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Chronology of the Judges
Simply click on the chart with your mouse
Let’s zoom into the Period of the Judges
The Chronology of the Period of the Judges
Remarkable Parallels and Time Prophecies confirm Bible Chronology and visa versa.
14 Authors and 29 Studies
Supporting detail for Chronology of the Judges discourse
Chronology of the Judges
3 Suggested Changes YEARSPERIOD - 19 Desolation - 50 the Kings the Judges 170 Total Years Removed
CONFLICTING SCRIPTURES Acts 13:20 says Period of Judges = 450 years 1 Kings 6:1 says From Exodus to Solomon’s 4 th yr = 480 yrs So how does these texts conflict?
The only way to make 1 Kings 6:1 equal 480 years is to shorten the Period of the Judges from 450 down to 349 (or 350) years. 349 or 350 years
In Harvest Gleanings, p106, ¶6, Bro. Russell says regarding 1 Kg 6:1, “Leaving 350 years for the period of the judges whereas the time as given in the Judges in 19 periods makes a total of 450 years. Admitting the single mistake of 480 years [in 1 Kings 6:1] for 580 in the Kings will set it right.”
Acts 13:20 – “… he gave them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet...” KJV
Paul mentions three other periods in the Bible. Acts 13:18about 40 years in wilderness Acts 13:21space of 40 yrs for Saul’s reign Gal. 3:17430 years Abraham to Exodus These periods are exact. Consistent to treat 450 yrs the same
450 Years Dean Alford, one of the foremost Greek scholars of the 19th century, says of Acts 13:20, “… taking the words as they stand, no other sense can be given to them, than that the time of the judges lasted 450 years. The dative έτεσιν [years] implies the duration of the period between ταύτα [these things] and Samuel the prophet, inclusive…”
Bible Scholars on 1 Kings 6:1 Barnes Notes says, “Though the books of Joshua, Judges, and Samuel furnish us with no exact chronology, they still supply important chronological data – data which seem to indicate for the interval between the Exodus and Solomon, a period considerably exceeding 480 years. For the years actually set down amount to at least 580…”
Bible Scholars on 1 Kings 6:1 F. C. Cook noting that the text was “not free from suspicion,” concludes “that the words in the four hundred and eightieth year &c.,. are an interpolation into the sacred text which did not prevail before the third century...”
Bible Scholars on 1 Kings 6:1 Hales says that “…the period of 480 years is itself a forgery, foisted into the Hebrew text of 1 Kings vi. 1.” (Hales, volume I: ) and also says that “The number in the Hebrew text, 480 years, is also spurious, as was proved in the review of the Jewish chronology. (Hales, volume I:298)
Bible Scholars on 1 Kings 6:1 The Imperial Bible-dictionary by PATRICK FAIRBAIRN: “…the statement in 1 Ki. vi. 1 is manifestly at variance with the data supplied by the history itself, there is no remedy but to admit that the text has been somehow corrupted. There is the less difficulty in making this admission, from the circumstance that there is no reference to this date by any of the various writers who compiled histories of the Jews from the materials supplied in the Bible down to Eusebius, who first employed it as the basis of some chronological hypothesis.”
Bible Scholars on 1 Kings 6:1 JOSEPH ANUS, D.D. “Usher makes the fourth period 480 years… taking as his guide 1 Kings vi.1. … But there are strong doubts concerning it. The LXX indicates by various readings the uncertainty of the text. In 2 Chron. iii. 2 (the parallel passage), there is no date. Josephus, Theophilus, and others who have left systems of chronology, seem to have been ignorant of this computation, which is first mentioned in the 4th century by Eusebius.”
1 Kings 6:1 – “It came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.” KJV
Early Chronologists on 1 Kings 6:1 Early writers concerned with chronology make no reference to the 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1. Some refer to the period from the Exodus to Solomon’s 4 th year as about 100 years greater than 480 years.
