Bible Chronology

Bible chronology deals with fixing the exact dates of the various events recorded. For the earliest parts of Old Testament history we rely entirely on the scripture itself; but the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint or Greek translation, and the Samaritan Pentateuch do not agree together, so that many dates cannot be fixed with certainty. From the time of David onwards we get much assistance from secular history, such as inscriptions on monuments and other state records. Much work has still to be done in this direction. The dates found at the top of many printed English Bibles are due to Archbishop Ussher (1581–1656). Some of them have been shown to be incorrect.

Chronology of the Old Testament

 B.C.

 Sequence of Events in the Days of the Early Patriarchs

 4000

 Fall of Adam.

 Ministry of Enoch.

 Ministry of Noah; the Flood.

 Tower of Babel.

 Ministry of Melchizedek.

 Death of Noah (Gen. 9:28).

 (Those desiring calculated dates on these events may wish to consult published chronologies.)

 Birth of Abram.

 Birth of Isaac.

 Birth of Jacob.

 Birth of Joseph.

 Joseph sold into Egypt (Gen. 37:2).

 Joseph stands before Pharaoh (Gen. 41:46).

 Jacob and his family go down to Egypt.

 Death of Jacob.

 Death of Joseph.

 Birth of Moses.

 The Exodus when Moses was 80 years old.

 Death (translation) of Moses.

 Death of Joshua.

 In the days of Abram we meet with the names of Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, and Amraphel, king of Shinar. Egypt was manifestly a powerful kingdom before and during the patriarchal times, but the early annals of Egypt as they have come down to us help us to few synchronisms that can be relied on.

 After the death of Joshua was the period of the Judges, of whom the first was Othniel and the last Samuel, but the arrangement and dates of the rest are very uncertain.

 The commencement of the Assyrian empire appears to have been somewhere in the period of the Judges, but much of the chronological data preserved in Assyrian tablets is of a mythical character.

 In this section approximate dates are suggested, some help being derived from synchronisms with secular history, which become more numerous with every succeeding century.

 B.C.

 The Undivided Kingdom

 Persons and Events of External History

 1095

 Commencement of Saul’s reign. Samuel lives for a great part of Saul’s reign.

 Nahash, king of Ammon.

 Tiglath-pileser Ⅰ, king of Assyria.

 Agag, king of Amalek.

 Achish, king of Gath.

 1063

 David anointed by Samuel.

 1055

 David king in Hebron.

 1047

 David king in Jerusalem. Nathan and Gad, prophets.

 Hiram, king of Tyre.

 Hadadezer, king of Zobah.

 Toi, king of Hamath.

 Hanun, son of Nahash, king of Ammon.

 1015

 Solomon made king. Death of David.

 1012

 Solomon begins to build the temple.

 Hiram, king of Tyre.

 1004

 Solomon begins to build his own house.

 991

 The buildings are finished.

 Hadad the Edomite is protected in Egypt.

 Genubath, son of Hadad.

 Rezon, king of Zobah.

 Shishak, king of Egypt, shelters Jeroboam.

 975

 Death of Solomon. The ten tribes revolt from Rehoboam.

 In the following table the first column of dates follows the books of Kings and Chronicles; the third column contains a revised chronology derived from inscriptions on Assyrian and other monuments. The kings of Judah are printed in heavy type, and the kings of Israel in capitals.

 B.C.

 Kings of Judah and Israel

 Rev. Chr.

 Internal History

 External History

 Synchronisms

 975

 Rehoboam

 Jeroboam Ⅰ

 953

 Ahijah the Shilomite prophesies, also Shemaiah.

 Penuel built (1 Kgs. 12:25).

 

 Shishak, king of Egypt.

 949

 Shishak plunders Jerusalem.

 957

 Abijam

 932

 955

 Asa

 929

 954

 Nadab

 927

 Oded and Azariah prophesy.

 Asa’s war with Zerah the Ethiopian.

 953

 Baasha

 925

 War of Israel against Judah.

 Hanani and Jehu prophesy.

