From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

There are three principal systems, the Long, the Short, and the Rabbinical The nature of the evidence hardly admits of certainty as to all details. The dates of the flood, etc., are thus differently given in the Septuagint, the Hebrew, and the Samaritan Pentateuch:




Flood after Creation




Peleg's birth




Abram's departure from Haran







Hales takes the long system mainly from the Septuagint account of the patriarchal generations. He rightly rejects the number 480 years assigned in  1 Kings 6:1 as having elapsed from the Exodus to the foundation of the temple in the fourth year of Solomon's reign. It must be an ancient error of transcribers, because 40 years elapsed from the Exodus to the death of Moses, Joshua was for more than seven years Israel's leader in Canaan, Israel's servitude and the rule of the judges to Eli's death occupied 430 years, thence to Saul's accession was more than 20 years, Saul's reign was 40 years, David's reign was 40 years, Solomon's reign, before the temple's foundation, was 3 years; i.e. 580 years in all: besides the unknown intervals between Joshua's leadership of seven years and his death; and again between his death and the first servitude; also the unknown period, above 20 years, between Eli's death and Saul's accession.

These unknown times are approximately estimated at 6 years, 32 years, and 20 years respectively, i.e. 58 years in all; which, added to the 580 years, will give 638 years. The Old Testament never dates events from an era, which makes  1 Kings 6:1 suspicious. Origen, Commentary ( John 2:20), quotes  1 Kings 6:1 without the words "in the 480th year." See also  Judges 11:26. But (See Egypt below as to Thothmes III and the inscription favoring  1 Kings 6:1. Ussher is the representative of the short system, following the Hebrew in the patriarchal generations, and taking the 480 years as given in  1 Kings 6:1 between the Exodus and the foundation of the temple. The rabbinical system is partly accepted in Germany; it takes the Biblical numbers, but makes arbitrary corrections:









Abram leaving Haran






Foundation of the temple



Destruction of the temple



The differences between the Hebrew and the Septuagint consist in the periods assigned by them respectively to the patriarchs before and after the births of their oldest sons. Thus, Adam lives 130 years before the birth of his oldest son in Hebrew, but 230 years in the Septuagint; Seth is 105 in the Hebrew text, but 205 years in the Septuagint, etc. After the births of their oldest sons, Adam, 800; Seth, 807 in Hebrew, but 700 and 707 in the Septuagint; thus, the totals come to the same, Adam (930), Seth (912), in both Hebrew and Septuagint Similarly, in the case of Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel. This proves that the change, whether by shortening (if the Septuagint is the true reading, or by lengthening if the Hebrew is the true reading) is NOT accidental but was made on system. The Septuagint and  Luke 3:36-37 have a second Cainan, who is omitted in the Hebrew Bible; Philo and Josephus also know nothing of him.

In genealogies (e.g.  Matthew 1:8) names are often passed over, a man being called "the son of" a remote ancestor, his father and grandfather and great grandfather being omitted; as Joram is followed by Ozias, Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah being omitted. For some divine purpose connected with the mystical sense of numbers the generations are condensed into fourteen (the double of the sacred seven) in each of the three periods, from Abraham to David, from David to the captivity, and thence to Christ. Compare  Ezra 7:1-5;  1 Chronicles 26:24. So Jehu is "son of Nimshi," also "of Jehoshaphat son of Nimshi" ( 2 Kings 9:2;  2 Kings 9:14;  2 Kings 9:20;  1 Kings 19:16). Again, the length of generations varies: Abraham, at a time when life was so much longer than now, implies a generation was about 100 years ( Genesis 15:16, compare  Genesis 15:13), "the fourth generation" answering to "four hundred years."

