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CHRONOLOGY Chronology , from *, time, and *, discourse, signifies “the computation of times.” It is the science of establishing historical dates. “Without chronology,” says Dr. Hales, “history would lose its most valuable characters of truth and consistency , and scarcely rise above the level of romance.” And Tatian, an ancient chronologer, has observed that “with those to whom the computation of the times is unconnected, not even the facts of history can be verified.” “Chronology and geography are the eyes of history.” The simple record of events, without dates or location, can give but little interest to the intellectual reader. The student of history must extend back his imagination to the periods of the world in which have respectively occurred the events of past ages, and feel familiar with the places of their occurrence, or he will be unable to realize their relation to each other, or understand the influence which those of each age have exerted over subsequent ages. The chronology of events is so necessary to the verity of history, extending, as it does, through its every department, that it is also called “the soul of history.” To execute correctly its functions in its two offices, it needs to be accurate. Otherwise, those who look through this “eye” down the long vista of past ages will see through a glass darkly, and this “soul” will lose its spiritual and life-giving power.
Time is measured by motion. The swing of a clock pendulum marks seconds. The revolutions of the earth mark days and years. The earliest measure of time is the day. Its duration is strikingly indicated by the marked contrast and succession of light and darkness. Being a natural division of time, it is very simple, and is convenient for the chronology of events within a limited period.
The week, another primeval measure, is not a natural measure of time, as some astronomers and chronologers have supposed indicated by the phases or quarters of the moon. It was originated by divine appointment at the creation, six days of labor and one of rest being wisely appointed for man’s physical and spiritual well-being. F1 The month is a natural measure of time, derived from the revolution of the moon. The periodical changes in its appearance naturally suggested their duration, as an easy division of time. In the earlier computation by months, thirty days were reckoned to a month by the Babylonians, Egyptians, Persians, and Grecians. Cleobulus, one of the seven sages, put forth a riddle representing the year as divided into twelve months, of thirty days and nights each: “The father is one; the sons twelve ; to each belong Thirty daughters; half of them white, the other black; And though immortal, yet they perish all.” In the deluge, Noah counted five months equivalent to one hundred and fifty days. At a subsequent period it was found that the length of a lunation was about twenty-nine and one-half days; and to avoid a fraction, they counted the months alternately, twenty-nine and thirty days.
As the sun returns annually to the same point in the heavens, it could not fail to be noticed as a natural measurement of time. The Egyptians attributed its discovery to the Phoenician, Hermes, a diligent observer of the rising and setting of the stars; but it was evidently in use before the deluge.
In process of time it was found that the primeval year of three hundred and sixty days was shorter than the tropical year, and five additional days were intercalated, to harmonize the observance of festivals with their appropriate seasons. It was subsequently found that the solar year exceeded three hundred and sixty-five days, by about six hours, or a quarter of a day.
In the time of Julius Caesar, owing to the irregularity with which the additional days had been intercalated, the vernal equinox, instead of falling on the 23d of March, was dated near the middle of May. To remedy this, Caesar formed a preparatory year of fifteen months, or four hundred and forty-five days, called “the year of confusion” . It began October 3, B.C. 46, so that the first reformed year following commenced January 1, B.C. 45. To compensate for the additional fraction of a day, he inserted a whole day every fourth year.
More accurate astronomical observations at length demonstrated that the true solar year was three hundred and sixty-five days, five hours, fortyeight minutes, and fifty-seven seconds — eleven minutes and three seconds less than the time reckoned, or one day in every one hundred and thirty years; so that in A.D. 1582 the vernal equinox was found to be on the 11th of March, having fallen back ten days. To remedy this, Pope Gregory XIII. left out ten days in October, calling the 5th the 15th of that month, making another “year of confusion.” To prevent a repetition of this error, Gregory decreed that three days should be omitted in every four centuries or that that number of years, which would otherwise be bissextile, should be reckoned as common years. This makes our year sufficiently exact for all practical purposes. Perfect accuracy, however, would require that another day be omitted in each six thousand years, and one day more at the end of one hundred and forty-four thousand.
Another convenient mode of marking time is by cycles, a recurring period of years. The oldest and most celebrated is — THE CYCLE OF THE MOON.
The lunar year of twelve moons being eleven days shorter than the solar year, to preserve a correspondence between them it was necessary once in about three years to intercalate a month to fill up the deficiency. Meton, a celebrated astronomer, B.C. 430, discovered that an intercalation of seven lunations in nineteen lunar years made them correspond very nearly to nineteen solar years, varying a day only once in three hundred and twelve years. His discovery was inscribed by the Greeks on a marble pillar, in letters of gold. Hence the current years of this cycle are called the “Golden Number.”
THE CYCLE OF THE SUN.
If there were just fifty-two weeks in a year, each year would invariably commence on the same day of the week. As a common year consists of fifty-two weeks and one day, if all the years were thus constituted, when a given year commences on Sunday the second year would commence on Monday, the third on Tuesday, the seventh on Saturday, and the eighth on Sunday again, bringing the commencement of the year on a given day of the week once in a cycle of seven years. As this order is interrupted once in four years by the bissextile, or leap year, which has two days over even weeks, the year following each bissextile must commence two days later in the week than its preceding one, while common years commence but one day later.
Therefore, if the first year commence on Wednesday, as does the first year of the present cycle, which commenced in 1840, that being a bissextile, the second year would commence on Friday, the fourth on Sunday, and the fifth on Monday, which (1844) being a bissextile, the sixth would commence on Wednesday, and so on through a cycle of 4 times 7 = years, in the following order: — At the end of the cycle of twenty-eight years there is a recurrence of years commencing on days of the week in the same order. This order is, however, varied by every year, which, ending a century, is reckoned as a common year — the current years of each cycle then commence one day in the week earlier than the corresponding years of the cycles of the preceding century. It is thus varied three days in each 400 years.
This is sometimes called the cycle of the Dominical, or Sunday letter. On whatever day of the week the first day of any year falls, that day of the week is indicated by the letter A, the succeeding day by B, and so on to the first Sunday; and the letter that falls on that day is the Dominical, or Sunday letter, for the year, excepting in the bissextile. In that year, as one day is added to the month of February, if G is the Dominical for the first two months, F would be for the last ten, and then E for the next year. But with common years, if G is the Dominical letter for the first, F would be for the second.
The first seven letters of the alphabet are called the Dominical letters, and succeed each other — one in each common year, and two in each bissextile — five times during the solar cycle of twenty-eight years, when they again commence and succeed each other in the following order: f3 As each year begins later in the week than its preceding one, there are less days between its first day and its first Sunday; consequently if its first day is represented by A, a letter nearer to A than in the preceding year will fall on Sunday.
TO FIND THE DOMINICAL LETTER FOR ANY YEAR OF THE CHRISTIAN ERA,PREVIOUS TO THE CHANGE OF THE YEAR FROM OLD TO NEW STYLE,OR FROM THE JULIAN TO THE GREGORIAN YEAR: — Add to any given year one-fourth of its number (omitting fractions), and 5 to that sum; divide this result by 7. If there is no remainder, A is the Dominical letter. If there is a remainder, the letter below, which stands under the number corresponding with the remainder, is the letter sought. 0 6 5 4 3 2 A B C D E F G If in the division of the given year by four, to get its fourth part, there is no remainder, the year is a bissextile or leap year, and the letter thus found is only the Dominical letter for the last ten months of that year, the letter following, in the above line, being that for the first two.
TO FIND THE DOMINICAL LETTER FOR ANY YEAR SINCE THE ADOPTION OF THE GREGORIAN YEAR: — Add to any given year its fourth part (excepting fractions), and instead of adding 5, as before, add 2 to the sum, for any year in the 16th and 17th centuries, 1 for each year in the 18th, and nothing for the present century.
Then divide by 7, and find the letter by the remainder, as before.
The first year of the Christian Era commenced with Monday, so that five days intervened between it and the first Sunday, and are required to be added, to make even weeks. As the addition during the leap years is balanced by the addition of one-fourth of the current years, 5 should be added to each Julian year. When the Gregorian year was introduced, ten days were omitted for that number of years which had been reckoned as leap years which should have been considered common years. This being a week and three days, left but two days to be added till the 18th century, when, another fourth year being a common year, but one was to be added.
The year 1800 being considered a common year, leaves none to add for the present century.
The Gregorian year was adopted in Catholic countries in 1582, but was not adopted in Great Britain and her colonies till 1752. In Sweden it was adopted in 1753, and in Germany in 1777. Russia only retains the Old Style, which now differs twelve days from the New.
The Dominical letter being found, the day of the week on which any given day of any year falls is ascertained by a simple process. If there were four weeks in each month, the first day of each would commence on the same day of the week during the year. Varying from even weeks, the first day of each month will be on days of the week varying from that on which January commences, as the following letters vary from each other: — A D D G B E G C F A D F Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.
The order of these letters may be easily remembered by the following familiar couplet: — Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., May, June, “At Dover Dwells George Brown, Esquire, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.
Good Caleb Fitch, And Doctor Friar.”
To find the day in the week on which any month begins, find the letter which corresponds to the given month, as in the above couplet. If the letter thus found is the Dominical letter for the year, the month begins on Sunday. If it is a different letter, the day of its commencement varies from Sunday as many days as the letter found varies from the Dominical letter for the year, in the following order:
A, B, C, D, E, F, G The day of the week on which the month commences being found, that on which any corresponding day of the month falls is found by subtracting one from the given day of the month, and dividing the difference by seven. The remainder gives the number of days in the week, which the given day varies from Sunday.
Thus, on what day of the week did the Dark Day occur? May 19, 1780. 1780/4=445. Add 1780, it equals 2,225. Add 1, it equals 2,226. Divide by 7, it equals 318, with no remainder. Or it might thus be stated: (1780 / 4 + 1780 + 1 / 7 = 318. Then A is the Dominical letter for the last ten months, it being a bissextile. B is the letter which corresponds with May in the above couplet, which varies from A, so that the 1st of May for that year falls on Monday. Then (19 - 1) / 7 = 2, with 4 remainder. Four days from Monday is Friday, on which was the Dark Day.
THE CYCLE OF INDICTION This was a cycle of fifteen years, used only by the Romans for appointing the times of certain public taxes, established by Constantine, A.D. 312, in place of the heathen Olympiads.
These are additional days, given to find the moon’s age. A lunar year of moons contains 354 days, 11 days less than the solar year, a deficiency extending through each year of the lunar cycle. This would require 11 days to be added for the epact of the first year, 22 for the second, 33-30=3 for the third (because the moon’s age cannot exceed 30 days), 14 for the fourth, and so on through each year of the cycle, the epact of the last year of which will be 29, and 11, again, that of the first year of the next cycle, as before.
As the Vulgar Era commenced in the second year of the cycle of the moon, the year of the cycle corresponding with any year of the era is found by adding 1 to the given year, and dividing the sum by 19, the remainder being the Golden Number for the year. If there is no remainder, 19 is the required number.
TO FIND THE EPACT FOR ANY YEAR PREVIOUS TO 1752: — Multiply the Golden Number by 11. If the product is less than 30, it will be the epact for the year. if it is greater, divide it by 30, and the remainder will be the epact required.
As 11 days were struck from the calendar in 1752, the epact of any year, since then, is found by subtracting 11 from the epact as before found, if it is greater than that number, and if it is less, by adding 30-11=19. The number thus resulting is the epact for any given year.
TO FIND THE MOON’S AGE, FOR ANY DAY IN ANY YEAR, WITH THESE NUMBERS: — Add the epact for the year, the number of the month from March inclusive, and the day of the month. If the sum is less than 30, it is the moon’s age for that day; if it is greater, its remainder, when divided by 30, is its age.
Thus, to find the moon’s age on the 19th of May, 1780, — the Dark Day, — we find, first, the Golden Number: (1780+1)/19=93, with a remainder of 14 for the number sought. Then find the epact: 14x11/30=5, with a remainder of 4. Then 4+30-11=23, the epact sought. Then 23+3+19=45; and 45/30=1, with a remainder of 15, for the age of the moon at that date.
EPOCHS, ERAS, AND PERIODS.
An epoch is any remarkable date from which time is reckoned. It signifies a stop.
A period is a definite series of years. The date of independence is the epoch from which the era of the independence is reckoned. The president is elected for a period of four years.
Epochs, eras, and periods are to chronology what the cardinal points and prime meridians are to astronomy and geography. As on celestial or terrestrial maps or globes, the relative position of stars or places cannot be given without some known point to reckon from, so in chronology, given points are needed by which to arrange the relative distances of events.
THE JULIAN PERIOD.
As the cycles of the sun, moon, and indiction are of different lengths, they will not harmonize with each other in their commencement and termination. If they commenced in a given year, as they terminate in different years, they would not again commence at the same time for many years. To adjust these cycles to each other it was necessary to find a still larger cycle, at the beginning and termination of which they would harmonize with each other.
This is found by multiplying the number of years in the cycle of the sun by those in the other cycles. Thus 28x19x15=7,980 years, a period of time, at the termination of which these cycles would commence and succeed each other, in the order corresponding with those that length of time previous.
This period is also called the great Paschal Cycle, and the Victorian or Dyonysian period. it was invented by the chronologist Scaliger, and serves an important purpose in the adjustment of dates in the different eras.
Our Vulgar Era, and that of creation, are the grand eras to which subordinate epochs, eras, and periods are usually adjusted. So many different dates have been assigned for the epoch of the creation that the assignment of an event to any given year of the world gives a very indefinite idea of its time, unless the system of chronology followed is also mentioned. No less than one hundred and twenty different opinions are mentioned by Dr. Hales for the date of the creation, all differing from each other no less than 3,268 years.
Unfortunately for ancient chronology, there existed no established era.
Different nations reckoned by different eras, the commencements of which were not always easily reconciled with each other. The Grecian Era, or the Olympiads, commencing July 19, B.C. 776; the Roman Era, commencing with the building of Rome, B.C. 753; the Chaldean Era, or Historic Era of Nabonassar, commencing with February 26, B.C. 646, and our Vulgar Era, form the four cardinal eras of sacred and profane chronology. There are numerous other epochs from which events are dated, but none of them are of the importance of these, to which chronologers have adjusted the dates of all-important events. From the epochs at which these eras commence, events are reckoned backwards and forwards in time, as distance is from a fixed point on the earth. Events are dated in reference to other events. If the reigns and successions of kings are given, with a starting-point at which to date the commencement of any reign, the commencement of each subsequent reign is dated from this. If events are assigned to a certain year in a given reign, we are enabled, by the length and succession of the reign, to fix its relative position. It is, however, first necessary to adjust these eras to each other, so that when an event is dated in any year of one era, we may find its corresponding year in the other eras. The oldest of these is THE ERA OF THE OLYMPIADS.
The Olympic games consisted of various athletic sports, a record of which was kept at Elis, and the names of the victors inserted in it by the presidents of the games. These registers are pronounced accurate by ancient historians, and are complete, with the exception of the 211th Olympiad, “the only one,” says Pausanias, “omitted in the register of the Eleans.” This record is pronounced by Dr. Hales “a register of the most public authenticity.” — New Anal. Chro, vol. i, p. 224.
The learned chronologer Varro considers the era of the Olympiads as the limit between the fabulous and historical ages. In this opinion Dr. Hales concurs. ITS ADJUSTMENT TO THE CHRISTIAN ERA. — This has been “fully ascertained by historical and astronomical evidence.” — Hales, vol. i, p. 245.
Says Dr. Hales: — “The learned Censorinus, in his excellent work, ‘De Die Natali,’ cap. 21, marks the year in which he wrote it, A.D. 238, in the consulate of Ulpius and Pontianus, by its reference to some of the most remarkable eras, and among the rest states that it was ‘the 1014th year from the first Olympiad, reckoned from the summer days, on which the Olympic games were celebrated.’” But 1014- A.D.238=B.C. 776. “Polybius relates that in the third year of the 140th Olympiad, during spring, there happened two memorable battles; the former between the Romans and Carthaginians, at the lake Thrasymene, in Italy, the latter between Antiochus and Ptolemy, at Raphia, in Caelo-Syria. And, also, that in the course of the same year there was an eclipse of the moon, which terrified the Gallic auxiliaries whom Attalus was bringing over from Europe, in consequence of which they refused to proceed (Liv. v, p. 422). The third year of the 140th Olympiad began July, B.C. 218, and ended July, B.C. 217; but in the former Julian year there was a great eclipse of the moon on September 1, an hour after midnight, in which the moon was nearly an hour and a half immersed in the earth’s shadow, and which was, therefore, fully sufficient to terrify the ignorant and superstitious; and the battle of Thrasymene was fought in the next Julian year, B.C. 217, in the consulate of Servilius Geminus and C.
Flaminius II., but as it was in spring it fell within the compass of the same Olympic year. But 139 Olympiads and two years over make 558 years, which, added to B.C. 218, give B.C. 776 for the date of the first Olympiad. These demonstrative characters are furnished by Petavius (tome ii, p. 56.)” — New Anal. Chro., vol. i, pp. 245, 246.
With this adjustment of the era, there is no difficulty in assigning the events of any given Olympiad to its corresponding year of the Vulgar Era. f5 THE ROMAN ERA.
The adjustment of this era to the Grecian and Vulgar Eras is equally demonstrable. Says Dr. Hales: — “1. Censorinus reckoned that the year A.D. 238, in which he wrote his work, was the 991st from the foundation of Rome, by the Varronian computation. But 991-A.D.238=B.C.753. See Petav., tome ii, pp. 53, 69. “2. Cicero and Plutarch both relate that on the day of the foundation of Rome there was a total eclipse of the sun, which happened, according to the latter, in the third year of the sixth Olympiad, B.C. 754-3. But by astronomical calculation there was an eclipse of the sun visible at Rome, B.C. 753, July 5, aft. 4 1/2, dig. 4, agreeing in every respect except the quantity. This also adjusts the Grecian and Roman Eras together. See Cicero, De Div:, lib. ii.; Plutarch in Romulo. “3. Livy records in the consulate of Livius Salinator and Valerius Messaia, U.C. 566, a total eclipse of the sun, which, by astronomical calculation, happened B.C. 188, July 17, morn. 8h: 38m. dig. 10 3/4; but the sum of these years gives B.C. 754, complete, or B.C. 753, current. See Livy, lib. xxxviii, 36. “4 . Livy also records that in the consulate of Paulus Aemilius and Licinius Crassus, U.C. 586, Sulpitius Gallus, a military tribune, predicted an eclipse of the moon to happen on the ensuing night, from the second to the fourth hour, which accordingly happened the night before the famous battle of Pydna in which Perseus, king of Macedon, was defeated; and this encouraged the Romans, and dispirited the Macedonians. And, by astronomical calculation, there was an eclipse of the moon, B.C. 168, June 21, which began aft. 6h. 14m., and lasted four hours, 15 dig. The total immersion, or eclipse, began 7h. 32m., or in the second hour of the night, and lasted till the fourth hour, exactly agreeing with the prediction of Gallus, which identifies the eclipses, and shows considerable skill on his part at that early age. It also proves that Livy was incorrect in assigning the night of the eclipse, ‘pridie nonas Septembris.’ The context, in the preceding chapter, shows that the season of the year was rather about the summer solstice. See Livy, lib. xliv, 37. But the sum of these years gives B.C. 754, complete, or B.C. 753, current, for the date of the foundation of Rome, according to the Varronian computation, which is infallibly established by means of these eclipses.” — Hales, vol. i, pp. 249, 250.
THE ERA OF NABONASSAR.
Says Dr. Hales: — “The origin of this era is thus represented by Syncellus, from the accounts of Polyhistor and Berosus, the earliest writers extant on Chaldean history and antiquities. “‘Nabonassar [king of Babylon], having collected the acts of his predecessors, destroyed them, in order that the computations of the reigns of the Chaldean kings might be made from himself.’ “It began, therefore, with the reign of Nabonassar, February 26, B.C. 747. The form of year then employed therein is the movable year of 365 days, consisting of 12 equal months of 30 days, and five supernumerary days, which was the year in common use, as we have seen, among the Chaldeans, Egyptians, Armenians, Persians, and the principal Oriental nations, from the earliest times.” — Ib., vol. i, p. 268.
As the year of this era is a fraction of a day less than a solar year, it would fall back of the true year one day in every four years, so that in the course of 100 years its commencement would be 25 days earlier in the solar year than at the commencement of that period; and after 1,461 years it would fall back through all the seasons, and anticipate the solar time by an entire year. To reduce these to common years, it is therefore necessary to take into consideration this difference in their commencement. Chronological tables give their adjustment. Says Dr. Hales: — “The commencement of the era of Nabonassar, B.C. 747, is critically defined, both from history and astronomy. “1. Thucydides, b. 8, had preserved a curious original document, in the third treaty of peace concluded between Tissaphernes and the Peloponnesians, beginning with its date: ‘In the 13th year of the reign of Darius [II. Nothus], etc.’ This treaty, it appears from the history, was made in winter, in the 20th year of the Peloponnesian war, which began in the spring, B.C. 431, and consequently the 20th year, B.C. 410, which, added to the 13th year of Darius, or 337th of the era, gives its commencement, B.C. 747. “2 . Censorinus, in the valuable synchronisms mentioned before, states that the 986th Nabonassarian year began the 7th of the Calends of July, or June 25, in the year A.D. 238, in which he published his work.
Therefore that Nabonassarian year did not end till June 25 of the next Julian year, A.D. 238, which, subtracted from 986, gives the commencement of the era, B.C. 747. “3. According to Ptolemy, Hipparchus selected three ancient eclipses of the moon, out of those observed at Babylon, and brought from thence, of which the first happened in the first year, and the two others in the second year of Mardok Empadus, the fifth king in succession from Nabonassar. This proves decisively that the era of Nabonassar was in established use before the time of Hipparchus, though he did not give the collected years from the beginning of the era. These, probably, were not reckoned up in the original Chaldean Era, which only marked the succession of kings, and the number of years which each reigned.
The collected years might have been added afterwards by the Egyptian astronomers. “Ptolemy himself mentions a lunar eclipse of 7 digits, in the 7th year of Ptolemy Philometor, and 574th year from Nabonassar, which happened on the 27th of the Egyptian month Phamenoth, and lasted from the eighth to the tenth hour. In that year the 27th of Phamenoth was the first of May; and, by astronomical calculation, there was a lunar eclipse of the 7 dig. 26 min., on May 1, B.C. 174, which lasted two hours fifty minutes; and this year, B.C. 174, added to 573 years complete, gives B.C. 747 for the commencement of the era.” — Hales, vol. i, pp. 269, 270.
The historical catalog of the reigns of the kings of the Nabonassarian Era, commencing with Nabonassar, is called Ptolemy’s Canon, from Claudius Ptolemaeus, a celebrated Alexandrian mathematician, who continued the Canon down to his own time, A.D. 137. This ancient Canon, of which three ancient MS. copies have been found, all of which entirely agree except in the spelling of some names, gives the names, and the length of the reigns, of all the successive Chaldean, Persian, Grecian, Egyptian, and Roman kings from B.C. 747 to A.D. 137. “To the authenticity of these copies of the Canon,” says Dr. Hales, “the strongest testimony is given by their exact agreement throughout with above twenty dates and computations of eclipses in Ptolemy’s Almagest, recited by Jackson, as he himself acknowledges.” — Vol. i, p. 450. “From its great use as an astronomical era, confirmed by unerring characters of eclipses, this Canon justly obtained the highest authority among historians also. It has most deservedly been esteemed an invaluable treasure, ‘omni auro pretiosor,’ as Calvisius says, and of the greatest use in chronology, without which, as Marsham observes, there could scarcely be any transition from sacred to profane history; and by means of it some important dates are supplied in sacred chronology that could not otherwise be ascertained. It fills up especially an important chasm, from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar to the reign of Cyrus, without which the term of the seventy years of the Babylonish captivity, ending with the latter, could not be easily adjusted.” — An. Chro., vol. i, p. 280.
ORIGIN OF THE CHRISTIAN ERA.
Although this is the era in most common use, it is the most modern of the four cardinal eras. It was invented A.D. 532, by Dionysius Exiguus, a Scythian by birth, and a Roman abbot, who flourished in the reign of Justinian. “The motive which led him to introduce it, and the time of its introduction, are thus explained by himself in a letter to Petronius, a bishop: ‘Because St. Cyril began the first year of his cycle [of 95 years] from the 153d of Diocletian, and ended the last in the 247th, we, beginning from the next year, the 248th, of that same tyrant, rather than prince, were unwilling to connect with our cycles the memory of an impious [prince] and persecutor; but chose rather to antedate the times of the years from the incarnation of our Lord, Jesus Christ, to the end that the commencement of our hope might be better known to us, and that the cause of man’s restoration, namely, our Redeemer’s passion, might appear with clearer evidence.’ “The era of Diocletian, which was chiefly used at that time, began with his reign, A.D. 284: and, therefore, the new era of the incarnation, A.D. 284+248=A.D. 532. “How justly Dionysius abhorred Diocletian’s memory may appear from Eusebius, who relates that in the first year of his reign, when Diodorus, the bishop, was celebrating the holy communion with many other Christians in a cave, they were all immured in the earth, and buried alive! Hence, his era was otherwise called the Era of the Martyrs.” — Hales’ An. Chro., vol. i, pp. 188, 189.
From the best evidence Dionysius could obtain, he placed our Lord’s nativity in the year 753 of the Roman Era. The Christian Era not going then into use, Bede, who lived a century later, by a mistake of the meaning of Dionysius, in reviving it, made it commence January 1, U.C. 754. The era, however, did not begin to be used much till A.D. 730, and did not come into general use till A.D. 1431, when Pope Eugenius ordered it to be used in the public registers. “Dionysius was led to date the year of the nativity, U.C. 753, from the evangelist Luke’s account that John the Baptist began his ministry ‘in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar;’ and that Jesus, at his baptism, ‘was beginning to be about thirty years of age.’ Luke 3:1-23. For Tiberius succeeded Augustus at his death, August 19, U.C. 767, and, therefore, his fifteenth year was U.C. 782, from which, subtracting the assumed year of the nativity, U.C. 753, the remainder was twenty-nine years complete, or thirty current. “But this date of the nativity is at variance with Matthew’s account that Christ was born ‘two years and under’ before Herod’s death, which followed shortly after his massacre of the infants, at Bethlehem, of that description. Matthew 2:1-27. And Herod’s death was also shortly after the lunar eclipse of March 13, U.C. 750, between that and the passover, which fell that year on the 12th of April, as may be collected from Josephus, Ant. 17, cap. 6-8; Bell. Jud. 1, cap. 13, 4-8. “And that Herod’s death is rightly assigned to the year U.C. 750 is confirmed from the duration of his reign, for Josephus states that, ‘by the interest of Antony, Herod was appointed king by the Roman Senate, in the 184th Olympiad, when Caius Domitius Calvinus, the second time, and Caius Asinius Pollio, were consuls,’ U.C. 714 (Antiq., 14, 14, 5). And that he was established in the kingdom by the death of his rival, Antigonus, who had been set up by the Parthians, ‘when Marcus Agrippa and Caninius Gallus were consuls,’ U.C. 717 (Antiq., 14, 16, 4). And he adds that Herod reigned thirty-seven years from his first appointment by the Senate, and thirty-four years from the death of Antigonus (Antiq., 17, 8, 1; and Bell. Jud. 1, 33, 8). Now, if we take these as current years, according to the usage of Josephus, the death of Herod was U.C. 714+36=U.C. 717+33=U.C. 750, as before. Such a critical conformity of astronomical and historical evidence, both furnished by an author the most competent to procure genuine information, establishes both, and decides the question that Herod could not have died later than the year U.C. 750, though Lardner professed himself ‘unable to determine’ between that year or U.C. 751. See his ‘Credibility,’ vol. i, Append., p. 428, edit. 1788. “Christ’s birth, therefore, could not have been earlier than U.C. 748, nor later than U.C. 749. And if we assume the latter year, as most conformable to the whole tenor of sacred history, with Chrystostom, Petavius, Prideaux, Playfair, etc., this would give Christ’s age at his baptism about thirty-four years, contrary to Luke’s account. “In order, therefore, to reconcile the two evangelists together in this most important point, which forms the basis of the whole scheme of gospel chronology, either the fifteenth of Tiberius must be antedated, or the age of Christ at his baptism enlarged, or perhaps both, for the fifteenth of Tiberius, reckoned from the death of Augustus, August 19, U.C. 767, is indisputably fixed, by means of the great lunar eclipse, soon after September 27, U.C. 767, which contributed to quell the dangerous mutiny of the Pannonian Legions, on the death of Augustus, and to induce them to swear fidelity to Tiberius, recorded by Tacitus (Annal. 1, 28; and Dio., lib. lvii, p. 604). “But there were different computations of the reigns, both of Augustus and Tiberius, in circulation. Some writers computed the reign of Augustus from the year of Julius Caesar’s death, U.C. 710, as Josephus, who reckons it fifty-seven years, six months, and two days (Ant. 17, 2, 2; and Bell. Jud. 2, 9, 1). Some from the year after, U.C. 711, the date of his first consulate, when he wanted but one day to complete his twentieth year, and therefore reckoning his reign fifty-six years (Vell. Paterc. 2, 65). Others, forty-six years, four months, and one day (Clem. Alex. Strom. 1, p. 339). Others from the year of the battle of Actium, U.C. 723, reckoning it fortyfour years. Others, from the Actian Era, U.C. 724, commencing from the death of Antony and Cleopatra, as Ptolemy, in his Canon, who dates it forty-three years, and is followed by Clem. Alex.
