Most of the original Greek text of the Chronicle has been lost. This translation is based on a Latin translation of the Armenian translation of the Greek original, in the Schoene-Petermann edition. The references in red are the page numbers from that edition.
Go to previous pages
[p71] THE HEBREWS
How the Hebrews have recorded their chronology
We will set down here the chronology of the Hebrews, taken from the writings of Moses and later Hebrew writers; from the Jewish Antiquities of Flavius Josephus; and from the chronicle of Africanus.
How the Hebrews describe the [most ancient] times
The dates and kings of the Chaldaeans and Assyrians, and of the Medes and Persians, have been described in the previous section. And it is clearly shown that the ancestors of the Hebrew race were Chaldaeans, because Abraham was a Chaldaean and his forefathers are said to have lived in the land of the Chaldaeans, as Moses says in these words [Genesis, 11'31 ]: "Terah took his son Abraham, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarah, the wife of his son Abraham, and he led them out of the land of the Chaldaeans."
Therefore it is fitting, after our account of the Chaldaeans, next to relate the history of the ancient Hebrews. The description of the flood, which is recorded by the Hebrews, is very different from the stories of the Greeks, which they tell about the flood at the time of Deucalion. [The Hebrew flood] happened a long time before Ogyges and the equally large flood, which is said by the Greeks to have happened in the time of Ogyges. In all, the flood which is described by the Hebrews happened 1,200 years before the time of Ogyges, which in its turn happened 250 years before Deucalion's flood.
But three is considerable agreement between the Hebrew scriptures and the accounts of the Assyrians, and the story which is told by them about the flood. They relate that before the flood, there were [p73] ten successive generations.
After the flood, the human race throughout the whole world was derived from three men. Japheth was the ancestor of the inhabitants of Europe, from Mount Amanus to the western ocean. Ham was [the ancestor of the inhabitants] of Egypt, Libya and all the regions to the west in that direction. And Shem, who was the eldest brother, [was the ancestor] of the Assyrians, and all the peoples of the east.
The Hebrew scriptures state that Nimrod was the first man to build the city of Babylon. These are the words of the scriptures [Genesis, 10'8-11 ]: "Cush was the father of Nimrod" (Cush was an Ethiopian, who they believe was the father of Nimrod). Then Scripture says about Nimrod: "He grew to be a mighty [warrior] on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord, that is why it is said, 'Like Nimrod, a mighty [hunter] before the Lord.' The first centres of his kingdom were Babylon, Erech, Akkad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went to [Assyria], where he built Nineveh." Nineveh is the city which is called Ninus [by the Greeks]; it was the first royal city of the Assyrians, which was founded by Asshur. Asshur was one of the sons of Shem, who, as we said, took possession of all the regions of the east.
They say that the sons of Shem were Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Aram and Lud. Elam was the ancestor of the Elymaeans, the most ancient tribe of the Persians, who founded the city of Elymais. Asshur was the ancestor of the Assyrians; he founded the city of Nineveh, which was later restored by Ninus the king of the Assyrians, who renamed it Ninus after his own name. Arphaxad was the ancestor of the Arphaxaeans, who were also called Chaldaeans. Aram was the ancestor of the Aramaeans, who were also called Syrians. Lud was the ancestor of the Lydians. Arphaxad was the father of Shelah, and Shelah was the father of Eber, from whom the name and nation of the Hebrews was derived. The sixth in succession from Eber was Abraham, the patriarch of the Jewish nation, in the tenth generation after the flood. That is sufficient to show in brief the close relationship between the Hebrews and the Chaldaeans and Assyrians. [p75] Therefore it is fitting after [the Assyrians] to start on the chronology of the Hebrews.
At the very start of their account of history, [the Hebrews] tell the ancient story of the fall of the human race from their blissful state, and the first patriarch Adam, who was the forefather of the whole human race (Adam in the Hebrew language means all men in general). The rest of the life [of Adam] after he was cast out of paradise is described by the Holy Spirit, through Moses. And then [Genesis, 5'1-32 ] he lists the names of Adam's descendants and successors, and the length of each of their lives, so that from this point onwards we can calculate the chronology of the Hebrews, and write it down in order.
No-one could calculate the length of their stay in the so-called paradise of God. The admirable Moses, inspired by the Holy Spirit, seems to be suggesting another kind of era, greater than our own, a thrice-blessed and god-loving way of life, which he calls paradise - the dwelling place of the first race of men. When Moses describes the blissful life of Adam in paradise, he is referring to the whole race [of men].
