7: Counting the Years How?

7: Counting the Years How?

Meditations for

Rosh Ha-Hodashim, the New Year

7: Counting the Years – How?

A Survey of Sources, with Our Conclusion

Following is a list of the sources we examined, which try to reconstruct the years from the Exodus (skip down to the blue summary to see the end result as far as dating this year, compared with the only modern Jewish attempt published in Segula, Appendix 6).

A comparison led us to conclude that the reckoning of Bruno Kolberg (Appendix 1) is the most developed, accurate, scholarly and successful in integrating the scriptural records without contradicting them. Therefore we dated Nisan 2012 as 3469 AE (After the Exodus).

Appendix 1: Dating the Exodus – Bruno Kolbergpage 2

Appendix 2: Dating the Exodus – Edwin R. Thielepage 3

Appendix 3: Dating the Exodus – James Ussherpage 6

Appendix 4: Dating the Exodus from Solomon

by Encyclopedia Judaicapage 6

Appendix 5: Dating by David & Solomon – two

simplistic calculationspage 7

Appendix 6: Dating the Exodus – Yaakov Medan

(Segula, April 2011)page 8

Appendix 7: Dating by Seleucus I, with Segula logicpage 9

Appendix 8: Dating by Darius – Segula vs.

Encyclopedia Britannicapage 9

Appendix 9: Dating the Exodus – John Brightpage 10

Appendix 10: Jewish Explanation of the Gap (163-165 Years)

(Wikipedia)page 11

Appendix 11: Protestant Explanation of the Gap (240 Years)

(short Ussher version)page 20

Appendix 12: Protestant Gap of 240 Years

(speculation, references, quotes from

Seder Olam Rabba) page 21

Appendix 1: Dating the Exodus – Bruno Kolberg

From "Redating the Hebrew Kings", Bruno Kolberg 2010

Full file available on-line at:

[Page 1:]

Accordingly, all calendars that use Thiele’s date [see our Appendix 2] to fix Biblical events before 931/30 B.C. are likewise doubtful. As this study proposes, an earlier date of 942/41 B.C. for the division of the kingdom, also called the disruption or schism, is more Biblically sound. This leads to the following milestone dates:

Jacob’s entry into Egypt ...... 1887 B.C.

The exodus...... 1457 B.C.

Solomon’s fourth year (when the temple foundation was laid) ...... 978 B.C.

The beginning of Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Jerusalem...... January, 588 B.C.

The fall of Jerusalem...... July, 587 B.C.

A noteworthy outcome of the above chronology is that the following time-bridges in the Bible follow consecutively. They also span a total interval of 1,300 years:

Exod 12:40...... The 430-year interval of Israel’s stay in Egypt ...... 1887–1457 B.C.

1 Kgs 6:1...... Solomon’s fourth year was the 480th year after the exodus...... 1457–978 B.C.

Ezek 4:5 ...... The 390-year span of Israel’s iniquity...... 978–588 B.C.

2 Kgs 25:1–3.... The 19-month siege of Jerusalem...... 588–587 B.C.

In this study, the following principles for chronological reckoning will be upheld:

• The regnal notices for the Hebrew kings have been accurately recorded in the Masoretic Text (MT) as translated by the King James Version of the Bible (KJV). These notices have no scribal errors or emendations.

• Where the regnal data in the MT disagrees with the Greek manuscripts, the MT is to be preferred. Similarly, where the MT data disagrees with secular texts such as the Assyrian Eponym Canon (as presently dated), the MT is to be preferred.

Guided by these principles, the study will outline a calendar of milestone dates from Abraham to the fall of Jerusalem. Although particular attention will be paid to the kings of the divided monarchy era, their associations with extra-Biblical texts, especially Neo-Assyrian inscriptions, are a vital consideration in this work.

Kolberg placed the Exodus at 1457 BCE, placing us (as of April 2012) in the year 3469 after the Exodus (145 years after the Segula calculation).

