2900 BC vs. 2350 BC and Bible chronology

From: MikeSatterlee@cs.com
Date: Sat May 04 2002 - 20:23:19 EDT

  • Next message: Dick Fischer: "'Ish List (was Antiquity and Unity of the Human Race)"

    Hi Dick,

    You wrote: What I like about 2900 BC is that it agrees with others who have
    on the subject. For example: Davis Young who wrote, The Biblical Flood, and
    Robert Best who wrote Noah's Ark. Each of us arrived at that date
    independently based upon solid data and evidence. ... Now you, who have done
    no research, decide we are all wrong!

    I thought you would have learned by now not to underestimate me. I have done
    extensive research on this subject matter, albeit a different kind of

    Besides, as I said, a flood the size of the one described in Genesis would
    have amounted to a major change in the climate of Mesopotamia. Major changes
    in climate affect the growth of trees. Tree ring growth studies indicate tree
    growth was affected by a major change in climate in 2350 BC but not in 2900
    BC. The 2900 BC date which you and others have assigned to Noah's flood is
    based on a long series of assumptions. If any of those assumptions is
    incorrect the 2900 BC date for Noah's flood is incorrect. The 2350 BC date
    which has been recently assigned to Noah's flood by means of a study of
    dendrochronology is based on only two assumptions, neither of which are in
    doubt. 1. When trees grow they form one new growth ring every year. 2. A
    traumatic change in climate stunts the growth of trees and diminishes the
    size of their new annual growth rings. So again I ask you, if your 2900 BC
    date for Noah's flood is the correct one why do tree ring growth studies not
    indicate that a major change in climate occurred in that year?

    The "different kind of research" I did which provided me with a 2350 BC date
    for Noah's flood, before the dendrochronology studies suggested the same
    date, was a several year long study of the historical records found in the
    scriptures, with a view to determining if the chronological information
    contained therein can be used, and was intended by God to be used, to
    accurately assign historical dates to various events recorded in the Old and
    New Testaments. I have come to the conclusion that the chronological
    information contained in the Bible's historical records was preserved there
    by God for us to use for that very purpose. I am convinced that the Bible
    itself, with the help of several "anchor" dates provided to us by secular
    historians, tells us that Noah's flood occurred in 2350 BC. I have thoroughly
    considered and dispensed of all arguments to the contrary, including the
    argument that the Genesis genealogies may contain "gaps" which some say are
    evidenced by a "second Cainan" not listed in the Genesis genealogies, who
    Luke is said to have listed in his genealogy of Christ.

    As has recently been mentioned in news articles which I have here posted
    links to, this 2350 BC date for Noah's flood is the same date that James
    Ussher assigned to the flood over 350 years ago based on his study of Bible
    chronology. In my opinion, Ussher got lucky. He ended up with the right date
    despite the fact that he had been off by over forty years in his dating of a
    very crucial event in Old testament history. That event was the division of
    the kingdom of Israel upon the death of Solomon. He dated that event to 976

    Several attempts to make sense out of all the chronological information given
    to us by the writers of the books of Kings and Chronicles have been made over
    the years. The only ones who have ever come close to harmonizing all the
    Bible tells us about when the kings of Israel and Judah reigned have been men
    who have paid very close attention to all of the historical synchronisms
    contained in the contemporary historical records of Israel's and Judah's
    neighboring nations. Anyone who has ever managed to come close to
    demonstrating full harmony within the text of scripture on these matters has
    only been able to do so when they have also accepted all of the dates which
    historians now provide to us for all of these historical synchronisms. Dates
    such as 853 for the battle of Qarqar, 722 for the fall of Samaria, 701 for
    Sennacherib's siege of Jerusalem in the 14th year of Hezakiah, 605 for the
    battle of Carchemish and 568 for the 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar. At the time
    of Ussher historians had not yet established these "anchor" dates for Bible
    chronologists. Without them Ussher was not able to reconstruct the
    chronological histories of the Hebrew kings in a way that came anywhere close
    to harmonizing the Bible's many apparently contradictory statements
    pertaining to when exactly all of Israel's and Judah's kings began and ended
    their reigns. And when exactly the kingdom was divided following the death of

