|MESSIAH: HIS FIRST COMING SCHEDULED, Chapter 10||
MESSIAH: HIS FIRST COMING SCHEDULED
UPON the death of Solomon the children of Israel met Rehoboam at Shechem for the coronation ceremony. The people of Israel under the inspiration and leadership of Jeroboam, who had fled to Egypt from Solomon, appealed to the new king for a reduction of taxes. He promised a reply in three days. In the meantime he took counsel with the older men who had been his father's advisors. They insisted that he lighten the burden of the masses. He also conferred with certain young men who urged him to give no relief but to threaten heavier levies. With this turn of affairs the ten tribes instituted a revolt against Rehoboam, saying,
"What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, 0 Israel: now see to thine own house, David" (I Kings 12: 16).
With this declaration of the issue the revolting tribes deserted the house of David and made Jeroboam king of the new government. Prior to this time there had been a slight cleavage between Judah on the one hand and the eleven tribes on the other. When, however, the revolution broke out, the small tribe of Benjamin adhered to the Davidic throne, and the chasm between the rival kingdoms became very deep--almost impassable.
This disruption of the kingdom occurred in the year 3143 A. H. On account of its far-reaching consequences, which seriously affected the life of the Chosen People for the next 264 years, this catastrophe proved to be an epoch-making event. In unity there is always strength, but in division comes inevitable weakness. Not only was there a weakening of the kingdom by this rupture, but there were also constant strife and war between these rival governments which from time to time reduced the country to a state of desolation.
When we reach this period of the monarchy, we encounter
some of the most serious problems concerning Biblical chronology. The
difficulties are so very real that many chronologers of the past have resorted
to various methods and means in their efforts to discover the facts. The
favorite procedure in removing an obstacle has been [ 250 ]
Instead of assuming that there are errors in the text, the scholarly, scientific investigator will examine microscopically the Sacred Record in which the difficulty is found and view it in the light of each passage that may have any connections therewith. The fundamental postulate with which one must approach the Scriptures is that God was honest and frank in making His revelation to man, saying exactly what He meant and meaning precisely what He said. Whenever the student thus approaches any difficult subject in the Scriptures, he will seek for the facts in the case and the proper interpretation of the data without making any effort to force upon the language a strained and abnormal meaning. Of course, he will make allowances for any figures of speech, understanding their significance in the light of current usage. To approach the Scriptures with this attitude is scientific and scholarly. But one may object that, in order to be scientific, the student must assume a negative attitude, throwing a question mark around every fact. Unfortunately such a standard for scholarship in the theological world has been erected in certain quarters. This criterion is contrary to common sense and general practice in the secular realm. For instance, in the courts of the land the assumption is that the defendant is innocent until he is proved guilty. Furthermore, the negative attitude, which is by nature hostile, invariably and inevitably, as a rule, distorts facts and beclouds the issue. Proof of this position is constantly in evidence in courts as well as in the disputes of every-day life.
Keeping these thoughts in mind let us now tackle the
difficult problem of working out the chronology of Israel during the period of
the disruption. Whenever we come to any data which appear to be contrary to
some fact that has already been established, we shall
A. From Rehoboam and Jeroboam to Athaliah and Jehu
The last year of Solomon's reign was 3142 A.H. (983 B.C.E.). The following year we shall call year 1 of the disruption. These facts are presented in tabular form on page 272. From this date forward to the overthrow of the kingdom of Israel we shall have two primary columns: the one to the left gives the record and years of the kings of Judah and the second, those of Israel, the northern kingdom. According to I Kings 14: 21 Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, reigned in Jerusalem 17 years. Hence in Judah's column we give him 17 years. This date is 3159 A.H. From verse 20 of this chapter we learn that Jeroboam reigned in the northern kingdom 22 years. Hence, since these two kings mounted their thrones in the same year, the year 1 for each is 3143 A.H. Reboboam's 17th year, his last, is year 17 of Jeroboam.
