The Southern Kingdom (Judah) timeline, according to the Bible, only records 473.5 years for this period. Josephus is obviously in error, but as is argued in the 'King's Calendar' Chapter 20, such errors arise because Josephus was not a very organised person; he little understood what was before him; he appears to have had at his disposal materials that were 'supplied' to him, and he never kept track of what he had previously written. He was, to put it clearly, 'very sloppy.' This does not mean however that he made anything up, or that the information upon which he relied was erroneous. In The Jewish War. Book One - Chapter III [Cornfeld 1982, p.25. Ch. III (1) 70.], Josephus maintained that from Cyrus to Aristobulus, 471 years elapse. However he later amended this in Antiquities 13:11:1 to 481 years. (Cornfeld, 1982, p.25). Interestingly enough, these 481 years in Antiquities, are exactly the number of SOLAR YEARS to elapse BETWEEN the Babylonian Exile and Aristobolus, which is to say, that they include the total number of years from 585 BCE to 105 BCE inclusive. As such these years constitute the number of years transpiring 'between' these parameters, but not including them.
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Josephus left for us a history of the Jews, that is somewhat troublesome in many details. Cornfeld (1982) in his introduction to the Jewish Wars says:
'Despite all discrepancies, ambiguities, contradictions and plain mistakes, the fact remains that Josephus was a highly reliable witness, not only with respect to events in Palestine and Jerusalem of his own time, but also, though to a somewhat lesser extent, with regard to earlier times, for which he depended on available traditional sources. In sum, despite ambiguities and exaggerations, his is the most comprehensive surviving account in existence...'
As one example of both a plain mistake and a contradiction (for he quotes otherwise elsewhere in his writings), take a look at what Josephus says in The Jewish War Book 6 Chapter 10.1.(439) [Cornfield, 1982, pp.451], in regards to the time lapse between King David and the Babylonian Exile. He states that 477.5 years elapse between these two events.
This contradicts what can be found in the Biblical records. The Southern Kingdom (Judah) timeline, according to the Bible, only records 473.5 years for this period. Josephus is obviously in error, but as is argued in the 'King's Calendar' Chapter 20, such errors arise because Josephus was not a very organised person; he little understood what was before him; he appears to have had at his disposal materials that were 'supplied' to him, and he never kept track of what he had previously written. He was, to put it clearly, 'very sloppy.' This does not mean however that he made anything up, or that the information upon which he relied was erroneous.
Obversations: "Secret of Qumran - Kingscalendar"
1. Josephus was careless
Josephus was either careless or he misunderstood his own, or some other person's notes.
In Antiquities of the Jews - Book Thirteen, he states that 82 years elapse between the Death of Judas Maccabeus (c.161 BCE) and the Death of Queen Alexandra (c.67 BCE), and in so doing, he under quoted by Twelve Years. There were in fact 94 solar years.
In Antiquities of the Jews - Book Fourteen, he states that 32 years elapse from the Death of Queen Alexandra (c.67 BCE) to the Death of Antigonus (c.37 BCE), and over quoted by Two years.
However if you notice, in calculating the time lapse between the extreme parameters Josephus listed in Books thirteen and fourteen,(from the death of Judas Maccabeus in 161 BCE. to the death of Antigonus in 37 BCE), he has only provided 114 of the 124 years that exist. His has under quoted by Ten (10) years.
Since Queen Alexandra reigned 10 years, we can conclude that Josephus has failed to understand the material before him, and failed to 'actually' include her Ten Year reign, despite having referred to her Death.
From this we can see that while Josephus relied upon reliable records, his use of them was careless.
He was not however, always careless or incorrect. His reference in Book Fifteen to the 18 years from the Death of Antigonus (c.37 BCE) to the Completion of Herod's Temple (c.18 BCE) was correct in Solar Years, as was also his reference in Book Sixteen to the 12 years between completion of the Temple and Deaths of Alexander and Aristobulus (c.7 BCE). But Note that these references are in Solar years. Josephus Chart:Appendix 17 - Chapter Precis Page.
2. Josephus did not know about the Artificial Nature of the Records.
This point will become obvious when we begin to discover the mix of artificial and solar years in his chronological references.
3. Josephus erred when deconstructing chronological material
In his reliance on data recorded in artificial years, Josephus erred when he tried to separate specific sections of 'known Solar year' history from the 'artificial' references he had at his disposal.
In particular, it is the conclusion of the 'King's Calendar' that he had at his disposal an artificial record of the time lapse between the reign of King David, and the overthrow of Babylon by King Cyrus.
