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The Divided Kingdom
From here the chronology becomes a little more complicated as there are two lines of kings to correlate with each other. As will be discovered, the succession of kings was not simple with a father passing the throne down to the son at his death, but a complex mix of two kings on the same throne at the same time, and a shift in the Israeli calendar to confuse the issue even more. Many attempts have been made in the past to reconcile the chronologies of the divided kingdoms. These all failed to a greater or lesser extent to harmonize with each other, correspond with known Assyrian history and agree with all points of reference as given in the Bible for the succession of the kings. Because the methods used by historians of the past to calculate the regnal years of the kings reign were not fully understood by the chronologists of the present, many co-regencies have been attributed to periods of sole reign, extending the total time for the divided kingdom by many years, thus making it impossible to reconcile the history of Israel with it's neighbors. The shift in the calendar of the northern ten tribes of Israel by Jeroboam has also been misunderstood by chronologists who have attributed it at times to Judah and then had to make numerous changes in the method of counting regnal years from postdating to antedating.
Before starting the discussion on the period of the divided kingdoms, a short comment on the usefulness of references given for this time by Flavius Josephus in his works, would be in order. It is apparent from the text that Josephus appears to contradict himself in many places, especially with regard to the time periods between two fixed points in history. If Josephus were a historian seeking to establish a chronology of his own making it is doubtful that he would have made such blatant mistakes, bringing his credibility into question. But he was writing in a very different time than ours and his intention was to prove that the Jews were an ancient tribe and was not to create an infallible chronology. What these contradictions may actually revel is the accuracy of his reports on the historical documents of his day, not selecting between two contradicting items, but reporting both in their own place. If this position is in truth the correct one, then sections of his work that appear to support, or help to further clarify difficult points in the current work, can be taken as valid without the need to also accept another position that may contradict it.
One of the first problems encountered in the chronological record of the scriptures for the divided kingdom is, the totals given for the regnal years of the kings between two fixed historical points do not agree with each other. Rehoboam and Jeroboam-I began to reign in the same year, when Solomon died and the kingdom was divided. Ahaziah king of Judah and Joram king of Israel both died on the same day when they were killed by Jehu the next king of Israel. The total regnal years for both lines of kings should agree with each other if there were no overlapping reigns. The regnal years for the kings of Judah total ninety-five counting them in the postdating system but only ninety using the antedating method. Israel's regnal years for the same period total one hundred and four or ninety-six respectively, neither of which agree with the regnal years given for Judah. Furthermore it can be shown from the text that Jehoram came to the throne in Judah before the death of his father Jehoshaphat, making the actual time between these two events shorter than the period indicated by these regnal years. The only way for these references to be correct is if they record the total years of reign including years of co-regency when a father may have placed his son on the throne before his death.
Judah years Israel years Rehoboam 17 Jeroboam-I 22 Abijam 3 Nadab 2 Asa 41 Baasha 24 Jehoshaphat 25 Elah 2 Jehoram 8 Zimri (7 days) Ahaziah 1 Tibni 6 ---- Omri 12 Total Postdating 95 Ahab 22 Intermediate years 5 Ahaziah 2 ---- Joram (Jehoram) 12 Total Antedating 90 ----- Total Postdating 104 Intermediate years 8 ----- Total Antedating 96
When the correct changes are made to the Israeli calender and the biblical references are allowed to speak for them selves, it will become clear that only the antedating system of counting the regnal years of the kings was employed by the ancient historians at the time of the divided kingdoms. Also the number of years when a crowned prince was acting as regent before the death of the King were included in the total number of regnal years attributed to his reign, although a reference to the start of his reign may be given only from the death of his father.
All the kings of Judah up to and including Ahaziah came to the throne at the death of the father except for Jehoram who was regent for the last four years of Jehoshaphat's reign. Ahaziah king of Judah and Joram or Jehoram king of Israel were killed on the same day by Jehu the next king of Israel. The synchronism between this event and the dividing of the kingdoms at the death of Solomon give two benchmarks to test the validity of any reconstruction of history presented here.
Kings of Judah
Rehoboam 17 years 3182 to 3198 ACE Abijam 3 years 3198 to 3200 ACE Asa 41 years 3200 to 3240 ACE Jehoshaphat 25 years 3240 to 3264 ACE Jehoram 8 years 3261 to 3268 ACE Ahaziah 1 year 3268 ACE.
The simplicity of the accession of these kings need little explanation except for the four year regency of Jehoram at the end of Jehoshaphat's reign. The interrelationships between the kings of Judah and the respective accession times will be discussed when dealing with the contemporaneous king of Israel. As will be demonstrated a change in the Israeli calendar caused the regnal years for their kings to start in Heshvan the eighth month of Judean calendar whereas in Judah they start in Nisan the first month. This arrangement can become a little confusing but is invaluable when trying to fix the time of the year a particular event took place. The death of Rehoboam for example can be shown to have taken place after Heshvan and before the start of Nisan, in this case the date will be shown as YEAR:8-12 ACE. whereas the date for an event between Nisan and before the start of Heshvan would be given as YEAR:1-7 ACE.
Rehoboam 17 years 3182 to 3198 ACE
As stated above Judah continued with the ancient Mosaic calender starting the first day of the year in the month of Nisan or Abib as it is other wise known. At the death of Solomon Rehoboam began to reign in Judah for 17 years (1Ki 14:21). The first year of his reign would be 3182 ACE the year that Solomon died, making his seventeenth year 3198 ACE. in accordance with the antedating method of counting regnal years.
Abijam 3 years 3198 to 3200 ACE
Abijam's reign of three years (1Ki 15:1-2), included 3198 ACE. the last year of his fathers reign and 3200 ACE the first year of Asa.