 930

 Elah

 901

 

 Asa’s alliance with Benhadad Ⅰ.

 929

 Zimri

 899

 929

 Omri (at war with Tibni)

 897

 925

 Omri (victorious)

 Benhadad Ⅰ conquers Omri (1 Kgs. 20:34).

 918

 Ahab

 875

 Samaria built (1 Kgs. 16:24).

 

 Ethbaal (Eithobalus), king of Zidon.

 914

 Jehoshaphat

 873

 Elijah the Tishbite.

 Jericho rebuilt.

 Micaiah son of Imlah prophesies.

 Syrian invasion of Samaria (1 Kgs. 20:34).

 Moab rebels against Israel.

 Mesha, king of Moab.

 898

 Ahaziah

 853

 Jahaziel prophesies (2 Chr. 20:14).

 Eliezer of Mareshah prophesies (2 Chr. 20:37).

 897

 Jehoram

 851

 Elisha prophesies.

 Obadiah prophesies (?).

 Battle of Ramoth-gilead.

 Hazael, king of Syria.

 893

 Joram

 848

 885

 Ahaziah

 844

 884

 Athaliah

 Jehu

 843

 878

 Joash

 837

 Joash buys off Hazael’s invasion (2 Kgs. 12:18).

 Syrian victories over Israel (2 Kgs. 10:32).

 Sardanapalus dies.

 856

 Jehoahaz

 Joel prophesies (?).

 842

 Jehoash

 798

 841

 Amaziah

 797

 

 

 Shalmaneser Ⅱ.

 826

 Jeroboam Ⅱ

 790

 Hosea prophesies.

 Jonah prophesies (2 Kgs. 14:25).

 Amaziah subdues Edom (2 Kgs. 14:7).

 Shalmaneser Ⅲ.

 811

 Azariah or Uzziah

 792

 Amos prophesies.

 773

 Zechariah

 749

 

 

 First Olympiad.

 772

 Shallum

 748

 772

 Menahem

 748

 

 There is much uncertainty about the chronology of the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, and Pekah, and from 2 Kgs. 15:1–2, and 30–32, it is clear that there is some confusion in the biblical numbers. Uzziah’s name is now thought to have been discovered in an Assyrian inscription 740 B.C. If that proves correct, the commencement of Isaiah’s prophecy cannot date before that year, and the time of Jotham’s regency may have been counted as regnal years. In these tables the biblical numbers have been adhered to, as far as possible, but they require further elucidation, which we may hope for as the Assyrian chronology becomes more assured.

 Pul, king of Assyria (= Tiglath-pileser Ⅲ?).

 761

 Pekahiah

 759

 Pekah

 

 Rezin, king of Syria.

 758

 Jotham

 740

 Isaiah begins to prophesy.

 Rome founded.

 Era of Nabonassar, 747.

 Tiglath-pileser Ⅲ, king of Assyria (747–734).

 So, king of Egypt.

 Pekahiah (rev. chr.)

 737

 Pekah (rev. chr.)

 735

 742

 Ahaz

 734

 730

 Hoshea

 733

 

 726

 Hezekiah

 728

 

 Shalmaneser Ⅴ, king of Assyria, 727.

 721

 End of the Northern kingdom

 722

 Micah prophesies.

 Sargon.

 Merodach-baladan, king of Babylon, 722.

 Death of Sennacherib, 681.

 Esarhaddon.

 Median kingdom formed.

 697

 Manasseh

 697

 

 Psammetichus, king of Egypt, 670.

 Fall of No-amon (Thebes), 660.

 642

 Amon

 642

 Nahum prophesies (?).

 Assurbanipal (667–626).

 640

 Josiah

 640

 Huldah the prophetess.

 Jeremiah begins to prophesy, 628.

 Zephaniah prophesies.

 Pharaoh Necho, king of Egypt.

 Nabopolassar, king of Babylon, 625–604.

 609

 Jehoahaz

 609

 Obadiah prophesies (?).

 

 Fall of Nineveh, 606.

 609

 Jehoiakim

 609

 Daniel carried captive, 606.

