This article, which first appeared on the old KingsCalendar site many years ago, relates to the issue of the 480 years quoted in 1 Kings 6:1 in relation to the Mosaic Exodus and the building of Solomon’s Temple. It is in fact an ‘excerpt’ from Chapter 14 of the King’s Calendar and is part of a side argument to establishing the birth year of Abraham. If you are unfamiliar with the Secret of Qumran Research, please read ‘What is the King’s Calendar?‘
In order to provide the explanation of the argument mentioned above, it was necessary to explain the differences between the Masorete and Septuagint versions of 1 King’s 6:1 which relates that the Israelites came out of Egypt either 480 or 440 years before the commencement of the Building of Solomon’s Temple.
What does 1 Kings 6:1 state?
And 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 Ziv, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.
Most commentators include the Exodus within the 480 years.
Masorete and Septuagint versions of 1 Kings 6:1 are not however the same.
The Original Article Content Relating to Abraham
The first chronological option in calculating the year of Abraham’s birth, commences with the Building of Solomon’s Temple. (Dating Solomon’s Temple)
We trace 480 years back from Solomon’s 4th year to the Israelites entrance into Canaan, then add another forty (40) years to the Exodus, plus 215 years of sojourn (Antiquities 2:15:2) as per Josephus. (Josephus, Ancient History and Biblical Contradictions)
To this we add 130 years for the Age of Jacob upon entering Egypt during the famine, plus another 60 years for the age of Isaac at Jacob’s birth, and finally, 100 years for the age of Abraham at Isaac’s birth.
It seems quite simple. Unfortunately there are some complications. The issue of counting back 480 years from Solomon’s 4th year as per 1 King’s 6:1, contains within it two problematical details.
The First Complication:
The First complication is in determining the intended application of the reference. According to the authorised version, 1 King’s 6:1, tells us that Solomon’s 4th year is the 480th year since the Israelites came out of the land of Egypt. The Septuagint however tells us that it is the 440 th. year.
The usual explanation for this contradiction is that the Septuagint records only the years since entry into Canaan while the authorised version includes the forty (40) years in the wilderness, and thus is a reference to the Exodus itself. If this were the case and the ‘King’s Calendar’ date for Solomon’s 4th year (970 BC) were accurate, these differing chronological references would in fact be referring to the years 1410 BC and 1450 BC respectively. Whilst this seems logical, the ‘King’s Calendar’ indicates that both texts, despite divergent renderings, refer to the same event in 1412 BC.
It is the King’s Calendar contention that the Authorised Version is recorded in artificial years and the Septuagint is a solar year reference, and both refer to the entrance into Canaan in 1412 BC. The Exodus occurs forty years earlier in 1449 BC.
The ‘King’s Calendar’ proposition is that the Septuagint rendering is an ‘original’ reference, not yet altered in the accepted text of the mid-third century when the Septuagint was composed. A few examples of this have already been encountered, specifically in relation to the Omrides.
The Second Complication:
The other problem in relation to our task in this chapter, is that from the ‘King’s Calendar’ perspective, these two different references only ‘reasonably agree.’
When 480 artificial years are converted into solar years, the result is 443 years, not the 440 years which appear in the Septuagint, and conversely, the number of artificial years to transpire over 440 solar years is 477 years, not the 480 years of the Masorete. There is a three year discrepancy.
It is difficult to reconcile this discrepancy given that the contention of the ‘King’s Calendar’ is that the Septuagint’s use of solar years ‘must’ be the original and true chronological record. The most obvious explanation for the discrepancy is that the original 440 year solar reference involved the time elapsing between entry into Canaan and Solomon’s first year, not his fourth year.
While both synchronise their chronologies with Solomon’s 4th year, the Septuagint does not exactly read the same as the Authorised.
Reference to the fourth year is duplicated in the Septuagint, and is thus redundant. It may be that the original verse indicated firstly that 440 years transpired between entrance into Canaan and the commencement of Solomon’s reign, and then indicated that in his fourth (4th) year he commenced building the temple.
In that case, the Masorete containing the artificial years, ignored reference to the commencement of Solomon’s reign, but correctly synchronised his fourth (4th) year with the 480th year entry into Canaan. At some later date perhaps, the 440 year Septuagint reference was altered and similarly linked.
This then would be the contention of the ‘King’s Calendar’ that there were 440 solar years elapsed between Israelite entrance into Canaan in 1412 BC, and the commencement of Solomon’s reign, and 480 artificial years between 1412 BC and Solomon’s fourth (4th) year.
Elaborating on the Problem in 1 Kings 6:1
The issue of the 440 or 480 years in 1 Kings 6:1 has more significance than at first appears, when considered in tandem with information provided in the Book of Judges. (The Period of the Judges.)
The Book of Judges provides an incomplete list of the judgeships in, and periods of oppression against, Israel and yet still manages to record 450 years worth of seemingly consecutive data between the parameters of the 1 King 6:1 reference.
Whilst there are definite Biblical chronological references for David and Solomon, there are only extra-biblical records upon which we can rely in determining the time periods for Joshua, Samuel and Saul. These indicate that Joshua was judge for up to 28 years; that Samuel was judge for 30 years; and that Saul reigned up to 22 years. A total of between 60 and 80 years.
This increases the 450 years listed in the Book of Judges to between 510 and 530 years. To these 510 or 530 years must be added the 40 years for David and the first 3 or maybe 4 years of Solomon’s reign, to give us a total of between 554 and 574 years to elapse between the Israelite entrance into Canaan and (incl.) the 4th year of Solomon.
