Period of the Judges of Israel: Joshua, Deborah, Ehud, Samson, Gideon, Philistine OppressionThe time frame provided in the Biblical Data for the Period of the Judges is excessive of known history, even when using a 15th Century Exodus time frame. Most academics today use a 13th Century BCE Exodus Event Time Frame. 1 Kings 6:1 tells us that there are 480 years between either Entrance into Canaan (or the Exodus event) and Solomon's 4th year when the temple building commenced. The Book of Judges lists off 450 years to specific judges leaving 30 years into which to fit Joshua, Samuel, Saul, David and the first few years of Solomon's reign. Judges 11:26 states that Jephthah's judgeship takes place (approximately) 300 years after the capture of Heshbon. We therefore have a chronological reference, by which to fix a particular judgeship, for we already have a chronological marker for the capture of Heshbon, in 1412 BCE.
The biggest problem in relation to Israel's Period of the judges, is that the Chronological Data provided in the Book of Judges is excessive within the overall chronological claims of the Bible.
It is very obvious that there are Inherent chronological problems in Biblical Data for this period of time. For example:
1. The time frame provided in the Biblical Data for the Period of the Judges is excessive of known history, even when using a 15th Century Exodus time frame (which the "King's Calendar" does). Most academics today use a 13th Century BCE Exodus Event Time Frame.
1 Kings 6:1 tells us that there are 480 years between either Entrance into Canaan (or the Exodus event) and Solomon's 4th year when the temple building commenced. The Book of Judges lists off 450 years to specific judges leaving 30 years into which to fit Joshua, Samuel, Saul, David and the first few years of Solomon's reign.
2. Even the King's Calendar 'artificial year' approach, finds the data too excessive after converting it into regular solar year measurements.
3. The Bible does not tell us how long Joshua was judge. Josephus assigns him 25 years. The King's Calendar follows Josephus on this, but Seder Olam Rabbah assigns 28 years.
If Josephus is correct, then the 450 years in the Book of Judges becomes 475 years as at the death of Eli. Leaving 5 years to fit Samuel, Saul, and David.
4. The Bible does not tell us how long Samuel was judge of Israel. Josephus however says that the total period for Samuel and Saul was 32 years.
So now we have 507 years from Joshua to the end of Saul's reign, to which must be added another 40 years for David and 3 or 4 years for Solomon. We now have a period of 550 years between the commencement of Solomon's Temple, and either Entrance into Canaan or the Exodus Event. This negates 1 Kings 6:1
5. Given the excessive nature of the Data for the Period of the Judges, it is apparent that there must be some error in it. One obvious place for error is in the data for the judgeship of Ehud. His assigned 80 years are most probably a transcription error for 18 or 8 years.
The "Most Probable" aspect is based on other narrative and chronological data pertinent to Ehud's life. An 80 year judgeship is clearly incorrect.
6. Taking this reduction into account, the Biblical Data is still excessive. Another way to reduce the overall time frame, is to see that some of the 'oppressions' of the philistines were meant to be read as concurrent with data provided for individual Judges, as opposed to being read as 'subsequent' to such data. This same view is espoused in the Seder Olam Rabbah. List of Seder Olam Rabbah Articles
Chapter 17 of the King's Calendar [Period of the Judges], Appendix 8 [Juggling the Data - Chronological Time chart], and the Seder Olam Rabbah Series of Articles deal with the issues pertinent to this time frame.
Point 1. The 'King's Calendar & Other Chronologies'.
As a ready reference to assist you with your studies, a chart is provided below that lists a variety of chronological data as provided by several sources for the various judges of Israel. (The Biblical Data appears in Text format, underneath the chart.)
"B" the Book of Judges
"S" Seder Olam Rabbah
"Art" is the artificial figure used by the King's Calendar
"Sol" contains the number of real or solar years represented by the King's Calendar Artificial years.
"Judgeships" is the King's Calendar determination of the historical time frame for the event listed.
Text Format of the Data found in the chart above:
Joshua Judge of Ancient Israel : Book of Judges - Length of Judgeship is not listed.
Oppression Book of Judges 3:8 : 8 years
Othniel Judge of Ancient Israel : Book of Judges 3:11 : 40 years
Oppression by Moab Book of Judges 3:14 : 18 years
Ehud Judge of Ancient Israel : Book of Judges 3:30 : 80 years
Oppression Book of Judges 4:4 : 40 years
Deborah Judge of Ancient Israel : Book of Judges 5:13 : 40 years
Oppression Book of Judges 6:1 : 7 years
Gideon Judge of Ancient Israel : Book of Judges 8:28 : 40 years
Abimelech Judge of Ancient Israel : Book of Judges 9:22 : 3 years
Tola Judge of Ancient Israel : Book of Judges 10:2 : 23 years
Jair Judge of Ancient Israel : Book of Judges 10:3 : 22 years
Oppression Book of Judges 10:8 : 18 years
Jephthah Judge of Ancient Israel : Book of Judges 12:7 : 6 years
Ibzan Judge of Ancient Israel : Book of Judges 12:8 : 7 years
Elon Judge of Ancient Israel : Book of Judges 12:11 : 10 years
Abdon Judge of Ancient Israel : Book of Judges 12:13 : 8 years
Oppression Book of Judges 13:1 : 40 years
Samson Judge of Ancient Israel : Book of Judges 16:31 : 20 years
Eli Judge of Ancient Israel : 1 Samuel 4:18 : 40 years
Samuel Judge of Ancient Israel : 1 Samuel 4:18 : No years listed
Saul King of Ancient Israel : 1 Samuel 13:1 : No years listed
David King of Ancient Israel : 1 Samuel 16:1 ; 40 years
Solomon King of Ancient Israel : 1 Chronicles 29:1 : 40 years
Point 2. Saul's Reign.