 

 Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, 604–561.

 598

 Jehoiachin

 598

 Habakkuk prophesies.

 598

 Zedekiah

 598

 Ezekiel prophesies.

 587

 Capture of Jerusalem

 587

 B.C.

 Jewish History

 External History

 561

 Jehoiachin’s captivity relaxed.

 

 Evil-merodach, king of Babylon.

 559

 

 Commencement of the Persian Empire under Cyrus.

 Neriglissar, king of Babylon, 559–555.

 555

 

 

 Belshazzar co-regent with Nabonidus.

 538

 

 Union of Media and Persia under Cyrus.

 Fall of Babylon.

 537

 Decree of Cyrus for the return of the Jews.

 536

 Joshua, high priest.

 529

 Ahasuerus (Ezra 4:6).

 =Cambyses, king of Persia, 529–521.

 525

 

 

 Egypt conquered by Cambyses. Birth of Aeschylus.

 521

 Artaxerxes (Ezra 4:7).

 =Pseudo-Smerdis.

 521

 Darius Ⅰ (Ezra 4:5).

 =Darius Hystaspes.

 520

 The hindered temple building resumed. Haggai and Zechariah prophesy.

 

 Sophocles born, 495.

 490

 

 

 Battle of Marathon.

 486

 Ahasuerus (Esth. 1:1).

 =Xerxes, 486–465.

 Egypt revolts from Persia for 2 years.

 483

 Joiakim, high priest.

 

 Battles of Thermopylae and Salamis, 480.

 465

 Artaxerxes (Ezra 7:1).

 =Artaxerxes Longimanus.

 458

 Commission of Ezra.

 453

 Eliashib, high priest.

 444

 Nehemiah appointed governor of Judea.

 432

 Nehemiah’s second mission to Jerusalem. Prophecy of Malachi.

 

 Plato born, 429.

 424

 Darius Ⅱ. …

 =Darius Nothus.

 414

 

 

 Egypt and Media both revolt from Persia.

 413

 Joiada, high priest.

 404

 

 Artaxerxes Mnemon.

 401

 

 

 Battle of Cunaxa.

 Demosthenes born, 382.

 373

 Johanan, high priest.

 359

 

 

 Philip, king of Macedon.

 358

 

 Darius Ochus. …

 Plato dies, 348.

 341

 Jaddua, high priest.

 337

 

 Arses.

 336

 Darius Ⅲ (Neh. 12:22). …

 =Darius Codomannus.

 Philip of Macedon slain.

 332

 Jaddua goes out to meet Alexander.

 

 Alexander in Syria and Egypt.

 331

 

 

 Battle of Arbela.

 330

 

 Darius slain. End of the Persian power.

 323

 

 Ptolemy Lagides obtains Egypt.

 Death of Alexander the Great and dismemberment of his empire.

 B.C.

 Jewish History

 Egypt

 Syria

 321

 Onias Ⅰ, high priest.

 320

 Ptolemy (Lagides) Soter takes Jerusalem.

 314

 Antigonus conquers Palestine from Ptolemy.

 312

 

 

 Seleucus (Nicator).

 311

 Palestine by treaty assigned to Antigonus.

 302

 Palestine retaken by Ptolemy.

 During this disturbed period many Jews migrated from Palestine and settled in Egypt and in parts of Asia Minor; they were held in much esteem by the rulers of those countries in which they settled.

 301

 Battle of Ipsus. Antigonus defeated by Seleucus.

 300

 Simon the Just, high priest.

 292

 Eleazar, high priest.

 284

 

 Ptolemy Philadelphus.

 280

 

 About this time the Septuagint version of the Hebrew scriptures appears to have been commenced in Alexandria, though it was not finished for more than a century after.

 Antiochus (Soter).

 277

 Manasseh, high priest.

 260

 

 Antiochus (Theos).

 250

 Onias Ⅱ, high priest.

 246

 

 Ptolemy Euergetes.

 245

 

 

 Seleucus Callinicus.

 225

 Tribute due to Egypt not paid by Onias.

