent that, for Genesis 5 and 11,
the MT is more likely to be at variance with the Vorlage as quoted
by Christ and the Apostles, than is the LXX and SP and Josephus.
(b). A Reason Why The MT Chronology Is Different
Another point that needs to be made is that the chronologies
of the Church Fathers firmly follow the LXX in Genesis 5 and 11.
In this they were following the teachings of the Apostles, who
must have been basing their writings on the Vorlage or the LXX.
Indeed, the Gospel of Luke includes Cainan in the post-Flood listing
of Patriarchs, just as the LXX does. This lends strong support
to the LXX chronology. As Genesis 5 and 11 form the basis for
all chronological schemes, this difference between the LXX and
MT becomes important. In Genesis 5, the difference amounts to
600 years. In Genesis 11 it there is a further difference of over
700 years. As the MT underwent the two-fold process of Hebrew
character change plus later vowel pointing, the suspicion must
be that it is the MT that is incorrect on this issue.
One may ask why the MT has deviated from the SP and LXX. A
glance at Table 2 reveals the answer. It seems that a cipher for
100 has been dropped or systematically omitted in copying from
the paleo-Hebrew to the MT in these important chapters. This has
also occurred in one place in the NT. In Acts 27:37 it is recorded
that 276 people were on board Paul's ship when it was wrecked
in the storm. According to the Amplified Version footnote, some
manuscripts read 76. The cipher for 200 has been dropped. It is
possible that a similar process has operated to drop over 1300
years from Genesis 5 and 11 in the MT.
(c). Comparing NT Quotations Of The OT
Confirmatory evidence for the acceptance of the LXX as an accurate
reflection of the Vorlage comes from the NT quotes by Christ and
the Apostles from the OT. Compare, for example, Christ's quote
of Psalm 8:2 in Matthew 21:16 or the Apostle Paul's quote of Hosea
13:14 in 1 Corinthians 15:55, or his quote from Isaiah 64:4 in
1 Corinthians 2:9. From such comparison it is obvious that the
NT quotes almost exactly follow the LXX. By contrast, when the
NT quote is compared with our modern OT we find our OT version
is deviant. It is significant that our modern OT was translated
from the MT.
(d). Paul's Non-existent Quotation!
Some differences can have major implications such as Paul's
quote in Hebrews 1:6 of Deuteronomy 32:43 from the Vorlage. There
he argues that Messiah had to be Divine. Paul writes: "But
again, when He brings the first begotten into the world, He says
'And let all the angels of God worship him'." On checking
that Deuteronomy passage in the AV or NKJV, we find that Paul's
important quotation on Messiah's Divinity is simply not there!
It is omitted on the MT, but is still recorded in the LXX just
as Paul quotes it. In fact the MT omits another significant part
of that verse as the LXX goes on to say of Messiah: 'And let
all the sons of God strengthen themselves in him.' The LXX
thus seems to be at least a more complete translation of the Vorlage
(e). Interesting Verifications of LXX Statements
However, there are several down to earth archaeological verifications
that the LXX was quoting Vorlage truth. One illustration must
suffice. In the perfect fullness of time, with his earthly assignment
completed, Joshua died and was buried 'in Timnath-Serah which
is in Mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash'
(Joshua 24:30). The LXX adds a significant remark: 'There they
put with him into the tomb in which they buried him, the knives
of stone with which he circumcised the Children of Israel
Ten miles north-west of Bethel lies Kef'r Ishu'a, the 'Village
of Joshua'. Professor Werner Keller in 'The Bible As History'
on page 163 reports that the neighbouring hillside does indeed
contain some rock tombs. In 1870, in one of the sepulchres on
the north side of the hill, a large number of stone knives were
(4). BACK TO THE CREATION:
(a) The Creation Date And The Early Church
From a glance at Table 2, it becomes apparent that, mathematically
speaking, the ages of the patriarchs at the birth of their chosen
son reveals a far more consistent pattern on the LXX than on the
MT. Given all these factors, let us accept, then, that the LXX
chronology is basically correct in Genesis 5 and 11. Since we
have already determined that the birth of Abraham occurred in
2305 BC ± 10 years, no matter
what text is used, let us take this as a base-line on which to
build the chronology back to Adam. According to the LXX version,
the Flood occurred 1232 years before in 3537 BC, and the Creation
2256 years earlier in 5793 BC ±
History, archaeology and the work on cDK all give strong support
to this LXX chronology back to Adam. Interestingly enough, a Creation
date of 5793 BC is in broad agreement with the early church whose
exegetes favoured dates of the order of 5500 BC. Thus Theophilus
of Antioch (AD 115-181) gives a date of 5529 BC, Hippolytus
(on some doubtful grounds) gives 5500 BC, white Julius Africanus
(who died 240 AD) put it at 5537 BC. The Chronicle of Axum places
it at 5500 BC white Talmudists (Petrus Alliacens) give a time
around 5344 BC. Arab records quote 6174 BC.