This artificial record would have stated that 525 years elapse between these two parameters, and it would have consisted of the 473.5 Biblical Artificial years between David and the Exile, plus 51.5 Artificial years between the Exile and Cyrus. These 51.5 artificial years however are only equal to 47.5 Solar years. Had Josephus used such a record to determine the length of the monarchy in Israel, all he would have done is deduct 47.5 solar years from 525 artificial years, to arrive at 477.5 years for the period from David to the Exile. He would not have realised that he was in error, unless he actually checked his figures against the record in Scripture.
Interestingly enough, in The Jewish War Book 6 Chapter 10.1 (439) [Cornfield, 1982, pp.451] These 477.5 years are exactly those which Josephus determines to have elapsed between King David and the Babylonian Exile.
It is not the only time he has erred like this of course. In The Jewish War. Book One - Chapter III [Cornfeld 1982, p.25. Ch. III (1) 70.], Josephus maintained that from Cyrus to Aristobulus, 471 years elapse. However he later amended this in Antiquities 13:11:1 to 481 years. (Cornfeld, 1982, p.25).
Interestingly enough, these 481 years in Antiquities, are exactly the number of SOLAR YEARS to elapse BETWEEN the Babylonian Exile and Aristobolus, which is to say, that they include the total number of years from 585 BCE to 105 BCE inclusive. As such these years constitute the number of years transpiring 'between' these parameters, but not including them.
HOWEVER, Josephus' narrative does not talk about the Babylonian Exile in 586 BCE, but the time lapse between Cyrus and Aristobolus, which quite interestingly enough, (according to the 'King's Calendar' artificial calendar), amounts to precisely the number of years that he originally quoted, that is, 471 years.
What appears to have happened is that Josephus originally quoted from an 'artificial record' before him, relating to the period from Cyrus to Aristobolus, and then later, ignoring his own stated parameters, calculated the period from the Exile to Aristobolus in solar years.
From the foregoing we see that Josephus was not really conversant with the material with which he was dealing, and had no awareness of their artificial nature.
Now the reason I mention these two particular erroneous chronological references, is that there is another reference, which, until the present time, has been considered erroneous. In the light of the foregoing however, we can 'see' how his error was made, and in the process, determine what the true chronology ought to have been.
Between King David and Titus 1179 years elapse.
The Jewish War Book Six Chap. X.I. (440) [Cornfeld, 1982, p.452]
Josephus calculated that the period to elapse between King David, the first king of Jerusalem to the city's destruction by Titus, was 1,179 years.
Jerusalem fell to Titus in October CE 70. Calculating back in time by 1,179 SOLAR years, we arrive at 1109 BCE, which is about a century earlier than what is possible as the commencement year of David's reign. Naturally, we must conclude that this figure is wrong.
However, if we understand that some of this figure is provided in the artificial calendar, and that some of it is erroneous calculation, we can determine the process by which Josephus arrived at this figure, by adopting the following methodology.
1. Between A.D. 70, the fall of Jerusalem under Titus and 104/3 BCE (the reign of Aristobulus), 173 solar years elapse.
2. The addition of these 173 years to the 481 SOLAR years Josephus applied to the time frame between Cyrus (538 BCE) and Aristobulus (104 BCE), a total of 654 years is derived.
3. To these 654 SOLAR years we can add the 47.5 SOLAR years that transpire between the Babylonian Exile (586 BCE) and Cyrus (539 BCE) to arrive at 701.5 solar years
4. To this total of 701.5 SOLAR years, we add the false figure of 477.5 ARTIFICIAL years that Josephus calculated as transpiring between David and the Babylonian Exile.
5. The Final Total is 1179 years.
The Figures that Josephus ought to have used here are:
Calculating back in time we arrive at 1010 BCE for the commencement of David's Reign.
Throughout the 'King's Calendar' deconstruction of Josephus' material, the 525 year figure (mentioned earlier) and the 701.5 year figure listed in point 4 are recurring themes in his references.
Although Josephus did in fact provide erroneous references, the 'King's Calendar' is able to demonstrate that there is in fact a 'logical' basis for the figures he quotes. His figures are not really erroneous, it was his understanding of the application of those figures that lead him into incorrect conclusions, and he is not the only one whose application of little understood data, leads him into wrong conclusions. ALL Biblical Chronologists, historians and archaeologists do the same thing.
The biggest problem we face with Biblical History, is the mindset of those studying it. They start with the assumption that they are right, and then hit impasses that must be rationalised in order to get around them. Unfortunately, when they do this, they are required to dismiss as 'nonsense,' what the Bible has factually recorded.
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]