    Ussher understood that the 390 years of "the sin of the house of Israel"
    spoken of in Ezekiel chapter 4 clearly dated the division of the kingdom 390
    years before the fall of Jerusalem, which he dated to 586 BC. Most scholars
    today differ from Ussher by only one year, preferring the date 587 BC. Ussher
    simply added Ezekiel's "390 years" to 586 BC and came up with 976 BC for the
    division of the kingdom. However, today we know that since Ussher's 976 BC
    date for the division of the kingdom cannot possibly be reconciled with all
    of the available biblical and extrabiblical chronological information
    pertaining to the reigns of Israel's and Judah's kings, it cannot be the
    correct date for that event. In recent years scholars such as Edwin R. Thiele
    have shown that the facts of history and scripture can only be harmonized
    when we understand that the division of the kingdom occurred in about 930 BC.
    Though Thiele's work is not by any means perfect, the historical information
    he wisely considered clearly shows the kingdom could not have been divided
    any earlier than 935 BC.

    I say 935 vs. Thiele's 930 because Thiele failed to take into account what
    certainly appears to be a five year overlap, i.e. coregency, between Judah's
    Abijah and Asa. Though Thiele alluded to it himself he failed then to deal
    with it. The Bible tells us that Asa's days as king began with "ten years of
    peace." (2 Chr.. 14:1,6) I believe this must refer to his years as sole king
    following five years as coregent. For the Bible also clearly indicates that
    the first war during Asa's reign was in his "15th year." (2 Chr.15:10) Thiele
    tells us, and I agree, that the words of 2 Chr.15:19, "there was no war until
    the 35th year of Asa's reign," should be understood as saying "There was no
    war until the 35th year (since the division of the kingdom) in Asa's reign."
    We know this because 1 Kings 15:16 speaks of a war between Asa and Baasha "in
    the 36th year of Asa's reign," but Baasha's rule ended long before Asa's 36th
    year. (1 Kings 16:6,8) That being the case, 2 Chr. 15:19 and 1 Kings 15:16
    must be referring to the number of years which had then passed from the
    division of the kingdom. And since Rehoboam, Judah's first king, ruled 17
    years and was followed by Abijah who ruled 3 years we see that Asa began to
    rule 20 years after the schism. And since his first 10 years were years of
    peace, war must have first broken out between Asa and Baasha some 30 years
    after the kingdom was divided, not 35 years, unless the "10 years of peace"
    being referred to were the first 10 years of Asa's sole rule, following a 5
    year coregency. I believe had Thiele followed this line of thinking, which he
    had begun in discussing these verses, he would have reached the same
    conclusion I have, that the division of the kingdom must have occurred, not
    in 930 BC, but five years earlier in 935 BC.

    Through my studies I have been able to fully reconcile all apparently
    contradictory chronological information pertaining to the reigns of Israel's
    and Judah's kings in the books of Kings and Chronicles. However, after doing
    so I was left with a date of 935 BC for the division of the kingdom. And I
    was still left without a clear understanding of Ezekiel chapter 4. (By the
    way, Thiele completely ignored the problem of how we should understand Ezek.

