The Canon of Ptolemy and Chronicon of Eusebius Synchronize World History With the Bible

Ptolemy's Canon Synchronizes Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome With the Bible

1.) As a sort of appendix to the Almagest is Ptolemy’s Canon, or list, of kings, enumerating consecutive Babylonian, Persian, Macedonian, and Roman rulers, with the lengths of the reigns and the totals, thus furnishing a scale of years by which to reckon intervals between the observations mentioned in the Almagest. Since its purpose was not to give a complete record of all the reigns, but to assign a regnal number to every year in the scale, it did not include any reign that lasted less than a year, and the reigns were counted by full years, ignoring the exact date of accession. The years by which it was reckoned were neither lunar nor true solar years, but the ancient Egyptian calendar year of 365 days, which wanders backward through the seasons one day every four Julian years. The starting point of the canon is the beginning of the first regnal year of the Babylonian king Nabonassar, a point that can be placed, by means of the exact intervals given in the Almagest between that point and the various eclipses, at noon February 26, 747 B.C. This was the 1st of Thoth, the Egyptian New Year’s Day, at that time (although by Nebuchadnezzar’s time Thoth 1 had shifted to January, and by the time Ptolemy himself lived, it had moved back through the autumn and into July).

Dr. H. Grattan Guinness, wrote the following about Ptolemy's Canon. "In the existence of this invaluable work, and in its preservation as a precious remnant of antiquity, the hand of Providence can clearly be traced. The same divine care which raised up HERODOTUS and other Greek historians to carry on the records of the past from the point to which they had been brought by the writings of the prophets at the close of the Babylonish captivity, -- the Providence which raised up JOSEPHUS, the Jewish historian, at the termination of the New Testament history, to record the fulfillment of prophecy in the destruction of Jerusalem, -- raised up also PTOLEMY in the important interval which extended from Titus to Hadrian, that of the completion of the Jewish desolation, to record the chronology of the previous nine centuries, and to associate it in such a way with the revolutions of the solar system as to permit of the most searching demonstration of its truth" (Creation Centered in Christ vol. 1 p.292). This brief document, which is based on astronomical information from ancient Babylon, is still the BACKBONE of the chronology of the ancient Near East. Its essential correctness has been corroborated by the Uruk King List, the Astronomical Diaries, and Egyptian data (like dated papyri). Berosus agrees with Ptolemy's Canon since Nabopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar, Evil-Merodach (2 Kings 25:27; Jeremiah 52:31), Neriglissar, Labashi-Marduk, and Nabonidus are listed in Berossus as 21 years, 43 years, 2 years, 4 years, 9 months, and 17 years and in Ptolemy's Royal Canon as 21 years, 43 years, 2 years, 4 years, —, and 17 years B.C.E. 625–605 604–562 561–560 559–556 556 555–539. Ptolemy's Canon omits Labashi-Marduk, as it always reckons whole years only. Labashi-Marduk’s short reign of only a few months fell in Neriglissar’s last year (which was also the accession-year of Nabonidus). Ptolemy's Canon, therefore, could leave him out.

Babylonian (and Assyrian) Kings, 747–539 BC
Nabonassar (Nabonassáros): 747–734 BC
Nabu-nadin-zeri (Nadíos): 733–732 BC
Nabu-mukin-zeri (Khinzêr) and Pulu (Póros): 731–727 BC (aka "Pul" or Tiglath-Pileser III -- 2 Ki. 15:19,29; 1 Chr. 5:26)
Ululas (Iloulaíos): 726–722 BC (aka Shalmaneser -- 2 Ki. 17-18)
Marduk-apla-iddina II (Mardokempádos): 721–710 BC (aka Merodach-baladan -- Isa. 39:1; 2 Ki. 20:12)
Sargon II (Arkeanós): 709–705 BC (from the Assyrian arqu meaning "second")
no kings: 704–703 BC (memory of Sennacherib’s destroying the city of Babylon resulted in dropping his 2 years off some king lists)
Bel-ibni (Bilíbos): 702–700 BC
Ashur-nadin-shumi (Aparanadíos): 699–694 BC
Nergal-ushezib (Rhegebélos): 693 BC
Mushezib-Marduk (Mesêsimordákos): 692–689 BC
no kings: 688–681 BC (memory of Sennacherib’s destroying city of Babylon resulted in dropping his last 8 years -- 2 Ki. 18:13; 2 Chr. 32:1; Isa. 36-37)
Esarhaddon (Asaradínos): 680–668 BC (2 Ki. 19:37; Isa. 37:38; Ezra 4:2)
Shamash-shum-ukin (Saosdoukhínos): 667–648 BC
Kandalanu (Kinêladános): 647–626 BC
Nabopolassar (Nabopolassáros): 625–605 BC
Nebuchadrezzar II (Nabokolassáros): 604–562 BC
Amel-Marduk (Illoaroudámos): 561–560 BC
Neriglissar (Nêrigasolassáros): 559–556 BC
Nabonidus (Nabonadíos): 555–539 BC

