When was King Solomon's Temple built?
Given our great scientific and technological expertise to go with all the archaeological evidence at our disposal, you would think that this would be an easy question to answer. Wouldn't You? After all, every time you have read a book or done an internet search on the subject, the answer has been made plain for you to read.
But in fact, even the year of the Destruction of Solomon's Temple is not yet positively known. Some even suggest that what the Bible says about Kings David and Solomon is False. Despite such politically motivated claims however, Solomon's Temple did exist.
"First Temple Remains Found" By Etgar Lefkovits
Archaeologists overseeing contested Islamic infrastructure work on Jerusalem's Temple Mount have stumbled on a sealed archaeological level dating back to the First Temple period.
The Israel Antiquities Authority announced that the find marks the first time archaeological remains dating back to the First Temple period have been found on the contested holy site. No archaeological excavations have ever beencarried out on the Mount due to opposition from religious leaders.
The sealed level, dated from the eighth to the sixth centuries BCE, was exposed at the end of August in the area close to the southeastern corner of the raised platform surrounding the Dome of the Rock.
When you read history books you will see two differing dates for the Destruction of the Solomon's Temple (587 BCE and 586 BCE) and numerous 'opinions' as to when it was built. There are two basic reasons for the lack of precision in determining the correct dates. The first is that the non-Judaic world was not specifically interested in recording such information, and what recording does exist, does not use our modern day calendars. The second reason for the difficulty, is that the Jewish chronological records are problematical.
The Biblical records for the period from the end of Solomon's reign to the fall of Samaria in 722 BCE (the period of the Divided Kingdom of Israel) are 'on the face of it', contradictory. For Example:
1. When you add up all the years from Rehoboam to 722 BCE as recorded for Judah, the total number of years is 260 years.
2. The figure for the northern kingdom of Israel / Samaria is only 241 years.
If you add these years (241 / 244 /260) to the date for the fall of Samaria, ie, 722 BCE, you end up with 963, 966, and 982 BCE.
But then you have to add in the years of Solomon's reign. Since Solomon commenced building the temple in his 4th year, we must add 36 years to the figures above to arrive at 999 BCE, 1002 BCE, and 1018 BCE.
These years would not seem too outrageous, except for two other important considerations.
Important Point No.1.
When you count out the Listed Biblical years (429 years) from the Destruction of Solomon's Temple in 586 or 587 BCE to Solomon's 4th year, the date arrived at is 1015 or 1016 BC
- There are now 5 dates to choose from
- 999 / 1002 / 1015 / 1016 / 1018
Important Point No.2.
1 Kings 6:1 says that 480 years elapsed between either The Exodus Event or the Entrance of the Israelites into Canaan (See 1 Kings 6:1 The 480 Years)
This then provides 5 dates for the Exodus and 5 for Joshua leading the people into Canaan. These are expressed below as;
"Exodus - 40 to Canaan"
- meaning that if the first date applies to the Exodus, then Entry into Canaan was 40 years later
- or -
"Canaan + 40 to Exodus"
- meaning that if the first date applies to Entry into Canaan, then the Exodus was 40 years earlier.
The 10 Dates:
1479 Exodus - 40 to Canaan = 1439 or Canaan. + 40 to Exodus =1519
1482 Exodus - 40 to Canaan = 1442 or Canaan. + 40 to Exodus =1522
1495 Exodus - 40 to Canaan = 1455 or Canaan. + 40 to Exodus =1535
1496 Exodus - 40 to Canaan = 1456 or Canaan. + 40 to Exodus =1536
1498 Exodus - 40 to Canaan = 1458 or Canaan. + 40 to Exodus =1538
All of these dates are considered too early for either event.
But Note that a new problem now arises.
The Bible says that the period of the Judges from the Time the people entered Canaan until the commencement of the reign of King Saul, was 450 years PLUS the unspecified years for Joshua and Samuel.
If we reduce all of the above mentioned years by just the 450 years listed (without accounting for Joshua or Samuel) we arrive at the following figures for the Commencement of Saul's reign.
- 989 BCE
Even though we have not added any amount for Joshua and Samuel, these figures become untenable, except perhaps for the highest three, 1085-1088 BCE. But these were based on an impossible Exodus date of 1538 BCE. (Worth Noting: Josephus and the Hyksos)
Confused? Well now you know how complex all the issues are. If one is going to state a date for any event in the history of Israel, then they can't provide that date in 'isolation'. This is to say that if someone uses the Bible to demonstrate that their date is correct for something, you have to check to see if that date is supported by the surrounding Bible Chronology.
One academic on one site produced Scripture to support his dates for King Josiah and King Solomon, but when the Biblical chronology was applied to the intervening time period, it became obvious that one of those dates had to be wrong. The intervening time did not match what the Bible said.
That academics fail to synchronise 'all' Biblical Chronological references is what happens when they fail to look 'outside of their little boxes'. Just about every academic alters the Biblical data wherever and whenever they choose. The King's Calendar however is bound by the mathematical principle of 'linear causality' - Alter one thing and everything must be changed.
Let's now do a very simply exercise in Deductive Reasoning.
What is the Bible?
Premise 1. The Bible is a written account of a nation and its History, by the inspiration and guidance of G-d.
Premise 2. The bible is a non-G-d inspired history of a nation and its people, written and compiled by qualified authors, commentators and redactors.
