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Timeline – Abraham to Solomon

The key for extending biblical chronology back beyond the reign of Solomon is found in 1 Kings 6:1, which says, “And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which [is] the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord.

Going back 480 years from the year 1,002 BCE, Solomon’s fourth regnal year when he began construction of the Jerusalem Temple, would seemingly reveal the year of the Exodus to be 1,482 BCE. However, using the 480 years specified by the Masoretic text as the time span between the Exodus and Solomon’s fourth regnal year creates chronological problems. The most serious conflict is that the events in the timeline resulting from using the 480-year figure cannot be made to reconcile with the calendar of Sabbath and Jubilee years that can be generated from other reliable sabbath-jubilee data provided in the Tanakh (Old Testament), B’rit Hadashah (New Testament), Seder Olam, Josephus, and the Talmud. Thus, the application of the 480-year Masoretic figure must be questioned.

As it turns out, the 480-year Masoretic figure is not universally documented. The Septuagint contradicts it in 3 Kings, chapter 6, verse 0 (LXX), which says, “And it came to pass in the four hundred and fortieth year after the departure of the children of Israel out of Egypt, in the fourth year and second month of the reign of king Solomon over Israel, that the king commanded that they should take great and costly stones for the foundation of the house, and hewn stones. And the men of Solomon, and the men of Chiram hewed the stones, and laid them for a foundation.” (translated by Sir Lancelot Brenton in The Septuagint with Apocrypha in Greek and English; Hendrickson, 1986)

When the 480-year Masoretic figure is replaced by the 440-year figure from the Septuagint, that moves the date for the Exodus forward from 1,482 BCE to 1,442 BCE, making events surrounding the Exodus synchronize perfectly with the Sabbath-Jubilee calendar calculated from the Bible and documented history, dates which are verified by multiple chronological crosschecks. Equally important, the 440-year figure yields a timeline that agrees with the Masoretic verses describing the duration of Israel’s conquest of Canaan.

How do I justify using the 440-year figure from the Septuagint that seems to contradict the 480-year Masoretic figure? Admittedly, I make an assumption. I explain it by assuming that the Masoretic figure starts its count when Moses, one of the Children of Israel, had his personal “exodus” from Egypt when he was forty years old, whereas the Septuagint figure starts from the time of the Exodus of all of the Children of Israel forty years later.

Several important synchronizations result from using the Septuagint time period rather than the Masoretic timeline. First, the chronology for the life of Moses using the 440-year figure produces a timeline for him that fits the narrative of Egypt’s Dynasty 18. Second, locating the Exodus in 1,442 BCE locates the allotment of the land of Canaan to the twelve tribes as occurring in the year 1,394 BCE, after the forty-ninth Passover (if you include the first Passover night in Egypt in the count) to determine the Jubilee Year for returning land to its owners, in this case returning the Promised Land to the promisees. In other words, it shows that the land was allotted in the first Jubilee Year, see First Sabbath and Jubilee Years in Canaan. Third, and this is very important, it agrees with the Apostle Paul’s “about 450 years” recorded in Acts 13:20.

Chart from page 172 of Daniel Unsealed © Dan Bruce
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