In order to truly calculate the time frame for the Period of the Judges, one must first determine when King Saul's reign commenced.
As the Book of Judges does not provide specific chronological data for Samuel the Judge or Saul the King, all commentators on the Period of the Judges must make their own determinations as to how long each of these two men held power. The King's Calendar Determination for the lengths of their reigns, depends totally on the chronological data that does exist in the other books of the Bible.
Second Chronicles Chapter 36:21 indicates that the Babylonian exile was the result of a period of 490 years in which the Land had not been granted Sabbath Rest. The King's Calendar sees this figure as a sectarian artificially manipulated period of time, and determines that the beginning of Saul's reign and therefore the end of Samuel's judgeship, is 490 artificial years backdated from 586 BCE to arrive at 1039 BCE.
The King's Calendar determines that:
Saul was most probably born circa 1067 BCE,
Made Prince in 1039 BCE
Made King in 1038 BCE.
Reigned 31/32 artificial years
Died between September 1011 BCE & August 1010 BCE. (Probably During Spring of 1010 BCE).
The Period of the Judges therefore extends from the commencement of Joshua's judgeship in 1412 BCE, to Saul being anointed King in 1038 BCE, a period of Four Hundred and five (405) artificial Years, or 373 Solar Years.
Within the King's Calendar reconstruction of Israelite history, The 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1 extends in artificial years from the commencement of the Building of Solomon's temple in 970 BCE, back to the Israelite entrance into Canaan (and therefore the commencement of Joshua's judgeship), in 1412 BCE.
Just a note: The Septuagint reference at 1 Kings 6:1 refers to the same period of time, but that reference is provided in true solar years, and actually extends from the Entrance into Canaan to Solomon's 1st year. See:
The period of the judges extends from 1412 BCE to 1039 BCE.
Using the records of Josephus and the King's Calendar Artificial Calendar, we can see that between Antiquities Book Two Chapter 10:1 & Book Two Chapter 11:1, the following Chronological events lead up to the Entrance of the Israelites into Canaan.
1. Thutmosis II becomes Pharaoh of Egypt 1514 BCE
2. Neferure (daughter of Thutmosis II & Hatshepsut) born 1514/13 BCE
3. Thutmosis III (Son of Isis) born 1511/10 BCE
4. Neferure dies 1503/2 BCE.
5. Thutmosis III becomes pharaoh 1501BCE
6. Hatshepsut becomes Thutmosis' regent 1501 BCE
7. Hatshepsut dies 1487 BCE.
8. Moses flees to Midian 1487-86 BCE
9. Forty years later, 'when he understood that the pharaoh in whose reign he fled away was dead' (Antiquities Book 2 Chapter 13:1), Moses returned to Egypt.
If as the King's Calendar proposes,
Moses' dealings were with the Grandvizier Rekhmire and not with Amenhotep II, (Pharaoh of the Exodus), then the Exodus event occurs either during Amenhotep's regency, or perhaps even during his 7th and 9th years(1441/39 BCE as per Petrie's Chronology).
Since the 'King's Calendar' places the Exodus at 1449 BCE, if Petrie's chronology is correct, then Moses arrived back in Egypt prior to Thutmosis' death, contrary to Exodus Chapter 2:23 (The earlier edition of this article cited Chapter 13:1 - this should have read Antiquities Book 2 Chapter 13:1)
This may be because Josephus' has generalised, in asserting that Thutmosis was actually dead. From an historical perspective, Moses may have returned in the hope of obtaining the release of his people from the dying pharaoh.
Elsewise, provided it was Rekhmire with whom Moses spoke, Petrie's chronology is a little out, and 1449 BCE is either Amenhotep's 7th or 9th regnal years.
10. The 40 year wandering in the Wilderness
11. The Fall of Jericho at 1412 BCE.
Point 4. The balance of the data.
Because the date for Entrance into Canaan is calculated to 1412 BCE from the commencement of Solomon's temple in 970 BCE, and because the reigns of the Kings from David to Zedekiah are specified, and because 2 Chronicles 36:21 indicates that the monarchy commenced in 1039 BCE, The King's Calendar determines that the period of the judges can only total 405 artificial years.