But this present chronicle will not include an account of that stay [in paradise], nor [will it start] from the creation of heaven, the earth and the universe, as some have done, but [it will start] from the establishment of our human race, and our era, beginning with the forefather of our race, called Adam, who was the one who fell from paradise and was case out from the blissful life. Taking the information from the scriptures of the Hebrews, as the book of Moses relates, I will set down the number of the years of the doomed and mortal life [of Adam], [p77] and what follows; which is where the historical accounts of the Hebrews begin. At this point, the book of Moses says [Genesis, 3'23 ]: "The Lord banished him" (that is, the first man) "from paradise to work the ground from which he had been taken. And he drove Adam out, and made him dwell outside the region of paradise." Then it adds [Genesis, 4'1 ]: "Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain." Our present chronicle will start from this point; but it will not include the first part of history, which cannot be calculated and must be left separate from the subsequent times.
There is much disagreement amongst the Hebrews about the dates which they have recorded. Therefore it is best to look at the different accounts which they have given, and by comparing and considering them all, to decide where the truth lies. The five books of Moses tell the story of the creation of the world, and of life before the flood, and the history of the most ancient men after the flood, and the successive generations after the flood, and Moses' departure from this life. But the books of the law are written down differently by the Jews, and by the Samaritans, who were foreigners who came to live among the Jews.
The characters, which are used by the Jews to represent the Hebrew letters, are different from those used by the Samaritans; and even the descendants of the Jews agree that the Samaritans use the original and true forms of the characters. The two races had no disagreement [about the texts] until the characters were changed. But now there is a great difference between them on matters of chronology, which will become immediately obvious when we compare them in the discussion which follows.
The Greek translation also differs significantly from the Jewish version in some respects, but it does not differ much from the Hebrew version of the Samaritans. There are some differences in the period up to the flood; but from then onwards until the time of Abraham, the two versions are in agreement.
The text which we use was translated by seventy Hebrew men, out of their native language into Greek. [p79] They produced the translation in complete harmony during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, and placed it in the library at Alexandria.
Now we will down write each version of Scripture in turn, so that it will be easy to spot the differences between them. First of all, we will see how the Septuagint [the translation of the seventy men] records the chronology of the period from Adam until the birth of Abraham.
In total, 2,242 years, according to the Septuagint version.
The Hebrew version, of the Jews
In total, 1,656 years.
This version differs from the Septuagint by a total of 586 years. This is the difference from the Septuagint in the number of years for which each of them lived before their sons were born; apart from Jared, Methuselah and Lamech, who are given the same number of years in both versions. From the agreement with respect to these three, we can deduce that the version which we use is more reliable, because the longer length of years which is assigned to Jared and his descendants in the Hebrew version makes it clear that the years of their predecessors should also be the same as in the Septuagint version. If the later and more recent generations are found, with the addition of the hundred years, to be assigned the same number of years in both the Hebrew and the Septuagint versions, how much likely is it that the previous generations, their forefathers, lived to be older than their descendants? For in the summary of each man's life, the number of years before his son was born, and the number of year that he lived afterwards, added together gives the same total of years in the Hebrew version and the Septuagint translation. It is only the numbers of years before their sons were born which are shorter in the account preserved in the Jewish copies. Therefore we suspect that this was something which the Jews did: that they ventured to compress and shorten the time before these sons were born, in order to encourage early marriages. For if these most ancient of men, who lived such long lives, came quite soon to marriage and fatherhood, as their account declares, who would not want to imitate them and marry early?
The Hebrew version, of the Samaritans
In total, 1,307 years.
[The Samaritan version] differs from the Jewish version by 349 years; and it differs from the Septuagint translation by 935 years. That is the end of our discussion of the period before the flood.
Let us now proceed to the times after the flood. First, let us note that the books of the Chaldaeans contain a very similar account to what is told by the Hebrews about the flood and about the ark which was built by Noah. But because I have already written down the account which was recorded by the Chaldaeans in the appropriate place, I think it is pointless to repeat the same words here.
[p87] Some proof that the flood rose above the highest mountains was given a long time afterwards to us, as we wrote this [chronicle]. We observed that, in our own times, fish had been found on top of the highest peaks of the Libanus mountains. Some men, who had gone there to cut out stones from the mountains for building, found various kinds of sea-fish, compacted into the mud in the hollows of the mountains. The fish had survived until the present time, as if they had been artificially preserved, and the sight of them provided evidence to us that the ancient story was true. Let our readers believe this as they wish - but we will now proceed to the following period of time.
After the flood, according to the Septuagint translation
From the flood up until the first year of Abraham, there are 942 years. From Adam up until the flood, 2,242 years. In total, 3,184 years.