Appendix 2: Dating the Exodus – Edwin R. Thiele

[from Wikipedia – for further documentation see and also ]

Edwin R. Thiele (1895–1986) was an American missionary in China, an editor, archaeologist and Old Testament professor. He is best known for his chronological studies of the Hebrew kingdom period.

Reception of Thiele’s work:

Thiele's chronological reconstruction has not been accepted by all of the scholarly consensus, but it should be pointed out that neither has any other scholar’s work in this field. Yet the work of Thiele and those who followed in his steps has achieved acceptance across a wider spectrum than that of any comparable chronology, so that Assyriologist D. J. Wiseman wrote, “The chronology most widely accepted today is one based on the meticulous study by Thiele,” and, more recently, Leslie McFall: “Thiele’s chronology is fast becoming the consensus view among Old Testament scholars, if it has not already reached that point.”

Although criticism has been leveled at numerous specific points in his chronology, his work has won considerable praise even from those who disagree with his final conclusions. Nevertheless, even scholars sharing Thiele's religious convictions have maintained that there are weaknesses in his argument such as unfounded assumptions and assumed circular reasoning.

In his desire to resolve the discrepancies between the data in the Book of Kings, Thiele was forced to make improbable suppositions ... There is no basis for Thiele's statement that his conjectures are correct because he succeeded in reconciling most of the data in the Book of Kings, since his assumptions ... are derived from the chronological data themselves...”

In response to the “circular reasoning” argument, Kenneth Strand has pointed out several archaeological finds that were published after Thiele produced his chronology, and which verified Thiele’s assumptions or conclusions vs. the chronological systems of other scholars such as Albright that were posited before Thiele’s work. In scientific methodology, the ability to predict new results that were not known when a theory was formulated is regarded as support for the provisional acceptance of a theory until a better theory can be produced.

Despite the various criticisms Thiele's methodological treatment remains the typical starting point of scholarly treatments of the subject, and his work is considered to have established the date of the division of the Israelite kingdom.

[From various online discussions:]

Flaws in Thiele’s work

Dependence on Assyrian Data –

Modern scholars seek to make the Bible fit in with the chronologies of other nations. For example, Thiele makes a number of assumptions from observations of Assyrian stone tablets that, he believes, warrant a revision of the king list in I and II Kings. Thiele's sole warrant for favoring his dating over that of James Ussher [see our Appendix 3] is his attempt to reconcile the king lists of the Divided Kingdoms (Northern and Southern) with the chronology of the Assyrians. The point being that in the absence of non-biblical sources, Thiele too would adopt Ussher’s chronology, since Ussher’s chronology is based on exactly what the Bible says when taken at face value.

Ussher calculated King Jehu as having acceded to the throne of Israel (and also killing King Ahaziah of Judah) in 884 BC. However Thiele argues that The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III mentions a king identified as Jehu, son of Omri as paying tribute to King Shalmaneser III in 841 B.C. Shalmaneser III mentions that in the eighteenth year of his reign he went against "Hazael of Aram", shut him up in "Damascus, his royal city", and "received tribute of the men of Tyre, Sidon and of Jehu, the son of Omri".’

This is a 43-year difference compared with the Bible. Which is correct - the Bible or the Assyrian inscription? Thiele opts for the latter and moves forward the date of Jehu's campaign from 884 BC to 841 BC. That movement alone accounts for 43 of the 45 years by which the Ussher and Thiele dates of the Exodus and the Temple are discrepant.

Violence Done to the Biblical Record –

Thiele assumes that the Assyrian inscription is correct, and that the Bible is in error. To make the Bible fit in with the Black Obelisk, he was forced to greatly compress the history of the Northern Kingdom after Jehu. To collapse the Biblical history, he created overlapping reigns of kings so that the total length of the period is significantly shortened.

