Sacred Chronology of the Hebrew Kings



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Preface: Chronology and History … page 1
Chapter One: About Kingdoms Chronology … page 3
Chapter Two: A New Kingdoms Chronology … page 13
Chapter Three: Kings of United Israel … page 41
Chapter Four: Kings of Israel and Judah … page 51
Chapter Five: Kings of Judah … page 83
Chapter Six: Pharaohs of Egypt and the Hebrew Kings … page 93
Chapter Seven: Kings of Assyria and the Hebrew Kings … page 109
Appendixes … page 135
Timekeeping in Ancient Israel
Sabbath and Jubilee Years
Verifying the Sabbath and Jubilee Tables
Date of the Exodus
Abraham to Solomon (2,162-1,002 BCE)
Moses in Egyptian History?
The Exodus to the Divided Kingdoms
Date of Creation
Index of Names … page 137

Excerpt – Preface: Chronology and History

Almost universally in modern times, the Bible has been rejected by scholars, including many conservative Bible scholars, as a trustworthy source text for the study of ancient chronology. Secular fields of study, primarily Geology and Archaeology, have all but assigned any chronology based on the biblical text to the academic dust bin. The purpose of this book is to reverse that trend—to show that the Bible is still the single most dependable source text available for doing serious chronological study of ancient times. It does so by using the details about the Hebrew kings provided in the biblical text to construct a precise historical timeline for that period, one that can be used not only for understanding Bible times, but for calibrating ancient contemporaneous chronologies as well.

The scope of this book is limited primarily to a detailed examination of the chronology of the Hebrew kings. Chapter One gives a synopsis of past efforts to harmonize the chronology of the kings. Chapter Two sets forth a new harmonized chronology of the kings, one based on Scripture only, with the reigns of the kings and chronological notes displayed diagrammatically side-by-side for easy comparison. Chapters Three, Four, and Five discuss the pertinent chronological details given in the Bible for each king—first, for the kings of United Israel, then for those in the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and finally for those in the kingdom of Judah after the demise of the kingdom of Israel—and they explain how that information can be interpreted to create a harmonized kingdoms chronology. In Chapter Six, the reigns of the pharaohs of Egypt are synchronized with the reigns of the Hebrew kings who reigned concurrently. In Chapter Seven, the reigns of the kings of the Neo-Assyrian Empire are synchronized with the Hebrew kings. At the end of this book, an expanded Bible timeline shows how the chronology of the kings can be used to align the remainder of the sacred chronology from the birth of Abraham onward.

The methodology used to arrive at the kingdoms chronology presented in this book is based on two important differences that distinguish the resulting dates for the reigns of the Hebrew kings from those published in all prior sacred chronologies. First, the chronology of the kings presented herein is derived solely from the Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh, without depending on a secular chronology, such as the one defined by the Assyrian Eponym Canon combined with an astronomical observation, to anchor it in time. Second, it achieves exact harmonization of the reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah with one another, then synchronizes the chronologies of surrounding civilizations with that harmonized chronology, all without having to disregard any of the biblical text or assume scribal emendation or error.

It should also be noted that the chronology of the Hebrew kings introduced in this book is based on a source text—the Bible—that is recognized as having the highest degree of transmission accuracy of any ancient document, with the accuracy of its chronological details confirmed by numerous cross-references recorded in the biblical text. Thus, the resulting chronology of the kings of Israel and Judah can be considered to be the most accurate regnal chronology that has come down from ancient times, which means that all other chronologies and histories, especially those of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, can best be understood when synchronized to agree with the chronology derived from the Bible rather than the other way around.

For those who may feel that any book devoted to discussing the chronology of the Hebrew kings is nothing more than a secondary pursuit, either not meriting serious academic consideration or not lending itself to spiritual enrichment, a few words of wisdom from a 19th-century scholar are worth repeating: “The chronology of the period of the kings of Judah and Israel has formed a fruitful subject of discussion in all subsequent ages. Works have been written on this epoch from the time of the Greek kings of Egypt until now, and yet we are unable, after the lapse of two thousand years, to settle the leading dates. The difficulties which stand in the way have led some to throw on one side entirely the chronological question; this result is unfortunate because history cannot be satisfactory without chronology” – George Smith, The Assyrian Eponym Canon (London: Samuel Baxter and Sons, 1875; p. 2)

Indeed, secular history cannot be satisfactory apart from chronology, nor can Bible history be satisfactory without having an accurate timeline of biblical events with which to give it context. In fact, having a true chronology of biblical times is key for fully discerning biblical truth. It is your author’s hope that the harmonized chronology of the Hebrew kings presented in this book will help to reestablish the Bible, at least in the realm of biblical scholarship, as the most authoritative ancient chronological source text, and that it will provide students, teachers, scholars, and religion professionals with a trustworthy timeline that can be used with confidence to achieve a more accurate interpretation of sacred history and a better understanding of the Bible’s message for mankind today.

—Dan Bruce, Author