Asa 41 years 3200 to 3240 ACE
Asa's reign of 41 years, from the death of his father Abijam in 3200 ACE until he was succeeded by his son sometime in 3240 ACE 1Ki 15:8-10.
Jehoshaphat 25 years 3240 to 3264 ACE
Jehoshaphat succeeded his father to the throne at his death in 3240 ACE and reigned for twenty-five years until 3264 ACE 1Ki 22:41-42 but close to the end of his reign he raised his son to the throne as king to reign with him in a co-regency.
Jehoram 8 years 3261 to 3268 ACE
"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"(2Ki 8:16). Here is a clear statement that Jehoram came to the throne in Judah whilst his father was still alive. Jehoram reigned for eight years and was succeeded by his son Ahaziah for one year, the remainder of the eighth year of Jehoram's reign. Ahaziah's one year of reign must have crossed the Israeli new year because he started to reign in the eleventh year of Joram and died in his twelfth when they were both killed on the same day. This arrangement places the beginning of Jehoram's first year in the middle of the fifth year of Joram king of Israel 3261:1-7 ACE. and ending in his sixth. Jehoshaphat continued to reign until 3264 ACE. therefore Jehoram reigned for the first four years as regent.
Ahaziah 1 year 3268 ACE.
As shown above Ahaziah come to the throne on the death of his father Jehoram but there appears to be some confusion as to the timing of this event. 2Ki 9:29 places his accession to the throne "in the eleventh year of Joram the son of Ahab." But 2Ki 8:25 states "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." It is possible that Ahaziah's accession to the throne occurred in the vicinity of the new year in Israel, being reported in Judah as the eleventh year of Joram but in Israel as the twelfth.
Kings of Israel
The kings of Israel had many co-regencies, Jeroboam-I and Nadab for two years 3201 to 3202 ACE., Baasha and Elah for another two years 3225 to 3226 ACE. Tibni reigned for six years 3226 to 3230 ACE. with Omri when Israel's kingdom was divided until Tibni was finally defeated. Ahaziah also reigned for the last two years of Ahab's reign. 3256 to 3257 ACE.
Jeroboam-I 22 years 3182 to 3202 ACE Nadab 2 years 3201 to 3202 ACE Baasha 24 years 3202 to 3226 ACE Elah 2 years 3225 to 3226 ACE Zimri (7 days) 3226 ACE Tibni 6 years 3226 to 3230 ACE Omri 12 years 3226 to 3237 ACE Ahab 22 years 3237 to 3257 ACE Ahaziah 2 years 3256 to 3257 ACE Joram (Jehoram) 12 years 3257 to 3268 ACE
Jeroboam 22 years 3182 to 3202 ACE.
At the death of Solomon Israel under Jeroboam-I rebelled, and he reigned for 22 years 3182 to 3202 ACE. Early in his reign "Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah,"(1Ki 12:32). The only feast in Judah on the fifteenth day of the month is the Passover in the first month, if Jeroboam changed the beginning of the year to the first day of the eighth month and called that the first month, similar to the change from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian, making January the first month of the year instead of March, December becoming the twelfth month when the name actually means ten as in decimal, then one of his regnal years would contain only seven month instead of the usual twelve. This would make the end of Rehoboam's seventeenth year the following year in the reign of Jeroboam. If Rehoboam died in the last half of his seventeenth year then it would be the eighteenth year of Jeroboam-I in agreement with the synchronism given in 1Ki 15:2 for the start of the reign of Abijam. Abijam's three year reign and the succession Asa would follow a similar pattern. Abijam's death in 3200:8-12 ACE would occur in the twentieth year of Jeroboam and the first year of Asa (1Ki 15:9-10). Jeroboam's death in his twenty-second year however, would not take place until 3202:8-12 ACE the end of Asa's third year.
Rehoboam Judah | 1st | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | 5th | ~ | 17th | Solomon -----------||====================================|=== Jeroboam-I Israel | 1st | 2nd | 3rd |4th| 5th | ~ | 17th | 18th |
Nadab 2 years 3201 to 3202 ACE.
Nadab reigned for two years from the second year of Asa (1Ki 15:25). He would also succeeded his father to the throne at Jeroboam's death in the third year of Asa's reign. As Baasha killed Nadab in the same year that Jeroboam died, Nadab's two years of reign must have ran concurrently with the last two years of Jeroboam's reign 3201:8-12 to 3202:8-12 ACE making Nadab a regent and not the sole reigning monarch for the majority of his reign.
Rehoboam | 17th | | 1st | 2nd | 3rd | Asa Abijam | 1st | 2nd | 3rd | >>========|==========|================||======= Jeroboam | 17th | 18th | 19th | 20th | 21st | 22nd | Nadab | 1st | 2nd | Baasha | 1st |
Baasha 24 years 3202 to 3226 ACE.
"In the third year of Asa, Baasha conspired against Nadab, killing him, and began to reign in Israel for 24 years"(1Ki 15:27). When Jeroboam died and Nadab began to reign, Baasha seized the opportunity to dispose of a week king, killed Nadab and usurped the throne for himself. All these events took place in the second half of Asa's third year making Baasha's first year span from the third to the forth year of Asa 3202/3 ACE. The twenty-forth and last year of his reign would therefore start in Asa's twenty-sixth year and continue through the twenty-seventh.
Elah 2 years 3225 to 3226 ACE
Elah reign for two years from the twenty-sixth year of Asa (1Ki 16:6-8) and was killed by Zimri in Asa's twenty-seventh year (2Ki 16:15). Elah must have died at the beginning of Asa's twenty-seventh year in order to allow for the correct synchronism for the end of the reign of Tibni with the thirty-first year of Asa (see below). This arrangement places Elah's accession to the throne at the beginning of Asa's twenty-sixth year 3225:1-7 ACE starting his second regnal year at Heshvan of the same year making the total time he was on the throne from as little as six month to a maximum of eighteen. It is not clear from the text whether Baasha died in the beginning or the end of his twenty-forth year. It is possible that he lived until the twenty-seventh year of Asa in which event the same thing that happened at the death of Jeroboam-I when Baasha killed Nadab could have happened to Elah at Baasha's death.
