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Is the Bible’s chronology of the kings of Israel accurate?

July 30, 2011

The Challenge

In the late 19th century, critical scholar Julius Wellhausen claimed the Biblical chronology of the kings of Israel was a literary invention for religious purposes, which had been edited and revised several times from a variety of different sources, rather than a genuine historical record.[1]

For the next 70 years, critical scholars continued to treat the chronology as historically worthless and irreconcilable.[2]

The Facts

In 1951, Biblical scholar Edwin Thiele published ‘The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings’, a harmonization of the Biblical record of the kings of Israel (originally as a doctoral dissertation). By the time of the second edition (slightly revised), it was recognized that Thiele’s work was a significant breakthrough in establishing the historical validity of the Biblical chronology.[3]

Reception

Though criticisms have been made of Thiele’s chronology,[4] [5] [6] [7] its value and general validity have been acknowledged widely.[8] [9] [10] [11] [12]

It remains the typical starting point for study of the chronology of the kings of Israel and Judah[13] [14] with few modifications,[15] [16]   and has been applied successfully in other fields of Ancient Near East study, such as the chronologies of Assyria and Babylon.[17]

The reliability of the chronologies in 1-2 Kings has been supported by archaeological evidence; Grabbe notes that the chronology in these books ‘agrees with what can be gleaned from extra-biblical sources’, and that ‘even if we had no external sources we could have reasonable confidence in the biblical sequence’.[18]


[1] ‘That a process of alteration and improvement of the chronology was busily carried on in later times, we see from the added synchronisms of the kings of Israel and Judah,’, Wellhausen, ‘Prolegomena to the History of Israel’, p. 278 (1885).

[2] ‘Driver remarked that, “the length of the reigns of the various kings is not the same according to the traditional and the synchronistic figures. Since, however, it is clear on various grounds that these synchronisms are not original, any attempt to base a chronological scheme on them may be disregarded.” Kittel stated his view that, “Wellhausen has shown, by convincing reasons, that the synchronisms within the Book of Kings cannot possibly rest on ancient tradition, but are on the contrary simply the products of artificial reckoning. . . The Israelitish numbers and the parallel numbers referring to Judah do not agree at the points at which we are able to compare them.” Robinson also was impressed by Wellhausen’s evaluation: “Wellhausen is surely right in believing that the synchronisms in Kings are worthless, being merely a late compilation from the actual figures given.” * R. H. Pfeiffer’s opinion was that, “The chronology based on the synchronisms is of course less reliable than the one based on the regnal periods, since the synchronisms were figured from the regnal periods. Neither chronology is wholly accurate . . . In spite of these discrepancies, inaccuracies, and errors, the chronology of Kings is not fantastic.” 5 J. F. McCurdy expressed himself to the effect that, “Many of the numbers given, especially the synchronisms, are erroneous, as is proved by the fact that no attempt to harmonize the two series has been successful . . . Startling inconsistencies are also found where the several synchronisms for the same king are worked out.” K. Marti gave his observation: “The synchronistic notes betray their character as ‘subjective additions of the Epitomator.’ It is clear, to begin with, that this noting of synchronisms was not in actual use during the existence of the two kingdoms. . . Almost along the whole line, the discrepancy between synchronisms and years of reign is incurable.” C. H. Gordon observed: “The numerical errors in the Books of Kings have defied every attempt to ungarble them. Those errors are largely the creation of the editors who set out to write a synchronistic history of Judah and Israel, using as sources two sets of unrelated court chronicles. Combining two elaborate sets of figures was not an easy task. But even with due regard for the difficulties involved, the editors did not execute the synchronisms skillfully.”’, Thiele, ‘Synchronisms of the Hebrew Kings – A Re-evaluation: I’, Andrews University Seminary Studies, pp. 14-125 (1), 1963.

[3]A marked advance in biblical scholarship was made in the publication of The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, U. of Chicago Press, 1951, by Dr. E. R. Thiele. In his revised edition in 1965 (Eerdmans Pub. Co., Grand Rapids, Mich.), Dr. Thiele asserts the soundness of his basic thesis and conclusions as confirmed by scholars since his first edition.’, editorial, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (9.1.60), 1966.

[4] ‘Thiele’s view contains positive elements, but it also poses numerous difficulties. He incorrectly understood the annals of Tiglath-pileser III, and his determination that Menahem died in 742 contradicts the testimonies of the contemporaneous Assyrian inscriptions.10 In his desire to resolve the discrepancies between the data in the Book of Kings, Thiele was forced to make improbable suppositions. He assumed that the system of counting the years of reign changed every few generations, or even after a few decades. This is improbable, and cannot be proved. Similarly, he presumes that the Northern and Southern Kingdoms numbered their years both by the local count and by that practiced by the other kingdom, also for short periods, while this practice ceased in other periods. Thiele even went so far as to assume that while this practice had fallen into disuse, there were scribes who continued to calculate the years in accordance with it. There is no basis for Thiele’s statement that his conjectures are correct because he succeeded in reconciling most of the data in the Book of Kings, since his assumptions regarding Biblical chronological principles are derived from the chronological data themselves, whose reliability is unclear.’, Galil, ‘The Chronology of the Kings of Israel and Judah’, p. 4 (1996).