Persian Kings, 538–332 BC
Cyrus: 538–530 BC
Cambyses: 529–522 BC
Darius I: 521–486 BC
Xerxes I: 485–465 BC
Artaxerxes I: 464–424 BC
Darius II: 423–405 BC
Artaxerxes II: 404–359 BC
Artaxerxes III (Ochus): 358–338 BC
Arses (Arogus): 337–336 BC
Darius III: 335–332 BC

Macedonian Kings, 331–305 BC
Alexander the Great: 331–324 BC
Philip III: 323–317 BC
Alexander IV:[n 1] 316–305 BC
Ptolemies of Egypt, 304–30 BC
Ptolemy I Soter (Ptolemy, son of Lagus): 304–285 BC
Ptolemy II Philadelphus: 284–247 BC
Ptolemy III Euergetes: 246–222 BC
Ptolemy IV Philopator: 221–205 BC
Ptolemy V Epiphanes: 204–181 BC
Ptolemy VI Philometor: 180–146 BC
Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II: 145–117 BC
Ptolemy IX Soter II: 116–81 BC
Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysus: 80–52 BC
Cleopatra Thea Philopator: 51–30 BC

Roman Emperors, 29 BC–160 AD
Augustus: 29 BC–14 AD
Tiberius: 15–36
Gaius: 37–40
Claudius: 41–54
Nero: 55–68
Vespasian: 69–78
Titus: 79–81
Domitian: 82–96
Nerva: 97
Trajan: 98–116
Hadrian: 117–137
Aelius Antoninus: 138–160

Knowing the starting point, Feb. 26, 747 B.C., the Canon continues to count from that same new year, always counting full years of 365 days. Since it made no allowance for leap year, the New Year drops back in our calendar about a day every four years. Furthermore, the canon does not deal with parts of years. At whatever time in the year a king came to the throne, his reign was counted from the New Year preceding. Thus, the actual accession of Alexander the Great was at the decisive victory of Arbela, Oct. 1, B.C. 331; but his reign in the canon began the preceding New Year's day, which by this time has slipped back to Nov. 14, 332 B.C.

B.C. King of Judah Reign (fall to fall) & Event Scripture
1st 604-603 4th year of Jehoiakim (604) which is 23rd of Josiah Jer.25:1,3; cp. Dan. 1:1
8th 597-596 Deportation of Jehoiachin after 3 months (597) 2 Ki. 24:8,12; 2 Chr. 36:10
18th 587-586 10th year of Zedekiah Jer. 32:1
19th 586-585 Jerusalem falls in 11th year of Zedekiah (586) 2 Ki. 25:2-8; Jer. 52:5,12


Note: The Jewish civil-calendar year began half a year before the corresponding Babylonian year in Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. Nebuchadnezzar reckoned his year one from Nisan 1 in the spring of 604 B.C. But the Jews reckoned Nebuchadnezzar’s reign from Tishri 1 in the Autumn of 605.

The capture of Jehoiachin is dated beyond question in Nebuchadnezzar’s 7th (Babylonian) year, in Adar, 597 B.C. For Nebuchadnezzar’s reign is fixed astronomically, not only by Ptolemy’s Canon, which comes from a later time, but also by a contemporary Babylonian text giving a whole series of exact astronomical data. Therefore the explanation of the evidence for the B.C. dating will begin with the firmly established years of Nebuchadnezzar and will work backward through Ptolemy’s Canon and the Assyrian limmu lists.

2.) The Astronomical Tablet of Nebuchadnezzar’s 37th Year -- Among the thousands of public and private documents, written on clay tablets, that have been dug up by archeologist in Mesopotamia, two astronomical texts are of great importance to chronology, for they fix the B.C. dating of the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar II and Cambyses, respectively. The one most valuable for the later period of the Hebrew kings deals with the 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar. It contains a series of observational data on the positions of various heavenly bodies throughout a complete year, running from Nisan 1, year 37, to Nisan 1, year 38 of his reign. Modern astronomers who have checked this data by astronomical computation say that the combination of information for the sun, moon, and planets, which all move in differing cycles, cannot be duplicated in any other year within centuries, if ever. Thus Nebuchadnezzar’s 37th regnal year is fixed beyond doubt at 568/67 B.C.; and all other years in his reign are established also; the 1st year was 604/03 B.C., and the 7th year, in which he captured Jehoiachin, was 598/97 B.C. Since there are several Biblical links with Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, the end of the kingdom of Judah is anchored to this B.C. dating, but the links between the Hebrew kings and Assyrian rulers must be located by means of Assyrian chronological lists which are linked with Nebuchadnezzar’s reign through the king list known as Ptolemy’s Canon.