    Here is how I now sort this problem out. I believe Josephus was correct when
    he told us that Solomon ruled for 80 years and died at age 94. (Antiq. 7.8) I
    believe the Bible credits Solomon with only "40 years" because, as I found in
    my study of the chronology of the divided kingdom, Bible writers did not
    count the years of a king's reign following the time the legality of that
    reign was seriously challenged. Of course, the Bible is also right. Because
    to rule for 80 years Solomon first had to rule for 40 years. The Bible itself
    clearly indicates that Solomon ruled for more than 40 years. For instance, it
    tells us Solomon was only "a boy" when he became king and it tells us his son
    Rehoboam was 41 when he followed his father on the throne. It also tells us
    that Rehoboam's mother was an Ammonite. Now unless Solomon married an
    Ammonite woman when he was only a boy Solomon must have ruled for more than
    40 years. We also know God promised Solomon a long life. Becoming king as a
    boy and ruling 40 years means Solomon would have died in his 50s, which does
    not add up to a long life. A long life in Solomon's day meant the same thing
    as it does today, 70s, 80s, or even 90s. Other factors also point to my
    acceptance of Josephus on this matter including the fact that he never any
    place else contradicts the chronological information contained in the Old
    Testament pertaining to the length of the reign of any other Hebrew king by
    more than one year. This occasional one year difference can be easily
    accounted for by the fact that either he or his sources were then employing a
    different system of reckoning than that used in Kings and Chronicles.

    I believe the 390 years of the house of Israel's sin began at the end of
    Solomon's first 40 years as king. I believe it was then that Jeroboam, the
    man God had previously chosen as the ten-tribe nation of Israel's first king,
    fled to Egypt following his unsuccessful attempt to overthrow Solomon's
    government. In Egypt Jeroboam was geographically unable to offer sacrifices
    to God at Jerusalem's Temple, sacrifices which the Jewish law required to
    gain God's forgiveness for sin. Since he there was no longer able to offer
    those sacrifices he no longer was forgiven by God for his sins, including the
    very serious sin he had just committed against Solomon.

    And I believe those 390 years of sin continued when, after returning from
    Egypt to become Israel's first king in 935 BC, Jeroboam successfully
    persuaded the people in his new ten-tribe kingdom to follow his lead in
    continuing to neglect offering God the sacrifices for their sins which God's
    laws required in order for them to receive His forgiveness for those sins.
    And I believe, since the people of northern Israel continued to neglect those
    sacrifices all the way up to the time Babylon began its siege of Jerusalem,
    the years of the house of Israel's sin continued to be counted by God all the
    way up until that time. The term "house of Israel" was used by God to refer
    not just to Jeroboam and the kings who followed him on Israel's throne, but
    to also refer to all of the spiritual descendants of those kings, including
    the Jewish people who remained in northern Israel long after Samaria was
    captured by Assyria. See, for instance, Ezek. 8:6-12,17; 37:15-23 and

    Now we come to "the sin of the house of Judah." I believe the 40 years of
    "the sin of the house of Judah" began in the 13th year of Josiah (Jer. 25:3),
    when God began to send his prophet Jeremiah and other prophets to Judah to
    warn them of the fact that his forgiveness for their serving other gods had
    run out. And I believe they ended 40 years later in the 9th year of Zedekiah
    (Jer. 52:4; 2 Kings 25:1) when Babylon's siege of Jerusalem began. As
    Jeremiah 25, beginning in verse 3 informs us, God had graciously forgiven
    Judah's sins up until that time. But Jeremiah told the people of Judah that
    God had decided He would no longer do so. Jeremiah told them that God had,
    from that time forward, decided to devote their land to destruction. From the
    13th year of Josiah, when God's prophets told Judah His forgiveness for their
    sins would no longer be given to them, to the 9th year of Zedekiah, when
    Babylon's armies began their siege of Jerusalem, 40 years (or parts thereof)
    passed. I am convinced that this is the 40 years of "the sin of the house of
    Judah" which God counted against Judah. For the Bible is very careful to tell
    us that it was "in the 13th year of Josiah" that God had decided he would no
    longer forgive "the sin of the house of Judah."

    But why did God forgive Judah for so long, and hold only this final 40 year
    period of their sin against them? And why did God hold all 390 years of the
    house of Israel's sin against them? The answer is a simple one which I have
    already alluded to. The people of Judah, aided by their Levite Priests, for
    the most part, faithfully offered God all the sacrifices His law required in
    the way it required them to do so. Because they did so, God overlooked their
    sins just as He had promised them He would. Because God forgave their sins up
    until the 13th year of Josiah he could not count their years of sin before
    that time against them. Thus God counted only Judah's final 40 years of sin.
    But He counted all 390 years of "the sin of the house of Israel." For "the
    house of Israel" had not offered God the sacrifices for their sins which His
    law required them to do.