From I Kings 15:1 we learn that Abijah, Rehoboam's son, reigned in Jerusalem. Our English versions render the Hebrew verb malak, "began to reign." This is a very unfortunate translation, for the same form is rendered "reigned" in verse 2. As we study the books of Kings and Chronicles, we must bear this fact in mind. Abijah's year 1 was Jeroboam's year 18. Since the former reigned 3 years, his last year was the twentieth of Jeroboam. But in the ninth verse we are told that Asa king of Judah reigned in the 20th year of Jeroboam. Since Asa succeeded his father, Abijah, and since the latter's year 3 was year 20 of Jeroboam, we must conclude that Asa ascended the throne that year.
Asa's third year is also attributed to both Nadab as his year 2 and to Baasha as his year 1. Therefore, year 23 of the disruption is divided between Nadab and Baasha. By the locking and the interlocking of Asa's years 2 and 3 with the chronology of Jeroboam, Nadab, and Baasha, we see that Jeroboam's year 20, attributed to Asa, was but the occasion of his accession to the throne and not his year 1.
In Asa's 15th year occurred the mighty revival which had
a salutary effect upon the nation and doubtless averted God's judgments upon
it at that time.
As seen above, Baasha's year 24 was Asa's year 26; but according to I Kings 16:8 Elah mounted the throne of Israel and reigned in Asa's 26th year and is accredited with 2 years. Therefore, Asa's year 26 was given as year 24 to Baasha and year 1 to Elah. Hence, Asa's year 27 was Elah's year 2.
But according to I Kings 16:9, 10, 15 Zimri murdered Elah
and reigned 7 days in Asa's year 27. At this time the army of Israel was
encamped against the Philistine city, Gibbethon. When the news of the murder
reached the camp, the army proclaimed Omri as king, raised the siege, and
returned to Tirzah. the capital,
Jehu, one of the captains of
the Israelite army fighting against Ramoth-gilead, was anointed by one of the
sons of the prophets to. be king of Israel. Read the full account in II Kings
9 and 10. Having been inducted officially into. office by this ceremony, Jehu
immediately proceeded to blot out the house of Ahab. Leaving the
battle front he found Jehoram king of Israel in Jezreel far treatment of the wounds received in battle. Upon meeting the king, Jehu slew him and later killed Ahaziah of Judah, having overtaken him near Ibleam. From here he fled to Megiddo and died of his wounds. Hence, with one stroke both thrones were made vacant. Jehu became king in Israel. and Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, slew all the sons royal save Joash and usurped the throne in Judah. Thus in the year 91 of the disruption the reigns in bath kingdoms started evenly.
Athaliah reigned 6 years in Jerusalem and was slain during the 7th according to II Kings 11:4-21 and 12:1. A conspiracy led by Jehaiada resulted in Athaliah's death and the coronation of Joash (Jehoash), who. had been secretly protected in the temple during Athaliah's reign. His administration lasted, according to II Kings 12:1, 40 years. The 7th year of Jehu of Israel is accredited to Joash as his first year, although Athaliah is said to have reigned 6 years and was slain in her 7th.
From II Kings 10:36. we learn that Jehu reigned 28 years. His year 1 was the first of Athaliah's which, in turn, was the 91st of the disruption. Since his year 7 was year 1 of Joash of Judah, his 28th year, the last, was the 22nd year of Joash.
Jehoahaz, the, son of Jehu, became king in Israel in the 23rd year of Joash of Judah according to II Kings 13:1 and reigned 17 years. This was the year 119 of the disruption. Hence, it was Jehoahaz's year 1. His 17th and last year equals the 39th year of Joash king of Judah. But we are taod in II Kings 13:10 that Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz of Israel, reigned in Samaria in the 37th year of Joash of Judah. Evidently, therefore, Jehoash was co-rex with his father Jehoahaz. The period during which he was associated with his father in the government was 3 years, which are the 15th, 16th, and 17th of Jehoahaz and the 37th, 38th, and 39th of Joash of Judah.
Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz is
called Joash the son of Joahaz king of Israel in II Kings 14:1. These are
just the shortened forms of their names. Here we are told that Amaziah, the
son of Joash king of Judah, reigned in the 2nd year of Jehoash king of
Israel and continued his administration far 29 years. The 17th year of Jehoahaz of Israel was the 39th year of Joash of Judah. The latter's 40th year
would, therefore, be the 1st year of Jehoash of Israel as sole king. The
following year was Jehoash's 2nd year and the first of Amaziah king of Judah. This
is the year 137 of the
Jeroboam, the son of Jehoash king at Israel, began his reign in the 15th year of Amaziah king of Judah according to II Kings 14:17, 23. This date, however, was the 16th year of Jehoash of Israel. Therefore, in this instance, we find the Israelite method of reckoning occurring for the only time in this period which we are now discussing. Evidently the reforms of Jehu were so very drastic and thoroughgoing that times and seasons changed in the northern kingdom and the former peculiar Israelite method of reckoning the regnal years was lost sight of except in this one instance. Since Amaziah's 15th year was year 1 of Jeroboam of Israel, Amaziah's last and 29th year was Jeroboam's 15th.
But the next step in the unfolding of the
chronologica1 problem is found in II Kings 15:1, 2, which states that Uzziah
(Azariah) king of Judah reigned in the 27th year of Jeroboam of Israel and
continued for 52 years. Since Amaziah's last year was 165 of the disruption
and since Uzziah's year 1 was 177 of this era, there was a gap of 11 years
between Amaziah and Uzziah. Chronologers have wrestled with this problem and
have resorted to many different devices to explain it, all of which do. violence
to the text and dislocate the subsequent chronology. Since
Amaziah's 29th year was the 15th of Jeroboam , and since Uzziah's year 1 was
the 27th of Jeroboam , plainly there were 11 years during which no one sat
upon the throne of Judah. We are justified, therefore, in designating this
period as an interregnum. This explanation accepts the facts as they are
stated in the text without distorting any statement and makes, as we shall
see, the chronology consistent with our sabbatic periods.
In the 39th year of Uzziah of Judah Shallum reigned 1 month in Israel (II Kings 15:13). Also according to verse 17 of this chapter Menahem reigned in this 39th year and continued for 10 years. Was this date his accession or his first regnal year? This question can be answered by noting the fact, stated in verse 23, that Menahem's successor, Pekahiah, reigned in the 50th year of Uzziah. Therefore Menahem's year 1 was the 40th year of Uzziah. Since Uzziah's 50th year was Pekahiah's year 1, and since he reigned 2 years, his 2nd year was Uzziah's 51st. Pekah, the successor of Pekahiah of Israel, reigned in the 52nd year of Uzziah (II Kings 15:27) and continued far 20 years.
son and successor in Judah, reigned in the 2nd year of Pekah king of Israel
(II Kings 15:32, 33) and continued for 16 years. But in II Kings 15:30 we
are told that Hoshea, the son of Elah, made a conspiracy against Pekah of
Israel, slaying him, and reigned in his stead in the 20th year of Jotham of
Judah. According to this verse Jotham reigned 20 years, but in verse 33
below only 16 years are accredited to him. There is, therefore, a plain
contradiction between the two statements or there must be an explanation far
speaking of his 20th year, whereas in reality he reigned only 16. Since in
verses 32, 33 we have the regular formula far stating the beginning and the
extent of a king's reign, and since here we learn that he ruled 16 years, we
must conclude that this statement is to be taken at its literal, face value.
With this understanding of the matter we must seek same reason for the unusual
statement that Hoshea slew Pekah in the 20th year of Jotham, son of Uzziah.