Asa | 3rd |~21~| 25th | 26th | 27th | >>==============|=====||==== Baasha | 1st |~21~| 23rd | 24th | Elah | 1st | 2nd | Zimri |--7days
Zimri 7 days 3226 ACE.
Zimri killed Elah and reigned for only seven days, burning the king's house at Tirzah down on top of him when he realized that he was defeated by Omri.
Omri 12 years 3226 to 3237 ACE.
"Now the people were encamped against Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines"and when they received word of what Zimri had done all "Israel made Omri, the captain of the host, king over Israel that day in the camp (2Ki 16:15-16)." Omri marched on Tirzah and Zimri burning the king's house down on top of him when he realized that he was defeated (1Ki 16:18). Omri and Tibni then divided Israel between them each fighting to gain control of the country in a civil war that lasted for six years, until Omri prevailed against Tibni the son of Ginath: so Tibni died, and Omri reigned (1Ki 16:22). Omri reigned for 12 years from the twenty-seventh until the thirty-eighth year of Asa when Ahab came to the throne.
Tibni 6 years 3226 to 3230 ACE
Tibni reigned over half of Israel for the first six years of Omri's reign until the thirty-first year of the reign of Asa (1Ki 16:23). If Elah lived until the twenty-seventh year of Asa and Tibni died in his thirty-first year, the only way for Tibni to reign for six years is to commence his first year in the beginning of Asa's twenty-seventh year 3226:1-7 ACE and his death occurring somewhere towards the end of Asa's thirty-first year 3230:8-12 ACE. This configuration allows for Tibni's reign to enclose five new years in Israel and therefore span a total of six years. The reign of Tibni once again demonstrates the use of the antedating method of counting the regnal years of the kings of Israel and is also useful in fixing the time of the year that Omri's reign began.
Ahab 22 years 3237 to 3257 ACE
"In the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel: and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years."(1Ki 16:29). Omri's twelfth and last year, started in the thirty-seventh year of Asa and ended in his thirty-eighth. Ahab inherited the throne at his father's death in the thirty-eighth year of Asa therefore he must have started to reign in the first half of this year, 3237:1-7 ACE. Ahab reigned for twenty-two years but his second year would have commenced at Heshvan in 3237 ACE making the start of his twenty-second in 3257 ending in 3258 ACE. By this time Asa had pass away leaving the throne to his son Jehoshaphat. Asa's forty-first and last year began in Ahab's forth and would have continued into his fifth had he lived, but Jehoshaphat inherited the throne at his father's death in the forth year of Ahab's reign (2Ki 22:41-42). It is evident therefore that it was in this later portion of Ahab's forth year the beginning of 3240:1-7 ACE that Asa died and Jehoshaphat come to the throne in Judah. If Jehoshaphat's first year was 3240 then Ahab's twenty-second year 3257 ACE. would be his eighteenth year and by this time Ahaziah was on the throne in Israel.
Asa | 37th | 38th |~2~| 41st | Jehoshaphat | 1st |~15~| 17th | 18th | 19th | >>=====|==========|=====================||=== Omri | 12th | Ahab | 1st |~2~| 4th |~15~| 20th | 21st | 22nd | Ahaziah | 1st | 2nd |
Ahaziah 2 years 3256 to 3257 ACE
"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" (1Ki 22:51). Ahab lived until the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat (above), but Ahaziah came to the throne in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat's reign. As Ahaziah reigned for two years then his first and second year must have been concurrent with Ahab's twenty-first and twenty-second years respectively because Joram inherited the throne at his death in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat. The circumstances surrounding Ahaziah's reign are similar to those of Elah's, depending on the timing of the accession his two regnal years could be as short as six months to a maximum of only eighteen. At the end of his reign Ahab joined forces with other western allies to resist Shalmaneser-III at Qarqar. This war may have been the catalyst that prompted Ahab to place his son on the throne as regent in the event of his death. But this battle is most important to the chronologist as reference is made to it in the records of the Assyrian king placing the war in the sixth year of Shalmaneser-III and naming Ahab as one of the opposing kings. The records also name Jehu as paying Shalmaneser tribute in the eighteenth year of his reign indicating a period greater than eleven years but less than thirteen between these two events.
Joram (Jehoram) 12 years 3257 to 3268 ACE
"Now Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years."(2Ki 3:1). It was during the last five month of the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat that Ahab and then Ahaziah died, as explained above, leaving the kingdom of Israel to Joram who reigned for twelve years from 3257:8-12 until 3268:8:12 ACE. In the forth year of his reign his name sake Jehoram came to the throne as the first regent in Judah since the dividing of the kingdom at the death of Solomon. Jehoram reigned in Judah for eight years until his death in 3268:1-7 ACE when his son Ahaziah came to the throne. Later the same year 3268:8-12 ACE saw the assassination of both Ahaziah and Joram at the hand of Jehu the next king of Israel.
So far it has been shown that with one simple manipulation of the calendar used by the kingdom of Israel, for which we have given evidence of a reasonable biblical precedent, all the kings regnal years from the death of Solomon to the assassination of Ahaziah and Joram, fit together perfectly. There has been no need for a switch between the postdating and antedating methods of accounting for the regnal years of the kings up to this point. In fact as has been shown that more information can be gleaned from the documentation using this model than any other. But was this system of counting the regnal years of the kings of both Israel and Judah continued throughout the divided kingdoms until the carrying off of Israel into Assyria and the Babylonian captivity of Judah at the hand of Nebuchadnezzar? As is shown below placing the battle of Qarqar in the last year of Ahab's reign 3257 ACE aligns the eighteenth year of Shalmaneser-III with 3269 ACE the end of the first year of Jehu and the start of his second.