Strom. 1, p. 339. “Some also reckoned the reign of Tiberius twenty-six years, six months, nineteen days [Clem. Alex. Strom. 1, p. 339). Others, twenty-two years, five months, three days (Jos., Ant. 18, 7, 10).
And Ptolemy, in his Canon, twenty-two years, which is adopted by Clemens Alexandrinus. And the cause of this difference we learn from the testimony of the Roman and Grecian historians, Velleius Paterculus (the contemporary of Tiberius), Tacitus, Suetonius, and Dio Cassius, who all agree that Tiberius was admitted by Augustus ‘colleague of the empire,’ or partner in the government, and in the ‘administration of [the imperial] provinces’ [among which was Judea], and in ‘the command of the armies,’ two or three years before his death, either in U.C. 764, or more probably U.C. 765; and this partnership was confirmed by a decree of the Senate. But the fifteenth of Tiberius, reckoned from U.C. 765, would be U.C. 780, from which, subtracting the year of Christ’s nativity, U.C. 749, the remainder, thirty-one years, more or less, sufficiently agrees with the latitude of the expression ‘about thirty years of age.’ This solution agrees with the other historical characters of Luke 3:1, 2” — Hales, vol. i, pp. 189-192.
Although it is not settled by all astronomers and as clearly demonstrated as any mathematical certainty, that the nativity of our Saviour occurred about four years before the date from which the Christian Era is reckoned, the Vulgar Era must continue to date from the incorrectly assumed epoch of the nativity, for a departure from this, so as to reckon from the actual birth of Christ, would disarrange all our chronological tables. Chronologers have, therefore, adopted the easier method of continuing the era as it was commenced, and assigning the birth of Christ to its true date, between four and five years antecedent to the point from which the Vulgar Era is reckoned.
The commencement of the four cardinal eras being fixed, and adjusted to each other, they need to be harmonized to the Julian Period.
As the Julian Period does not commence at any known epoch, it must be adjusted to the Vulgar Era by the corresponding years of the cycles of which it is formed. Being constituted for the purpose of harmonizing the cycles of the sun, moon, and indiction, it follows that its first year must commence at a point when each of those cycles would be in their first year.
As they correspond thus only once in a period of 7,980 years, we must determine from the years of those cycles in any given year, the year of the Julian Period which synchronizes with them.
Simpson, in his algebra (edit. 4, p. 191), gives the following ingenious solution of the problem, which he thus states: — “Supposing e, f, and g to denote given integers [standing for the years of those cycles in any given year], to find such a value of x as that the quantities (x-e)/28, (x-f)/19, and (x-g)/15, may be all integers.”
By making (x-e)/28=y, we have x=28g+c. Substituting this value for x in the second expression, it becomes (28y+c-f)/19, which, as well as g, is to be a whole number; but (28g+c-f)/19, by making b=c-f, will be =g+(9g+b)/19, and therefore 19y, and 18y+2b, being both divisible by 19, their difference, y-2b, must also be divisible by 19. Hence it follows that one value of y is 2b, and that 2b+19z (supposing z a whole number) will be a general value of y; and, consequently, x(=28y+e)=532z + 56b + e is a general value of x, answering the first two conditions.
Substituting this for the value of x, in the remaining expression (x-g)/15, it becomes (532z+56b+e-g)/15=35z+3b+(7z+q)/15; (supposing q=11b+eg= 12e-11f-g). Here 15z, and 14z+2q being both divisible by 15, their difference, z-2q, must also be divisible by 15, and therefore one value of z will be 2q, and the general value of z=2q+15w, from whence the general value of x (=532z+56b+e) is given=7,980w+1,064q+56b+e; which, by restoring the values of b and q, becomes 7,980w+12,825e-11,760f-1,064g.
To have all the terms affirmative, and their coefficients the least possible, let w be taken=-e+2f+g, whence these results, 4,845e+4,200f+6,916g, for a new value of 10:Substitute for the letters e, f, and g their true values (which are the years of the cycles of the sun, moon, and indiction for any given year), multiply them by their respective coefficients, and divide the sum of their products by 7,980, and the remainder will be the least value of x, and the year of the Julian Period which corresponds to the given years of those cycles.
The foregoing gives the following arithmetical rule: — “TO FIND THE YEAR OF THE JULIAN PERIOD CORRESPONDING TO CERTAIN GIVEN YEARS OF THE CYCLES OF THE SUN, MOON,AND INDICTION: — “Multiply the given year of the cycle of the sun by 4,845; of the moon, by 4,200; and of indiction, by 6,916; and divide the sum of the products by 7,980; the remainder will be the year of the Julian Period required.” In the year 1 of the Vulgar Era the current cycle of the sun was 10; of the moon,2; and of indiction, 4. Then, 10x4,845=48,450 2x4,200= 8,400 and 4x6,916=27,664 which amounts to 84,514 Divide this by 7,980, and it is contained 10 times, with a remainder of 4,714, for the year of the Julian Period, corresponding with A.D. 1.
To prove this, divide 4,714 by 28, 19,and 15, successively, and the quotients are 168, 248, and 314, the number of revolutions of each cycle from the beginning of the Julian Period to that time, with remainders of 10, 2, and 4, the current years of those cycles. The years of those cycles for any given year may also be found by dividing the year of the Julian Period by 28, 19, 15 — the respective remainders being the corresponding years of those cycles.
With the foregoing demonstration, the Julian Period and Vulgar Era thus harmonize: — | A.J.P. 4712. | A.J.P. 4713. | A.J.P. 4714. | A.J.P. 4715. | | B.C. 2 | B.C. 1 | A.D. 1 | A.D. 2 | 2 years 1 year 0 1 year 2 years B.C. B.C. A.D. from A.D. from A.D.
Thus the ordinal spans an arch of an entire year, while the numeral marks only the termination of each year from A.D., or the commencement of each year, B.C.
As 4,713 years of the Julian Period preceded A.D. 1, the current year of the Julian Period may be found by adding that number to the current year of the Vulgar Era. This adjusts the Julian Period to the Vulgar Era, and enables us to assign any event, dated in any year of either of the eras, to its corresponding year in this period.
These periods and eras adjusted, to locate events with well established dates in their relative position to each other, we must first choose the best sources of information.
The earliest records are unquestionably the Mosaic. Dr. Hales calls them “the only sure and certain pole-star, to guide our wandering steps through the mazes, the deserts, and the quicksands of ancient and primeval chronology, in which so many adventurers have been lost or swallowed up, by following the igniis fatuus of their own imaginations, or the treacherous glare of hypotheses.” Says Ellis: “If we take the Bible along with us, it is a teacher that will direct us through the obscurity and maze of things, solve every difficulty, and lead up truth to the fountain-head.” And Biefield remarks: “The purest and most fruitful source of ancient history is doubtless to be found in the holy Bible.” Other sources of information are found in the works of ancient classic writers and historians, and in ancient chronological tables. Among these last are Ptolemy’s Canon and the Parian Chronicle. The former has been already noticed as being of “the highest authority among historians.” — Hales. The latter was found on one of the Arundel marbles, — some celebrated relics of antiquity, purchased in Greece for the Earl of Arundel, in 1624 — consisting of Greek inscriptions engraved on marble. The Parian Chronicle is pronounced by Dr. Hales to be “high authority.” He says: “We are now warranted, upon the high authority of the Parian Chronicle, to consider the thirty reigns of the “Athenian kings and archons, from Cecrops to Creon, the first annual archon, as one of the most authentic and correct documents to be found in the whole range of profane chronology, while the Chronicle also verifies the broken list of annual archons, as far as it reaches downwards, by confirming, in near twenty instances, the dates assigned by other historians, both earlier and later.” — Hales’ An. Chro., vol i, p. 241.
In considering the elements of chronology, the importance of eclipses should not be overlooked. Says Dr. Hales: — “Eclipses are justly reckoned among the surest and most unerring characters of chronology, for they can be calculated with great exactness, backwards as well as forwards; and there is such a variety of distinct circumstances of the time when, and the place where, they were seen — of the duration, or beginning, middle, or end, of every eclipse, and of the quantity, or number of digits eclipsed, that there is no danger of confounding any two eclipses together, where the circumstances attending each are noticed with any tolerable degree of precision.” — An. Chro., vol. i, p. 180.
The precise date of the battle of Arbela is settled by an eclipse of the moon, September 20, B.C. 334, which Plutarch describes as occurring eleven days previously. The battle of Actium, the year of the destruction of Jerusalem, the battle of Pharsalia, and many other very important chronological dates, are thus definitely settled.
Dr. Hales gives the following eclipses, which, happening in connection with historical events, are found by astronomical calculation to have occurred in the years assigned: — B.C. 753 S. April 21. Old calculation: the day of the foundation of Rome. — Plutarch. 721 . M. March 19. Aft. 10, 34; total; first year of Mardok Empad, king of Babylon. — Ptolemy. 720 M. March 8. Aft. 11, 56; dig. 3 1/3; second of Mardok Empad. — Ptolemy. 715 . S. May 26. Aft. 5, 12; dig. 9 1-5; death of Romulus. — Livy 621 . M. April 21. Morn. 6, 22; dig. 2 1/2; fifth of Nabopolassar. Ptolemy 603 . S. May 18. Morn. 9, 30; total; eclipse of Thales, according to Costard, Montuela, Kennedy, and Hales. 547 . S. Oct. 22. Aft. 0, 35; total: when Cyrus took Barissa in Media. — Xenophon. Anal. 523 . M. July 17. Morn.0, 12; dig. 7 1/2; seventh of Cambyses. — Ptolemy. 502 . M. Nov. 19. Morn.8, 21; dig. 2; twentieth of Darius Hystaspes. 491 . M. April 25. Morn. 0, 12; dig. 1 2/3; thirty-first of Darius Hystaspes. 481 . S. April 19. Aft. 2, 27; dig. 7; when Xerxes left Susa to invade Greece. — Herodotus. 480 . S. Oct. 2. Aft. 2; dig. 8; soon after the battle of Salamis. — Herodotus. 478 . S. Feb. 13. Aft. 2; dig. 11 1/2; year after the Persian war. 463 . S. April 30. Aft. 3; dig. 11; Egyptians revolt from the Persians. 434 . S. Aug. 3. Aft. 5, 53; total; first year of the Peloponnesian war. — Thucydides. 424 . S. March 22. Morn. 6, 34; dig. 9; eighth year of the war. — Thucydides. 415 . M. Aug. 27. Aft. 10, 15; total; nineteenth year of the war; defeat of Nicias and the Athenians at Syracuse. — Thucydides. 406 . M. April 15. Aft. 8, 50; total; twenty-sixth year of the war. 404 . S. Sept. 2. Morn. 9, 16; last year of the war. — Xenophon. 394 . S. Aug. 14. Morn. 9, 17; dig. 11; Conon defeats the Lacedaemonians in a sea-fight at Cnidus. Xenophon. 331 . M. Sept. 20. Aft. 6, 35; total; eleven days before the battle of Arbela. — Plutarch. 209 . M. March 19. Morn. 2, 48; total.\ Sept. 11. Morn. 2, 15; total.\ Ptolemy. First year of the Macedonian war. 190 . S. March 14. Morn. 6; dig. 11; first year of the Syrian war. 188 . S. July 17. Morn. 8, 38; dig. 10; three days’ supplication decreed at Rome. — Livy, 34, 36. 168 . M. June 21. Aft. 8, 2; total; night before the battle of Pydna, and end of the Macedonian war. — Livy. 63 . M. Oct. 27. Aft. 6, 22; total; Jerusalem taken by Pompey this year. 48 . M. Jan. 18. Aft. 10; total; battle of Pharsalia; death of Pompey this year. 45 . M. Nov. 7. Morn. 2; total; first Julian year. 31 . S. Aug. 20. Sunset; great eclipse; battle of Actium, Sept. 3. 4 . M. March 13. Morn. 2, 45; dig. 6; before Herod the Great’s death. — Josephus.
A.D. 14 . M. Sept. 27. Morn. 5; total; mutiny of the Pannonian legions quelled thereby, after the death of Augustus. — Tacitus, Annal. 1. 29 . S. Nov. 24. Morn. 9, 30; total; death of John Baptist this year. 31 . M. April 25. Aft. 9; dig. 4; month after the crucifixion. 33 . S. Sept. 12. Morn. 10, 30; annular. 45 . S. Aug. 1. Morn. 10; dig. 5; birthday of the Emperor Claudius. 49 . M. Dec. 31. aft. 9, 30; total. 59 . S. April 30. Aft. 1; central; Nero murdered his mother, Agrippina, this year. 69 . M. Oct. 18. Aft. 10; dig. 11; night of the battle of Cremona, between the armies of Vespasian and Vitellius. — Dio. lib. 65; Tacit. Hist. 3, 23. The year before the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, A.D. 70, hereby ascertained. — An. Chro., vol. i, pp. `8`-`82.
Says Ferguson: “In chronology, both solar and lunar eclipses serve to determine exactly the time of any past event; for there are so many particulars observable in every eclipse, with respect to its quantity, the places where it is visible (if of the sun), and the time of the day or night, that it is impossible there can be two solar eclipses in the course of many ages which are alike in all circumstances.” — Astron. Ex., p. 285.
FROM ADAM TO THE PROMISED LAND.
The sacred Scriptures contain the most ancient geographical, historical, and chronological records extant. Were it not for the light there emitted, we should be almost entirely ignorant of the period and order of events, beyond about three thousand years in the past. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1. On the sixth day, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him,” and called his name Adam. Verse 27. Anno Mundi 1. “Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and begat a son, in his own likeness, after his image, and called his name Seth.” Genesis 5:3 A.M. 131 . “Seth lived a hundred and five years, and begat Enos.” Verse 6. A.M. 236 . “Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan.” Verse 9. A.M. 326 . “Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel.” Verse 12. A.M. 396 . “Mahalaleel lived sixty and five years and begat Jared.” Verse 15. A.M. 461 . “Jared lived a hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch.” Verse 18.
Verse 25. A.M. 875 . “The days of Adam, after he had begotten Seth, were eight hundred years. ... And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died.” Verses 4, 5. A.M. 931 . “Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years....
And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years. And Enoch walked with God, and he was not; for God took him.” Verses 22- 24. A.M. 988 . “Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years.... And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years; and he died.” Verses 7, 8. A.M. 1043 . “Lamech lived a hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son. And he called his name Noah.” Verses 28, 29. A.M. 1057 . “Enos lived after he begat Cainan eight hundred and fifteen years.... And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years; and he died.” Verses 10, 11. A.M. 1141 . “Cainan lived after he begat Mehalaleel eight hundred and forty years....
And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years; and he died.”
Verses 13, 14. A.M. 1236 . “Mahalaleel lived after he begat Jared eight hundred and thirty years....
And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred and ninety and five years; and he died.” Verses 16, 17. A.M. 1291 . “Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years.... And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years; and he died.” Verses 19, 20. A.M. 1423 . “And the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh; yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.” Genesis 6:3.
This is the date only of the birth of Japheth, Shem being mentioned first, as Abraham afterwards was, because of his line the Saviour was to be born.
We learn, from Genesis 11:10, that Shem was one hundred years old two years after the flood, so that he was born A.M. 1559 ; and from Genesis 9:22-24, that Ham was the youngest of the three sons. “Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years....
And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years and he died.” Genesis 5:30,31. A.M. 1652 . “Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years.... And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years; and he died.” Verses 26, 27. A.M. 1656 .
The Septuagint version of the Old Testament gives a hundred years more than the Hebrew, for the age of each of the first seven antediluvian, and some of the first diluvian, patriarchs, at the birth of their son, and a hundred years less for the time each lived after that event. For a consideration of the merits of that chronology, see page 194. “Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.... In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.... And the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty days.” Genesis 7:6,11,12,24. “And the waters returned from off the earth continually; and after the end of the hundred and fifty days, the waters were abated. And the ark rested, in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. And the waters decreased continually, until the tenth of the month; in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.... And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth, and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold the face of the ground was dry. And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried.”
Genesis 8:3-5,13,14. A.M. 1657 . “Shem was a hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood.” Genesis 11:10. A.M. 1659 . “Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah.” Verse 12. A.M. 1694 . “Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber.” Verse 14. A.M. 1724 .
Peleg was so named because “in his days was the earth divided” (peleged).
Genesis 10:25. “Peleg lived thirty years, and begat Reu.” Genesis 11:18. A.M. 1788 . “Reu lived two and thirty years, and begat Serug.” Verse 20 A.M. 1820 . “Serug lived thirty years, and begat Nahor.” Verse 22. A.M. 1850 . “According to Abulfaragi, a celebrated Armenian annalist, on the authority of Arudha, a Canaanitish historian, the trial of Job began in the twenty-fifth year of Nahor.” — Hales, A.M. 1874 . Others give him a later date, some placing him as late as the bondage of Israel in Egypt. “Nahor lived nine and twenty years, and begat Terah.” Verse 24. A.M. 1879 .
Abulfaragi says, “In the 140th year of Phaleg [Peleg] the earth was divided, by a second division among the sons of Noah.” — Hist. of the Dynasties, p. 11.
The 140th year of Peleg was two hundred and forty years after the deluge. A.M. 1897 .
Allowing that the human race multiplied on the earth after the flood in the ratio that the Israelites did in Egypt, their numbers would double once in fourteen years, or seventeen times in two hundred and forty years. If so, they would number at this time more than a million of souls, a number sufficiently large to begin to scatter abroad over the face of the earth. The division of the nations “in the earth after the flood” was divinely appointed; for God “made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.” Acts 17:26. To this division some rebelled; for we read: — “And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.” “And they said, Go to, let us build us a city, and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11:2,4.
The leader in this rebellion is supposed to have been Nimrod, whose name signifies the rebellious. He was the Belus of the ancients, a great-grandson of Noah, being the youngest son of Cush, a son of Ham. “He began to be a mighty one in the earth.” “And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel... in the land of Shinar.” Genesis 10:8,10.
Because they stopped in their migration, God confounded their language, that they might not “understand one another’s speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel:... and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” Genesis 11:7-9. “Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.” Verse 26. A.M. 1949.
This was the age of Terah at the birth of his first son, who was evidently Haran, Abraham being mentioned before his elder brothers, as Moses always was before Aaron, Isaac before Ishmael, and Shem before Japheth, on account of his pre-eminence. “Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred and nine years.” Genesis 11:19. A.M. 1997 . “Nahor lived after he begat Terah a hundred and nineteen years.” Verse 25.
As Abraham was seventy-five years old at the death of his father, who died at the age of two hundred and five (Genesis 11:32; 12:4; Acts 7:4), he must have been born sixty years subsequent to the birth of Haran. A.M. 2009. “Reu lived after he begat Serug two hundred and seven years. Genesis 11:21. A.M. 2027. “Serug lived after he begat Nahor two hundred years.” Verse 23. A.M. 2050. “Haran begat Lot; and Haran died before his father, Terah, in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. And Abram and Nahor took them wives; the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah.” Verses 27-29. “Sarah” is supposed to be the same as “Iscah.” Abraham said to Abimelech, “She is my sister; she is the daughter [or granddaughter] of my father, but not the daughter of my mother.” Genesis 20:12.
Grandchildren “are frequently, in Scripture, called the children of their grandfathers.”- Bishop Patrick’s Com. In Genesis 14:14 Lot is called Abraham’s “brother.” Also see Genesis 13:8. We may conclude that Abraham was a younger son of his father, by a second wife. Sarah was only ten years younger than Abraham (Genesis 17:17), so that Haran must have been many years older. “The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, and said unto him. Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall show thee.” Acts 7:2,3. “And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot, the son of Haran, his son’s son, and Sarai, his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. [Genesis 11:31] many days.” Judith 5:8.
Abulfaragi states that Abraham was sixty years old when he removed to Charran, and that he dwelt there fifteen years current. — Hales. “And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran.” Genesis 11:32. A.M. 2084 . “And from thence, when his father was dead, he [Abraham] removed him into this land wherein ye [the Jews] now dwell.” Acts 7:4. “Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran,” with “Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son... to go into the land of Canaan.” Genesis 12:4,5. “Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh.... And the Lord appeared unto Abram and said,UNTO THY SEED WILL IGIVE THIS LAND.” Verses 6, 7.
This brings us to THE PROMISE, Four hundred years before the giving of the law on Sinai. Gal.3:17.
On account of a famine Abraham removed to Egypt, made no long stay, returned to Bethel, and soon after Lot separated from him, and dwelt in Sodom. After this the Lord again promised Abraham that he would give all the land of Canaan “to him, for a possession, and to his seed after him.”
Acts 7:5; Genesis 13:14-18. some date the four hundred and thirty years of Galatians 3:17 from this promise; but it is, evidently, with all subsequent promises, a repetition of the promise made to Abraham soon after the death of his father.
About eight years subsequent to Abraham’s migration to Canaan, according to the opinion of Dr. Hales, the cities of the plain of Jordan rebelled against Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, whom they had served twelve years. In the thirteenth year they rebelled, and in the fourteenth year that king came against them, defeated them, and with others took Lot prisoner. Abraham, on hearing of this, pursued after the conquerors, and defeated them with great slaughter. On his return, Melchisedek met Abraham and blessed him. And Abraham paid tithes to him of all he possessed.
Who this Melchisedek was has been a subject of much dispute. The Jews affirm that he was Shem, who was then the oldest person living. Shem was Abraham’s ancestor, and as such, was Abraham’s king and priest, and worthy to receive tithes from him. f8 Again, God “said unto Abraham, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years... and thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again.” Genesis 15:13-16.
The years of the sojourn of the seed of Abraham must date from a time thirty years subsequent to the call. “These began,” says Mr. Ainsworth, “when Ishmael, son of Hagar, mocked and persecuted Isaac (Genesis 21:9; Gal 4:29), which fell out thirty years after the promise.” — Clarke’s Com., vol. i, p. 106. “After Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan [Sarah took Hagar] and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife [A.M. 2094]” “And Hagar bare Abram a son... Ishmael. And Abram was fourscore and six years old when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.” Genesis 16:3,15,16.
And Ishmael, his son, was thirteen years old.” Gen 17:24, 25. A.M. 2108.
At this time the birth of Isaac was promised: “at this set time in the next year.” Verse 21. “Then Abram fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is a hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?” Genesis 17:17.
After this, and before the birth of Isaac, Sodom was destroyed. Genesis and 19. “Abraham was a hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.” Genesis 21:5 A. M. 2109 . “Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar... mocking.” Genesis 21:8,9.
St. Jerome, and some others, hold that among the Jews children were weaned at the age of five years. If so, this would be just four hundred years previous to the Exode. For thus “persecuting” Isaac (Galatians 4:29), Hagar and her son were sent away, that he might not be heir with the son of the free-woman. “Salah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years” (Genesis 11:15) and died. A.M. 2127 . “Abraham sojourned in the Philistines’ land many days.” Genesis 21:34. “And it came to pass after those things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him,... Take now thy son... Isaac into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” Genesis 22:1,2.
Josephus, Ant. 1, 13, 2, says that Isaac had now come to the age of twenty-five years. Bochart makes him twenty-eight, the word naar, translated lad, verse 5, being used for one of that age. “And Sarah was a hundred and seven and twenty years old; these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan.” Genesis 23:1.
Being ninety when Abraham was a hundred, Abraham was at the death of Sarah a hundred and thirty-seven years old. A.M. 2146 . “Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife.” Genesis 25:20.
Genesis 25:26. A.M. 2169. “And these are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived, a hundred threescore and fifteen years. Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years.” Verses 7, 8.
Genesis 26:34. A.M. 2209 . “And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, a hundred and thirty and seven years” (Genesis 25:17), to A.M. 2232 . “And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him,...
The date of this is not given; but as Jacob, securing the blessing, on account of Esau fled to his uncle Laban; and as Joseph, born at the end of his fourteen years’ service, was thirty years old, nine years before his father went to Egypt at the age of a hundred and thirty, it follows that Jacob was now 130-(9+30+14)=77, which, added to 60, the age of Isaac when Jacob was born would make Isaac at this time a hundred and thirty-seven, the age of Ishmael at his death, which accounts for his thinking he might soon die.
A.M. 2246. “Jacob [having fled to Laban] loved Rachel; and said [to Laban], I will serve thee, seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.” “And Jacob served seven years for Rachel.” Genesis 29:18,20.
Laban gives Leah, instead of Rachel, to Jacob. He fulfills her week, and receives Rachel to wife, agreeing to serve, after his marriage with them, seven years more. A.M. 2253. “And it came to pass, when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country. Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and let me go.” Genesis 30:25,26. A.M. 2260 .
Laban prevails on Jacob to remain with him for wages six years longer. At the end of this time Jacob said to Laban: “I have been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle.” Genesis 31:41. A.M. 2266. “And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger [in Hebron, verse 14], in the land of Canaan... Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren.” Genesis 37:1,2. A.M. 2277.
Joseph, through envy, is sold by his brethren, and carried to Egypt. “And the days of Isaac were a hundred and fourscore years. And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died.” Genesis 35:28,29. A.M. 2289. “And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt.” Genesis 41:46. A.M. 2290 .
This was “two full years” after the butler had been restored to the king’s favor (41:1), previous to which Joseph had been some time in prison. This was also at the commencement of the seven years of plenty. “And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended” (Genesis 41:53); and “for these two years hath the famine been in the land.” Genesis 45:6. A.M. 2299 .
At this time Jacob goes down into Egypt, two hundred and fifteen years after the call of Abraham, when he appeared before the king. “Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty years; few and evil have the days of the years of my life been.” Genesis 47:9. “Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years; so the whole age of Jacob was a hundred forty and seven years. Verse 28. He died, A.M. 2316. “Joseph died, being a hundred and ten years old.” Genesis 50:26. A.M. 2370.