(b). The Creation Date And The MT
All these sources generally support the LXX chronology. The
divergence mainly comes in assessing the date of Abraham's birth.
As noted above, this difference can amount to as much as 352 years.
A further 130 years difference may result depending on whether
or not Cainan is included in the genealogy. On the basis of this
LXX chronology for Genesis 5 and 11, Table 3 has been constructed,
with the starting point being the birth of Abraham in 2305 BC
as determined above. The equivalent key dates on the MT become
2657 BC for the Flood, with the Creation being 1656 years earlier
in 4313 BC. This is the maximum to which the MT can go using the
long chronology. If the short chronology is used from the Temple
destruction to Abraham, these dates will reduce by a further 352
years to become 2305 BC for the flood, and 3961 for Creation.
(c.). Living Trees Support The LXX Chronology!
An external line of inquiry supports the long LXX chronology
here, namely tree-ring dating. Stands of bristlecone pine in the
USA have several living specimens around 4600 years old, one suspected
of being 4900 years old, and 6 over 3000 years of age. It has
been shown that they grow slowly, and are more inclined to miss
out a ring than put one on. So the general age is about correct.
Consequently, this means that the oldest started growing around
2900 BC. This means it survived the Flood on the MT in 2657 BC
or 2305 BC on the short chronology. This is inadmissible. But
on the LXX chronology, their growth commenced not only after the
Flood in 3537 BC, and after the Babel incident in 3302 BC, but
also after the Peleg continental division in 3006 BC.
C. ADDENDUM: DATING EGYPTIAN DYNASTIES 1 and 13.
(1). WHEN DID THE FIRST EGYPTIAN DYNASTY BEGIN?
(a). The Egyptian Calendar.
A second line of external inquiry is also relevant to the chronology
of the OT and the accuracy of the LXX figures. This line of inquiry
concerns events in Egypt. The key date of interest is the founding
of Dynasty 1, and the Egyptian calendar is useful here. Note that
this material is accessible from independent sources. A second
item of interest is the pharaoh of the Exodus, given that the
date has been determined as outlined above.
Like us, Egypt possessed a 365 day civil calendar. It comprised
3 seasons, each containing 4 months: or 12 months of 30 days,
with 5 epagomenal [additional] days at the beginning of the year.
Unlike us, they did not have a 'Leap Year', nor did they intercalate
days or months. Our Julian Calendar of exactly 365.25 days was
introduced by Julius Caesar in 45 BC. It was designed to bring
our calendar years into line with astronomical events and seasons.
An extra day every 4 years is almost sufficient to achieve this.
The problem is that the true period of the earth's revolution
around the sun, known as the Sidereal Year, comprises precisely
365.2564 days. This differs by 9 minutes 13 seconds from the Julian
Year. To bring everything into complete harmony, the Gregorian
Rule omits Leap Years in century years not divisible by 400.
(b). Their Date With A Star.
After one Siderial Year, the earth, sun and stars repeat their
alignment. The same is virtually true for a Julian Year with its
minor Gregorian correction. Therefore, repeating astronomical
events can be used to give fundamental dates with some accuracy.
