4 occurrences in 4 dictionaries

Reference: Chronology


is the arrangement of facts and events in the order of time. The writers of the Bible themselves do not adopt any standard era according to which they date events. Sometimes the years are reckoned, e.g., from the time of the Exodus (Nu 1:1; 33:38; 1Ki 6:1), and sometimes from the accession of kings (1Ki 15:1,9,25,33, etc.), and sometimes again from the return from Exile (Ezr 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 Ge 11:26; but a comparison of Ge 11:32; Ac 7:4 with Ge 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 Ex 12:40-41; Ga 3:17. These years are regarded by some as dating from the covenant with Abraham (Ge 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. B.C.

| 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.

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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 1Ki 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 1Ki 6:1 suspicious. Origen, Commentary (Joh 2:20), quotes 1Ki 6:1 without the words "in the 480th year." See also Jg 11:26. But (See EGYPT below as to Thothmes III and the inscription favoring 1Ki 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 1Ki 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 Lu 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. Mt 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 Ezr 7:1-5; 1Ch 26:24. So Jehu is "son of Nimshi," also "of Jehoshaphat son of Nimshi" (2Ki 9:2,14,20; 1Ki 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 (Ge 15:16, compare Ge 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" (Ex 12:40-41). Paul, in Ga 3:16-17, dates this period from God's promise to Abraham. In Ge 15:13-14, compare Ac 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 Heb 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 (Ge 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 Ru 4:18, etc., 1Ch 2:5-6, there are six generations from Judah to Nahshon, the tribe prince in Moses' time; nine generations from Joseph to Joshua (1Ch 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 (Ex 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 (Ge 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 (Ac 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 Ac 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 (Ge 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 (Jg 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 be

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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 that there 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

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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 off shoot 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 LXX. for the antediluvian patriarchs would place the creation of Adam 2262 years before the end of the flood or B.C. cir. 5361 or 5421.