© Barry Setterfield, September 1999
For recent updates and further information, please see the Setterfield website (www.setterfield.org
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 uncontroversial 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 death.
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 ± 6 years.
(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). Sabbatical Years Only Kept After The Exile
While on the topic of Sabbatical 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 Sabbatical 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 Sabbatical Year succession prior to the Exile. Once the Return from Exile occurred, it was re-instituted. Therefore, as a result of this hiatus, the Sabbatical 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 lifetime!
(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 worshiping 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 clear.
(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 Omission Principle.
(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 BC.
(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 later.
(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 begins.
(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 favorable 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 'Paleographic 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 standardized 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 text.'
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 in existence.
(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 to Abraham.
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 summarized 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 Pentateuch.
(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 in Gilgal.'
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 neighboring hillside does indeed contain some rock tombs. In 1870, in one of the sepulchers on the north side of the hill, a large number of stone knives were found...
(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 ± 10 years.
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 favored 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 Sidereal 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 recognized, 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 Organized 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 organized 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 organization, 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 information.
(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 kilometers 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 embalming 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', p. 101).
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.
Addendum on Egyptian Dates
Joseph and Egypt
1. From Creation & Catastrophe (above) the entry of Jacob and the Tribes into Egypt took place in 2014 BC. This was in the second year of the Famine (Gen. 45: II) Joseph thus started ruling as Prime Minister some 9 years earlier in 2023 to 2024 BC.
2. According to Moses in Exodus 12:40-41 the Sojourn was 430 years exactly, to the very day. However, God told Abraham that his posterity would be afflicted for 400 years This means that there were about 30 years before the affliction began The affliction thus started sometime in the period (2023 - 30) = 1993 BC to (2014 - 30) = 1984 BC.
3. Egyptian historical dates are precise from the very commencement of the 12th Dynasty under the usurper Amenemhet I in 1991 BC. It is thus this pharaoh who commenced the affliction period. There is evidence of this since Amenemhet I was noted for expelling Semitic settlers and starting up anti-Semitic feelings in Egypt.
4. Towards the close of the 11th Dynasty a severe famine was noted.
5. Note from the Scriptural account that the Pharaoh who promoted Joseph was pharaoh of All Egypt (Gen. 41:41). The first pharaoh to do this in the 11th Dynasty was Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II, who united all Egypt around 2040 BC, although he began his rule about 2061. He ruled for 51 years until about 2010 BC, with his two successors prior to Amenemhet I ruling for 12 years and 7 years respectively
6. In view of the fact that the sequence of events with Joseph took at least 14 years, neither of these last two rulers of the 11th Dynasty remained in power long enough to complete the task with the 7 years of plenty plus the 7 years of famine. This leaves pharaoh Nebhepetre Mentuhotep to be the king who elevated Joseph to become Prime Minister around 2024 BC.
7. Pharaoh Nebhepetre Mentuhotep distinguished himself by having 6 wives all of whose tombs have been found at Der-el-Behri.
8. The Bahr Yusuf or "Joseph's Canal" dates from the period at the close of the 11th or beginning of the 12th Dynasty. It allowed the reclamation of a large portion of land for cultivation, a vital necessity for a forthcoming famine. [9/25/01].
TABLE 1: REGNAL DATES FOR THE KINGS OF JUDAH
|KINGS OF JUDAH||YEARS OF REIGN||DATES BC||REFERENCE|
|* Rehoboam||17||976 - 959||1 Kings 15:1|
|Abijam||3||959 - 956||1 Kings 15:2|
|* Asa||40||956 - 916||1 Kings 15:10, 2 Chron 14:1ff|
|Jehoshaphat||25||916 - 891||1 Kings 22:42|
|Jehoram (+3 co-regent)||5 (+3)||891 - 886||2 Kings 8:16-17, Cf 2 Kings 3:1|
|Ahazaiah||1||886 - 885||2 Kings 8:26|
|Athaliah||6||885 - 879||2 Kings 11:3|
|Joash (Jehoash)||40||879 - 839||2 Kings 12:1|
|Amaziah||29||839 - 810||2 Kings 14:2|
|Azariah (Uzziah)||52||810 - 758||2 Kings 15:2|
|Jotham||16||758 - 742||2 Kings 15:33|
|Ahaz||16||742 - 726||2 Kings 16:2|
|Hezekiah||29||726 - 697||2 Kings 18:2|
|Manasseh||55||697 - 642||2 Kings 21:1|
|Amon||2||642 - 640||2 Kings 21:19|
|Josiah||31||640 - 609||2 Kings 22:1|
|* Jehoahaz||3 months||609 - 608||2 Kings 23:31|
|Jehoiakim||11||608 - 597||2 Kings 23:36|
|* Jehoiachin||3 months||597 - 597||2 Kings 24:8|
|Zedekiah||11||597 - 586||2 Kings 24:18|
* 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 BC.