The canon dating harmonizes with the astronomically fixed 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar, although the Almagest does not mention that year. It agrees also with another eclipse in the preceding reign, and with three others in the reign of Mardokempad (Marduk-apal-iddin, or the Biblical Merodach-baladan), the earliest eclipse being only 26 years from the starting point of the canon. And since the number of years from this point back to the first year of Nabonassar agrees with the Babylonian Chronicle and the Babylonian King List A (both found on clay tablets), it can be considered settled that Ptolemy’s Canon gives us exact dates as far back as 747 B.C. Furthermore, both the Assyrian king lists and the Assyrian limmu list, sometimes called the Eponym Canon, are in harmony with Ptolemy’s reckoning of the lengths of the reigns wherever these lists for the close of the Assyrian Empire overlap the earlier section of the canon dating based on the eclipses.

Ptolemy used the old 365-day Egyptian calendar years, not the years used by the Babylonian, Persian, Macedonian, and Roman rulers, and not the Julian-Egyptian civil calendar as stabilized by Augustus to begin on August 29 (30th every 4 years).

3.) The Assyrian Limmu List, or Eponym Canon --This overlap of the latter part of the Assyrian chronology with Ptolemy’s Canon makes possible the assignment of B.C. dates to the series of names by which the Assyrians designated successive years, the limmu list, or the Eponym Canon. The ancient Assyrian practice was to designate each year, not by a number, but by the name of an annual honorary official, called a limmu (Greek, “eponym”). This office was conferred in turn upon the king and certain of his high officers, generally in a prescribed order. Lists of these named years were kept for official or business use in every city. In the year in which Tiglath-pileser III came to the throne, for example, the limmu for that year was Nabû-bêl-usur; hence all documents were dated “in the year of Nabû-bêl-usur.” The eponym for the next year (the first year of the reign) was Bêl-dân, but in the following year (the second of the reign), the king himself held the title, and so the year was designated as “the year of Tukulti-apil-Esharra” (Tiglath-pileser). The king customarily, though not always, held the office of eponym in the second year of his reign.

The limmu list is not complete for all of Assyrian history. The extant portion, compiled from various tablets, is consecutive only for the period from about 900 to 650 B.C.; the last period (647–612) is not certain. Thankfully it overlaps Ptolemy’s Canon, and is thus anchored to the B.C. dating around 700, when some of the kings of Assyria were also kings of Babylon. Since the limmu list is thus aligned with the B.C. dating near its end, every year in the series can be dated if the list as we have it is complete. Present scholarship accepts it as complete; therefore events recorded as occurring in certain eponymies are confidently dated on this basis—for example, the battle of Qarqar, in which Ahab participated, is placed in 853 B.C.

4.) The King Lists Aligned With the Limmu List. --Since the Assyrian limmu list is a series of names, without numerals, its scale of years can be used only for a purely relative scheme of chronology; it must be aligned with other known dating before it can be employed to assign B.C. dates to recorded events. But some copies of portions of the list carry a notation of a key event for each year, and some have horizontal lines between reigns. Such information makes it possible to align the limmu list with the extant Assyrian king lists as well as with the early part of Ptolemy’s Canon. Several of these scales coincide, thus corroborating Ptolemy’s Canon for the period preceding the first eclipse record, and locking the eponym list and king lists in alignment with the canon, hence with established B.C. dating.

