first published एडिन्बुर्घ

A. & C. Black, 1885; German original, Berlin: G. Reimer, 1878] 272). See the remarks of Rodger C. Young in “When Did Jerusalem Fall?” JETS 47 (2004) 28–29, n. 13 regarding the artificiality of Wellhausen’s construction. Other authors who have followed Wellhausen in his faulty reasoning include Bernhard Stade, Geschichte des Volkes Israel 1 (Berlin : G. Grote, 1887) 89; Emile F. Kautzsch, Abriss der Geschichte des alttestamentlichen Schrifttums: nebst Zeittafeln zur Geschichte der Israeliten und anderen Beigaben zur Erklärung des alten Testaments (Freiburg: J.C.B. Mohr, 1897) 65; Jeremy Hughes, Secrets of the Times: Myth and History in biblical Chronology (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic, 1990) 2. [15] Wellhausen, Prolegomena 272. Wellhausen’s attack on the historical validity of the regnal data in Kings and Chronicles was very effective in destroying faith in the integrity of the Scriptures. Liberal scholarship was quick to press the argument. “Wellhausen has shown, by convincing reasons, that the synchronisms with the Book of Kings cannot possibly rest on ancient tradition, but are on the contrary simply the products of artificial reckoning (Rudolf Kittel, A History of the Hebrews 2 [Oxford: Williams & Norgate, 1896; German original Gotha, Germany: Perthes, 1892] 234). “Wellhausen is surely right in believing that the synchronisms in Kings are worthless, being merely a late compilation from the actual figures given” (Theodore H. Robinson, A History of Israel [Oxford, England: Clarendon, 1932] 1.454). Yet, by one of the ironies of history, the same chronological data that these scholars cited as showing the fallibility of the Scriptures have been demonstrated by conservative scholarship to have all the earmarks of authenticity, once the presupposition-based approach of liberal scholarship was replaced by a careful study of the chronological methods used in the ancient Near East. These later findings are therefore consistent with a high view of the inspiration of Scripture. “[T]he apparent authenticity of the chronological details of Scripture is precisely what would be expected if the doctrine of limited inspiration is false and that or inerrancy is true” (Rodger C. Young, “Tables of Reign Lengths from the Hebrew Court Recorders,” JETS 48 [2005] 244). There is also a pragmatic side to this: the Thiele/McFall chronology that is based on a conservative approach to the Scriptures has been widely accepted as reflecting the true history of the times, whereas no chronological consensus has ever been attained by starting with the various theories that postulate artificiality in the records of Kings and Chronicles. [16] “Propositions” 36. [17] Kings 60. The rationale for choosing this particular timespan to insert in 1 Kgs 6:1 is not explained by Burney. Hawkins, however, provides a reason, as given earlier by Nahum Sarna. Sarna suggests, “the biblical writer [of 1 Kgs 6:1] wanted to place the Temple at the center of biblical history” (Nahum M. Sarna “Israel in Egypt: The Egyptian Sojourn and the Exodus,” in Ancient Israel: From Abraham to the Roman Destruction of the Temple [ed. Hershel Shanks; Washington DC: Biblical Archaeology Society, 1999]) 42). Hawkins understands Sarna’s “biblical history” to mean “Israelite history,” and he writes, “Israel’s history on either side of the construction of the Temple is summarized as having encompassed 480 years, thereby placing the construction of the Temple in the center of history” (“Propositions” 36). This concept is not found elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible and it assumes that Israelite history ceased with the first return from exile. If the historical data had been manipulated in the way theorized by Sarna and Hawkins, the authors of Kings would be writing propaganda, not history. Such an approach to the authorship of the Scriptures destroys all confidence in anything presented in the written text, whether it be matters of history or of doctrine. But imaginative theorizing of this sort has no explanation of why sound scholarship has shown that the reign length data have all the characteristics of authenticity, so that a coherent and rational chronology has been constructed from them. [18] Non-accession reckoning means that the calendar year in which the king came to the throne is reckoned as his “year one,” while at the same time it is reckoned as the last year of the king he was succeeding. When reckoning is by the non-accession method, a year must therefore be subtracted from the given reign length when calculating elapsed time. Under the accession method, the calendar year in which the king came to the throne is counted as his “zero” year, and consequently elapsed time can be calculated by a simple addition of reign lengths. [19] “Propositions” 36, esp. n. 25. Hawkins writes, “If the number is literal, then they returned 53 years after Cyrus’s accession to the throne.” But there is no record, biblical or otherwise, of any return of exiles in 487 bc, 480 years after the start of Temple construction in the spring of 967 bc. (Hawkins takes 966 for the start of Temple construction and ends the 480 imaginary years in 486.) [20] Young, “Tables of Reign Lengths” 225–48. After the division of the kingdom, Judah continued its practice of using accession reckoning, whereas Israel made a deliberate break from Judean practice by adopting a Nisan-based regnal year, non-accession reckoning, and a non-canonical festival in the eighth month. Later, both kingdoms changed from their initial choice regarding accession or non-accession reckoning, and the lack of understanding of these important principles is one of many reasons why Wellhausen and those who followed him were incompetent in determining a chronology from the data given us by the Hebrew court recorders. [21] In the present paper, the authors use dates for Solomon and the other kings of Judah taken from ibid., 246 (Table 2). [22] William H. Barnes, Studies in the Chronology of the Divided Monarchy of Israel (Atlanta, GA.: Scholars Press, 1991) 146. [23] S. Olam 11. Rabbi Yose assigned this period to seventeen Jubilees, yet the 850 years are seventeen years more than seventeen Jubilee cycles of forty-nine years each. Rabbi Yose then asks how it is possible that there is an excess of seventeen years over the 833 years that he apparently expected for the seventeen Jubilee cycles. He gives no answer. The reason is evident: his 850 years is an artificial number that does not represent real elapsed time, similar to the artificial constructs of Wellhausen and Barnes, and there is no reason to try to correlate it with the seventeen Jubilee cycles that Rabbi Yose states as terminating fourteen years after Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians. Neither is there any reason to relate Judean reign lengths to the 479 years between the exodus and the building of the Temple. When artificial arrangements such as these are imposed on the data, it creates confusion in any chronological scheme and leads to wrong conclusions. [24] Heinrich W. Guggenheimer, Seder Olam: The Rabbinic View of biblical Chronology (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2005; first published Northvale, NJ, 1998) 117–18. [25] Edwin R. Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings (3d ed.; Grand Rapids: Zondervan/Kregel, 1983); Leslie McFall, “A Translation Guide to the Chronological Data in Kings and Chronicles,” BSac 148 (1991) 3–45. Thiele’s book should be the starting place for anyone seeking to understand the methods of the Hebrew court recorders and scribes whose figures are recorded in the chronological notes of Kings and Chronicles. These methods were not understood by Wellhausen, Burney, and some others even to the present day. Thiele’s problems with the chronology of the eighth-century kings of Judah are entirely resolved in McFall’s article. [26] Jack Finegan, Handbook of biblical Chronology (rev. ed.; Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1998) 246, 249; Kitchen, On the Reliability 83; T. C. Mitchell