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Here is my particular biblical chronology based on a literalist interpretation of the Bible, the only problem I have is that I cannot fit the 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1 into it:

And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord.

  • (925 BC) Fifth year of Rehoboam. What is the basis for this? This date is important. The archaeological discoveries and radiocarbon dating date the invasion of Israel carried out by Pharaoh Shoshenq I in 925 BC, this allows us to identify him with Pharaoh Shishak of 1 Kings 14:25-26 and 2 Chronicles 12:1-12, who plundered the treasures of the temple of Jerusalem in the fifth year of King Rehoboam.

  • (970–930 BC) Kingdom of Solomon (cf. 1 Kings 11:42).

  • (1010–970 BC) Kingdom of David. The first 7 years he reigned in Hebron over Judah, the next 33 years he reigned from Jerusalem over all Israel and Judah (cf. 2 Samuel 5:4-5; cf. 1 Kings 2:11).

  • (1050–1010 BC) Kingdom of Saul (cf. Acts 13:21).

  • (1070–1050 BC) Samuel (cf. 1 Samuel 7:2).

  • (1110–1070 BC) Eli (cf. 1 Samuel 4:18). If we add the 410 years from the Book of Judges and the 40 years in which Eli judged, we get 450 exact years (cf. Acts 13:20).

  • (1520–1110 BC) Judges. If you read the Book of Judges, you will see that the different periods in which judges judge over Israel and the periods in which Israel is oppressed by different foreign kings, add up to a total of 410 years.

  • (1550–1520 BC) Joshua and elders. During this period Joshua dies at 110 (cf. Joshua 24:29).

  • (1550 BC) Conquest of Jericho. What is the basis for this? This is another important date. There is irrefutable evidence (based on radiocarbon dating by Hendrik J. Bruins and Johannes van der Plicht in 1995) that there was massive destruction of the city between 1617 BC and 1530 BC. Kathleen Kenyon previously, in the 1950s had dated the destruction of the city in 1550 BC by stratigraphic dating. These dates are perfectly consistent with the years from Joshua to Eli as recounted in the Book of Judges. On this date Moses also dies at 120 (cf. Deuteronomy 34:7).

  • (1590 BC) Date of Exodus. 40 years before the taking of Jericho (cf. Numbers 14:33-34).

  • (1670 BC) Birth of Moses. Moses was 80 years old in the Exodus (cf. Exodus 7:7), so 1590 + 80 = 1670.

  • (1949 BC) Death of Joseph at 110 (cf. Genesis 50:22).

  • (1990 BC) Beginning of the oppression of the children of Israel by the Egyptians (cf. Genesis 15:13).

  • (2003 BC) Death of Jacob at 147 (cf. Genesis 47:28).

  • (2020 BC) Jacob and his sons enter Egypt to accompany his other son Joseph (cf. Exodus 12:40).

  • (2030 BC) Death of Isaac at 180 (cf. Genesis 35:28).

  • (2059 BC) Birth of Joseph. Jacob was 91 years old. Joseph was 30 years old at the beginning of the 7 years of abundance when he was presented to Pharaoh (cf. Genesis 41:46). His father Jacob and his brothers went down to Egypt in the second of the years of scarcity (cf. Genesis 45:1-13), so Joseph was already 30 + 7 years of abundance + 2 years of scarcity = 39 years. At that same time Jacob was 130 years old (cf. Genesis 47:7-9), so it is easy to calculate that Jacob had Joseph at 130 − 39 = 91 years old.

  • (2071 BC) Death of Eber at 464 (cf. Genesis 11:16-17).

  • (2100 BC) Death of Shem at 600 (cf. Genesis 11:10-11).

  • (2132 BC) Death of Salah at 433 (cf. Genesis 11:14-15).

  • (2135 BC) Death of Abraham at 175 (cf. Genesis 25:7).

  • (2150 BC) Birth of Jacob. Isaac was 60 years old (cf. Genesis 25:26).

  • (2162 BC) Death of Arphaxad at 438 (cf. Genesis 11:12-13).

  • (2175 BC) Death of Terah at 205 (cf. Genesis 11:32).

  • (2209 BC) Death of Serug at 230 (cf. Genesis 11:22-23).

  • (2210 BC) Birth of Isaac.

  • (2232 BC) Death of Reu at 239 (cf. Genesis 11:20-21).

  • (2252 BC) Death of Noah at 950 (cf. Genesis 9:29).

  • (2262 BC) Death of Peleg at 239 (cf. Genesis 11:18-19).

  • (2261 BC) Death of Nahor at 148 (cf. Genesis 11:24-25).

  • (2310 BC) Birth of Abraham. Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born (cf. Genesis 21:5).

  • (2380 BC) Birth of Terah (cf. Genesis 11:26).

  • (2409 BC) Birth of Nahor (cf. Genesis 11:24).

  • (2439 BC) Birth of Serug (cf. Genesis 11:22).