The Chronicon of Eusebius Synchronizes Scripture With World History

1.) Berossus says, originally Belus cut the sea in two, making half the sky and the other half the earth. Blood was mixed with soil to create humankind. He split the darkness in two, separating heaven and earth from eachother, and then fashioned the world, animals, sun, moon and stars. Berossus says there were ten Chaldean kings that ruled Babylon from the first king, Alorus, to the tenth, Xisuthrus. The reign of those ten kings encompassed 432,000 years. Then the flood came. Remarkably, Moses says there were ten generations from Adam to Noah before the flood also with each living to a great age. Noah would be equivalent to Xisuthrus. Chronos came to Xisuthrus in his sleep and revealed to him that mankind would perish in a Flood. He commanded him to bury all the books in the city and to build a ship and go inside with his family and friends, and to put inside provisions, animals and birds. When the Flood receded, Xisuthrus released some birds. However, when they were unable to find anything to eat or any place to perch, he took them back on board. A few days later he again released some birds, and they too returned to the ship, but this time their claws were covered with mud. Finally he released them a third time, and this time they did not return to the ship. He emerged from the ship, which had landed on a mountain in Armenia, and made an altar and sacrificed to the gods. They excavated the manuscripts that had been buried and gave them back to humanity. Then they constructed Babylon once more and built a tower very similar to the Bible's Tower of Babel account. But God stirred up a wind which destroyed the tower. He divided the people by giving them different lanuages. It is for this reason that the city was called Babylon. After this Chronos and the Titans engaged eachother in warfare.

2.) According to Polyhistor, Sennacherib ruled during the period of Hezekiah for 18 years; his son succeeded him for 8 years; Sammuges followed, for 21 years; followed by his brother, for 21 years. Then Nabupalasar ruled for 20 years, followed by Nebuchadnezzar, for 43 years. From Sennacherib up to Nebuchadnezzar the regnal years total 88. This agrees with the Bible. For following Hezekiah, his son Manasseh ruled for 55 years. Then Amos for 12 years, followed by Josiah and then Jehoiakim. At the beginning of the latter's reign, Nebuchadnezzar came and besieged Jerusalem and took the Jews captive to Babylon. From Hezekiah to Nebuchadnezzar there are 88 years, just as Polyhistor calculated from the Chaldean sources.

3.) Abydenus says, "Now when Nebuchadnezzar took power, he built a wall and triple ramparts around Babylon in the space of about 15 days. He then conducted the Armakalen River [away] from the Euphrates and dug a reservoir on the highland above the city of Sippar which was 40 leagues around and 20 fathoms deep. And he constructed gates which could open and always irrigate the plain. These gates were called "Eketognomonas" to promote support and enthusiasm for himself. He also built a wall on the shore of the Red Sea [to protect it] from the pounding waves. He built the city of Terendos at the entrance to the Arabs' land. He also decorated the royal court by planting sapling trees, calling this the Hanging Garden. [Abydenus] presents a detailed description of this so-called Hanging Garden. The Greeks, he says, regarded [the Hanging Garden] as [one] of the seven wonders of the world. This agrees with the Bible where Nebuchadnezzar boasted: “The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” (Dan. 4:30) (see also Josephus' Against Apion Book 1, 19-21).

4.) Megasthenes says that Nebuchadnezzar, who was stronger than Heracles, levied troops and went to Libya and Iberia, which he conquered. He took and settled some of them on the fore part of the Black Sea coast. He subsequently relates from the Chaldeans' [accounts] that when he had returned to the royal court, some deity took control of his mind and spoke [through him] in this manner: "Oh brave Babylonians, I, Nebuchadnezzar, I predict that grief will befall you." He continued on in this vein for awhile and then the historian [tells us] that after this eloquent speech he suddenly disappeared from sight. Then [Nebuchadnezzar's] son, Amilmardochus ruled. The latter was slain by his son-in-law, Niglissarus. [Amilmardochus]left a son named Labossoracus, who also met with a violent end. Then Nabonedochus, was invited to take the throne, although it was certainly not his [by right] . When Cyrus captured Babylon, he granted [Nabonedochus] the marzpanate of the land of Carmania. King Darius partly expelled him from that land. All this coincides with Hebrew accounts. Daniel 4:30-33 says, "The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws."

5.) Castor says, "Ninus ruled the Assyrians as king for 52 years. He married Semiramis. After [Ninus], Semiramis was the monarch for 42 years. Then Ninyas ruled." Diodorus Siculus says Ninus had a son Ninyas from Semiramis, and after [Ninus]' death, Semiramis buried Ninus' bodyin the palace [out of sight] and stopped being queen [ruling instead as king]. Then after a bit [Diodorus] says that Semiramis ruled over all the Asians except the Indians. She died after living 62 years and reigning for 42 years. Castor says that after [Semiramis'] death, Ninyas, assumed power. He maintained peace, not emulating his mother's martial and industrious manner.