The Hebrew text was preserved with much more scrupulous care than the Septuagint on the other hand, the civilization and history of Egypt, Babylonia, and Assyria reach further back than accords with the Hebrew, and so favor the Septuagint. "The sojourning of Israel who dwelt in Egypt was 430 years" ( Exodus 12:40-41). Paul, in  Galatians 3:16-17, dates this period from God's promise to Abraham. In  Genesis 15:13-14, compare  Acts 7:6-7; "thy seed shall be a stranger in a land not theirs ... and they shall afflict them 400 years"; by putting the comma after "afflict them," the "400 years" refers to the whole time of their being "a stranger in a land not theirs," compare  Hebrews 11:9. It would not be literally true that the Israelites were afflicted for the whole 400 years by the Egyptians, even if the 400 be applied to the sojourn in Egypt alone. Therefore, there is no greater strain put on the words by supposing the 400 includes the sojourn in Canaan.

Abraham probably means ( Genesis 15:16), "in the fourth generation they (i.e. some of the fourth generation, allowing 100 years for each generation) shall come hither again." There were more than four generations in fact; thus, in  Ruth 4:18, etc.,  1 Chronicles 2:5-6, there are six generations from Judah to Nahshon, the tribe prince in Moses' time; nine generations from Joseph to Joshua ( 1 Chronicles 7:20, etc.). Abram was 75 years old upon leaving Haran; 100 at Isaac's birth; Isaac was 60 at Jacob's birth; and Jacob was 130 years old upon entering Egypt - in all 215 years. Again, Joseph was about 45 years old upon entering Egypt, 92 occupied the rest of his life; then followed, after all Joseph's brethren and that generation were dead ( Exodus 1:6, etc.), the oppression; Moses was 80 years old at the Exodus.

Thus, there will be 172 years, besides the interval between Joseph's generation dying and the oppression, and between the beginning of the oppression and the birth of Moses; which may be reasonably set down as 215 in all; which, added to the 215 in Canaan, will yield the 430 years. The increase from 70 years, at Jacob's going down to Egypt, to 600,000 at the Exodus is accountable when we remember the special fruitfulness promised by God. There were at the eisodus 51 pairs at least bearing children, for there were 67 men, namely, Jacob's 12 sons, 51 grandsons, and four great grandsons, besides one daughter and one granddaughter ( Genesis 46:8-27). These 51 must have taken foreign wives. Then, besides, polygamy prevailed. All these causes together fully account for the great increase in 215 years.

Another note of time is furnished by Paul ( Acts 13:19-21): "after that (the division of Canaan) He; gave judges about the space of 450 years until Samuel"; or rather, as the three oldest manuscripts - the Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and Alexandrinus manuscripts, "He distributed their land to them for an inheritance, about 450 years. And after that He gave unto them judges until Samuel." The dative in the Greek text marks, not duration of time, as KJV, but a point of time. The point of time backward to which the 450 refers is implied in  Acts 13:19, "when He had destroyed seven nations"; i.e., about 450 or 462 elapse between God's promise to drive out those nations in 400 years from that time ( Genesis 15:13-21), and God's commencing the fulfillment of it under Joshua; the former date is about 1913, the latter 1451 (Joshua 1).

Jephthah makes 300 years elapse between his time and Joshua's division of Canaan ( Judges 11:26). Theophilus of Antioch (Autol. 3:22) states that the Tyrian archives of Hiram, David's contemporary, prove that the building of the temple took place 566 years after the Exodus from Egypt. The whole period between the foundation and the destruction of the temple is about 425 years; that of the undivided kingdom 120, that of Judah 388, that of Israel 255. The Median, Hebrew, Babylonian, and Assyrian chronicles, according to J. W. Bosanquet, coincide in making Nebuchadnezzar's reign begin 581 B.C. He makes Jotham's 16 years' reign begin in 734 B.C.; Ahaz' 16 years begin at 718; Hezekiah's 29 begin at 702; Manasseh's 55 begin at 673; Amon's two begin at 618; Josiah's 31 begin at 616; Jehoiakim's 11 begin at 585.

