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.

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.

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.

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.

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.