Where a choice of dates may result, it is usually apparent from
other data which one is appropriate. Now the Egyptians had one
such event which was observed annually. They noted on their records
the heliacal rising of the star Sirius in the first rays of the
dawn. This marked the first day of the first Egyptian month, and
it began the season of the Nile inundation. Named the Sothis star,
it appeared on 20th July on our calendar.
(c). Introducing The Sothic Cycle.
Now the Egyptian civil calendar was one quarter of a day short
per annum. As a consequence astronomical events fell one day earlier
every 4 Egyptian years. Inevitably, the Sothis star, the Nile
inundation, and the seasons gradually slipped through their civil
calendar year. After a period of [4 x 365 = 1460] Egyptian Calendar
years, or alternatively [4 x 365.25 = 1461] Julian Calendar years,
the heliacal rising of Sirius was again observed on the first
day of the first Egyptian month. This period of 1460 years or
so is called the Sothic Cycle. When all factors and observations
are taken into consideration, this Cycle can range from 1453 up
to 1461 years. We can express this as 1457 ±
4 years. This error of ± 4 years
amounts to a difference of only one day in the Sothis Star's appearance.
In other words, a heliacal rising of Sirius may have been
noted on July 19th or 21st, instead of on the 20th, which was
the mean date.
(d). A Basic Date To Start Counting
Having determined the length of the Sothic Cycle, it is now
of importance to discover an initiation or termination date. A
prime witness in this matter is Censorinus, whose Latin treatise
'De die natali liber' was written in 238 AD. He confirms
that the Egyptian year of 365 days had no intercalation, and that
the Cycle Lasted 1461 years. He cross-links dates on the Roman
and Egyptian calendars for the heliacal rising of Sirius. From
this data, we discover that the 1st day of the first Egyptian
month (Thoth 1st) coincided with the rising of Sirius on July
21st, as required, in 139 AD. This marked the close of one Cycle
and the beginning of another.
(e). A Festival Of Sothis Is Inaugurated
The information is independently verified by Claudius Ptolemy,
Vettius Valens, and other ancients. One of the key cross-checks
comes from the Canopus Decree issued by Ptolemy III at a synod
of Egyptian Priests in 238 BC. This date is not usually contested.
In that year the Festival of Sothis commenced and was held on
the 1st Payni, near July 20th. Thoth 1st was 170 days away in
October 22nd that same year. R.D. Long in 'Orientelia',
VoL.43 (1974), pp 261-274 is a cautious investigator. Nevertheless,
on p. 272 he states: 'This data coordinates perfectly with
Censorinus, making the existence of a continuous Sothic cycle
in the first millennium B.C. a firm proposition.'
(f). Enter An Astronomer
Further evidence comes from Theon of Alexandria an astronomer
in the reign of Theodosius the Elder. From a date in the reign
of Emperor Diocletian, 285 AD, he noted that precisely 1605 years
had elapsed since the termination of an old Egyptian era and the
commencement of a new. This new era was called the 'Era of Menophres'
and thereby began in 1320 BC. Some miss the import of the Era
name and try to link it with a pharaoh or a place. Incredibly,
as R.D. Long (op. cit.) points out: 'Censorinus supplies the
termination date (A.D. 139) and Theon, it would appear knew the
initiation year. It is uncanny and surely not mere coincidence
that the data from Theon and Censorinus, suggest a year around
1321 B.C.' A complete Cycle has thereby lasted 1459 years.
(g). Important Records.
The heliacal rising of Sirius has thus been traced through
one complete Cycle. In so doing, it has demonstrated that the
data is independent of questions relating to king-lists, regnal
years and throne-names. The point is that the Cycle or Era existed
and was recognised, observed, and noted. Importantly, the preceding
Cycle or Era is also traceable, irrespective of king-lists.
Going back further into the past from the 1320 BC date, we
come to the Elephantine Record. It states that the Sothis star
Sirius appeared on the 28th day of Epiphi. This results
in a date around 1464 BC. A pharaoh of the early middle 18th Dynasty
would seem to be involved, but that is immaterial to our purpose.