6.) Cephalion says, Semiramis "built the walls around Babylon". "Semiramis mustered troops [and went] against India." She was defeated and fled and "she killed her own sons and then was killed by her son Ninyas, after a reign of 42 years." The total duration of the Assyrian Kingdom was from Ninus to Sardanapallus who was the last or 36th king of the Assyrians. "From Sardanapallus until the first Olympiad (776 B.C.), 40 years elapsed" meaning 816 B.C. is the end of the Assyrian Empire. "During his (Sardanapallus') reign royal power passed from the Assyrians to the Medes, after lasting MORE THAN 1300 years as Ctesias of Cnidus observes in his second book." If we add 1300 years to 776 B.C. we get 2076 B.C. which is very close to 2192 B.C. when Ninus (Nimrod or Marduk), began his sole reign. Then the kings of the Medes ruled for 266 years till Cyrus the Persian deposed Astyages the Mede (550 B.C.). Then the Persian kings ruled till Darius was slain by Alexander in 331 B.C. Macedonians ruled till the death of Cleopatra in 30 B.C.

7.) Within the Chronicon of Eusebius, we discover Manetho's History. This chronology deserves a third category all to itself:

Manetho's Egyptian History Synchronized With the Bible

1.) The founder of Egypt was Mizraim, son of Ham and grandson of Noah. Remarkably, the Arabic name for Egypt is Misr. Syncellus in the Book of Sothis records the line of kings beginning with “Mestraim” (brother of Cush – Genesis 10:6). Mestraim founded a dynasty at Zoan in the Delta. Thus we know that Egypt's history begins AFTER the Flood -- after 2304 B.C. After the Tower of Babel. “And Cush begot Nimrod (Marduk), he began to be a mighty one in the earth.” (Genesis 10:8). The historian Velleius Paterculus says in his Roman history: “Between this time (when Rome conquered Philip [not the father of Alexander the Great], king of Macedonia in 197 B.C.) and the beginning of the reign of Ninus (Nimrod or Marduk) king of the Assyrians, who was the first to hold world power, lies an interval of 1995 years.” (Velleius Paterculus, Roman History, Book I, Section VI). Therefore, Ninus (Nimrod or Marduk), began his sole reign in 2192 B.C. According to Julius Africanus, the sole reign of Nimrod followed a joint reign of 62 years with his father (Cush). Thus going back 62 years more places us at the beginning of imperial government at Babel (2254 B.C.). The Creation Epic proclaims that the building of the Tower of Babel took 2 years (2256-2254 B.C.), and the biblical record reveals that the dispersion took place after the tower was built. The dispersion of nations is not dated in the Bible, but the general period is established by Eber, great grandson of Shem: “And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth DIVIDED” (Genesis 10:25) (2203 B.C. at the earliest). That is Egypt's starting point. Therefore, there is no room for Manetho's great time spans.

2.) Manetho's king lists were CONTEMPORANEOUS as well as SUCCESSIVE. "There were many kings in Egypt at the SAME TIME... some of them were kings of Thinis, some of Memphis, some of Sais, and some of Ethiopia; and there were yet others in other places ... It is very unlikely that they ruled in SUCCESSION to eachother. Rather, some of them ruled in one place, and others in another place" (p.137-138, Eusebius' Chronicon). The framework of all history, which now originated from Egypt, was distorted: “In the arrangement of …Egyptian materials within a framework of consecutive dynasties, all modern historians are dependant upon an ancient predecessor. This was an Egyptian priest and writer Manetho who lived under Ptolemy II Philadelphius (285-246 B.C.). Manetho was born at Sebennytus (now Samannud) in the Delta. He rose to be high priest in the temple at Heliopolis. Berossos of Babylon was practically a contemporary, and the two priests became RIVALS in the proclamation of the ANTIQUITY and greatness of their respective lands.” (Jack Finegan, Light for the Ancient Past, pages 65-66). Manetho summarized the history of Egypt under the rule of 30 dynasties, or ruling houses, from the royal cities of Thinis, Thebes, Memphis, Tanis, Elephantine, Heracleopolis, Abydos, Xois, Bubastis, and Sais. It was made to appear that each city and family dominated all Egypt, and each ruler governed a unified Egypt at any given time. This teaching FALSELY established the antiquity of Egypt, but DISTORTED the dating of historical events, and implied a unity in Egyptian political affairs that did not in reality exist. Isaiah warned against trusting in Egypt for help (Isa. 31:1). Just as throughout the history of man in other nations, Egypt was a confederation of several dynastic families from different cities. In any given time, only one being the supreme Pharaoh or several engaged in struggles for balances of power. In biblical accounts, many lands and empires had not one king, but several: “Lo the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the KINGS of the Egyptians.” (II Kings 7:6). “At that time did king Ahaz send unto the KINGS of Assyria to help him.” (II Chronicles 28:16).