Two periods of 70 years are specified by Jeremiah; that during which Babylon's dominion over Palestine and the East was to last (Jeremiah 25), and that of the captivity ( Jeremiah 29:10;  Daniel 9:2), probably identical. The former begins the 1st of Nebuchadnezzar and the 4th of Jehoiakim (606 or 607 B.C.), and ends with Babylon's fall ( Jeremiah 25:26), 536 B.C., when Cyrus decreed the return of the Jewish captives ( Jeremiah 29:10). Ptolemy's famous canon counts it 66 years; but if the Jewish years meant be the prophetical ones of 360 days each, as in  Daniel 12:7, the sum will be about 69 tropical years. (See Captivity .) Ecclesiastically, the 70 years began with the destruction of the temple 586 B.C., and ended with its restoration in the sixth year of Darius, 516 B.C. The Apis tablets of Egypt prove the synchronism of Josiah and Pharaoh Necho; also they demonstrate that of Hezekiah and Tirhakah.

An inscription on the quarries of Silsilis in Upper Egypt records the cutting of stone in the 22nd year of Sheshonk I, or Shishak, for the chief temple of Thebes, where still is to be seen a record of his conquest of Judah; thus confirming the Scripture account of his synchronism with Rehoboam whom he conquered. The Bible puts Rehoboam 249 years before Hezekiah, i.e. 973 B.C.; and Shishak's invasion in his fifth year, i.e. 969; 22 before that would make Shishak's accession 990 B.C., which closely agrees with Manetho's list. R. P. Stewart (Smith's Bible Dictionary) mentions the coincidence, in their commencements, of the vague year of the Egyptians and the Hebrew year at the first Passover; i.e., the 14th of Abib, the full moon of the Passover Exodus, corresponded to the 14th day of a Phamenoth in a vague year commencing at the autumnal equinox; this took place, it is computed, on Thursday, April 21st, 1652 B.C.

This date for the Exodus is but four years earlier than Hales's, and the interval to Solomon's temple foundation is 642, only four more than the 638 obtained above by Bible calculations. Thus, 430 back to the promise to Abraham (Genesis 15) will bring the promise to 2082 B.C. But see above on the 450 years in  Acts 13:20. Stewart takes Peleg's birth, 2698 or (correcting Terah's age at Abraham's birth) 2758. Abraham was perhaps youngest son of Terah; for Terah was 70 when he began having sons, and died at 205 years old ( Genesis 11:26;  Genesis 11:32), and Abraham was 75 when he left Haran ( Genesis 12:4). This would make Terah survive Abraham's migration 60 years, if Abraham were the oldest ( Genesis 11:26). But  Acts 7:4 says Terah died Before it.

Therefore, Terah was probably 130 years old when Abraham was born, and died when Abraham was 75, at his migration from Haran. Haran, the older brother of Abraham, was father of Iscah = Sarah ( Genesis 11:27-29). Since Milcah married her uncle Nahor, so Iscah, = Sarai, her uncle Abraham; hence, he calls her his sister, as granddaughter of (i.e. sprung from) his father, though not sprung from his mother ( Genesis 20:12). She was only ten years younger than Abraham ( Genesis 17:17), which shows Abraham was Terah's Youngest son. The flood he assigns to 3099 or 3159. The Egyptian monuments do not carry us back for the foundation of its first kingdom earlier than the latter end of the 28th century B.C. Adam's creation he makes 5361 or 5421.

G. Rawlinson truly says: nothing in ancient manuscripts is so liable to corruption from mistakes of copyists as numbers, it is quite possible that we may not possess Moses' real scheme in any of the three extant versions of his words." The traditions of Greece, Babylon, and Egypt confirm the Scripture account of the longevity of the patriarchs. Sprung from a pair originally immortal, living a simple even course of life, they retained some of the original vitality of Adam's state in paradise. This longevity favored the multiplication of mankind, and the formation of marked character for good or evil in the different races. The geological arguments for man's great antiquity are relics of man, flints, etc., in recent formations, along with bones of the mammoth and extinct animals; it is argued that, at the present rate of deposition, the beds that overlie these remains must have taken a vast time to form.