 

 Seleucus Keraunus.

 223

 

 

 Antiochus the Great.

 221

 

 Ptolemy Philopator.

 217

 Simon Ⅱ, high priest. …

 Ptolemy’s outrage in the Jewish temple.

 216

 Battle of Raphia. …

 Treaty between Antiochus and Ptolemy.

 204

 

 Ptolemy Epiphanes.

 195

 Onias Ⅲ, high priest.

 187

 

 

 Seleucus Philopator.

 180

 

 Ptolemy Philometor.

 176

 Heliodorus sent to plunder the temple.

 175

 Onias deposed by Antiochus. Jason, high priest.

 

 Antiochus Epiphanes.

 173

 

 Cleopatra, guardian of Philometor, dies.

 172

 Menelaus, Jason’s brother, nominated high priest.

 172

 Onias Ⅲ murdered about this time.

 170

 

 

 Antiochus defeats the Egyptians.

 169

 Jason seizes Jerusalem, which Antiochus attacks on his return from Egypt and pollutes the temple.

 

 Second invasion of Egypt.

 168

 Daily sacrifice interrupted.

 Ptolemy Physcon set up for a time in Egypt but soon makes common cause with his brother Philometor.

 Third attack on Egypt.

 167

 Mattathias the Hasmonean revolts.

 166

 Battle of Emmaus. Victory of Judas Maccabaeus.

 165

 Dedication of the temple.

 164

 

 

 Antiochus Eupator.

 163

 Lysias defeated by Judas at Bethsura. Alcimus, high priest. Menelaus put to death.

 162

 

 

 Demetrius Soter.

 161

 Nicanor defeated at Capharsalama. Death of Judas Maccabaeus at Eleasa.

 Contests between Philometor and Physcon. Appeals to Rome.

 160

 Decree of the Roman Senate in favor of the Jews.

 159

 Death of Alcimus.

 156

 Jonathan, brother of Judas, ruler of Judea.

 153

 Jonathan made high priest by Balas.

 

 Alexander Balas set up against Demetrius.

 150

 Jonathan honored by Philometor and Balas.

 

 Alexander Balas, king of Syria.

 149

 

 Onias, son of Onias Ⅲ, made commander-in-chief in Egypt.

 146

 

 Ptolemy Philometor opposes Alexander Balas.

 145

 

 Ptolemy Physcon (Euergetes Ⅱ).

 Demetrius Nicator.

 143

 Jonathan put to death by Tryphon. Simon, high priest.

 142

 Simon, “Prince of the Jews.” Jews allowed to coin money.

 139

 

 

 Antiochus Sidetes. Tryphon put to death.

 135

 Murder of Simon. John Hyrcanus, high priest.

 130

 

 

 Demetrius Nicator.

 126

 

 

 Zebina.

 123

 

 

 Antiochus Grypus.

 116

 

 Ptolemy Lathyrus (Soter Ⅱ).

 109

 Hyrcanus wars on Samaria and destroys the temple on Gerizim.

 Cleopatra and Alexander.

 106

 Hyrcanus dies. Aristobulus (his son), first king of the Jews.

 105

 Alexander Jannaeus made king of the Jews.

 96

 Jannaeus captures Gaza.

 Ptolemy, king of Cyrene, bequeaths his kingdom to the Romans.

 Seleucus succeeds his father Grypus.

 94

 The Pharisees hostile to Jannaeus.

 93

 War of Jannaeus in Gilead and Moab.

 92

 

 

 Philip, brother of Seleucus, gains the throne.

 88

 Jannaeus defeated at Shechem.

 87

 

 Ptolemy Lathyrus recalled.

 83

 

 

 Tigranes, king of Armenia, set over Syria.

 80

 

 Ptolemy Alexander.

 78

 Death of Jannaeus. Alexandra, his widow, rules after him. Hyrcanus Ⅱ, high priest.

 69

 Aristobulus Ⅱ seizes the government.

 66

 

 

 Pompey conquers Syria for the Romans.

 Roman Affairs

 65

 

 Ptolemy Auletes.