After the flood, according to the Hebrew version of the Jews
From the flood up until the first year of Abraham, there are 292 years. In total, 1,948 years from Adam. This differs from the Septuagint translation by 1,235 years.
After the flood, according to the Hebrew version of the Samaritans
From the flood up until the first year of Abraham, there are 942 years. This is the same total as in the Septuagint translation.
Therefore, the Hebrew version of the Samaritans agrees with our version in the number of years which it assigns to each of these men, before his son was born; but it differs from the Hebrew version of the Jews by 650 years. For according to the Jewish version, there were 292 years from the flood up until the first year of Abraham.
It is clear from the oldest version of the Hebrew scriptures, which is preserved by the Samaritans, and which is in agreement with the Septuagint translation, that these men, from the flood down to Abraham, did not have sons until they were over a hundred years old. So who could suppose that their ancestors, who lived for much longer, had fathered children more quickly, rather than after the length of time which is recorded in the Septuagint [translation]? That is what any rational study would suggest; and so we must agree that [the numbers of years in] the Jewish version are incorrect for the whole period from Adam until Abraham, except for the three generations starting with Jared; and the Samaritan version is also incorrect, but only in the period from Adam until the flood, because in the period from the flood until Abraham, it records the same numbers of years as the Septuagint translation.
Indeed, it is absolutely clear that [the dates in] the Hebrew version of the Jews are incorrect. It even suggests that Noah and Abraham were alive at the same time - which is something that is not mentioned in any history. For if, according to the Jewish scriptures, there were 292 years from the flood until Abraham, and Noah lived for another 350 years after the flood, it is obvious that Noah was alive until the 58th year of Abraham. And it is possible to show that the Jewish version is untrustworthy in another way: because it says that the generations before Abraham were about 30 years old when their sons were born, but the generations after Abraham are said to have been much older when they fathered their children.
[p95] Therefore, because it has been definitely established that the Septuagint version was translated from the original, unadulterated Hebrew scriptures, it is reasonable for us to use that version for this chronicle - especially since it is the only version that is approved by the church of Christ, which has spread throughout the whole world, and it is the version that was handed down to us from the beginning by the apostles and disciples of Christ.
According to the Septuagint [version], from Adam until the flood, there are 2,242 years. From the flood until the first year of Abraham, 942 years. In total, 3,184 years.
According to the Hebrew [version] of the Jews, from Adam until the flood, there are 1,656 years. From the flood until the first year of Abraham, 292 years. In total, 1,948 years.
According to the Hebrew [version] of the Samaritans, from Adam until the flood, there are 1,307 years. From the flood until the first year of Abraham, 942 years. In total, 2,249 years.
All the versions agree that from Abraham up until Moses and the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, there are 505 years, which are calculated in the following way. In the 75th year of Abraham, God appeared to him and said that he would give the promised land to his offspring. It is written [ Genesis, 12'4-7 ]: "Abraham was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. He took his wife Sarah, and his nephew Lot." And a little later, Scripture adds: "The Lord appeared to Abraham, and said, 'To your offspring I give this land.' " So from the first year of Abraham [until this promise made by God], there are 75 years; and from the 75th year of Abraham until the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, there are 430 years. The Apostle Paul bears witness to this, when he says [ Galatians, 3'17-18 ]: "The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise." And shortly afterwards, he adds: "God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise." Abraham's son Isaac was born in Abraham's 100th year, 25 years after the promise which God made to him. From then until the exodus from Egypt there are 405 years, so that the total time from the promise until [the exodus] is 430 years.
[p97] But God, who had appeared to Abraham, appeared to him again and said [ Genesis, 15'13 ]: "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and ill-treated for four hundred years." The word "descendants" is used deliberately; and to show that we should not allocate the [whole] time to Isaac, the period of 430 years is mentioned at the time of the exodus of the children of Israel from the land of the Egyptians. Scripture says [ Exodus, 12'40-41 ]: "Now the length of time which they and their forefathers lived in Egypt and the land of Canaan, was 430 years. At the end of the 430 years, all the Lord's divisions left Egypt by night." Because the length of time, from when the promise was made by God (in the 75th year of Abraham), is 430 years, it is clear that from the first year of Abraham until Moses and the exodus from Egypt, there are 505 years.
Some writers calculate the years in detail, as follows:
In total, from Adam until the exodus from Egypt, according to the Septuagint version, there are 3,689 years; according to the Jews, 2,453 years; according to the Samaritans, 2,753 years.