Early Chronologists on 1 Kings 6:1 Origen quotes 1 Kings 6:1, WITHOUT the words ‘in the four hundred eightieth year” Theophilus gives the period as 566 years, yet he makes no reference to the supposed 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1.
Early Chronologists on 1 Kings 6:1 Clement observed that the majority of chronologists recorded this period between 576 and 595 years, yet he makes no reference to the supposed 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1. Josephus identifies this period as being 594 years.
Early Chronologists on 1 Kings 6:1 Do you believe that early Chronologists never read 1 Kings 6:1?
EUSEBIUS Known as the Father of Church History
EUSEBIUS Eusebius says, “The book of Kings expressly states that there were … 480 years from the exodus until Solomon. But if we look at the dates of each of the judges, and also count separately the times of foreign rule which are mentioned in the book of Judges, there is a total of 600 years between Moses and Solomon.”
EUSEBIUS 600Error: period from Exodus to Solomon’s 4th Year (Should be 580 years.) - 40 in the wilderness - 27Joshua plus dividing the land [This is an error as Joshua should be included in the 450 years below.] - 40Saul’s reign - 40David reign - 4Solomon (to building Temple starting in his 4th yr.) = 450Agrees with Acts 13:20 for Period of the Judges
“The book of Kings clearly states that, from the exodus of the children of Israel until Solomon and the building of the temple, there was a total of… 480 years. The third book of Kings [1 Kings 6:1] says as follows: "It happened in the 480th year" because the Jewish teachers, by a careful calculation, decided that the total came to 480 years… EUSEBIUS
“… They did not count separately the years in which the foreigners are said to have ruled over the people [of Israel], but counted just the time that the judges ruled them, and included within this the periods of foreign domination. And this must be how it is done, because it is the only way that the total can be made to be 480 years.”
EUSEBIUS CALCULATION 600 Exodus to Solomon’s 4 th year -120 Subtract total periods of oppressions Adjusted Exodus to Solomon’s 4 th year (calculation agrees with Jewish Teachers)
EUSEBIUS “…However, if we follow the account in the book of Kings, we will have a total of 480 years, because the 120 years, during which the Hebrews were ruled by foreigners, have been removed…
EUSEBIUS “…Instead, the years of their enslavement will have been combined with the years of their freedom in a single total, which is how the Hebrews themselves count it.
EUSEBIUS “…That is how we will calculate the dates here, by assuming that the times of foreign rule are included in the number of years assigned to each of the judges.”
EUSEBIUS 6Division/Conquering of the Land (not in full control of it) 8years servitude to king of Mesopotamia 18years servitude to Moab 20years servitude to Jabin 7years bondage under Midian 3years reign of Abimelech (oppression by a corrupt King) 18years period of oppression of Ammon 40years oppression by the Philistines Total Years Counting up the years of Oppressions
EUSEBIUS CALCULATION 600 Exodus to Solomon’s 4 th year -120 Subtract total periods of oppressions Adjusted Exodus to Solomon’s 4 th year (calculation agrees with Jewish Teachers) Do you agree with how the Jewish Teachers arrived at 480 years in 1 Kings 6:1?
EUSEBIUS ON THE SEPTUAGINT Eusebius notes the Septuagint reading on 1 Kings 6:1 is “440 years.”
EUSEBIUS “The book of Kings clearly states that, from the exodus of the children of Israel until Solomon and the building of the temple, there was a total of 440 years [in the Septuagint]; according to the Hebrew version, it was 480 years. ON THE SEPTUAGINT
EUSEBIUS The third book of Kings [1 Kings 6:1] says as follows: "It happened in the 440th year after the exodus out of Egypt, that Solomon began to build the house of the Lord." ON THE SEPTUAGINT
Septuagint Calculation 480 Exodus to Solomon’s 4th Year (per Jewish Teachers) - 40 Subtract Eli’s unfaithful Judgeship = 440 Exodus to Solomon’s 4th Year (per Septuagint) Our Suggestion
EUSEBIUS And now you know the rest of the story
CAN WE CALCULATE 450 YEARS DIRECTLY FROM THE BOOK OF JUDGES ITSELF?
