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Why The Biblical Timeline Is So Bad

by on September 24, 2019
Solomon's Temple

(Left: Solomon’s Temple)

The Biblical Timeline doesn’t start to make any sense until about 1000 BC, when the first written texts by Israel appear, and the Biblical account can be validated by observable facts in Canaan. The building of Solomon’s Temple is such an observable, established fact. As is the rise of Israel and Judah as the next powers in Canaan about the same time.

The charitable explanation is that we are witnessing the slow migration of the oral tradition to written accounts. The exact timeline could have been lost by the scribes and priests and judges that were the custodians of Israel’s history previous to the written record.

There is simply no proof for Moses’ or Joshua’s assertions in the 15th, 14th, and 13th centuries BC. No Egyptian records, no archaeological evidence.

So this a very concrete issue.

Several things go wrong with the biblical timeline.

In the first place, the Bible is famous for expositions of bloodlines. John begat Jack, who begat, Joe, who begat Jake. In biblical parlance, this is called ‘the generations’.

The scribes who were writing down the oral tradition apparently had problems with remembering the timeline, and they solved this by simply claiming that a generation is 40 years. So for the coming and going of a man of public office, they would simply assume 40 years had passed.

The period of the Judges, which begins after Joshua’s death, is the last period where there are real questions concerning the timeline, although already more is known. For instance, Deborah, the only female Jewish Prophet, is accepted by Mainstream history, as opposed to Moses and Joshua, who are rejected by science because of the lack of proof in the biblical timeline.


(Above: the list of Judges that ruled Israel before the Kings, as described in the Book of Judges.)

As we can see, the first few Judges are said to have ruled 40, 80, 40, and 40 years.

This is not the reality. What happened is, that the oral tradition remembered the names, but not exactly their times. So they settled for the ‘generations’ approach, simply going for 40 years per Judge, with the exception of Ehud, of which they apparently knew he ruled for two generations.

As we can see from this list, the Judges of which the exact length of their rule is known, all ruled substantially shorter than forty years. In fact, the average length of their administrations was 11,2 years.

As we can see, assuming that a generation is 40 years, while practice shows an average of 11,2 years, will quickly massively balloon the Timeline. Had these first 4 judges of which they say they ruled 40, 80, 40, and 40 years (totaling 200 years) had reigned a similar timespan, with a double for Ehud, their combined rule would have lasted 5 x 11,2 = 56 years.

In this way we can see that Moses and Joshua would already have been misplaced a full 144 years. This goes already half way in explaining the three centuries difference between the biblical, and our timeline concerning Moses’ birth.

Anno Mundi
The second problem is, that the creators of the timeline, mostly Saducee/Pharisee scribes, have been trying to fit world history from Creation until the re-dedication of the Second Temple by the Maccabees (164 BCE) in 4000 years.

Their methodology is to say the events described in Genesis 1 (Creation) happened in Anno Mundi 1, and the rededication of the Second Temple Anno Mundi 4000.

Next, they claim Exodus is on exactly two thirds of this timeline (AM 2666), and exclaim: “look, what an important event! It happened at exactly two thirds of the first 4000 years!”

It is based on nothing. It is a purely literary device and has nothing to do with science or historiography. This is pure poetry, or worse, national myth making territory.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not denying (nor confirming) that the date of Creation could possibly be gathered from the Bible. The levels of narration (including the Bible Code) are really incredibly subtle, and cannot be negated by a rational mind who knows what he’s talking about.

The Creation story of the Scientism Religion (’15 billion years ago, there was nothing, and suddenly there was a Big Bang. Everything came into existence by chance, which is why we now have these perfectly engineered human bodies.’) is no less obscure, and there is not more evidence for their propositions than there is for Genesis’ account. ‘Science’, as is historiography, is dominated by politics, not by truth seeking. Those in control of the allocation of budget for this kind of research, allocate funds for their own agenda, not for God’s plan.