[5]but his harmonizing approach has not gone unchallenged, especially because of the many shifts in the basis of reckoning dates that it requires (e.g., Jepsen 1968: 34–35)—shifts which were unlikely in actual practice. The numerous extrabiblical synchronisms he invokes do not always reflect the latest refinements in Assyriological research (cf. E.2.f below). In many cases, he posits an undocumented event in order to save a biblical datum (e.g., the circumstances surrounding the appointment of Jeroboam II as coregent; Thiele 1983: 109)’, Cogan, ‘Chronology (Hebrew Bible)’, in Freedman, (ed.), ’The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary’, volume 1, p. 1006 (1996)’, Freedman, DN (1996).

[6]  ‘Despite that fact of scholarly dedication, neither Thiele’s carefully argued University of Chicago dissertation, nor anyone else’s, has achieved as yet universal acceptance.’, Kaiser, ‘A History of Israel: From the bronze age through the Jewish Wars’, p. 293 (1998).

[7]Not all scholars are convinced by this solution, and commentators on the prophetic books often accept that dates can only be approximate.’, McConville, ‘Exploring the Old Testament, Volume 4: The Prophets’, p. viii (2002).

[8] ‘The chronology most widely accepted today is one based on the meticulous study by Thiele. Wiseman, ‘1 and 2 Kings’, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, p. 27 (1993).

[9]Increasingly his chronological scheme has come to dominate the majority of scholarly works and it is unlikely that his system can ever be overthrown without altering some well-established dates in Near Eastern history, for Thiele’s chronology is now inextricably locked into the chronology of the Near East.’, McFall, ‘A Translation Guide to the Chronological Data in Kings and Chronicles’, Bibliotheca Sacra (148.589.42-43), 1996.

[10] ‘Thiele’s system of chronology has been well received over the past 40 years and is now accepted as the basis for Israel’s chronology in a growing number of standard scholarly works.’, ibid., p. 42; see for example: Mitchell, ‘Israel and Judah until the Revolt of Jehu (931-841 B.C.)’, Cambridge Ancient History, volume 3, part 1, p. 445 (1982); Finegan, ‘Handbook of Biblical Chronology’, p. 249 (rev. ed.1998); Hess, ‘Chronology (Old Testament)’, in Porter (ed.), ‘Dictionary of Biblical Criticism and Interpretation’, p. 55 (2007).

[11]Thiele’s chronology is fast becoming the consensus view among Old Testament scholars, if it has not already reached that point.’, McFall, ‘The Chronology of Saul and David’, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (53.101.215), 2010.

[12]Thiele’s chronology (which differs from that of the present paper in only a few places) won the respect of historians because its dates agree with the following dates in Assyrian and Babylonian history: the Battle of Qarqar in 853 bc; the tribute of Jehu to Shalmaneser III in 841 bc; the capture of Samaria by Shalmaneser V in 723 bc; the invasion of Sennacherib in 701 bc; the Battle of Carchemish in 605 bc; and the first capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 597 bc.’, Young, ‘Tables of Reign Lengths From the Hebrew Court Recorders’, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (48.2.232), 2005.

[13] ‘Thiele’s work has become a cornerstone of much recent chronological discussion (cf. De Vries IDB 1: 580–99; IDBSup: 161–66);’, Cogan, ‘Chronology (Hebrew Bible)’, in Freedman, (ed.), ’The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary’, volume 1, p. 1006 (1996)’, Freedman, DN (1996).

[14] ‘Although some would prefer to see transmission errors where Thiele invokes the above principles, his chronology remains the starting point for all discussions of the debate.’, Hess, ‘Chronology (Old Testament)’, in Porter (ed.), ‘Dictionary of Biblical Criticism and Interpretation’, p. 55 (2007).

[15] ‘After 40 years Thiele’s chronology has not been significantly altered or proved to be false in any major area except in the matter of Hezekiah’s coregency.’, McFall, ‘A Translation Guide to the Chronological Data in Kings and Chronicles’, Bibliotheca Sacra (148.589.42), 1996.