But probably causes were at work at the time of their formation which made the rate much speedier than it is now. A mammoth has been found in the Siberian ice with skin, hair, and flesh; and it is hardly likely that it was dead more than 6,000 years. Many animals have become extinct within the human period. The present population is about that which would spring from a single pair in 6,000 years. The historical arguments for man's great antiquity, from Egyptian lists of dynasties, are set aside by the strong probability that many of these are contemporary dynasties. Another argument is drawn from the slowness of growth of languages, e.g. 1,500 years have been taken in forming from Latin the French, Italian, and Spanish languages. But it is only the languages with a literature that change slowly; a few years suffice to change completely a language without a literature, wild tribes in a single generation cannot comprehend one another.

The 3,000 years between the flood and the Christian era in the Septuagint allow 1,800 years before the Vedas for the Sanskrit tongue to have reached the perfection apparent in that poem. Besides, the miraculous Babel-confounding of tongues is to be taken into account. The ethnological objection from the fixity of type in the negro as represented under Sethos I on the monuments is answered by the consideration that races placed continuously under the same conditions of climate and other circumstances do not change. The negroes may have been in Africa 1,500 years before Sethos I. Rapid changes take place when circumstances change rapidly, as in Europeans settling in N. America. The Genealogies in Genesis 5 and Genesis 11 give only the great leading links, omitting many intermediate ones. (See Genealogies .)

Morrish Bible Dictionary [2]

There are more links of time mentioned in scripture than is generally supposed, forming together an approximate chronology. There is however one great difficulty in the variations of the Hebrew text from the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Septuagint. It is found that there must have been a systematic alteration somewhere, and if the Hebrew text is correct, a period of 100 years has been added to the lives of several, both before the Flood and after it.

The above figures form the basis of what is called the 'long chronology' from the LXX, and the 'short chronology' from the Hebrew. It will be seen thatthere are about 1400 years difference from the birth of Seth to the Call of Abraham. It is difficult to see why the Hebrew text should be abandoned; and if it were, what superior claim would the LXX have over the Samaritan Pentateuch?

A summary of the several periods is added, with a few notes and references to the scriptures.


From Adam to the Flood … … … … … … … … … 1656

(Arrived at by adding the ages of the patriarchs, when the sons named were born.)

From the Flood to the Call of Abraham … … … … … … … 427

(This is found in the same manner, and putting Terah's age at 130 when Abraham

was born, that is, adding 60 years to  Genesis 11:26 : where only one date is given

for Terah's three sons. Abraham may not have been the eldest, and may have been

born long after. Compare  Genesis 11:32;  Genesis 12:4 , with  Acts 7:4 .)

From the Call of Abraham to the Exodus … … … … … … … 430

(This is obtained from  Exodus 12:40 and   Galatians 3:17 .)

From the Exodus to the Temple … … … … … … … … 479

(This is stated in  1 Kings 6:1 as in the 480th year, or 479 complete years.)

From the commencement of the Temple to the division of the kingdom … … … 37

(Solomon reigned 40 years,  1 Kings 11:42 and the Temple was begun in his 4th year.)

From the division of the kingdom to the destruction of Jerusalem … … … … 388

(Stated in  Ezekiel 4:4-6 to be 390 years, or 388 complete years.)

From the destruction of Jerusalem to the return of the captives … … … … 52

(They were captives 70 years,  Jeremiah 25:11,12;  Jeremiah 29:10 . This began in the 1st year

of Nebuchadnezzar, and Jerusalem was destroyed in his 19th year: 70 - 18 = 52.)

From the 1st year of Cyrus to the 20th year of Artaxerxes,

when the 70 weeks of Daniel commenced … … … … … … 81

(Not given in scripture. Cyrus, 7 years; Cambyses, 7; Pseudo-smerdis, 1;

Darius, 36; Xerxes, 11; Artaxerxes, 19.)

From the 20th of Artaxerxes to the Era A.D. … … … … … … 454

(From the 20th of Artaxerxes to the crucifixion is, according to  Daniel 9 ,

69 weeks = 483 years; from which deduct 29, the date of the crucifixion:

483 - 29 = 454). See Seventy Weeks

TOTAL 4004

The 430 years of  Exodus 12:40 arein the above taken to mean the sojourn in Canaan and in Egypt, the latter being 215 years; this agrees with  Galatians 3:17 , and with the Israelites being brought out in the fourth generation  Genesis 15:16 .

