Timeline of Biblical Chronology (MT)

The aim of this article is to provide a simple timeline of biblical chronology which covers the first three millenia of biblical history. This post is largely intended to function as a purely informational reference post that I can easily link to in topically relevant articles. All of the dates provided in the timeline are my own manual calculations which are based on the chronological information dispersed throughout the Masoretic text and the New Testament.

The Masoretic Text VS. The Septuagint

It is no secret that the genealogical data in the book of Genesis differs radically between the Masoretic Text and the LXX–resulting in a roughly 1500 year discrepancy in their respective chronologies. Accordingly, when one sets out to devise a timeline of biblical chronology, they must choose which base text they are going use. For a multitude of reasons that I will not discuss in this article, my own conviction is that the Masoretic Text preserves the original and historically accurate figures with regard to the years of birth and death of the early patriarchs1 Accordingly, the timeline in this article is based on the genealogical data found in the Masoretic text.

About the Timeline of Biblical Chronology

All the dates given in the table presented in this analysis are my own manual calculations which are based on the chronological data that is dispersed throughout the biblical canon. Note that the abbreviation AM stands for anno mundi (“in the year of the world”), signifying that this is the 360-day biblical calendar which begins with Adam. I have chosen to refrain from attempting to provide BC equivalents for the years in the table, as doing so would require me to sacrifice chronological precision.2

One will notice that the timeline begins with the fall of creation rather than creation itself. This is reflective of my own understanding that what we might call genealogical time would not have begun until Adam died spiritually. One will also note that the timeline ceases with the death of Solomon. I have chosen to end the timeline here due to the fact that the chronological information in the biblical record after the reign of Solomon is based on the reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah, which appear to not be based on the 360 year biblical calendar established in Genesis 6-7, and are practically impossible to accurately reconcile with precision. If one is interested in a more detailed timeline, I recommend consulting “The Annals of World History” by Archbishop James Usshur, as his chronology is almost identical with mine, albeit far more detailed.3

Timeline of Biblical Chronology: from Adam until the death of Solomon

1 AM Adam & Eve eat from the forbidden tree and are expelled from paradise, marking the beginning of genealogical time.
130 AM Seth is born.
235 AM Enos is born.
325 AM Cainan is born.
395 AM Mahalaleel is born.
460 AM Jared is born.
622 AM Enoch is born.
687 AM Methuselah is born.
874 AM Lamech is born.
930 AM Adam dies at the age of 930.
987 AM Enoch is taken by God at the age of 365.
1042 AM Seth dies at the age of 912.
1056 AM Noah is born.
1140 AM Enos dies at the age of 905.
1235 AM Cainan dies at the age of 910.
1290 AM Mahalaleel dies at the age of 895.
1422 AM Jared dies at the age of 962.
1556 AM Noah is 500 years old.4
1558 AM Shem is born.
1651 AM Lamech dies at the age of 777.
1656 AM Methuselah dies at the age of 969.
1656 AM The Flood.
1657 AM Noah, his wives, his three sons, and their three wives disembark from the Ark, setting foot on a new regenerated earth.
1657 AM Noah builds an altar and offers sacrifices to God. God makes a covenant with all who go forth from the ark, signified by the rainbow, promising to never flood the earth again.
1658 AM Arphaxad is born 2 years after the flood.
1693 AM Salah is born.
1723 AM Eber is born.
1757 AM Peleg is born.
1787 AM Reu is born.
1819 AM Serug is born.
1848 AM Nahor #1 is born.
1878 AM Terah is born.
1948 AM Nahor #2 and/or Haran are born.
1996 AM Peleg dies at the age of 239.
1997 AM Nahor #1 dies at the age of 148.
2006 AM Noah dies at the age of 950.
2008 AM Abram (Abraham) is born.
2018 AM Sarai is born.
2026 AM Reu dies at the age of 239.
2048 AM Serug dies at the age of 230.
2083 AM Terah dies in Haran at the age of 205.
2083 AM Abram & family depart from Haran and head toward Canaan when Abram is 75.
2083 AM Abram enters the land of Canaan.
2083 AM Abram & family go down to Egypt to escape a famine in the land of Canaan.
2093 AM At the suggestion of Sarai, Abram has sexual intercourse with Hagar.
2094 AM Ishmael is born.
2096 AM Arphaxad dies at the age of 438.
2107 AM God makes covenant with Abram. Abram is circumcised, and is given the name of Abraham.
2108 AM Isaac is born.
2113 AM Abraham sends Hagar and Ishmael away from Isaac his son.
2126 AM Salah dies at the age of 433.
2145 AM Sarah dies at the age of 127.
2145 AM Abraham buys the field of Ephron in Machpelah from Ephron the Hittite for four hundred shekels of silver, and buries Sarah in the cave of Machpelah.
2148 AM Abraham sends his servant to his kindred in Haran to seek out a wife for Isaac.
2148 AM Isaac marries Rebekah when he is 40 years old, and is comforted after his mother’s death.
2158 AM Shem dies at the age of 600.
2168 AM Jacob & Esau are born.
2183 AM Abraham dies at the age of 175, and is buried by his sons Ishmael and Isaac in the cave of Machpelah.
2187 AM Eber dies at the age of 464.
2208 AM At the age of 40, Esau takes to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite.
2231 AM Ishmael dies at the age of 137.
2239 AM Jacob disguises himself as Esau and deceives his father Isaac into blessing him.
2239 AM Isaac and Rebekah send Jacob to Haran, to flee the wrath of his brother Esau.
2239 AM The LORD appears to Jacob in a dream in Bethel, assures him of his divine presence and promises him that he won’t leave him or forsake him until he has fulfilled his Word concerning him.
2246 AM After seven years of serving Laban, Jacob is given his eldest daughter Leah to wife.
2253 AM After serving Laban for seven more years, Jacob is given Rachel to wife.
2259 AM Joseph is born.
2259 AM Jacob requests that Laban let him return to his own country.
2259 AM Jacob flees from Laban, but is overtaken by him. They make a covenant and erect a pillar to commemorate it.
2259 AM Jacob has a rendezvous with his brother Esau after having fled from him 20 years before. To his relief and amazement, Esau appears happy to see him again and appears to hold no grudges over what had transpired between them two decades prior. The two brothers reconcile.
2276 AM Joseph tells his brothers’ of his prophetic dreams, fanning the flames of their envy and hate towards him.
2276 AM Upon arriving in Dothan at the commandment of his father, Joseph cast into a pit by his ten brothers, who then sell him as a slave to some passing Midianite merchantmen. He is brought down to Egypt where he is bought from the Midianites by Potiphar.
2287 AM Joseph interprets the prophetic dreams of Pharaoh’s chief butler and chief baker in prison.
2288 AM Isaac dies at the age of 180, and is buried by his sons Esau & Jacob.
2289 AM Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s twin prophetic dreams.
2290 AM Year 1 of plenty.
2291 AM Year 2 of plenty.
2292 AM Year 3 of plenty.
2293 AM Year 4 of plenty.
2294 AM Year 5 of plenty.
2295 AM Year 6 of plenty.
2296 AM Year 7 of plenty.
2297 AM Year 1 of famine.
2298 AM Year 2 of famine.
2298 AM Jacob and his family arrive in Egypt to sojourn.
2298 AM Jacob blesses Pharaoh at the age of 130.
Year 3 of famine.
2300 AM Year 4 of famine.
2301 AM Year 5 of famine.
2302 AM Year 6 of famine.
2303 AM Year 7 of famine.
2315 AM Jacob blesses and prophesies over his sons and grandsons, then dies at the age of 147.
2369 AM Joseph dies in Egypt at the age of 110.
2430 AM Aaron is born.
2433 AM Moses is born.
2473 AM Moses kills a man in Egypt, and flees to the land of Midian as a fugitive.
2513 AM The Exodus from Egypt.
2513 AM The Law is given at Sinai.
2553 AM Aaron dies in mount Hor at the age of 123.
2553 AM Moses dies in the land of Moab at the age of 120.
2919 AM David is born.
2949 AM David begins to reign over Judah from Hebron.
2956 AM David is anointed king over all Israel.
2989 AM On his death bed, David appoints his son Solomon as his successor, and has him anointed king publicly before all Israel.
2989 AM David dies at the age of 70.
2989 AM Solomon takes the throne.
2993 AM Solomon lays the foundation of the Temple in Mount Moriah.
3000 AM Solomon completes the Temple.
3029 AM Solomon dies.
Timeline of biblical chronology for the first three millenia of biblical history, according to the Masoretic text and New Testament.

