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Chronology

Chronology [N] [S]

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 ( Numbers 1:1 ; 33:38 ; 1 Kings 6:1 ), and sometimes from the accession of kings ( 1 Kings 15:1 1 Kings 15:9 1 Kings 15:25 1 Kings 15:33 , etc.), and sometimes again from the return from Exile ( 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 Exodus 12:41 ; 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. 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.

These dictionary topics are from
M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

[N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
[J] indicates this entry was also found in Jack Van Impe's Prophecy Dictionary
[S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

Bibliography Information

Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Chronology". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .

Chronology. [N] [E]

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.

[N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
[E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary
[J] indicates this entry was also found in Jack Van Impe's Prophecy Dictionary

Bibliography Information

Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Chronology'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary". . 1901.