50. CHRONOLOGICAL CHARTS, AND TABLES.
1. Systematic tabulation being the only satisfactory method, to eye and understand alike, of presenting Biblical, or any other numbers, this course has been adopted in the following charts.
To ensure accuracy, "Section" paper has been used throughout.
The importance of this is, that, for the first time, (it is believed) Bible readers will have placed in their hands a series of Chronological Tables of the main dated events in the Old Testament, which they can test and check for themselves.
As a rule, the Chronological
Charts already available are set before the reader, either on a scale so minute
that they must be received or rejected as a whole, or else so encumbered with
extraneous matter relating to Babylon, Egypt, Greece, Rome, &c., as to be
hopelessly bewildering to the ordinary Bible reader.
2. The problems of Biblical Chronology cannot be solved by mere computation, after the manner of some.
Neither must they be dealt with
by arbitrarily adopting a particular date, and reckoning from that onward to
Christ, and back to Adam. This is a position that cannot be maintained; as
the charts will show.
3. Again, the use of the "Sothic cycles", eclipses, and other astronomical methods for "settling" Biblical dates, has not been sought. On the contrary, any appeals for aid from such sources have been carefully avoided.
If the record of the Scripture
as to its own times and numbers is not self-contained, then it must be
hopeless to supplement it by guesses and "explanations" as to
the movements of the heavenly bodies, used mainly in support of human arguments
4. The position occupied in The Companion Bible is that all Scripture is "given by inspiration of God," qeovpneusto (theopneustos) = God breathed. Therefore, the record of the dates and periods stated in the Bible are as much inspired as any other portion of it; and are as much to be relied on for accuracy as those statements upon which we rest in hope of eternal salvation. They must be as unreservedly received and believed as any other statements contained in its pages.
5. When it is stated that a certain king began to reign in such and such a year of the reign of another king, and that he reigned for so many years, it is accepted, and charted down accordingly.
6. One of the greatest difficulties which chronologers have to face is, and always has been, the apparent conflict between the record in 1Kings 6:1, that Solomon's temple was commenced "in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt"; while in Acts 13:17-22 the same amounts to 573 years, a difference of ninety-three years.
In the majority of cases 1Kings 6:1 has been adopted by chronologists as being correct, St. Paul's reckoning being left to take care of itself; or, they say that he was "misinformed", or "only speaking generally."
The simple fact is both are right.
The solution of the difficulty is that St. Paul's statement is according to Anno Mundi years (573) -- the other, on the principle of what we may call Anno Dei reckoning (480). (See the "Lo-Ammi" periods chart, 50. vii. 11).
The charts show that, on the plain and straight-forwad statements of the Scriptures themselves, the actual Anno Mundi period from the Exodus to the commencement of Solomon's temple was exactly 573 years, thus agreeing with St. Paul, and absolutely verifying the reckoning in Acts 13:17-22.
But the four hundred and eightieth year of 1Kings 6 is also as absolutely correct, only it is reckoned from the Exodus on a different principle -- viz. according to God's reckoning.
The difference in years between the two statements is, as already said, the ninety-three years of the servitudes.
Now, to ignore ninety-three years in the lifetime of the world cannot be done without upsetting all other dates.
Yet this is precisely what is generally done.
Understanding the "four hundred and eightieth year" as being on Anno Mundi reckoning instead of according to Anno Dei reckoning, chronologers are compelled, in order to make things "agree", to handle and compress the figures and facts of the Judges period in the most arbitrary manner.
St. Paul's testimony is that "God gave (them) Judges about 450 years until Samuel the prophet". (Acts 13:20.)
The adverb of time here translated until (e]w", heos, until, as long as), marks the completion of an action up to the time of the commencement of another. Here, it denotes the fulfilment of the times of the Judges, ending with the close of Samuel's forty years, and the commencement of the kingdom. (Cp. the use of e]w"-- heos -- in Matt. 1:25, "until she had brought forth her firstborn son.")
The chart 50. iv. exactly
coincides with St. Paul's statement. The Judgeship period ends, and
the kingdom time begins with Saul in 1000 B.C.
7. The advantage of the SECTIONAL LINES in the charts will be apparent to all students of the Word of God.
The difficulty experienced in making the two lines of the kings of Judah and Israel "agree" is overcome quite simply by setting the Davidian dynasty, and those of the kings of Israel, on what may be termed and interlocking system, by the use of the parallel horizontal section lines.
