If we follow the Septuagint version of 1 Kings 22:47, which is to say 3 Kings 16:28, and have a deputy ruling not Edom but Syria during Jehoshaphat's reign, then the 'King's Calendar' suggests that by the beginning of Ahab's reign, Ben-Hadad I was deceased and that Ben-Hadad II, was a minor. From this perspective then, Ben Hadad II was only just beginning to exercise his military and political muscle in 868 BC when he besieged Samaria (1 Kings 20). It would be sometime before he would become leader of the Syro-Palestinian Coalition which withstood Shalmaneser in 853 BC. Placing his death circa 850 BC, the 'King's Calendar' would give Ben-Hadad II a reign of at least 18 years. His minority would date from around 883 BC to around 868 BC (at which time he was old enough to lead his troops and be drinking himself drunk 1 Kings 20:16), a period of about 15 years. With a Fifteen (15) year minority and a further reign of 18 years (868-850 BC), Ben-Hadad II will have reigned a total of around 33 years, until his murder by Hazael. Objection to this interpretation seems certain, but it appears to be more plausible than accepting that the leader of a strong coalition could be defeated by a vassal kingdom, and remain in that subjection right up to the stand-off against Assyria at Qarqar.
Introduction: Archaeology and the Bible Newsletter No.17
Last Week's Newsletter ended with a chart [see below] demonstrating that according to the Biblical Record, for Five or Six years prior to Ahab's death, he held the superior hand in military affairs in his region.
This is at odds with the Kurkh Stele's reference to BenHadad being the leader of the coalition, if one accepts that Ahab was in fact a part of that coalition. Given that Academics put his death immediately after Qarqar in 853 BC, Ahab must surely have been BenHadad's superior as the Bible indicates and which would in fact be indicated by the Kurkh Stele's reference to the size of Ahab's Chariot force. While the Academics deny the accuracy of this reference to the strength of his forces, they do accept as reliable that BenHadad was the leader, and continue to maintain that Ahab was a part of the Coalition.
This week we take this thought a little further and take a look at BenHadad and Syria.
The Significance of Ahab's death.
If in fact Ahab's death occurred immediately after the Battle of Qarqar in 853 BC, it would be anomolous to have him as a subordinate to BenHadad, a King who was effectively his inferior.
The 'King's Calendar' indicates that the events of Chapters Twenty and Twenty-two of First Kings, demonstrate that Ben-Hadad was not yet a strong military leader at the time of Ahab's death, and that the events they describe, certainly occurred well prior to the Battle of Qarqar (approximately 14 years earlier), before he came to prominence as leader of the Syro-Palestinian coalition.
If we follow the Septuagint version of 1 Kings 22:47, which is to say 3 Kings 16:28, and have a deputy ruling not Edom but Syria during Jehoshaphat's reign, then the 'King's Calendar' suggests that by the beginning of Ahab's reign, Ben-Hadad I was deceased and that Ben-Hadad II, was a minor. From this perspective then, Ben Hadad II was only just beginning to exercise his military and political muscle in 868 BC when he besieged Samaria (1 Kings 20). It would be sometime before he would become leader of the Syro-Palestinian Coalition which withstood Shalmaneser in 853 BC.
Placing his death circa 850 BC, the 'King's Calendar' would give Ben-Hadad II a reign of at least 18 years. His minority would date from around 883 BC to around 868 BC (at which time he was old enough to lead his troops and be drinking himself drunk 1 Kings 20:16), a period of about 15 years. With a Fifteen (15) year minority and a further reign of 18 years (868-850 BC), Ben-Hadad II will have reigned a total of around 33 years, until his murder by Hazael.
Objection to this interpretation seems certain, but it appears to be more plausible than accepting that the leader of a strong coalition could be defeated by a vassal kingdom, and remain in that subjection right up to the stand-off against Assyria at Qarqar.
The 'King's Calendar' reconstruction of the reigns of
Ben Hadad I & II therefore would be:
Ben Hadad I Pre-893 BC to 883 BC (10+ years)
Regency 883 BC to Pre-868 BC (15 years)
Ben Hadad II Pre-868 BC to 850 BC (18 Years)
The 'King's Calendar' demonstrates that Ahab died 863/862 BC, and did not participate in the Battle of Qarqar in 853 BC.
Whilst the 'King's Calendar' does not dispute the date for the Battle of Qarqar, it does dispute that Ahab belonged to the coalition. Ahlstrom (1993, p.578 Footnote 2) points out that a second record of this battle recorded on Shalmaneser's throne base fails to mention Ahab, indicating that he was not one of the leaders of the coalition. This assumption is made without extending the possibility to indicate that Ahab was not in fact there.
