Thursday, July 5, 2012

This Timeline for the Week

We've had several books introduced into our Bible reading schedule this week: 2 Old Testament books and 2 New Testament books.

Old Testament
We completed I Kings earlier this week and began reading in II Kings. We will intersperse our reading of this history with prophetical books, both major and minor.

II Kings completes the Kingdom Chronology that spanned the four books of I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, and II Kings. You probably noticed that I did not include II and II Chronicles to be read at this time and I will tell you why I made that decision when we get to it in the schedule.

You might also notice that the books of I and II Kings are roughly divided between the ministries of Elijah and Elisha. It also continues the parallel chronicles of the Northern and Southern kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

The events at the opening of the book happen in approximately 895 BC. This date is found by taking the date of Solomon's coronation in 1015 BC[1]  and calculating the time by the rule of the kings of Judah. The length of sovereign reign for each king of Judah is a more reliable figure to use for the calculations than that of the kings of Israel which changed dynasties many times during their history and whose timeline included years where there was no clear transfer of sovereign rule.[2] By calculation we can see that

Solomon = 40 years
Rehoboam = 17 years
Abijah = 3 years
Asa = 41 years
Jehoshaphat = in his 19th year*
TOTAL = 120 years.

1015 BC
895 BC which is how I figure the date for the opening chapter of II Kings.

*II Kings opens with the death of Israel's king, Ahaziah, who had reigned for 2 years (I Kings22:31) . We're told in that same verse that his reign began in the 17th year of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah so his death would occur in the 19th year of Jehoshaphat. We're told in I Kings 22:42 that Jehoshaphat reigned 25 years so he still had 6 years left to reign. He was succeeded by his son, Jehoram (also called Joram), who marries Athaliah, daughter of wicked king Ahab, king of Israel. It is at this time that we can see one example of a time when the Northern Kingdom of Israel had no king for a few years. II Kings 1:17 states that Ahaziah had no son as an heir to the throne and one named Jehoram/Joram reigned in his place BUT the Jehoram/Joram of the Northern Kingdom did not take the throne until the second year of King Jehoram/Joram (son of Jehoshaphat) King of Judah. That would mean the Israel had no king for 8 years!

The book ends in Babylon captivity, specifically in the 37th year of King Jehoiachin's exile (Jehoiachin was also called Jeconiah). Since Jehoiachin only reigned about 100 days before being removed from the throne we can calculate that the book's narrative ends in approximately 556 BC and was compiled by an author who was currently living in Babylonian exile.

Sources [1] and [2]: The Chronology of the Old Testament by Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones, pages 109-115.

Obadiah is a parenthetical prophetical book that deals with the nation of Edom. It seems to fit into the time period when Edom was not paying tribute to Judah but operating independently. This happened several times, including during the reign of Jehoram/Joram (II Kings 8:20-22) and that it is why it is inserted in this position on the schedule. This places the date of this prophecy no earlier than the beginning of Jehoram's reign in circa 889 BC. Edom, like Israel and Judah, was conquered by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. History and scripture (Psalm 137) tell us that they were happy when Jerusalem fell in 586 BC but died helping to defend it in AD 70 (the Edomites became the Idumeans). Just as Obadiah predicted, they were never heard from again.[3]

Source [3]: The New Open Bible Study Edition,KJV   c. 1990, Thomas Nelson publishing, study notes for "Obadiah." The notes for The MacArthur Study Bible c. 2006, Nelson Bibles, study notes for "Obadiah" are almost identical.

New Testament
Now that we have completed the writings of the Apostle Paul we will segue into some of the other writers.

I Peter was written by the Apostle Peter to the believers who were dispersed throughout Asia Minor. It is meant to be a message of hope for those who experience persecution for their faith. I Peter 5:13 states that the letter is written from Babylon, which could have been one of the literal cities by that name or a figurative nomenclature. The writing of this letter would have occurred sometime in the mid-60s AD.

II Peter was also written by the Apostle Peter, probably shortly before his own death by martyrdom.  While I Peter warned of persecution by unbelievers this epistle warned of perversion among believers. False teachers began spreading a heretical doctrine of confusion even before all of the eye witnesses to Jesus' resurrection had died! The time of writing would of necessity be within a few years of Peter's first epistle and almost immediately prior to his death. Tradition says that Peter died in AD 68. He was surely deceased before the Fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.

1 comment :

  1. This is very good information and with the dates also. I know it means alot to you because you have thought it all out. I really like learning more about the Bible but some of this is more than I can grasp sometimes. It all really did happen and it's interesting to figure out and think about the very time it was.


Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
Psalms 19:14 (KJV)