 64

 Disputes between Aristobulus and Hyrcanus.

 63

 Jerusalem taken by Pompey. Hyrcanus again high priest.

 54

 Palestine divided into five districts.

 

 Crassus defeated by the Parthians at Carrhae, 53.

 51

 Crassus plunders the temple.

 Cleopatra.

 48

 Antipater made a governor over Judea.

 

 Battle of Pharsalia.

 Battle of Thapsus, 46.

 44

 Hyrcanus, “Prince of the Jews.”

 

 Assassination of Caesar.

 42

 

 

 Battle of Philippi.

 41

 Herod and Phasael, joint tetrarchs of Judea.

 40

 Herod flees to Rome. Antigonus set up in his stead.

 38

 Herod marries Mariamne.

 37

 Herod takes Jerusalem.

 31

 

 

 Battle of Actium.

 Augustus, emperor, 31 B.C.A.D. 14.

 30

 

 Cleopatra dies. Egypt becomes a Roman province.

 29

 Mariamne put to death.

 25

 Herod rebuilds Samaria.

 17

 Herod restores the temple.

 6

 Alexander and Aristobulus put to death.

Chronology of the New Testament

 A.D.

 Christian History

 Jewish History

 Contemporary Events

 Birth of Jesus Christ.

 Death of Herod the Great. Archelaus obtains Judea, Samaria, and Idumea; Herod Antipas, Galilee; Herod Philip, Iturea, Trachonitis, etc.

 

 Banishment of Archelaus.

 

 Coponius prefect of Judea; Ananus high priest.

 Jesus at Jerusalem in the temple.

 Cyrenius completes “the taxing.”

 

 Marcus Ambivius, prefect.

 

 Annius Rufus, prefect.

 

 

 Death of Augustus.

 

 Valerius Gratus, prefect.

 

 Caiaphas, high priest.

 Beginning of the ministry of the Baptist.

 Pontius Pilate, prefect.

 The Crucifixion.

 33

 

 Death of Herod Philip.

 35

 Conversion of Paul. …

 Pontius Pilate exiled.

 37

 

 Jonathan, high priest. Herod Agrippa obtains the tetrarchy of Herod Philip.

 Marcellus, prefect.

 Death of Tiberius.

 38

 

 Josephus born.

 39

 The churches have rest.

 Antipas deposed. Agrippa made tetrarch of Galilee.

 41

 

 Agrippa receives Judea.

 Death of Caligula.

 44

 Death of James the brother of John.

 Death of Herod Agrippa Ⅰ.

 Cuspius Fadus, procurator.

 45

 Paul’s first missionary tour.

 46

 

 Tiberius Alexander, procurator.

 48

 

 Ventidius Cumanus, procurator.

 49

 Council of Jerusalem.

 50

 1 and 2 Thessalonians written.

 

 Jews banished from Rome by Claudius.

 51

 

 Claudius [or Antonius (?)] Felix, procurator.

 54

 

 

 Death of Claudius.

 55

 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Romans.

 57

 Paul a prisoner at Caesarea.

 58

 Paul sent to Rome.

 Porcius Festus, procurator.

 59

 Paul leaves Melita for Rome.

 Joseph, son of Simon, high priest.

 60

 Philippians, Colossians, Ephesians, Philemon.

 Albinus, procurator.

 61

 Close of the history of the Acts of the Apostles.

 62

 

 Gessius Florus, procurator.

 Completion of the temple.

 Burning of Rome. Persecution under Nero.

 64

 Titus, 1 and 2 Timothy.

 Jewish war commences.

 65

 Martyrdom of Peter and Paul.

 Capture of Jotapata by Vespasian.

 68

 

 

 Death of Nero. Galba proclaimed.

 69

 

 

 Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, emperors.

 70

 Christians retire to Pella.

 Siege and capture of Jerusalem.

 79

 

 

 Death of Vespasian.

 81

 

 

 Death of Titus.

 95

 Persecution of Christians by Domitian.

 96

 

 

 Death of Domitian.