But using this 4000 years notion as the Law, and next trying to fit all events from before the written tradition into this timeline, even in the face of complete lack of any evidence for events having taken place in said years, this is obviously a no go.

Further complications
This ‘generation’ business has two more notable implications.

In the first place, the length of the wandering in the desert is said to have lasted 40 years. This is consistent with The Book Of Numbers’ narration, that the first generation of Israel’s men after leaving Egypt, simply refused to invade Canaan, as ordered by God and Moses, because of the seemingly insane odds.

So this puts a serious shadow of doubt over the 40 year claim. Did the writers of Exodus and Numbers decide they didn’t know the exact time span, but it had been one ‘generation’, ergo 40 years? If so, the time between Exodus and the Conquest of Canaan could well have been years shorter.

However, considering the extent of the description in the Torah, it is not so easy to just push this claim of 40 years aside, as with the rule of the Judges, who are clearly not as extensively described. It’s looking like we will have to live with a certain doubt.

But it does help to fix certain irregularities: we have seen, for instance, that if the only Egyptian mention of Israel (from 1208 BC) is about Exodus, the invasion of Canaan must have taken place in 1168 BC. But currently, I think 1177 BC is closer.

And if we’re not going to be too hung up on this 40 years claim concerning the wandering in the desert, than things fit even better than they already did.

Another problem is the claim of Moses’ age: he is said to have died at 120.

This is the maximum lifespan a man can reach, according to the Bible. Genesis 6:3: ““My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”

120 is three ‘generations’ in biblical terms: 3 x 40 = 120.

Let’s just say it all seems a little convenient, and in line with how the writers of the Bible thought.

Therefore, we must conclude that there is uncertainty concerning Moses’ real age. His date of death can be plausibly estimated to have been around 1177 BC, on the eve of the Canaanite Conquest, but his date of birth is less clear.

The Political Situation In Canaan In The 15th Century BC
“It is not from their friends, but from their enemies, that Cities learned to build high walls……..” – Homer.

Now let us have a look at Canaan 1450 BC:
Canaan 1450 BC

This is the situation that Moses was invading according to the Biblical timeline. As we can see, Mainstream History has no indication whatsoever of any Israelite presence in the area. No Egyptian accounts, no Assyrian ones. Nothing.

What has been going on for the longest time now, is that people have been blithely assuming the Bible Timeline is correct, and started digging in the Levant for evidence of Moses’ and Joshua’s claims in that era.

Canaan was, even at that time, a really very heavily contested piece of real estate. Egypt was the default hegemon. Egypt was much more powerful than the Hittites, and had the Hittite Empire been closer to Egypt, it wouldn’t have survived for long. It is therefore natural, that it was Egypt that was filling most of the space and associated power vacuum between them. But when Egypt scrambled all its resources, and tried attacking the Hittites outright (at Kadesh) their supply lines had become too long, and the Hittites managed to fight off a major invasion on their own territory.

But besides these two, there was eternal Assyrian influence, commercial, military, political. Not to mention the Amorites, who lived in the land of Canaan during this time. They had their own Kings, but mostly as tributaries to Pharaoh, until they were crushed by Joshua, and only remnants of them survived.

Politically, most of the Mediterranean area was an assembly of City States. These would have their own walled town, a few minor additional settlements, some arable land, and a King.

Empire was basically a local King gaining dominance over a few neighbors. This was the nature of the Mesopotamian Empires, be they the Babylonians, Sumerians, Assyrians. This would last for a few decades, or even centuries. ‘Dark ages’ were periods were there was no dominant King, and the City States continued as the main political entities. The same was true of Greece, both before and after the Bronze Age Collapse, and Canaan too.

The notable exception was Egypt, which was a really remarkably stable and strongly centralized Imperial State for maybe 5000 years. Yes, many dynasties came and went, but the People and the State apparatus remained.

The height of their power was just before the Bronze Age Collapse, around the same era as the above map. The different invasions of the unruly tribes at the end of the Bronze Age weakened them. They could not threaten Israel in Canaan, nor did Israel show any interest in attacking them. As a result, Israel in Canaan was a useful buffer state for the weakened Egyptians, shielding them from Eurasian invasion, which kept them alive for 500 more years.