This verse does not say that Jotham reigned 20 years, but simply that the
murder of Pekah occurred in the 20th year of Jotham. There is a vast
difference between the assumption which is read into this verse, and which contradicts the plain statement of verse 33, an the
one hand and the
Scriptural declaration that Jotham reigned only 16 years (II Kings 15: 33, II
Chron. 27: 8). Since
to II Kings 16:1, 2, Ahaz of Judah reigned in the 17th year of Pekah king of
Israel. Was this date, which is the year 244 of the disruption, Ahaz's
accession or first regnal year? According to the Judahite method of
reckoning, which we have seen obtained in the tabulation of the reigns of the
Davidic kings, the entire year during which the sovereign died was accounted
to the deceased king as his last year and was reckoned simply as the
accession year of the incoming ruler. Since this 17th year of Pekah of Israel
was the 16th and last year of Jotham of Judah, we must conclude that the
statement of II Kings 16:1 refers to Ahaz's accession and not to his first regnal year. Therefore year 18 of Pekah was year 1 of Ahaz, and Pekah's 20th
and last year was Ahaz's 3rd. From II Kings 17:1 we learn that Hoshea, son of
Elah, who, as we have seen above, murdered Pekah in Jotham's 20th year (in
reality Ahaz's 4th), reigned in the 12th year of Ahaz. Who was on the throne
of Israel during the period of 8 years from the murder of Pekah until Hoshea
mounted it in the 12th year of Ahaz? On this point the Scriptures are silent.
If anyone occupied it, we have no way of knowing. Hence the years 248 to 255
of the disruption may properly be designated as an interregnum in the northern
kingdom. The real explanation of this state of affairs may be seen in the
turbulent, revolutionary character of the times. Since year 1 of Hoshea of
Israel was year 12 of Ahaz of Judah, Hoshea's year 5 was Ahaz's 16th and last
year; but we are told in II Kings 18:1 that Hezekiah, Ahaz's son, reigned in
The downfall of Israel was foretold at least 50 years before it
occurred. Hosea announced this coming catastrophe: "And Jehavah said unto
him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the
blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause the kingdom of the
house of Israel to cease. And it shall came to pass at that day, that I will
break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel" (Hos. 1:4, 5). Amos, a
contemporary of Hosea, likewise foretold the passing of the kingdom of Israel:
"Behold, the eyes of the Lord Jehovah are upon the sinful kingdom and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; save that I will not utterly
destroy the house of Jacob, saith Jehovah" (Amos 9:8). These predictions
were fulfilled in the overthrow of the northern kingdom. It, as a political
entity, was to pass away and it did so. Now let us resume the investigation
of the events in the northern kingdom which culminated in the overthrow of
the government. From the monuments we note that Hoshea was an appointee of
the Assyrian king who engineered the revolt which resulted in the overthrow
of Pekah's government. Owing his authority to Shalmaneser king of Assyria,
Hoshea swore fealty to him and paid tribute. Finally he conspired with So
king of Egypt and refused to send the annual levy to Assyria thereafter. At
last, Shalmaneser went up against the land of Israel and besieged Samaria, its
capital, 3 years. In the 9th year of Hoshea, which was year 264 of the
disruption, Samaria was taken. According to the Assyrian monuments, 27,290
captives were departed to certain provinces of the
A third line of evidence is found in II Kings 17:24-41 which divides into the following sections: verses 24-33; 34-40; and 41. According to verses 24-26, the Assyrians having deported the flower of the nation brought in certain Asiatic immigrants and settled them in the land of Israel. By having a heterogeneous population in a land, the Assyrians thought to reduce to the minimum the possibility of armed insurrection. This policy we see in operation here. Soon the newcomers had difficulty with the wild beasts and reported the same to Nineveh. They attributed their troubles to their lack of knowledge of the god of the land. Hence one of the exiled priests was brought back to teach them his religion. The sacred writer tells us that these immigrants continued to worship their gods and added Jehovah as one more to their pantheon. This fact is clear from verse 33: "they feared Jehovah and served their own gods," etc.
A class of people different from those wham we have been
discussing is presented in verses 34-40. We are told that these here mentioned
"fear not Jehovah, neither do they after their statutes," etc. A careful
perusal of this section shows that the people of whom the writer was speaking
were those to whom God gave His law when He brought them out of Egypt. They,
of course, were none other than the people of the northern kingdom and were of
those who, in Hebrew colloquial language, are the "Am-haarets." Let us note
carefully the contrast between the two classes. The immigrants feared Jehovah
and served their own
Our writer reverts to his discussion of the newcomers in verse 41 by stating that those nations served their graven images and at the same time feared Jehovah.