For example, the Bible says that Uzziah was 16 years old when his father (King Amaziah) died, and Uzziah was made king. And Uzziah reigned 52 years. Thiele argues that Uzziah's reign overlaps with that of his father, so when his father died, Uzziah had already been reigning 24 years. This would mean that Uzziah began to reign 8 years before he was even born! Scripture actually says:

“And they brought him [Amaziah, Uzziah’s father] on horses, and he was buried at Jerusalem with his fathers in the city of David. And all the people of Judah took Azariah [Uzziah] who was sixteen years old, and made him king in place of his father Amaziah” (2 Kings 14:20,21).

“In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah [Uzziah] the son of Amaziah king of Judah began to reign. He was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem …” (2 Kings 15:1,2).

By all rules of exegesis, one would conclude that Uzziah was made king after the death of his father when he was 16 years old. This event happened in the 27th year of Jeroboam.

As another example, the Bible clearly says that: 1) Menachem began to reign in the 39th year of Uzziah, and Menachem reigned for 10 years, followed by his son, Pekahiah, who reigned for two years; 2) Pekahiah was murdered by his commander, Pekah, who in turn reigned for 20 years. By normal rules of exegesis, this would be the most normal way to understand the text:

“In the thirty-ninth year of Azariah [Uzziah] king of Judah, Menachem the son of Gadi began to reign over Israel, ten years in Samaria” (2 Kings 15:17). “And Menahem slept with his fathers. And Pekahiah his son reigned in his place. In the fiftieth year of Uzziah [Azariah] king of Judah, Pekahiah the son of Menahem began to reign over Israel in Samaria, two years.…

But Pekah the son of Remaliah, a commander of his, conspired against him and struck him in Samaria, in the palace of the king’s house, with Argob and Arieh, and fifty men of the Gileadites with him. And he killed him and reigned in his place.… In the fifty-second year of Uzziah [Azariah] king of Judah, Pekah the son of Remaliah began to reign over Israel in Samaria, twenty years” (2 Kings 15:22—27).

However, Thiele states that Pekah began to reign in the 39th year of Uzziah, not the 50th. While Ussher assumed the primacy of Scripture, Thiele assumed the primacy of secular historical records (what Ussher called "profane history").

Larry Pierce in particular (a Latin scholar and translator of Ussher’s work) contends that Thiele had no right, according to the accepted canons of Biblical scholarship, to impart different meanings to verses that follow the same pattern without sufficient reason. Even if Thiele did have that right, Pierce maintains that Thiele's clues, such as they are, are not grounded in anything approaching certainty.

The Assyrian Records Discredited –

Eugene Faulstich (author of History, Harmony, and the Hebrew Kings) discovered that much of the information on the Black Obelisk that is attributed to Shalmaneser was taken from earlier monuments. This plagiarism was so common in Assyrian history that the father of Shalmaneser III pronounced a special curse on kings who tried to steal his fame by ascribing to themselves deeds he had done. Faulstich goes on to document inconsistencies among the Black Obelisk, the Tigris Inscriptions, the Statue Inscriptions and the Bull-Colossi.

This type of historical revisionism results in the collapsing of historical events into a shorter time frame. (Ref: Faulstich, E.W., History, Harmony & The Hebrew Kings, Chronology Books, Spencer, Iowa, pp. 143—157, 1986.)

Thiele placed the Exodus at 1446 BCE, placing us today (spring 2012) in the year 3458 after the Exodus, 134 years after the Segula calculation.

Appendix 3: Dating the Exodus – James Ussher


James Ussher (1581-1656) was the Anglican archbishop of Armagh, Ireland, and "Primate of All Ireland," meaning the head of the Anglican Church in Ireland. He was one of the most respected scholars and theologians of his time, and traveled widely in search of original documents, or at least the oldest versions of them he could find. The many books and documents he collected throughout his life were to form the nucleus of the great library at Trinity College in Armagh.

James Ussher, in The Annals of the World, placed the Exodus at 1491 BCE.

This places us (in spring 2012) at 3503, 179 years later than the Segula calculation.

Appendix 4: Dating the Exodus – from “Solomon” by Enc. Jud.