Even had Academics not argued that the factual details of the Battle are erroneous and untrustworthy, the fact that the throne base inscription fails to name Ahab indicates that there is no corroboration between the two documents, and, even if it had, such testimony must, in order to be considered 'corroborative,' be independent in nature. This still would not have been the case. The Throne Base Inscription, as a piece of Direct Documentary Evidence, does not implicate Ahab in the battle of Qarqar.
So what is the basis for 'insisting' that the Kurkh Stela is correct? Only that it fits the academic chronological schemes. The Battle of Qarqar occurred in 853 BC and Jehu paid tribute to Shalmaneser in 841 BC. Since Jehoram of Israel reigned 12 years after Ahab, the data fits the academic chronology. It does so however at the expense of the data recorded for the kingdom of Judah. Furthermore, to insist that Jehoram reigned 12 years because the Bible says he did, is to indulge in blind folly, and makes academics the 'arbiters' of what is correct and incorrect in Scripture.
But no only do they pick and choose what biblical references are to be considered correct, they do the same with archaeological evidence. Firstly they choose the Kurkh Stela over the Throne Base Inscription (presumably the first record of the event), and secondly, they throw out Mesha's Stele - The Moabite Stone - which provides chronological information pertinent to Omri and Ahab.
The Witness of Mesha's Stele.
Known also as the Moabite Stone, this archaeological record claims that Omri Occupied Medeba (Moab) and together with his 'son' ruled over it 40 years, that rule ending halfway through the reign of Omri's son.
2 Kings 1:1 informs us that after the Death of Ahab, Moab rebelled against Israel. Here we have an apparent contradiction for we must assume from the Stele that Omri's son means Ahab and that he was still alive when Moab found her freedom.
2 Kings 3:4-27 likewise informs us that when Ahab died, the King of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel, so King Jehoram marched out of Samaria at that time and mustered all Israel.
'Common sense' dictates to one and all that the record left by Mesha is sheer hyperbole. It is just so much hot air. But logic is not necessarily synonymous with common sense. Logic dictates two things:
1. Either the Moabite Stele is completely false, since it disagrees with the Biblical Narrative, and by extension the direct evidence of the Kurkh Stele - or -
2. The Biblical record and the Moabite Stone both speak of the same events, and historians have failed to see the logical and demonstrable connection ie. Omri's Son is not Ahab, but Jerhoram : His Grandson.
The 'King's Calendar' indicates that Omri commenced to reign in November of 894 BC (effectively 893 BC). If we apply the details from the Biblical Narrative and the Moabite Stone to this date, the following picture emerges.
i) Omri's reign commences November 894 BC
ii) Israel has suzerainty over Moab 40 (solar) years (893 - 853 BC)
iii) In total Omri and his son Ahab reign 31 solar years ( 893 to 862 BC)
iv) Mesha's rebellion occurs c.854 BC Nine (9) solar years after Ahab's death.
v) This is the year before the Battle of Qarqar if the 40 years is 'exact/literal'
vi) If the 40 years is an approximate, then the event will have occurred after the Battle of Qarqar.
vii) 2 Kings 3:4-27 implicitly involves Jehoshaphat and Jehoram, therefore Mesha's first rebellion can have occurred no earlier or later than 862 BC and 857 BC respectively (Jehoram's First year and Jehoshaphat's death), which is between four (4) and nine (9) years earlier than Qarqar.
viii) Omri's son referred to by Mesha actually means 'grandson.'
ix) In 849/48 BC, four (4) years after the battle of Qarqar, the House of Omri and Ahab perished (in both Judah and Israel). With the deaths of Ahaziah of Judah and Jehoram of Israel, Israel (Omri's house) perished forever.
If we assume that the 'King's Calendar' placement of Omri is correct (and who can contest it?), and admit that 'son' is an ancient acceptable way of saying descendant (See Bright, 1981, p.248, footnote 56), then the information in the Moabite Stone and the Biblical narratives synchronise and corroborate. Not only do they corroborate each other, but they demonstrate that Ahab had been dead a decade prior to the Battle of Qarqar. In this manner does the Moabite Stone act as witness against the testimony of the Kurkh Stele of Shalmaneser.
Biblical Chronology, Mesha's Stele, and the Throne Base Inscription of Shalmaneser, All Speak Against the Kurkh Stela of Shalmaneser in the placement of Ahab at the Battle of Qarqar in 853 BC.
Since 2004 he has been writing academic articles, social commentaries and photographic 'Stories from China' both here at KingsCalendar, and formerly as a contributing columnist at Magic City Morning Star News (Maine USA) where from 2009 to 2015 he was Stand-in Editor. He currently has a column at iPatriot.com and teaches English to Business English and Flight Attendant College Students in Suzhou City Jiangsu Province People's Republic of China.)
BenDedek originally created the site 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
(The Download book does not contain a section on Seder Olam)
Definition: King's Calendar Chronological Research
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 5. to see how it synchronises the Divided Kingdom Period]