chronological companion to the bible ?· to journey through the exciting world of sacred ... after...
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Chronological Companion To The Bible
Compiled by Thomas J. Short
Copyright 2001 Thomas J. & Debra J. E. Short
December 2011 Revision
All rights reserved
Introduction and Instructions I love the Bible! Not just because all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof,
for correction, for training in righteousness;1 but also because it is absolutely full of all sorts of interesting reading! Yet amazingly, the Bible, as a whole work, is generally unread, even by those who claim a close personal relationship with the God Who inspired its writing. They may know very well the key texts behind significantly important theological tenets, but otherwise they are altogether unfamiliar with the rest of this great literary and historical treasure.
It has been my experience as a Bible teacher that this biblical illiteracy generally stems, not from laziness, but from repeated, unsuccessful attempts to read the Bible cover to cover, start to finish, Genesis through Revelation, as one would read most books. Such readers generally do well until they reach Leviticus, where they get bogged down in the detailed instructions of sacrificial protocol, and many simply give up. Those who do press on may make it as far as 1 Chronicles, where, overwhelmed by the sheer number of unfamiliar names, more will abandon their worthy goal. Of those who survive the name lists, few are able to appreciate the messages of the various prophets, since these have long been arranged in a manner foreign to the average reader, completely divorced from their historical contexts. And I wont even bother going into the problems that arise from trying to read the New Testament books in the order of their arrangement.
I have long believed that these hindrances to reading the whole Bible are best dealt with by helping people absorb Scripture progressively and in chronological order. It makes perfect sense to the average person that 2 Samuel should be read after 1 Samuel and that 2 Corinthians should be read after 1 Corinthians. Why not apply the same logic to the rest of Scripture?
The Old Testament prophets and wisdom books ought to be read in the order they were written and in the context of the Old Testament historical books. In the same way, the New Testament letters ought to be read in the order they were written and in the context of the historical book of Acts. And even though I am a very serious New Testament believer, I am thoroughly convinced that students of Scripture ought to read the entire Old Testament before seriously tackling the New Testament.
Over the past sixteen years, as I have taught through the Bible in this manner, many of my students have commented that the very things which once stymied their reading efforts now make perfect sense and that they have a renewed hunger and thirst for the entire Word of God. My intention in compiling this book is to offer this same means of encouragement to a much wider audience.
This book is basically a chronological outline of the Bible. To journey through the exciting world of sacred history, all you need to do is spend a few minutes of each day reading, in order, the indicated text references. As you read, take the time to mark and to date where you end each reading session. This will help you keep track of your progress and make it easier to resume your journey if a few days happen to pass between opportunities to read. Remember, it's not really all that important how long it takes you to finish this journey, only that you do finish it.
Where more than one account of an event is available (as in the Divided Kingdom Period and in the Life of Christ), I have tried to make the assigned reading the most full, relatively significant or convenient account. References for any parallel account(s) are then provided parenthetically.
If you have a particular interest in Biblical chronology, youll want to pay attention to the outline itself, including the footnotes and charts. I have tried to clearly indicate those places where I have made chronological or textual assumptions, indicating in a footnote or parenthetically how and/or why the assumption was made.
Finally, I have reduced many (but by no means all) of the name lists to chart form and have included them outside the reading assignments so that you can consider them at your leisure. Theres a lot of interesting information in these lists, so make sure that you dont just pass them by.
So, after a few introductory charts, lets get started on our journey!
Thomas J. Short 1 September 2001
1 2 Timothy 3:16. Unless indicated otherwise, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Version.
For Deb Je t'aime
Chart 1: The Ancient Israeli Calendar The ancient Israeli day ran from sunset to sunset, with seven days in each week. The Israeli month,
which was tied to the lunar cycle and varied between 29 and 30 days in length, began with the first visible crescent of each new moon. The 1st Month of the Israeli (Exodus-based2) year began in the spring, around the time of the vernal equinox.3 Differences between the solar and lunar cycles, made it necessary to insert a 13th Month4 every few years in order to keep the calendar in sync with the agricultural cycle.