The same principle used above can now with reasonable confidence be applied to the remaining kings of Israel and Judah to complete the time line of the Hebrews under the divided kingdom until the fall of Jerusalem and the Babylonian captivity at the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.
Jehu 28 years 3268 to 3296 ACE
After Jehu slew Joram and Ahaziah he assumed the throne of Israel leaving Judah to Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah. Jehu reigned from 3268:8-12 ACE for 28 years until the start of 3296 ACE when he died and left the kingdom to Jehoahaz his son. As mentioned above Jehu paid tribute to Shalmaneser-III in his eighteenth year. If the battle of Qarqar occurred in Ahab's seventeenth or eighteenth year 3257 ACE then the eighteenth year of Shalmaneser-III becomes 3269 ACE the end of Jehu's first year or the beginning of his second, well within the required time period for harmonizing with the events of both chronologies.
Athaliah 7 years 3268 to 3274 ACE
The synchronism for the start of the reign of Athaliah are not given in the bible but reference to the circumstances surrounding her accession to the throne give a clear indication that it was immediately after she received news of the death of her son. Realizing that her son Ahaziah was dead Athaliah killed all the royal seed, except for Jehoash for he was hidden, and took the kingdom of Judah for herself for seven years. Ahaziah was killed after the new year in Israel 3268 ACE, (see above) in the later half of the Jewish calendar year, therefore as Athaliah began to reign as soon the news of her son's death reach her it can reasonably assumed that she started to reign in the same year. Athaliah's reigned for seven years bring our time line up to 3274:8-12 ACE. the beginning of the seventh year of Jehu.
Jehoash (Joash) 40 years 3274 to 3314 ACE
"Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king's sons that were slain, and put him and his nurse in a bedchamber. So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of king Jehoram, the wife of Jehoiada the priest, (for she was the sister of Ahaziah,) hid him from Athaliah, so that she slew him not. And he was with them hid in the house of God six years: and Athaliah reigned over the land." (2Chr 22:11-12)
The six years that Jehoash was hidden in the temple were not regnal years starting at Nisan but actual years counting from the time that he entered the sanctuary. The first year starting at the beginning of Athaliah's reign, and the sixth ending around the same time of the year in her seventh regnal year 3274:8-12 ACE. Jehoash came to the throne of Judah in the seventh year of both Athaliah and Jehu (2Ki12:1), and it must have been the towards the end of year when Athaliah was killed because Jehu's regnal years lagged behind Athaliah's by over half a year. As Jehoash became king of Judah at the beginning of the seventh year of Jehu king of Israel, he would count his first regnal year from Nisan in the spring of Jehu's sixth year, therefore Jehu's twenty-eighth year would begin in the twenty-second and end in the twenty-third regnal year of Jehoash.
Jehoahaz 17 years 3296 to 3311 ACE
Jehoahaz was made king of Israel in the twenty-third year of Jehoash king of Judah (2Ki 13:1)3296:1-7ACE. The end of Jehu's twenty-eighth and last year overlaps the start of the twenty-third year of Jehoash. It was therefore in the beginning of this year, that Jehoahaz came to the throne in Israel. Jehoahaz reigned for seventeen years until the thirty-eighth or thirty-ninth year of Jehoash, this would place his death in 3311 or 3312 ACE. It is not possible on the grounds of the biblical record alone to identify the exact time of Jehoahaz's death but his son Joash began to reign in Israel in the thirty-seventh year of Jehoash king of Judah, one or even two regnal years before the death of his father, making the start of the reign of Joash a co-regency. The earliest date for his death would be the end of 3311 ACE. at the start of his seventeenth year.
Joash (Jehoash) 16 years 3310 to 3324 ACE
As stated above Joash began his sixteen year reign in Israel, in the thirty-seventh year of Jehoash king of Judah, (2Ki 13:10). The time of year is not give but if Joash come to the throne in the beginning of this year, the end of his fathers fifteenth, when Amaziah came to the throne in Judah in the second year of Joash (2Ki 14:1), the reference should have been to the sixteenth year of Jehoahaz as he would have still been alive. If he was already dead when Amaziah came to the throne of Judah then the seventeenth year of Jehoahaz was the same as the second year of Joash, making the first year of Joash's reign the sixteenth year of his father's reign and a shift of one year necessary. A reign of sixteen years would require that Joash lived until the end 3324 ACE, if his death was in the beginning of the regnal year, or the beginning of 3325 ACE otherwise. Either one is possible and would affects the timing of the reign of Amaziah as it was his fifteenth year when Joash died. The above notwithstanding, for the purpose of determining the shortest possible time period for the chronology of the divided kingdoms it is necessary to place the start of the reign of Joash at the beginning of the year 3310:1-7 ACE and recognize that this is one area that may need adjusting later.
Amaziah 29 years 3310 to 3338 ACE
Jehoash king of Judah, had Zachariah, the son of Jehoiada the priest, stoned to death (2Chr 24:22), as punishment God brought Syria against him, leaving the city destroyed and Jehoash with many diseases. This may have prompted Jehoash to place his son Amaziah on the throne as crowned prince. Amaziah came to the throne in Judah "In the second year of Joash king of Israel" (2Kings 14:1). The servants of Jehoash then conspired against him and killed him (2Chr 24:25) leaving the throne to Amaziah. Amaziah armed and strengthened Judah, and after the death of his father Jehoash, made a campaign against the Edomites (2Chr 25:14). On his victorious return he challenged Joash king of Israel, a war he lost and was probably taken captive into Israel with other hostages, (2Chr 25:24) until after the death of Joash. The synchronization for the death of Joash in 3324 ACE. is Amaziah's fifteenth year. "Amaziah lived after the death of Joash fifteen years" (2Kings 14:17), bringing us to 3338 ACE. when he died.