The period from the death of Moses until Solomon and the building of the temple is described in one way by the book of Judges, with which the holy Apostle agrees in the Acts of the Apostles; but in a different way by the book of Kings and the Hebrew tradition. It will be best to report both accounts, and then to choose the one which is more truthful.
Firstly, it must be mentioned that Africanus, who compiled a Chronography in five books, seems to me to have been greatly mistaken in these matters. [p99] By his reckoning, there were 741 years from the exodus of Moses until Solomon and the building of the temple at Jerusalem, but he provides no evidence for most of this. He is wrong, not only because what he says is contrary to the account of the Holy Scriptures, but also because he audaciously adds a total of 100 years on his own authority. He assigns an additional 30 years to the elders after Joshua; and then after Samson, he places 40 years of anarchy, and another 30 years of peace. By inserting these additional years without any proof, he carelessly produces an inflated total of over 740 years in his calculation of the time between Moses and king Solomon.
By observing how many generations had elapsed, we can see that his account is improbable. There were 14 generations from Abraham until David, and the ninth generation had already come to an end at the time of Moses, when Nahshon the son of Aminadab was leader of the tribe of Judah. Nahshon died in the desert after leaving Egypt, and he was present when the people were first numbered. It is clear that there were five generations after Nahshon until David: David was the son of Jesse, who was the son of Obed, who was the son of Boaz, who was the son of Salmon, who was the son of Nahshon. So how can it be claimed that these five generations after Moses lasted for a total of more than 700 years? If the years are evenly distributed between the men in each generation, we will find that each of them lived for over 140 years before his son was born; and no-one in their senses would consider that possible. Moses himself died at the age of 120 years, and his successor Joshua died at the age of 110 years. Before their time, Joseph lived in all for 110 years, and earlier still Jacob, who was also called Israel, the patriarch of all the Jews, lived for 147 years.
[p101] So how can it be supposed that in later times, after Moses, anyone could have lived for as long as we have said? Africanus is clearly wrong in this matter. However, Clemens reckoned that there were 674 years from Joshua the successor of Moses until the building of the temple, as can be found in the first book of his Miscellany [ Stromata, 1'21 ]. The holy Apostle Paul, in his speech to the Jews in the Acts of the Apostles, says as follows [ 13'19-22 ]: "Joshua destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, and he divided the land [amongst the Jews] for 450 years, and after that he gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for 40 years. After that, God removed Saul and gave them David in his place."
That is what the Apostle says. According to him, there were 534 years after Joshua. As well as the 450 years, which he assigns to the judges until Samuel, there must be added 40 years for Saul, another 40 years for David, and the four years of Solomon's reign before the building of the temple, which makes a total of 534 years from Joshua the successor of Moses until Solomon. If you add the 40 years of Moses in the wilderness, and the 27 years of Joshua the son of Nun, then the total for the whole period will be 600 years, according to the Apostle. The book of Judges is in agreement with his account, and assigns 450 years to the judges until Samuel, which are divided up as follows:
According to the book of Judges
The total is consistent with the words of the holy Apostle, but it does not include the years of Moses, or of Joshua the successor of Moses, or of Samuel, or of Saul. The number of years for Samuel and Saul, and also for Joshua, may be uncertain; but as the Apostle suggests, the 40 years of Saul should be added to the 450 years of the judges, and if the 40 years of David and the 4 years of Solomon are joined to this, they make a total of 534 years, the same as in the account of the Apostle. If we also add the 40 years of Moses in the wilderness, and the 27 years of Joshua the son of Nun, according to the tradition of the Hebrews, the total for the whole period is 600 years.
If this total is compared with the five generations between Nahshon and David, which were mentioned previously, and the years are divided equally between the generations, it follows that the men in each generation lived for more than 115 years before their sons were born. It is scarcely credible that, when Moses lived in all for 120 years, his descendants should reach almost the same age, before their sons were born. Therefore there is nothing left but to move on at this point to the account in the book of Kings.
The book of Kings clearly states that, from the exodus of the children of Israel until Solomon and the building of the temple, there was a total of 440 years; according to the Hebrew version, it was 480 years. [p105] The third book of Kings says as follows [ 1 Kings, 6'1 ]: "It happened in the 440th year after the exodus out of Egypt, that Solomon began to build the house of the Lord." In the Hebrew version, it says "It happened in the 480th year" because the Jewish teachers, by a careful calculation, decided that the total came to 480 years. They did not count separately the years in which the foreigners are said to have ruled over the people [of Israel], but counted just the time that the judges ruled them, and included within this the periods of foreign domination. And this must be how it is done, because it is the only way that the total can be made to be 480 years. I believe that when the holy Apostle stated the number of years, which was mentioned before, he was not speaking in the manner of a chronographer, or of someone who was making an exact calculation. It would have been superfluous to introduce a discussion of chronology into his declaration of the message of salvation, and so he followed the common interpretation of the book of Judges.