A fourth line of argument in support of our proposition is the fact that after the down fall of the northern kingdom, the historians of the period and the prophets living after that calamity all speak of Israel as still being in the land. (I hope to write a treatise showing the fallacy of British-Israelism.)
C. From the Fall of Samaria to the Overthrow of Jerusalem
From the reigns of Rehoboam in Judah and Jeroboam in Israel to the fall of Samaria was a period of 264 years. During this time the chronology of the rival kingdoms is lacked and interlocked by the many Scriptural statements relative to the reigns of the monarchs of the two. governments. The chronological history of one kingdom dovetails into that of the other so that we may be certain that the reckoning thus far is absolutely correct. From this paint, however, onward to the days of Josiah we do not have such a check, neither is there need far it.
Hezekiah reigned 29 years, his last year being 287 of the disruption. His
son Manasseh succeeded him to the throne and reigned 55 years. Hence his last
year was 342 of this era. He was one of the mast profligate and debased of the
kings of Judah. When, however, he sinned, God permitted him to be taken to
Babylon in chains (II Chron. 33:10-13) but, when he repented, he was restored
to his throne, Amon, his son, followed him, reigned 2 years, but surpassed
him in wickedness. Then Josiah came to the throne in 345 of the disruption
and reigned 31 years. This brings us to the year 375 of this era. According
to II Kings 23:31-35, Pharaoh-necoh king of Egypt deposed Jehoahaz, son of
Josiah, who. succeeded his father an the throne and reigned only 3 months. In
his stead Pharaoh installed Eliakim, another son of Josiah, and changed his
name to Jehoiakim. Jehoahaz's 3 months fell within the limits of his father's
last year for, if they had not, and he had been an the throne at the
Jehoiakim reigned in the year 376 of the disruption and continued an the throne 11 years, his death year being 386 of the disruption, which is in the Ptolemaic system 597 B.C.E.
Jehoiachin mounted the throne upon his father's death and reigned 3 months. At that time Nebuchadnezzar came against Jerusalem, deposed Jehoiachin, installed Mattaniah, whase name he changed to Zedekiah, and departed the deposed monarch to Babylon. Jehoiachin's 3 months likewise fell within the 11th year of Jehoiakim, for, when the reigns of these monarchs are checked by longer periods found in the prophets, it is ascertained that his 3 months are included in his father's last year.
Zedekiah reigned 11 years (II Kings 24:18). In the 9th year of his administration the king of Babylon besieged the city of Jerusalem, which fell in the 4th month of Zedekiah's 11th year. In the 5th month and an the 7th day Nebuzaradan, the captain of Nebuchadnezzar's guard, burned the temple and the royal palace. This year was 586 B.C.E. in the Ptolemaic system. Nebuchadnezzar placed Gedaliah as governor in Judaea over the remnant of the land after the complete collapse of Jewish resistance in this fatal year, 586 B.C.E., which was 3539 A.H.
Jeremiah 25 is one of the mast impartant passages
in the entire revelation of God from a chronological standpoint, in that it
synchranizes Biblical chronology with Babylonian history. "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 (the same was the first year of
Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon), which Jeremiah the prophet spake unto all
the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying: From the
thirteenth year of Josiah, the son of Amon, king of Judah, even unto this day,
these three and twenty years, the word of Jehovah hath come unto me, and I
have spoken unto you, rising up early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened.
And Jehovah hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising up early
and sending them (but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear),
saying, Return ye now everyone from his evil way, and from the evil of your
doings, and dwell in the land that Jehovah hath given unto you and to your
fathers, from of old and even for evermore: and go not after other gods to
serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the work of
your hands; and I will do you no hurt. Yet ye have not hearkened unto me,
saith Jehovah; that ye may provoke me to anger with the work of your hands to
your own hurt. Therefore thus saith Jehovah of hosts: Because ye have not
heard my words, behold. I will send and take all the families of the north,
saith Jehovah, and I will send unto Nebuchadrezzar, the king of Babylon, my
servant, and will bring them against
And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith Jehovah, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans; and I will make it desolate for ever. And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations. For many nations and great kings shall make bondmen of them, even of them: and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the work of their hands" (Jeremiah 25: 1-14).