Azariah and Jeroboam-II
The timing of the succession of Azariah the kings of Judah, and that of Jeroboam-II until Zachariah kings of Israel is in no way clear from the text. If Azariah followed his father Amaziah to the throne upon his death, then the total period from the first year of Amaziah to the thirty-eighth year of Azariah would be 29 -1 +38 = 66 years. The same period calculated from the second year of Joash until the death of Jeroboam-II would be -1 +16 -1 +41 = 55 years. There is a difference of eleven years to account for so assuming that there were no periods of interregnum Azariah must have been made king for some time before the death of his father.
If the reference to the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam-II king of Israel (2Ki 15:1-2), when Azariah began to reign, is a reference to the first year of his reign then the thirty-eighth year of Azariah would be Jeroboam's sixty-forth. Jeroboam only reigned for forty-one years and his last regnal year continued through the end of the thirty-eighth to the thirty-ninth year of Azariah. In the thirty-eighth year of Azariah king of Judah Zachariah the son of Jeroboam-II began to reign for six month (2Ki 15:8) until Azariah's thirty-ninth year when Shallum killed him. The six months of Zachariah's reign could have started as early as the eighth month of Azariah's thirty-eighth year ending in the first month of his thirty-ninth or as late as the last month of his thirty-eighth year continuing until the fifth month of his thirty-ninth. Neither of these two extremes allows for the crossing of the new year in Israel, therefore the six months of Zachariah's reign must have run concurrent with his fathers forty-first year. Jeroboam-II may have died before Zachariah came to the throne, or as with Jeroboam-I and Baasha he may have placed his son on the throne before his death. The son being in a vulnerable position at the death of his father, left himself open to the ambitions of Shallum. As Jeroboam's last regnal year and Zachariah's six month reign both cross the Nisan new year, then the commencement of Jeroboam's forty-first regnal year remains solidly established in the eight month of the thirty-eighth year of Azariah and consequently the beginning of Azariah's first regnal year must have been in Jeroboam's third.
Azariah (J) | 1 |~22~| 24 | 25 |~12~| 38 | 39 | Jeroboam (I) |1| 2 | 3 | 4 |~22~| 27 | 28 |~12~| 41 |
If the forty-first year of Jeroboam-II was the thirty-eighth to thirty-ninth year of Azariah then the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam-II was the twenty-forth to twenty-fifth year of Azariah and 2Ki 15:1-2 must relate to the death of Amaziah and the beginning of the reign of his son in his own right, not to Azariah's first regnal year. If Amaziah reigned for twenty-nine years and died close to the end of this year in the twenty-seventh regnal year of Jeroboam-II then Jeroboam had to start his reign in the third or forth year of Amaziah.
Amaziah (J) | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |~24~| 29 | Jeroboam (I) | 1 | 2 |~24~| 27 |
But Amaziah could have died at the beginning of the Jewish year, making it the end of the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam, then Jeroboam would have started to reign in Amaziah's second or third year and not the third or forth as stated above.
Amaziah (J) | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |~24~| 29 | Jeroboam (I) | 1 | 2 |~24~| 27 |
The same precedent set for the interpretation of 2Ki 15:1-2 also applies to 2Ki 14:23 "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." If the first year of Jeroboam's reign began in Amaziah's second or third year, the fifteenth year of Azariah reign would therefore be around the thirteenth year of Jeroboam's reign and the reference to the beginning of Jeroboam's reign in the fifteenth year of Amaziah is once again applicable to the death of his father Joash, and the coming of the crowned prince to the throne in his own right. Joash reigned for only sixteen years, and if he died in the thirteenth year of the crowned prince Jeroboam, then Jeroboam came to the throne around the third or forth year of his father's reign.
The precise timing of the reigns of these kings is by no means established by the foregoing arguments as can be seen from the difficulties encountered when the time of year for the accession is not given. There are many ways to interpret the references for these kings as given in the Bible each with it's own set of arguments, the shortest scenario places the end of Jeroboam's reign and the thirty-eighth year of Azariah in 3351:8-12 ACE. while the longest approximates it to be 3354 ACE. if the later accession date for Joash is also taken into consideration. To keep thing as simple as possible and in keeping with the objective previously stated only the shortest scenario will be presented here, this will ultimately fix the thirty-eighth year of Azariah in 3351 ACE. with the understanding that the dates given hereafter may be adjusted up to four years if necessary.
Jeroboam II 41 years 3312 to 3351 ACE.
Joash king of Israel, would have been aware of the military preparations by Amaziah, and may have been hired by him for; "He (Amaziah) hired also an hundred thousand mighty men of valour out of Israel for an hundred talents of silver" (2Chr 25:6). To protect his throne Joash may have been preparing his son as crowned prince, to take over if anything happened to him in the battle. The first year of Jeroboam's reign started in the fall of Amaziah's third year, ending in his fourth 3312/13 ACE. This makes the synchronization for the death of Amaziah in 3338 ACE. at the end of the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam-II (2Kings 15:1-2). Jeroboam reigned for 41 years until 3351 ACE.
Azariah (Uzziah) 52 years 3314 to 3365 ACE.
Amaziah's defeat by Joash, left Israel with no king; "And all the people of Judah took Azariah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king instead of his father Amaziah." (2Kings 14:21) As established above, this had to come about in the third year of Jeroboam's reign and the fifth year of Amaziah's, 3314 ACE, in order to make Jeroboam's forty-first year synchronized with Azariah's thirty-eighth to thirty-ninth year. Azariah reigned for 52 years until his death in 3365 ACE.
Zachariah 6 months 3351 to 3352 ACE.