R.D. Long [op. cit.] comments: 'The Elephantine Sothic date
coordinates with the era of Menophres and the Medinet Habu calendar.'
One step further back again, the Ebers Papyrus noted that
the heliacal rising was celebrated on the 9th day of the eleventh
month. A date near 1540 BC thereby results. The Illahun Papyrus
related how the Sothis star appeared on the 16th day of the eighth
month. This gives a date around 1872 BC, or probably sometime
in the 12th Dynasty.
(h). A Well Organised Beginning.
From these comments and other data, it is apparent that the
earlier Sothic Cycle was a well established Egyptian institution.
As such, it is inevitable that this first Cycle or Era began when
a 365 day calendar was introduced. Furthermore there is sufficient
evidence [B.G. Trigger et al., 'Ancient Egypt, A Social History'
pp.50-51, 58, Cambridge UP, 1984] to suggest a highly organised
society controlling both Upper and Lower Egypt, and including
an efficient civil service, under the first ruler of Dynasty 1,
Pharaoh Narmer. The Palermo Stone condensing records of this period
notes details about the Nile flooding for each year.
Given this degree of sophistication and organisation, it is
inevitable that the formal Egyptian calendar of 365 days was introduced
at this time. Later pharaohs on assuming office swore to keep
this calendar unchanged as a sacred heritage [F.K. Ginzel, in
'Handbuch der mathematischen und technischen Chronologie',
Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs, 1906, VoL.1, p.196. See also Ronald D.
Long, 1974, Orientalia, vol 43, p.263].
(i). When The Cycle Began
The inception of the calendar based on the Sothis star and
Nile flooding would therefore have commenced the Sothic Cycle
on the first day of the first Egyptian month. We know one Cycle
ended in 139 AD. We know each Cycle took 1457 ±
4 years to complete. If we therefore subtract two Cycles or 2914
± 8 years from 139 AD. we arrive
at the date of inception of the calendar. That was 2775 ± 8 BC, or sometime in the period
from 2767 BC to 2783 BC. On grounds explored elsewhere, this date
accords with the minimum obtained for the commencement of Dynasty
1. For example, J. Baines and J. Malek in the 'Atlas Of Ancient
Egypt', p. 36, (Time-Life 1994) point out that the error in
date for the 1st Dynasty may be as much as 150 years and gives
its inception as 2920 BC ± 150
years. The lower end of this range is 2770 BC for the start of
the 1st Dynasty, in good accord with the Sothic Cycle data. This
can hardly be coincidence as Dynasty 1 could not function without
the calendar, nor could a calendar be introduced some way into
the Cycle. All three (the calendar, the Cycle and the 1st Dynasty)
had to be introduced simultaneously. A date for the commencement
of 1st Dynasty about 2770 BC is indicated.
(j). Conclusion.The conclusion is therefore clear. Of
necessity, the Peleg catastrophe, the Babel crisis, and Noah's
Flood, all had to occur earlier than 2770 BC. However, on the
short (MT) chronology, Noah's Flood occurred in 2305 BC so those
holding that chronology have to argue against the foundation date
for the Dynasties and the Sothic Cycle. Yet Flood traditions existed
even in pre-Dynastic Egypt and in the Thinite Period. However,
the problem proves to be non-existent on the LXX chronology. There,
the Flood occurred in 3537 BC, with Babel around 3300 BC. Dynasty
1 therefore began 500 years after Babel and 230 years after the
Peleg continental division that occurred around 3000 BC. The LXX
chronology thereby is supported by the evidence from early Egypt.
(2). THE EXODUS DATE AND EGYPTOLOGY.
(a). Introducing Artapanus.
A second item of Interest from Egypt concerns the pharaoh of
the Exodus and related matters. From the foregoing analysis, the
date for the entry into Canaan by the Children of Israel under
Joshua was determined as 1545 BC ±
6 years. We have seen how this is in good accord with archaeology
that records the destruction of all the key Canaanite cities at
the close of the Middle Bronze II C, which is usually dated as
around 1550 BC. This places the Exodus from Egypt under Moses
as 1585 BC ± 6 years. Accordingly,
this means that Moses was born eighty years earlier in 1665 BC
and fled Egypt at the age of 40 in 1625 BC. These dates bring
us into the close of the Middle Kingdom, namely the 13th Dynasty
and the chaos that introduced the 2nd Intermediate Period and
the rule of the Hyksos.