The book of Kings expressly states that there were 440 (or 480) years from the exodus until Solomon. But if we look at the dates of each of the judges, and also count separately the times of foreign rule which are mentioned in the book of Judges, there is a total of 600 years between Moses and Solomon. This total of 600 years is divided up as follows:
However, if we follow the account in the book of Kings, we will have a total of 480 years, because the 120 years, during which the Hebrews were ruled by foreigners, have been removed. [p107] Instead, the years of their enslavement will have been combined with the years of their freedom in a single total, which is how the Hebrews themselves count it. That is how we will calculate the dates here, by assuming that the times of foreign rule are included in the number of years assigned to each of the judges. We have been particularly persuaded to use this method of calculation, by considering how long is allowed for the five generations from Nahshon to David. If we subtract the 40 years of Moses in the wilderness and the four years of Solomon from the total of 480 years, there are 436 years left, up until the death of David. If these years are divided equally between the five generations, there are 87 years for each generation. If anyone investigates this, he will find that it is a plausible account, starting from the birth of David. David was the eighth son of Jesse, and was born after his seven elder brothers when his father was an old man; and so we can reckon that something similar may have happened to his ancestors.
Therefore we will follow here the account in the book of Kings, that there were 480 years from the exodus out of Egypt until Solomon and the building of the temple. We will include the periods of foreign rule in the number of years assigned to each of the judges who ruled in succession.
The book of Judges supports this decision in another way, by the words of Jephthah, who was one of the judges of the people. When the Ammonites, who lived on the other side of the river Jordan, made war on Jephthah, he sent an embassy to the enemy, with this message [ Judges, 11'25-26 ]: "Are you better than Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever quarrel with Israel, or fight with them? For three hundred years Israel occupied Heshbon, Aroer, the surrounding settlements and all the towns along the Jordan. Why did he not retake them during that time?" His message tells them that Moses and Balaam the son of Beor lived 300 years before their own time. [p109] The only way to produce this total of 300 years is to reckon that the periods when foreigners ruled [the people of Israel] are included in the number of years assigned to the judges who ruled them. If anyone counts the periods of the people's enslavement, when they were ruled by foreigners, separately [from the judges], he will produce a total which far exceeds the 300 years. But if he counts only the years which are assigned to the judges who ruled the people, he will find that there are 300 years from Moses until Jephthah, as Jepththah's message stated.
Therefore, the chronology which we use for this period will be as follows:
From Moses to Solomon
About Joshua, the book which bears his name tells us nothing more than that [p111] he died at the age of 110 years. But the Hebrews say that he was leader for 27 years; and so he was 43 years old when Moses went out of Egypt.
About Samuel, because Scripture does not explicitly assign a number of years to him, I think that the length of Saul's reign which is mentioned by the holy Apostle should belong jointly to Saul and to Samuel. It is clear that Samuel was leader of the people for many years; but Scripture states that Saul reigned for just two years. In the first book of Kings, it says [ 1 Samuel, 13'1 ]: "Saul was the son of a year in his reigning; and he ruled over Israel for two years". Symmachus makes this clearer in his translation: "Saul was like a year-old child in his reigning", meaning that Saul was pure and faultless at the beginning of his reign. He kept that nature for two years, but when he turned to evil ways, he was rejected by God and suffered divine punishment. Therefore the remaining years have been assigned to Samuel, and 40 years is the joint total for Saul and Samuel. It is clear that Saul [or Samuel] ruled for this length of time, not only from the evidence of the Apostle, but also from a careful investigation of Scripture, which says [ 2 Samuel, 2'10 ] that after the death of Saul, "Ish-Bostheth son of Saul was 40 years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned two years. The house of Judah, however, followed David." Ish-Bostheth must have been born after Saul became king, because Scripture [ 1 Samuel, 14'49 ], when talking of the beginning of Saul's reign, mentions three sons of Saul, but not this one. Therefore we think that Ish-Bosheth was born later, and the length of Saul's reign was about the same as the age of his son after his death.
In summary, the third book of Kings [ 1 Kings, 6'1 ] says that there were 480 years from the exodus out of Egypt until Solomon and the building of the temple; there were 505 years from Abraham until Moses and the exodus; [p113] there were 942 years from the flood until the first year of Abraham; and there were 2,242 years from Adam until the flood. Altogether there were 4,170 years from Adam until Solomon and the building of the temple.