  • (2471 BC) Birth of Reu (cf. Genesis 11:20).

  • (2501 BC) Birth of Peleg (cf. Genesis 11:18).

  • (2535 BC) Birth of Eber (cf. Genesis 11:16).

  • (2565 BC) Birth of Salah (cf. Genesis 11:14).

  • (2600 BC) Birth of Arphaxad (cf. Genesis 11:12).

  • (2602 BC) Great Flood (cf. Genesis 11:10). On this date Methuselah also dies at 969 (cf. Genesis 5:27).

  • (2607 BC) Death of Lamech at 777 (cf. Genesis 5:31).

  • (2700 BC) Birth of Shem (cf. Genesis 11:10).

  • (2836 BC) Death of Jared at 962 (cf. Genesis 5:20).

  • (2968 BC) Death of Mahalaleel at 895 (cf. Genesis 5:17).

  • (3023 BC) Death of Cainan at 910 (cf. Genesis 5:14).

  • (3118 BC) Death of Enos at 905 (cf. Genesis 5:11).

  • (3202 BC) Birth of Noah. Noah was 600 years old when the Flood occurred (cf. Genesis 7:11-12).

  • (3216 BC) Death of Seth at 912 (cf. Genesis 5:8).

  • (3271 BC) Rapture of Enoch at 365 (cf. Genesis 5:23-24).

  • (3328 BC) Death of Adam at 930 (cf. Genesis 5:5).

  • (3384 BC) Birth of Lamech (cf. Genesis 5:28).

  • (3571 BC) Birth of Methuselah (cf. Genesis 5:25).

  • (3636 BC) Birth of Enoch (cf. Genesis 5:21).

  • (3798 BC) Birth of Jared (cf. Genesis 5:18).

  • (3863 BC) Birth of Mahalaleel (cf. Genesis 5:15).

  • (3933 BC) Birth of Cainan (cf. Genesis 5:12).

  • (4023 BC) Birth of Enos (cf. Genesis 5:9).

  • (4128 BC) Birth of Seth (cf. Genesis 5:6).

  • (4258 BC) Creation of Adam (cf. Genesis 5:1-3).

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  • Is this the Chronology of Bishop Ussher? Have a look at some other Chronologies that are more modern such as that published by Zondervan.
    – Dottard
    Commented Mar 23, 2021 at 9:25
  • This is my own chrnology based in a literalist interpretation of the dates given in the Bible. As I said, the only date that I can't fit in it are the 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1.
    – APoL0
    Commented Mar 23, 2021 at 10:38
  • You should consult some others who also claim to have constructed such a literalist chronology such as the Zondervan.
    – Dottard
    Commented Mar 23, 2021 at 19:06
  • Thanks, I've been searching for Zondervan chronology but If can't find nothing without paying. Can you share any Zondervan's dates that he gives in his chronology?
    – APoL0
    Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 1:19
  • 1
    Also, I am not sure one could start Adam's age from creation. He was initially made to live forever, only sin ages us. It is my view that Adam's aging process started from the time he sinned and lost access to the fruit of tree of life!
    – Adam
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 11:39

3 Answers 3

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Here is an explanation of the 480 years by Sir Robert Anderson (1841-1918). It is from his book The Coming Prince: The Marvelous Prophecy of Daniel's Seventy Weeks Concerning the Antichrist, 2012 by Trumpet Press, 12/5/2013 Kindle Edition, Chapter 7, pages 85-86 (footnotes omitted)

“According to the book of Kings, Solomon began to build the temple in the 480th year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt. (1 Kings 6:1) This statement, than which none could, seemingly, be more exact, has sorely puzzled chronologers. By some it has been condemned as a forgery, by others it has been dismissed as a blunder; but all have agreed in rejecting it. Moreover, Scripture itself appears to clash with it. In his sermon at Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:18-21) St. Paul epitomizes thus the chronology of this period of the history of his nation: forty years in the wilderness; 450 years under the judges, and forty years of the reign of Saul; making a total of 530 years. To which must be added the forty years of David’s reign and the first three years of Solomon’s; making 573 years for the very period which is described in Kings as 480 years. Can these conclusions, apparently so inconsistent, be reconciled?

“If we follow the history of Israel as detailed in the book of Judges, we shall find that for five several periods their national existence as Jehovah’s people was in abeyance. In punishment for their idolatry, God gave them up again and again, and “sold them into the hands of their enemies.” They became slaves to the king of Mesopotamia for eight years, to the king of Moab for eighteen years, to the king of Canaan for twenty years, to the Midianites for seven years, and finally to the Philistines for forty years. [4] But the sum of 8 +18+ 20+ 7+ 40 years is 93 years, and if 93 years be deducted from 573 years, the result is 480 years. It is obvious, therefore, that the 480 years of the book of Kings from the Exodus to the temple is a mystic era formed by eliminating every period during which the people were cast off by God. [5] If, then, this principle were intelligible to the Jew in regard to history, it was both natural and legitimate to introduce it in respect of an essentially mystic era like that of the seventy weeks.”