Numerical Modern Month Pre-Davidic Post-Babylonian Gezer Calendar5 Designation Approximations Designation Designation Agricultural Cycle 1 (MAR/APR) Abib6 Nisan Flax Hoeing
2 (APR/MAY) Ziw7 Iyyar Barley Harvest
3 (MAY/JUN) Siwan Wheat Harvest/Feasting
4 (JUN/JUL) Tammuz Vine Tending
5 (JUL/AUG) Ab Vine Tending
6 (AUG/SEP) Elul Summer Fruit
7 (SEP/OCT) Ethanim8 Tishri [Olive] Harvest
8 (OCT/NOV) Bul9 Heshwan [Olive] Harvest
9 (NOV/DEC) Kislew Grain Planting
10 (DEC/JAN) Tebeth Grain Planting
11 (JAN/FEB) Shebat Late Planting
12 (FEB/MAR) Adar Late Planting
2 In Exodus 12:1-2, God established a brand new calendar system for Israel, tied to the Exodus event. Prior to this they presumably had followed a fall-based calendar (like so many other cultures of the Middle East) beginning around the time of the autumnal equinox. Both these calendar systems can be seen in use within the Old Testament, requiring some careful consideration by chronologists as to which is being cited in the text. 3 Josephus wrote that the Passover took place while the sun was in Aries the constellation of the ancient, vernal equinox (Antiquities 3.10.5). Ancient, Israeli authorities probably considered a number of other, more subjective, indicators before declaring the arrival of the 1st Month; in particular the maturity of the barley crop, which had to be ripe enough for the High Priest to offer a sheaf of it as a First Fruits Offering on the first day of the week immediately after the first day of Unleavened Bread on 1*15 (Leviticus 23:9-21). My dating assignments assume that the 1st Month began after (or, on rare occasions, very shortly before) the vernal equinox. 4 Technically this was considered an additional observance of the 12th month. During such leap years (which were easily discerned ahead of time), the annual observance of Purim was shifted to the second incidence of Adar. 5 The Gezer Calendar appears to be a mnemonic poem from the late 10th or early 9th Century BC, probably intended to help young Israelis understand the progression of the agricultural year. Its description starts with events in the 7th Month of the Exodus-based Israeli year, indicating the use of the fall-based calendar system. 6 This word means tender or green, probably a reference to the maturity of barley. 7 This word means prominent or brightness, probably a reference to the flowering of plants. 8 This word means continuing or permanent, probably a reference to the permanent streams that ran even during the dry summer months. 9 This word means produce or rain, probably a reference to the start of the fall rainy season.
Chart 2: Key Dates in Israeli Chronology
The following events make up the essential framework of my O.T. dating system. Together, they form an unbroken chronological chain, from the well-established date for the Babylonian destruction of the Temple, backward, to Abram's arrival in Canaan.
5*710 (or 5*10) in the 18th Year of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon [WED 26/27 (or SAT/SUN 29/30) JUL in 587 BC]
Temple destroyed by the Babylonians (2 Kings 25:8-9; Jeremiah 52:12-13) Destruction occurred after 390 years of Israeli iniquity (Ezekiel 4:4-5)11
2*2 in the 4th Year of Solomon of Israel/480th Year of the Exodus [TUE/WED 15/16 APR in 977 BC]
Temple foundation laid by Solomon (2 Chronicles 3:1-2) Occurred in the 480th Year of the Exodus (1 Kings 6:1)
1*15 in the 1st Year of the Exodus [THU/FRI 14/15 APR in 1456 BC]
Israelis departed from Egypt (Exodus 12:1-13:10) Foundation occurred 430 years after Jacob/Israel migrated to Egypt (Exodus 12:40-41)
Jacob/Israel migrated to Egypt at age 130 (Genesis 46:1-27; cf. Exodus 12:40-41) 2016 BC
Isaac was 60 years old when Jacob was born (Genesis 25:26) 2076 BC
Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born (Genesis 21:5) 2101 BC12
Abram was 75 years old when he departed Haran for Canaan (Genesis 12