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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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).