Period Years Period Identity, Scripture Reference 59Judgeship of Joshua and the elders that outlived him 1 8 Servitude to Mesopotamia Judges 3: Judgeship of Othniel “ 3: Servitude to Moab “ 3: Rest under Ehud “ 3:15-30 (Jabin in 20 th yr & Deborah 40 yr) 5 Servitude to Jabin “ 4:1-3included above 6 Rest under Deborah “ 5:31included above 7 7 Bondage under Midian “ 6: Rest under Gideon “ 8: Reign of Abimelech “ 9: Judgeship of Tola “ 10:1, Judgeship of Jair “ 10:3 300 (sub-total) Judges 11: Judgeship of Jephthah “ 12: Judgeship of Ibzan “ 12:8, Judgeship of Elon “ 12:10, Judgeship of Abdon “ 12: Oppression of Philistines “ 13: Judgeship of Eli 1Sam. 4: Judgeship of Samuel “ 8:5 19-6Subtract out 6 years for the dividing of the land 450 TOTAL Acts 13:20,21 Here is Bro. Morton Edgar’s attempt to add up all the Judges and arrive at 450 years. First 300 years agrees with Judges 11:26 Remaining 150 years or so completes the 450 years
Judges 11:26 ‘While Israel lived in Heshbon and its villages, and in Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities that are on the banks of the Arnon, three hundred years, why did you not recover them within that time? - NASV
Period Years Period Identity, Scripture Reference 300 (sub-total) Judges 11: Judgeship of Jephthah “ 12: Judgeship of Ibzan “ 12:8, Judgeship of Elon “ 12:10, Judgeship of Abdon “ 12: Oppression of Philistines “ 13: Judgeship of Eli 1Sam. 4: Judgeship of Samuel “ 8:5 19-6Subtract out 6 years for the dividing of the land 450 TOTAL Acts 13:20,21 Some overlap these periods to reduce 156 years to 56 years Remaining years after Jephtha’s 300
Can 156 years be reduced down to 56 years with overlaps?
INTERNAL EVIDENCE FROM THE BOOK OF JUDGES Can the Period of the Judges be shortened to 349 years? Requirements: 1) Overlapping judges 2) Regional judges
INTERNAL EVIDENCE FROM THE BOOK OF JUDGES Can two or more Judges have judged at the same time? Can Judges have been over certain local regions or tribes rather than over the whole of Israel?
Can there be three Judges at the same time? 1)Jephtha, Ibzan & Elon 2) Samson 3) Samuel PROPOSED OVERLAPS TO REDUCE 156 YEARS
Local Judges? Othniel - Jg 3:10 - “Judged Israel” Ehud - Jg 3:15 - “when the children of Israel cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer” Deborah - Jg 4:4 – “was judging Israel at that time” Gideon - Jg 6:14 – “the LORD said,"…you shall save Israel” Tola - Jg 10:2 – “there arose to save Israel Tola” Jair - Jg 10:3 – “judged Israel” Jephthah - Jg 12:7 – “judged Israel” Ibzan - Jg 12:8 - “judged Israel” Elon – Jg 12:11 - “judged Israel” Abdon - Jg 12:13 – “judged Israel” Samson Jg 15:20 & 16:31 – “judged Israel” Eli - 1 Sam 4:8 – “judged Israel” Samuel - 1 Sam 7: “judged Israel”
McClintock & Strong “… 1 Kings [6:1]... is generally adopted, partly on account of its agreement with Egyptian chronology. Most of the systems therefore shorten the time of the judges by reckoning the dates as inclusive or contemporary. But all these combinations are arbitrary. The same may be said of Keil's scheme, which is one of those least open to objection…
McClintock & Strong “… He… makes Jephthah and the three following judges contemporary with the 40 years of the Philistine oppression … he arrives ultimately at the 480 years [of 1 Kings 6:1]. … There is nothing in the book of Judges to warrant the supposition that the national unity was completely broken up, so that there ever were two independent judges ruling different parts of Israel: …”
PHILISTINE & AMORITE OPPRESSIONS Did these oppressions begin as two long contemporaneous episodes, each affecting a different portion of Israel at the same time? Judges 10:7 – “So the anger of Yahweh kindled upon Israel,—and he sold them into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the sons of Ammon; 8 and they enfeebled and oppressed the sons of Israel in that year,—eighteen years, did they this unto all the sons of Israel who were beyond the Jordan, in the land of the Amorites, that was in Gilead.” - Rotherham
Judges 10:8 – “For eighteen years they oppressed all the Israelites on the east side of the Jordan in Gilead, the land of the Amorites.” - NIV
PHILISTINE & AMORITE OPPRESSIONS Judg 13:1 – “And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.” (KJV) Amorite oppression is not even mentioned.