As to the time of the Judges it appears clear from  Judges 10:7,8 that the events recorded did not all follow chronologically: there were oppressions in the west by the Philistines and in the east by the Ammonites in 'the same year;' the periods of some of the Judges also being synchronal. The A.V. of   Acts 13:19,20 , presents a difficulty, but most of the Editors (with MSS A B C) read "he gave them their land for an inheritance for the space of [or literally in ] 450 years; and after that he gave them judges," and this rendering removes all difficulty. It will be seen by the above that most of the dates affixed to the A.V. are approximately correct: the reign of Artaxerxes is an exception and is incorrect, as may be seen under SEVENTYWEEKS. See Judges, Kings ANTIOCHUS,and NEW TESTAMENT.

The principal events stand thus:


4004 Adam created.

2948 Noah born.

2348 The Flood.

1996 Abraham born.

1921 Call of Abraham.

1896 Isaac born.

1836 Jacob born.

1706 The Israelites enter Egypt.

1491 The Exodus. The law given.

1451 The Israelites cross the Jordan.

1444 The division of the land. (See Judges

1095 Saul anointed king: the kingdom begins.

1055 David, king.

1015 Solomon, king.

1005 Dedication of the Temple.

975 Division of the kingdom. (See KINGS.)

(776 Era of the Olympiads begins.)

(753 Rome built: era of A.U.C. begins.)

740 Captivity of the two and a half tribes east of the Jordan.

721 End of the kingdom of Israel.

658 Manasseh carried to Babylon.

606 Jerusalem taken: first captivity of Judah.

605 Nebuchadnezzar reigns alone. Time of the Gentiles begins in the

first great empire — Babylon.

599 Jerusalem re-taken: the great captivity.

588 Jerusalem re-taken and destroyed.

538 Belshazzar slain: the second great empire commences. The Medes and Persians.

536 Cyrus reigns alone. The 70 years of  Jeremiah 25:11,12 end. The Jews return.

 Ezra 1,2 : (See Persia

475 Artaxerxes succeeds Xerxes.

455 Artaxerxes commissions Nehemiah to build Jerusalem.

The Seventy Weeks of Daniel begin.

336 Alexander the Great, head of the third great empire — The Greek.

323 Death of Alexander the Great: his four Generals divide the kingdom, but it

mainly merged into two kingdoms: Egypt, 'kings of the South,' and Syria,

'kings of the north.' (See Antiochus

191 All Asia Minor on the west of Mount Taurus delivered to Rome.

166 to {The times of the Maccabees.

about 65 {In 166 Jerusalem was recovered and the temple re-dedicated.

65 Rome, the fourth great empire, rapidly gains ascendancy.

Syria becomes a Roman province. In 63Judaea is subjected to Rome.

In 30 Egypt becomes a Roman province.

40 Herod is appointed by Rome king of Judaea.

20 Herod begins to rebuild the temple

6 Birth of John the Baptist.

5 Birth of Christ. (See NEW TESTAMENT.)

Easton's Bible Dictionary [3]

 Numbers 1:1 33:38 1 Kings 6:1 1 Kings 15:1,9,25,33 Ezra 3:8

Hence in constructing a system of Biblecal chronology, the plan has been adopted of reckoning the years from the ages of the patriarchs before the birth of their first-born sons for the period from the Creation to Abraham. After this period other data are to be taken into account in determining the relative sequence of events.

As to the patriarchal period, there are three principal systems of chronology: (1) that of the Hebrew text, (2) that of the Septuagint version, and (3) that of the Samaritan Pentateuch, as seen in the scheme on the opposite page.

