Why Plain Biblical Chronology Is Not Used

A plain, literal Biblical chronology for the 8th century BC would go something like this:

Amaziah of Judah (29 years): 840-812 BC.

Jeroboam II of Israel (41 Years, from Year 15 Amaziah): 825 BC-784 BC (11 hanging years between him and successor)

Uzziah of Judah (52 years, from Year 27 of Jeroboam II): 811-759/58 BC

Zachariah of Israel (6 months, Yr 38 Uzziah): 773 BC

Shallum of Israel (1 month, Yr 39 Uzziah): 772 BC

Menahem of Israel (10 years, Yr 39 Uzziah): 772-762 BC

Pekahiah (2 years, Yr 50 Uzziah): 762-760 BC

Pekah of Israel (20 years, Year 52 of Uzziah): 760-740 BC (8 hanging years between him and successor)

Jotham of Judah (16 years, from Year 2 Pekah): 759-743 BC

Ahaz of Judah (16 years, from Year 17 of Pekah): 744-728 BC

Hoshea of Israel (9 years, “Year 20” of Jotham, “Year 12” Ahaz):732-723

Hezekiah of Judah (29 years, from Year 3 of Hoshea): 727-798 BC

The problems with this unedited chronology are, of course, that there are hanging years without a king in Israel and that this makes Biblical Chronology contradict the Mesopotamian and Egyptian Chronological Pillars:

1. The Battle of Qarqar in 853 BC, at which Shalmaneser III of Assyria listed Ahab of Israel as one of his foes (see the further discussion below).

2. The tribute of Jehu of Israel to Shalmaneser in 841 BC.

3. The invasion of Sennacherib in Hezekiah’s 14th year, 701 BC.

4. The death of King Josiah in 609 BC.

5. Nebuchadnezzar’s initial capture of Jerusalem in 605 BC, at which time Daniel and other Judeans were taken to Babylon.

6. The second capture of Jerusalem and its king Jehoiachin by Nebuchadnezzar—the exact date of which is given in the Babylonian Chronicle as 2 Adar, i.e. March 16, 597 BC.

Therefore, it seems a chronology with more co-regencies should be preferrable, as the one advocated by Thiele:

Amaziah of Judah:796-776

Jeroboam II of Israel:791-750

Uzziah/Azariah of Judah:787/76-736

Zachariah of Israel:750

Jotham of Judah:750-734

Shallum of Israel:749

Menahem of Israel:749-738

Pekahiah of Israel:738-736

Pekah of Israel:736-732

Ahaz of Judah:744 (2 Kings 16:2, 17:1) or 35 (2 Kings 16:1) -727 (Is 14:28-29)

Hoshea of Israel:732-723

Hezekiah:729-698

The date for Menahem fits with Tiglath-Pileser’s identification with Biblical Pul. A solar eclipse in what Hezekiah’s 14th year (714 BC) probably reflects the shadow going back in 2 Kings 20:11, and was probably artificially associated by the Deuteronomist with the events of 701 BC, leading scholars to invent imaginary co-regencies between Ahaz, Hezekiah, and Manasseh, placing Hezekiah from 715-687 BC, contradicting 2 Kings 20:21 and 2 Kings 18:1-10, unambiguously placing Hezekiah from 727 to 698 BC.

Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

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