According to the prophecy, the children of Israel were to go up out from Egypt in theFOURTH GENERATION. Genesis 15:16. Moses, who led them out, was the fourth in descent from Jacob, being the son of Amram, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi. Exodus 6:16-20. Levi, the third son of Jacob and Leah (Genesis 35:23), could not have been born prior to the third year of this marriage, or when Jacob was eighty-seven years old. f9 “The years of the life of Levi were a hundred thirty and seven years.” “The years of the life of Kohath were a hundred thirty and three years.” “And the years of the life of Amram were a hundred and thirty and seven years.” Ex 6:16-20.
Abulfaragi states that Kohath was born when Levi was forty-seven, and Amram when Kohath was seventy-five. If so, to terminate the 430 years from the death of Terah, at the going forth from Egypt, when Moses was eighty years old, he must have been born when his father Amram was fiftysix.
A.M. 2434 . “When Moses was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him,... . and smote the Egyptian,” and fled to the land of Midian. “And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.” Acts 7:23,24,30. “Moses was fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and three years old, when they spake unto Pharaoh.” Exodus 7:7. “Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the self-same day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.” Exodus 12:40,41.
As the Exode was when Moses was eighty years old, it could be but years from the time Jacob removed thither. Says Josephus ( Ant. Jud., lib. ii, c. 15, 52 ): “They left Egypt in the month Xanthieus, on the fifteenth day of the moon’s age, four hundred and thirty years after the coming of our progenitor, Abraham, into the land of Canaan, and two hundred and fifteen years after the migration of Jacob into Egypt. Moses was then eighty years old, and his brother Aaron three years older.”
Dr. Hales renders Exodus 12:40: “Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, [and of their fathers,] which they sojourned in the land of Egypt, [and in the land of Canaan,] was four hundred and thirty years.” “This period of 430 years,” he says, “included the whole time from Abraham’s migration to Canaan, during the sojourning of their fathers there, for two hundred and fifteen years; and their own in Egypt for two hundred and fifteen more. the foregoing insertions, therefore, in the Massorite text [which Dr. Clark says are lost out of the Hebrew text], warranted by the Samaritan, and by the Septuagint version, are absolutely necessary to adjust the chronology of this period.” — New Anal. Chro., vol. ii, p. 200.
That the 430 years date from the call of Abraham, and not from the descent of Jacob into Egypt, is proved by the number of generations which sojourned in Egypt; the age of each father at the birth of his son; the years that the seed of Abraham were to be sojourners; the texts of the Septuagint and Samaritan versions; the uniform tradition of the Jews; and also by Paul, when he says: — “The covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” Galatians 3:17. “In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai.” Exodus 19:1.
On the fifth of this month, fifty days from the fourteenth of the first month, when they went out of Egypt, the law was given from Mount Sinai. As Paul says, the law was four hundred and thirty years after the promise (Galatians 3:17), it is probable that the promise (Gen 12:7) was given fifty days after the removal of Abram from Haran, on the death of his father, which was four hundred and thirty years before the Exode. “The Lord spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying, Let the children of Israel also keep the passover at his appointed season.”
Numbers 9:1,2. “And it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from off the tabernacle of the testimony. And the children of Israel took their journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai.” Numbers 10:11,12. A.M. 2515 . “Aaron the priest went up into Mount Hor at the commandment of the Lord, and died there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the first day of the fifth month. And Aaron was a hundred and twenty and three years old when he died in Mount Hor.” Numbers 33:38,39. A.M. 2553 . “It came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the Lord had given him in commandment to them.” Deuteronomy 1:3.
Here Moses began the sayings recorded in the book of Deuteronomy.
Referring to the sending of spies from Kadesh-barnea, in the second year after their leaving Egypt, he says: “And the space in which we came from Kadesh-barnea, until we were come over the brook Zered, was thirty and eight years.” Deuteronomy 2:14. “Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died.” Deuteronomy 34:7. “Now after the death of Moses,... the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan.” Joshua 1:1,2. “The children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness.” Joshua 5:6. “And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month.” Joshua 4:19. A.M. 2554. “Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the Lord said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.” “Divide thou it by lot unto the Israelites for an inheritance.” Joshua 13:1,6.
This brings us to the first division of the land, six years after the passage of Jordan, as we learn by what Caleb said to Joshua, in requesting Hebron for an inheritance: “Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to espy out the land.” “And now, behold, the Lord hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the Lord spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old.” Joshua 14:7,10.
This locates the first division of the land in the 47th year from the Exode.
FROM THE DIVISION OF THE LAND TO SAMUEL THE PROPHET From this division of the land to the death of Joshua, and from then to the first captivity, the time is not given in the Old Testament. To this epoch there is an uninterrupted succession of periods. The New Testament enables us to continue the chain of inspired chronology, without any breach, from the creation to the time of Samuel the prophet. “And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he divided their land to them by lot. And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.”
This period of 450 years, from the dividing of the land to Samuel, is thus filled up. “And it came to pass, a long time after that the Lord had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age.” Joshua 23:1. And “Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being a hundred and ten years old.” Joshua 24:20.
The time of the death of Joshua is not given in the Scriptures. Josephus states that it was twenty-five years after the passage of the River Jordan. If so, he must have been six years older than Caleb, eighty-five at the death of Moses, and forty-five at the Exode; soon after which it is said of him, “Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.”
Exodus 33:11. The time given by Josephus is, therefore, a probable period for his reign, which would place his death A.M. 2579 . “Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the Lord, that he had done for Israel.” Joshua 24:31. “And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers; and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.
And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim.” Judges 2:10,11.
This brings us to the commencement of their first captivity, to which time, from the death of Moses, the duration is not given in the Scriptures. As all who were over twenty years of age at the Exode died in the wilderness, save Caleb and Joshua (Numbers 14:29), there could be none, save them, who were more than sixty at the Exode. Josephus makes eighteen years from the death of Joshua to this time; but he omits the eight years of Abdon’s judgeship (Judges 12:13), and gives a year to Shamgar (Judges 3:31). Rectifying these, eleven years are left for this interregnum, which will be thirty-six years from the death of Moses, — as in Dr. Hales, — seventy-six from the Exode, and thirty from the first division of the land.
The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord.... Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia.” Judges 3:7,8. A.M. 2590. “The children of Israel served Chushan-rishathaim eight years.... And when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz.”
Verses 8, 9. A.M. 2598 . “And the land had rest forty years.... And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel.” Verses 11, 12. A.M. 2638 . “So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.
But when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera.” Verses 14, 15. A.M. 2656. “And the land had rest fourscore years.” “And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, when Ehud was dead. And the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan.” Judges 3:30; 4:1, 2. A.M. 2736. “Twenty years he oppressed the children of Israel. And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.... And Deborah said unto Barak, Up: for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand.... So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan.” Judges 4:3-23. A.M. 2756 . “The land had rest forty years. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.” Judges 5:31; 6:1. A.M. 2796 . “The Lord looked upon Gideon, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites.” Judges 6:14. “Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel.” Judges 8:28. A.M. 2803. “The country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon.” “And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went whoring after Baalim.” Verses 28, 33. “And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went and made Abimelech king.” Judges 9:6. A.M. 2843 . “When Abimelech had reigned three years over Israel, then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem. “And he died.”
Verses 22, 23, 54. A.M. 2846 . “And after Abimelech there arose to defend Israel Tola.... And he judged Israel twenty and three years, and died.” Judges 10:1,2. A.M. 2869. “After him arose Jair, a Gileadite, and judged Israel twenty and two years.” “And Jair died.” Verses 3, 5. A.M. 2891 . “The children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord.... And he sold them into the hands of the Philistines.... They vexed and oppressed the children of Israel eighteen years,” (verses 6-8), to A.M. 2909.
Here the Lord raised up Jephthah, who, being demanded by the children of Ammon that he should restore the land to them that Israel took from them when they came out of Egypt, replied: “While Israel dwelt in Heshbon and her towns, and in Aroer and her towns, and in all the cities that be along by the coasts of Arnon, three hundred years, why therefore did ye not recover them within that time? Judges 11:26. To the beginning of the captivity, out of which they were just delivered, from the elders and anarchy, was three hundred and one years, according to this chronology. “So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the Lord delivered them into his hands. Verse 32. “Jephthah judged Israel six years” (chap. 12:7), to A.M. 2915 . “After him Ibzan of Beth-lehem judged Israel.... And he judged Israel seven years” (verses 8, 9), to A.M. 2922 . “After him Elon, a Zebulonite, judged Israel; and he judged Israel ten years” (verse 11); and died A.M. 2932 . “After him Abdon... judged Israel.... and he judged Israel eight years.”
During this bondage of forty years, Samson “judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.” Judges 15:20. Samson did not deliver Israel from the Philistines. The promise respecting him was, “He shall begin to deliver Israel,” etc. Judges 13:5. It was reserved to Samuel to complete their deliverance. Samson does not seem to have exercised the office of a civil magistrate, and could only have judged Israel by being their avenger, and an executor of divine justice. Many writers suppose Samson and Eli were contemporary, and that the administration of the civil and religious laws was committed to Eli. the precise time and extent of Samson’s administration is a subject of some perplexity. The marginal reading of Judges 15:20 is, “He seems to have judged southwest Israel during twenty years of their servitude of the Philistines,” making it quite limited. Dr.
Hales supposes it ended with their servitude; but no certain evidence of it exists.
From the commencement of the book of Judges to the close of the sixteenth chapter, the history is continuous. With the seventeenth chapter commences a second part of the book of Judges, where are recorded transactions which could not have been related in their chronological place without interrupting the narration of the simple succession of events.
The time of the events here added is gathered with some certainty from the remark that, “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 17:6,21,25. The word ( melech ) here rendered king, says Dr. Clark, “is sometimes taken for a supreme governor, judge, magistrate, or ruler, of any kind... and should be so understood here.” From this it is generally conceded that the time of Micah, whose acts are here recorded, was previous to the Judges, and during the anarchy which followed the death of the elders who outlived Joshua. Consequently, the remaining portion of the Judges is not a continuation of the history, which closes with the sixteenth chapter, during the Philistine ascendancy.
The book of Ruth is also a kind of appendix to the book of Judges. It begins with a time “in the days when the Judges ruled,” and “there was a famine in the land.” Bishop Patrick is of the opinion that these things came to pass in the days of Gideon, when the children of the East came and destroyed the increase of the earth, and left no sustenance for Israel nor for their cattle (Judges 6:3,4), the only famine noted during the Judges. Other writers locate the time differently. It is sufficient here to show that it is not subsequent to the death of Samson.
The books of Samuel are a continuation of the book of Judges; but whether the first book begins where the sixteenth chapter of Judges leaves the narrative, is not undisputed. The history of the Judges ends with a period of forty years of Philistine oppression. The first book of Samuel begins with the history of Samuel, when Eli was judge. In the fourth chapter, we find Israel smitten by the Philistines, and the ark of God taken by them. The seventh chapter shows that, twenty years after this, the Philistines are defeated, and no more trouble Israel. Mr. Brown, in his “Ordo Saeclorum,” a work of much research, thinks that this last servitude, which continued twenty years after the death of Eli, is that referred to in the book of Judges, as continuing forty years. Dr. Hales considers it another servitude, commencing at the death of Eli, forty years after the close of the one in the Judges. There are arguments in favor of each view.
When the sons of Eli did wickedly, we read that “Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child” (1 Samuel 2:18), and that “Eli was very old; and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel.” Verse 22. “And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli,” and when he “was laid down to sleep... the Lord called Samuel; and he answered, Here am I” (1 Samuel 3:1-4), supposing Eli had called.
At this time it was revealed to Samuel that an end was to be made of the house of Eli, “for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.” Verse 13. “Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.
And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord.” Verses 19, 20.
Soon after this, “Israel went out against the Philistines to battle, and pitched beside Ebenezer.” “And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten.” “And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas, were slain.” “Now Eli was ninety and eight years old;” and when he heard that the ark of God was taken, “he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died; for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years.” Samuel 4:1, 10, 11, 15, 18. “The ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months” (chap. 6:1), after which they returned it to Israel to Kirjath-jearim. “And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjath-jearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years.” Chap. 7:2. “And Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you to the Lord. And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the Lord, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the Lord. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh.... And as Samuel was offering up the burnt-offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel; but the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel,... and they came no more into the coast of Israel.... And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life.” Chap. 7:5-15.
The question to be decided here is, What event, in the time of Samuel, marks the termination of the 450 years of Acts 13:20, which extend to him, from the division of the land? To cover that period, we have the following items: — From the distribution of the land, to the death of Joshua, estimated at 19 years.
From his death to the first servitude 11 years .
The First Servitude — Mesopotamia 8 years .
Othniel 40 years.
Second Servitude — Moab 18 years.
Ehud and Shamgar 80 years.
Third Servitude — Canaan 20 years.
Fourth Servitude — Midian 7 years.
Gideon 40 years.
Abimelech 3 years.
Tola 23 years.
Jair 22 years.
Fifth Servitude — Ammon 18 years.
Jephthah 6 years.
Ibzan 7 years.
Elon 10 years.
Abdon 8 years.
Sixth Servitude — Philistines (including twenty years of Samson years.
Making to the close of this servitude 420 years.
Required to complete the 450 years 30 years.
Dr. Hales terminates the four hundred and fifty years at the call of Samuel (1 Samuel 3), which he places in the thirty-first year of Eli’s administration, making Eli succeed Samson, as judge, at the close of the Philistine bondage, and to continue ten years after the call of Samuel, who, Josephus asserts, was twelve years old when the Lord spoke to him — Josephus’ Ant., v, x, 4. From the termination of the four hundred and fifty years, of Acts 13:20, Dr. Hales assigns, — To the death of Eli 10 years .
To the day of Mizpeh 20 years.
To the election of Saul 12 years .
To the election of David 40 years . [With the previous time — from the death of Terah — Dr. Hales agrees with the foregoing calculations. For the time previous to the call of Abraham, he adopts the Septuagint version, which is noticed in full on pp. 193-234. As a much shorter chronology is given by Archbishop Usher, and Sir John Marsham, for the period of the Judges, their views are presented in the Appendix.] Mr. Brown, on the other hand, supposes that Eli was contemporary with Samson, and that the four hundred and fifty years terminate at the day of Mizpeh, when it is said, “Samuel judged the children of Israel.” 1 Samuel 7:6. At whatever point in the history of Samuel they may terminate, they continue an unbroken chain of inspired chronology to more than three thousand years from creation, according to the following items: — YEARS A.M.
Creation Age of Adam at the birth of his son 130 “Seth 105 “Enos 90 “Cainan 70 “Mahalaleel 65 “Jared 102 “Enoch 65 “Methuselah 187 “Lamech 182 Noah at the Deluge 600 From the Deluge to the birth of Arphaxad 2 Age of Arphaxad at the birth of his son 35 “Salah 30 “Eber 34 “Peleg 30 “Reu 32 “Serug 30 “Nahor 29 “Terah at his death 205 From his death to the Exode 430 2514 In the Wilderness 40 To the division of the land 6 During the Judges to Samuel 450 Total 3009 years.
THE REIGN OF SAUL. “When Samuel was old, he made his sons judges over Israel.” They walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment. Then all the leaders of Israel gathered themselves together, and said to Samuel, ‘Make us a king to judge us like all the nations.’“ 1 Samuel 8:1-5. Now Kish “had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man.”
Chap. 9:1, 2. “And all the people went to Gilgal; and there they made Saul king.” Chap. 11:15. “Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel, whereof... a thousand were with Jonathan.... And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba.” 1 Samuel 13:1-3. A few days after this, Saul usurped the priest’s office and offered a burnt-offering, for which act the Lord said to him, by Samuel, “Now thy kingdom shall not continue; the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people.” Verse 14. “And there was sore war against the Philistines all the days of Saul.” Chap. 14:52.
Saul was given another trial, and was commanded to “utterly destroy” Amalek. 1 Samuel 15:3. For sparing Agag, and the best of the cattle and sheep, “Samuel said unto him, The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbor of thine, that is better than thou.” “And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death; nevertheless, Samuel mourned for Saul; and the Lord repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.” Verses 28, 35.
Samuel is rebuked for mourning Saul’s rejection, and is commanded to anoint one of the sons of Jesse as king; and he anointed David, the youngest of Jesse’s sons, who was then “keeping the sheep.” The Spirit of the Lord departs from Saul, and an evil spirit troubles him. He wants one skillful to play on the harp, and sends for David, who becomes his armorbearer. 1 Samuel 16:1-21. In the seventeenth chapter David encounters and slays Goliah. At this time, Jesse, the father of David, “went among men for an old man,” and Saul called David “a youth.”Verses 12, 33. David is hated by Saul. Samuel dies. Chap. 25:1. David resides for a few months with the Philistines, who, soon after the death of Samuel, attack Israel. The battle goes hard against Saul, so that he falls on his sword and dies.
Chapters 30, 31. — B.C. 1070 .
The Old Testament does not give the length of the reign of Saul. The modern Jewish chronology assigns to it seven years. Josephus says that Saul reigned eighteen years during the life of Samuel, and twenty-two after his death (Ant vi, 14, 9). St. Paul, speaking of the time “to Samuel the prophet,” says: — “And afterward they desired a king; and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years. And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king.”
Acts 13:21,22. Does this “space of forty years” cover all the time to David, from the termination of “the four hundred and fifty years, to Samuel the prophet” (verse 20), or did Saul alone reign forty years, and Samuel judge Israel for a period between the termination of the four hundred and fifty years and the commencement of the forty?
There is nothing in the history of Saul to indicate a reign of forty years.
Although he is called a young man when he is chosen, yet, in the third year of his reign, his son Jonathan is a warrior of some distinction. Jonathan was a bosom friend of David, and could not have been many years his senior.
His son, Mephibosheth, was only five years old when his father died. Samuel 4:4. David is thirty at Saul’s death. Saul’s second son, Ishui (1 Samuel 14:49), or Ish-bosheth, was then only forty years old (2 Samuel 2:10); so that Jonathan, to have been a warrior of distinction in Saul’s third year, must have been born twenty years before Saul’s reign, which would make him sixty, and Saul eighty, at the end of forty years, and a father only at the age of fifty-five. But it is not reasonable to suppose he was more than twelve years David’s senior, or that Saul was more than sixty-five at his death, or Jonathan more than thirty-seven at the birth of his son. The death of Samuel, also, could not have occurred more than about two years previous to Saul’s death; and David must have been anointed as early as the fifth year of Saul, at which time he was old enough to keep his father’s sheep. The presumption, therefore, is that Saul could not have reigned much, if any, more than twenty years. Say eighteen during the life of Samuel, and two, instead of twenty-two, as Josephus says, after Samuel’s death. It is possible, therefore, but not certain, that the forty years were designed by Paul to connect the four hundred and fifty years with the accession of David. The arguments for this conclusion are the following:
If these forty years cover the space of time named, they complete the chain of inspired chronology, from creation to the conquest of Jerusalem, by Nebuchadnezzar. Did God design to furnish mankind with the chronology of the world? If he did not, why is any chronology given in the Scriptures?
Why are all the breaks — unless this is an exception — in the chronology of the Old Testament so carefully supplied in the New? And why does the chronology of inspiration stop at the precise point of time where it is no longer requisite?
To illustrate: The Hebrew text gives an uninterrupted succession of periods to the death of Terah. It then gives four hundred and thirty years, at the Exode, for the sojournings of the children of Israel: but the Old Testament leaves chronologers in the dark respecting the time of their commencement. This is supplied by inspiration, by the testimony of Stephen, who places the departure of Abraham from Haran, at the death of Terah; and by Paul, who states that the law was given four hundred and thirty years after the promise. The Old Testament gives the time in the wilderness, forty years, and by the age of Caleb, at two points of time, the time from the entrance to Canaan to the division of the land, six years. It does not give the time from this division to the first captivity; but the New Testament supplies this, by the four hundred and fifty years from this division to Samuel. From the accession of David to the conquest by Nebuchadnezzar, there is no link of the inspired chain wanting. From the conquest of Babylon to the present time, profane records are so substantiated by astronomical phenomena that the time of Nebuchadnezzar is undisputed. And between Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus there are so many coincidences between sacred and profane chronology that the two are admirably harmonized and adjusted to each other. Consequently, if the forty years of Saul were designed to date from the end of the four hundred and fifty years of the judges, there would be no link wanting in the chain of inspired chronology, to the very point where its further continuance would have been entirely superfluous. These coincidences are entirely inexplicable, if it was not designed to give, by inspiration, a chronology covering all the time not covered by profane chronology.
Leaving undecided the connection of the four hundred and fifty and the forty years, the former brings down the uninterrupted succession of inspired periods from creation to A.M. 3010. The latter commences f11 B.C. 1110, and terminates at the death of Saul, B.C. 1070 .
As this is the commencement of a succession of periods, the connection of which is easily calculated to the Vulgar Era, the subsequent dates will be given in their relation to that era.
FROM THE ACCESSION OF DAVID TO THE DIVISION OF THE KINGDOM.
After Saul’s death David went up to Hebron. “And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David over the house of Judah.” 2 Samuel 2:1-4. “But Abner the son of Ner... took Ish-bosheth the son of Saul... and made him king... over all Israel. Ish-bosheth Saul’s son was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David. And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.” Verses 8-11.
After Ish-bosheth had reigned two years, there was war between the house of David and the house of Saul five years, to the death of Ish-bosheth.
Then “all the elders of Israel came to the king, to Hebron,... and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months; and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah.” 2 Samuel 5:3-5.
The date of David’s war with Ammon, and his sin with Bath-sheba is thus gathered. That war was “ after (chap. 10:1) Mephibosheth, who was five years old at the death of Saul, was old enough to have “a young son, whose name was Micha” Chap. 9:12. And Solomon had a son born, Rehoboam, one year before David died, Rehoboam being forty-one years old at the end of Solomon’s forty years’ reign. 1 Kings 14:21. It must, therefore, have been about — B.C. 1055 -1050.
After Amnon’s sin, Absalom waited “two full years” (2 Samuel 13:23) before he took vengeance; after which “Absalom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there three years.” Verse 38. He then returned and “dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, and saw not the king’s face.” Chap. 14:28. “And it came to pass after forty [four] years, that Absalom said unto the king,... let me go and pay my vow... in Hebron.” Chap. 15:7. This places the rebellion of Absalom towards the close of David’s reign. After this, “there was a famine in the days of David three years.” Chap. 21:1.
Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father.” Chap 2:10-12. — B.C. 1030 . “And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord.” 1 Kings 6:1. B.C. 1027. “In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the Lord laid, in the month Zif; and in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof.... So was he seven years in building it.” 1 Kings 6:37,38. B.C. 1020.
There is a great difference of opinion respecting the correctness of this period. It is impossible to reconcile it with the length of other periods comprised between these epochs.
If we add, The time in the wilderness,40 years, to the division of the land, to Samuel the prophet, of Saul, of David, And the three years of Solomon, They make, Or the 580th year from the Exode, an excess of one hundred years above the time given in the foregoing text, without making any allowance for a period between the termination of the 450 years to Samuel, and the forty years of Saul. There are one hundred and twenty-nine years besides the time of the Judges, which , deducted from the 479, would leave but 350 for the time of the Judges, which cannot be harmonized with the text of the Judges, or the statement of Paul. There must be an error here, or in that of St. Paul and the Judges. If in the Judges the error must occur in several texts, which makes it less likely that it should be there than in the text of the Kings, where a single error would cover the whole period. To reconcile the length of the Judges with the text in Kings, the only plausible method has been to suppose some of the Judges were contemporaneous; but this is opposed to the language of Scripture, which describes one judge as being after another, with the exception of Samson, Eli, and Samuel. Josephus says, “Solomon began the building of the temple int he fourth year of his reign, in the second month,... five hundred and ninety-two years after the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt.” Jew. Ant., b. 8, chap. 3. And Jahn (Hebrews Com.) says of the text, in Kings, that the Jews, in China, who separated from their brethren in the first century of the Christian era, read “five hundred and ninety-two years.” Assuming that the text of 1 Kings 6:1 is correct, Usher and others have curtailed the time of the Judges to conform to it, as given in the Appendix. An argument for this shortened chronology is that in the genealogy of David, as given in 1 Chronicles 2, and Matthew 1, but fourteen generations are given from Abraham; viz., 1, Abraham; 2, Isaac; 3, Jacob; 4, Judah; 5, Pharez; 6, Hezron; 7, Ram; 8, Aminadab; 9, Nahshon; 10, Salmon; 11, Boaz; 12, Obed; 13, Jesse; 14, David.
The difficulty arises from the mention of Rahab, in St. Matthew’s genealogy, as the mother of Boaz, it being generally taken for granted that Rahab, the harlot of Jericho, is spoken of. Now if Salmon married this woman, Boaz must on the longer computation, have been born at least four hundred and thirty years, and on the shorter, three hundred and sixty years, before David, which last would give one hundred and twenty years each, for the age of Boaz, Obed, and Jesse, at the birth of their son. It is, therefore, a difficulty against the shorter as well as against the longer computation. Samuel (1 Chronicles 6:33-38) is the twenty-third in descent from Abraham, so that it seems surprising to find but fourteen to David.
Dr. Hales thinks that, as in the fourteen generations reckoned from Solomon to Jechoniah, or Jehoiachin, and the Babylonish captivity (Matthew 1), Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah are omitted after Joram, and Jehoiakim after Josiah, that so there may be an omission of four or more generations between Obed, with whom the book of Ruth ends, and Jesse the father of David, — making Jesse the descendant, instead of the son, of Obed, — “But Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house.” 1 Kings 7:1. “And it came to pass at the end of twenty years,” that “Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the Lord and the king’s house.” Chap. 9:10. — B.C. 1010 . “When Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods.” 1 Kings 11:4. This, “according to Abulfaragi, page 35, took place about the thirty-fourth year of his reign, when he was about fifty-four years.” Hales. “And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. And Solomon slept with his fathers;... and Rehoboam, his son, reigned in his stead.” 1 Kings 11:42,43. B.C. 990.
FROM THE DIVISION OF THE KINGDOM TO THE RISE OF JEHU.
The conflicting reigns of the kings of Judah and Israel have been termed the “Gordian knot” of chronology, “the intricacies of which,” says Dr.
Hales, “no one has been able to unravel.” In estimating the length of the reigns of several kings, by a comparison of the Scriptures where their time is spoke of, it will be seen that sometimes the first and last years of their reigns are reckoned as full years, when by our usage we should reckon but one; and that sometimes only one is reckoned.
In adjusting the reigns of several kings, Dr. Hales assumes that those of the kings of Judah are correct, they being verified by the concurrence of the books of Kings and Chronicles (the latter relating especially to the kings of Judah), and of Josephus, Abulfaragi, and Eutychius. The incorrectness, therefore, complained of, must be confined to the “length of the reigns of the kings of Israel,” and “must be remedied by reducing them to” those of Judah. REHOBOAM and Jeroboam. “Rehoboam went to Schechem; for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king.” And when they “saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse; to your tents, O Israel; now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents. But as for the children of Israel, which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.... and it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel; there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only.” Kings 12:1-20. — B.C. 990 .
In the fifth year of king Rehoboam, Shishak, king of Egypt, came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the Lord,” “and took away the treasure of the house of the Lord. 2 Chronicles 12:2,9. B.C. 986. “Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem.” And “ABIJAM his son reigned in his stead.” 1 Kings 14:21,31. “In the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam, the son of Nebat reigned Abijam over Judah.” Chap. 15:1. — B.C. 973 . “Three years reigned he in Jerusalem.” “And Abijam slept with his fathers; and they buried him in the city of David; and\parASA his son reigned in his stead. And in [the end of] the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel reigned Asa over Judah.” Chap. 15:2, 8, 9. — B.C. 970 . “The days which Jeroboam reigned were two and twenty years; and he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his stead.” Chap. 14:20. — B.C. 968 . Nadab, the son of Jeroboam, began to reign over Israel in the second year of Asa, king of Judah, and reigned over Israel two [current — one complete] years.” 1 Kings 15:25.