When, for instance, it is stated in 2Kings 8:16, "In the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel (Jehoshaphat being then king of Judah began to reign" : Chart 50. vii shows this; and, while vindicating the accuracy of the statement in the text -- followed in the A.V. and R.V. (with a doubtful note in the latter) as to Jehoshaphat being at that time king of Judah -- it shows further that Jehoshaphat had joined his son with him in associate-kingship in the third year before his death.
The extreme value to the student
of this principle will be seen in this and other instances, especially in the
Ezra-Nehemiah period. See Chart 50. vii. 5.
8. In Chart 50, vii. 7, 8, 9, 10, are given a few of the significant periods of 430, 450, 490, and 1,000 years.
The Tables will enable others to follow up these figures on the same lines; and doubtless many other important periods will be noted by those who delight in searching into the wonders of the Word of Life.
This, by means of the Section
lines, can be done accurately.
9. In the Charts themselves the terminus a quo is the creation of Adam; while the terminus ad quem is the Crucifixion (although the charting is continued on to the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus).
The unit of measurement is the number of years given as the lifetime of Adam : viz. 930. (Gen. 5:5.)
Commencing with this, and taking each link as it follows, the chain is seen to extend in perfect sequence until it ends with the "cutting off of the Messiah" at the close of the sixty-ninth of the seventy sevens of Dan. 9:25, 26 -- in A.D. 29. That is 4,033 from the Creation.
It shows also that the period from Adam to the Nativity was eighty jubilees (on Anno Mundi reckoning, but see note on p. 70) or 4,000 years.
Each shaded column stands for 100 years (same in the detail charts) consisting of 10 sections of 10 years each.
Every year, therefore, from beginning to end is shown, and nothing is left, in this respect, to chance or guesswork.
The figures to the left of this shaded column are B.C. dates : that is, they are reckoned from the common era of A.D. 0. But, all are agreed that the birth of Christ took place four years earlier :-- therefore, for any date required from the Nativity itself, these four years must be deducted in each case.
On so small a scale it is almost
humanly impossible to avoid some slight overlappings in connection with
periods of the kings, owing to the use of the cardinal and ordinal numbers, and
the absence in most cases of hints as to the time of year at which some of the
reigns began or ended. But the "charting" has been done with the
most careful and anxious exactitude, and the "interlocking" system,
above referred to, has reduced such minutiae to (it is believed) the narrowest
10. The principle employed in the Scriptures of this interlocking, or cross-checking, is of great significance and importance.
On the charts these are set down exactly as they are given.
No attempt is made to manipulate the figures, e.g. --
(a) When the record days "in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel, and Ahab ... reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years" (1Kings 16:29), it is charted accordingly, and this shows that Ahaziah was joined in co-regency with his father Ahab two years before the death of the latter, in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat (1Kings 22:51).
(b) In 2Kings 14:23 it is stated -- "in the fifteenth year of Amaziah, the son of Joash king of Judah Jeroboam (II) the son of Joash king of Israel began to reign in Samaria, (and reigned) forty and one years."
Now, Amaziah's twenty-nine years of reigning in Jerusalem (2Kings 14:2) end, as the chart shows, in the fourteenth year of Jeroboam; and, as Uzziah, Amaziah's son, began his reign in the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam (2Kings 15:1), it follows that a gap of thirteen years intervenes in the line of Judah between Amaziah and Uzziah.
No attempt is made to bridge this gap, much less to curtail or ignore it.
The Scriptures are silent as to the reason for this break. The interval stands there, a plainly recorded fact, and is charted down accordingly.
In the same way there is an interval of twenty-four years on the Israel side between Jeroboam II and his son Zechariah's accession. But Scripture gives no detail as to how the intervening space was occupied.
In the case of the Davidian
dynasty, the periods omitted (shown in black) were not to be included in
the Anno Dei reckoning.
11. The "LO-AMMI" periods. It will be noticed at once that, in many instances, from shortly after the entry into the Land and onwards, there are wide differences between the chart dates and the "received dates" for certain events.
For instance, Jehoiakim's fourth and Nebuchadnezzar's first years (Jer. 25:1) are charted as 496 B.C., whereas the generally "received" date is 606 B.C. (according to some, 605 or 604).
This means a discrepancy of 108-110 years; and shortens the period between the year in which Judah became a tributary to Babylon, and the Gentile supremacy over the land of Jerusalem began, and the time of Christ, by those 108-110 years.
At once, it may be said, "Here is manifest error! We are told that leading chronologers are 'agreed' that the point of contact between sacred and profane chronology, and therefore the first certain date in Biblical history, is the accession of Nebuchadnezzar to the throne of Babylon in B.C. 625."