JOSEPHUS’ TESTIMONY: “After Abdon was dead, the Philistines overcame the Israelites and received tribute of them for forty years.” Antiquities of the Jews, Cha 8, par 1.
DIFFICULTIES WITH OVERLAPS Why would not the other Judges have aided Samson in resisting the Philistines 1)Jephtha, Ibzan & Elon 2) Samson
IBZAN = BETHLEHEM SAMSON = ZORAH Samuel is associated with Shiloh, Bethel, Mizpah & Gilgal
SAMSON = ZORAH Samuel is associated with Shiloh, Bethel, Mizpah & Gilgal JEPHTHAH = GILEAD??
Where Did Jephthah Live? McClintock & Strong: “Nor is there anything in the history which suggests the restriction of Jephthah's jurisdiction to the east of Jordan. On the contrary, Mizpeh of Gilead (Judges 11:29) seems to be distinguished from Mizpeh simply so called, where he took up his house (ver. 34), where he uttered all his words before the Lord (ver. 11), …
Where Did Jephthah Live? McClintock & Strong: … and where the children of Israel had assembled themselves together and encamped (Judges 10:17); and it will be difficult to assign a reason for thinking that this was not the Mizpeh in Benjamin, where at other times the people of the Lord were used to meet in those days (Judges 20:1; 1 Samuel 7:5, 6; 10:17)”
SAMSON = ZORAH Samuel is associated with Shiloh, Bethel, Mizpah & Gilgal JEPHTHAH = MIZPAH
1 Sam 7:15-17 “15 And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16 He went from year to year on a circuit to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah, and judged Israel in all those places. 17 But he always returned to Ramah, for his home was there. There he judged Israel, and there he built an altar to the LORD.” NKJV
ABDON = EPHRAIM Samuel is associated with Bethel & Mizpah
Samson Destroys Temple of Dagon
Samson kills thousands, including Lords of Philistines. Philistines attack Israel at Mispeh, one year later? Is this plausible?
Judges 16:27 “Now the temple was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there — about three thousand men and women on the roof watching while Samson performed.… the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it.” All five Lords of the Philistines were killed.
Judges 16:27 “Now the temple was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there — about three thousand men and women on the roof watching while Samson performed.… the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it.” 3,000 people on the roof were killed as well as those in the temple.
Judges 16:24 "Our god has delivered into our hands our enemy, The destroyer of our land, And the one who multiplied our dead." The Philistine’s top military officers would not have been left off the invitation list of this celebration of the defeat of their greatest military enemy.
Judges 16:24 "Our god has delivered into our hands our enemy, The destroyer of our land, And the one who multiplied our dead." The top government leaders and businessmen would not have missed this momentous celebration.
This would have been more than just a major blow against the Philistines; it was a devastating surgical strike against the Philistine’s civil, military and financial structures, so damaging that it would have taken them years to fully recover, rebuild and reestablish their government, military and businesses.