If Premise 1. is correct, and the Bible is inspired by G-d, we ought to be able to conclude that non-alignment between the Biblical Chronological information and History results from:
- a) Our Failure to correctly apply that information
- b) Our Current Knowledge of History is Erroneous
If Premise 2. is correct, and the Bible is written by qualified commentators, then we ought to be able to conclude that the chronological information contained within it ought to be as trustworthy as any other ancient record, and its failure to synchronise results from:
- a) Our failure to correctly apply that information
- b) Our current knowledge of History is Erroneous.
Both premises similarly conclude, that if we do not wish to dispense with the academic understanding of history, then failure to synchronise the chronological information results from our failure to apply it correctly.
Historical Question: "What is the Bible?"
What we 'today' call the Bible, did not even begin to come into existence until the 2nd century after Christ. For both Jews and Christians, the process of deciding what went in and what stayed out was long and arduous.
The Old Testament books of the Bible were compiled between the Time of Moses and the beginning of the 5th Century BCE. Their collation from being Ancient Records into a comprehensive work of Jewish Writings, began between the 5th and 3rd Centuries BCE. at which time the first portions of the Septuagint were constructed. This is to say that the Jewish holy writings were translated into Greek. No one knows exactly how long this process took, although it is believed that at least the first 5 books of the Bible were completed by the middle of the 3rd Century (c.250 BCE) Chronological Differences between the LXX and MSS
It is known that in Babylon, a highly righteous remnant of Jews called the Hasidim were in control, and there is every suggestion that they were well versed in Cyphers and Codes. (See: Chapter 1)
The fundamental premise of the King's Calendar, is that the chronological history of the Jews was transcribed from what we can loosely call 'True Solar Year History', into an artificial construct in which Jewish history was divided into years comprised of 12 months, each of 4 weeks, with each having 7 days - a total of 336 days per year.
When we work from this mathematical foundation, the following is what results in the search for the Commencement of the building of Solomon's Temple. Remember all those dates at the beginning of this article? Let's take another look shall we?
The Biblical Records for the Southern Kingdom of Judah record 393 years transpiring between the Destruction of Solomon's Temple and the commencement of the Divided Kingdom Period.
The Synchronisms that result when using the artificial construct indicate that only 380 years exist, the balance disappearing because we failed to understand what the synchronisms were indicating.
However, when these years are converted into real solar years, the total is only 350 years. Therefore, the Divided kingdom of Israel commenced in 936 BCE.
When you add the 36 artificial years back to the commencement of Solomon's Temple, the real date arrived at is 970 BCE.
When you add the 480 years back to Joshua's Entrance into Canaan, the real date is 1412 BCE, and when you calculate back to the Exodus Event, the real date is 1449 BCE. (These dates coincide with those provided by Academics who believe in an 18th Egyptian Dynasty Exodus.)
As for the question regarding the time frame of the Period of the Judges, that is made a little complex by the lack of information about Joshua and Samuel, and the corrupt passage in 1 Samuel 13:1 which literally reads:
- "Saul was a year old when he began to reign; and he reigned two years over Israel". (Miller & Hayes, 1986, p.129)
- Yes! - the Bible has problems!
But figuring it all out is made easier when you 'think outside the box' (See: The Period of the Judges)
The King's Calendar determined that
- Entrance into Canaan took place in 1412 BCE
- Saul's reign commenced in 1038 BCE.
- Jephthah judged Israel between 1152-1147 BCE (Dated by City of Heshbon)
- Judges 3:30 contained a transmission error, relating to Ehud (18 not 80 years)
- Judges 13:1 reflects oppression concurrent with the Judgeships of Samson and Eli, not independently of those judgeships.
The Key to Understanding the Chronology of the Bible
2 Chronicles 36:21 indicates that the Babylonian Exile was necessitated by the failure to observe the land's 'Sabbath Year' rests. This is apparently a reference to Leviticus 25:1-7, which requires that no crops be planted in every 7th year.
When one calculates 490 years backward in history using the artificial construct, and begins to follow Biblical Data down to the Destruction of Solomon's Temple, one finds that the Bible Synchronisms for the Divided Kingdom of Israel are totally accurate. (Divided Kingdom Chart)
So - The Questions and the Answers.
- When was Solomon's Temple commenced? - 970 BCE
- When was Solomon's Temple completed? - 964 BCE
- When was Solomon's Temple destroyed? - 586 BCE
List of KingsCalendar Academic Articles at Magic City
- Miller,J.M., Hayes,J.M. (1986) A History of Ancient Israel and Judah. USA. Westminster Press.
Assyrian, Babylonian and Israelite History 8th Century by R.P. BenDedek
The 'King's Calendar' reconstruction of Biblical chronology for this time period, has as it's firm foundation, the established 'academic' fact that King Hezekiah of Judah had his 14th regnal year in 701 BCE. Working back through history, the 'King's Calendar' finds little fault with the Biblical chronological references, however, it becomes obvious that some of the king's have been misidentified. Part of academic confusion over this particular period of Israelite history, results directly from reliance upon the biblical narratives which clearly state that it was King Ahaz of Judah who appealed to Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria for assistance, during the Syro-Ephraimitic War against Rezin of Damascus, and Pekah of Israel.
R.P.BenDedek (pseudonym) is the Author of 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran' (http://www.kingscalendar.com ), and is a guest columnist and stand-in Editor at Magic City Morning Star News. He is also the Editor of the 'Writers Journal' at Kingscalendar.com. An Australian, he has been teaching Conversational English in China since 2003.
Writers Journal Kingscalendar
"The King's Calendar" 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.