But the chart of the "Lo-Ammi" periods (50. VII. 11) shows that chronologists have mixed up Anno Mundi reckoning with the Anno Dei reckoning.
The black portions of the columns in the charts show the times when the children of Israel were in servitude or under usurped authority (as in Athaliah, &c.), and therefore such periods were not to be reckoned, while Israel was Lo-Ammi, "Not My People!"
Take, for example, from the Exodus to Jehoiachin's Captivity. On "received" dates this period is 1491-599 = 892 years. According to the charts this period is 1491-489 = 1003 years.
A difference of 110 years.
The explanation is in the charts, and shows that the Anno Mundi years include the ninety-three of servitude in the Judges, and the three intervals in the Kings (together twenty years), totaling 113 years.
Deducting this 113 from 1002, or adding it to 892, we have 889 and 1005 respectively.
Allowing for the portions of years at the beginning and end of this period, and the overlapping at the intervals, it will be seen that these figures are practically identical.
The same Anno Dei reckoning removes the difficulty presented by "the four hundred and eightieth year," and shows that every date from the time of Eli to the usurpation of Athaliah is ninety-three years out of place in the ordinary reckoning; from Joash to the end of Amaziah every date is ninety-nine years wrong; and from Uzziah's death to the Captivity every date is 113 years wrong.
This is not inference but fact, as those who use the charts can test for themselves.
This one date in 1Kings 6:1,
having been accepted by almost all the "leading chronologers" as
representing literal Anno Mundi years, has become the pivot upon which all
chronology, "sacred" and secular, has been made to turn, and all
"received" dates gathered from "monumental" or other
sources, as well as by "computation", have been forced to "fit
12. This also applies to the JUBILEE YEARS. On Anno Mundi reckoning, from the entry into the Land till the Nativity, there are exactly twenty-nine jubilees; but on Anno Dei reckoning there are only twenty-five jubilees (the number of grave again, 5 x 5, i.e., 52. See Ap. 10) : and the Sabbatic years accordingly, as shown on the charts.
13. THE SCALES of the detailed charts explain themselves.
14. The EZRA-NEHEMIAH period (50. vi. and vii. 5).
According to "received" dates, the building of the second Temple was begun in 536 B.C., and finished in 516-515 B.C., and the walls of Jerusalem were built by Nehemiah in 444 B.C., that is seventy-two years later, and ninety-one years from the going forth of the decree to build Jerusalem.
Now, in the second year of DARIUS HYSTASPES (Hag. 1:1) the LORD'S HOUSE was not built. Hence the word of Jehovah : "Is it time for you to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?" (1:4). "Go up and BUILD the House" (v. 8).
If this be so, we may ask -- When was Jerusalem rebuilt?
On "received" dates we are asked to believe that this was completed by Nehemiah in 444, i.e. seventy-two years later. According to this dating the Temple was finished and dedicated in 516 B.C., seventy-two years before the houses and walls of Jerusalem were built!
The key to this period -- indeed, to the whole of Scripture chronology -- is in Dan. 9:25, "From the going forth" of the decree to BUILD JERUSALEM. Not a word is said about the Temple in this important passage; whereas the decree of Cyrus is entirely concerned with the Temple, "the House of the LORD GOD of Israel ... which is in Jerusalem." Ezra 1:3.
The charts show that the going forth of the decree to build JERUSALEM was issued in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes (ASTEIAGES = "Darius the Median," -- the father of Cyrus), and in the forty-second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign. This was just at the close of the great king's seven years of "madness." (See the Structures of Ezra-Nehemiah, and Ap. 58.)
This decree to build Jerusalem was in 454 B.C.; and the decree of Cyrus to build the Temple was issued in 426 B.C.; twenty-eight years later.
An illustration from the Book of Exodus may help to illustrate the principle on which the books of Ezra-Nehemiah are placed in the Jewish (and our own) Bible.
The specification of the Tabernacle, its materials and furniture, is placed first (canonically), beginning with the ARK. Then the construction itself follows. The order is reversed in actual building; and the chronological order comes first.
It is the same here. The building of the House of God being paramount, the decree, &c., concerning it comes first (canonically), on the same Divine principle. Afterwards we have the detail of the setting for the gem, so to speak -- the building of Jerusalem. Just as the Tabernacle was (chronologically) built first (Ex. 36) to contain the ark, so here, this city was built first to contain, guard, and protect the "House of Jehovah."
Finally, the best explanation of the charts will be found in the charts themselves. They are presented in the order set forth on p. 3 of the Appendixes.