As the years of the kings of Israel, from the commencement of the reigns of Jeroboam and Rehoboam to the close of the reigns of Ahaziah of Judah and Joram of Israel, exceed those of the kings of Judah during the same period by three years, to harmonize them, one year each must be deducted from the current years of three of the intervening kings of Israel. These are deducted from the length of the reigns of Nadab, Baasha, and Elah. Baasha. “In the third year of Asa, king of Judah, did Baasha [son of Abijah, of the house of Issachar] slay him [Nadab], and reigned in his stead,” “over all Israel twenty and four [current — twenty-three full] years.” 1 Kings 15:28,33. — B.C. 967 . “In his [Asa’s] days the land was quiet ten years” (2 Chronicles 14:1); after which the Ethiopians attacked Judah, and were destroyed with a great slaughter. Verse 12. — B.C. 960 . “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa,” all Judah and Benjamin “entered into covenant to seek the Lord of their fathers;” and “they fell to him out of all Israel in abundance, when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.” “And there was no more war unto the five and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa.” 2 Chronicles 15:9,10,19. “In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa, Baasha, king of Israel, came up against Judah, and built Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa, king of Judah.” 2 Chronicles 16:1. And “there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days.” 1 Kings 15:16.
As Baasha began to reign in the third year of Asa, and was succeeded by Elah in the twenty-sixth, it is the opinion of Dr. Clark, Usher, and others, that these dates have respect, not to the actual reign of Asa, but to the thirty-fifth and thirty-sixth from the division of the kingdom, which would synchronize with the fifteenth and sixteenth of Asa. This is very probable; for in the fifteenth of Asa, the men of Israel were turning to him; and Ramah, built to prevent such a result, would naturally be founded the next year. — B.C. 955 . Elah. “Baasha slept with is fathers,... and Elah his son reigned in his stead.” “In the twenty and sixth year of Asa, king of Judah, began Elah, the son of Baasha, to reign over Israel in Tirzah two [current — one full] years.” Kings 16:6, 8. — B.C. 944 . “Zimri went in and smote him [Elah], and killed him.” “In the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah did Zimri reign seven days in Tirzah.” Kings 16:0, 15. B.C. 943. “Omri went up from Gibbethon, and all Israel with him, and they besieged Tirzah. And it came to pass, when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the palace of the king’s house, and burnt the king’s house over him [self] with fire, and died. . .. Then were the people of Israel divided into two parts; half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath, to make him king; and half followed Omri. But the people that followed Omri prevailed against the people that followed Tibni the son of Ginath; so Tibni died, and Omri reigned. In the thirty and first year of Asa king of Judah began Omri to reign over Israel, twelve years; six years reigned he in Tirzah.” 1 Kings 16:17-23.
The six years only are, doubtless, to be reckoned from the thirty-first of Asa, the twelve years being reckoned from the twenty-seventh, when Zimri, after reigning “seven days,” was slain, and succeeded by Omri. B.C. 943. Ahab. “Omri slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria; and Ahab his son reigned in his stead. And in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel.” Verses 28, 29. — B.C. 932 . “Asa, in the thirty and ninth year of his reign, was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great.... And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign.” 2 Chronicles 16:12,13. “Forty and one years reigned he in Jerusalem.” 1 Kings 15:10. “JEHOSHAPHAT the son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel.” 1 Kings 22:41. — B.C. 929 . “In the third year of his reign he sent to his princes,” chosen men, “to teach in the cities of Judah.” 2 Chronicles 17:7. — B.C. 927 . ELIJAH. In the sixth year of Ahab, which would be the third of Jehoshaphat, Dr. Hales supposes was the time when “Elijah prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months; and he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.” James 5:17,18. Said Elijah to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these three years, but according to my word.” 1 Kings 17:1. “And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, show thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.” 1 Kings 18:1. In this year Elijah slew the prophets of Baal at the brook Kishon. “Jehoshaphat... joined affinity with Ahab” (2 Chronicles 18:1), by giving his son “the daughter of Ahab to wife” (chap. 21:6), supposed by Dr. Hales to have been in the thirteenth year of his reign.
Benhadad king of Syria came up against Ahab king of Israel, and was defeated. 1 Kings 20:1,21. “At the return of the year” he again came up, and was again defeated. Verses 22, 30. “And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel. And it came to pass in the third year [‘after certain years’ — from the marriage of his son with Ahab’s daughter — 2 Chronicles 18:2] that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel,” to fight against the king of Syria. “And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness,” “so the king died” (1 Kings 22:1,2,34,37), having “reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years.” 1 Kings 16:29. “And Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned to his house in peace to Jerusalem.” 2 Chronicles 19:1. Ahaziah. “So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.” “Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel.” 1 Kings 22:40,51.
As Jehoshaphat began to reign in the fourth of Ahab, and his first would synchronize with Ahab’s fourth and fifth, Ahab’s twenty-second must synchronize with Jehoshaphat’s nineteenth and twentieth; and Ahaziah’s first with his twentieth and twenty-first. — B.C. 910 . Jehoram, of Israel. Ahaziah “died according to the word of the Lord which Elijah had spoken. And Jehoram [his brother] reigned in his stead, in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah; because he [Ahaziah] had no son.” 2 Kings 1:17. “Now Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years. 2 Kings 3:1. — B.C. 908 .
Calmet, and others, supposed that Jehoshaphat made his son, Jehoram, viceroy of the kingdom in the seventeenth year of his reign; and that Jehoram of Israel began to reign in the second year of the viceroyalty of Jehoram of Judah, which would be in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat, and that he afterwards communicated the royalty to him in the fifth year of the reign of Jehoram of Israel, when he had been viceroy six years. But as Jehoshaphat succeeded to the throne in the fourth year of Ahab, and as Ahab’s twenty-second and last year must have extended to Jehoshaphat’s nineteenth, the eighteenth of Jehoshaphat would be a year or more antecedent to the death of Ahab. And as Ahab died before his son Ahaziah reigned in his stead, and Ahaziah reigned two years, and died before the accession of Jehoram, the son of Ahab, to the throne, it follows, if these texts are correct, that the reign of Jehoram of Israel could not succeed till the third year from the death of Ahab, which would synchronize with the twenty-second year of Jehoshaphat. And thus Dr. Hales, a profound scholar, and a man of unsurpassed reverence for the Scriptures, decides that in those texts, instead of the second of Jehoram of Judah, and the eighteenth of Jehoshaphat, it should read the twenty-second of Jehoshaphat. Thus corrected, the twenty-fifth and last year of Jehoshaphat would synchronize with the fourth year of Jehoram, the son of Ahab. ELISHA. About the commencement of the reign of Jehoram of Israel, Elijah and Elisha were parted asunder; “and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into Heaven” (2 Kings 2:11), and Elisha succeed Elijah as prophet. JEHORAM of Judah. Jehoshaphat “was thirty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem.” Chronicles 20:31. “Now Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers,... and Jehoram his son reigned in his stead.” “Jehoram was thirty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.” 2 Chronicles 21:1,5. “And in the fifth year of Joram, the son of Ahab king of Israel, Jehoshaphat being then king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah began to reign. 2 Kings 8:16.
From its being said, in 2 Kings 3:1, that Jehoram of Israel began to reign in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat, Archbishop Usher and others have concluded that the fifth year of Jehoram, or Joram, as the name is indiscriminately called, would synchronize with the twenty-second of Jehoshaphat; and that consequently Jehoram of Judah reigned, from the twenty-second to the death of Jehoshaphat, or three of his eight years in connection with his father, and but five alone. And, therefore, dating from the death of Jehoshaphat, they have allowed but five full years for the reign of Jehoram his son.
It has, however, already been shown that, the reign of Jehoshaphat commencing in the fourth of Ahab, the twenty-two years of Ahab’s reign would extend to the nineteenth of Jehoshaphat’s and the two years of Ahaziah’s of Israel to the twenty-first; and that therefore the first of Jehoram of Israel could not begin before the twenty-second of Jehoshaphat, which would make his fourth synchronize with the twentyfifth, and last, of Jehoshaphat. Consequently, the fifth year of Jehoram of Israel would synchronize with the first of Jehoram of Judah, dating his reign from the death of Jehoshaphat. — B.C. 904 .
An objection to this is found in the phrase in the text, “Jehoshaphat being then king of Judah.” But this, Dr. Hales affirms, “is an anachronism, and an interpolation in the Massorite text.” That Jehoshaphat died before the accession of Jehoram his son to the throne, and that the eight years are to be reckoned subsequent to his death, is also indicated by the texts in Chronicles 21:1, 5 quoted above.
This is further proved by another consideration: As Jehoshaphat began to reign in the fourth year of Ahab, and Ahab reigned subsequently eighteen years, these, with the two years of Ahaziah, and twelve of Jehoram of Israel, his successors, would equal thirty-four years from the commencement of the reign of Jehoshaphat to the death of Ahaziah of Judah, by Jehu. To equal this period on the part of the kings of Israel would require the twenty-five full years of Jehoshaphat, the entire year of Ahaziah of Judah, and the eight years of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat reckoned from the death of his father. And, consequently, if Jehoram of Judah reigned three of the eight years of his reign during the last three of his father’s twenty-five, it follows that the reigns of two of the kings of Israel must have also synchronized three years with each other. Such a supposition is unreasonable, and is not only not warranted by, but is contradictory to, Scripture. And, consequently, we reckon, with Dr. Hales and others, the eight years of Jehoram of Judah, from the death of his father, to — B.C. 896 . AHAZIAH. “Joram [of Judah] slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead. In the twelfth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel, did Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah begin to reign. Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Athaliah.” 2 Kings 8:24-26. “Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem.” 2 Chronicles 22:2. — B.C. 896 .
In this last text there is evidently an error; for, as Dr. Clarke remarks, as Jehoram of Judah began to reign when he was thirty-two, and reigned but eight years, being forty years old when he died, it would make Ahaziah two years older than his own father! Dr. Clarke therefore adds: “I am satisfied the reading in 2 Chronicles 22:2 is a mistake, and that we should read there, as here [in 2 Kings 8:26], twenty-two instead of forty-two years.”
Says Calmet on this point: “Which is most dangerous, to acknowledge that transcribers have made some mistakes in copying the sacred books, or to acknowledge that there are contradictions in them, and then to have recourse to solutions that can yield no satisfaction to any unprejudiced mind?” “And in the eleventh year of Joram the son of Ahab began Ahaziah to reign over Judah.” 2 Kings 9:29.
We read, in 2 Chronicles 21:18,19, that “the Lord smote him [Jehoram of Judah] in his bowels with an incurable disease. And it came to pass, that in process of time, after the end of two years, his bowels fell out by reason of his sickness: so he died of sore diseases.”
Being sick two years, Dr. Clarke supposes that Ahaziah began to reign, according to 2 Kings 9:29, as viceroy with his father in the eleventh of Jehoram of Israel, and in the twelfth year, according to 2 Kings 8:25, his father died, and he reigned alone. It is a reasonable supposition. “And Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Joram the son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he was sick.” 2 Kings 8:29. “Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi conspired against Joram.” And “Jehu rode in a chariot, and went to Jezreel; for Joram lay there. And Ahaziah king of Judah was come down to see Joram.” “And Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah went out, each in his chariot, and they went out against Jehu, and met him in the portion of Naboth the Jezreelite.” “And Jehu drew a bow with his full strength, and smote Jehoram between his arms, and the arrow went out at his heart, and he sunk down in his chariot.” “When Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this, he fled by way of the garden house. And Jehu followed after him, and said, Smite him also in the chariot. And they did so at the going up to Gur, which is by Ibleam. And he fled to Megiddo, and died there.” 2 Kings 9:14,16,21,24,27. “And the Lord said unto Jehu,... thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.” 2 Kings 10:30. — B.C. 895 .
Thus was the king of Israel and the king of Judah both slain on the same day. As the reigns of Rehoboam of Judah and Jeroboam of Israel commenced in the same year, and those of Ahaziah of Judah and Jehoram of Israel both terminated at the same time, it follows that the sums of the reigns of the kings of Israel, and of the kings of Judah, from the division of the kingdom at the death of Solomon, to the death of Jehoram and Ahaziah, must be of equal length. That such is the result, and, consequently, that the time allotted for the reign of each respective king is correctly given, may be seen by adding the reigns of each, as in the following table, which also exhibits the years of each which synchronize with those of the other: — CHAPTER 6.
FROM JEHU TO THE CAPTIVITY OF ISRAEL ATHALIAH and Jehu. “When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal. But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king’s sons which were slain....
As the first year of Jehu and the first of Athaliah commence at the same time, they furnish another epoch from which to reckon the reigns of the succeeding kings. JEHOASH. In “the seventh year Jehoiada sent and fetched the rulers over hundreds, with the captains and the guard, and brought them to him into the house of the Lord, and made a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of the Lord, and showed them the king’s son.... And he brought forth the king’s son, and put the crown upon him, and gave him the testimony; and they made him king, and anointed him; and they clapped their hands, and said, God save the king. And when Athaliah heard the noise of the guard, and of the people, she came to the people into the temple of the Lord.... And they laid hands on her; and she went by the way by the which the horses came into the king’s house; and there was she slain. Seven years old was Jehoash when he began to reign; and forty years reigned he in Jerusalem.” 2 Kings 11:4-21; 12:1. B.C. 889. Jehoahaz. “Jehu slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria.
And Jehoahaz his son reigned in his stead. And the time that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria was twenty and eight years.” “In the three and twentieth year of Joash [Jehoash] the son of Ahaziah king of Judah, Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned seventeen years.” 2 Kings 10:35,36; 13:1. — B.C. 867 . “In the three and twentieth year of king Jehoash,” he (Jehoash) thoroughly repaired the Lord’s house (2 Kings 12:6, B.C. 867, and he served “the Lord continually, all the days of Jehoiada,” the priest. “But Jehoiada waxed old, and was full of days when he died; a hundred and thirty years old.” Chronicles 24:14, 15. Joash. “And Jehoahaz slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria; and Joash his son reigned in his stead. In the thirty and seventh year of Joash king of Judah began Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned sixteen years.” 2 Kings 13:9,10. B.C.
If Joash, the son of Jehoash, began to reign in the thirty-seventh of Jehoash of Judah, he must have reigned two years with his father, which Calmet supposes. But it expressly says that “Jehoahaz slept with his fathers;” and the natural inference is that the reign of Jehoash his son dates from his death. Consequently, the first year of Jehoash of Israel would synchronize with the thirty-ninth of Jehoash of Judah. Thus, Dr. Hales says, it reads “in the accurate Aldine edition of the Greek Septuagint.”\parAMAZIAH. The Servants of Jehoahaz king of Judah conspired against him, “and slew him on his own bed, and he died.” “And Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.” 2 Chronicles 24:25,27. “In the second year of Joash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel reigned Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah.” Kings 14:1.
As the first year of Amaziah synchronized with the second of Joash of Israel, the first of Joash must have synchronized with the fortieth, beginning in the thirty-ninth of Jehoash of Judah, and not in the thirtyseventh, as before shown. “Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over him.” Elisha prophesied that Joash should thrice defeat the king of Syria; and “three times did Joash beat him, and recovered the cities of Israel.” 2 Kings 13:14,25. Jeroboam II. “Jehoash [Joash, king of Israel] slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel; and Jeroboam his son reigned in his stead.” 2 Kings 14:16. — B.C. 834 . “In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah, Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel began to reign in Samaria, and reigned forty and one years.” Verse 23. “He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah the son of Amittai the prophet, which was of Gath-hepher.” Verse 25. JONAH. This reference to Jonah proves him to have been one of the early prophets. Dr. Hales thinks his prophecy against Nineveh could not have been later than — B.C. 800 . “Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah lived after the death of Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz king of Israel fifteen years.” 2 Kings 14:17. “He was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem.” Verse 2. “Now they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem, and he fled to Lachish; but they sent after him to Lachish, and slew him there.” Verse 19. — B.C. 820 .
As the first year of Jeroboam began with the fifteenth year of Amaziah, and Amaziah lived fifteen years after the death of Joash, the father of Jeroboam II., it follows that the twenty-ninth and last year of Amaziah must synchronize and end with the fifteenth of Jeroboam, and the first year after his death with the sixteenth. AZARIAH, orUZZIAH. “All the people of Judah took Azariah, which was sixteen years old, and made him king instead of his father Amaziah.” Kings 14:21. “In the twenty and seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel began Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah to reign.” 2 Kings 15:4. B.C. 809.
As the last year of Amaziah ended with the fifteenth month of Jeroboam II., and the first of Azariah, or, as he is called in other places, Uzziah, commenced with the twenty-seventy of Jeroboam, it follows that, from the death of Amaziah to the commencement of the reign of Azariah, an interregnum of eleven years must have intervened in the line of the kings of Judah. As Azariah was but sixteen years of age in the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam II., he could have been but five years of age at the death of his father, Amaziah. Therefore, Dr. Lightfoot, and others, have supposed that the government was administered by regents during eleven years of the minority of Azariah. AMOS. The prophecy of Amos, “which he saw concerning Israel,” was uttered “in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.” Amos 1:1. The earthquake is thus predicted: “Shall not the land tremble for this, and everyone mourn that dwelleth therein?... And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord God, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day.” Amos 8:8,9.
According to Usher, it is found by astronomical calculations that a great eclipse must have occurred in Samaria B.C. 791, two years after the death of Jeroboam, so that Amos uttered his prophecy in the last year of Jeroboam, whose death he also predicted. Amos 7:11: “Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land.” Says Dr. Hales, “Such a curious coincidence of astronomical computation with prophecy affords a strong presumption, bordering on certainty, that the chronology of the reigns of the kings of Israel is here rightly assigned.”\parJOEL is supposed, by Archbishop Usher, to have prophesied a short time before Amos. He thus concludes, from his inference, that the drought predicted by Joel, in chapter 1, is that which Amos (Amos 4:7-9) mentions as actually come to pass. His time is somewhat uncertain. HOSEA also began to prophesy in the days of Uzziah and Jeroboam. He prophesied “in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel.” Hosea 1:1. ISAIAH was contemporary with Hosea, as we learn by the vision “which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.” Isaiah 1:1. ZACHARIAH. “Jeroboam slept with his fathers, even with the kings of Israel; and Zachariah his son reigned in his stead.” 2 Kings 14:29. — B.C. 793 . “In the thirty and eighth year of Azariah king of Judah did Zachariah the son of Jeroboam reign over Israel in Samaria six months.” 2 Kings 15:8. — B.C. 770 .
As the first year of Azariah commenced with the twenty-seventh of Jeroboam II., Jeroboam’s one and fortieth and last year must have ended with the fifteenth of Azariah. And as Zechariah did not begin to reign till the thirty-eighth, it follows that an interregnum of twenty-three years must have intervened from the death of Jeroboam II., in the fifteenth year of Azariah, to the reign of Zachariah in the thirty-eighth. The death of Jeroboam II., in the fifteenth of Azariah, is strikingly confirmed to have been in the year 793 B.C., by the prophecy of Amos, given “two years before the earthquake.”
Zechariah “did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.” “And Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him, and smote him before the people, and slew him, and reigned in his stead.” “This was the word of the Lord which he spake unto Jehu, saying, Thy sons shall sit on the throne of Israel unto the fourth generation. And so it came to pass.” 2 Kings 15:9,10,12. — B.C. 770 . Shallum. “Shallum the son of Jabesh began to reign in the nine and thirtieth year of Uzziah king of Judah; and he reigned a full month in Samaria. For Menahem the son of Gadi went up from Tirzah, and came to Samaria, and smote Shallum the son of Jabesh in Samaria, and slew him, and reigned in his stead.” Verses 13, 14. — B.C. 770 . Menahem. “In the nine and thirtieth year of Azariah king of Judah began Menahem the son of Gadi to reign over Israel, and reigned ten years in Samaria.” Verse 17. In his days “Pul king of Assyria” came against the land (verse 19), probably in the first year of his reign. 1 Chronicles 5:26. — B.C. 769 .
As Zachariah began to reign in the thirty-eighth of Azariah, and Menahem succeeded Shallum in the thirty-ninth, but one year may be allowed for the reigns of Zachariah and Shallum. And the ten years of Menahem’s reign will end with the forty-ninth of Azariah. Pekahiah. “Menahem slept with his fathers, and Pekahiah his son reigned in his stead. In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah Pekahiah the son of Menahem began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned two years.” 2 Kings 15:22,23. — B.C. 759 . Pekah. “But Pekah the son of Remaliah, a captain of his, conspired against him, and smote him in Samaria, in the palace of the king’s house, with Argob and Arich, and with him fifty men of the Gileadites; and he killed him, and reigned in his room.... In the two and fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekah the son of Remaliah began to reign over israel in Samaria, and reigned twenty years. Verses 25-27. — B.C. 757 .
Uzziah, or Azariah, was sixteen years old “when he began to reign, and he reigned two and fifty years in Jerusalem.” 2 Kings 15:1,2. “In the year that king Uzziah died,” Isaiah, in vision, saw “the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.” Isaiah 6:1. JOTHAM. “Uzziah slept with his fathers,... and Jotham his son reigned in his stead.” 2 Chronicles 26:23. “In the second year of Pekah the son of Remaliah king of Israel began Jotham the son of Uzziah king of Judah to reign.” 2 Kings 15:32. — B.C. 757 . MICAH THE MORASTHITE began to prophesy in the days of Jotham, and continued “in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.”
Micah 1:1. “Jotham was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem.” 2 Chronicles 27:1. “In those days the Lord began to send against Judah Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah. And Jotham slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father; and Ahaz his son reigned in his stead.” 2 Kings 15:37,38. AHAZ. “In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah Ahaz the son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign.” 2 Kings 16:1. B.C. 741. “And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it.” f16 Then the Lord sent Isaiah to Ahaz to prophesy against Ephraim, saying, “The head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people.” Isaiah 7:1,8. This is supposed to have been in the first or second year of Ahaz. — B.C. 741 -740. Hoshea. “And Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and smote him, and slew him, and reigned in his stead, in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah.” 2 Kings 15:30. — B.C. 738 .
As Ahaz began to reign in the seventeenth year of Pekah, and Jotham reigned in all but sixteen years from the second of Pekah, it follows that the twentieth year of Pekah, when Hoshea came against him and slew him, must have been three years after the death of Jotham, or in the third year of Ahaz, which would be in the twentieth year from the commencement of Jotham’s reign. “In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah began Hoshea the son of Elah to reign in Samaria over Israel nine years.” 2 Kings 17:1.
As Hoshea slew Pekah in the third year of Ahaz, and did not begin to reign in his stead till the twelfth, it follows that from the death of Pekah to the commencement of the reign of Hoshea was an interregnum of nine years.
This was the second interregnum that occurred in the reigns of the kings of Israel. — B.C. 729 . “Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and gave him presents.” 2 Kings 17:3. “Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem.” 2 Chronicles 28:1. HEZEKIAH. “Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city, even in Jerusalem; but they brought him not into the sepulchres of the kings of Israel; and Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead.” 2 Chronicles 28:27. “Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.” Kings 18:1. — B.C. 725 . “He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the Lord, and repaired them.” 2 Chronicles 29:3.
Hoshea conspired against the king of Assyria. “And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it. And at the end of three years they took it; even in the sixth year of Hezekiah, that is, the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken. And the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria, and put them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes; because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord their God, but transgressed his covenant, and all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded, and would not hear them, nor do them.” Kings 18:9-12. “For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, and walked in the statues of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made....
Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.... for the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them; until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.” 2 Kings 17:7-23. — B.C. 720 .
As the ninth and last year of Hoshea, the last king of Israel, synchronizes with the sixth of Hezekiah, the sum of the reigns of the kings of israel from the first of Jehu must equal those of Judah from the first of Athaliah, and synchronize as in the following table: — FROM JEHU TO THE FALL OF SAMARIA.
Kings Reign. Before Christ.
Kings of Judah Kings of Israel Kings Reign Athaliah’s... . 1st. = Jehu’s... . 1st. 6 Athaliah’s... . 6th. = Jehu’s... . 6th.
Jehoash’s... . 1st. = Jehu’s... . 7th. Jehoash’s... 22d. = Jehu’s... . 28th. Jehoash’s... 23d. = Jehoahaz’s . . 1st. Jehoash’s... 39th. = Jehoahaz’s . . 17th. 40 Jehoash’s... 40th. = Joash’s... 1st. Amaziah’s... 1st. = Joash’s... 2d. Amaziah’s... 15th. = Joash’s... 16th. Amaziah’s... 15th. = Jeroboam’s . . 1st. 29 Amaziah’s... 29th. - Jeroboam’s . . 15th. 11 Interregnum.
Azariah’s... . 1st. - Jeroboam’s . . 27th. 809 Azariah’s... 15th. - Jeroboam’s . . 41st. 41 1st.Interregnum 1st. Azariah’s... 38th. - Zachariah and Shallum’s 1st 1 Azariah’s... 39th. - Menahem’s . . 10th. Azariah’s... 49th. - Menahem’s . . 1st. Azariah’s... 50th. - Pekaiah’s... 2d. Azariah’s... 51st. - Pekaiah’s... . . 52 Azariah’s... 52d. - Pekah’s...... Jotham’s... . 1st. - Pekah’s... . 1st. 16 Jotham’s... . 16th. - Pekah’s... . 2d.
Ahaz’s... . . 1st. - Pekah’s... 17th. Ahaz’s... . . 3d. - Pekah’s... 18th. 20 2d. Interregnum 20th. Ahaz’s... . . 13th. - Hosheah’s... 1st.729 16 Ahaz’s... . . 16th. - Hosheah’s... 3d.
Hezekiah’s... 1st. - Hosheah’s... 4th. Hezekiah’s... 6th. - Hosheah’s... 9th. 9 176 Thus the sums of the reigns of the two lines of kings are equal. If to one hundred and seventy-six we add ninety-five, the length of time that intervened from the revolt of the ten tribes, we have two hundred and seventy-one years. And if from this we deduct thirty-two years, the length of the two interregnums, we have two hundred and thirty-nine full, or two hundred and forty current years, which Josephus gives (Ant. IX., 14:1) as the length of the reign of the kings of Israel.
FROM HEZEKIAH TO THE CAPTIVITY OF JUDAH.
THAT portion of the prophecy of Micah, which predicts that Zion shall “be plowed as a field,” Micah 3:12, we learn from Jeremiah 26:18, was given in the days of Hezekiah, king of Judah. “Now in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them.” “And the king of Assyria sent Tartan, and Rabsaris, and Rab-shakeh from Lachish to King Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem.” But when Hezekiah had prayed unto the Lord, “it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand; and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.” 2 Kings 18:13,17; 19:35. f18 B.C. 712. “In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death.” And when he had prayed, the Lord sent by Isaiah, saying, “I will add unto thy days fifteen years.” Kings 20:1, 6. “At that time Merodach-baladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah; for he had heard that he had been sick, and was recovered.” Isaiah 39:1. “Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem.” 2 Chronicles 29:1. And when the fifteen years added to his days were fulfilled, he “slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the chiefest of the sepulchres of the sons of David.... and Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.” chap. 32:33 B.C. 696. “MANASSEH was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem,” to B.C. 641. “And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.” “And the Lord spake by his servants the prophets, saying, Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols; therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab; and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down. And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies.” 2 Kings 21:1,2, 10-14. “Wherefore the Lord brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon.” 2 Chronicles 33:11. B.C. 675.
