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the science which measures time by the succession of events that occur in the heavens or on the earth. Accordingly, chronology may be divided into two kinds, theoretical or technical, and practical or applied; in other words, into mathematical and historical. The former is, of course, the most trustworthy, as being the result of fixed laws; while the latter is, to a great degree, contingent and irregular. In this article we have to do only with Biblical dates and the method of their determination. (See ASTRONOMY).

I. Elements. The knowledge of the Hebrews in chronology rested altogether on appearances; not a trace of anything like a scientific view is to be found in their literature. The books of the Old Testament recognize none of the great areas which other nations have employed. Nor is it until the first book of the Maccabees that any such guide is found. Instead of these, the Hebrew writers usually employ more limited and local or national epochs. (See below.) Genealogical tables, indeed, are not wanting, but they are of little service for the general purposes of chronology. (See below.) Formerly great exactness was hoped for in the determination of Hebrew chronology. Although the materials were often not definite enough to fix a date within a few years, it was nevertheless expected that the very day could be ascertained. Hence arose unsoundness and variety of results, and ultimately a general feeling of distrust. At present critics are rather prone to run into this latter extreme. The truth, as might be expected, lies between these two extreme judgments. The character of the records whence we draw our information forbids us to hope for a perfect system. The Bible does not give a complete history of the times to which it refers; in its historical portions it deals with special and detached periods. The chronological information is, therefore, not absolutely continuous, although often, with the evident purpose of forming a kind of connection between these different portions, it has a more continuous character than might have been expected. It is rather historical than strictly chronological in its character, and thus the technical part of the subject depends, so far as the Bible is concerned, almost wholly upon inference. (See HISTORY).

In one particular, however, great care has usually been exercised in the Hebrew records, namely, the prevention of error by the neglect or accumulation of fractional parts of a year in the continuous series of generations, dynasties, or reigns. This has been systematically done (as in most other ancient chronologies) by adding these into the beginning of each successive number, i.e. by reckoning, in all cases, from a fixed puis t in the calendar, so that the years are always to )e accounted "full" unless specified as current. Nevertheless, in consequence of the brief and sometimes double lines of seras, beginning at various seasons of the year, confusion, or at least difficulty has often crept into the statements, which is enhanced by the fact that the rule here stated is not observed with absolute uniformity. All this is especially illustrated in the parallel lists of the kings of JUDAH (See JUDAH) and ISRAEL (See ISRAEL) (q.v.).

1. Generations. It is commonly supposed that the genealogies given in the Bible are invariably continuous. When, however, we come to examine them closely, we find that many are broken, without being in consequence technically defective as Hebrew genealogies. A notable instance is that of the genealogy of our Savior given by Matthew, where Joram is immediately followed by Ozias, as if his son Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah being omitted (Matthew 1:8). That this is not an accidental omission of a copyist is evident from the specification of the number of generations from Abraham to David, from David to the Babylonish Captivity, and from the Babylonish Captivity to Christ, in each case fourteen generations. Probably these missing names were purposely left out to make the number for the interval equal to that of the other intervals, such an omission being obvious and not liable to cause error. In Ezra's genealogy (Ezra 7:1-5) there is a similar omission, which in so famous a line can scarcely be attributed to the carelessness of a copyist. There are also examples of a man being called the son of a remote ancestor, as "Shebuel the son of Gershon [Gershom], the son of Moses" (1 Chronicles 26:24). So, in historical narratives, Jehu is called "the son of Nimshi" (1 Kings 19:16; 2 Kings 9:20; 2 Chronicles 22:7), as well as "the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi" (1 Kings 9:2; 1 Kings 9:14). Laban is called "the son of Nahor" (Genesis 29:5), for grandson (28:2, 5; comp. 22:20-23). We cannot, therefore, venture to use the Hebrew genealogical lists to compute intervals of time except where we can prove each descent to be immediate, and where the length of each generation is given. (See GENEALOGY).

Ideler remarks that Moses reckons by generations (Handbuch, 1:506); but this is not the manner of Herodotus, who assumes an average of three generations to a century (2:142). There is no use of a generation as a division of time in the Pentateuch, unless, with some, we suppose that דּוֹר, a "generation," in Genesis 15:16, is so used; those, however, who hold this opinion make it an interval of a hundred years, since it would, if a period of time, seem to be the fourth part of the 400 years of Genesis 15:13; most probably, however, the meaning is that some of the fourth generation should come forth from Egypt. (See GENERATION).

2. Divisions of Time. (See TIME).

(1.) Hour. The hour is supposed to be mentioned in Daniel (3:6, 15; 4:16, 30 [Engl. 19, 33; 5:5]), but in no one of these cases is a definite period of time clearly intended by the Chald. term (שָׁעָה, שִׁעֲתָא, שִׁעְתָּא ) employed. The Egyptians divided the day and night into hours like ourselves from at least B.C. cir. 1200 (Lepsius, Chronologie der Eg. 1:130). It is therefore not improbable that the Israelites were acquainted with the hour from an early period. The "sun-dial of Ahaz," whatever instrument, fixed or movable, it may have been, implies a division of the kind. (See DIAL). In the N.T. we find the same system as the modern, the hours being reckoned from the beginning of the Jewish night and day. (See HOUR).