Shallum 1 month 3352 ACE.
The end of Azariah's thirty-eighth year 3351:8-12 ACE, marked the beginning of the reign of Zachariah (2Kings 15:8). Six months later, after the commencement of the following Jewish year 3352:1-5 ACE, Zachariah was killed , and then only one month later Shallum was killed by Menahem who proclaimed himself king of Israel (2Kings 15:10, 13 & 14).
Menahem 10 years 3354 to 3363 ACE.
If Menahem began to reign in the thirty-ninth year of Azariah (2Kings 15:17), and died "In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah" when "Pekahiah the son of Menahem began to reign over Israel in Samaria"(2Kings 15:23), then Menahem reigned for thirteen years and not the ten as stated in 2Kings 15:17. But: "Then Menahem smote Tiphsah, and all that were therein, and the coasts thereof from Tirzah: because they opened not to him,"(2Kings 15:16). It is possible that Menahem could not start counting his regnal years for some time especially considering that; "Pul the king of Assyria came against the land: and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand. Menahem had difficulty having his authority recognized and took the kingdom by force. His regnal years as king may not have been officially counted until the kingdom was confirmed by Pul the king of Assyria. It is of little consequence to the overall chronology whether ten or thirteen years are applied to the reign of Menahem as long as his death and consequential succession by Pekahiah is synchronized with Azariah's fiftieth year 3363:8-12 ACE.
Pekahiah 2 years 3363 to 3365 ACE.
Pekahiah reigned for two years 2Kings 15:23. The first year of his reign began in 3363:8-12 ACE. the fiftieth year of Azariah, and the second year would end in the fifty-second year of Azariah 3365:1-7 ACE. when "Pekah the son of Remaliah, a captain of his, conspired against him," (2Kings 15:25) killed him and took the throne for himself. Menahem must have lived until at least the last half of the fiftieth year of Azariah, dyeing in the first half of his tenth year in order for the two years of Pekahiah to extend into three years of the reign of Azariah.
Azariah(J) | 50 | 51 | 52 | Jotham(J) |1| 2 | Pekahiah(I) | 1 | 2 | Pekah(I) |1| 2 |
Pekah 20 years 3365 to 3384 ACE.
Pekah would start counting his regnal years from the previous new year in Israel. The first year of his reign was the same year as the second year of Pekahiah and therefore his second year started only a few months after he became king still in the fifty-second year of Azariah. Pekah reigned until 3384:1-7 ACE. when he died at the hands of Hoshea towards the end of his twentieth year. (2Kings 15:30) "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."
Jotham 16 years 3365 to 3380 ACE
"In the second year of Pekah the son of Remaliah king of Israel began Jotham the son of Uzziah king of Judah to reign. Five and twenty years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem." (2Kings 15:32-33). Jotham counted his regnal years from the death of his father Azariah. Although Jotham came to the throne in Judah in the second year of Pekah, his first regnal year started in the spring in Pekah's first year. Each of these two kings had regnal years corresponding to each other except the regnal years for the reign of Jotham in Judah lagged behind those of Israel by half a year. The above statement that Hoshea slew Pekah in the twentieth year of Jotham, when Jotham only reigned for sixteen years seems to be contradictory, but the reference bears witness that Pekah's reign extended into the second half of his twentieth year as the first half would have been Jotham's nineteenth year. Whether Jotham lived until his twentieth year or not is irrelevant as this reference may be similar to that of (2Chr 16:1) "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." Baasha died in the twenty-sixth or twenty-seventh year of Asa and the thirty-sixth year must apply to the thirty-sixth year of the divided kingdom in the reign of Asa, placing it in 3217 ACE. the eighteenth year of Asa's reign. Jotham's sixteen year reign ended in the last half of this year 3380:7-12 ACE, after the new year in Israel as is evident from the accession of Ahaz in the seventeenth year of Pekah.
Ahaz 16 years 3373 to 3388 ACE.
Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, (2Kings 16:2). If Ahaz came to the throne in "the seventeenth year of Pekah" (2Kings 16:1) and Pekah reigned for twenty years, then Pekah would have died in the fifth year of Ahaz. But Pekah king of Israel was killed by Hoshea "In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah" (2Kings 17:1) 3384:1-7 ACE. as has already been established above. If Pekah was killed in the twelfth year of Ahaz and the twentieth year of Jotham then Ahaz must have started his reign in the ninth year of Jotham's reign. This regnal year began in the ninth year of Pekah and continued to his tenth. The reference to the seventeenth year of Pekah once again must therefore be to the end of the reign of Jotham in his sixteenth year, when Ahaz went from crowned prince to king in his own right and not to the beginning of his reign. As Pekah began his reign in the Heshvan year starting in 3364 ACE. then his ninth year started in 3372 ACE. If Ahaz started to reign in this year it would place the twelfth year of his reign in the nineteenth year of Jotham's reign in stead of his twentieth as stated above when Pekah was killed. Ahaz therefore must have started to reign in the first half of 3373 ACE. corresponding to the end of the ninth year of Pekah's reign. Ahaz reigned for sixteen years and as Hoshea began to reign in Israel at the beginning of the twelfth year of Ahaz, his reign continued to the Nisan year corresponding to the fifth and sixth year of Hoshea's reign.
Hoshea 9 years 3384 to 3391 ACE.