This event occurred, says Dr. Hales, “in the twenty-second year of his reign, B.C. 675, (as the Jews in Seder Olam Rabba, and the Talmudists, date the year of his captivity and repentance. See Ganz. p. 45). This king of Assyria was Esarhaddon, or Asardine, who six years before, B.C. 680, had taken Babylon, and subdued the Babylonians, weakened by intestine divisions, and an interregnum, as we learn from Ptolemy’s Canon. He was a prosperous prince, and afterwards transplanted a colony of Babylonians, Cushites, and Syrians, into the cities of Samaria, in the room of the captive tribes, about B.C. 675, as observed before. 2 Kings 17:24; Ezra 4:2.” — New Anal. Chro., vol. ii., p. 468.
This fulfilled the prophecy uttered by Isaiah sixty-five years before. Isa 7:7, 8. “It was sixty-five years from the beginning of the reign of Ahaz, when this prophecy was delivered, to the total depopulation of the kingdom of Israel by Esarhaddon, who carried away the remains of the ten tribes which had been left by Tiglath-pileser and Shalmaneser, and who planted the country with new inhabitants. That the country was not wholly stripped of its inhabitants by Shalmaneser appears from many passages of the history of Josiah, where Israelites are mentioned as still remaining there. Chronicles 34:6, 7, 33; 35:18; 2 Kings 23:19,20. This seems to be the best explanation of the chronological difficulty in this place which has much embarrassed the commentators. “‘That the last deportation of Israel, by Esarhaddon, was in the sixty-fifth year after the second of Ahaz, is probable for the following reasons: The Jews,in Seder Olam Rabba, and the Talmudists, in D. Kimchi on Eze. 4, say that Manasseh king of Judah, was carried to Babylon by the king of Assyria’s captains (2 Chronicles 33:11) in the twenty-second year of his reign; that is, before Christ 676, according to Dr. Blair’s tables. and they are probably right in this. It could not be much earlier; as the king of Assyria was not king of Babylon till 680. Ibid. As Esarhaddon was then in the neighborhood of Samaria, it is highly probable that he did then carry away the last remains of Israel, and brought those strangers thither who mention him as their founder. Ezra 4:2. But this year is just the sixty-fifth from the second of Ahaz, which was 740 before Christ. Now, the carrying away the remains of Israel, who, till then, though their kingdom was destroyed forty-five years before, and though small in number, might yet keep up some form of being a people, by living according to their own laws, entirely put an end to the people of Israel, as a people separate from all others; for, from this time, they never returned to their own country in a body, but were confounded with the people of Judah in the captivity; and the whole people, the ten tribes included, were called Jews (Dr. Jubb).
Two MSS. have twenty-five instead of sixty-five; and two others omit the word five, reading only sixty.” — Dr. Clarke. “And when he [Manasseh] was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed unto him; and he was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom.” 2 Chronicles 33:12,13. He was in captivity, Dr. Hales supposes, about twelve years, to the death of Esarhaddon. — B.C. 663 . “Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 33:1); and he “slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house; and Amon his son reigned in his stead.” Verse 20. — B.C. “AMON was two and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned two years in Jerusalem.” “And his servants conspired against him, and slew him in his own house.” 2 Chronicles 33:21,24. JOSIAH. “But the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against King Amon; and the people of the land made Josiah their king in his stead.” 2 Chronicles 33:25. B. c. 640. “Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years [to B.C. 609]. And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.... for in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images....
Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land, and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of the Lord his God.” 2 Chronicles 34:1-8. — B.C. 623 .
In the same year the passover was kept with great splendor: “Surely there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah; but in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, wherein this passover was holden to the Lord in Jerusalem.” 2 Kings 23:22,23. ZEPHANIAH prophesied “in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah.” Zephaniah 1:1. JEREMIAH began to prophesy “in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.” The word of the Lord came to him “also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.” Jeremiah 1:2,3. — B.C. 628 . NAHUM predicted the destruction of Nineveh. His precise time is not known; but it was after the destruction of “populous No” (Nahum 3:8), which fixes it about — B.C. 613 .
In the days of Josiah, “Pharaoh-nechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates; and King Josiah went against him: and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him. And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo, and brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own sepulcher.” 2 Kings 23:29,30. — B.C. 609 .
JEHOAHAZ. “And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and anointed him, and made him king in his father’s stead. Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem.” 2 Kings 23:30,31.
Pharaoh-nechoh returning from his expedition against the Assyrians, took Jerusalem. “And the king of Egypt made Eliakim his [Jehoahaz’] brother king over Judah and Jerusalem, and turned his name to Jehoiakim. And Necho took Jehoahaz his brother, and carried him to Egypt.” 2 Chronicles 36:4. “And he died there.” 2 Kings 23:34.
Jehoahaz was called “Shallum” before he was made king. 1 Chronicles 3:15. His death was thus predicted by Jeremiah: “Weep not for the dead [Josiah], neither bemoan him; but weep sore for him that goeth away; for he shall return no more, nor see his native country. For thus saith the Lord touching Shallum the son of Josiah king of Judah, which reigned instead of Josiah his father, which went forth out of this place: He shall not return thither any more; but he shall die in the place whither they have led him captive.” Jeremiah 22:10-12. JEHOIAKIM. “Pharaoh-nechoh made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the room of Josiah his father, and turned his name from Jehoiakim, and took Jehoahaz away; and he came to Egypt, and died there.” 2 Kings 23:34. “Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem” (verse 36) from — B.C. 609 . “In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word from the Lord, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the Lord’s house, all the words that I command thee.”
The words he was commanded to speak to the people were words of pardon if they would turn from their evil ways, and of threatening if they refused to hear. NEBUCHADNEZZAR. The twenty-fifth of Jeremiah contains “the word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.” Verse 1. — B.C. 606 .
The word of the Lord first came to Jeremiah in the days of Josiah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. Jeremiah 1:2. Jeremiah testifies that “from the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day” — Jehoiakim’s fourth, and Nebuchadrezzar’s first — “is the three and twentieth year” that he had spoken to the Jews, “rising early and speaking,” and they had “not hearkened.” Chap. 25:3. Josiah reigned thirty-one years from his thirteenth, reckoning that as the first, his thirty- first would be the nineteenth; the first of Jehoiakim, the twentieth; and his fourth, the twenty-third.
This was before Nebuchadrezzar came up against Judea; for at this time the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Behold, I will send and take all the families of the North, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment and a hissing, and perpetual desolations. Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle. And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations. Jeremiah 25:9-12. “In the fourth year of Jehoiakim,” the word came to Jeremiah (which is recorded in the forty-fifth and forty-sixth chapters of his prophecy, Jeremiah 45:1), “Against Egypt, against the army of Pharaoh-necho king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah.” Jeremiah 46:2. — B.C. 606 . “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God; which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and the king spoke to Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes: children in whom was no blemish,... whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans,” during “three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Now among these were...
Being subject to Egypt, the subjection of Egypt would make him subject to Babylon, as we read, “In his days, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years; then he turned and rebelled against him.” 2 Kings 24:1. After three years of service, the rebellion of Jehoiakim would date — B.C. 603 . “Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon.” 2 Chronicles 36:6. Yet Nebuchadnezzar did not carry him to Babylon, but unbound him and re-instated him as king, and he reigned about seven years longer. HABAKKUK predicted the Chaldean invasion and must, therefore, have lived before B.C. 605. His precise time is uncertain. Hab. 1:6.
According to Ptolemy’s Canon, Nabopolassar dying, Nebuchadnezzar succeeded to the throne of Babylon, B.C. 604, and reigned forty-three years. But Berosus dates his expedition against Egypt in the year before his father’s death and his actual reign. We afterwards find that the eleventh year of Jehoiakim synchronizes with the seventh of Nebuchadnezzar, which makes the first year of his actual reign synchronize with Jehoiakim’s fifth. — B.C. 604 . “In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar” he had the vision of the great image of which Daniel gave him the explanation and interpretation. Daniel 2:1-45. — B.C. 603 . “In the fourth year of Jehoiakim,” came the word of the Lord that is contained in the thirty-sixth chapter of jeremiah, verse 1. “And it came to pass in the fifth year of Jehoiakim... in the ninth month, that they proclaimed a fast before the Lord,” and Jeremiah wrote on a roll the words of the Lord, and sent them to the king, who burned them in the fire. “Therefore thus saith the Lord of jehoiakim king of Judah: He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David; and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost.” Verses 9, 30. “He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem.” Jeremiah 22:19. JEHOIACHIN. “So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers; and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.” “Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months [2 Kings 24:6,8] and ten days.” 2 Chronicles 36:9. — B.C. 598 . “And when the year was expired [verse 10], Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it. And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers; and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign. And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the Lord, as the Lord had said. And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valor, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land. And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king’s mother, and the king’s wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. And all the men of might, even seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths a thousand, all that were strong and apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon.
Ezekiel reckons from it. Eze. 1:2. And “these are the words of the letter than Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem” to the captives, “after that Jeconiah the king, and the queen, and the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the carpenters, and the smiths, were departed from Jerusalem.” Jeremiah 29:1,2. “Thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon, I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.” Verse 10. “ZEDEKIAH was twenty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem.” 2 Kings 24:18.
Jeremiah sent a message “by the hand of the messengers which came to Jerusalem, unto Zedekiah king of Judah,” to say unto their masters, from “the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel:” “Now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him. And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son’s son, until the very time of his land come; and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him.” Jeremiah 27:6,7. “And it came to pass the same year, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year, in the fifth month, that Hananiah” prophesied falsely, saying, “Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon.
Within two full years will I bring again into this place all the vessels of the Lord’s house, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place, and carried them to Babylon.” Jeremiah 28:1-3.
As Zedekiah reigned but eleven years, his fourth year could not be called the beginning of his reign. Scaliger supposes it was the fourth year in course, reckoning from the preceding seventh year Sabbath. The Duke of Manchester thinks this is a just inference, and sustains it by the “two years” of Hananiah, which seem to point to the coming Sabbath, in the third of Zedekiah. The tenth of Zedekiah was a Sabbath. See Jeremiah 34:8-11.
In Jeremiah 51:59, is written “the word which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah,... when he went with [on the behalf of, margin] Zedekiah the king of Judah into Babylon in the fourth year of his reign.” This marks an epoch in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, of sufficient importance to induce Zedekiah to send to Babylon, to do fealty to his king. — B.C. 594 . EZEKIEL began to prophesy, the next year: “Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, the word of the Lord came,” etc. Eze. 1:1-3. — B.C. 593 .
The thirtieth year,” harmonizing with the fifth of Jehoiachin’s captivity, would date from the eighteenth of Josiah, — the year when “there was holden such a passover” as had not before been observed, “from the days of the judges.” 2 Kings 23:23. The year of the observance of that passover was, doubtless, a jubilee, and the “thirtieth year” of Ezekiel 1:1 is evidently the thirtieth from that jubilee.
The visions recorded in the eight chapter of Ezekiel and onward, were seen “in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month.” Eze. 8:1. — B.C. 592 . “And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, the tenth day of the month,” that occurred the events of the twentieth chapter and onward. Eze. 20:1. — B.C. 591 . “Again in the ninth year, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, write thee the name of the day, even of this same day; the king of Babylon set himself against Jerusalem this same day.” Eze. 24:1, 2. — B.C. 589 .
This proves that the years of the captivity of Jehoiachin, and the years of Zedekiah, were the same; for we read that “it came to pass in the ninth year of his [Zedekiah’s] reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he, and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it.” 2 Kings 25:1; Jeremiah 39:1; 52:4. “In the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar,” the word recorded in the thirty-second of Jeremiah came to him from the Lord. Verse 1. — B.C. 588 . “In the tenth year, in the tenth month, in the twelfth day of the month,” Ezekiel prophesied against Egypt, that it should be desolate, and not “inhabited forty years;” and that “at the end of forty years,” it should be restored, and “be the basest of the kingdoms,” and “no more rule over the nations.” Eze. 29:1-15. “Then Pharaoh’s army was come forth out of Egypt; and when the Chaldeans that besieged Jerusalem heard the tidings of them, they departed from Jerusalem.” Jeremiah 37:5. As this was after the siege of Jerusalem, and before the capture of the city, it must be “the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar,” in which “he carried away captive from Jerusalem, eight hundred thirty and two persons.” Jeremiah 52:29. — B.C. 588 . “When the king of Babylon’s army fought against Jerusalem,” Zedekiah “made a covenant with all the people which were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty unto them.” Jeremiah 34:7,8. for some reason “they turned and caused the servants and the handmaids whom they had let go free, to return.” Verse 11. This was probably because the army of the Chaldeans had departed from Jerusalem. Therefore Jeremiah said, “Behold, Pharaoh’s army, which is come forth to help you, shall return to Egypt into their own land. And the Chaldeans shall come again, and fight against this city, and take it, and burn it with fire.” Jeremiah 37:7,8. “So the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. And in the fourth month, in the ninth day of the month, the famine was sore in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land. Then the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled.... But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho.... Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem, and burned the house of the Lord, and the king’s house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great men, burned he with fire; and all the army of the Chaldeans, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down all the walls of Jerusalem round about. Then Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard carried away captive certain of the poor of the people, and the residue of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the multitude. But Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard left certain of the poor of the land for vinedressers and for husbandmen.” Jeremiah 52:5-16. “In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, the city was broken up.” Chapt. 39:2. “And as for the people that remained in the land of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had left, even over them he made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, ruler.” 2 Kings 25:22. — B.C. 587 . OBADIAH uses several expressions, in foretelling the destruction of Edom, similar to those in Jeremiah (compare Obad. vs. 1, 8, with Jeremiah 49:9, 14-16). Lowth supposes he lived just prior to the destruction of Jerusalem.
Dr. Clarke supposes he lived as late as — B.C. 587 . “In the eleventh year” of Jehoiachin’s captivity, the prophecies in Ezekiel, twenty-sixth and thirty-first chapters, were uttered against Egypt. “And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, in the fifth day of the month, one that had escaped out of Jerusalem came unto me, saying, The city is smitten.” Eze. 33:21. In this year also were uttered the prophecies in the thirty-second of Ezekiel, verses 1, 17. — B.C. 586 . “In the three and twentieth year of Nebuchadrezzar, Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred forty and five persons.” Jeremiah 52:30. “And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths; for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten years.” 2 Chronicles 36:20,21.
FROM THE CAPTIVITY OF JUDAH TO THE CLOSE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT. “IN the fifth year” from the time “the Chaldeans took Jerusalem and burned it with fire,” the apocryphal book of “Baruch” purports to have been written in Babylon. Bar. 1:1. “In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the selfsame day,” the visions and prophecies recorded in the fortieth to the forty-eighth chapters of Ezekiel were shown him. Eze. 40:1. — B.C. 573 . “In the seven and twentieth year,” Ezekiel again prophesied against Egypt.
Eze. 29:17. — B.C. 571 . EVIL-MERODACH. “And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, that Evil-merodach king of Babylon in the year that he began to reign did lift up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison.” 2 Kings 25:27; Jeremiah 52:31. — B.C. 564 .
As Jehoiachin was carried to Babylon in the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar, and Evil-merodach succeeded Nebuchadnezzar near the close of the thirty-seventh year of Jehoiachin’s captivity, it follows that Nebuchadnezzar’s sole reign equalled forty-three years. The Bible does not give the length of the reign of Evil-merodach. The Canon of Ptolemy gives two years from — B.C. 561 . NERIGLISSAR succeeded him, and, according to the Canon of Ptolemy, reigned four years from — B.C. 559 . LABOROSOARCHOD succeeded him, and was put to death after a reign of nine months; being less than a year, his reign is not counted in the Canon of Ptolemy.
NABONADIUS was his successor; his reign, according to Ptolemy’s Canon, was seventeen years: according to Dr. Jarvis, he is the Belshazzar of Daniel. — B.C. 555 . “In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head,” of four successive monarchies, extending down to the coming of the Ancient of Days. Daniel 7:1. About B.C. 541 or 540. “In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared unto” Daniel, covering the same period of time. Daniel 8:1. About 539 or B.C.
In the last year, “Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.... They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.... In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.” Daniel 5:1-31. — B.C. 538 .
Dr. John Mayer, in his Commentary, published in London, A.D. 1652, says that according to the computation of time by the Chaldeans, the seventy years of Jeremiah 25 had apparently expired; and that the king made this feast to rejoice over the fancied failure of the prediction in God’s word f24 DARIUS. “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans, in the first year of his reign,” “Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” In this year Daniel received the prophecy of the seventy weeks: “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, unto the Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself; and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate, [upon the desolator, margin].” Daniel 9:1-27. — B.C. 538 . “Darius, the Mede, was sixty-two years old at the time he became sovereign of Babylon, and reigned two years only, when he died,” and was succeeded by Cyrus. — Hales, vol. ii, p. 508. — B.C. 536 . CYRUS, the nephew of Darius, was his contemporary in Persia, and successor in Babylon. “By the death of his father, he began to reign in Persia when he was forty years old, and continued... twenty-one years. He then became associated with his uncle, for two years, at Babylon, and after his uncle’s death continued seven years longer.” — Dr. Jarvis.
As Cyrus was the more conspicuous of the two, and shortly became the sole ruler of the Medo-Persian Empire, his reign alone is referred to in the Canon of Ptolemy, where it is given as nine years. The Scriptures speak of him as the successor of Darius, and date his first year from Darius’s death.
Two hundred years before his birth, God called him by name, and said “of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure; even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.” Isaiah 44:28. “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the Lord God of Heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people?
The Medo-Persian Empire extended “from India even unto Ethiopia, over a hundred and seven and twenty provinces.” Esther 1:1. Consequently, all the Jews, wherever they might have been scattered, had full permission to return to their own land, in fulfillment of preceding prophecies respecting their restoration. This harmonizes the seventy years’ captivity with the history of Josephus: “In the first year of Cyrus, which was the seventieth from the day of the removal of our people from their native land to Babylon,” etc. — Ant. 11, 1.1. “And came again unto Jerusalem and Judah, every one unto his city” (Ezra 2:1), “forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore, besides their servants and their maids, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven.” Verses 64, 65. The numbers given of the Jews do not make this sum; but Bishop Patrick says: “There is no doubt but many of their brethren of the ten tribes incorporated themselves with the two tribes in captivity, and took the advantage of returning with them; which may be the meaning of those words in the first chapter, ‘Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up,’ that is, saith Diodati, all those of other tribes, according to 1 Chronicles 9:3.” “And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem.” “From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt-offerings unto the Lord. But the foundation of the temple of the Lord was not yet laid.” Ezra 3:1,6. “In the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel... to set forward the work of the house of the Lord... But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice.” Verses 8-12. — B.C. 535 . “When the adversaries of Judah” heard that they “builded the temple,” they “troubled them in building, and hired counselors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius [Hystaspes] king of Persia.” Chap. 4:1-5. “In the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia” the prophecies in Daniel 10-12 were revealed to him. Daniel 10:1. — B.C. 534 .
CAMBYSES. “In the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they [the adversaries of Judah] unto him an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.” Ezra 4:6. “This is the person who is called Cambyses by the Greeks. He reigned seven years and five months; and during the whole of that time the building of the temple was interrupted.” — Dr. A.
Ptolemy mentions an eclipse of the moon, in the seventh year of Cambyses, which, according to modern astronomical calculation, took place in the night following the 16th of July, in the year of the Julian period 4191, at the beginning of the second year of the sixty-fourth Olympiad. As the Vulgar Era is dated from January 1, 4714, of the Julian period, it follows that this eclipse was — B.C. 523 .
The date of this eclipse, decided by the unerring record of astronomy, is undisputed. Consequently, as Petavius observes, it is “the cardinal point and foundation, on which depend the arrangement of preceding and succeeding times, and the concord of sacred and profane history.” — De Doct. Temp., Lib. X, c. 14.
Of the accuracy with which the dates of eclipses may be settled, Professor Mitchell says: — “Go back three thousand years — stand upon that mighty watchtower, the Temple of Belus, in old Babylon — and look out. The sun is sinking in eclipse, and great is the dismay of the terrorstricken inhabitants. We have the fact and circumstances recorded.
But how shall we prove that the record is correct? The astronomer unravels the devious movements of the sun, the earth, and the moon, through the whole period of three thousand years; with the power of intellect, he goes backward through the cycles of thirty long centuries, and announces that at such an hour, on such a day — as the Chaldean has written — that eclipse did take place.”
As this was the seventh year of Cambyses, his first year must have been in B.C. 529, and the first of Cyrus, when terminate seventy years from the fourth of Jehoiakin, B.C. 536. The Bible, therefore, gives us the chronology of the world, till we come to a period the distance from which to the present time is easily calculated, and fixed beyond dispute.
Consequently, we are favored with an inspired chronology of the world, so far as an inspired chronology would be of any use to us; for at this point the light of history is emitted with so much clearness, that its further continuance would have been absolutely useless.
In this we see the wisdom and goodness of God. That we should be furnished with an inspired chronology to this epoch, and no further, gives evidence of his readiness to assist his creatures. In the Canon of Ptolemy, eight years are allowed for the reign of Cambyses; but according to Herodotus, they included the seven months of his successor, Smerdis Magus, of which no account is made in the Canon, which adds another year to his reign, and brings us to — B.C. 521 . DARIUS [Hystaspes]. According to OEschylus (Dr. Hales’ New Anal.
Chro., vol. 1, page 287), Smerdis was succeeded by two conspirators, Maraphis and Artaphrenes, who continued but about six months, which is included in the reign of Darius Hystaspes, the next Persian king. It was in the reign of this king that the work of the temple was again commenced, — which was first commenced under Cyrus, but ceased in the days of Artaxerxes (Smerdis), “unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.” Ezra 4:24. — B.C. 520 . HAGGAI andZECHARIAH. “Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them.” Ezra 5:1. “In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel.” “And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel,... and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, in the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius,” in “the day that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid” (or the renewal of the work) came the word of the Lord, contained in Hag. 2:1, 10, 18. He inquires: “Who is left among you, that saw this house in her first glory? and how do you see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? Verse 3. “In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the Lord unto Zechariah;” and also in “the eleventh month,” as recorded in chapters one to eight of that prophecy. At this time he had the vision of the horses among the myrtle trees, whose riders had been “sent to walk to and fro through the earth;” and who reported to the angel of the Lord: “We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest. Then the angel of the Lord answered and said, O Lord of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? And the Lord answered... with comfortable words.” Zechariah 1:7,17.
When the Jews began again to build, Tatnai and others demanded their right so to do, and wrote to that effect to Babylon, when, search being made, the decree of Cyrus was found; and Tatnai and others were forbidden to molest them. “And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.” “And the children of the captivity kept the passover upon the fourteenth day of the first month.” Ezra 6:15,19. — B.C. 516 .
An eclipse of the moon, observed in the twentieth year of Darius, is found, by astronomical calculation, to have occurred — B.C. 502 .
Another of the moon, observed in his thirty-first year, is found to have been — B.C. 491 .
The reign of Darius, including that of the conspirators, was, according to Ptolemy’s Canon, thirty-six years, and closed — B.C. 485 . XERXES, his son, succeeded Darius, and according to Ptolemy’s Canon, reigned twenty-one years from — B.C. 485 . “Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus (this is Ahasuerus which reigned from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces),” “in the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants.” Vashti, the queen, was deposed, for refusing to come into the feast, and show the princes her beauty. Esther 1:1, 3-22. — B.C. 483 . “Esther was taken unto King Ahasuerus into his house royal in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.” Esther 2:16. — B.C. 479 . “After these things did King Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him.” “In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar.” And Haman conspired against the Jews to destroy them in all the provinces of the kingdom; and on the thirteenth day of the first month, he dispatched letters from the king, “to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.” Esther 3:1,7,12,13. — B.C. 474 .
At the request of Esther, the queen, the king issued a counter decree, “in the third month, that is, the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth day thereof,” giving permission to the Jews, that on “the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar” (Esther 8:9,12), the Jews should destroy all who should assault them, which gave “the Jews rule over those that hated them.” They smote their enemies with a great slaughter, “on the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same rested they, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.” Esther 9:1-17. — B.C. 474 . ARTAXERXES. He was succeeded by his son, Artaxerxes Longimanus — the long-handed — who, according to Dr. Prideaux (Hist. Jews, vol. 1, page 222), was the Ahasuerus of Esther; and according to Ptolemy’s Canon, reigned forty-one years from — B.C. 464 -463. “Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia,” “Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses....
And there went up some of the children of Israel... unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king. And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.” He “departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go unto Jerusalem.” Ezra 7:1,6,9; 8:31. — B.C. 457 .
Ezra went up to Jerusalem accompanied by 1,754 persons, and this is a copy of the letter that the king, Artaxerxes, gave unto him.
THE DECREE OF ARTAXERXES. “Now this is the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes gave unto Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the Lord, and of his statutes to Israel. “ Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of Heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time. “I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own free will to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee. Forasmuch as thou art sent of the king, and of his seven counselors, to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God which is in thine hand; and to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counselors have freely offered unto the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem. And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the free-will-offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem; that thou mayest buy speedily with this money bullocks, rams, lambs, with their meat-offerings and their drink-offerings, and offer them upon the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem. And whatsoever shall seem good to thee, and to thy brethren, to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, that do after the will of your God. The vessels also that are given thee for the service of the house of thy God, those deliver thou before the God of Jerusalem. And whatsoever more shall be needful for the house of thy God, which thou shalt have occasion to bestow, bestow it out of the king’s treasure-house. “And I, even I Artaxerxes the king do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of Heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily.
Unto a hundred talents of silver, and to a hundred measures of wheat, and to a hundred baths of wine, and to a hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much. Whatsoever is commanded by the God of Heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of Heaven; for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons? Also we certify you, that, touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom upon them. And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not. And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.” Ezra 7:11-26.
From this decree, the great majority of expositors reckon the seventy weeks of Daniel 9:24. In view of this decree, Ezra gave thanks and said: “Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem.” “And now for a little space grace hath been showed from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage. For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.” “Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping?” Ezra 7:27; 9:8, 9, 14.
The prophet seems fully sensible that should they again so displease the Lord as to be dispersed among all nations, they could no more be restored to their own land. Consequently, all the unconditional promises of their restoration had respect to their restoration from Babylon. “It came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year” when Nehemiah “was in Shushan the palace,” that he inquired of his brethren concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. “And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach; the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.” Nehemiah 1:1-31. — B.C. 445 . “And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes,” that Nehemiah requested of the king permission to go to the city of his “fathers’ sepulchers,” to “build it.” Nehemiah 2:1,5. The king granted his request, and gave him a letter to “Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest,” to give him “timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house” that Nehemiah should “enter into.” Verse 8. So Nehemiah went up to Jerusalem, and was “governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even unto the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that is, twelve years.” Nehemiah 5:14. “So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.” Nehemiah 6:15. “In the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon,” Nehemiah came again “unto the king, and after certain days obtained leave of the king, and came to Jerusalem.” Nehemiah 13:6,7. — B.C. 433 .
This is the latest date referred to in the canonical books of the Old Testament. MALACHI, the last of the prophets, prophesied subsequent to this, and soon after. His precise period is unknown. His complaints of the irreligion of the Jews is evidence that they did not, after their restoration, comply with the conditions, on the observance of which God had promised to make their restoration from Babylon a permanent one.
FROM MALACHI TO THE BIRTH OF CHRIST.
