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Israel's entry into Egypt (due to famine)

1728 BC

Israel enslaved by the Egyptians

215 years

Exodus (See also 480 years)

1513 BC

Division of the Kingdom of Israel

997 BC

516 years

Pharaoh Shishak’s attack on Jerusalem

993 BC

4 years

Pharaoh Necho’s battle

629 BC

364 years

Egyptian history meshes with that of Israel at various points. By Bible calculations, Israel’s entry into Egypt would be 1728 BC, whereby the Exodus, which occurred 215 years later, would be placed at 1513 BC. Pharaoh Shishak’s attack on Jerusalem came during Rehoboam’s fifth year in 993 BC. King So of Egypt was contemporary with Hoshea’s reign (c. 758-740 BC.); and Pharaoh Necho’s battle resulting in Josiah’s death likely came in 629 BC. (1Ki 14:25; 2Ki 17:4; 2Ch 35:20-24) The difference between the above dates and those generally assigned by modern historians amounts to as much as a century or more for the Exodus and then narrows down to about 20 years by Pharaoh Necho’s time.[1]

Egyptian chronologyEdit

Egyptian chronology in Academia differs from that of Biblical reckoning. Modern historians rely principally on certain documents in the form of Egyptian king lists or annals. Among these are: the fragmentary Palermo Stone, presenting what are considered to be the first five “dynasties” of Egyptian history; the Turin Papyrus, very fragmentary and giving a list of kings and their reigns from the “Old Kingdom” into the “New Kingdom”; and additional inscriptions in stone, likewise fragmentary. These separate lists and other independent inscriptions have been coordinated in chronological order by means of the writings of Manetho, an Egyptian priest of the third century BCE. His works, dealing with Egyptian history and religion, arrange the reigns of the Egyptian monarchs into 30 dynasties, an arrangement still used by modern Egyptologists. These sources, together with astronomical calculations, based on Egyptian texts dealing with lunar phases and the rising of the Dog Star (Sothis), have been used to produce a chronological table.[1]

Problems of Egyptian chronology. Uncertainties are multiple. The works of Manetho, used to give order to the fragmentary lists and other inscriptions, are preserved only in the writings of later historians, such as Josephus (first century C.E.), Sextus Julius Africanus (third century C.E., hence over 500 years from Manetho’s time), Eusebius (fourth century C.E.), and Syncellus (late eighth or early ninth century C.E.).[1] As stated by W. G. Waddell, their quotations of Manetho’s writings are fragmentary and often distorted and hence “it is extremely difficult to reach certainty in regard to what is authentic Manetho and what is spurious or corrupt.” After showing that Manetho’s source material included some unhistorical traditions and legends that “introduced kings as their heroes, without regard to chronological order,” he says: “There were many errors in Manetho’s work from the very beginning: all are not due to the perversions of scribes and revisers. Many of the lengths of reigns have been found impossible: in some cases the names and the sequence of kings as given by Manetho have proved untenable in the light of monumental evidence.”[2]

The probability that concurrent reigns rather than successive reigns are responsible for many of Manetho’s excessively long periods is shown in the book Studies in Egyptian Chronology, by T. Nicklin:[3] “The Manethonian Dynasties . . . are not lists of rulers over all Egypt, but lists partly of more or less independent princes, partly . . . of princely lines from which later sprang rulers over all Egypt.” Professor Waddell observes that “perhaps several Egyptian kings ruled at one and the same time; . . . thus it was not a succession of kings occupying the throne one after the other, but several kings reigning at the same time in different regions. Hence arose the great total number of years.”[4][1]

Since the Bible points to the year 2370 BC as the date of the global Flood, Egyptian history must have begun after that date. The problems in Egyptian chronology shown above are doubtless responsible for the figures advanced by modern historians who would run Egyptian history all the way back to the year 3000 BCE.[1]

Greater confidence is placed by Egyptologists in the ancient inscriptions themselves. Yet, the carefulness, truthfulness, and moral integrity of the Egyptian scribes are by no means above suspicion.[1] As Professor J. A. Wilson states: “A warning should be issued about the precise historical value of Egyptian inscriptions. That was a world of . . . divine myths and miracles.” Then after suggesting that the scribes were not above juggling the chronology of events to add praise to the particular monarch in power, he says: “The historian will accept his data at face value, unless there is a clear reason for distrust; but he must be ready to modify his acceptance as soon as new materials put the previous interpretation in a new light.”[5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 it-1 pp. 147-156
  2. Manetho, introduction, pp. vii, xvii, xx, xxi, xxv
  3. Blackburn, Eng., 1928, p. 39
  4. (Waddell, pp. 1-9)
  5. The World History of the Jewish People, 1964, Vol. 1, pp. 280, 281.