As previously established Pekah's death was brought about at the hand of Hoshea in 3384:1-7 ACE. when he usurped the throne. His first year ended in the fall of the same year and he reigned for nine years, until Israel was carried off into 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: in the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken. And the king of Assyria carried Israel away unto Assyria, and put them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes,"(2Ki 18:9-11). The forth and sixth years of Hezekiah's reign overlapped the seventh and ninth years of Hoshea's reign respectively, but which half of the years overlapped is not given. If the beginning of Hezekiah's sixth year overlapped the end of Hoshea's ninth then the end of Hoshea's reign extends into the following year and would delay the start of Hezekiah's reign by a full year. Fortunately the beginning of Hezekiah's reign is given as the third year of Hoshea's reign (2Kings 18:1). If the first year of Hezekiah started at Nisan in the third year of Hoshea then only the end of the forth and sixth years of Hezekiah overlap seventh and ninth years of Hoshea's reign. As this alignment places the beginning of the first year of Hezekiah in the third year of Hoshea and the end of his sixth in the ninth year of Hoshea's reign, there is no possibility of an adjustment without failing to maintain alignment with one or more scriptural references. If the first year of Hoshea's reign ended at Heshvan in 3384 ACE. then Shalmaneser started his campaign against Israel in 3389:8-12 ACE. the beginning of Hoshea's seventh year. Hoshea and all Israel fell to Shalmaneser in the third year of the siege the beginning of Hoshea's ninth year and Hezekiah's sixth 3391:8-12 ACE.
Hezekiah(J) | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | ===|================O=========|== Hoshea(I) | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 |
This was the end of the divided kingdom, Israel carried off into Assyria was eventually lost to history, never to return as a nation to there homeland. The span of time from Israel's rebellion under Jeroboam-I until their captivity according to this chronology was from 3182 to 3391 ACE. a total of 210 regnal years. Josephus Flavius accounts for the same time period in his Antiquities of the Jews as "two hundred and forty years, seven months, and seven days after they had revolted from Rehoboam, the grandson of David, and had given the kingdom to Jeroboam."(Ant 9.14.1) or 241 regnal years. The discrepancy of thirty-one years can be accounted for if we assume that Josephus recognized that Jotham and Ahaz had overlapping reigns. The twentieth year of Jotham 2Ki 15:30 and the twelfth year of Ahaz 2Ki 17:1 was the same year that Hoshea killed Pekah, and would require Ahaz to ascend to the throne of Judah in the ninth year of Jotham's reign. If only nine years is accounted to the sole reign of Jotham before Ahaz came to the throne, and the antedating system is applied to the accession of all the kings of Judah then the total time is in agreement with Josephus. Josephus recognized that the kings of Judah had from the time of their inception used the antedating method of counting regnal years as has been done here throughout. He may not have realized that there had been many more overlapping reigns than just that of Jotham and Ahaz, nor the inconsistency created in the chronology of Israel's history, as his main aim in writing The Antiquities of The Jews was to show the ancient roots from which the Jewish people descended. This dose not mean that the work of Josephus should be discarded, but great care must be taken to prove even the most eminent of scholars correct, before accepting their positions as truth.
With Israel carried off into Assyria and the loss of a cross reference with the two lines of kings, the ability to create a reasonably correct chronology becomes more difficult. If known Assyrian and Babylonian records are compared the time period between Israel's defeat in 710 B.C. and the Babylonian captivity of the Jews in 597 B.C. is only 114 years. This would appear too short a span to contain the ninety-nine and a half regnal years plus the twenty-four regnal years left in Hezekiah's reign, a total of 123 years. Even if an allowance is made for the overlapping of the regnal years of four kings due to the antedating system and ignoring the two periods of three month reigns applicable to Jehoahaz and Jehoiachin it would still require 119 years to complete, unless there were other co-regencies. As above the following reconstruction is based exclusively on the minimum amount of time required to complete the reigns of the kings with full adherence to the references as given in scripture.
Hezekiah 29 years 3386 to 3414 ACE.
As stated above Ahaz continued to reign until the end of the fifth or the beginning of the sixth year of Hoshea. However Hezekiah came to the throne in Judah in the end of the third year of Hoshea 3386:1-7 ACE. (2Ki 18:1) making the start of his reign a co-regency with his father. Hezekiah reigned for twenty-nine years until 3414 ACE.
Manasseh 55 years 3400 to 3454 ACE.
"Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. (2Ki 21:1)"
The reign of Manasseh for fifty-five years may have overlapped that of his father for up to the last fifteen years of Hezekiah's reign, for; "In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith Jehovah, Set thy house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live." (2Ki 20:1). This warning to set his house in order may have prompted Hezekiah to place his twelve year old son Manasseh on the throne as crowned prince in the event of his impending death. However Hezekiah prayed that he would not die and he was granted another fifteen years to live (2Ki 20:2-6). This fifteen year extension to the life of Hezekiah may have resulted in a co-regency with Manasseh removing the impediment to the harmonization with current chronological thinking for the histories of Assyria and Babylon. If Manasseh became crowned prince in the fifteenth year of Hezekiah 3400 ACE. then his fifty-five regnal years would end in 3454 ACE. But Josephus claimed that Hezekiah's prayer was to live long enough to provide an heir:- (Ant 10.2.1) "there was a very melancholy circumstance that disordered the king, which was the consideration that he was childless, and was going to die, and leave his house and his government without a successor of his own body; so he was troubled at the thoughts of this his condition, and lamented himself, and entreated of God that he would prolong his life for a little while till he had some children, and not suffer him to depart this life before he was become a father. Hereupon God had mercy upon him, and accepted of his supplication, because the trouble he was under at his supposed death was not because he was soon to leave the advantages he enjoyed in the kingdom, nor did he on that account pray that he might have a longer life afforded him, but in order to have sons, that might receive the government after him. And God sent Isaiah the prophet, and commanded him to inform Hezekiah, that within three days' time he should get clear of his distemper, and should survive it fifteen years, and that he should have children also."If Hezekiah were childless and with no expectation of a successor after his death, and his sickness was at the beginning his fifteenth year, then Manasseh could have been born at the end of that year or at the beginning of the following year 3400 or 3401 ACE. If he was twelve years old when he came to the throne then his accession would have been no earlier than some time in Hezekiah's twenty-seventh year 3412 ACE. and possibly even later. The proposition that Manasseh came to the throne at the time of Hezekiah's sickness is the one that will be followed here as it give the shortest possible time for their reigns and allowances may have to be made later if this is found to be in error.