(2.) Day. For the civil day of 24 hours we find in one place (Daniel 8:14) the term עֶרֶב בֹּקְר, " evening-morning," Sept. νυχθήμερον (also in 2 Corinthians 11:25, A. V. "a night and a day"). Whatever may be the proper meaning of this Hebrew term, it cannot be doubted here to signify "nights and days." The common word for day as distinguished from night is also used for the civil day, or else both day and night are mentioned to avoid vagueness, as in the case of Jonah's "three days and three nights" (John 2:1 [A. V. 1:17]; comp. Matthew 12:40). The civil day was divided into night and natural day, the periods of darkness and light (Genesis 1:5). It commenced with night, which stands first in the special term given above. The night, לִיִל, and therefore the civil day, is generally held to have begun at sunset. Ideler, however, while admitting that this point of time was that of the commencement of the civil day among all other nations known to us which followed a lunar reckoning, objects to the opinion that this was the case with the Jews. He argues in favor of the beginning of deep night, reasoning that, for instance, in the ordaining of the Day of Atonement, on the 10th of the 7th month, it is said "in the ninth [day] of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate (literally, rest) your Sabbath" (Leviticus 23:32); where, if the civil day began at sunset, it would have been said that they should commence the observance on the evening of the 10th day, or merely on the 10th day, supposing the word "evening" (עֶרֶב ) to mean the later part of our afternoon. He cites, as probably supporting this view, the expression בֵּין הָעִרְבִּיִם, "between the two evenings" used of the time of offering the passover and the daily evening sacrifice (Exodus 12:6; Numbers 9:3; Numbers 28:4); for the Pharisees, whom the present Jews follow, took it to be the time between the 9th and 11th hours of the day, or our 3 and 5 P.M., although the Samaritans and Karaites supposed it to be the time between sunset and full darkness, particularly on account of the phrase כְּבוֹא הִשֶּׁמֶשׁ, "when the sun is setting," used in a parallel passage (Deuteronomy 16:6) (see Handbuch, 1:482-484). These passages and expressions may, however, be not unreasonably held to support the common opinion that the civil day began at sunset. The term "between the two evenings" can scarcely be supposed to have originally indicated n long period; a special short period, though scarcely point, the time of sunset, is shown to correspond to it. This is a natural division between the late afternoon, when the sun is low, and the evening, when his light has not wholly disappeared the two evenings into which the natural evening would be cut by the commencement of the civil day, if it began at sunset. There is no difficulty in the command that the observance of so solemn a day as that of Atonement should commence a little before the true beginning of the civil day, that due preparation might be made for the sacrifices. In Judaea, where the duration of twilight is very short at all times, the most natural division would be at sunset. The natural "day" (יוֹם ) probably was held to commence at sunrise, morning-twilight being included in the last watch of the night, according to the old as well as the later division; some, however, made the morning-watch part of the day. (See DAY); (See NIGHT).

Four natural periods, smaller than the civil day, are mentioned. These are עֶרֶב, evening, and בֹּקֶר , morning, of which there is frequent mention, and the less usual צָהַרִיִם " the two lights," as though "double light," noon, and חֲצוֹת הִלִּיְלָה, or חֲצִי, "half the night," midnight. No one of these with a people not given to astronomy seems to indicate a point of time, but all to designate periods, evening and morning being, however, much longer than noon and midnight. The night was divided into watches (אִשְׁמֻרוֹת ). In the O.T. but two are expressly mentioned, and we have to infer the existence of a third, the first watch of the night. (In Lamentations 2:19, ראשׁ אִשְׁמֻרוֹת of course refers to, without absolutely designating, the first watch.) The middle watch (הָאִשְׁמֹרֶת הִתִּיכוֹנָה ) occurs in Judges 7:19, where the connection of watches with military affairs is evident: "And Gideon and the hundred men that [were] with him wentldown unto the extremity of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch; [and] they had but set the watchmen הִשֹּׁמְרִים ." The morningwatch (אִשְׁמֹרֶת הִבֹּקֶר ) is mentioned in Exodus 14:24, and 1 Samuel 11:11; in the former case, in the account of the passage of the Red Sea; in the latter, in that of Saul's surprise of the Ammonites when he relieved Jabesh-gilead. Some Rabbins hold that there were four watches (Ideler, Handbuch, 1:486). In the N.T. four night-watches are mentioned, which were probably adopted from the Romans as a modification of the old system. All four occur together in Mark 13:35 : ὀψέ, the late watch; μεσονύκτιον, midnight; ἀλεκτροφωνία , the cock-crowing; and πρωϊ v, the early watch. (See WATCHES OF NIGHT).