A total eclipse of the sun occurred August 3, in the first year of the Peloponnesian war, as recorded by Thucydides. — B.C. 431 . DARIUS NOTHUS. Artaxerxes Longimanus, according to Prideaux, was succeeded by his son, Xerxes, who was murdered at the end of forty-five days, by his brother, Sogdianus, who in turn was put to death by his brother, Ochus, having reigned but six months and fifteen days. The two brothers having reigned less than a year, their time is included, in Ptolemy’s Canon, in that of Ochus. This prince changed his name to Darius, and is called by historians Darius Nothus. His reign, including that of his brothers, according to the Canon of Ptolemy, continued nineteen years to — B.C. 404 . ARTAXERXES. He was succeeded by his son, Arsaces, who, on ascending the throne, took the name of Artaxerxes. From the wonderful memory that he possessed, he is called by the Greeks, Artaxerxes Mnemon, 1:e., the rememberer. His reign, according to the Canon of Ptolemy, continued forty-six years, to — B.C. 358 . OCHUS was his son and successor, and reigned, according to Ptolemy’s Canon, twenty-one years, to — B.C. 337 . ARSES. He was succeeded by his youngest son, Arogus, or Arses. He was murdered by Bagoas — an Egyptian eunuch, who had also murdered Ochus, and all of Arses’s brothers — his reign, according to the Canon of Ptolemy, continued two years, to — B.C. 335 . DARIUS. Bagoas, after the murder of Arses, placed on the throne Codomanus, a descendant of Nothus. On ascending the throne, he assumed the name of Darius, being the third of that name who occupied the Persian throne. In the second year of this Darius, Alexander the Great crossed the Hellespont for the invasion of Asia; and, with only 30,000 foot, and 5,000 horse, he encountered the Persian army at the River Granicus, and gained a victory over five times his number. In his third year, Darius, with an army of 600,000, was defeated by Alexander, at Issus, in Cilicia. The next year Darius, with about a million of men, was defeated by Alexander, in the decisive battle of Arbela, and was soon after killed, having reigned, according to Ptolemy’s Canon, four years, to — B.C. 331 .
The battle of Arbela marks the end of the Persian, and the succession of the Grecian Empire. The time of this battle is marked with absolute certainty; for Plutarch records an eclipse of the moon eleven days before that battle.
By astronomical calculation it is found that the moon was eclipsed in the meridian of Arbela, on the night of September 20, B.C. 331, and A. J. P. 4383; so that this battle must have been fought on the first of October of that year. ALEXANDER. According to the Canon of Ptolemy, Alexander’s reign continued eight years; but it is there dated from nearly a year previous to the battle of Arbela, and therefore it extends only to — B.C. 324 .
Alexander was succeeded by his illegitimate son Aridaeus, who changed his name to Philip, and reigned, according to Ptolemy’s Canon, seven years, to — B.C. 317 .
After the death of Aridaeus, the only one who bore the title of king was Alexander Aegus. He, however, possessed no power; for after the death of Alexander the Great, the governments of the empire were divided among the chief commanders of the army, who took the title of governors at first, but finally that of kings. Soon after they were settled in their provinces, they warred among themselves, till, after some years, all were destroyed but four — Cassander, who had Macedon and Greece; Lysimachus, who had Thrace and the parts of Asia on the Hellespont and Bosphorus; Ptolemy, who had Egypt, Lybia, Arabia, Palestine, and Coele-Syria; and Seleucus, who had the rest of Alexander’s dominion. “Porphyry tells us that Seleucus was made king of Syria by Ptolemy, when he came against Demetrius Poliorcetes, and that he then began to enlarge his dominions by conquest. His kingdom is dated form Olym. 317, y. 1.
That year began at the new moon nearest the summer solstice, A. J. P. 4402.” — Dr. Jarvis. — B.C. 312 .
THE ERA OF THE SELEUCIDAE. “With the commencement of this reign began the famous era called the Era of the Seleucidae. It is the era from which the years are reckoned in the first and second book of Maccabees; but whereas the heathen historians began to reckon from the summer solstice, the reader, if he would avoid mistakes, must always bear in mind that the author of the first book of Maccabees reckons each year as beginning with Nisan, the first ecclesiastical month of the Jews; while the author of the second makes his to begin with the civil year of the Jews, or the autumnal month, Isri. This era is called by the Jews the Era of Contracts, and by the Arabs, Dil- Carnaim, or the two-horned, 1:e., of Alexander, as the son of Jupiter Ammon.” — Dr. Jarvis.
To continue the chronology, we have only to trace the succession of one of the lines of kings before mentioned, and will take the Egyptian, as in the Canon of Ptolemy, the astronomer. PTOLEMY, the king of Egypt, did not become firmly settled on his throne till twelve years from the death of Philip Aridaeus, where Ptolemy, the astronomer, places the beginning of his reign. — B.C. 305 . PTOLEMY SOTER, or Lagus, according to the Canon of the astronomer, reigned in Egypt twenty years from his assumption of the title of king, and thirty-nine from the death of Alexander; and then placed Ptolemy Philadelphus, one of his sons, in partnership with him on the throne. — B.C. 285 . PTOLEMY PHILADELPHUS, according to the Canon, reigned from his accession to the throne in partnership with his father, thirty-eight years, to — B.C. 247 . PTOLEMY EUERGETES, his successor, was his eldest son, who reigned, according to the Canon, twenty-five years, to — B.C. 222 . PTOLEMY PHILOPATER succeeded him, a most profligate and wicked prince, who reigned, according to the same Canon, seventeen years, to B.C. 205. PTOLEMY EPIPHANES, his son, succeeded him, and reigned, according to the Canon, twenty-four years, to — B.C. 181 . PTOLEMY PHILOMETER, his son, a boy of six years old, under the guardianship of his mother, Cleopatra, succeeded him, and, according to the Canon, reigned thirty-five years. — B.C. 146 . “And there came out of them [of Alexander’s successors] a wicked root, Antiochus surnamed Epiphanes, son of Antiochus the king [of one of the four divisions of Alexander’s empire — Syria], who had been a hostage at Rome, and he reigned in the hundred and thirty and seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks.” 1 Mac. 1:10. He was contemporary with Ptolemy Philometer, of Egypt.
Reckoning by the Era of the Seleucidae, he began to reign B.C. 176. “Now when the kingdom was established before Antiochus, he thought to reign over Egypt, that he might have the dominion of two realms,... and made war against Ptolemee king of Egypt.... and after that Antiochus had smitten Egypt, he returned again in the hundred and forty and third year, and went up against Israel and Jerusalem with a great multitude, and entered proudly into the sanctuary, and took away the golden altar, and the candlestick of light, and all the vessels thereof.” 1 Mac. 1:16-21. — B.C. 170 .
This brings us to the time when “the Romans gained their first foot-hold in the Macedonian Empire,” by the battle of Pydna, “of which we are able to fix its date with precision, by the total eclipse of the moon, which took place the evening before the battle, Tuesday, June 21, P. M., 8h. 2m., A. J.
P. 4546.” — Dr. Jarvis. — B.C. 168 .
In this same year, as Antiochus was on his way to Egypt, “when within four miles of Alexandria, he was met at Eleusis, by the Roman ambassadors, at the head of whom was Popilius Laenas, with whom he had been acquainted, during a residence of thirteen years at Rome. Rejoiced to see him, Antiochus stretched out his arms to embrace him; but the Roman, rejecting his salute, first sternly demanded an answer to the written orders of the Senate, which he presented. The king declaring that he would deliberate on their contents with his friends, Popilius traced a circle round the king, on the sand, with his rod, saying, ‘I require an answer before you quit this circle;’ then Antiochus, with a faltering accent, replied, ‘I will obey the Senate;’ and immediately withdrew his army from Egypt.” — Dr.
Hales’ Chro., vol. ii., p. 595. “Now the fifteenth day of the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and fifth year, they set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of Judah, on every side.... Now the five and twentieth day of the month they did sacrifice upon the idol altar, which was upon the altar of God.” 1 Mac. 1:54-59. — B.C. 168 .
Antiochus committed great abominations in Jerusalem, putting to death the venerable Eleazar, in his ninetieth year (2 Mac. 6:24), and great numbers of others, polluting the temple, etc. Matthias, a priest, died “in the hundred forty and sixth year.” 1 Mac. 2:70. — B.C. 167 .
The next year he commissioned Lysias, a nobleman, to root out the remnant of Israel, while Antiochus went against Persia, in “the hundred and forty-seventh year.” So Lysias went against Jerusalem, with an army of 47,000, to destroy it; but was defeated by 6,000 Jews. 1 Mac. 3. — B.C. 165 . “Now Maccabeus and his company, the Lord guiding them, recovered the temple,... and, having cleansed the temple, they made another altar, and striking stones they took fire out of them, and offered a sacrifice after two years, and set forth incense.... Now upon the same day that the strangers profaned the temple, on the very same day it was cleansed again, even the five and twentieth day of the same month, which is called the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and eight year, they rose up betimes in the morning, and offered sacrifice.” 1 Mac. 4:52. — B.C. 165 .
Antiochus Eupator, the son of Epiphanes, succeeded him, and in “the hundred forty and ninth year it was told Judas, that Antiochus Eupator was coming with a great power into Judea,” with an army of 110,000 foot, 5,300 horse, and 22 elephants. 2 Mac. 13:1, 2. In 1 Mac. 6:20 it reads, “in the hundred and fiftieth year,” but it was a sabbatical year; “for that it was the seventh year, and they in Judea that were delivered from the Gentiles, had eaten up the residue of the store,” (1 Mac. 6:53); and so they made peace with the king. — B.C. 163 . “In the hundred and one and fiftieth year Demetrius the son of Seleucus departed from Rome, and came up with a few men unto a city of the seacoast, and reigned there.” 1 Mac. 7:1. — B.C. 162 .
He sent an army to chastise the Jews. “Now Judas had heard of the fame of the Romans, that they were mighty and valiant men, and such as would lovingly accept all that joined themselves unto them, and make a league of amity with all that came unto them.” 1 Mac. 8:1. Judas sent an embassy “to Rome, to make a league of amity and confederacy with them, and to entreat them that they would take the yoke from them; for they saw that the kingdom of the Grecians did oppress Israel with servitude” (verses 17, 18); and so “did the Romans make a covenant with the people of the Jews.” Verse 29. — B.C. 161 .
In “the first month of the hundred fifty and second year,” the army of Demetrius again “encamped before Jerusalem.” 1 Mac. 9:3. And before the return of the ambassadors from Rome, in a furious conflict, Judas was slain. Verse 18. — B.C. 161 .
The death of Judas was followed by a merciless persecution of his adherents, so that there was “a great affliction in Israel the like whereof was not since the time that a prophet was not seen among them” — or since the days of Malachi. Verse 27. “In the hundred fifty and third year, in the second month, Alcimus [the high priest] commanded that the wall of the inner court of the sanctuary should be pulled down.... And as he began to pull down,... he was taken with the palsy,” and “died with great torment.” Verses 54-56. — B.C. 160 . “Whereupon the land of Judea was at rest two years.” Verse 57 to B.C. 158. “In the hundred and sixtieth year Alexander, the son of Antiochus surnamed Epiphanes, went up and took Ptolemais [a sea-port in Palestine] for the people had received him, by means whereof he reigned there.” Mac. 10:1. — B.C. 153 .
Alexander made Jonathan high priest of the Jews, “in the seventh month of the hundred and sixtieth year.” Verse 21. Demetrius, coming against him, was slain in battle. Verse 50. “Afterward Alexander sent ambassadors to Ptolemee king of Egypt” (verse 51), requesting his daughter Cleopatra in marriage. So Ptolomee went out of Egypt with his daughter Cleopatra, and they came unto Ptolemaise, in the hundred threescore and second year.
Ptolemy Philometer, king of Egypt, came up to assist Demetrius, and made war against Alexander, his son-in-law, who fled into Arabia, where he was killed. “King Ptolomee [Philometer] also died the third day after, and they that were in the strongholds were slain one of another. By this means Demetrius reigned [in Syria] in the hundred threescore and seventh year.” Mac. 11:18, 19. — B.C. 146 . PTOLEMY PHYSCON, his brother, succeeded Philometer in Egypt. He was a wicked prince, and assumed the name of “Euergetes,” the Benefactor; but the Alexandrians turned it into “Kakergertes,” the Malefactor. “In the hundred threescore and twelfth year King Demetrius gathered his forces together, and went into Media, to get him help;” and when the king of Persia heard of it, he sent and took”him,” and put him “in ward.” 1 Mac. 34:1-3.
In the same year the Romans renewed with Simon the alliance they and made with Jonathan and Judas, in “the eighteenth day of the month Elul,... being the third year of Simon the high priest.” Verse 27. B.C. 141. “In the hundred threescore and fourteenth year,” Antiochus came unto the land of his fathers, and demanded five hundred talents, for tribute from the Jews. 1 Mac. 15:10, 31. B. c. 139.
To enforce this demand, he sent a powerful army against them, but was defeated. “In the hundred threescore and seventeenth year, in the eleventh month,... called Sabat,” the venerable Simon came down to Jericho, where he was assassinated. — B.C. 136 .
Physcon reigned, according to Ptolemy’s Canon, twenty-nine years, to — B.C. 117 . PTOLEMY SOTER, his son, was his successor. He reigned, according to the Canon, thirty-six years, to — B.C. 81 . PTOLEMY AULETES. Ptolemy Soter was succeeded by his daughter Berenice, who reigned six months, and then married Alexander, her father’s nephew, who murdered her at the end of nineteen days, and then reigned alone fifteen years. Prideaux’s Hist. Jews, vol. ii., p. 257. He was succeeded by Dionysius Neos, an illegitimate son of Ptolemy Soter, who, according to Dr. Prideaux, had some part of the Egyptian empire from his father’s death; and for this reason, Ptolemy, the astronomer, makes no mention of Alexander, but makes Dionysius, called also Ptolemy Auletes, the successor of Soter, including in his reign that of Alexander, and continuing, according to the Canon, twenty-nine years, to — B.C. 52 . CLEOPATRA. Dionysius, by his will, bequeathed his crown to his eldest son and daughter, ordering them to be joined in marriage, and reign — they being minors — under the guardianship of Rome. Ptolemy, the son, attempted to deprive Cleopatra, the daughter, of her share in the government. This brought on a war with Rome, Julius Caesar taking the part of Cleopatra. In five years from the death of Dionysius, Ptolemy was drowned in the Nile, attempting to escape from a battle in which Caesar was victorious; after which all Egypt submitted to the conqueror, who settled the government on Cleopatra and a younger brother of eleven years, which, in effect, put the whole in her hands. From the death of her father, according to the Canon of Ptolemy, she reigned twenty-two years, when she caused herself to be bitten by an asp, and died. — B.C. 30 .
At the death of Cleopatra, Egypt fell into possession of Augustus Caesar, who had defeated her and Mark Antony at the battle of Actium, eleven months previous. AUGUSTUS CAESAR. The reign of Augustus Caesar is dated by chronologers from the battle of Actium, when Egypt became subject to Rome. The time of this battle, and consequently that of the commencement of the reign of Augustus, is accurately marked by an eclipse of the sun, which occurred twelve days previously, and which is ascertained astronomically to have been on the 20th of August, A. J. P. 4683, or B.C. 31. Consequently, the battle was fought on the 2d of September following.
Dio, who affirms that “the day of this eventful action was the 2d of September, observes that he was so particular in mentioning the very day, because the whole sovereignty was then, for the first time, in Caesar’s hands, and the years of his monarchy were counted from it.” — Dr. Jarvis’ Ch. Hist., p. 197.
Herod was at this time king in Jerusalem. “His accession is dated by Josephus, in the consulate of Marcus Agrippa, and Caninius Gallus, B.C. 37; and in the [third year of the] 185th Olympus.” — Hales. After two years’ preparation, in the twentieth year of his reign, he began to repair the Jewish temple. — B.C. 17 .
FROM THE BIRTH OF CHRIST TO THE DEATH OF THE APOSTLE JOHN. “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, everyone into his own city.” Luke 2:1-3. On this occasion Mary, the mother of Jesus, with Joseph her husband, went up to Bethlehem, and there was born “in the city of David aSAVIOR, which isCHRIST THE LORD.” Verse 11.
Cyrenius, a Roman senator and procurator, or collector of the emperor’s revenue, was employed to make the enrollment preparatory to the taxing. “This we learn from the joint testimony of Justin Martyr, Julian the Apostate, and Eusebius, when Saturninus was president of Syria, to whom it is attributed by Tertullian, and in the thirty-third year of Herod’s reign, or B.C. 5, the year of Christ’s birth, according to Eusebius.” — Dr. Hales.
Four years before the Vulgar Era, or — B.C. 5.
In order to destroy the infant Jesus, Herod “slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.”
Matthew 2:16. This occurred a short time before Herod’s death, the time of which is determined by a lunar eclipse, a few days previous (see p. 29), March 13. — B.C. 4. “And when he [the child Jesus] was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast,” and he astonished the doctors by his “understanding and answers.” Luke 2:42-47. — A.D. 8.
Tiberius was admitted by Augustus “colleague of the empire,” or partner in the government, in “the administration of the provinces,” and “in the command of the armies,” two or three years before his death, probably U.C. 765, which partnership was confirmed by a decree of the Roman Senate (see p. 38). This is the time from which most chronologers reckon the years of Tiberius. — A.D. 12 .
The reign of Augustus is reckoned forty-three years in the Canon of Ptolemy; but that dates, not from the battle of Actium, but from the death of Cleopatra, B.C. 30. Reckoning from the battle of Actium, it would lack but a few days of being forty-four years. Josephus reckons his reign fiftyseven and a half years, but dates from the death of Julius Caesar, A. J. P. 4668. Following the Canon of Ptolemy, and dating from the death of Cleopatra, forty-three years extend to A. J. P. 4727. As the Vulgar Era is reckoned from January 1, A. J. P. 4714, which is A.D. 1, it follows that the reign of Augustus extended to — A.D. 14 .
At the death of Augustus Caesar, a portion of the imperial army, called the Pannonian legions, refused to acknowledge the authority of Tiberius as successor to Augustus, and were in a state of revolt, till an eclipse [of the moon,5 A.M., p. 46] — which occurred a few days after the death of Augustus — frightened them into their duty. This eclipse occurred September 27, U.C. 767. — A.D. 14 . TIBERIUS CAESAR succeeded Augustus, and reigned, according to the Canon, twenty-two years, to — A.D. 36 . “Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar [from his partnership with his father], Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Luke 3:1-3. — A.D. 26 .
Pontius Pilate continued ten years in the government of Judea, and was then deposed for the massacre of the Samaritans, some time before the passover of U.C. 789, which preceded the death of Tiberius, March 16, U.C. 790. He was appointed U.C. 778, and reigned from A.D. 25 to A.D. 35.
Annas was appointed high priest by Quirinus, U.C. 760, in the thirtyseventh year after the battle of Actium, U.C. 723 (Josephus, Ant. 18, 2, 1), and continued in office about fourteen years, from A.D. 7 to A.D. 21.
Caiaphas, the son-in-law of Annas, was appointed about U.C. 777, A.D. 24, and continued in office during the whole of the administration of Pilate — he being removed U.C. 789, A.D. 36. Annas, therefore, was the coadjutor of Caiaphas, the reigning high priest at this time; and on account of his age, rank, and consequence was a man of the first consideration and influence in the State, and is therefore named in connection with Caiaphas. “And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him; and there came a voice from heaven, saying,THOU ART MY BELOVED SON, in whom I am well pleased.” Mark 1:9-11. “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying,THE TIME IS FULFILLED, and the kingdom of God is at hand.” Verses 14, 15. “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age.” Luke 3:23. — A.D. 27 .
This epoch must mark the fulfillment of some definite period, or it would not be asserted that “the time is fulfilled.” The time here fulfilled can be none other than that given in Daniel 9:25: “Unto theMESSIAH THE PRINCE, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks.” — 483 years. This length of time, reckoned back from A.D. 27, reaches to B.C. 457.
Thus, “when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Galatians 4:4,5.
After the Saviour commenced his miracles in Cana of Galilee, he went down to Capernaum; “and they continued there not many days. And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.” John 2:12,13. On this occasion he drove out those who defiled the temple with merchandise. And when asked a sign, he said to them: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
But he spake of the temple of his body.” John 2:18-21. Herod the Great began his preparations for rebuilding of the temple, by gathering materials, two years previous to the commencement of the work on the temple, B.C. 19. Reckoning from this, forty-six years extend to, and bring his first passover in — A.D. 28 . “After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.”
John 5:1. Dr. Hales says, “The correcter reading appears to be the feast, by way of eminence, as the passover was styled (Luke 2:42; John 4:45; 11:56; 12:12),” which reading is sustained “by twenty-five MSS., including the three oldest.” This, then, was the second passover during Christ’s ministry. — A.D. 29 .
Again we read, “And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.” John 6:4. The Saviour did not go up openly to this feast, because his time was not then full come, and the Jews were seeking to kill him. After this, the Jews required of him a sign, and he told them that no sign should be given them, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. Matthew 16:4. — A.D. 30 .
Again, the Savior said to his disciples, “Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.”
Matthew 26:2. This was the fourth and last passover during his ministry, and, reckoning from the commencement of his ministry, in the autumn of A.D. 27, reaches to the midst of the week, when he should “cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” Daniel 9:27. — A.D. 31.
The Saviour “sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat.” Luke 22:8. And “they made ready the passover. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.”
Verses 13, 14. On this occasion he instituted the Lord’s Supper, as a memorial of his death, till he should again come. After this, the Jews seized on him, gave him a mock trial, and crucified him. “And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
And the sun was darkened.” Luke 23:44,45. “This obscuration of the sun must have been preternatural, in its extent, duration, and opposition of the moon at full to the sun. It was observed at Heliopolis, in Egypt, by Dionysius, the Areopagite, afterwards the illustrious convert of Paul at Athens (Acts 17:34), who, in a letter to the martyr Polycarp describes his own and his companion’s — the sophist Apollophanes — astonishment at the phenomenon, when they saw the darkness commence at the eastern brink of the sun and proceed to the western, till the whole was eclipsed; and then retrograde, from the western to the eastern, till his light was fully restored; which they attributed to the miraculous passage of the moon across the sun’s disk. Apollophanes exclaimed, as if divining the cause, ‘These, O good Dionysius, are the vicissitudes of divine events!’ Dionysius answered, ‘EitherDEITY suffers, or he sympathizes with theSUFFERER.’ And that sufferer, according to the tradition record by Michael Syncellus, of Jerusalem, he declared to be ‘The Unknowable God,’ for whose sufferings all nature was darkened and convulsed.” — Hales, vol. ii., p. 897. “A total eclipse of the moon may occasion a privation of her light for an hour and a half, during her total immersion in the shadow; whereas, a total eclipse of the sun can never last in any particular place above four minutes, when the moon is nearest to the earth, and her shadow thickest. “Hence it appears, that the darkness which ‘overspread the whole land of Judea,’ at the time of our Lord’s crucifixion, was preternatural, or miraculous, in its extent; and ‘from the sixth until the ninth hour,’ or from noon till three in the afternoon, in its duration, and also in its time, about full moon, when the moon could not possibly eclipse the sun.
The time it happened, and the fact itself, are recorded in a curious and valuable passage of a respectable Roman consul, Aurelius Casiodorus, senator, about A.D. 514: — “‘In the consulate of Tiberius Caesar Augustus V. and Aelius Sejanus (U.C. 784, A.D. 31), our Lord Jesus Christ suffered on the eight of the Calends of April (twenty-fifth March), when there happened such an eclipse of the sun as was never before nor since.’ “In this year, and in this day, agree also the Council of Caesarea, A.D. or 198; the Alexandrian Chronicle, Maximus Monachus, Nicephorus Constantinus, Cedrenus; and in this year, but on different days, concur Eusebius, and Epiphanius, followed by Kepler, Bucher, Patinus, and Petavius, some reckoning it the tenth of the Calends of April, others the thirteenth. Amidst this variety of days, we may look on the twenty-sixth or twenty-seventh of March as the most probable. “And, indeed, that the passover of the crucifixion was an early one, may be collected from the circumstance of ‘the servants and officers’ having made a fire of coals in the hall of the high priest’s house, ‘for it was cold,’ at which they and Peter warmed themselves.” John 18:18; Luke 22:55; Mark 14:54. Whereas, the passovers of the two ensuing years, A.D. 32, April 14, and A.D. 33, April 3, were later in the season, and probably milder. “The preternatural darkness at the crucifixion was accompanied by an earthquake, which altogether struck the spectators, and among them the centurion and Roman guard, with great fear, and a conviction that Jesus was the Son of God. Matthew 27:51-54. “Ignatius and Eusebius both assign three years for the duration of our Lord’s public ministry.” “Eusebius dates the first half of the passion week of years as beginning with our Lord’s baptism, and ending with his crucifixion. The same period, precisely, is recorded by Peter, as including our Lord’s personal ministry: ‘All the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of [or by] John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us,’ at his ascension, which was only forty-two days after the crucifixion.
Acts 1:21,22. And the remaining half of the passion week ended with the martyrdom of Stephen, in the seventh or last year of the week. For it is remarkable that the year after, A.D. 35, began a new era in the church, namely, the conversion of Saul or Paul, the apostle, by the personal appearance of Christ to him on the road to Damascus, when he received his mission to the Gentiles, after the Jewish Sanhedrin had formally rejected Christ by persecuting his disciples. Acts 9:1,18. And the remainder of the Acts principally records the circumstances of his mission to the Gentiles, and the churches he founded among them.” — Hales, vol. ii, pp. 176, 177, 199, 200, 205, 206.
In the thirteenth century, Roger Bacon found, by computation, that the Paschal full moon, A.D. 33, fell on Friday; and this circumstance led him, and several others, Scaliger, Usher, Pearson, etc., to conclude that this was the year of the crucifixion. The accuracy of the astronomical calculation has been repeatedly verified; and “this circumstance,” says Dr. Hales, “proves that it was not the year of the crucifixion; for the true Paschal moon was the day before, Thursday, when Christ celebrated the passover with his disciples.” — Vol. ii., p. 205.
The Saviour ate the passover the night previous to his crucifixion, which took place on Friday, for “that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew on.” Luke 23:54. On the third day following — on the first day of the week — he rose triumphant from the tomb, the pledge of the resurrection of all the dead.
Dr. Hale, Usher, and Pearson place the martyrdom of Stephen, and the commencement of the first persecution in — A.D. 34 .
With this act Dr. Hales closes the “one week” of Daniel 8:27, during which Christ should “confirm the covenant with many.” The conversion of Saul is assigned by Hales, Usher, Pearson, and others, to — A.D. 35 . CAIUS CALIGULA succeeded Tiberius, and reigned four years from — A.D. 37.
After his conversion, Paul says: “I went into Arabia, and returned again not to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.” Galatians 1:17,18. — A.D. 38 .
About A.D. 39, Caligula commanded that his statue should be set up in the temple at Jerusalem, which so amazed the Jews that they ceased persecuting the Christians. “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria.” Acts 9:31. Before the emperor could enforce his decree he was assassinated. January — A.D. 41 . CLAUDIUS succeeded him, and reigned, according to the Canon, fourteen years.
The conversion of Cornelius, Dr. Hales places in — A.D. 41 .
When Barnabas had found Saul, “he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people.” Acts 11:26. About — A.D. 43 . “In those days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. And there stood up one of them named Agabus and signified by the spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world; which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.” Verses 27, 28. This famine occurred in the fifth year of Claudius. — A.D. 44 . “About that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword,” and imprisoned Peter. Acts 12:1,2. — A.D. 44 .
Galatians 2:1. At this time, the first general council of the Christians was held there. Acts 15:1-41. About A.D. 51. [ The First Epistle to the Thessalonians was written from Corinth in the closing part of — A.D. 52 .
