In my last newsletter, I spoke about academic Opinion versus Fact, and how quite often, what is portrayed as fact, is nothing more than opinion. In this Newsletter, I want to continue the theme, by discussing Academic Disagreements.
In the last newsletter I mentioned King Jotham specifically, and mentioned that between his governorship and the 14th year of Hezekiah, 49 years elapse.
2 Kings 18:13 informs us that in the 14th year of King Hezekiah, he was besieged by Sennacherib of Assyria. That Sennacherib of Assyria invaded Judah in 701 BCE is perhaps the only thing in relation to the Biblical Narratives upon which academics agree, and it is therefore the cornerstone of chronology for this period in history.
Another cornerstone for this period, is that in 722 BCE, Israel/Samaria under King Hoshea, fell to the Assyrians. According to 2 Kings 18:10 Samaria fell in the 6th year of Hezekiah. If 722BCE is Hezekiah's 6th year, then 701 BCE is his 27th year, not his 14th year. A variety of opinions are put forth to explain this, but the 'King's Calendar', which deals with CHRONOLOGY (not history) is the only proposition which synchronizes all the chronological references, and for this period of history, it did something which no one else has ever attempted.
Instead of insisting that the chronological data was wrong, it maintains that the Name/Identification of Jewish kings is wrong. You see of the four kings of Judah that reign during this period, THREE are known to have reigned under names OTHER THAN their real names.
King Uzziah's name was Azariah
His son Jotham's real name is unmentioned, but it can be demonstrated to have been JEHOAHAZ,
Ahaz is a diminutive for either Ahaziah or Jehoahaz.
Only Hezekiah reigns under his real name.
Furthermore, Jehoahaz, Ahaziah and Hezekiah, are all very very similar in Hebrew, sufficiently so for there to have been transcription errors involved in the continual copying of the historical books.
Chronology NOT Names!
When one relies SOLELY upon the chronological data and not the names, the chronological problems disappear.
It is from this perspective that you can see the misidentification of names, so that in fact, it was during Ahaz' reign that Hoshea of Israel was defeated, and during Jotham's reign that Hoshea became King. When you see it this way, all the confusion caused by the allegedly erroneous Scriptural references disappears.
As it is however, based upon current academic opinion of events (in reference to the Biblical identification of particular names) quite a number of Scriptures appear erroneous. For example:
2 Kings 15:27 synchronizing the reigns of Pekah and Uzziah is erroneous.
2 Kings 15:32 synchronizing the reigns of Pekah and Jotham is in error.
2 Kings 15:23 synchronizing the reigns of Pekahiah and Uzziah is in error.
2 Kings 15:17 synchronizing the reigns of Menehem and Uzziah is in error.
2 Kings 15:19 synchronizing the reigns of Menehem and Tiglath-Pileser is in error.
2 Kings 18:1 and :9-10, fails to synchronise the 7th and 9th years of Hoshea with the 4th and 6th years of any Judean King.
The 'King's Calendar' proposition will of course upset fundamentalists who PRETEND that there are no inconsistencies in the Bible, but the fact must be faced that either the Chronology is WRONG, or the identification of the names of the kings is wrong.
As the Biblical Narrative stands, (with specific name identification) there are at least four (4) Self-Contradictions in the HISTORICAL story that the Bible portrays.
1.Both Jotham and Ahaz are named as the Victims of Rezin and Pekah.
2.That Rezin and Pekah Did and Did Not Conquer Ahaz.
3.That Tiglath-Pileser Did and Did Not Hearken to Ahaz.
4.That Rezin and Pekah acted in Unison BUT YET separately on their own.
By changing the identification of Kings Names, these Historical AND Chronological references suddenly lose their dubious nature. I have in writing all of this of course, only scratched the surface of the argument.
Now while the 'King's Calendar' can 'polemically' assist to clarify the situation in this particular period, there is another not nearly so startling place in history, where it can help solve an academic problem.
The Damascus Campaign of Adad-Nirari.
Adad-Nirari was king of Assyria from 810-783 BCE, and between 805 and 803 BCE commenced a series of western campaigns. The Saba'a Inscription mention of Adad-Nirari's 5th year (806/05 BCE), appears to indicate that it was in that year that he reached Damascus BUT there is disagreement as to whether one is meant to read that it was in this year that he reached Damascus, or merely that it was in this year that he commenced his western campaigns.
The accepted dating for this Damascus campaign has been 801 BCE. - 800 BCE., although there are alternatives:
Bright, [ 1981, p.256, fnt.68 ] puts it in 802 BCE;
Roux (1982, p.279) places it at the very beginning of the western campaigns 806/05 BCE.,
Miller & Hayes [ 1986, p.298 ] put it in 796 BCE during Adad-Nirari's last western Campaign.