The Samaritan and the Septuagint have considerably modified the Hebrew chronology. This modification some regard as having been wilfully made, and to be rejected. The same system of variations is observed in the chronology of the period between the Flood and Abraham. Thus:

| Hebrew Septuigant Samaritan | From the birth of | Arphaxad, 2 years | after the Flood, to | the birth of Terah. 220 1000 870 | From the birth of | Terah to the birth | of Abraham. 130 70 72

The Septuagint fixes on seventy years as the age of Terah at the birth of Abraham, from  Genesis 11:26; but a comparison of  Genesis 11:32 and   Acts 7:4 with   Genesis 12:4 shows that when Terah died, at the age of two hundred and five years, Abraham was seventy-five years, and hence Terah must have been one hundred and thirty years when Abraham was born. Thus, including the two years from the Flood to the birth of Arphaxad, the period from the Flood to the birth of Abraham was three hundred and fifty-two years.

The next period is from the birth of Abraham to the Exodus. This, according to the Hebrew, extends to five hundred and five years. The difficulty here is as to the four hundred and thirty years mentioned   Exodus 12:40,41;  Galatians 3:17 . These years are regarded by some as dating from the covenant with Abraham ( Genesis 15 ), which was entered into soon after his sojourn in Egypt; others, with more probability, reckon these years from Jacob's going down into Egypt. (See Exodus .)

In modern times the systems of Biblical chronology that have been adopted are chiefly those of Ussher and Hales. The former follows the Hebrew, and the latter the Septuagint mainly. Archbishop Ussher's (died 1656) system is called the short chronology. It is that given on the margin of the Authorized Version, but is really of no authority, and is quite uncertain.

| Ussher Hales | B.C. BC | Creation 4004 5411 | Flood 2348 3155 | Abram leaves Haran 1921 2078 | Exodus 1491 1648 | Destruction of the | Temple 588 586

To show at a glance the different ideas of the date of the creation, it may be interesting to note the following: From Creation to 1894.

According to Ussher, 5,898; Hales, 7,305; Zunz (Hebrew reckoning), 5,882; Septuagint (Perowne), 7,305; Rabbinical, 5,654; Panodorus, 7,387; Anianus, 7,395; Constantinopolitan, 7,403; Eusebius, 7,093; Scaliger, 5,844; Dionysius (from whom we take our Christian era), 7,388; Maximus, 7,395; Syncellus and Theophanes, 7,395; Julius Africanus, 7,395; Jackson, 7,320.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [4]

Chronology. By this term, we understand the technical and historical chronology of the Jews and their ancestors from the earliest time to the close of the New Testament Canon.

1. Technical Chronology. - The technical part of Hebrew chronology presents great difficulties.

2. Historical Chronology. - The historical part of Hebrew chronology is not less difficult than the technical. The information in the Bible is indeed, direct rather than inferential, although there is very important evidence of the latter kind, but the present state of the numbers make absolute certainty, in many cases, impossible.

Three principal systems of biblical chronology have been founded, which may be termed the Long System, the Short, and the Rabbinical. There is a fourth, which, although an offshoot, in part, of the last, can scarcely be termed, biblical, in as much as, it depends for the most part upon theories, not only independent of, but repugnant to the Bible: this last is at present peculiar to Baron Bunsen.

The principal advocates of the Long chronology are Jackson, Hales and Des-Vignoles. Of the Short chronology, Ussher may be considered as the most able advocate. The Rabbinical chronology accept the biblical numbers, but makes the most arbitrary corrections. For the date of the Exodus, it has been virtually accepted by Bunsen, Lepsius and Lord A. Hervey. The numbers given by the Septuagint (LXX) for the antediluvian patriarchs would place the creation of Adam 2262 years before the end of the flood or B.C. circa, 5361 or 5421.

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [5]

The science of computing and adjusting the periods of time, referring each event to the proper year. We have not room here to present the reader with a system of chronology; but should he be desirous of studying this science, he may consult the systems of Cluviar, Calvisius, Usher, Simson, Bedford, Marshman, Blair, Playfair, and Dr. Hales.

Webster's Dictionary [6]

(n.) The science which treats of measuring time by regular divisions or periods, and which assigns to events or transactions their proper dates.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [7]

See Dates.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [8]

Copyright StatementThese files are public domain. Bibliography InformationMcClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Chronology'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.