Food for Thought

It’s very easy to underestimate how powerful a table of ordered chronological data can be in revealing random things about the biblical narrative. In closing, I leave you with the following bulleted list of useless facts which can be gleamed from the above timeline of biblical chronology:

  • Abraham’s great great great great grandfather Eber, who was born 285 years before he was, was still alive when he died.
  • Abraham could theoretically have met Noah’s son Shem–his great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather.
  • Abraham feared that the Egyptians would kill him for Sarai because of her beauty. Sarai was 65 years old at this time–far past the flower of a woman’s youth by modern standards.5
  • Jacob was a bachelor until he was in his 70s.
  • Isaac was 75 years old and Ishmael 89 years old when they buried their father Abraham.
  • Jacob & Esau were both 120 years old when they buried their father Isaac.
  • At the time of Isaac’s death, Joseph was in prison in Egypt.

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  1. I believe that the divergent years of birth and death of the early patriarchs in the LXX to be what one scholar has referred to as “rational alterations”, which were inserted into the text by some unknown scribe at some point over the course of the transmission of either the LXX, or the Hebrew vorlage upon which it was based. See Finegan, Jack. “The Old Testament.” In Handbook of Biblical Chronology: Principles of Time Reckoning in the Ancient World and Problems of Chronology in the Bible, Revised ed., 195. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1998.
  2. There are 364.242 days in a Gregorian year, while there are 360 days in a biblical calendar year. Any attempt to give the Gregorian year equivalent (BC) for any given biblical calendar year (AM) must thus account for this discrepancy, which will inevitably cause the two calendars to move further apart over time. Based on my observation, most biblical chronologists which attempt to include Gregorian year equivalents do not account for this discrepancy, which means that their BC equivalents are inevitably going to be less and less accurate the farther back one goes.
  3. Ussher goes as far as to include the Gregorian calendar year equivalents of each biblical calendar year, and continues his chronology all the way up through 4076 AM (73 AD). His chronology also includes dates for historical events from secular history. He also frequently uses secular extra-biblical primary sources (e.g. Josephus, Herodotus, Xenophon, Manetho, etc.) in his dating of biblical events.
  4. It is not certain why Genesis 5:32 includes this detail, but the intent seems to be to suggest that the first of Noah’s three sons was born at this time. If this is correct, then this is probably the year that Japheth was born (Gen 10:21; cf. Gen. 9:24), as we know that Shem was born in 1558 (Gen. 11:10).
  5. This is a reflection of the fact that humans obviously aged at a significantly slower rate in those days.

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