The historian Josephus, in the first book of his Jewish Antiquities, produced some Phoenicians as witnesses to the date of Solomon and to his building of the temple, and the evidence of the men whom he mentions seems useful to me. In that book, he writes as follows [ Against Apion, 1'106 ]:
The evidence of the Phoenicians about the temple at Jerusalem, from Josephus
I will now, therefore, pass from these records, and come to those that belong to the Phoenicians, and concern our nation, and shall produce proof of what I have said out of them. There are then records among the Tyrians that take in the history of many years, and these are public writings, and are kept with great exactness, and include accounts of the facts done among them, and such as concern their transactions with other nations also, those I mean which were worth remembering. Therein it was recorded that the temple was built by king Solomon at Jerusalem, one hundred forty-three years and eight months before the Tyrians built Carthage.
In their annals the building of our temple is related; for Hirom, the king of Tyre, was the friend of Solomon our king, and had such friendship transmitted down to him from his forefathers. He thereupon was ambitious to contribute to the splendour of this edifice of Solomon, and made him a present of one hundred and twenty talent talents of gold. [p115] He also cut down the most excellent timber out of that mountain which is called Libanus, and sent it to him for adorning its roof. Solomon also not only made him many other presents, by way of requital, but gave him a country in Galilee also, that was called Chabulon. But there was another passion, a philosophic inclination of theirs, which cemented the friendship that was between them; for they sent mutual problems to one another, with a desire to have them resolved by each other; wherein Solomon was superior to Hirom, as he was wiser than he in other respects: and many of the letters that passed between them are still preserved among the Tyrians. Now, that this may not depend on my bare word, I will produce for a witness Dius, one that is believed to have written the Phoenician History after an accurate manner. This Dius, therefore, writes thus, in his Histories of the Phoenicians:
"Upon the death of Abibalus, his son Hirom took the kingdom. This king raised banks at the eastern parts of the city, and enlarged it; he also joined the temple of Olympian Zeus, which stood before in an island by itself, to the city, by raising a causeway between them, and adorned that temple with donations of gold. He moreover went up to Libanus, and had timber cut down for the building of temples. They say further, that Solomon, when he was king of Jerusalem, sent problems to Hirom to be solved, and desired he would send others back for him to solve, and that he who could not solve the problems proposed to him should pay money to him that solved them. And when Hirom had agreed to the proposals, but was not able to solve the problems, he was obliged to pay a great deal of money, as a penalty for the same. As also they relate, that one Abdemon, a man of Tyre, did solve the problems, and propose others which Solomon could not solve, upon which he was obliged to repay a great deal of money to Hirom."
These things are attested to by Dius, and confirm what we have said upon the same subjects before. [p117] And now I shall add Menander the Ephesian, as an additional witness. This Menander wrote the Acts that were done both by the Greeks and Barbarians, under every one of the Tyrian kings, and had taken much pains to learn their history out of their own records. Now when he was writing about those kings that had reigned at Tyre, he came to Hirom, and says thus:
"Upon the death of Abibalus, his son Hirom took the kingdom; he lived fifty-three years, and reigned thirty-four. He raised a bank on that called the Broad Place, and dedicated that golden pillar which is in Zeus' temple; he also went and cut down timber from the mountain called Libanus, and got timber of cedar for the roofs of the temples. He also pulled down the old temples, and built new ones; besides this, he consecrated the temples of Heracles and of Astarte. He first built Heracles' temple in the month Peritius, and that of Astarte when he made his expedition against the Tityans [(?) inhabitants of Utica], who would not pay him their tribute; and when he had brought them under his control, he returned home. Under this king there was a younger son of Abdemon, who mastered the problems which Solomon king of Jerusalem had recommended to be solved." Now the time from this king to the building of Carthage is thus calculated.
"Upon the death of Hirom, Baalbazerus his son took the kingdom; he lived forty-three years, and reigned seventeen years: after him succeeded his son Abdastartus; he lived thirty-nine years, and reigned nine years. Now four sons of his nurse plotted against him and slew him, the eldest of whom reigned twelve years: after them came Astartus, the son of Eleastartus; he lived fifty-four years, and reigned twelve years: after him came his brother Astharymus; he lived fifty-eight years, and reigned nine years: he was slain by his brother Phelles, who took the kingdom and reigned but eight months, though he lived fifty years: he was slain by Eithobalus, the (?) son of king Astartus, who reigned thirty-two years, and lived forty-eight years: [p119] he was succeeded by his son Balezorus, who lived forty-five years, and reigned eight years: he was succeeded by Metenus his son; he lived thirty-two years, and reigned twenty-nine years: Physmalion succeeded him; he lived fifty-eight years, and reigned forty-seven years. Now in the seventh year of his reign, his sister fled away from him, and built the city Carthage in Libya. So the whole time from the reign of Hirom, till the building of Carthage, amounts to the sum of one hundred fifty-five years and eight months."