One of the reasons that doubt exists is that no-one currently places Jehoash on the throne of Israel until several years later than 806/805 BCE. According to the 'King's Calendar' however, Jehoahaz of Israel reigned until 808/807 BCE, being followed by his son Jehoash, who by the way, definitely had a three year co-regency with his father, ascending the throne in 810/09 BCE during his fathers 15th year, (the 37th year of Joash of Judah - 2 Kings 13:10). His first regnal year corresponded to the 40th year of Joash of Judah (807 BCE). During his second year (806 BCE), Amaziah of Judah commences his first regnal year (2 Kings 14:1).
Therefore, according to the 'King's Calendar', both Jehoash of Israel and Amaziah of Judah, were kings of their respective countries during the 5th year of Adad-Nirari, and therefore the 'Primary Text' reading of the Saba'a Inscription is historically possible, and need not be 'interpreted' to fit the variety of chronological opinions concerning the reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah.
The fact that Academics disagree in their placements of certain events is not always evident to the ordinary reader, for example, there is another academic disagreement pertinent to this period (for which the 'King's Calendar' offers no assistance, that revolves around the identification of a Saviour for Israel. 2 Kings 13 informs us that Jehoahaz was constantly given into the hand of Hazael of Syria until G-d provided for them a Saviour (:5) 'so that they escaped from the hand of the Syrians'.
Miller & Hayes [ 1986, p.298 ] suggest that this was in the person of Adad-Nirari III, and his western campaign into Southern Syria, in 796 BCE., while James et.al. (1991, p.385. fnt.134) suggests that the Saviour was Sheshonq I, around 800 BCE. who came to the assistance of Israel to recover lost territory.
The point to be made here is that while we are often tempted to accept what the 'Bible Knockers' say is EVIDENCE, the reality is that such evidence is usually subject to ongoing academic disagreement.
One very important academic disagreement that has sprung up in the last few years, and which was mentioned in passing in the last newsletter, is that Academics are arguing over the placement of certain of the Pharaonic Dynasties of Ancient Egypt, disagreeing by up to as much as 200 years.
The Sothic Cycle.
When you read about Ancient Egypt and the dates provided for the reigns of the Pharaohs, what you might not be aware of is that much of the dating is based on guesswork. Egyptian chronology is calculated using something called the Sothic Cycle, but the whole process has come under close scrutiny in the last few years.
Peter James and his associates [James P. Thorpe.I.J., Kokkinos.N., Morkot.R., Frankish.J. (1991) Centuries of Darkness. Rutgers Uni Press. New Jersey.] call for a complete revision of the current chronology of the Ancient Near Eastern Nations, pertinent to dates provided relating to the Hittites, Kassites, Mitanni and Egyptians. They base this upon evidence to demonstrate that the Sothic cycle upon which Egyptian Chronology is based, is in great error. (Refer James Et. Al. 1991,p.304) For a quick read on the problem go to: A New Chronology: Synopsis of David Rohl's book "A Test of Time" by John Fulton. It Relates to David Rohl's work, [Rohl, D.M. (1995) A Test of Time : the Bible - from Myth to History. Century Ltd. London.
Both shift Egyptian dynasties (by up to two hundred years), and while it seems more appropriate to follow the Centuries of Darkness chronology, it does create a problem, for whereas Rohl keeps the Exodus in the Fifteenth Century BCE within the Eighteenth Dynasty (where it belongs), by the standard of James et.al. this dynasty also gets shifted.
I mention this problem for two reasons; firstly so that you can be aware that Egyptian History is still under challenge, and secondly, because within the Centuries of Darkness proposal, Pharaoh Merenptah will have reigned in the Eleventh Century BCE.
Merneptah (Merenptah) was an Egyptian Pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty, who, in his fifth year, had inscribed a stele (Israel Stele) to commemorate and extol his victories. [ Miller & Hayes 1986 p.68 ]. The significance is that according to the current chronological placement of Merneptah's reign, the stele's reference to 'Israel' as a national entity, occurs centuries before Israel was anything other than a loose confederation of tribes. As such, it is somewhat of a mystery.
However, if his reign is shifted to the eleventh century BCE, then the 'King's Calendar' will suggest that the battle referred to is that one in which King Saul was killed, and this year has been identified. Since the Israel Stele refers to a battle in Merenptah's Fifth year, the 'King's Calendar' is able to be of assistance in re-aligning the Dynasties of Egypt for this period in History.
So you see, nothing is certain in the Ancient History Arena, and for people to BLINDLY accept academic argument that tends to 'knock' the Biblical Account, is to 'give up without a fight'. Such is as despicable as those whose 'faith' in the Bible is such that it will not allow them to look at or admit to obvious errors.
When faith refuses to allow itself to be tested, it can hardly be called faith. At best, it is only 'living in a sound proof box'.
