This article is an abridged version of a a larger article at KingsCalendar, relating to the issue of the 480 years quoted in 1 Kings 6:1, in relation to the Exodus and the Building of Solomon's Temple. The Masorete and Septuagint versions of 1 Kings 6:1 provide different amounts of time [480 or 440 years] to elapse between Israelite entrance into Canaan [or the Exodus Event] and the commencement of the Building of Solomon's Temple.
As I wrote in the article entitled: When was King Solomon's Temple Built:
It is really easy for people to quote the Bible to prove a point that they wish to make, but quite often, the ordinary reader is unaware of the multitude of connected verses that can play havoc with what seems to be a straightforward matter.
1 Kings 6:1
According to the authorised version, 1 Kings 6:1 tells us that Solomon's 4th year is the 480th year since the Israelites came out of the land of Egypt. The Septuagint however tells us that it is the 440 th. Year.
The usual explanation for this contradiction is that the Septuagint records only the years since entry into Canaan while the authorised version includes the Forty (40) years in the wilderness, and thus is a reference to the exodus itself.
The issue of the 440 or 480 years in 1 Kings 6:1 has more significance than at first appears, when considered in tandem with information provided in the Book of Judges. (The Period of the Judges)
The Book of Judges provides an incomplete list of the judgeships in, and periods of oppression against, Israel and yet still manages to record 450 years worth of seemingly consecutive data between the parameters of the 1 King 6:1 Reference.
Whilst there are definite Biblical chronological references for David and Solomon, there are only extra-Biblical records upon which we can rely in determining the time periods for Joshua, Samuel and Saul. These indicate that Joshua was judge for up to 28 years; that Samuel was judge for 30 years; and that Saul reigned up to 22 years. A total of between 60 and 80 years.
This increases the 450 years listed in the Book of Judges to between 510 and 530 years. To these 510 or 530 years must be added the 40 years for David and the first 3 or maybe 4 years of Solomon's reign, to give us a total of between 554 and 574 years to elapse between the Israelite entrance into Canaan and (incl.) the 4th year of Solomon.
1 Kings 6:1 says that either 440 or 480 years elapsed during these 554 -574 years.
Whether one wants to follow the Septuagint or Masorete is irrelevant unless one can first deal with the contradictory nature of 1 Kings 6:1.
Problem Number 1: 440 or 480 years?
The Masorete Version of 1 Kings 6:1 says:
- 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 Ziv, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.Most commentators include the Exodus within the 480 years.
The Septuagint Version of 1 Kings 6:1 says:
- And it came to pass in the four hundred and fortieth year after the departure of the children of Israel out of Egypt, in the fourth year and second month of the reign of King Solomon over Israel, that the king commanded that they should take great and costly stones for the foundation of the house, and hewn stones. And the men of Solomon, and the men of Hiram hewed the stones, and laid them for a foundation. In the fourth year he laid the foundation of the house of the Lord, in the month of Ziv, in the second month. In the eleventh year in the eighth month, the house was completed....
Note in the Septuagint, the redundant reference to the 'fourth year'. Solomon's commandment to build a temple is given in the same listed year as the foundations were laid. Is that not odd?
It is only because the two figures differ by 40 years, that it has been assumed, that the Septuagint is correct recording 440 years from Entrance into Canaan and that the Masoretic version has been altered to include the 40 years of wandering. But this does not take into consideration the discrepancy with the Book of Judges.
The King's Calendar, which is an artificial calendar that bases itself on the 364 day Essene Jubilee calendar, demonstrates that Biblical years consist of 12 months of 4 weeks of 7 days, and consist of 336 days. In essence, For every 12 Jubilee calendar years, there are 13 artificial years.
When the dates provided in the Masorete (Authorised) Version of 1 Kings 6:1 are measured out in artificial years, it is demonstrated that the two versions are talking about the same time period, even if they are not using the same measurement of time.
It actually goes a step further and suggests that that the original (Masoretic) version read that 440 solar years transpired between Entrance into Canaan and Solomon's first year when he commissioned the building of the Temple and that later, when the redactors inserted the artificial chronological details into Israel's history, they changed not only the real solar years into artificial years, but shifted the originally recorded reference from Solomon's 1st year to his 4th year.