Amon 2 years 3453 to 3454 ACE.
"And Manasseh slept with his fathers, and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza: and Amon his son reigned in his stead. Amon was twenty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem (2Ki 21:18-19). And the servants of Amon conspired against him, and slew the king in his own house (2Ki 21:23)." Amon may have ascended the throne at his fathers death in 3454 ACE. or as with Nadab son of Jeroboam and Elah son of Baasha, made crowned prince for the last two regnal years of Manasseh's reign, being slain soon after the death of his father. This is the position adopted here to be consistent with the general aim of this work, placing the death of Amon in the same year as that of Manasseh 3454 ACE.
Josiah 31 years 3454 to 3484 ACE.
"And the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against king Amon; and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead (2Ki 21:24). Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem (2Ki 22:1)." If Josiah began to reign in 3454 ACE. then thirty-one years later his reign would end when he opposed Neco in 3484 ACE. for; "In his days Pharaohnechoh 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. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and anointed him, and made him king in his father's stead (2Ki 23:29-30)." If Neco observed the normal pattern of campaigning, starting after the unfavorable winter weather gave way to more compatible spring conditions, then Josiah would have been killed either early in his thirty-first year after the Passover, or almost at the end for the year just before the Passover.
Jehoahaz 3 months 3484 to 3485 ACE.
Jehoahaz was king for only three months when his reign was cut short by Neco, returning from his war with Assyria, put him in bonds and took him back to Egypt with him, putting his brother Eliakim on the throne in his place and changing his name to Jehoiakim (2Ki 23:31-34). The shortest possible scenario for the succession of Josiah Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim, would place the start of Jehoiakim's reign in the same year as the death of Josiah with the reign of Jehoahaz between. But this would contradict the reference in Jeremiah 25:3 that states from the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah until the forth year of Jehoiakim was a period of twenty-three years. From the thirteenth year of Josiah until the end of his reign was nineteen years plus the four years of Jehoiakim gives a total of twenty-three years. If Jehoiakim had come to the throne in the same year that Josiah died then the time between these two points would only be twenty-two years and not the twenty-three required. The only possible solution to agree with all the references above is to place the death of Josiah just before the Passover at the end of his thirty-first year then the three month of the reign of Jehoahaz encompassed the Jewish new year and Jehoiakim would not start to reign until the beginning of 3485 ACE.
Jehoiakim. 11 years 3485 to 3495 ACE.
"Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem (2Ki 23:36)." Jehoiakim came to the throne after his brother was deposed by Neco, therefore his reign would not overlap any other reign and a co-regency at the beginning of his reign is not possible. The eleven years of his reign continued from 3485 to 3495 ACE. and will be dealt with in more detail below. "So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead (2Ki 24:6)."
Jehoiachin 3 month 3495 ACE.
"Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, (or eight years old - 2Chr 36:9) and he reigned in Jerusalem three months (2Ki 24:8)." Unlike Jehoahaz, there appears to be no contradiction placing the whole of Jehoiachin's reign for three month during the eleventh and last regnal year of his father. At the end of his three month reign Nebuchadnezzar replaced Jehoiachin with Mattaniah his father's brother, and changed his name to Zedekiah. Whether Jehoiachin was only eight or eighteen years of age when he came to the throne, Nebuchadnezzar may have shown compassion towards because of his youth, and the fact that he did not oppose him when he came to besiege the city. Jehoiachin, along with a large group of the Jewish captives were taken by Nebuchadnezzar into Babylon (2Ki 24:10-17).
Zedekiah 11 years 3495 to 3505 ACE.
"Zedekiah was twenty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem (2Ki 24:18)." Zedekiah had given Nebuchadnezzar an oath to be his servant but after eight years he rebelled, relying in vain on a war with Egypt to remove the Babylonian yoke. But "In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, came Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon and all his army against Jerusalem, and they besieged it. And in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, the city was broken up (Jer 39:1&2)." This was the end of the kings, Zedekiah had reigned for eleven years from 3495 until 3505 ACE. when he was captured and taken into Babylon along with the rest of the surviving Jews to complete their prophesied seventy years of captivity. "And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem: And he burnt the house of the LORD, and the king's house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man's house burnt he with fire (2Ki 25:8-9)."
It has been demonstrated above that it is possible to harmonize all the biblical references to the regnal years of the kings without changing the method of calculating the length of their reigns, (postdating verses antedating) nor relying upon scribel errors or late erroneous insertions into the text, once the correct adjustment is made to the Israeli calender, leaving the Judean one alone.
The minimum amount of time for the king of Israel and Judah is 324 years from the death of Solomon to the destruction of Jerusalem, and from the creation of Adam to the destruction of the temple 3505 years. Below is a quote from Josephus Antiquities of the Jews from Ant X.8.5:-
"Now the temple was burnt four hundred and seventy years, six months, and ten days after it was built. It was then one thousand and sixty-two years, six months, and ten days from the departure out of Egypt; and from the deluge to the destruction of the temple, the whole interval was one thousand nine hundred and fifty-seven years, six months, and ten days; but from the generation of Adam, until this befell the temple, there were three thousand five hundred and thirteen years, six months, and ten days; so great was the number of years hereto belonging."
Although Josephus work is self contradicting particularly with regard to his dating, it will be noted however that the time period from Adam to the destruction of Jerusalem is very close to that concluded in this work. Josephus could not have calculated this time period from the information given in his own work, and therefore must have been copied from some other source. The difference I believe is to be found in the timing of Manasseh's reign, placing the beginning of it closer to the end of Hezekiah's reign.
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