1 King’s 6:1 says that either 440 or 480 years elapsed during these 554 -574 years.
Whether one wants to follow the Septuagint or Masorete is irrelevant unless one can first deal with the contradictory nature of 1 Kings 6:1.
Primary Text Reading.
(Primary Text here will refer to the actual words that appear in the English translation.)
The primary text reading of 1 Kings 6:1 in both versions is that the parameters of the time period mentioned, are the actual
Entry of the People of Israel into Canaan,
the commencement of the building of Solomon’s Temple.
It is only because the two figures differ by 40 years, that it has been assumed that the Septuagint is correct in it’s reference to Entrance into Canaan and that the Masoretic version has been altered to include the 40 years of wandering.
However, the King’s Calendar artificial calendar demonstrates the opposite. The King’s Calendar dates for the Exodus, Entrance into Canaan and Solomon’s 4th year are in keeping with every other traditional scholastic source, and yet it fits 480 years into the 440 solar year time frame suggested by the Septuagint version.
It goes one step further however to suggest that the Septuagint was altered and that in it’s original form, it read that 440 years transpired between Entrance into Canaan and Solomon’s 1st year (when he announced his intention to build the temple).
And it came to pass in the four hundred and fortieth year after the departure of the children of Israel out of Egypt, in the fourth year and second month of the reign of King Solomon over Israel, that the king commanded that they should take great and costly stones for the foundation of the house, and hewn stones. And the men of Solomon, and the men of Hiram hewed the stones, and laid them for a foundation. In the fourth year he laid the foundation of the house of the Lord, in the month of Ziv, in the second month. In the eleventh year in the eighth month, the house was completed….
Note the redundant reference to the ‘fourth year.’ Solomon’s commandment to build a temple is given in the same listed year as the foundations were laid. Is that not odd?
The King’s Calendar Determination.
The King’s Calendar suggests that the original (Masoretic) version read that:
440 solar years transpired
Between Entrance into Canaan and
Solomon’s first year when he commissioned the building of the Temple.
Later, when the redactors inserted the artificial chronological details into Israel’s history, they changed the details to:
480 years transpired
Between Entrance into Canaan and
Solomon’s 4th year when the foundations of the Temple were laid.
The round figure of 480 years neatly fitted in with the 4th year of Solomon when the temple foundation was laid and was therefore a much better chronological reference.
At some point thereafter, having noticed the discrepancy between the Masorete and the Septuagint versions, someone corrected the Septuagint version, (changing 1st year to 4th year), having made the same assumption that many make today (that the Masorete includes the 40 years of Wandering).
Discrepancy between Book of Judges and 1 Kings 6:1
The inherent incongruence in the data contained in the Book of Judges, can succinctly be explained as one transcription error and one current day misapplication of the data.
Ehud’s judgeship was most probably 18 years not 80 years, (The Period of the Judges) and the Oppression listed in Judges Chapter 13 was obviously concurrent with the reign of Samson (including 20 years either side of his judgeship.)
However it must be pointed out here, that the remaining balance of data in solar years, is still excessive.
The King’s Calendar artificial construct however reduces the overall value of the data, and the period of the Judges does then compactly fit into 480 artificial years, just as the Masoretic version 1 Kings 6:1 actually states.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article.
Related or Useful Articles
- Secret of Qumran Chapter Precis
- LXX, The MSS and the Exodus
- Solomon’s Temple, & Zerrubabel
- When was the Temple Built?
- Exodus King’s Calendar UNABRIDGED
- Chronological Differences between the Septuagint and the Masorete Texts
- Genesis 11: Chronology of Patriarchs : Septuagint: Masorete: Josephus and Seder Olam.
- Newsletter No 18. The Septuagint, The Masorete and the Exodus.
- Seder Olam Chronological Discrepancies regarding Samuel, Saul & David.
- Kings Calendar Chapter Precis Page
- Who introduced the artificial Calendar into the Bible?
(The http links below were not checked to confirm that they were still current)
Eisenman R.H., Wise.M. (1992) The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered U.K.Element Books. pp.92/93
Grimal.N. (1992, p. 392) Assumed to be from “A History of Ancient Egypt” [Reference not in K.C. Bibliography.]
Marston. C. (1935) The Bible is true: The lessons of the 1925-34 excavations in Bible lands summarized and explained. Australia. Angus and Robertson.
Bible : Mechon Mamre Hebrew-English
Apostles Bible English Translation of the Septuagint
Bible Facts: Seder Olam:
Conventional Chronology vs. Rabbinic Chronology (Seder Olam Rabbah)
Dealing with the Calendar Question:Frank W. Nelte.
Dollinger.A. (2000) An Introduction to the History and Culture of Pharaonic Egypt. Herodotus: Hyksos
Jewish Encyclopedia.com : SEDER ‘OLAM RABBAH:
Josephus (Whiston: Antiquities)
Mariottini.Dr.C.(2005) Dr.Claude Mariottini – Professor of Old Testament – Rereading 1 Samuel 13:1
Parshat Terumah (1 Kings 5:26-6:13) February 12, 2005
Philologos: Bible Prophecy Research: Titled: 5760+240=6000:
Appendix 5: Diagrammatic Reconstruction of Israelite History : 936 to 586 BC:
Appendix 13: Synchronous Scriptural References