Using both Biblical and extra biblical data, it then determined how the data in the Book of Judges ought to be individually applied, calculating not only the length of Samuel's judgeship, but using the reference in Judges 11:26 to the city of Heshbon, to divide up these 405 years for the period of the judges into two sections.
Point 5. Judges 11:26 and The City of Heshbon.
Judges 11:26 states that Jephthah's judgeship takes place (approximately) 300 years after the capture of Heshbon. We therefore have a chronological reference, by which to fix a particular judgeship, for we already have a chronological marker for the capture of Heshbon, in 1412 BCE.
The King's Calendar uses the Reference to the City of Heshbon to divide the total time frame for the period of the Judges, into two segments.
1. Joshua to Jephthah
2. Jephthah to Saul.
1. Joshua to Jephthah : 282 Artificial Years.
In this period Ehud's Eighty (80) years of judgeship were reduced to Eighteen ( 18 ) years. [This is generally accepted to be the case but the determination was made mathematically]
Josephus' record of Twenty-Five (25) years for Joshua's judgeship was accepted as correct.
The number of artificial years arrived at between entry into Canaan and the Capture of Heshbon amounted to 282 artificial years.
2. Jephthah to Saul : 123 Artificial years.
Deducting the 282 years from the 405 years provided for the period of the Judges, there is left a maximum total of only 123 available years within which to apply the period from Jephthah to Saul;
The Biblical data provides 131 years and does so without including the necessary period for Samuel's Judgeship.
Therefore the Forty (40) year period of Philistine oppression after Abdon's judgeship was viewed as concurrent with surrounding data and therefore was deleted from the total. 131 years - 40 = 91 years
From the 123 artificial years applicable to this time period, these 91 years mentioned for the various judges, were deducted.
The balance of Thirty-Two(32) artificial years was applied to Samuel's judgeship.
The chronology provided by the 'King's Calendar' includes:
a) A 282 artificial year timeframe - Joshua to Jephthah, being the (approx) Biblical 300 years.
b) A Twenty-Five year leadership for Joshua as per Josephus
c) An Eighteen Year Peace of Ehud
d) A commencement for Jephthah in 1152 BCE
e) A 123 artificial year timeframe - Jephthah to Samuel
f) Deleting the 40 years of oppression associated with Abdon and Samson
g) A Thirty-Two year Judgeship for Samuel.
h) A commencement for King Saul in 1039 BCE
To see the King's Calendar chronological determination for each Judge, refer back to the chart above.
Period of the Judges:
Appendix Five (top left toolbar) which shows the Divided kingdom period of Israel year by year, demonstrates that the Biblical chronological synchronisms are not only recorded in artificial years but are correct.
Because the commencement date for the Building of Solomon's Temple can be calculated, the date for the Entrance into Canaan could be calculated.
Because King David's reign could be established, Saul's reign could be determined based on 2 Chronicles 36:21.
Because we have a start and finish date for the Period of the Judges, it becomes apparent that there are excessive years in the data for the period of the Judges.
Accepting Josephus' data for Joshua, reducing Ehud's 80 years to 18 years, and combining this with calculations for Jepthah's judgeship, we were able to delete a concurrent period of Philistine oppression, and determine that Samuel's judgeship lasted 32 years. [Interestingly enough, Josephus actually stipulates that the combined period for Samuel and Saul was 32 years.]
If you go to the Chapter Precis Page, you can find Appendix 12 and together with Appendix 5 for the Divided Kingdom, you can calculate for yourself, the period of the Judges.
I hope that this article has been of some assistance to you.
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About the KingsCalendar Publisher
R.P.BenDedek is the owner and Editor of KingsCalendar.com which was originally set up to publicize his research results into the Chronology of Ancient Israel. Those results were published under the title: 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran'.
Whilst there have been many attempts to solve the chronological riddle of the Bible's synchronisms of reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah and their synchronism with other Ancient Near Eastern Nations, no other research is based on a simple mathematical formula which could, if it is incorrect, be disproved easily. To date, no one has been able to dismiss the mathematical results of this research.
Free to air 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.
Check the Chapter Precis Page to see details of each chapter and to gain access to the Four Free to Air Chapters
R.P. BenDedek also writes social commentaries and photographic 'Stories from China' both at KingsCalendar, and as a contributing columnist at Magic City Morning Star News in Maine USA.
He has been a Conversational English teacher in China since 2003 and as at 2016 is in SuZhou City Jiangsu Province.
Petition to Dr. Jan Eliasson, President of the United Nations General Assembly
His Excellency Dr. Jan Eliasson President, General Assembly
Not since Adolf Hitler, has the head of a sovereign state used his position to threaten the Jewish people with genocide. Today, for the first time, Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad publicly denied the Holocaust by calling it a “myth” used by Europeans to create a Jewish state in the heart of the Islamic world.
While Germany and other governments have protested this outrage, it is up to the United Nations to take the lead in insuring that the Iranian regime’s genocidal hate has specific consequences. Dr. Jan Eliasson, as President of the United Nations General Assembly, we urge you to convene the 191 member states in order to censure Iran and to declare President Ahmadinejad persona non grata.