Solomon's 4th year when the foundations of the Temple were laid, provided a neater more rounded figure of 480 years, than the artificial 477 years to his First year. It is believed therefore that at some point thereafter, having noticed the discrepancy between the Masorete and the Septuagint versions, someone corrected the Septuagint version, (changing 1st year to 4th year), having made the same assumption that many make today (that the Masorete includes the 40 years of Wandering).
It is the contention of the 'King's Calendar' that there were:
440 Solar years elapsing between 1412 BCE the Israelite entrance into Canaan and the commencement of Solomon's reign - and - 480 artificial years between 1412 BCE and Solomon's Fourth (4th) year.
Problem Number 2: Discrepancy between Book of Judges and 1 Kings 6:1?
The inherent incongruence in the data contained in the Book of Judges, can succinctly be explained as one transcription error and one current day misapplication of the data.
Ehud's judgeship was most probably 18 years not 80 years, (The Period of the Judges) and the Oppression listed in Judges Chapter 13 was obviously concurrent with the reign of Samson (including 20 years either side of his judgeship.)
However it must be pointed out here, that the remaining balance of data in Solar years, is still excessive.
Using the King's Calendar artificial construct however, the overall value of the data is reduced, and the period of the Judges does then compactly fit into 480 artificial years, just as the Masoretic version 1 Kings 6:1 actually states.
I hope you have enjoyed this insight into Bible Chronology Problems.
What is the King's Calendar?
The Premise: Between the 5th and 3rd centuries BCE (but continuing down to at least 104 BCE), Sectarian redactors transcribed the legitimate 'solar year' chronological records of Israel and Judah, into an artificial form, with listed years as each comprised of 12 months of 4 weeks of 7 days, or 336 days per year, thus creating a 13th artificial year where 12 solar years existed.
When the Synchronous Chronological Data provided in the Books of Kings and Chronicles for the Divided Kingdom Period are measured in years of 336 days, the synchronisms actually align. [Refer to Appendix 5 Chart to see how it synchronises the Divided Kingdom Period]
The Principle of Linear Causality
The King's Calendar is a very simple approach to Biblical Chronology. It substitutes a value of 336 days for every year listed in Scripture. As far as the Divided Kingdom is concerned, when you use this 336 day year value, the synchronisms actually work. To see how effective this method is, look at Appendix 5 Chart at the Reconstruction of Israelite History from 936 to 586 BCE
Because it is a mathematical system, the King's Calendar must abide by certain mathematical rules, the most important of which, is that if you change any date for any day, month, or year every other day, month, or year is effected and must also change. It's like a 'domino effect'. Chronological references cannot be 'forced' to fit, and nor can they simply be ignored or 'compressed' as is the usual case with historians and archaeologists.
If any King's Calendar chronological determination disagrees with anything in the history books, it must argue the case as to why the history books are wrong, or why the evidence for an assertion is untrustworthy. If the King's Calendar successfully defends its' position, then the history books cannot be treated as definitive, and if the King's Calendar is 'proven' wrong, then every other chronological reference it provides is also wrong.
Because of this, the King's Calendar Chronological Reconstruction of Israel's history is unique, in that its' methodology can be scientifically (mathematically) tested and demonstrated to be either true or false. Its' chronological predictions are able to be 'proved' or 'disproved'.
Exodus Unabridged (12,000 words)
Masorete and Septuagint Differences
Patriarchs of Israel
Septuagint, Masorete and the Exodus
Seder Olam Rabbah: Samuel, Saul and David
Precis Page: KingsCalendar
R.P.BenDedek is the Author of 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran' and a guest columnist at Magic City Morning Star News.
"The King's Calendar" [ on sale - while the economic recession is on], is a chronological study of the historical books of the Bible (Kings and Chronicles), Josephus, Seder Olam Rabbah, and the (Essene) Damascus Document of The Dead Sea Scrolls. See Chapter Precis page.
Academic Articles at Magic City