The Second Epistle to the Thessalonians was written from Corint — A.D. 53.] NERO, after Claudius had reigned fourteen years, succeeded him, and reigned, according to the Canon, fourteen years from — A.D. 54 . [The First Epistle to the Corinthians was written from Ephesus before Pentecost (1 Corinthians 16:8), — A.D. 57 .
The Second Epistle to the Corinthians was written from Philippi late in the same year. — A.D. 57 .
Paul’s last visit to Jerusalem, and imprisonment two years, before Felix was succeeded by Festus, (Acts 24) appears to have been in — A.D. 58. “After two years Porcius Festus came into Felix’s room; and Felix, willing to show the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.” Acts 24:27. Felix was deposed from office. — A.D. 60 .
Paul, on his appeal to Caesar, was sent prisoner by Festus to Rome, A.D. 60, shortly before “the fast,” or great day of atonement, about the autumnal equinox. Acts 27:9. He was shipwrecked on the island of Malta, and wintered there for three months (Acts 28:11), and so proceeded to Rome (verse 14), early in — A.D. 61 . [The Epistle of James was written in — A.D. 60 or 61.
The book of Matthew was written in — A.D. 61 .] “And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God,” “no man forbidding him” (Acts 28:30,31), to — A.D. 63 . [During these two years Paul wrote the Epistle to the Ephesians, the Epistle to the Philippians, the Epistle to the Colossians, the Epistle to Philemon, and the Epistle to the Hebrews. — A.D. 61-63.
Paul was released from prison about the beginning of — A.D. 64.
And as the Gospel according to Luke was written before the Acts — compare Luke 1:1-3 with Acts 1:1,2 — it could not have been written later than A.D. 63 or 64, though it also may have been written in these years, or it may have been written before. The only certain point about the time is that it was not later than — A.D. 63 or 64.
The book of Mark is supposed to have been written about — A.D. 64 .
The First Epistle to Timothy and the Epistle to Titus were written in — A.D. 65 .] In this year war broke out in Judea. Cestius Gallus, president of Syria, besieged Jerusalem with a powerful army, and might easily have taken the city; but withdrew his forces from it. In his retreat, the Jews attacked and routed him with a great slaughter, November 12, A.D. 65, in the twelfth year of Nero. Josephus says: “After this disaster, many of the distinguished Jews quitted the city like a sinking ship.” Bell. Jud. 2:20, 1. These were principally Christians, obeying our Lord’s warning. Matthew 24:15; Luke 21:20. — A.D. 65 . [The Second Epistle of Paul to Timothy and the Second Epistle of Peter were written “shortly” before the martyrdom of the two great apostles (2 Timothy 4:5-9; 2 Peter 1:14) in — A.D. 66 .
The Epistle of Jude was written in — A.D. 66 ] Vespasian marched a great Roman army into Judea, and took many places, passing by Jerusalem. — A.D. 67 .
Nero was massacred at Rome, June 9, — A.D. 68 .
VESPASIAN, after a contest between the contending parties of Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, which raged until the decisive battle of Cremona, October 18, succeeded to the throne, — A.D. 69 .
Titus, son of Vespasian, who had been left to carry on the war, advanced with an army of 60,000 against Jerusalem, at the time of the Passover, which began that year, April 14, — forty years after the Saviour had told the Jews they should have only the sign of Jonas the prophet. The date of the destruction of Jerusalem is astronomically ascertained, by the date of the lunar eclipse the year previous, on the night of the battle of Cremona.
The temple was burned Sunday, August 5, and the upper city, Sunday, September 2, — A.D. 70 . TITUS succeeded Vespasian, after ten years from the death of Nero, according to the Canon, and reigned three years, from — A.D. 79 . DOMITIAN succeeded him, and reigned fifteen years, from — A.D. 81. [The First, Second, and Third Epistles of John were written in — A.D. 90 .] “The unanimous voice of Christian antiquity attests that John was banished by order of Domitian. Irenaeus, Origen, and other early fathers, refer the apostle’s exile to the latter part of Domitian’s reign, and they concur in saying that he there received the revelations described in the Apocalypse.” — Horne’s Introduction,k vol. ii, p. 382. Horne concurs with Dr. Mill, Le Clerk, Basnage, Dr. Lardner, Bishop Tomline, Dr.
Woodhouse, and other eminent critics, in placing the Apocalypse in — A.D. 96 or 97. [Domitian was assassinated by one of his own freedmen at the instance of his own wife and was succeeded at once byNERVA, September 18, — A.D. 96.
John was released from banishment sometime in the year — A.D. 97 .
And so, says Gibbon: — “The Christian Revelation... was consummated under the reign of Nerva.” — Dec. and Fall, chap. 21, par. 7. And the reign of Nerva ended — January 27, A.D. 98.] This closes the chronology of the inspired volume.
CHRONOLOGY OF THE PATRIARCHAL AGE.
THE NUMBERS OF THE HEBREW TEXT VINDICATED.
The cause of this disagreement is owing to the existence of three several ancient versions of the writings of Moses: (1) Our present Hebrew version; (2) the Samaritan version, and (3) the Septuagint, or Greek version; which differ widely from each other in their chronology, as will be seen by the table on the following page.
As the length of this period is found by adding the ages of each one named, at the birth of his son, it will be seen by the following table, while our Hebrew text gives 1,656 years as the length of the period from the creation to the deluge, that the Samaritan version gives 349 years less, and the Septuagint 586 years more, than that number. Also, that, from the deluge to the birth of Abraham, the Septuagint gives 130 years more than the Samaritan, and 720 more than the Hebrew, making in all, from the creation to Abraham’s birth, 2,008 years by the Hebrew version, 241 more than that number by the Samaritan, and 1,306 years more by the Septuagint.
Adam ............... 130 130 230 800 800 Seth ............... 105 105 205 807 807 Enos ............... 90 90 190 815 815 Cainan ............ . . 70 70 170 840 840 Mahalaleel ............ 65 65 165 830 830 Jared............... 162 62 162 800 785 Enoch............... 65 65 165 300 300 Methuseleh ............ 187 67 167 782 653 802 Lamech ............ . . 182 63 188 595 600 Noah, at the Flood ...... . . 600 600 Total to the Flood ...... . . 1656 1307 Shem, after the Flood...... . 2 2 2 500 500 Arphaxad ............ . 35 135 135 403 303 Cainan ............ . . 130 Salah............... 30 130 130 403 303 Eber ............... 34 134 134 430 270 Peleg............... 30 130 130 209 109 Reu............... . 32 132 132 207 107 Serug............... 30 130 130 200 100 Nahor............... 29 79 79 119 69 Terah to birth of Abraham... . . 130 70 70 75 75 Total from the Flood 352 942 Total from the Creation 2008 2249 The difference in the chronology of this period, it will also be seen, consists principally in the addition of a second Cainan, and a variation of 100 years each in the length of the ages of six of the antediluvian patriarchs, and in the same number of post-diluvian, with 50 years in the age of Nahor, at the birth of their respective sons; which difference is added or taken from the lengths of their subsequent lives, so that the sum total of the age of each individual is the same in each version. This agreement in the sum total, and the uniform addition or subtraction to the one period of life, of what is varied from in the other period, demonstrates that this variation is not the result of accident but of design.
The Samaritan version principally agrees with the Hebrew in its antediluvian chronology, and with the Septuagint in its postdiluvian. As the discrepancy is principally between the Hebrew and Septuagint versions, the inquirer will be directed to their relative merits for authenticity. One of these versions has been corrupted in the words expressing the chronology of this period. Which is the uncorrupted version?\parTHE ORIGINAL HEBREW copy of the Pentateuch was written by Moses, and deposited by the side of the ark of the covenant, till the erection of the temple of Solomon, after which it had a place in the treasure of the sacred edifice. Some suppose that the original copies of the Scriptures perished in the burning of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar; but there is no certain evidence of this. On the contrary, we find Daniel studying the book of Jeremiah, and referring to the law of Moses in Babylon. Daniel 9:2,11,13.
When Ezra re-established the temple service, we read (Ezra 6:18) that he did “as it is written in the book of Moses.” And when requested “to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded, to Israel” (*Nehemiah 8:1,2), he “brought the law before the congregation.” Copies of the Pentateuch must, therefore, have survived the burning of the temple, and been in possession of the Jews during their captivity in Babylon. If they were materially corrected by Ezra, which some claim, according to the constant tradition of the Jewish church, as he was an inspired writer, the revised canon would have all the authority of the original copies. Josephus (B. 12, ch. 5, sec. 4) speaks of the burning of ancient copies by Antiochus; but there is no evidence that an abundance of copies were not preserved. THE SAMARITAN PENTATEUCH is in the ancient Hebrew character, preserved by the Samaritans, who were descended from an intermixture of the ten tribes with the Gentile nations, which made them odious to the Jews, and prevented all intercourse between them. The writings of Moses were the only portions of the Scriptures retained or acknowledged by them. Soon after the Christian era, their version fell into entire oblivion, and no copies of it were known for more than 1,000 years, so that its very existence was disputed. How much it may have been corrupted during that time, is unknown. THE SEPTUAGINT version is a translation from the Hebrew Scriptures into the Greek, made at Alexandria, in Egypt, about B.C. 285. Josephus (Antiq. 12, 2, 12, p. 517), who lived at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, relates that “at the request of Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, a copy of the law was sent by the high priest, from Jerusalem to Alexandria, written in letters of gold, upon leaves of parchment, wonderfully joined together; and that the version, after it was finished, was read in public, in order that everyone might observe whether it was in any respect redundant or deficient.” And Philo, who lived in the apostolic age, pronounced the seventy-two translators, by whom the version was made, inspired. But these stories of their inspiration, and of the parchment written with golden letters, are evidently mythical, and doubtless were related on the credit of mere tradition. Aside from this, there is no evidence to determine whether this translation was made from copies of the Esdrine text or from corrupt MSS. found among the Jews in Egypt. As the Greek language began to be extensively spoken, the translation of the seventy came into common use among the Jews, and was reverenced by them as of the highest authority.
The question here arise, Did the Hebrew and Septuagint versions ever agree in their chronology? and which has probably been corrupted?
Dr. Hales, and those who contend for the accuracy of the Septuagint over the Esdrine text, claim that they did agree till subsequent to the time of Josephus, and that the Hebrew copies have since been corrupted. Their argument for their original agreement is based on Philo, Josephus, and Demetrius. Philo-Judaeus, who lived in the age of the apostles, asserts “that the Hebrews who knew the Greek language, and the Greeks who understood the Hebrew, were so struck with admiration at the entire agreement between the original and the translation, that they not only adored them as sisters, but as one and the same, both in words and things; styling the translators not only accurate scholars, but inspired interpreters and prophets, who, with a singular purity of spirit, had entered into the very sentiments of Moses.” — Philo-Judaeus, Mosis, De Vita Mosis, lib. ii., p. 659. Ed. Francof, 164.
Philo wrote in Greek, and lived constantly at Alexandria. There is no certain evidence that he was very familiar with the Hebrew, or that the question of their chronology had ever attracted his attention. Indeed, the question of the world’s age did not come up between the Jews and Christians till after his day. While there is a wonderful agreement between the two versions, in most parts, his remarks may have been entirely independent of this discrepancy.
Demetrius Phalereus, who lived about B.C. 220, about sixty years after the Septuagint was translated, wrote a history of the Jewish kings, which is quoted by Alexander Polyhistor, and preserved in the works of Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea. In this work he gives the time from Adam to the migration of Jacob to Egypt as amounting to 3,624 years, which agrees with the chronology of the Septuagint.
His following the Septuagint does not prove its agreement with the Hebrew, or that he was familiar with the Hebrew. He lived at Alexandria, and was president of the college there, which had in its library the translation of the LXX. He would, as a matter of course, adopt its chronology; and this only proves that the chronology of the Septuagint has not been changed since his time.
Eupolemus wrote about fifty years after the former, and agrees with him in his chronology, and with that of the Septuagint. But he also wrote in Greek and gives no evidence of his familiarity with the Hebrew, or that he did more than adopt the periods given by his predecessor. None of the preceding furnish any evidence that the chronology of the Hebrew version agreed with the Septuagint.
The next witness is Josephus. He was familiar with both Greek and Hebrew, and professes to have translated his antiquities from the Hebrew Scriptures, without adding to, or diminishing from, the original. And his chronology usually agrees with that of the LXX. From this it is argued that discrepancies did not then exist between it and the Hebrew. The fact is, however, that, in his chronology, he is not consistent with himself. And although he does not refer to any discrepancies between the two versions, his writings give evidence that he had before him discordant authorities.
From the birth of Adam to the flood, he gives 2,656 years; but gives data, amounting to only 2,256. He agrees with the Hebrew in placing the seventy years of Terah in the 292d year after the deluge; but gives data agreeing with the LXX (with the exception of Canaan), making the birth of Abraham 1,000 years after the deluge. In Book 8, ch. 3, sec. 1, he says: “Solomon began to build the temple in the fourth year of his reign, in the second month, which the Macedonians call Artimisius, and the Hebrews Jar, five hundred and ninety-two years after the exodus out of Egypt, but after one thousand and twenty years from Abraham’s coming out of Mesopotamia into Canaan, and after the deluge one thousand four hundred and forty years; and from Adam, the first man who was created, until Solomon built the temple, there had passed in all three thousand one hundred and two years.”
But the data he gives makes the erection of the temple 502 years after the exodus, 1,007 after the birth of Abraham, 2,097 after the deluge, and 4,353 from creation. Consequently, there must have been a disagreement in his sources of information; and as he professes to have followed the “sacred writings,” these sources must have been the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures.
The next argument for the Septuagint is that the New Testament writers, who were inspired men, in their references to the Old Testament, quote from the Septuagint version. To this it may be replied that they quoted the Septuagint only when they adopted its meaning. Horne, in his “Introduction to the Scriptures” (vol. 1, pp. 312-13), counts seventy-four verbal quotations conformed to the Alexandrian version; forty-seven others borrowed from it, but with some variation; thirty-two which give its meaning, but in different language; eleven which translate the Hebrew more accurately; nineteen where the Hebrew is paraphrased to make the sense more obvious; showing that the New Testament writers were not confined to the version of the LXX; while that being the version in common use among the Jews, when they could, they would naturally quote from it.
Dr. Smith, author of the “Patriarchal Age,” refers to Luke 3:35,36: “Sala, which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad,” to prove that the second Cainan is correctly inserted in the LXX, and, therefore, that the Septuagint is the correct version. This is the strongest argument for that version which exists. But Dr. Hales, who also adopts the Septuagint chronology for this period, asserts that it is evidently an interpolation, and accordingly rejects it, giving for so doing the following reasons: — “1. The Massorete and Samaritan Hebrew texts, and all the ancient versions and targums, without exception, omit Cainan and his generation of 130 years, in Genesis 11:12. “2. The Septuagint version is not consistent with itself, for, in the repetition of the genealogies (1 Chronicles 1:24), it omits Cainan there, following the Hebrew and all the ancient versions, Arphaxad, Sala, Eber, etc. ‘The projector forgetting himself,’ as acutely observed by the learned John Gregory, of Oxford, in his disproof of the second Cainan, A.D. 1663. “3 . Those great luminaries of the Jewish Church, Philo and Josephus, both rejected it; for Philo, in his allegorical way, reckoned two decades and a septenary of generations from Adam to Moses; namely, ten generations from Adam to the flood, including Noah; ten generations from the flood to Abraham, including Shem and Abraham; and seven from Abraham to Moses, including both. But, in the second decade, Cainan is evidently omitted. And Josephus omits Cainan in his list of the post-diluvian patriarchs. “4. Josephus obliquely censures Demetrius, among those other ancient chronologers, Philo Senior and Eupolemus, who ‘did not err much from the truth.’ — contra Apion., book i, sec 23. “5. Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch, who wrote about A.D. 168, omits Cainan in his list of post-diluvian patriarchs; and his testimony is the more valuable, because it differs from the Septuagint, and was taken, as it seems, directly from the Hebrew: *, etc.; but, in the Septuagint, the verb is different, *. “6 . The very learned Origen, who reckoned the date of the creation B.C. 4,830, lower than Josephus and Theophilus, necessarily omitted his generation. According to Procopius, Origen marked him with an obelisk in his copy of the Septuagint, to mark his rejection. “7. Eusebius reckoned 942 years from the flood to Abraham, and therefore evidently omitted Cainan; and he was followed by Epiphanius, and Jerome, both adopting the corrected Hexaplar copy, published by Eusebius and Pamphilus. “From this combination of counter-evidence, it appears that we are fully warranted to conclude that ‘the second Cainan was not originally in the Hebrew text, and in the Septuagint version derived from it.’ And, since water cannot rise to a level higher than the spring from which it issues, so neither can the authority of the New Testament, for its retention, rise above that of the Old Testament, from which it is professedly copied, for its exclusion. “8. Gregory also ingeniously proves that the second Cainan was an imaginary person. “‘I find,’ says he, ‘in a MS. chronicle in the Bodleian library, that, after the flood, Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, wrote astronomy, having found the doctrine of the stars, written by Seth and his sons on tables of stone.’ But none of all this is due to Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, but to Cainan, the son of Enos, as I shall make it appear by as sound a tradition as these, written back to Aristotle out of India, by Alexander the Great. “‘When I came,’ saith the king, ‘into the land of Pharsaiacon, &c., the natives said unto me, Lo, here in this isle is the sepulcher of an ancient king, whose name was Cainan, the son of Enos, who reigned over the whole world before the flood. He was a wise man, and endued with all kinds of knowledge, and had power given him against the spirits, devils, and destroying angels. This man foresaw, by his wisdom, that the blessed God would bring a flood upon the earth; the prophecy whereof he wrote in tables of stone, which we have, and the writing is Hebrew,’ &c. “‘This,’ as Gregory quaintly observes, ‘is the right owner of those parts and inventions.’” — Hales, vol. i, p. 90.
Learned biblical critics have said that the name of Cainan was not found in some of the earlier copies of Luke’s gospel; but transcribers, seeing it in the Septuagint, took the liberty of inserting it upon their own responsibility.
In Griesbach’s edition of the New Testament, in Greek, it is marked as omitted by some, though Griesbach himself retains it.
Dr. Smith adduces, as a discrepancy between the Hebrew and the New Testament, Acts 13:20, “And after that [when he had divided their land by lot] he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.” This agrees with the chronology of the LXX; and Dr. Smith says, “Yet Archbishop Usher, following the modern Hebrew, makes but four hundred and eighty years” from the exode to the building of Solomon’s temple.
It is true that Usher makes four hundred and eighty years for this period; but the Hebrew should not be responsible for Usher’s mistakes — the items for the several periods of the judges and captivities in the Hebrew, agreeing with the time Paul assigns.
Assuming that the two versions agreed as late as A.D. 200, for which the evidence presented, as we have seen affords no proof, Dr. Hales, Dr.
Smith, and others affirm that the Hebrew version was corrupted by the Jews to evade the force of the argument that Jesus was the Christ. In proof, Dr. Smith says, Justin Martyr “distinctly asserts that the Jews had actually erased several whole passages from the Scriptures.”
Justin Martyr does assert this, but does not assert it of the Hebrew Scriptures. It is found in his dialogue with Trypho, the Jew: “Your rabbis,” says he to Trypho, “have actually expunged many passages from out of the Septuagint version, as I would have you to know.” “Still I will argue with you from those received passages which ye admit, which, if your rabbis had understood, be assured they would have expunged them.”
This witness (who was himself a Samaritan) it will be observed, does not charge the Jews with corrupting the Hebrew, which is the point to be proved, but the Greek, which Dr. Hales and others think was not corrupted. The assertion that they would have corrupted the Hebrew, if they had seen its bearing, does not charge them with doing it. Besides, we are to make some allowance for charges of this nature, uttered in the excitement of debate by uninspired men.
Irenaeus is next quoted; but what is the nature of his testimony? He says, “If the Jews had known that we should have made use of those testimonies that are to be drawn from the Scriptures, they would never have hesitated to burn their own Scriptures.”
Here we find no charge that they have done it, but only that they would have done it. There is, then, no evidence, thus far, that they did do it. Yet Dr. Hales says, “Hence, we may safely conclude that the adulteration was rather of the Hebrew genealogies than of the Greek; and that it was introduced, probably by Aquila,” about “A.D. 130.” We find no warrant for adopting such a conclusion from such evidence.
Dr. Smith next affirms that Tertullian gives the same evidence, 1:e., the same as that of Irenaeus. As his testimony is not quoted by Dr. Smith, we conclude it is no more to the point than that we have already reviewed.
Dr. Smith says that Origen charged the Jews with corrupting their Hebrew Scriptures. He does not give the words of Origen, or the passages claimed to be corrupted, so that we are entirely in the dark respecting the nature of his testimony, and therefore can attach to it no weight whatever.
Dr. Smith next quotes Eusebius, as saying that Justin “records certain prophetic declarations, in his discussion with Tryphon, showing that the Jews had expunged them from the Scriptures.” — Eusebius’ Eccl. His., vol. iv, chap. 18: So says Dr. Smith; but we have already shown, from the words of Justin himself, that it was the Septuagint, and not the Hebrew, that he accused them of corrupting.
The foregoing is all the testimony from the fathers, of the existence of any such charges against the Jews, near the time when it is claimed the work of corruption was effected. We have seen that no evidence of a charge of having corrupted their chronology can be shown to have been made.
Another kind of evidence adduced by Dr. Smith consists in quotations of Scriptures, where he contends the Jews have willfully corrupted their Scriptures. As it is to be proved that these are corruptions, till that is proved they are no evidence. One of the most striking of these is in Deuteronomy 27:4. The Jews were commanded when they had passed over Jordan, to build an altar on one of two mountains, Ebal or Gerizim. The former is in the Hebrew, and the latter in the Samaritan version. Dr.
Kennicott defends the reading of the Samaritan, and Dr. Smith thinks the Hebrew a willful perversion; but it is not so generally admitted. Dr. Parry has defended it against the Samaritan, in his case between “Gerizim and Ebal fairly stated.” So has J. H. Verschuir, in his “Dissert. Critica.” As the Samaritans were descendants of the ten tribes and Gentiles intermixed, the corruption must have originated subsequent to the dispersion of the ten tribes. At that time the text would refer to a fact which had been, and not to one which was then to be. The use which was made of the text by the Samaritans was to prove that the temple which they had built on Mount Gerizim was the place where men ought to worship instead of at Jerusalem. But as God had long before expressly appointed, in other texts, the erection of the temple at Jerusalem, the Jews did not need to corrupt this text for authority for so doing. Dr. Patrick, in his “Critical Commentary” on this passage, does not hesitate to call the Samaritan text “a manifest corruption.” And thus we pronounce it. The other examples adduced only show that in some texts the New Testament accords more literally with the language of the Samaritan than it does with that of the Hebrew; but as many texts may be quoted where the reverse is the fact.
These, therefore, weigh nothing for the argument.
We now come to the motive which they assign for the corruption of the Hebrew by the Jews. It is brought by Ephraim Syrus, who died A.D. 278. “The Jews,” says he, “have subtracted 600 years from the generations of Adam and Seth, etc., in order that their own books might not convict them concerning the coming of Christ; he having been predicted to appear for the deliverance of mankind, after 5,500 years.”
Abulfaragius, page 72, a writer of the thirteenth century, and an Armenian annalist, states the assumed motive more fully as follows: — “It having been foretold in the law and the prophets, concerning the Messiah, that he should be sent in ‘the last times,’ and the earlier rabbins finding no better device to reject [Jesus as] the Christ, than to alter the generations of the patriarchs, by which the age of the world might be known, they subtracted a century from Adam’s age until the birth of Seth, and added the same to his residue of life; and this they did in the lives of the rest of Adam’s descendants, down to Abraham. By this device their computation showed that [Jesus] Christ was manifested near the middle of the fifth millenary of the age of the world, which, according to them, was to last for 7,000 years; and they said, We are still in the middle of the time, and the time anointed for the Messiah’s advent is not yet come.” The learned Gregory of Oxford thus explains the origin of this opinion: — “In the first verse of the first chapter of Genesis, the Hebrew letter Aleph, which in the Jewish arithmetic stands for 1,000, is six times found. From hence the ancient Cabalists concluded that the world would last 6,000 years. Because also God was six days about the creation, and a thousand years with him are but as one day (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8), therefore after six days, that is 6,000 years’ duration of the world, there shall be a seventh day, or millenary sabbath of rest.”
This early tradition of the Jews was found also in the Sibylline Oracles, and in Hesiod, as we have seen; in the writings of Darius Hystaspes, the old king of the Medes, derived probably from the Magi; and in Hermes Trismegistus, among the Egyptians; and was adopted by the early Christian fathers, Clemens, Timotheus, and Theophilus Bishop of Antioch, who observed that “upon the sixth day God made man, and man fell by sin; so upon the sixth day of the chiliad (or sixth millenary of the world), our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world, and saved man by his cross and resurrection.” “But to weaken or defend the tradition itself, says Gregory, “I have no engagement upon me. It yieldeth me this observation, that in the opinion of those who hold it, our Saviour was to come in the flesh in the sixth millenary of the world.”
Dr. Hales remarks that the prevalence of “this tradition throughout the Pagan, Jewish, and Christian world, whether well founded or otherwise, was a sufficient reason for the Jews to endeavor to invalidate it by shortening their chronology.”
According to the chronology of the Septuagint, the advent of the Saviour was 5,466 years from creation. Now the tradition pointed not to the middle of the sixty millenary, but to the end of it.
Menasse, an ancient Jewish rabbi, thus expressed his belief: — “As for my opinion, I think that after six thousand years the world shall be destroyed, upon one certain day, or in one hour; that the arches of heaven shall make a stand as immovable; that there will be no more generation or corruption; and all things, by the resurrection, shall be renovated, and return to a better condition.”
Bishop Russell, Professor of Ecclesiastical History in the Scottish Episcopal Church, in his discourse on the millennium, says that “Theopompus, who flourished 340 years before Christ, relates that the Persian Magi taught that the present state of things would continue 6,000 years; after which hades, or death, would be destroyed, and men would live happy,” etc. He says also that “the opinion of the ancient Jews, on this head, may be gathered from the statement of one of their rabbins, who said, “The world endures 6,000 years, and in the thousand or millennium that follows, the enemies of God would be destroyed.’“ “It was in like manner a tradition of the house of Elias, a holy man who lived about years before Christ, that the world was to endure 6,000 years, and that the righteous, whom God should raise up, would not be turned again into dust.” On which the bishop remarks, “that, by this resurrection, he meant a resurrection prior to the millennium is manifest from what follows.” Again: — “It is worthy of remark, that the two ancient authors, whose words have just been quoted, speak of the seventh millennium as that day — the day in which God will renew the world, and in which he alone shall be exalted.”
The learned Joseph Mede, called the “illustrious Mede,” says: — “The divine institution of a sabbatical or seventh year’s solemnity among the Jews, has a plain typical reference to the seventh chiliad, or millenary of the world, according to the well-known tradition among the Jewish doctors, adopted by many, in every age of the Christian church, that this world will attain to its limit at the end of 6,000 years.”
He also informs us that the whole school of Cabalists call the seventh millennium “the great day of judgment,” because then they think God will judge the souls of all men; and he quotes many of their rabbins to show that they defined the day of judgment, “millennium,” or a thousand years, together with the resurrection and Messiah’s kingdom. For example, David Kimchi on Isaiah 55:5, says: — “‘The observance of the sabbath is essential to the faith; for such only as observe the Sabbath confess that the earth will be renewed; because he who created it out of nothing will renew it.’ “As if he who observes the holy Sabbath testifies his faith in the great Sabbath in which God will renew the world.”