[16]It remained then for others to complete the application of principles that Thiele used elsewhere, thereby providing a chronology for the eighth-century kings of Judah that is in complete harmony with the reign lengths and synchronisms given in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. The most thorough work in this regard was Leslie McFall’s 1991 article in Bibliotheca Sacra.22 McFall made his way through the reign lengths and synchronisms of Kings and Chronicles, and using an exact notation that indicated whether the years were being measured according to Judah’s Tishri years or Israel’s Nisan years, he was able to produce a chronology for the divided monarchies that was consistent with all the scriptural texts chosen.’, ibid., pp. 105-106.

[17] ‘In a 1996 article, Kenneth Strand wrote, “What has generally not been given due notice is the effect that Thiele’s clarification of the Hebrew chronology of this period of history has had in furnishing a corrective for various dates in ancient Assyrian and Babylonian history.”28 The purpose of Strand’s article was to show that Thiele’s methodology accomplished more than just producing a coherent chronology from scriptural data. His chronology, once produced, proved useful in settling some troublesome problems in Assyrian and Babylonian history.’, Young, ‘Inductive And Deductive Methods As Applied To OT Chronology’, Master’s Seminary Journal (18.1.112-113), 2007.

[18] ‘Grabbe suggests that the names and sequence of kings in Israel and Judah, and their approximate chronological placement, agrees with what can be gleaned from extra-biblical sources. To this extent the biblical framework (meaning primarily 1 and 2 Kings) is reliable: even if we had no external sources we could have reasonable confidence in the biblical sequence of Jeroboam I, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Omri, Ahab, Jehu, etc. in Samaria, and David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa, Jehoshaphat, etc. in Jerusalem, along with their interrelationships. Beyond that it starts to get more and more tricky, with decreasing reliability in the biblical narrative as the detail increases (this is a general statement, and there are sometimes exceptions in specific instances).’, Grabbe, ‘Reflections on the Discussion’, Grabbe (ed.), ‘Ahab Agonistes: The Rise and Fall of the Omri Dynasty’, p. 337 (2007).

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7 comments

  1. [...] More from Google Blogs]: Is the Bible's chronology of the kings of … – Bible Apologetics [...]


  2. Edwin Thiele was the last of the old breed of Biblical scholars. He died about 10 years before the Dead Sea Scrolls were fully published. Thiele’s dates are very accurate (except the reign of Hezekiah which he admits he can’t reconcile). Thiele’s dates have held up to other texts from different cultures. However they are only accurate to +/- 1 year at best. This is because Thiele soon discovers that there was more than one calendar in use the Northern and southern kingdoms (Israel and Judah). However Thiele invents his own calendars to reconcile the data that was available to him at the time.

    The book, “The Dead Sea Scrolls a New Translation” by Michael Wise, Martin Abegg, and Edward Cook actually reveals how these calendars worked. This information is found in a chapter titled, “A Readers Guide to the Qumran Calendar Texts”. Thiele was correct in that there was more than one calendar in use, however the details of his calendars are in error. That still doesn’t detract from his +/- 1 year accuracy, but when he breaks the dates down into year and month, he is in error.

    At times Thiele bends the Bible to fit his dating. For example;

    “In a discussion of the regnal data of Hezekiah it is of paramount importance that the synchronisms between him and Hosea be recognized as late and artificial. These synchronisms came into being because the final editor of Kings did not understand dual dating for Pekah.
    ~The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, Page 174 1983 edition

    Overall Thiele is the best source of dates to build a timeline. Keep an open mind and always allow for +/- 1 year. This is important because a king that ruled 366 days could have been considered to have ruled 2 years or be in his second year. Sometimes the year is counted from when the king was inaugurated, other times it’s the calendar new year.

    What we learn from the Dead Sea Scrolls is that both the Lunar and Solar calendars in ancient Israel/Judah both reconciled to a 364 day year. After 49 years the Passover was no longer at the spring equinox but drifting close to the Winter Solstice. The 49th year of the Jubile was an intercalary period of 62 weeks (Daniel 9) added every seven Sabbaths of years (Leviticus 25), or “seven weeks” (Daniel 9). Therefore if the year is based on the Hebrew Civil Calendars, it can also be off by a month or two.

    Never the less, I’m not bashing Thiele at all, I’ve used him as a source for years. My only point is that we must allow a +/- 1 year tolerance for these dates due to the calendars and information that Thiele was unaware of in his day. Oh yea, and that Thiele misses the mark with Hezekiah because there were two Hezekiah I and Hezekiah II. The first Hezekiah got sick and died in his 14th year, the second Hezekiah reigned for another 14 years. Thiele’s Hezekiah problem . . . . . . solved.

    ~Rose


    • Rose, I already provided much more detailed and accurate information about the weaknesses of Thiele’s chronology, as well as details on how it has been updated since. Your suggestion that there were two Hezekiah’s has no textual or archaeological support whatsoever.


  3. Fortigurn> Rose, I already provided much more detailed and accurate information about the weaknesses of Thiele’s chronology, as well as details on how it has been updated since. Your suggestion that there were two Hezekiah’s has no textual or archaeological support whatsoever.