Since then the temple was built at Jerusalem in the twelfth year of the reign of Hirom, there were from the building of the temple, until the building of Carthage, one hundred forty-three years and eight months. Therefore, what occasion is there for quoting any more evidence out of the Phoenician histories [on the behalf of our nation], since what I have said is so thoroughly confirmed already? To be sure, our ancestors came into this country long before the building of the temple; for it was not till we had gained possession of the whole land by war that we built our temple. And this is the point that I have clearly proved out of our sacred writings in my Antiquities.
That is what Josephus says.
The list of times [of reigns] which is shown here covers 432 years, from the building of the temple, in the fourth year of Solomon, until the destruction [of the temple] by the Babylonians. They are reckoned as follows:
After this, the Babylonian captivity of the Jews and the abandonment of their country lasted for 70 years, which came to an end in the 65th Olympiad [520-517 B.C.], in the second year of Dareius the king of the Persians, as the Holy Scriptures say.
Clemens agrees with our account, when he writes in the first book of his Miscellany as follows [ Stromata, 1'21 ]: "The captivity lasted for seventy years, and ended in the second year of Dareius Hystaspes, who had become king of the Persians, Assyrians, and Egyptians; in whose reign, as I said above, Haggai and Zechariah and the angel of the twelve [Malachi] prophesied. And the high priest was Joshua the son of Josedec." That is what Clemens says.
More evidence that there was a period of 70 years from the destruction of the temple until the second year of Dareius is provided by the prophet Zechariah, who said in the second year of Dareius [ 1'12 ] : "Almighty Lord, how long will you not pity Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, which you have despised? This is the seventieth year."
But the acute observer may say: "But why is it said at the beginning of the book of Ezra [ 1'1 ], that in the first year of Cyrus the king of the Persians, to fulfil the word of God which was spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, the Lord aroused the spirit of Cyrus the king of the Persians, and he gave an order throughout his kingdom in a written decree." And then, adding what follows in that book, [p123] he will show that it refers to the release of the Jews, and how Cyrus ordered the temple to be rebuilt. From this you would assume that the 70 years of the captivity came to an end in the reign of Cyrus, and not in the reign of Dareius.
To this I reply, that the words of the prophets refer to two different periods of 70 years. The one is reckoned from the destruction of the temple, and came to an end in the second year of Dareius, as the statement of Zechariah makes clear. The second is from the enslavement of the Jews, up until the capture of Babylon and the destruction of the kingdom of the Chaldaeans. This is reckoned from the time of the prophecy, and came to an end in the reign of Cyrus, and not in the reign of the Dareius, in accordance with the word of Jeremiah, in which he foretells what will happen [ 29'10 ]: "Thus says the Lord. When the 70th year has been completed, I will come to you, and I will fulfil my promise to you, that I will lead you back to this place." And again, he prophesies as follows [ 25'11-12 ]: "All this land will be deserted and ruined, and they will serve the king of the Babylonians amongst the foreigners; and the Lord says about that nation, and about the land of the Chaldaeans, that I will bring them to ruin."
All this was fulfilled in the reign of Cyrus, by counting the years, not from the destruction of the temple, but earlier, from the second year of Jehoiakim, king of the Jews, because it was in this year that Nebuchadnezzar the king of the Babylonians first enslaved the Jews; or even earlier, from when the prophet Jeremiah first began to prophesy. From that time, there were 40 years until the siege of Jerusalem and the burning of the temple, and 70 years until the first year of the reign of Cyrus. The one period of 70 years lasted from the beginning of Jeremiah's prophecy until the reign of Cyrus; but there were 30 years from the destruction of the temple until the reign of Cyrus, and [the other period of] 70 years was completed in the second year of the reign of Dareius. The temple was restored in the eighth year of Dareius.
From that time onwards, the Jews remained without their own kings. They had their own high priests as leaders, but were subject first to the kings of the Assyrians, then to the kings of the Persians, and after them to the Macedonians who ruled after Alexander, up until the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, who as king of Syria forced the Jews to adopt Greek customs. At that time, Mattathias the son of Asamonaeus, who was a priest at Jerusalem, his son Judas, who [p125] was surnamed Maccabaeus, and their successors re-established the Jewish state, and ruled it continuously until the time of Augustus.