3.) Onnos (Unis, Unas) of Dynasty 5 may be the magician and priest of Egypt who resisted Moses and Aaron, known as Jannes (2 Tim. 3:8). Also Cheops, of Dynasty 4 may have been the biblical Job whose reign overlapped with Joseph (Suphis) also of Dynasty 4. Job was a son of Joseph’s half-brother Issachar (Genesis 46:13). "At one time [Suphis -- Job] had been hostile toward the gods, but he subsequently regretted this and wrote a sacred book which the Egyptians hold in great esteem" (Eusebius, Chronicon). But the earliest mention of an Egyptian Pharaoh LINKED with a king of Israel or Judah is Shishak (Egyptian, Sheshonk), who invaded Judah in the 5th year of Rehoboam of Judah (1 Kings 14:25, 26; 2 Chr. 12:2-9). But this information doesn't help locate the 5th year of Rehoboam, because the chronology of the 22nd Dynasty is not precisely known. Sheshonk may have begun his reign about 950 B.C. The next pharaoh is “So king of Egypt” with Hoshea of Israel (2 Kings 17:4), but again there is no information to establish any exact date. A third king is “Tirhakah king of Ethiopia” and Hezekiah. But when we come to the chronology of the 26th dynasty of Egypt, it has been firmly established by contemporary historical documents, inscriptions, astronomical diaries and the testimony of ancient historians (Herodotus, Manetho, etc.). The evidence is completely independent of that for any other kingdoms.

Three pharaoh's from this dynasty are mentioned in the Bible, in 2 Kings 23:29 (Pharaoh Necho and King Josiah), Jeremiah 46:2 (Necho, Nebuchadnezzar, and Jehoiakim), and Jeremiah 44:30 (Pharaoh Hophra, Zedekiah and Nebuchadnezzar). A fourth is given in a cuneiform text, British Museum 33041, which refers to a campaign against Amasis, king of Egypt, in Nebuchadnezzar's 37th regnal year. This allows us to synchronize Egyptian history with the Bible. The kings ruled for the following time periods:

26th Dynasty of Egypt (664-525)
Pharaoh Years of Reign B.C. Date Scripture or text
Psammetichus I 54 664-610  
Necho II 15 610-595 2 Ki. 23:29; Jer. 46:2
Psammetichus II 6 595-589  
Apries (Hophra) 19 589-570 Jer. 44:30
Amasis 44 570-526 BM 33041
Psammetichus III 1 526-525  
Cambyses conquers Egypt   May-June 525  

2 Kings 23:29 says: "In his [Josiah's] days Pharaoh Necho the king of Egypt came up to the king of Assyria by the river Euphrates, and King Josiah proceeded to go to meet him; but he put him to death at Megiddo as soon as he saw him." King Josiah died during the reign of Pharaoh Necho. The evidence from the generally accepted Neo-Babylonian chronology is that Josiah died in 609 B.C., consistent with the table above. Jehoiakim was Josiah's son, and Nebuchadnezzar's accession year in 605 B.C. was Jehoiakim's 4th year (non-accession system). Jeremiah 46:2 says: "For Egypt, concerning the military force of Pharaoh Necho the king of Egypt, who happened to be by the river Euphrates at Carchemish, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon defeated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, the king of Judah." This battle took place in 605 B.C. which is in harmony with the reign of Necho, 610-595 B.C. Hophra actually made an attempt to relieve Jerusalem when it was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar, but was not able to do more than draw the besieging forces away from Jerusalem temporarily (Jeremiah 37:5-11). Jeremiah 44:30 says: "This is what Jehovah has said: 'Here I am giving Pharaoh Hophra, the king of Egypt, into the hand of his enemies and into the hand of those seeking for his soul, just as I have given Zedekiah the king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, his enemy and the one seeking for his soul." These words were uttered shortly after Jerusalem's destruction, when the few leftover Jews had fled to Egypt. At that time Egypt was ruled by Pharaoh Hophra, or Apries, as he is named by Herodotus. If Apries ruled Egypt at the time when the Jews fled there, this desolation cannot be dated until 589 B.C. But the dates for Apries's reign given in the table are perfectly consistent with the accepted date of 586 for the destruction of Jerusalem. Finally, the cuneiform tablet BM 33041 mentions a battle against Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar in his 37th year. Although the tablet is badly damaged, the damaged text telling the king's name is consistent only with Amasis. Nebuchadnezzar's 37th year is an astronomically confirmed date, 568/7 B.C., and is consistent with the above table.