Samson kills thousands, including Lords of Philistines. Philistines attack Israel at Mispeh, one year later? Is this plausible? Occurs in Judges 16 Occurs in 1 Sam 7 That is 11 chapters later Can the intervening events fit in one year?
These episodes are said to all have occurred much earlier in the Period of Judges. Judges 17 & describe how the tribe of Dan went into lasting idolatry Judges explain how the tribe of Benjamin was nearly exterminated 11 Chapters in 1 Year? How are the Intervening Events Explained?
Judges 16:31 “And his brothers… buried him [Samson] between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. He had judged Israel twenty years.” NKJV 11 Chapters in 1 Year?
Judges 18:1,2 “In those days … the tribe of the Danites was seeking an inheritance for itself to dwell in; for until that day their inheritance among the tribes of Israel had not fallen to them. So the children of Dan sent five men of their family from their territory, men of valor from Zorah and Eshtaol, to spy out the land and search it. …” 11 Chapters in 1 Year?
Judges 18:29 “And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born to Israel. However, the name of the city formerly was Laish. 11 Chapters in 1 Year?
This event had to follow the Samson’s death since the Tribe of Dan was located in the south when Samson died.
Judges 20:1 “Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was gathered together as one man, from Dan [far north] even to Beersheba [far south], with the land of Gilead [east], to the LORD in Mizpeh.” AKJV Israel gathered at Mizpeh This Second Intervening Event must have followed the First Intervening event since the home of the Tribe of Dan was now established in the north.
Conclusion: Last 5 chapters of Judges are sequential. Judges 16 – At the time of Samson, the tribe of Dan is in the south, near Judah. Judges 18 – Dan moves to NE extremity of Israel. Judges 20 – Dan is called from NE extremity of Israel to join the other tribes at Mizpeh for battle against Benjamin. 11 Chapters in 1 Year?
Samson kills thousands, including Lords of Philistines. Philistines attack Israel at Mispeh, one year later? Is this plausible? Occurs in Judges 16 Occurs in 1 Sam 7 That is 11 chapters later 1 year not long enough for 2 episodes in last 5 chapters of Judges
* No mention is made of Philistine oppression in last five chapters of Judges * In the last episode, Israel calls an army to go against Benjamin, but does not use the army to free themselves from the Philistines, which demonstrates that Samson had already ended that oppression. 11 Chapters in 1 Year? Additional Considerations
* If the Philistines ruled Israel, they would not allow them to have weapons or to assemble an army as in 1 Samuel 13:19- 23, where Saul’s men had no swords or spears because the Philistines permitted no blacksmiths in the land of Israel. 11 Chapters in 1 Year? Additional Considerations
11 Chapters in 1 Year? Evidence from the first seven chapters of 1 Samuel.
Eli must have judged after Samson since at this time Dan had already moved to the north. 1 Sam 3:20 says, “All Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the LORD.” NAS95
In the first battle Israel had a standing army (1 Sam 4:11), but not in the second battle 20 years later (1 Sam 7). This was a new 20 year Philistine Oppression. If 1 Sam 4 was in the middle of a 40 year Philistine oppression, how could they have had a standing army?
“Now after the death of Samson, Eli the high priest was governor of the Israelites.” Antiquities of the Jews, Cha 9, par 1. JOSEPHUS TESTIMONY:
1 Samuel 1-7 is not part of the 40 year oppression from the Judges because leading up to 1 Samuel 4, Israel was enjoying a period of peace and rest under Eli, in which the people could freely travel each year to Shiloh to worship.
Chronology of the Judges
Geneology of David Ruth 4:18-22 “18 Now this is the genealogy of Perez: Perez begot Hezron; 19 Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab; 20 Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon; 21 Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed; 22 Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.” NKJV
HEZEKIAH In regard to the meaning of the word beget. 2 Kings 20: Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD. 18 And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. KJV [beget here is the same Hebrew word used in Ruth 4:18-22]
JEPHTHAH = GILEAD?? SAMSON = ZORAH Samuel is associated with Shiloh, Bethel, Mizpah & Gilgal