Step 2: add the Bible’s years
Creation to Abram’s birth adds up to about 1948 years
using the Masoretic text, albeit with tension over Terah’s
place needing some resolution. Genesis 11: 26 says he was
70 years old when he “begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran”.
Possibly the text does not specify which of the three sons
was the firstborn, that the 70 years counts to the firstborn,
and thus we don’t know exactly when to add Abram to the
early Genesis timeline. Sarfati, along with Ussher, subtracts
Abram’s age at departure from Haran of 75 from Terah’s
205-year lifespan, since Abram left Haran soon after Terah
died in Haran.
9 So, 205 – 75 = 130 years old at Abram’s
birth. Does this contradict Genesis 11: 26, “Now Terah
lived seventy years, and begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran”?
Since Haran died first according to Genesis 11: 28, he may
have been Terah’s firstborn, not Abram. Thus, Creation to
Abram’s birth was 1948 + 60, or 2008 years. To suggest that
the continuous timeline from Abram to Christ as outlined
below cannot precisely merge with the continuous timeline
from Creation to Terah would constitute a broken link so
far out of place that it would require a greater defence than
the present author is currently able to mount.
If nine gestation months or some months to account for
birthdays should be estimated for each generation, then the
Creation-to-Abram time range could have spanned 2008
years at minimum or 2044 years at maximum.
11 These two
figures are derived following Johnson and Ice’s summary,
but counting 130 years instead of 70 as Terah’s age at
Abram’s birth, as discussed above. Hardy and Carter also
suggested the possibility of certain antediluvian patriarchs
counting their own vast ages by every half-decade instead of
every year, plus added a few more caveats for more wiggle
room, to calculate a minimum of 1990 and a maximum
of 2026 years from Creation to Abram.
9 However, Ruth
“In trying to be exact, we might be tempted to add
several years to the pre-Flood genealogy, figuring
that each son was not born on his father’s birthday or
on New Year’s day. But on second thought, we could
decide that those early historians were probably smarter
than we are. They would know enough to count the
birth year only once in their historical chronology.”
The patriarchs would know enough to exclude name
gaps and time gaps, and possibly to count the birth year
only once as Beechick suggests. But this assumes that their
intent was to supply numbers that future generations could
use to calculate exact years, and we see only rare accounting
of partial years, such as months or days, in their records.
However, they lived long enough for up to eight concurrent
antediluvian generations and according to the Masoretic text’s
numbers up to 12 concurrent post-diluvian generations that
stretched even past Abraham. Conceivably, patriarchal scribes
could have asked for first-hand accounting of a person’s birth
year or birth month, or whatever else they wanted to ask. So
it may be possible that these Scriptures supply exact year
lengths, with little or no wiggle room (i.e. no date slippage).
Such a chronology may or may not have been important to
the prophets and apostles who were carried along by the
Holy Spirit as they recorded Scripture, but since the Bible
does have numbers, since God is a God of order, and since
His Word has no errors, it might inadvertently include a
precise world chronology. In other words, it does not claim
a perfect chronology, or need one, but it does need to have
no errors. And if an error-free chronology emerges from
Scripture, then so be it.
Could the relatively simple additive date from Creation-to-Abram of AM 2008 express the exact number of years,
whether solar or sidereal, that transpired in that span? If so,
the number divides thus from the Masoretic text: Genesis
5 gives the Creation-to-the-Flood span of 1,656 years, and
Genesis 11 gives a Flood-to-Terah’s firstborn timespan of
292 years. In order to confirm
BC date estimates for the
Flood, the lay chronologist next needs the timespan from
Abram’s birth to at least one firmly dated historical event
that intersects biblical chronology.
Step 3: use Steinman and Young’s chronology
Resolve the kings
One can anchor a
BC date for the death of King
Nebuchadnezzar—who destroyed Jerusalem in 587
onto a biblical chronology spanning Adam to Solomon.
British Museum tablet 21,946, the Babylonian Chronicle,
notes the fall of Jerusalem “on the second day of the month
of Addaru”. Finegan’s Handbook defends this as “the most
exact information to come from cuneiform records for an
event recorded in the Bible”.
13 But to span from Solomon to
Nebuchadnezzar, one must first solve biblical chronology
challenges for the divided kingdom era.
Edwin Theile [Tee luh] (1895–1986) published his
attempted solutions in The Mysterious Numbers of the
14 Whitcomb referenced Thiele’s work,
did Hardy and Carter.
5 Though imperfect, Thiele at least
looked for solutions amidst an intellectual climate that
insisted that the chronology of the Kings was a hopeless
tangle. Theile used an objective ‘decision table’ technique
that answered three questions about each king’s reign: 1) Did
his reign begin in the month of Tishri (September/October)
or the start of the ancient new year in Nisan (March/April)?
2) Did his reign overlap another’s (a coregency)? 3) Did the
king’s scribe use accession reckoning or non-accession
reckoning? Assyria, Babylonia, and Judah tended to count a
king’s first months prior to Nisan as a whole year—his ‘year