This passage, especially verses 1 to 3, enables us to check the reigns of Josiah, Jehoahaz, and Jehoiakim, because it begins with the year of Jeremiah's call, which event is dated as the 13th year of Josiah and continues to Jeremiah's 23rd year, which, in turn, is the 4th year of Jehoiakim. When we count the years from the 13th of Josiah to the 4th of Jehoiakim, we have exactly 23. This fact is . the proof that the 3 months of Jehoahaz fell within the last year of his father, Josiah. This 3rd year of Jehoiakim was the beginning of the Babylonian exile, which in the Ptolemaic dates is 605 B.C.E. and 3520 A.H. in the Biblical chronology. That there was a war against Judah in this year and that captives were departed to Babylon are clear from Daniel 1:1-7. We must understand that the Babylonian captivity began in this year, because subsequent chronology is dependent upon this fact. Nebuchadnezzar fought against Jeruselem in this year, not as king of Babylon, but as crown prince, who succeeded his father Nabopolasser the next year.
This 3rd year of Jehoiakim was the beginning of
the desolations of Jerusalem mentioned by Daniel in chapter 9:1, 2. Unfortunately some commentators have mistakenly
understood that the exile
began in the 4th year of Jehoiakim, because in this year Jeremiah gave the
revelation that many of the nations of western Asia and northern Africa should
submit themselves to the yoke of the king of Babylon. As seen above, the
Chaldeans first struck at Jerusalem in Jehoiakim's 3rd year, but the prophecy
concerning Babylon's subjugation of the surrounding nations was given in the
following year. In harmony with this position is the statement of Jeremiah 25
: 17, 18 that Jerusalem was the first to feel the power of Babylon's strong
hand. With the kingdom of Judah already suffering under the
Under section one, we have traced the course of events in both the northern and southern kingdoms. During this time Israel was in very close touch with neighboring countries, especially Egypt, 'Syria, and Assyria. In this section, however, we shall call attention only to those contacts, which assist in the chronological question, and which show in a marked degree the accuracy of the sacred writings.
Everyone who is familiar with the writings of the Egyptologists knows that there is little unanimity among these experts. In fact, they vary as much as one thousand years in some of the chronological data which they present. At the present stage of investigation it is impossible for one to be dogmatic. The diversity of opinion relates largely to the earliest stages of her history. When, however, we come to the tenth century before the common era, the differences are not so great.
We are told that Shishak came against King Rehoboam in the fifth year of his reign, taking away the treasures of the house of the Lord and of the king's palace, besides many shields of gold, etc. (I Kings 14:25, 26; II Chronicles 12:2-9).
As we know, Shishak was the
founder of the twenty-second or Bubastite Dynasty. Near the close of his
twenty-first year Shishak commissioned his chief of public works to execute a
memorial of his conquests on the walls of the temple of Amon at Karnak. In
this great bas-relief he mentioned the name of 130 cities of the kingdom of
Judah, which he took during his invasion of Palestine. When I was in Luxor
(1937), I had the privilege of looking upon this inscription. Shishak does not
give us the exact date of his conquest of Palestine. Authorities differ in
regard to it. Although we cannot settle this chronological question, the
inscription on the walls at Karnak is confirmatory evidence of the Biblical
record. As one will see if he turns to the tables at the end of this chapter,
the fifth year of Rehoboam, when the invasion occurred, was 978
The celebrated Moabite stone brings additional confirmation of the Biblical
account. Herewith, I give a translation of it: "I Mesha am son of Chemosh-
(Gad?), King of Moab, the Dibonite. My father reigned over Moab 30 years, and
I reigned after my father. And I erected this high place to Chemosh at Kahara
(a Stone of Salvation for he saved me from all despoilers (?) and let me see
my desire upon all my enemies. Omri was King of Israel, and oppressed Moab
many days, for Chemosh was angry with his land. His son succeeded him, and he
also said, I will oppress Moab. In my days he said, Let us go and I will see
my desire on him and on his house, and Israel said I shall destroy it for
ever. Now Omri took the land Medeba and occupied it his days and half his
son's days (or he and his son and his son's) son forty years. And Chemosh had
mercy on it in my days; and I built Baal Meon, and made therein the reservoir
and I built Kirjathaim. And the men of God dwelled in the land (At) aroth from
of old, and the King of Israel restored (At) aroth, and I assaulted the city
and captured it."