    Rose> Edwin Thiele concluded that Hezekiah’s reign was between c. 715 and 686 BC.

    Yet we know from other evidence that Hezekiah gave Jerusalem to the Assyrian King Sennacherib. According to the Taylor Prism Hezekiah was forced to give a great deal of money to the Assyrians. Sennacherib gives an explicit date of 689 BCE for these events, here are his own words.

    “ Because Hezekiah, king of Judah, would not submit to my yoke, I came up against him, and by force of arms and by the might of my power I took 46 of his strong fenced cities; and of the smaller towns which were scattered about, I took and plundered a countless number. From these places I took and carried off 200,156 persons, old and young, male and female, together with horses and mules, asses and camels, oxen and sheep, a countless multitude; and Hezekiah himself I shut up in Jerusalem, his capital city, like a bird in a cage, building towers round the city to hem him in, and raising banks of earth against the gates, so as to prevent escape… Then upon Hezekiah there fell the fear of the power of my arms, and he sent out to me the chiefs and the elders of Jerusalem with 30 talents of gold and 800 talents of silver, and diverse treasures, a rich and immense booty… All these things were brought to me at Nineveh, the seat of my government.”

    However the Bible says this happened in Hezekiah’s 14th year

    2 Kings 18:13
    Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them.

    Isaiah 36
    1 Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the defenced cities of Judah, and took them.

    If Hezekiah’s first year was 715 BCE then his 14th year would be about 702 BCE not 689 BCE.

    In the 14th year of Hezekiah the Bible says he became very sick and was given another 15 years of life by the LORD. He was given a sign in the heavens as the shadow of the Sun moved in a way they had not seen before.

    2 Kings 20:12
    At that time Berodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah: for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick.

    Sargon of Assyria repressed the allies of Marduk-apla-iddina II (the biblical Merodach-Baladan), in Aram and Canaan, and eventually drove him from Babylon. After the death of Sargon, Marduk-apla-iddina II recaptured the throne. In the time of his reign over Babylonia, he strengthened the Chaldean Empire. He reigned nine months (703 BCE – 702 BCE).

    This is independent evidence of 702 BCE being Hezekiah’s 14th year as Baladan is names as king. Yet the Bible explicitly says Hezekiah lost his cities to Sennacherib in his 14th year and Sennacherib says this happened in 686 BCE.

    If Hezekiah I died in 702 BCE then 689 BCE would be the 14th year of Hezekiah II. This would harmonize both the Biblical accounts as well as the existing Assyrian records.

    Who were the historical rulers of Canaan between 715 and 689 BCE? It was the two Pharaoh’s Shabaka (716 BCE to 702 BCE according to Peter Clayton), and his brother Shebitku (702 to 690 BCE according to Peter Clayton). Is that just a coincidence?

    The first of the two supreme rulers of Judah in the time of Hezekiah ruled from Hezekiah’s year 1 to his year 14, when Hezekiah is granted 15 more years the second brother (coincidentally) becomes Pharaoh of Egypt and rules Judah (as well as everything else). This Egyptian Pharaoh lost Judah (Canaan) at the same time Hezekiah lost Judah.

    What about the year 702? Did anything happen that would affect the shadow of the Sun?

    Shabaka and Shebitku ruled Egypt from Meroe. Shebitku later moved into Canaan according to the hieroglyphic record. In 702 BCE there was a huge total solar eclipse directly over Meroe.

    http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEsearch/SEsearchmap.php?Ecl=-07010305

    SO . . . .
    1) we have archeological support(corroboration) from the Taylor Prism
    2) we have scientific evidence (corroboration) from the solar eclipse
    3) we have independent confirmation (corroboration) of two Kings of Canaan from the Egyptian hieroglyphs

    Yet the other theories have nothing but opinion. Where is any physical evidence of a King Hezekiah? None exists. How can anyone claim there’s no evidence for two Hezekiah’s, especially in light of no evidence or corroboration for a single Hezekiah?

    People can’t accept the truth about Hezekiah because we suddenly realize he was African. It has more to do with racism among scholars than anything else.

    Peace
    Rose


  4. Nebuchadnezzar is another example. The name Nebuchadnezzar is spelled two different ways in the English Bible (Nebuchadnezzar and Nebuchadrezzar). The name is spelled 6 different ways in the Parallel Hebrew Old Testament.

    The only mention of the historical Nebuchadnezzar II in the book of Daniel is in chapter 1 verse 1. All other references to ‘Nebuchadnezzar’ in the book of Daniel refer to Nabonidus. The Hebrew spelling of the names is consistent with this as well.