With these dates and facts in mind, let us now look at some
secular records. In doing so we recall that all the early 12th
Dynasty dates are fixed precisely, but there is some error in
those of the 13th Dynasty (see 'Atlas of Ancient Egypt',
op. cit., p. 36). The great Library at Alexandria in Egypt that
was founded by Ptolemy I would have held all the relevant historical
records needed for this investigation. It is unfortunate that
this entire collection of important data from around the ancient
world, as well as from Egypt, was destroyed in a disastrous fire.
Nevertheless, these records were available to the Jewish historian
Artapanus whose works date from the 3rd century BC, and some portions
of Artapanus' writings still are extant. He gives us some important
(b). Enter Pharaoh Sobekhotep IV And Prince Mousos
Artapanus wrote that Pharaoh Palmanothes was ruling when Moses
was born. His daughter Merris (meaning 'Beloved') adopted
a Hebrew child whom she called Mousos that became a Prince. Artapanus
states that Merris married Pharaoh Khenephres, a Greek translation
of the word Kha'neferre which means 'Ra's glory shines on the
horizon'. The personal name for this Pharaoh was Sobekhotep
IV. Sobek was a crocodile-headed god of the Egyptians, and Sobekhotep
means 'Sobek is satisfied'. This Pharaoh was the 24th ruler
of the 13th Dynasty in the Middle Kingdom.
This is an interesting record from Artapanus. A Pharaoh in
the mid to late 13th Dynasty is what the chronology presented
above would suggest. But there are two things that make this a
more positive identification of the Pharaoh to whom Moses (Mousos)
was a prince. First, the only other record of a Kaneferra is a
mention of this name on an isolated fragment from the 10th Dynasty,
and there is no other evidence for this particular king. In any
case this is far too early, being in the Old Kingdom. There is
certainly no other Pharaoh with the throne-name Kha'neferre in
the Middle Kingdom, let alone in the 13th Dynasty: it is unique.
However, there is a second point of key interest. Artapanus writes
that this Pharaoh appointed Prince Mousos to administer the land
on his behalf. Even more importantly, Artapanus states that Prince
Mousos led a military campaign against the Ethiopians to extend
the frontiers of the Egyptian Empire into Upper Nubia. The records
available to us reveal that, of all the Pharaohs of the 13th Dynasty,
Kha'neferre was the only one to launch such an expedition. Indeed,
a stela in the British Museum tells of this 13th Dynasty Campaign
into Nubia in Kha'neferre's reign. The identification is therefore
certain. Artapanus knew what he was writing about.
The outcome of the Campaign was interesting. According to Artapanus'
understanding of ancient sources, Mousos was victorious against
the Nubians. He extended Kha'neferre's jurisdiction at least 200
kilometres further south than any other 12th or 13th Dynasty ruler.
This fact caused Egyptologist J. H. Breasted to label Kha'neferre
(Sobekhotep IV) as the greatest Pharaoh of that era. At Kerma,
beyond the 3rd Cataract of the Nile, a governor's residence was
established to administer the province with a statue of Kha'neferre
outside. Artapanus concludes his account by saying that this victory
brought Mousos such popularity that Kha'neferre became jealous
and forced Mousos to flee to Arabia. Then, after Kha'neferre was
dead, Mousos returned to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.
(c.). A Historical Cross-check
As the historical details are all correct as far as we have
them, we can only conclude that Artapanus is correct about Mousos
as well. This point can be partly cross-checked. Around 300 AD
in a work called 'Evangelicae Preparationis' the Christian
historian Eusebius quoted from this account by Artapanus, as did
Clement in his 'Stromata'. Even more importantly, the Jewish
historian Josephus in 'Antiquities of the Jews' confirms
the story of Kha'neferre and Mousos with the Upper Nubian War
from other ancient sources, thereby giving it unusual authority.