The Premise: Between the 5th and 3rd centuries BCE (but continuing down to at least 104 BCE), Sectarian redactors transcribed the legitimate 'solar year' chronological records of Israel and Judah, into an artificial form, with listed years as each comprised of 12 months of 4 weeks of 7 days, or 336 days per year, thus creating a 13th artificial year where 12 solar years existed.
When the Synchronous Chronological Data provided in the Books of Kings and Chronicles for the Divided Kingdom Period are measured in years of 336 days, the synchronisms actually align. [Refer to Appendix Five to see how it synchronises the Divided Kingdom Period]
General formula for Biblical Data conversion:
The formula for constructing the artificial calendar was:
'X' times 364 equals 'Y' days
'Y' days divided by 336 equals 'Z' artificial years.
'X' = any given number of 'real/solar' years
364 = perceived days in the sectarian calendar
'Y' = number of days calculated
336 = number of days in an artificial year
'Z' = artificial years = 1.083'X' and represents the original number of the converted years plus 8%.
To reverse the process by hand:
'Z' years times 336 equals 'Y' divided by 364 equals the Number of 'X' years converted.
To see how effective this method is, SEE:Appendix 5:Diagrammatic Reconstruction of Israelite History from 936 to 586 BCE:
The Principle of Linear Causality
The King's Calendar is a very simple approach to Biblical Chronology. It substitutes a value of 336 days for every year listed in Scripture. As far as the Divided Kingdom is concerned, when you use this 336 day year value, the synchronisms actually work. To see how effective this method is, SEE:Appendix 5: Diagrammatic Reconstruction of Israelite History from 936 to 586 BCE
Because it is a mathematical system, the King's Calendar must abide by certain mathematical rules, the most important of which, is that if you change any date for any day, month, or year every other day, month, or year is effected and must also change. It's like a 'domino effect'. Chronological references cannot be 'forced' to fit, and nor can they simply be ignored or 'compressed' as is the usual case with historians and archaeologists.
If any King's Calendar chronological determination disagrees with anything in the history books, it must argue the case as to why the history books are wrong, or why the evidence for an assertion is untrustworthy. If the King's Calendar successfully defends its' position, then the history books cannot be treated as definitive, and if the King's Calendar is 'proven' wrong, then every other chronological reference it provides is also wrong.
Because of this, the King's Calendar Chronological Reconstruction of Israel's history is unique, in that its' methodology can be scientifically (mathematically) tested and demonstrated to be either true or false. Its' chronological predictions are able to be 'proved' or 'disproved'.
Dates for Nabopolassar & Nebuchadrezzar Kings of Babylon - and - Josiah and Jehoiakim Kings of Judah as per (Wiseman.D.J. (1961) Chronicles of the Chaldaean Kings (626-556 BC) in the British Museum. Trustees of the British Museum. London) Using Babylonian Chronicles B.M. 22047 (p.65) and BM 21946 (p.67) But with a one (1) year adjustment for the Reigns of Nabopolassar and Nebuchadrezzar.
607 bce - Sep - Nabopolassar engaged at Bit-Hanunia / Urartu - 18th year - B.M. 22047 Line 1-4
607 bce - Dec - Josiah's 31st year commences
607 bce - Dec/Jan - Nabopolassar returns to Babylon - B.M. 22047 Line 1-4
606 bce - May/Jun - Campaigning to the north - 19th year - B.M. 22047 Lines 5-7
606 bce - Jun/Jul - Nabopolassar returns to Babylon - B.M. 22047 Line 8
606 bce - Jul/Aug - Necho heads North for Carchemish
606 bce - Aug/Sep - Nebuchadrezzar returns to Babylon - B.M. 22047 Line 12
606 bce - Aug/Sep - Josiah of Judah slain
606 bce - Aug/Sep - Jehoahaz becomes king of Judah
606 bce - Sep/Oct - Nabopolassar Heads to Kimuhu - B.M. 22047 Line 12
606 bce - Nov - Nabopolassar captures Kimuhu - B.M. 22047 Line 14
606 bce - Nov - Jehoahaz deposed by Pharaoh Necho - taken to Riblah
606 bce - Nov - Jehoiakim commences - 1st Artificial year commences.
R.P.BenDedek is from Brisbane Australia and is the author of 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran' at http://www.kingscalendar.com His academic articles set forth Apologetics for and results of his discovery of an "artificial chronological scheme" running through the Bible, Josephus, the Damascus Documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Seder Olam Rabbah.
He writes photographic 'Stories from China' and social editorial commentaries, both at KingsCalendar, and as a contributing newspaper columnist. He currently teaches Conversational English in China and in addition to his English Lessons at KingsCalendar, he has created specific sites for Students of English.