This opinion, therefore, however well founded, instead of being an argument against the Jews, would enable them to argue as Ephraim Syrus says they did, that the time for the advent had not expired, without any alteration of their chronology, till more than 300 years should have elapsed from the time they are accused of altering it. And, instead of the fathers arguing that 6,000 years had expired, Lactantius, who lived about A.D. 310, says, in his “Book of Divine Institutions:” — “Let philosophers know, who number thousands of years, ages since the beginning of the world, that the six thousandth year is not yet concluded or ended. But that number being fulfilled, of necessity there must be an end, and the state of human things must be transformed into that which is better.”
As there could have been no necessity for such an alteration for more than 300 years, the motive for such an alteration disappears. And had such a motive existed, can we suppose they would have deducted more than 1,300 years, thus deferring the coming of their Messiah beyond their day, and that of their children’s children, — more than an entire millenary, — when a few years only would have been sufficient for their purpose? The idea is not only preposterous, but would have given the lie to their continued instant expectation of their Messiah, whose coming they longed for, to disprove the Messiahship of Jesus.
In addition to this, the expectation referred to at the end of 6,000 years was not based on any prophetical declarations, but on mere tradition. The only prophecy relating to the time of the first advent being that of the seventy weeks in Daniel 9:24, which they left untouched, can we suppose they would be so foolhardy as to alter their chronology 300 years before there was any necessity for so doing, and 1,000 years more than was necessary, to obviate the force of a mere opinion, when they did not dare to lay their hands on the only direct and positive prediction which did point to the time of that event? It is true, they pronounced a curse on any who should presume to interpret the seventy weeks, but they left the letter of the prophecy uncorrupted.
Dr. Smith attempts to show that the Jews claimed the right to alter their Scriptures, and quotes from the Babylonish Talmud, “that it is right and lawful to take away one letter from the law, that the name of God may be publicly sanctified or may not be publicly profaned.” Had he given us the connection in which this is found, we could better judge of the force of this quotation. We have already seen that some of Dr. Smith’s quotations do injustice to their connection; and it may be the case here. However that may be, the variation of a letter for the honor of God, gives no countenance to a permission to corrupt their Scriptures by the wholesale.
On the contrary, we have testimony that they regarded the letter of their Scriptures with superstitious reverence. Says Horne: — “The copies of the law must be transcribed from ancient manuscripts of approved character only, with pure ink, on parchment prepared from the hide of a clean animal, for this express purpose, by a Jew, and fastened together by the strings of clean animals; every skin must contain a certain number of columns, of prescribed length and breadth, each column comprising a given number of lines and words; no word must be written by heart, or with points, or without first being orally pronounced by the copyist; the name of God is not to be written but with the utmost devotion and attention, and previously to writing it he must wash his pen.
The want of a single letter or the redundance of a single letter, the writing of prose as verse or verse as prose, respectively vitiates a manuscript; and when a copy has been completed, it must be examined and corrected within thirty days after the writing has been finished, in order to determine whether the writing is to be approved or rejected.” — Horne’s Introduction, vol. i, pp. 216, 217.
Says Josephus: — “It is true, our history hath been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the former of our forefathers, because there has not been an exact succession of prophets since that time; and how firmly we have given credit to these books of our own nation, is evident by what we do; for during so many ages as have already passed, no one has been so bold as either to add anything to them, to take anything from them, or to make any change in them; but it is become natural to all Jews, immediately and from their very birth, to esteem those books to contain divine doctrines, and to persist in them, and if occasion be, willingly to die for them. For it is no new thing for our captives, many of them in number and frequently in time, to be seen to endure racks and deaths of all kinds, upon the theaters, that they may not be obliged to say one word against our laws and the records that contain them.” — Josephus, Contra Apion, book i, sec. 8.
For the Jews to have corrupted their chronology, as they are charged, the Massorite schools, both at Tiberius and Babylon, must have connived together, in connection with the Jews scattered throughout the world; for all the Hebrew copies agree in this particular. It is not to be presumed that those who might wish thus to corrupt the Scriptures had all the Hebrew copies in their own possession. Nor if they had, could they have accomplished it without being detected. Conscientious Jews would have protested against them, and exposed them. Those converted from Judaism, who had access to the Hebrew, would have detected the corruption, and brought home the charge to them. A whole nation could not have connived at, and succeeded in, a fraud of such magnitude, so as to be unsuspected of and uncharged with it. Not only do all Hebrew copies now extant agree, but no various renderings have been noticed in the Talmuds and the Targums of Onkelos, who lived near the time of the Saviour, or variation in them from the Hebrew copies. Says Professor Gaussen, Theopneusty, page 90: — “Now, although all the libraries containing ancient copies of the sacred books have been called to testify; although the elucidations given by the fathers of all ages have been studied; although the Arabic, Syriac, Latin, Armenian, and Ethiopic versions have been collected; although all the manuscripts of all countries and ages, from the third to the sixteenth century, have been collected and examined a thousand times, by innumerable critics, who sought with ardor, and as the recompense and glory of their fatiguing vigils, some new text; although the learned men, not satisfied with the libraries of the West, have visited those of Russia, and carried their researches even to the convents of Mount Athos, of Asiatic Turkey, and of Egypt, to search there for new copies of the sacred text — ‘they have discovered nothing,’ says a learned writer already quoted, ‘not even a solitary reading, which could cast doubt upon any passage before considered certain. All the variations, almost without exception, leave untouched the essential thoughts of each phrase, and affect only points of secondary importance,’ such as the insertion or omission of an article or a conjunction, the position of an adjective, before or after a substantive, the greater or less exactness of a grammatical construction.”
An evidence that the chronology of the Hebrew has not been corrupted, is found in the famous Indian MS., recently deposited in the library of Cambridge, England, which is as old as the conquest of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and which agrees in its chronology with the present Hebrew version. Says Professor Gaussen, Ib., p. 91: — “It is now about thirty-three years since the pious and learned Claudius Buchanan, in visiting the western peninsula of India, saw in the hands of the black Jews of Malabar (believed to be the remnants of the tribes scattered at Nebuchadnezzar’s first invasion), an immense scroll, composed of thirty-seven skins, dyed red, fortyeight feet long, twenty-two inches wide, and which, in its perfect condition, must have been ninety English feet long. The holy Scriptures have been copied on it by different hands. There were left a hundred and seventeen columns of beautiful writing; and nothing was wanting but Leviticus and a part of deuteronomy.
Buchanan procured this ancient and precious monument, which had been used in the worship of the synagogue, and he has recently deposited it in the Cambridge library. There are features which give satisfactory evidence that it was not a copy of a copy brought there by European Jews. Now Mr. Yeates has recently examined it with great attention, and he has taken the pains to compare it, word for word, letter for letter, with our Hebrew edition of Van der Hooght.
He has published the result of these researches. And what has he found? Even this; that there do not exist between the text of India and that of the West, more than forty petty differences, of which not one is sufficiently serious to make the slightest change in the meaning, and in the interpretation of our ancient text; and that these forty differences consist in the addition or retrenchment of an i, or a v, letters whose presence or absence in Hebrew, cannot change the power of a word. We know that the Massorites, or teachers of tradition among the Jews, were men whose whole profession consisted in copying the Scriptures; we know how far these men, learned in minutae, carried their respect for the letter; and when we read the rules of their profession, we understand the use which the providence of God, who had confided his oracles to the Jewish people, made of their reverence, or their rigor, and even of their superstition. They counted in each book the number of the verses, that of the words, that of the letters; they would have said to you, for example that the letter A recurs 42,377 times in the Bible; the letter B 38,218 times, and so of the rest; they would have scrupled to change the situation of a letter evidently misplaced; they would merely have advised you of it in the margin, and have supposed that some mystery was connected with it; they could have told you the middle letter of the Pentateuch, and the middle letter of each of the books that compose it; they would never suffer an erasure to be made in their manuscripts; and if any mistake was made in copying, they would reject the papyrus or the skin which was thus stained, to renew their work upon another scroll, for they were equally forbidden to correct a fault and to preserve for their sacred scroll a parchment or skin that had undergone any erasure. “This intervention of the providence of God, in the preservation of the Old Testament, will become still more remarkable in our view if we compare the astonishing integrity of the original Hebrew (after so many centuries), with the immense alteration which had taken place in the Septuagint, even in the days of Jesus Christ (a space of about two hundred years), although this version had acquired, after the almost universal adoption of the Greek language, an authority at least semi-canonical, first with the Jews, and then with the Christians; although it was, at a later period, the only text used by the fathers (if we except Origen and Jerome), the only one on which Chrystostom and Theodoret wrote their commentaries, the only one from which Athanasius, Basil, and Gregory Nazienzen drew their arguments; although the Western world, like the Eastern, had, for so many ages, enjoyed no other than this borrowed light (since the ancient Italian Vulgate — universally employed — was a translation of the Greek Septuagint, and not of the Hebrew text), hear what the learned tell us of the alterations in this important monument; of the additions, changes, interpolations it had received, first from the Jews who lived before Christ, then by the unbelieving Jews, and afterwards through the negligence of Christian copyists. ‘The evil was such ( mirum in modum )’ says Dr. Lee, ‘that, in some books, the ancient version could scarcely be recognized; and when Origen (A. d. 234) had consecrated twenty-eight years of his noble life to the examination of the various manuscripts, to accomplish for this text (in his Tetrapla and Hexapla) that which modern critics have done for that of the Old and New Testaments, not only could he not find a copy that was correct, but he even increased the evil. By the unskillfulness of his copyists (who neglected his asterisks and obelisks) the greater part of his marginal corrections slipped into the text, so that new errors were accumulated to such an extent that in Jerome’s day his annotations could not be distinguished from the primitive text. f36 We repeat it: These facts, viewed in connection with the astonishing preservation of the Hebrew text (1,200 years older than the Septuagint), illustrate most impressively the intervention of a particular providence to preserve the purity of the sacred text.”
We may now inquire if there has been any willful change in the chronology of the Septuagint? As the most ancient MSS. of the Septuagint have the same chronology as the present, there can have been no change in this respect since at our about the time of its translation. And the change must, consequently, have been then effected. St. Austin, one of the most learned and talented of the men in the early Christian church, charges the earliest transcribers of the Septuagint with a willful alteration of the dates, and himself follows the Hebrew chronology, which is also followed by Jerome, in his Latin translation of the Bible, and Eusebius in his Chronicle. (In his history Eusebius follows the Septuagint.) Nor is aMOTIVE wanting. The Septuagint version was not translated for the use of the Jewish synagogue, but for the Alexandrian library. Says a writer in the Pittsburg Christian Advocate: “The keepers of that library were heathen — men who sought a high antiquity for their country. We do not know how often it was transcribed before it came to be generally used in the synagogue, nor whether the original translation was long retained in the library of the Ptolemies. Perhaps the Egyptians, like some moderns, saw a discrepancy between it and their ancient records, and took upon themselves to alter it. Manetho, who wrote a short time after the translation was made, according to the Hebrew computation, could not find room for his thirty dynasties. He wished to carry Egyptian history to a very remote antiquity; and perhaps some Egyptian Jew might wish to render him assistance. Was there not as much temptation to corrupt the Septuagint as the Hebrew? There was certainly greater opportunity. It may not be possible to answer these queries; but before they are answered we have no right to assume the correctness of the Septuagint chronology.”
He also says: “A circumstance that detracts from our faith in the Septuagint is, that it adds idle legends to the inspired word of God. For proof the writer would merely refer to the last chapters of Esther and Job, to both of which many verses are added. To the book of Psalms there has also been added a boastful piece, professing to have been written by David, after he had slain Goliah. In the book of Proverbs the thirtieth chapter is altogether omitted, together with the first nine verses of the thirty-first. In the first chapter of the first book of Chronicles, in some editions there is an omission of all the verses from the eleventh to the twenty-fourth. These additions and omissions have been noticed by a mere cursory glance; many others might be found by a more careful examination.”
Another argument which Dr. Hales advances against the Hebrew is, that the ages of the respective patriarchs, at the births of their children, are not proportioned to their subsequent lives; that as those who now live to the age of 80 do not come to maturity till one-fourth of that period has elapsed, so he argues there would be the same proportion in the age of those who live to ten times the present age of man. This is, however, entirely an assumption. A man who lives to the age of 100 is matured at an early an age as he who dies at 50. The difference in the ages of the two is owing to causes which do not produce the maturity of the person. In the antediluvian age, we may conclude that the purity of the atmosphere, and the absence of causes which have since tended to lessen the age of man, enabled old age to be deferred to a long period. Had there been an entire absence of causes to produce dissolution, man might have lived forever, without its having been necessary that he should have been one-fourth of forever at arriving at maturity. The poetic idea, — “Yet still a hundred years beheld the boy Beneath his mother’s room, her infant joy.” contains less truth than poetry.
Another argument of Dr. Smith is, that in the age immediately following the flood, all the patriarchs in a direct line, for eleven generations, lived contemporaneously; and in the antediluvian period, nine generations. We see no force in this argument. Because God was pleased to bless the inhabitants of that age with “length of days,” it does not follow that for a proportionately long period they should be destitute of “olive branches” around their tables. And as God saw fit to materially shorten the age of man, it was not necessary that they should die away in just the order of their birth.
Dr. Hales next argues against the Hebrew version from the shortness of time it allows for the number of inhabitants existing in the time of Abraham. Dr. Smith also asks: — “Can we believe that, in about 300 years, a single family of eight persons could have covered those immense tracts of country with a population extending from India and Assyria to “Ethiopia, Egypt, and Greece — that nations should be formed, kings be surrounded with regular courts, money coined, wars levied, and the various classes of society so defined, as the Bible history compels us to believe was the case in the time of Abraham? Again: Is it likely that Nimrod should have formed a kingdom, and assumed the state of a king in the presence of his father, grandfather, and Noah himself?”
At the first glance there is a plausibility to these inquiries. A second look shows their sophistry. 1. In the first place, instead of there being but 300 years from the deluge to the call of Abraham, the Hebrew chronology give us 427 years to the death of Terah, when Abraham removed into the land of Canaan. Acts 7:4. This is a material difference. 2. In the second place, the children of Jacob who went down into Egypt numbered only 775 souls. At the end of 215 years, when they came out of Egypt, they numbered “about 600,000 on foot that were men, besides children.” Exodus 12:37. Adding to this the probable number of women, children, and infirm, Dr. Clarke estimates that their number could not amount to less than 3,263,000. (See Com.) To amount to this multitude, the original number had doubled once for each 14 years, notwithstanding all their hardships and afflictions. If the posterity of those who survived the deluge increased in the same ratio, in 427 years eight persons would number more than 13,000,000 of souls, a number vastly greater than we are obliged, from the Bible record, to suppose then inhabited those countries, as sparsely as they were then peopled. 3. As the dispute is not respecting the whole number of years those of each generation lived, it follows that the younger they were at the birth of their first children, so much greater would be the probable number of their children. And as there were but a given number of generations from Noah to Abraham, with a probable larger number in each generation, the number of inhabitants at the call of Abraham would naturally be far greater with the Hebrew than with the Septuagint computation. 4. The terms “nations,” “kings,” etc., did not then denote extended and populous countries, as at present. Says Sir Isaac Newton: — “The four kings from the coasts of Shinar and Elam, who invaded and spoiled the Rephaims, and the inhabitants of the countries of Moab, Ammon, Edom, and the kingdoms of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, were pursued and beaten by Abraham, with an armed force of only 318 men.” — Chron., p. 180.
The reason given by the Egyptians who knew not Joseph, for afflicting the children of Israel, was: “Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we. Come on, and let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.” Exodus 1:9,10. And when Pharaoh pursued the departing Israelites with “all the chariots of Egypt,” he could number but 600, which, according to the most authentic accounts, contained but three persons each. If his cavalry only amounted to that number, his infantry could not be very numerous; and their superiority over Israel must have consisted in their being armed and equipped for battle. 5. Removing to a distance from his ancestors, as Nimrod did, there was no reason why he should not found a kingdom any more than if they were deceased.
Dr. Smith next quotes from the book of “Enoch,” and the “Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs,” where dates seem to correspond with the Septuagint; but he presents no evidence of the authenticity of those dates.
Dr. Smith then says: — “We pass from tradition to history, and first direct attention to the annals of China. According to the history of this remarkable nation, Fohi, their first sovereign, began his reign B.C. 2953. It is, however, but fair to say that there is so much of fable mixed up with the account of this and the six following reigns, that they have been generally considered doubtful; we therefore put them quite out of the calculation. We then come to Yao, who is the first sovereign mentioned in the ‘Shoo-king,’ the celebrated historical work of the great Confucius, which was compiled B.C. 500. But this reign began B.C. 2357, or just nine years before the Hebrew account of the deluge.” — P. 37.
The commencement of this reign, he also claims, is fixed by Jackson, by an eclipse which is thus recorded in the “Shoo-king:” — “‘On the first day of the moon, in the reign of Chong Kang, and at the autumnal equinox, there was an eclipse of the sun at 8 o’clock in the morning, in the constellation Fang (which belongs to the forehead of Scorpio), and Hi and Ho (who presided in the tribunal of astronomy) pretended they knew nothing at all of it. They were plunged in wine and debauchery, paying no regard to ancient customs, and entirely forgetful of their duty,’ which was to observe and record this eclipse in the calendar. And for this neglect they were put to death.” 1. This eclipse is placed by Jackson B.C. 2137; but Dr. Hales shows that the eclipse at that time violates all the conditions of this, and says: “Jackson was predetermined to have an eclipse, right or wrong. And on this infallible eclipse he proceeds to rectify the whole Chinese chronology. The fact seems to be that the eclipse (if there was any such) was interpolated in the annals long after to secure the antiquity of the nation.” — Vol. i, p. 299.
Dr. Hales also denies that there is any evidence of the Chinese being able to compute eclipses till within 500 years of the Christian era. 2. The date which Dr. Smith assigns for the reign of Yao, B.C. 2357, instead of being nine years before the Hebrew account of the deluge, is only so according to Usher’s Chronology. According to the Hebrew, the deluge occurred B.C. 2505 — 148 years before the time named.
Of the early Chinese history, Dr. Hales remarks: “Great uncertainty prevails respecting the origin and first period of the Chinese empire. None of the ancient annals exist, a few fragments excepted; they perished by a singular calamity; the Emperor Hoangti, B.C. 213, like Nabonassar, the king of Babylon, in an earlier age, ambitious of being imputed by posterity the founder of the empire, ordered all the books, medals, inscriptions, coins, and monuments of antiquity, to be destroyed, that there might remain no earlier record, date, or authority relative to religion, science, and politics than those of his own reign. Hence, their most authentic history, composed from the relics of their ancient books, by Sse-ma tsien, about a century before Christ, marked neither the dates nor the duration of reigns, or of dynasties, until B.C. 878. And in the memoirs concerning the history, arts, etc., of the Chinese, extracted from the Grand Annals and lately published by the missionaries of Pekin, it is asserted that all the relations of events prior to the reign of Yao or Yau (as differently pronounced by different writers), which they date B.C. 2057, ‘are fabulous, composed in modern times, unsupported by authentic records, and full of contradictions. And that neither the Chou-king, or Xu-king, their most ancient and authentic record, nor the books of Confucius (who died B.C. 479), or of his disciples, make mention of any genealogies, or princes, before Yao. It is also proved that the origin of the Chinese Empire cannot be placed higher than one or two generations before Yao.’ “This is confirmed by the discordance of the dates assigned to his reign by different writers: Duhalde asserts, from the most approved Chinese historians, that Yao began to reign B.C. 2357; Martinius and Couplet, B.C. 2159. Freret observes that nothing certain was recorded in the Chinese annals previous to the reign of Yao, who flourished B.C. 2325, or B.C. 2307. The latest accounts, we see, reduce it to B.C. 2057, 300 years lower than the first.”
Dr. Smith next turns to Egyptian history, and claims that Menes, according to the lowest computation, that of Julius Africanus, began his reign B.C. 2218, which he claims the Hebrew would make within 134 years of the flood. It would, however, be 287 years after the flood, and 186 years after the birth of Peleg, when there was the confusion of tongues and consequent dispersion of mankind. Dr. Smith has all along fallen into the error of giving to the Hebrew chronology 150 years less than there is actually given by it. Again he says: — “The records of Assyria exhibit equally striking evidence. The fragments of Berosus, and the catalogue of kings, preserved by Ctesias, place the reign of Nimrod B.C. 2554, or about 200 years before the Hebrew era of the flood.” — P. 38.
This date would be but 49 years before the deluge, and about 150 years before the probable time of Nimrod. As we have no undisputed testimony respecting the Chaldean or Assyrian chronology, prior to the era of Nabonassar, B.C. 747, a difference of that period, in the crude records of those ancient times, is not to be received as of more authority than the wonderfully preserved accuracy of the Hebrew text.
Another argument used against the chronology of the Hebrew text is derived from the antiquities of Egypt. The hieroglyphics covering the tombs and temples of that ancient country, are a subject of great interest, not only to the antiquarian, but to the historian and chronologer. In this country, Mr. Glidden, who resided several years in Egypt, and is well versed in all that respects the discoveries there, is decisive in rejecting the shorter chronology. He reiterates many of the objections which have already been replied to. An additional argument of his is, that, according to the Hebrew, Methuselah must have died in the year of the flood; and as those dates are affixed to the common Bible by the British Government, he exclaims, “Methuselah is thus drowned by act of Parliament!” There is nothing wonderful in the fact that Methuselah should have died in the year of, and just previous to the flood; but by the Septuagint reading he must have survived the deluge fourteen years!! (See table.) Some copies of the Septuagint, however, avoid this absurdity by giving the age of Methuselah as it is given in the Hebrew.
The principal argument of Mr. Glidden is, however, based on the monumental evidences of a greater antiquity than, he thinks, can be reconciled with the Hebrew text. But is there no room for a mistake in those monumental inscriptions? Were not the subjects of the earlier records traditionary at the time the records were made? Did the national vanity, to be reputed the oldest nation on the globe, have nothing to do with their production? May not the imagination have been drawn upon, and fables been perpetrated on stone and papyrus, as well as on the parchment rolls of other nations? Mr. Glidden claims that the Bible has been designedly altered, and that undesigned errors of transcribers have crept into it. But have there been no designed alterations of Egyptian hieroglyphics? Are none of these records mere copies? Mr. Glidden replies: — “The legends of Egypt are exposed to the same errors of translation, and, in their present mutilated condition, are more liable to the same misinterpretation than are the Scriptures; but with this difference, that we are enabled to verify the Egyptian records in the original for ourselves, supposing we choose to consult them in the valley of the Nile, or in European collections, and that we acquire the necessary qualifications to forming a valid opinion.”
After mentioning various difficulties which obscure the remoter periods he says: — “At last, therefore, we can spread our canvas to the breeze, and begin our voyage down the stream of time. Fogs and mists preclude a very distinct sight of the course. We have many shoals to avoid; and there are many long and gloomy portages over which we must carry our imaginary bark, without knowing precisely the length or the course of the river. As we descend, we shall find enormous landmarks, attesting the greatness of their builders, without always telling the age of their erection. We shall steer by them all, noting the relative bearings of each, till, having reached the obelisk of Heliopolis, B.C. 2088, the mists will gradually dissipate as we proceed; but the shoals are still numerous, and the current still swift. Soon, however, we arrive at the stupendous Hypostyle Halls of Karnac, at the temples and palaces of Thebes, the hoary ‘Amunci,’ or abode of Amun, about the year 1800 B.C.; from which time the voyage will be easy, and the scenery interesting, for a period of 2000 years, when the hieroglyphical annals cease and subsequent events are chronicled in universal history.”
If the mists do not begin to dissipate till we reach B.C. 2088, prudence will dictate that we wait until some more certain evidence is reached, before the Hebrew text is surrendered at the command of believers in supposed difficulties.
Manetho, the great Egyptian annalist, makes thirty-one dynasties, including three hundred and seventy-eight kings, to have existed before 331 B.C.
And according to the length of their reigns, the first must have commenced B.C. 5867. To harmonize this with the Septuagint, Mr. Glidden says this may possibly be reduced to B. c. 2715! though he would not object to an additional 1,000 years. If it may thus be reduced more than one-half of its assumed antiquity, without affecting its authenticity, why may it not be shortened 400 years more, and harmonize with the Hebrew? Again, how much is known of those early dynasties? The name of but one king is known of the first, four of the fourth, and none of the remaining first fifteen dynasties!!
In another place, Mr. Glidden divides the chronology of Egypt into (1) The “Ante-monumental period,” which he says is “of course, an utter blank;” (2) the “Pyramidal,” which he thinks covered “ about fifteen centuries;” (3) the “Hyksos,” of which no monuments are extant, with unimportant exceptions, and (4) “the positive historical period, commencing about 1,600 or 1,800 years before Christ.” If the positive period is of no earlier commencement we shall do well to wait for further discoveries before deciding contrary to the positive numbers of the Hebrew text.
The only other arguments we notice, are opinions of various writers; but those only prove their adoption of the Septuagint, and not its accuracy.
The insufficiency of the arguments advanced against the Hebrew chronology of the patriarchal age, leaves it, in our estimation, as the only reliable evidence for the duration of that period. f38 APPENDIX CHRONOLOGY OF THE JUDGES, ACCORDING TO ARCHBISHOP USHER.
Death of Joshua The time of the elders who survived Joshua, and seven years of anarchy and rest, after which the Israelites fell under the domination of Cushanrishathaim, king of Mesopotamia. Othniel delivered Israel The land enjoys rest about sixty-two years Second servitude, eighteen years Ehud delivers Israel Shamgar. — The land enjoys rest to the eightieth year from the termination of their first deliverance The Third servitude , twenty years, from Deborah and Barak deliver Israel From the deliverance procured by Ehud, to the end of the government of Deborah and Barak, forty years Ninus, forming a league with Arius, king of the Arabs, conquered the whole of Asia, and governed it for seventeen years. He reigned in all fiftytwo years. The Fourth servitude , seven years, from Gideon delivers Israel.2759 From the rest procured by Deborah and Barak to the deliverance by Gideon, forty years. Abimelech kills seventy of his brethren. Abimelech is proclaimed king 2769 He reigns three years Tola governs twenty-three years, from The commencement of the kingdom of the Lydians Jair succeeds Tola twenty-two years, from The Fifth servitude eighteen years, from God delivers the Israelites who dwelt beyond Jordan Death of Jair (Judges 10:5) Jephthah defeats the Ammonites Death of Jephthah. Ibzan governs seven years Elon succeeds him, and governs ten years Abdon judges Israel eight years, from2840 Eli judges Israel, after Abdon, forty years The Sixth servitude , under the Philistines, which lasted forty years (Judges 13:1). It began seven years after the commencement of the government of Eli.
The birth of Samson (Judges 13:24) The death of Eli, and the beginning of the government of Samuel, who delivers Israel from the oppression of the Philistines (1 Samuel 7:14) CHRONOLOGY OF THE JUDGES, ACCORDING TO JOHN MARSHAM.
Years after the Exodus.
Joshua, twenty-five years, from Anarchy and idolatry, thirty-four years, from First servitude , eight years, from99 Othniel Forty years’ rest, from 107 Second servitude , fifteen years Ehud Third servitude of tribes in the northern parts of Canaan, twenty years Shamgar delivers Israel Deborah and Barak Rest of forty years, which continues to the two hundred and forty-third year of the exodus Fourth servitude lasts seven years, from243 Gideon delivers Israel Abimelech reigns three years at Shechem Tola judges Israel twenty-three years.
Jair judges Israel twenty-two years.
Fifth servitude , eighteen years Jephthah delivers Israel While the Ammonites oppressed Israel on the other side of Jordan, the Philistines afflicted those on this side of that river forty years. Not delivered till the time of Samuel. During this interval, Ibzan judged Israel seven years, Elon ten, and Abdon eight years.