Then Babylon crushed Israel (around 600 BC) and in turn were themselves crushed by Cyrus and the first Persian Empire. After this, Egypt, no longer able to hide behind Israelite Canaan, came under Persian influence, until Alexander. When he died, and his generals carved up the previously Persian Empire among themselves, the Ptolemies gained Egypt. The Hellenistic era began. Egypt had a last lease of semi independence, until Caesar landed in Alexandria, in pursuit of Pompey.

This was the end of Egypt independence, but not of their wealth, which was based on the unbelievable fertility of the Nile Delta, and associated enormous grain harvests. This windfall in fact secured Roman finances for centuries to come, during their Imperial Age.

The consequences of the wrong timeline
What happened in Canaan is, that countless hamlets, towns, cities, throughout the centuries from 2000 BC right up to 2000 AD, have come and gone. Mostly because of war, invasion, plunder. Around the time of the above map, even quite minor settlements will have had walls. It was a sine qua non for survival.

As a result, there are countless very ancient spots in Canaan, archaeological sites, where they have found several layers of settlement (including walls) and destruction.

So it is really very hard to find conclusive archaeological proof of really anything. Unless people know exactly what they’re looking for, they’ll find so much, it’ll be hard to make much sense of. And this is indeed what happened.

Another feature of this state of affairs is, that Canaan is a great place for people to start digging to find what they are looking for. If you go looking for fallen walls in Jericho, for instance, you’ll find quite a few of those. You’ll even be able to date them in 1500 BC, when Moses was supposed to have lived. Not because Joshua’s attack happened then, but because there had been many previous settlements, and attacks.

It is not unfair to say that it is probably possible to prove any proposition by digging in Canaan.

Conclusion
People looked for evidence of Exodus and the Conquest of Canaan in the 1500’s BC, based on the Biblical timeline. They found both a lot, and nothing. The claims of the researchers could not be really made to stick.

As a result, Mainstream history denies the existence of Moses, and the historical relevance of his account.

But we have clearly established, that the Biblical pre 1000 BC timeline is simply completely not credible. Both the assumption of 40 years for a ‘generation’, and the literary desire to conveniently make everything fit a 4000 year time span, make this so.

We would have no business interfering with this, correct or not, other than the fact that we are proposing a major improvement of the timeline, based on overwhelming, uncontroversial historical and archaeological facts. We therefore have every right to expose the Biblical timeline and its methods, and its unpleasant consequences for historiography and archaeology.

Previously:

Fixing The Biblical Timeline: Moses Died Around 1177 BC
Has The Bible Been Proven Correct As A Major Historical Text?
Encore: Israel Caused The Bronze Age Collapse!
Israel Caused The Bronze Age Collapse: War On The Nephilim

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2 Comments
  1. stealth permalink

    i live in commune de bagnes in switzerland where the local council office proudly proclaims on the wall that it is the birthplace of ice age theory.the trouble is there is no evidence of ice age glaciers-the physical evidence( glaciers leave fucking big scars on the landscape) corresponds to cold spells like the mini ice age around 1800. the ice age has been pushed back to 10000 yrs ago but we see little errosion from the roman period 2000 yrs ago and we are supposed to believe that evidence for the ice age has been erroded away or something..no nul hypothesis= no science.if the ice age cant be disproved it also cant really be proven..i dont know about the hebrew genealogies but the physical evidence fits with cataclysm instead of uniformitarianism.fossils require fast anaerobic burial.twisted rock stata and petrified trees crossing multiple strata that were supposed to be laid down over millions of years suggest that the timeline is really a lot shorter..i dont think it is impossible to know the past but maybe the only reliable things are the physical evidence and also languages.it is pretty difficult to falsify a whole language and connections can be made studying the evolution of language..it is a worry that if the biblical timeline is correct it may mean that when people realise this they also start to believe everything else pushed by religions

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