    All the events in the book of Daniel attributed to Nebuchadnezzar (after 1:1), are the events and actions attributed to Nabonidus in the vast library of Cuneiform records. These are all very well documented in, “The Reign of Nabonidus King of Babylon 556-539 B.C.”, by Paul-Alain Beaulieu 1989.

    According to the Cuneiforms, It was Labashi-Marduk who saw the writing on the wall and was killed. It wasn’t the historical Belsahzzar as there is correspondence from Belshazzar after Nobonidus gives Babylon to Cyrus the Great.

    It was Nabonidus who summoned all the magicians and astrologers to bring the baskets of records because he saw a vision (lunar eclipse). It was Nobonidus who took a multi-year hiatus and left the kingdom to the historical Belshazzar (Daniel 4).

    It was Nergal-Shazzar (same name as bel-shazzar as Bel and Nergal are the same god) who was King of Babylon with a solar eclipse in his first year over Babylon and a solar eclipse in his third year over the Shushan Palace.

    Bel-Shazzar = Baal’s Prince

    Historical Biblical (book of Daniel)

    Nebuchadnezzar II Nebuchadnezzar (1:1)
    Nabonidus Nebuchadnezzar (except 1:1)
    Belshazzar Belteshazzar (Daniel)
    Nergal-Shazzar Belshazzar King of Babylon (7 and 8)
    Labashi-Marduk Belshazzar king of the Chaldeans (5)

    Who was 62 years old when Labashi-Marduk was slain (about 556 BCE)? Astyages the king of Media, and he appointed Nabonidus to rule over Babylon.

    5:30 In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.
    5:31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.

    6:1 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;
    6:2 And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage.

    The exiles return in the first year of Cyrus king of PERSIA (559 BCE) This fulfills the seven sabbaths of years (mistranslated as 70 years the word translated as 70 is ‘weeks’ in Hebrew, ‘seventy weeks’ is simply ShB’yYM ShB’yYM in 9:24)

    2 Chronicles 36:22
    Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,

    Ezra 1:1
    Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,

    We know from the Cyrus Cylinder as well as Daniel and Ezra that the building stopped in the third year.

    Daniel 10:1
    In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.

    Ezra 4:24
    Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

    peace,
    Rose


  5. Thiele cracked the “mystery” of the Hebrew kings. Thank you for your article and for giving credit where credit is due. However his treatment of the period from Uzziah to Hezekiah leaves much to be desired. The core of his problem stems from an effort to pin the fall of Samaria to 723 BC when it should have been later.

    Unjustified extensions to Ahaz and Hezekiah’s reigns must be disputed together with an unlikely co-regency between them. Also, the reign of Jotham needs to be re-assessed.

    I have an alternative scheme for that era on the following charts. I hope you find them useful.

    http://www.5loaves2fishes.net/pdfs/kings2.pdf


  6. Judah’s king Hezekiah’s actual reign was 725-696 B.C. as this research shall reveal the true chronology.

    Historical connections are solidly made when we correlate Assyrian, Babylonian, Biblical, Cushite,Egyptian and Elamite cross references together showing where Israel’s history coincides with five other ancient nations.

    Those who like ancient history, or those who are curious could find this history interesting.

    The three key years are: 711 B.C., 653 B.C. and 586 B.C. These three dates help lock in the chronological order in this research as we close the gaps in this time period.

    The year 711 B.C. is the actual year Assyrian king Sennacherib attacked Jerusalem in his first year as we shall witness. His reign did not start in 705 B.C. Babylon’s king Merodach-Baladan wrote Israel’s king Hezekiah letters in 711 B.C. Cushite/Ethiopian king Tirhakah soldiers marched against Assyrian king Sennacherib and the Lord destroyed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers outside Jerusalem. Elamite king Shutruk-Nahhunte tried to secure Merodach-Baladan on Babylon’s throne but he failed. Merodach-Baladan who had fled Assyrian king Sargon II in his later years now reigns 711-709 B.C. flees for a second time to Elam.

    The year 653 B.C. The Assyrian king Ashur-Banipal destroys his brother king of Babylon Shamash-Shum-Ukin’s army. Elamite king Tammaritu II who joined Shamash-Shum-Ukin’s rebellion is also defeated. Egyptian king Psamtik I’s southern border with Cush is quiet since Cushite king Tanutamun died in 656 B.C. so Psamtik I in 653 B.C. declares independence from Assyria. The Assyrian king Ashur-Banipal sends no soldiers to fight Psamtik I. Egypt has won its freedom.

    The year 586 B.C. is when Babylon’s king Nebuchadnezzer army storms Jerusalem and the Jews are now escorted to Babylon where they will remain until Cyrus the Persian wins victory over the Babylonians.

