Topical Study tool for Students: Samuel, Saul, David: Ark of Covenant In this article we look briefly at what the Seder Olam Actually Says for the time period, Samuel to David, and discuss the chronological problems with the presentation. This particular excerpt comes from Seder Olam Rabbah (No.5): Samuel, and Ark of the Covenant. The difficulty with this time period, is that the reference in 1 Samuel 7:2, to the Ark remaining at Kiriath-jearim 20 years until David's 7th year, is the only Biblical reference from which a chronology can be built, because the balance of the Biblical chronological data for this time period, is either corrupt or missing.
Topic 10: The Ark of the Covenant at Kiriath Jearim.
The issue of how long the Ark of the covenant was at Kiriath Jearim, is important to Biblical Chronology, for it is a defining chronological reference for this time period.
1 Samuel 7:2 states:
"And it came to pass, from the day that the ark abode in Kiriath-jearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years; and all the house of Israel yearned after the Lord."
But 1 Samuel 4:18 & 6:1 tell us
The Ark was captured on the day of Eli's death, and that it remained in the hand of the Philistines for 7 months.
Here then is an apparent contradiction.
The difficulty with this time period, is that the reference in 1 Samuel 7:2, to the Ark remaining at Kiriath-jearim 20 years until David's 7th year, is the only Biblical reference from which a chronology can be built, because the balance of the Biblical chronological data for this time period, is either corrupt or missing.
Seder Olam, Josephus and KingsCalendar Calculations.
Seder Olam from Eli to David.
Eli governed Israel for forty years.
On the day of his death - the Ark was captured "The ark of the Eternal was in the fields of the Philistines for seven months. From the day the ark was installed at Kiriath Jearim, there were twenty years
He now calculates these 20 years
Subtract  seven years that David ruled over Judah at Hebron Subtract  ten years for Samuel himself Subtract  two years for Samuel and Saul. At the beginning of these 20 years they brought the Tabernacle to Nob. Even though the Ark of the Eternal was at Kiriath Jearim They sacrificed at Nob for 13 years and 7 years at Gibeon. [Thus we have 20 years] At the end of 20 years did David bring up the Ark of the Eternal to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite (2 Sam. 6:11) "and the Ark of the Eternal stayed in the house of Obed Edom the Gittite for three months."
Discussing Saul and his reign
(1 Sam. 13:1) "One year Saul was in his reign ..." Samuel said to Saul when he anointed him (1 Sam. 10:8 ) "Descend before me to Gilgal ... He descended the first year, smote Nahash the Ammonite, and Israel anointed him. The second year he descended and did not keep his promise. (l Sam. 13:13) "Samuel said to Saul; you acted foolishly, you did not keep the commandment of your God
At that time, [ie. Saul's 2nd year] David was anointed as it is said (1 Sam. 16:1) when he was 29 years old.
Calculating Samuel's judgeship
Samuel lived only to be 52 years and a little [no mention of where 52 years come] (1 Sam. 4:18 ): "He [Eli] had judged Israel for 40 years." There are 13 years remaining. Subtract from them one year for Hannah’s pregnancy 11 years for Samuel 1 year for Samuel and Saul, one gets 52 years. Samuel died before the death of Saul about four months as it is said (1 Sam. 27:7): "The number of days that David dwelt in the fields of the Philistines were some days and four months."
Back to Discussing David's Reign
"Forty years was Ishbosheth when he became king and two years he ruled ..." It turns out that the kingdom over Israel was vacant for 5 years. (2 Sam. 5:3): "All the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron ..." At that time David was anointed a second time. "Thirty years was David when he became king and forty years he ruled."
The King's Calendar
The King's Calendar works independently, mathematically, and directly from the Scriptural chronological references [as artificial time periods and using the principle of Linear Causality – Ref Fnts.] indicates that the total [artificial year] time period to elapse between Eli's death and David's 7th year is 70 years.
Josephus records a 40 year time lapse for this period.
In Antiquities Book 6:13:5, Josephus says of King Samuel: "Now he governed and presided over the people alone, after the death of Eli the high priest, twelve years, and eighteen years together with Saul the king."
In Antiquities 10:8:4 he says: Saul, who was their first king, retained the government twenty years, though he was not of the same tribe with the rest.[20-18=2 years on his own.]
In Antiquities 6:14:9 he says: Now Saul, when he had reigned eighteen years while Samuel was alive, and after his death two[and twenty], ended his life in this manner.
The total combined period for Samuel and Saul is equal to 32 years.[12+18+2=32] Add to these 32 years, the final year of Eli when the Ark was captured, plus the 7 years until David's 7th year when he collected the Ark from Kiriath Jearim, and the total is 40 years.
Locating the Error!
If you read the English translation of 1 Samuel 7:2, it does not read smoothly, but rather appears to contain an insertion. Compare the following renditions.
Original Version : And it came to pass, from the day that the ark abode in Kiriath-jearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years; and all the house of Israel yearned after the LORD.
Suggested Version : And it came to pass, from the day that the ark abode in Kiriath-jearim, that ........ all the house of Israel yearned after the LORD.
If the original version has received an insertion, it is because someone was trying to calculate the time frame in the absence of other corroborating chronological records. One cannot however just alter the record merely to suit one's own chronological purpose [a common habit among modern Bible academics].
Nevertheless, 1 Samuel 6:1 contradicts this figure by saying that the Philistines only had the Ark for 7 months, and that because of the resultant plagues, they returned the Ark, sending it off on a cart to Beth-Shemesh. In the context of that Chapter however, it is apparent that despite this misadventure on the part of the Philistines, they did not desist from harassing Israel.
What I suggest, is either that the 7 months of 1 Samuel 6:2 was originally "70 years", and/or that the 20 years listed in 1 Samuel 7:2, is an insertion based on an attempt to chronologise the period from Samuel to David's 7th year, and should read 70 years.
Bibliography and related articles at the Very Bottom of the Page
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'.
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 teaching Conversational English in China since 2003 and currently (2013) is teaching in Suzhou City Jiangsu Province.