In Augustus' time, Herodes was the first foreigner to become king of the Jews, with the support of the Romans; during his reign, our Saviour Jesus Christ was born. This was the fulfilment of the prophecy spoken by Moses [ Genesis, 49'10 ]: "The sceptre will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his". These are the words of the prophecy.
But the total length of time, from Solomon and the first building of the temple until the second year of Dareius and the rebuilding of the temple, is 502 years. And from Moses and the exodus from Egypt until Solomon and the first building of the temple, is 480 years. And from the first year of Abraham until the exodus, is 505 years. And from the flood until the first year of Abraham, is 942 years. And from Adam to the flood, is 2242 years. So the overall total, from Adam until the second year of Dareius and the second building of [the temple in] Jerusalem, is 4680 years. And from the second year of Dareius which was the first year of the 65th Olympiad [520 B.C.] [until the ministry of Christ], is 137 Olympiads and 548 years.
To show this in more detail, the kings of the Persians are listed here, along with the lengths of their reigns:
The empire of the Persians lasted for 234 years. Beginning in the 55th Olympiad [560-557 B.C.], it ended in the 113th Olympiad [328-325 B.C.]. And from the second year of Dareius until the death of Alexander, who died in the first year of the 114th Olympiad [324 B.C.], is 197 years.
After the death of Alexander, there were the following kings of Egypt and Alexandria:
In his time, Antiochus Epiphanes was king of Syria; and in Antiochus' reign occurred the events which [are related] in the books of Maccabees. These books tell how Antiochus tried to convert the Jews to Greek customs; he defiled the temple by putting up sacred images there, and carried off the sacred vessels of the temple in the 151st Olympiad [176-173 B.C.].
So from the death of Alexander of Macedonia to the first year of Antiochus Epiphanes, is 150 years. And from the second year of Dareius until Antiochus, is 347 years.
In the reign of Antiochus, Mattathias the son of Asamonaeus [p129] showed great devotion to his country's religion, and became leader of the Jews. After his death, his son Judas Maccabaeus [became leader]; and after him, his brother Jonathan [was leader]; and after him, his brother Simon [was leader].
The account of the book of Maccabees ends in the reign of Simon; it covers a period of 40 years, up until the end of the 161st Olympiad [136-133 B.C.]. And from this time until Augustus the Roman emperor, is 88 years.
After Simon, according to Africanus and Josephus, Jonathan, also called Hyrcanus, was leader of the Jews for 26 years. After him, Aristobulus [was leader] for one year. Aristobulus was the first to wear the royal diadem, acting as king and high priest of the Jewish race; this was 484 years after the Babylonian captivity. After him, Alexander, also called Jannaeus, was king for 25 years. After him, his widow Alexandra, also called Sallina, [was queen] for 9 years. And after her, Aristobulus and Hyrcanus [were kings]. In their reign, Pompeius the Roman general forced the Jews to pay tribute to the Romans. He set up Hyrcanus as their king, but led off Aristobulus as a prisoner to Rome.
In Hyrcanus' reign, in the (?) 184th Olympiad [44 B.C.], Julius Caesar became emperor of the Romans, for 4 years and 7 months. And after him, Augustus (Sebastos in Greek) was emperor for 56 years and 6 months. In his reign, Herodes was the first foreigner to be made king of the Jews by the Romans; his family came from Ascalon, and he had no right to the throne. In Herodes' reign, Christ the Son of God was born in Bethlehem of Judaea.
After Augustus, Tiberius became emperor. In his 15th year, the fourth year of the 201st Olympiad [28 A.D.], our Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ the Son of God, appeared amongst men.
So from Antiochus Epiphanes until the 15th year of Tiberius, is 201 years. And from Alexander of Macedonia until the same year of Tiberius, is 352 years. And from the second year of Dareius [until the same year of Tiberius], is 548 years. [p131] And from the 15th year of Tiberius until the final siege of Jerusalem in the second year of Vespasianus, is 42 years.
From Adam until the second year of Dareius, is 4680 years. And from the second year of Dareius until the 15th year of Tiberius, is 548 years. So the total, from Adam until the 15th year of Tiberius, is 5228 years.
From the 15th year of Tiberius until the 20th anniversary of Constantinus Victor Augustus, is 300 years. So the overall total, according to the Hebrews in the Septuagint version, is (?) 5518 years. According to the Jews' Hebrew text, it is 1237 years less; and according to the Samaritans' Hebrew text, it is 935 years less.
This is the way in which the numbers of years are calculated, according to the Hebrews.
Go to following pages
Attalus' home page | 26.02.18 | Any comments?