    Assyrian kings: Tiglath-Pilesar III 753-735 B.C. Shalmaneser V 734-729 B.C. Sargon II 728-712 B.C. Sennacherib 711-688 B.C. Esarhaddon 687-676 B.C. Ashur-Banipal 675-633 B.C. Ashur-Etil-ilani 632-629 B.C. & his brother Sin-Shum-Ishkun fight against general Sin-Shum-Lishir in a bloody civil war. Ashur-Eitil-ilani is slain by his brother Sin-Shum-Ishkun only having one year of peace 628-627 B.C. Sin-Shum-Ishkun then reigns over Assyria 626-612 B.C. Ashur-Uballit II 611-605 B.C.

    (Sennacherib’s reign actually began in Judah’s king Hezekiah’s 14th year 711 B.C. Jerusalem was his first priority. Merodach-Baladan wrote Hezekiah letters (Isaiah 39:1) hoping the Hebrews might form a military alliance with him some historians believe to fight the Assyrians. From Sennacherib’s reign backwards and forward Assyrian chronology is formulated.)

    Babylonian kings: Merodach-Baladan 728-716 B.C. Sargon has control over Babylon 716-712 B.C. Merodach-Baladan fights Assyrian king Sennacherib 711-709 B.C. The Assyrians win victory and Sennacherib appoints Bel-Ibni to govern north Babylon 709-706 B.C. Ashur-Nadin-Shum 706-700 B.C. Sennacherib’s son taken prisoner by Elamite king Hallutush-Inshushinak 707-700 B.C. who appoints Nergal-Ushezib as Babylonian king in 700 B.C. Nergal-Ushezib is taken captive by the Assyrians.Babylonian king Mushezib-Marduk 700-695 B.C. unites forces with Elamite king Humban-Nimena 700-694B.C. against Assyrian king Sennacherib who destroys their army, yet the Babylonian chronicles state Humban-Nimena won the war stating Humban-Nimena died a natural death. Sennacherib completely destroys Babylon 695-687 B.C. Its inhabitants return when the city is rebuilt. Esarhaddon reigns over both Assyria and Babylon 687-675 B.C. Esarhaddon rebuilds Babylon. Shamash-Shum-Ukin 675-653 B.C. Kandalanu 653-632 B.C. Sin-Shum-Ishkun 632-626 B.C. has control over Babylon. Came to power in Assyria in 626 B.C. Loses Babylon to Nabopolassar in 626 B.C. Nabopolassar 626-605 B.C. reigns over Babylon. Nebuchadnezzer 605-562 B.C. reigns over Babylon.

    Biblical Judean kings: Ahaz 741-725 B.C.(2 Kings 16:2) Hezekiah 725-696 B.C. (2 Kings 18:2) Manasseh 696-641 B.C. (2 Kings 21:1) Amon 641-639 B.C. (2 Kings 21:19) Josiah 639-608 B.C. (2 Kings 22:1) Jehoahaz 608 B.C. (2 Kings 23:31) Jehoiakim 608-597 B.C. (2 Kings 23:36) Jehoichin 597 B.C. (2 Kings 24:8) Zedekiah 597-586 B.C. (2 Kings 24:18) Israel kings: Pekah 758-738 B.C. (2 Kings 15:27) Hoshea 738-729 B.C.

    Cushite kings: Piankhi 759-728 B.C. Shabaka 728-714 B.C. Shebitku 714-698 B.C. reigns over Egypt. Tirhakah 714-698 B.C. reigns over Ethiopia. (2 Kings 19:9) Tirhakah reigns over both Ethiopia and Egypt 698-672 B.C. Egyptian king Necho I 672-664 B.C. slain by Tanutamun who flees when the Assyrians invade Egypt, he resides in Ethiopia reigning there 664-656 B.C.

    Egyptian kings: Necho I 672-664 B.C. Psamtik I 664-610 B.C. Necho II 610-595 B.C. Psamtik II 595-589 B.C. Apries (Hophra) 589-570 B.C.

    Elamite kings: Humban-Nikash 750-725 B.C. Shutruk-Nahhunte II 725-707 B.C. Hallutush-Inshushinak 707-700 B.C. Kudur-Nahunte 700 B.C. Humban-Nimena 700-694 B.C. Humban-Haltash I 694-687 B.C. Humban-Haltash II 687-681 B.C. Urtaki 681-669 B.C. Tempt-Humban-Inshushinak 669-659 B.C. Elamite king Ummanigash 659-657 B.C. set upon the Elamite throne by Assyrian king Ashur-Banipal betrayed the Assyrian leader.Ummanigash is dethroned by Elamite king Tammaritu I 657-654 B.C. of Hidalu. Tammaritu I also becomes anti-Assyrian. He prepares to go to war against Ashur-banipal and prince Indabibi 655-654 B.C. defeats Tammaritu I’s army before it reaches the Assyrians. Elamite king Tammaritu II 654-653 B.C. slays Indabibi and rebels against the Assyrians and he is captured. Humban-Haltash III 653-649 B.C. Egyptian king Psamtik I in 653 B.C. declares independence from Assyria. Egypt is free from Assyrian rule. The Assyrians completely destroy Elam in Humban-Haltash’s III reign in 649 B.C.