4.) Where Are The Hyksos Mentioned In The Bible?

A few centuries before the Israelites went down to Egypt, an Asiatic people, the HYKSOS, ("foreign rulers" or "shepherd kings" -- Against Apion 1:14) took advantage of the unsettled political condition in Egypt, and seized the throne. Psalm 78:49 mentions this invasion of "king-shepherds" or "mishlakhat malkhei-roim" against Egypt but the text has been corrupted to read "evil angels" or "mishlakhat malakhei-roim" instead. This is contrary to proper Hebrew grammar. If "evil angels" were the correct reading, then the Hebrew should be "malakhim raoth." They were Arabians (Against Apion 1:52). Specifically Amalekites (pp. 64-65, Ages in Chaos). Their king Agag (Nu. 24:7) was known as Apop (Manetho). The first king was called Salitis or "Sultan." (They settled in the northern Delta region of Egypt, making their capitol at Avaris.) They were somewhat akin to the Israelites and the HYKSOS Pharaoh treated Israelites kindly as long as he reigned. This is why Joseph coached his brethren before they were introduced to Pharaoh. Joseph told them to profess to be shepherds "For every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians" (Gen. 46:34). Why? "That ye may dwell in the land of Goshen" where Pharaoh dwells, a land of cattle and sheep, "the best of the land" (47:6). Therefore there would be no objection from the Egyptians. Pharaoh also had cattle (47:6). Thus we know that the Pharaoh who was in Egypt was not an Egyptian but an Asiatic HYKSOS, a king who did not favor the Egyptians. To any native king, a shepherd would be an abomination, but not to the HYKSOS, for they, too, were shepherds.

During part of Israel's stay in Egypt she was favored with the choicest land called Goshen for pasturing flocks and herds and Joseph was put upon the throne as prime minister. When the famine increased, there is no indication the Israelites were forced to mortgage their lands, sell their flocks or sell themselves as slaves. They were favored in Egypt. But the tables were turned and Israel became oppressed. How? Exodus 1:8 says, "There arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph." He was a native Egyptian, the founder of the eighteenth dynasty who expelled the HYKSOS. His name was Amosis I (c. 1570-1545) who stormed Tanis (Zoan) and destroyed the last Semitic garrisons in Egypt about 1550 B.C. including Avaris. This native Egyptian feared lest the Israelites might multiply and some day do as the HYKSOS did and seize the throne. This accounts for their enslavement and persecution. The HYKSOS included Hebrews (Apiru) and Arameans (Amurru) and others -- a "mixed multitude." Manetho recorded that these HYKSOS later went to JUDEA and built JERUSALEM after leaving Egypt (Josephus, Against Apion 1:14). Ezekiel 16:3 says that Jerusalem was built by "an Amorite , and ... an Hittite." Therefore we know the HYKSOS included Amorites and Hittites as well as Hebrews and Arameans.

The powerful 18th Dynasty was founded by Amenhotep I (1546–1525 B.C.), who came to power after the Hyksos campaign. Remaining Semites who stayed behind after the Hyksos were driven out were treated brutally by the next several kings (Thutmose I and Thutmose II), culminating in Thutmose III, who “…made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field…” (Exodus 1:14). Thutmose III was known as “the Napoleon of Egypt”, and who set about conquering large swaths of territory once occupied by the Hyksos and their allies. He was also a great builder who used many slaves in his building projects; the population of slaves included large numbers of Semites, who were hated by Thutmose as a result of the Hyksos period. Archaeologist and historian W.F. Albright confirmed that the Hyksos invasion of Egypt was led by a Semetic people, not Hurrians or Indo-Aryans as some scholars contend; the fact that the remaining population was Semetic help fuel the hatred that many Egyptians felt for the Hebrew slaves remaining in Goshen.

Rekhmire, the vizier to Thutmose III, left behind splended wall paintings in his tomb in which scenes of the making of bricks and other tasks are being carried out, similar to the scene in Exodus 5:6–19. Found among the figures in the paintings are Semitic foreigners engaged in brick-making, with the hyroglyphic text having them say “He supplies us with bread, beer, and every good thing,” while they get a stern warning from the task-masters: "The rod is in my hand; be not idle!

5.) Who Was The Pharaoh Of The Exodus?