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.
|Adam||230||LXX + J||130|
|Seth||205||LXX + J||105|
|Enos (Enosh)||190||LXX + J||90|
|Cainan (Kenan)||170||LXX + J||70|
|Mahalalel||165||LXX + J||65|
|Jared||162||LXX + J + MT||162|
|Enoch||165||LXX + J||65|
|Methuselah||187||LXX + MT||187|
|Lamech||182||MT + J [LXX is 188]||182|
|Noah||502||LXX + J + SP + MT||502|
|Shem||100||LXX + SP +MT||100|
|Arphaxad||135||LXX + SP + J||35|
|Cainan||130||LXX + NT||--|
|Salah (Shelah)||130||LXX + SP + J||30|
|Eber||134||LXX + SP + J||34|
|Peleg||130||LXX + SP + J||30|
|Reu||132||LXX + SP||32|
|Serug||130||LXX + SP||30|
|Nahor||179||LXX + SP||29|
|Terah||130||LXX + SP + J + MT||130|
|Abraham||100||LXX + SP + J + MT||100|
Age at Birth of son
Patriarch's Life Span
Patriarch's Life Span
Atomic Time BP at Patriarch's Birth
Light Speed (times present value)
|Adam||230 Seth||230||5562||930||5792-4862||14.8 billion||10.6 million|
|Seth||205 Enos||435||5357||912||5562-4650||12.5 billion|
|Enos||190 Cainaan||625||5167||905||5357-4452||10.1 billion|
|Cainaan||170 Mahalaleel||795||4997||910||5167-4257||8.96 billion|
|Mahalaleel||165 Jared||960||4832||895||4997-4102||7.62 billion|
|Jared||162 Enoch||1122||4670||962||4832-3870||6.42 billion|
|Enoch||165 Methusaleh||1287||4505||365||4670-4305||5.34 billion|
|Methusaleh||187 Lamech||1474||4318||969||4505-3536||4.35 billion||5.8 million|
|Lamech||182 Noah||1656||4136||777||4318-3541||3.35 billion|
|Noah||502 Shem||2158||3634||950||4136-3186||2.5 billion||4.3 million|
Approximately 2256 years after Creation or about 3536 BC
|650 million||2 million|
|Shem||100 Arphaxad||2258||3534||600||3634-3034||816 million|
|Arphaxad||135 Cainan||2393||3399||535||3534-2999||596 million|
|Cainan||130 Salah||2523||3269||460||3399-2939||358 million|
|Salah||130 Eber||2653||3139||433||3269-2836||196 million||1.1 million|
|Eber||134 Peleg||2787||3005||404||3139-2735||97 million||615,000|
|Peleg||130 Reu||2917||2875||339||3005-2666||63 million|
|Reu||132 Serug||3049||2743||339||2875-2536||1 million||78,000|
|Abraham||100 Isaac||3588||2204||175||2304-2129||c ~ c (now)|
Above chart as a separate file for printing
ADDED NOTE from Barry Setterfield: The reason the dates in this chronology are not quite in line with the chronologies published in current Old Testaments are as follows: In 100 A.D., Rabbi Akiba at the Council of Jamnia went through the Hebrew Scriptures and changed some of the material in Genesis 5 and 11! So instead of Adam being 230 when Seth was born, he was 130. In fact the cipher for 100 was dropped a number of times regarding the age of a father at the birth of a son. The result of this is about a 2000 year difference between the date of creation before Akiba got hold of the material and after. The texts we have in our OT until today, the Masoretic texts, are the result of Akiba’s work. But if one goes back to more ancient texts such as the Alexandrian LXX (translated 300 years before Christ and which, by the way, matches the LXX quotes used in the New Testament), you will see the original ages. This is why the dates on our website http://www.ldolphin.org/setterfield.org and here. are at variance with the Ussher chronology. Using the Ussher chronology we have severe discrepancies with archaeological dating in Egypt, for example. With the more ancient Alexandrian LXX, the problems disappear. It is important to understand that the various Septuagints (the LXX translations) are not all equal. Only the Alexandrian version comes from before Christ. The others, which are called Septuagints, are translations from Hebrew to Greek occurring after 100 A.D., and thus subject to the same deletions.
Chart: Atomic Time, The Geological Ages, and Dynamical Time
References added by Editor: THE MEANING OF THE CHRONOGENEALOGIES OF GENESIS 5 AND 11, and GENESIS 5 AND 11: CHRONOGENEALOGIES IN THE BIBLICAL HISTORY OF BEGINNINGS by Gerhard F. Hasel, late Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Theology, Andrews University.
Revised Chronology of the World, with Geological Ages, 2009.
By Barry Setterfield from the boooklet The Bible and Geology.
Revised edition, September 9, 1999. March 11, 2003. June 7, 2003. February 21, 2004. January 25, 2005. July 7, 2006. November 19, 2009.
Back to Lambert Dolphin's Library