    There is even a lesson for us here. God will as He has promised, through the
    shed blood of Jesus Christ, completely overlook our many years of sin and not
    count them against us. But even this forgiveness of His has limits. We cannot
    use the undeserved kindness of God, which Christ bought for us with His own
    blood, as an excuse to go on living immoral lives. The people of the house of
    Judah did that. And "40 years" before Babylon besieged Jerusalem the
    forgiveness God had for so long given them, a forgiveness bought by the blood
    of bulls and goats, ran out.

    Of course this understanding requires that we understand Jeroboam to have
    been "a young man" ( Josephus Antiq. 7.8 ), probably in his early 20s, when
    he rebelled against Solomon and fled to Egypt, that he was a middle aged man,
    probably in his early 60s, when he returned home to become northern Israel's
    first king, and that he was an old man, probably in his early to mid 80s,
    when he died after ruling for "22 years." - The Bible tells us that Ahijah
    the prophet once had no trouble seeing well enough to tear a coat into twelve
    pieces. This was when he first met Jeroboam, before Jeroboam's flight to
    Egypt.(1 Kings 11:30) However, it informs us that later on, during Jeroboam's
    reign as king, "Ahijah could not see. His sight was gone because of his
    age."(1 Kings 14:4) I believe this is because over 40 years passed between
    these two events in the life of Ahijah.

    This understanding of scripture also requires that we recognize the fact that
    the "Shishak" to whom Jeroboam fled (1 Kings 11:40) was not the same
    "Shishak" who plundered Jerusalem's Temple "in Rehoboam's 5th year". (2 Chr.
    12:2) I believe Jeroboam fled to Shoshenq I and it was Shoshenq II who later
    plundered Jerusalem's Temple. Why? Because Egyptian history tells us that
    Shoshenq I did not rule long enough to have his reign include both of these
    events which were, according to this understanding, separated by some 45
    years. It also tells us that Shoshenq II ruled only about one year. By
    recognizing Shoshenq II as the Pharaoh who plundered Jerusalem in Rehoboam's
    5th year, and having previously established 935 BC as the date when the
    kingdom was divided, we can date the one year reign of Shoshenq II to 931 BC.
    Then, following the standard chronology for the history of Egypt's Pharaohs
    we find that the reign of Shoshenq I began some 55 years earlier, in 986 BC
    and ended some 21 years later in 965 BC, during which time I believe Shoshenq
    I gave refuge to Jeroboam who fled to him in 975 BC. ( I am now discussing
    this matter with Professor Kenneth A. Kitchen of the University of Liverpool.
    I am doing so by snail mail. He's not on the Net. Amazing! Kitchen is
    considered to be the world's leading authority on the chronological history
    of ancient Egypt.)

    This understanding of Bible chronology and Egyptian history also dates the
    Exodus to 1491 BC and tells us that Tuthmosis III was then Egypt's Pharaoh. A
    Pharaoh who, in his 30th year,( which would be 1491 BC according to this
    understanding ) "received an ambassador from an unidentified Asiatic land who
    came to pay him homage." ( A History Of Ancient Egypt by Nicholas Grimal, pg.
    215 ) I believe this was probably Moses. Egyptian history also tells us that
    eighty years earlier Pharaoh Ahmose was ruling Egypt, the Pharaoh who began a
    new dynasty after ridding Egypt of the Hyksos kings. Ahmose then would be
    understood to be the "new king who arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph."
    (Ex. 1:8) Notice the similarity between the names of Ahmose and Moses. Could
    Ahmose's daughter have chosen the name she did for her adopted son partly to
    honor her father?

    I guess I've gotten off the subject of dating Noah's flood a bit. But Dick,
    don't tell me I've done no research on this subject matter. I've done a ton.
    It's just been a different kind of research.


    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sat May 04 2002 - 23:54:24 EDT