    Cushite king Piankhi 759-728 B.C. 21st year invades Egypt in 738 B.C. at the same time Israel’s king Hoshea in 738 B.C. assassinated Pekah. (2 Kings 15:30) Judah’s king Ahaz 741-725 B.C. had joined a military alliance with Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III in 740 B.C. (2 Kings 16:7) Assyrian historians recorded Tiglath-Pileser III 753-735 B.C. had witnessed Hoshea 738-729 B.C. becoming the Israel king. Assyrian king Shalmaneser V 734-729 B.C. then came up against Hoshea. (2 Kings 17:3-4) Cushite king Piankhi controlled Egypt and Osorkon IV (So) 740-725 B.C. was his vassal reigning in Egypt’s delta. Hoshea wanted So to help him wage a war against Shalmaneser V. (2 Kings 17:3-4) Hoshea’s plot is discovered and the Assyrians put an end to Hoshea’s kingdom as most of the population is carried off to Assyria. Judah’s king Hezekiah 725-696 B.C. invites those who escaped out of Assyria’s hands to turn to the Lord. (2 Chronicles 30:6) Osorkon IV later brings Sargon II 728-712 B.C. horses as tribute.

    Assyrian king Sargon II 728-712 B.C. goes to war against Elamite king Humban-Nikash 750-725 B.C. and Babylon’s king Merodach-Baladan at Der in 727 B.C. The Elamites and Babylonians win victory. Sargon II then wars against the Egyptians and Ethiopians lead by Egyptian Cushite king Shabaka 728-714 B.C. Sargon II wins victory against Shabaka in 726 B.C. (Isaiah 20:1-5) Sargon II had skirmishes with Babylon’s king Merodach-Baladan 728-716 B.C. Merodach-Baladan becomes friends with Elamite king Shutruk-Nahunte 725-707 B.C. Sargon invades Babylon in 716 B.C. and Merodach-Baladan flees to Elam. Merodach-Baladan later in Assyrian king Sennacherib’s reign sent letters to Judah’s king Hezekiah 725-696 B.C. around 711 B.C. (2 Kings 20:12)

    Assyrian king Sennacherib 711-688 B.C. 1st year 711 B.C. he attacks Israel in Hezekiah 725-696 B.C. in Hezekiah’s 14th year in 711 B.C. (2 Kings 18:13) ETHIOPIAN king Tirhakah did not do much to help Judah’s king Hezekiah.Tirhakah‘s army was defeated at Eltekeh. (2 Kings 19:9-10)It was the Lord who slew 185,000 Assyrians. (2 Kings 19:35) Elamite king Shutruk-Nahunte II 725-707 B.C. generals and staff officers are killed by Sennacherib’s army trying to place Merodach-Baladan back on the Babylonian throne 711-709 B.C. Merodach-Baladan flees again to Elam. Elamite king Hallutush-Inshushinak 707-700 B.C. makes poor judgement taking Sennacherib’s son Ashur-Nadin-Shum 706-700 B.C. as prisoner. Elamite kings: Hallutush-Inshushinak had fled his throne when he saw the Assyrian army coming. Kudur-Nahhunte briefly reigns over Elam in 700 B.C. Humban-Nimeana 700-694 B.C. army drove their chariots over dead soldiers to get away from the Assyrians. Humban-Nimeana suffers a stroke and the Assyrians win victory against the Elamites in Babylon. Elamite king Humban-Haltash I 694-687 B.C. tries restoring diplomatic relations with Assyria but he fails.

    Assyrian king Esarhaddon 687-676 B.C. goes to war against EGYPTIAN king Tirhakah 698-672 B.C. and the Assyrians win victory. Esarhaddon takes Judah king Manasseh 696-641 B.C. as prisoner. (2 Chronicles 33:11) Elamite king Humban-Haltash II 687-681 B.C. goes about robbing, raping and pillaging while on his way to attack Sippar while Esarhaddon was fighting other enemies. Tirhakah rebels when Assyrian troops leave Egypt. Esarhaddon and Elamite king Urtaki 681-669 B.C. live in peace. Esarhaddon dies enroute to do battle again against Tirhakah.