[From "Chronological and Background Charts of the Old Testament" J.H. Walton, Zondervan 1952]

“I Kings 6:1 designates 480 years from the Exodus to Solomon's dedication of the Temple. The dedication was 966.” That would set the Exodus at 1446 BCE.

But Scripture actually says: "In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites came out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, he began to build the temple of the LORD."

[Encyclopedia Judaica vol. 15, p. 98: "Solomon":]

“Solomon began his reign 967 B.C.” The 4th year of his reign would have begun about April 964 if we count by the Jewish "year of kings" (which begins in the spring).

By that reckoning, the Exodus was at 964 + 480 = 1444 BCE, placing us (in spring 2012) at 3456 after the Exodus. This is 132 years later than the Segula calculation.

Appendix 5: Dating by David & Solomon – two simplistic calculations

1. From “Dating the Exodus: Another View” by Gary Greenberg
[From KMT, A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt, Summer 1994. The file can be found at: ]

The dating of Solomon’s fourth year to 1017 B.C. is based on the chronology of the Judean kings from Solomon to the destruction of the Temple. Based on the lengths of reign for each of the successive kings (as chronicled in 1 and 2 Kings), the period in question is 430 years long, and there is abundant evidence that the destruction of the Temple occurred at about 587 B.C.

Using this date for Solomon's 4th year, and adding 480, we arrive at 1497 BCE for the Exodus, putting us (spring 2012) in the year 3509 after the Exodus, 185 years beyond the Segula calculation.

2. From “The Chronology of King David” by Murrell Selden, April 7, 2000. [The entire file is found at: )

Summary of the Matter: Two means have been found to estimate the rulership of Cyrus the Great over Babylon. Both point to 538 B.C.E. as the date. Once that date is computed, one merely goes back 70 years to the capture of Babylon in the days of King Zedekiah. One then can compute quite well the years of reign of all the Kings of Judah, Solomon, and David. From this, it is evident that King David ruled around 1077 B.C.E. to 1037 B.C.E.

This puts the Exodus at 1514 BCE, and us (in spring 2012) at 3526, 202 years later than the Segula calculation.

Appendix 6: Dating the Exodus – Rabbi Yaakov Medan

[From "A Revolutionary Calendar" by Yaakov Medan, printed in Segula Magazine of Jewish History, April 2011]

The Exodus took place in 2448 A.M. [from Creation] This calculation is based on the number of years listed in Genesis up to the birth of Isaac (2048 years), with the addition of the 400 years of slavery revealed to Abraham at the Brit Bein Habetarim, the Covenant of the Pieces (an easy date to remember is Abraham's birth in the year 1948 – AM of course).

No Thousands

Based on this calculation, it turns out that Seleucus I came to power exactly 1000 years after the Exodus, as stated by the author of Seder Olam [see our Appendix 12]; counting from the Exodus, the building of the Temple of Solomon commenced in the year 480, as quoted above from the book of Kings. Rabbinic tradition and the Biblical text indicate that the Temple was destroyed 410 years later. Seventy years after the destruction of the First Temple, the Jews began to build the Second Temple, in the second year of the reign of Darius of Persia (see Zechariah 1:12, and compare with Haggai 1:14, both prophecies made in that same year).

According to Seder Olam, the whole of the Persian era, from the building of the Second Temple to the reign of Seleucus I [by Chronological and Background Charts of the Old Testament, 312 BCE], totaled only 40 years – bringing us to the year 3448, exactly 1000 years after the Exodus.

The number of years in the Seleucid era is thus aligned with the number of years from the Exodus, as calculated from the Biblical text. The Geonim, who used the shatarot dating system [i.e. dating of loan deeds], left the count from the Seleucid era in place as a technicality, without the thousands, since they were actually counting the years from the Exodus, just as the Hebrew letters whose numerical value are used to indicate the number of years from the Creation are generally written today without the number of thousands.

If the Exodus was in 1312 BCE (2448 A.M.), this puts us (as of spring 2012) in the year 3324 after the Exodus.

Appendix 7: Dating by Seleucus I, with Segula logic