The most important discoveries have been made in the Tigris-Euphrates valley. The mounds, covered by centuries of dirt and sand, have yielded their secrets in a great measure to us. We now find confirmatory evidence concerning many things recorded in the Scriptures. The monuments from the Assyrian rulers are of special importance to Bible students. I can, however, examine only those which have special bearing upon the chronological question.
I wish to call attention to two inscriptions of Shalmaneser. The
first, bearing on our question, is known as the Kurkh Monolith. The
translation may be seen in Rawlinson's Cuneiform Inscriptions, Volume III,
page 8. This monument speaks of Shalman-
The second monument is known as the Bull inscription. It may be found in Rawlinson's Cuneiform, Inscriptions, Volume III, page 5. Shalmaneser speaks in this record of his crossing the Euphrates river in his 18th year and of his conquest at that time.
"In my 18th
year the sixteenth time the river Euphrates I crossed. Hazael of Syria. . . I
overthrew. 18,000 men of his army with weapons I destroyed. 1,121 of his
chariots, 470 of his carriages, with his camp, I took from him. To save his
life he fled. After him I pursued, in Damascus his royal city I besieged him.
. . . In those days the tribute of Tyre and Zidon, of Jehu son of Omri, I
"Tribute of Jehu son of Omri, silver, gold, bowls
of gold, cups of gold, bottles of gold, vessels of gold, maces, royal
utensils, and rods of wood I received from him."
year could not have been later than the 21st of Ahab, for in his 22nd and last
year he was not in alliance with Ben-hadad of Syria, but at war with him. At
this time, the 21st
In Shalmaneser's 18th year, which was 842 B.C.E. (Assyrian date), 893 B.C.E. (Ptolemaic count), and 3232 A.H., he made his sixteenth campaign west of the Euphrates. On this occasion he fought against Hazael of Damascus and received tribute from the kings of Tyre and Sidon and from Jehu of Israel. Evidently Jehu was on the throne of Israel at that time. Had this campaign been made the year before, Jehu would not have been king, for Jehoram was still reigning.
The set-up of the forces of the conflict in the 6th year of Shalmaneser was not possible a year later, because Israel and Syria were then at war. Neither could the campaign of his 18th year have been earlier, for Jehu, who paid tribute at this time, only came to power during that year. The situation reflected on the monuments fits exactIy that set forth in the Scriptures. The synchronism is perfect. There is no reason for doubting any point of the entire situation; therefore, we see confirmation of the accuracy and genuineness of the Sacred Writings. This synchronism is also determinative. It helps to fix every other well-established date at which Assyria came in contact with Israel and Judah.
We, therefore, have been able
to synchronize the Assyrian dates with the Ptolemaic system by means of the
sixth and the eighteenth years of Shalmaneser. We see that 860 B.C.E. of the
Assyrian reckoning was in reality 911 in the Ptolemaic system and 3214 in the
anno homonis dates. Beginning with 962 B.C.E. in the Ptolemaic dating and
counting forward for 129 years, we have an unbroken period that is established
by the Assyrian eponym method of counting time. These years through the
synchronism afforded by the Shalmaneser monuments have been detached from 782
B.C.E. and pushed backward. Thus there is a gap of 51 years in Assyrian
chronology. This period so far as our present knowledge is concerned is a
perfect blank. From 782 B.C.E. and forward the Assyrian dates agree with the
Ptolemaic reckoning. The Assyrian eponym list reaches from 962 B.C.E. (the
first year of king Asa) to 647 B.C.E. (the 49th year of Manasseh).
There are other points of contact between Israel and Assyria,
which are most interesting and very illuminating, but these do not affect the
chronological problem as it has been worked out in Section I and presented in
the tabulation below.
Questions and comments are always welcome
İRon Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com.
Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,