    Assyrian king Ashur-Banipal 675-633 B.C. defeats Tirhakah in 672 B.C. Tirhakah flees Memphis. Necho I 672-664 B.C. is placed upon the Egyptian throne. (Egyptian priest Manetho stated Necho I had an 8 year reign.) Elamite king Urtaki 681-669 B.C. receives grain from Ashur-Banipal during a famine striking Elam.Urtaki is ungrateful. Urtaki sees the Assyrians are having trouble with Egypt. Urtaki attacks Babylon in 669 B.C. The Assyrian army chases Urtaki and the Elamite king collapsed and died. Cushite king Tanutamun rebels against Assyria by invading Egypt’s delta slaying Necho I and Ashur-Banipal places Psamtik I 664-610 B.C. on the Egyptian throne as Tanutamun flees to Ethiopia reigning there 664-656 B.C. Ashur-Banipal sends soldiers to the King of Lydia and they defeat the Cimmerians in 663 B.C. Psamtik I expels Assyrian garrisons in Egypt’s delta 660-653 B.C. starting stirring up unrest while Ashur-Banipal is fighting Elamite king Tempt-Humban-Inshushinak and Psamtik I drives them completely out when the same year Babylon’s king Shamash-Shum-Ukin’s government falls in 653 B.C. Psamtik I declares Egypt totally independent in 653 B.C. Ashur-Banipal learns the King of Lydia had betrayed him by supporting Psamtik I and Ashur-Banipal lets the Cimmerians take over Lydia in 652 B.C.

    Elamite king Tempt-Humban-Inshushinak 669-659 B.C. relatives do not want war. They flee to Ashur-Banipal’s royal court. Tempt-Humban-Inshushinak suffers a stroke in the 10th year he reigns. War erupts. An Assyrian soldier cuts off his head. Elamite king Ummanigash 659-657 B.C. betrays Assyrian king Ashur-banipal who set him upon the Elamite throne. Ummanigash joins Babylon’s king Shamash-Shum-Ukin rebellion against Assyria.Ummanigash is dethroned by Tammaritu I king of Hidalu 657-654 B.C. who is also anti-Assyrian and prepares to go to war against Ashur-banipal. Prince Indabibi 655-654 B.C. is pro-Assyrian in this Elamite civil war and he crushes Tammaritu I’s forces before they reach the Assyrians. Elamite king Tammaritu II 654-653 B.C. slays Indabibi. Tammaritu II rebels and he is hauled away to Assyria.

    Assyrian king Ashur-Banipal’s brother Shamash-Shum-Ukin reigning over Babylon since 675-653 B.C. betrays him. Three Elamite kings had joined Shamash-Shum-Ukin’s army. The Assyrians take over Babylon in 653 B.C. Ashur-Banipal appoints Kandalanu as governor who reigns over Babylon 653-632 B.C. Egyptian king Psamtik I declares Egypt independent in 653 B.C. The Assyrians don’t respond and Egypt is free from Assyrian rule.

    Assyrian king Ashur-Banipal defeats Elamite king Humban-Haltash III 653-649 B.C. The Assyrians destroy the Elamite nation. Ashur-Banipal is the Biblical Asnapper. He set the Elamite natives to colonize the cities of Samaria. (Ezra 4:9-10) Ashur-Banipal also let Judah’s king Manasseh return to Israel. Ashur-Banipal goes to war against the Arabs 649-646 B.C. The years 645-633 B.C. Ashur-Banipal’s records are silent.

    Assyrian kings Ashur-Etil-ilani and Sin-Shum-Ishkun 632-629 B.C. fight a bloody civil war against Assyrian general Sin-Shum-Lishir which weakens Assyria. Ashur-Etil-ilani wins victory.Ashur-Etil-ilani is slain by his brother Sin-Shum-Ishkun having only one year of peace 628-627 B.C. Sin-Shum-Ishkun 626-612 B.C. fights Babylonian king Nabopolassar and the Babylonians and Cyaxares win victory. Sin-Shum-Ishkun dies in his burning palace. Assyrian general Ashur-Ballit II 611-605 B.C. army is saved at Charchemish when Egyptian troops lead by Necho II 610-595 B.C. join forces together.

    Necho II was on his way to help the Assyrians when Judah’s king Josiah 639-608 B.C. tried stopping him and Josiah was slain. (2 Chronicles 35:20-26) Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzer 605-562 B.C. destroys the Assyrian nation in 605 B.C. Nebuchadnezzer 8th year he took Jehoichin captive in 597 B.C. (2 Kings 24:12) Nebuchadnezzer took over Jerusalem in 586 B.C. Zedekiah’s 11th year. (2 Kings 25:1-2) Egyptian king Psamtik II 595-589 B.C. fights the Nubians at the fourth cataract. Egyptian king Apries (Hophra) 589-570 B.C. sends troops to help Israel’s king Zedekiah 597-586 B.C. but Hophra’s troops flee Nebuchadnezzer’s forces. (Jeremiah 44:30) Hophra is killed by one of his generals.

    We can witness here the Biblical historical accuracy. The Jews who wrote our Bible have told us the truth. God bless Israel!



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