Diodorus Siculus (1st cent. B.C.), gave evidence for the truth of the Bible’s Exodus account. Of the Hebrews, he said, “Their forefathers had been banished out of the whole of Egypt... in order to purify the land.” (The History Of Antiquity, p.458) There was some truth to this assertion, after Egypt had endured the horrible swarms of insects and pestilential diseases of the ten plagues! Early Greek geographer and historian, Strabo (born 63 B.C.), also lent support to the Biblical account, saying, “Moses told them and taught that the Egyptians were not right in representing the divinity as a wild or domesticated animal, nor the Libyans, nor were the Hellenes wise in giving gods the form of men. For only the One was God which surrounds us all... By such doctrines Moses convinced not a few men of reason, and led them to the place where Jerusalem now is.” (ibid., p. 459)

Most modern scholars think the Pharaoh of the Exodus was Raamses II making the Exodus occur about 1270 B.C. This is because Exodus 1:11 mentions a city built by Israelites called "Raamses" and the assumption is that he had to reign before they built a city named after him. But it could have been a later revision by Samuel. Genesis 47:11 says, "in the land of Rameses" which represents another later revision. The same is true of the other city named "Pithom" or "the abode of Thom" -- the King Thom who reigned 600 years later.

However, 1 Kings 6:1 declares that it was 480 years before the fourth year of Solomon's reign (which was about 967 B.C.). This would place the Exodus around 1447 B.C. This fits also with Judges 11:26 which affirms that Israel spent 300 years in the land up to the time of Jepthah (which was about 1000 B.C.). Likewise Acts 13:20 speaks of there being 450 years of judges from Moses to Samuel who lived around 1000 B.C. The same is true of the 430 years mentioned in Galatians 3:17 spanning from around 1800 to 1450 B.C. (from Jacob to Moses). The same figure is used in Exodus 12:40. All of these passages provide a 1446 B.C. date, not a 1270 B.C. date. If we accept the traditional account of the reigns of the Pharaohs, the Pharaoh of the Exodus was Amenhotep II who reigned from about 1450 to 1425 B.C.

Syncellus preserves the record that in the fourth year of Apophis I, Joseph came as a slave into Egypt. During the 17th century, B.C. Egypt was ruled by the Hyksos. These Semitic intruders, according to archaeological evidence, introduced the horse and chariot into Egypt, which are mentioned in the Bible for the first time in the story of Joseph (Gen. 47:17; 41:43). Joseph, a Semite, would be on friendly terms with another Semite as a number two man serving this Hyksos king. The "new king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph" (Ex. 1:8) was Pharaoh Ahmose (1570-1546 B.C.), who began dynasty 18, who liberated it from the Hyksos. Hebrew hardships came during the rule of Amenhotep I (1546-1525 B.C.) or Thutmose I (1525-1508 B.C.) as the Egyptians remembered Hebrew friendship with the Hyksos. Now Moses was born "fourscore" years before the Exodus (Ex.7:7) or 1526 B.C. He was raised by "the daughter of Pharaoh" (Ex.2:5), who was known as "Queen Hatshepsut" who married her brother named Thutmose II. But when Hatshepsut couldn't produce a male heir to the throne, her brother/husband chose a non-royal mistress named Isis to produce a male heir and named their son Thutmose III. Hatshepsut raised the boy as her own son even though Isis was his real birth mother. She was the daughter of Pharaoh Thutmose I, the grand son-in-law of Ahmose. Moses fled from Thutmose III (c.1482-1450 B.C.), the pharaoh of the oppression (Ex. 2:23), who had been pushed aside by his aunt and step-mother Hatshepsut. Once pharaoh, he organized military campaigns and fought the enemies of the Hyksos who had settled in Canaan. After his famous battle of Megiddo in Canaan in 1479 B.C., he installed district governors in garrison cities throughout Canaan. Amenhotep II (c.1450-1425 B.C.) was the arrogant and haughty pharaoh of the Exodus (Ex.7). The suffix "MOSE" means "SON" (p.115, Keller's Bible As History) in Egyptian. Significantly, the suffix "Mose" is found (and exclusively so) in the names of many pharaoh's of the 18th dynasty, such as Ka-mose ("son of [Ra's] majesty"), Thutmose and Ahmose were sons of Thut (scribal god) and Ah (moon god). But nobody knew who the father of MOSE was, so he was just called MOSES. Or perhaps Moses' name had a prefix like the others (Hatshepsutmose) but Moses "refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter" (Heb.11:24). According to other ancient sources, the name Moses comes from the Egyptian mo (water) and uses (drawn from) (Ant. 2:9:6) (Contra Apion 1:31) (Philo De Vitga Moses 2:17).




Next Lesson: Ancient Jewish arriage Customs | Back to Home | Emal Us