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Are the 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1 wrong?

The short answer is no.

The Bible Chronology Timeline-part III provides in my opinion a pretty reasonable overall Old Testament Chronology (although I think 5 additional Anno Mundi years should be added to all years starting with “Aaron born..“) up to Solomon in terms of Anno Mundi. One could convert this particular timeline’s Anno Mundi to years BC using the formula 3893-AM=BC. So you could then compare it with your own particular biblical chronology. In particular, the Exodus would be in 1445 BC according to that timeline and the fourth year of Solomon’s reign in 966 BC- thus producing a gap of 1445-966=479 years in between, in line with 1 Kings 6:1.

As for the Judges period, the key to understanding the Judges-timeline and how it matches 1 Kings 6:1 are overlaps between the nominal Judges periods provided in the Book of Judges. A tentative chronology (in years BC) of this period is given in the Bible Chronology Timeline – part VI, bracketed by the Invasion of Canaan in 1405 BC and the begin of Saul’s reign in 1050 BC. Saul reigned 1050-1010 BC, David 1010-970 BC, Solomon 970-930 BC, the fourth year of Solomon’s reign being 966 BC, as previously mentioned. As an example of an overlap, this tentative timeline assumes the 80 years rest under Ehud (Judges 3:30) were a rest of southern and eastern tribes, whereas the 40 years rest under Deborah and Barak (Judges 5:31) was rest in the north, which is completely encompassed in the 80 years rest in Judges 3:30. This tentative chronology is only one possible solution, but it proves that the chronology of the period of the judges can be definitely reconciled with the 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1.

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Well, your problem is clearly around 450 of the judges' time, which obviously nullifies any possibility of reaching 480 years in the 4th year of Solomon. However, it is easy to resolve this contraversion just by observing the way the translation of Acts 13:20 is done in different versions:

Acts 13:20 KJV

And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.

Acts 13:17-20 NIV

‭The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt; with mighty power, he led them out of that country; for about forty years he endured their conduct in the wilderness; and he overthrew seven nations in Canaan, giving their land to his people as their inheritance. All this took about 450 years. “After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet.

The difference here is clear. The first version, which I believe was the one you used, lists 450 as the length of the judges' total period, which contradicts the 480 years between the exodus and the construction of the Temple.

The second version corrects this, defining the 450 years as the time before the judges, that is, the 400 years in Egypt and Canaan, added to the 40 years of pilgrimage in the desert, with the remaining 10 years being possibly related to the time resulting from the conquest of Canaan. You will find translations supporting both the first construction and the second, which obviously leads you to wonder which one is correct. So let's check out the original Greek version:

Acts 13:20 Interlinear

This is an interlinear version of Acts 13:20 from the original Greek text, translating it literally into the English equivalent of each word. If you wish, you can check it out yourself here. But returning to our question, as you can see, the way the text is constructed seems to tend much more towards the scenario of 450 before the period of the judges than the duration of the period itself.

But then you have to wonder about the sum of the judges' years, which total exactly 447 years, a number that could very well have been rounded to 450. However, it is highly likely that much of the content narrated in Judges is not consecutive, but parallel. You must consider that at that time Israel was not yet a fully organized state, As the text itself emphasizes several times: "‭In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes." (Judges 21:25 KJV).

The tribes were still dispersed, there was no king or central leader who united them, but regional leaders. Thus, while some tribes were oppressed, others may have been going through periods of peace, at the same time. One of the proofs of this is in Judges 10:7, in which the text explicitly reveals that the oppression of the Ammonites (which lasted 18 years) and the oppression of the Philiteans (which lasted 40 years) were simultaneous. This will mean that practically every judge after Jefte has served in parallel with at least one other judge. The duration of the Philistine oppression of 40 years, which ended in the battle of Ebenezer in 1 Samuel 7, and which must comprise the 20 years of Samson, the 20 years interval in 1 Samuel 7:2 and some fraction of Eli's judgment is further one proof that in some instance the judgments were simultaneous. Therefore, the true period must be well below 450 years.

Now working with evidence in favor of the 450 years referring to the period previous the judges, specifically which points to the 10 years of the conquest of Canaan, which when added to the years of oppression and pilgrimage will result in 450, is in Joshua 14:10:

Joshua 14:10 KJV

And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old.

The fact that Caleb refers to occurred in the second year of the exodus, or more specifically the first one after this, in the context of sending spies, that would be, according to your chronology, in 1589. 45 years later puts us in 1544, or six years after the entry into Canaan. In this same chapter, Joshua divides the land between the tribes, but it is not very difficult to assume that the total conquest may have continued for another 4 years in some regions. Even if that's not the case, 446 years is an equally acceptable number if 450 is considered rounding.

So, in my view, there is no doubt that the 450 can only refer to the period before the period of the judges, and not the period itself, which allows you to reconcile the dates with the 480 years from the exodus to the Temple.

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