This tends to confirm the conclusion we arrived at from Biblical
dating that Moses (Mousos) was a 13th Dynasty figure, and the
Exodus must have occurred towards the close of that Dynasty.
(d). The Writings Of Ipuwer
Given this identification of the period that Moses operated
in, it is possible to extend the analysis somewhat to cover other
aspects of the topic. One point is clear already from history.
The 13th Dynasty ended in a period of turmoil that closed the
Middle Kingdom and led to the 2nd Intermediate Period. It is precisely
from this setting that we have an important Egyptian document
that is still available for examination in Leiden in the Netherlands.
It is called the 'Ipuwer Papyrus'. Incredibly, this document
provides support for the Plagues at the time of the Exodus under
Moses. Some of these may be of interest:
The Plague of blood in Exodus 7:20 - 21 is paralleled by 'Plague
is throughout the land. Blood is everywhere. ... The river is
blood.' (Ipuwer 2:5 - 6, 10). The Plague of fire with hail
in Exodus 9:23 - 24 has its counterpart in Ipuwer 2:10 where we
find the comment 'Forsooth, gates, columns and walls are consumed
by the fire.' This Plague also destroyed the flax and barley
(Exodus 9:31). Ipuwer comments (5:12 and 6:3) that 'The land
is given over to weariness like the cutting of flax. ... Forsooth,
grain has perished on every side.' The Plague of darkness
(Exodus 10:22 - 23) evoke the comment from Ipuwer that 'The
land is not light ...' (9:11).
The final Plague of death (Exodus 12:30) is commented on by
Ipuwer in 2:13 and 3:14 (as well as 4:4 and 6:16) as follows:
'He who places his brother in the ground is everywhere ...
It is groaning that is throughout all the land, mingled with lamentations
... Forsooth, those who were in the place of embalmment were laid
on the high ground.' As the Israelites left Exodus 12:36 states
that they plundered the Egyptians. Ipuwer laments 'The storehouse
of the king is the common property of everyone' (10:3).
(e). Egypt Conquered Without A Single Battle!
This Papyrus therefore lends support to the contention that
the Plagues of Moses occurred at the close of the Middle Kingdom.
But that is not all. Ipuwer noted that these plagues came about
the time that the invading Hyksos entered Egypt. He states (2:5
- 6) 'The nomes are laid waste: a foreign tribe from abroad
has come into Egypt.' This connection with the Plagues and
the Hyksos is an important link because of an additional comment
from the Egyptian historian Manetho. He called the Plagues 'A
blast of heavenly displeasure.' He went on: 'We had a king
called Tutimaeus. In his reign it happened. I do not know why
God was displeased with us. Then unexpectedly from the regions
of the East, came men of unknown race. Confident of victory they
marched against our land. By force they took it, easily, without
a single battle. ...' (W. Keller, 'The Bible as History',
Pause right there just for a moment. These Hyksos conquered
Egypt 'easily, without a single battle.' How remarkable!
Where was all the might of the Egyptian armies that had conquered
Nubia a few years before. 'Without a single battle' implies
that there was no Egyptian Army to fight against them. Why not?
Unless Pharaoh's armies had just been destroyed in the Red Sea
and there were no military personnel left. That can be the only
logical conclusion one can come to. Manetho's comment is therefore
an important piece of contributory evidence.
(f). The Pharaoh Of The Exodus?
But it goes further. It names the Pharaoh at the time of these
events as Tutimaeus. The 'Tuti' in Greek corresponds to
'Dudi' in Egyptian, and the 'maeus' Greek ending
is the equivalent of the Egyptian 'mose'. Given this identification,
the Pharaoh of the Exodus was Dudimose I who reigned near the
close of the 13th Dynasty. Now the Atlas of Ancient Egypt shows
the dates of the early 12th Dynasty dates are exact, being astronomically
determined. However, the Atlas admits that 13th Dynasty dates
from Sobekhotep I onward are approximate at best. It suggests
that Sobekhotep IV reigned around 1720 BC and the 2nd Intermediate
period started about 1640 BC. However, the Biblical chronology
developed above has Moses fleeing from Kha'neferre about 1625
with the Exodus in 1585 BC ±
6 years. It therefore appears that these admittedly imprecise
13th Dynasty dates may need a correction and be brought forward
by a period ranging from 55 to 95 years. This is well within the
bounds of possibility and contrasts sharply with the attempts
of some to totally revise Egyptian Chronology.
(g). The treasure Cities of Pithom And Rameses
Two final comments may be appropriate. The Israelites were
involved in building the treasure cities of Pithom and Rameses.
Firstly, it has often been thought that this indicated that Rameses
was the Pharaoh of the Oppression if not the Exodus. However,
Rameses was the name of a district in the Delta area even in the
days of Joseph (see Genesis 47:11). The city took its name from
the region, not the Pharaoh. As for Pithom, Naville in 1883 and
Kyle in 1908 noted something unusual about the construction of
this city, which has been confirmed more recently by Amelia Edwards.
The lower courses of brick at Pithom were filled with good chopped
straw. The middle courses had less straw, but included some chopped
reeds from the Nile. The upper courses of brick were pure clay,
without any trace of straw or reeds. Here is a silent testimony
to the accuracy of Exodus 5.
TABLE 1: REGNAL DATES FOR THE KINGS
Kings 15:10, 2 Chron 14:1ff
Kings 8:16-17, Cf 2 Kings 3:1
* NOTE: Rehoboam died in the 18th year
of his reign, and so reigned 17 full years. Asa died in the 41st
year of his reign and so reigned 40 full years. Adding these parts
of years to the total of 6 months for Jehoahaz and Jehoiachin
makes a total of about 1 extra year. The total time covered by
this regnal list is thus 390 years. This is in accord with Ezekiel
4:1-5 which records that Israel's idolatry had lasted for 390
years from the Kingdom Division to the fall of Jerusalem in 586
BC. The Kingdom Division at the death of Solomon was thus 976
Rehoboam died in18th year of reign & so reigned 17 years.
Asa died in 41st year of reign & so reigned 40 years.
Adding these to the total of 6 months for Jehoahaz and
Jehoiachin make a total of about 1 extra year.
TOTAL TIME = 390 YEARS.
WITH JERUSALEM'S DESTRUCTION IN 586 BC, AN ADDITIONAL 390
YEARS GIVES US THE KINGDOM DIVISION THAT THUS OCCURRED IN 976
BC + 1YR
TABLE 2: MANUSCRIPTS AND PATRIARCHAL AGES.
LXX -- Septuagint
J -- Josephus
MT -- Masoretic Text
SP -- Samaritan Pentateuch
NT -- New Testament
Note: the column titled "age" refers to the age of
the patriarch at the time of the birth of the son who would be
in the divine line, not necessarily the birth of his firstborn
or first son.
PATRIARCH AGE SOURCES MASORETIC
||LXX + J
||LXX + J
||LXX + J
||LXX + J
||LXX + J
||LXX + J + MT
||LXX + J
||LXX + MT
||MT + J [LXX is 188]
||LXX + J + SP + MT
||LXX + SP +MT
||LXX + SP + J
||LXX + NT
||LXX + SP + J
||LXX + SP + J
||LXX + SP + J
||LXX + SP
||LXX + SP
||LXX + SP
||LXX + SP + J + MT
||LXX + SP + J + MT
Table II: Old Testament Chronology
Age at Birth of son
Patriarach's Life Span
Patriarach's Life Span
Atomic Time BP at Patriarch's Birth
Light Speed (times present value)
Approximately 2256 years after
Creation or about 3536 BC
~ c (now)
Print this chart
References added by Editor:
The Meaning Of The CHRONOGENEALOGIES
Of Genesis 5 & 11 and
GENESIS 5 & 11: CHRONOGENEALOGIES In The
Biblical History Of Beginnings by Gerhard F. Hasel, late
Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Theology, Andrews University.
Revised edition, September 9, 1999.