(3.) Week (שָׁבוּעִ, a hebdomad). The Hebrew week was a period of seven days, ending with the Sabbath; therefore it could not have been a division of the month, which was lunar, without intercalation. But there was no such intercalation, since the Sabbath was to be every seventh day; its name is used for week, and weeks are counted on without any additional day or days. The mention together of Sabbaths and new moons proves nothing but that the two observances were similar, the one closing the week, the other commencing the month. The week, whether a period of seven days, or a quarter of the month, was of common use in antiquity. The Egyptians, however, were without it (with Dion Cassius, 37:19, comp. Lepsius, Chronol. d. AEg. 1:131, 133), dividing their month of 30 days into decades, as did the Athenians. The Hebrew week, therefore, cannot have been adopted from Egypt; probably both it and the Sabbath were used and observed by the patriarchs. (See WATCHES OF NIGHT)

(4.) Month (יֶרִח, חֹדֶשׁ, חֹדֶשׁ יָמִים ). The months by which the time is measured in the account of the Flood may have been of 30 days each, possibly forming a year of 360 days, for the 1James, 2 d, 7th, and 10th months are mentioned (Genesis 8:13; Genesis 7:11; Genesis 8:14; Genesis 8:4-5). Ideler, however, contests this, arguing that as the water first began to sink after 150 days (and then had been 15 cubits above all high mountains), it must have sunk for some days ere the ark could have rested on Ararat, so that the second date must be more than 150 days later than the first (Handbuch, 1:69, 70, 478, 479). This argument depends upon the meaning of "high mountains," and upon the height of those "the mountains of Ararat" (Genesis 8:4), on which the ark rested, questions connected with that of the universality of the Flood. (See DELUGE). On the other hand, it must be urged that the exact correspondence of the interval to five months of 30 days each, and the use of a year of 360 days, in prophetic passages of both Testaments, are of no slight weight. That the months from the giving of the Law until the time of the Second Temple, when we have certain knowledge of their character, were always lunar, appears from the command to keep new-moons, and from the unlikelihood of a change in the calendar. These lunar months have been supposed to have been always alternately of 29 and 30 days.

Their average length would of course be a lunation, or a little (44´) above 29 1/2 days, and therefore they would in general be alternately of 29 and 30 days; but it is possible that occasionally months might occur of 28 and 31 days, if, as is highly probable, the commencement of each was strictly determined by observation; that observation was employed for this purpose is distinctly affirmed in the Babylonian Talmud of the practice of the time at which it was written, when, however, a month was not allowed to be less than 29, or more than 30 days in length. The first day of the month is called חֹדֶשׁ, "new moon;" Sept. νεομηνία , from the root חָדִשׁ, to be new; and in speaking of the first day of a month this word was sometimes used with the addition of a number for the whole expression, "in such a month, on the first day," as בִּיּוֹם הִזֶּה ... . בִּחֹדֶשׁ הִשְּׁלִישִׁי, "On the third new-moon ... . on that day" (Exodus 19:1); hence the word came to signify month, though then it was sometimes qualified (חֹדֶשׁ יָמִים ). The new-moon was kept as a sacred festival (q.v.). In the Pentateuch and Joshua, Judges and Ruth, we find but one month mentioned by a special name, the rest being called according to their order. The month with a special name is the first, which is called חֹדֶשׁ הָאָבִיב (Sept., μὴν τῶν νέων ), "the month of ears of corn," or "Abib," that is, the month in which the ears of corn became full or ripe, and on the 16th day of which, the second day of the feast of unleavened bread, ripe ears, אָבִיב, were to be offered (Leviticus 2:14; comp. 23:10, 11, 14). This undoubted derivation shows how erroneous is the idea that Abib comes from the Egyptian Epiphi. In 1 Kings three other names of months occur, Zif, זִו, or זִיו, the second; Ethanim, אֵיתָּנִים, the seventh; and Bul, בּוּל, the eighth. These names appear, like that of Abib, to be connected with the phenomena of a tropical year. No other names are found in any book prior to the Capitivity, but in the books written after the return the later nomenclature still in use appears. This is evidently of Babylonian origin, as the Jews themselves affirm. (See MONTH).

(5.) Year (שָׁנָה ). It has been supposed, on account of the dates in the narrative of the Flood, as already mentioned, that in Noah's time there was a year of 160 days. These dates may indeed be explained in accordance with a year of 365 days. The evidence of the prophetic Scriptures is, however, decisive as to the knowledge of a year of the former length. The "time, times and a half" of Daniel (Daniel 7:25; Daniel 12:7), where time means year (see Daniel 11:13), cannot be doubted to be equivalent expressions to the 42 months and 1260 days of Revelation (Daniel 11:2-3; Daniel 12:6), for 360 X 3½=1260; and 30 X 42 =1260. We have also the testimony of ancient writers that such a year was known to some nations, so that it is probable that the year of Noah was of this length, whatever may have been that of the months referred to by Moses in the narrative of the Flood (q.v.).

The characteristics of the year instituted at the Exodus can be clearly determined, though we cannot absolutely fix those of any single year. There can be no doubt that it was essentially tropical, since certain observances connected with the produce of the land were fixed to particular days. It is equally clear that the months were lunar, each commencing with a new moon. It would appear, therefore, that there must have been some mode of adjustment. To ascertain what this was, it is necessary first to decide when the year commenced. On the 16th day of the month Abib, as already mentioned, ripe ears of corn were to be offered as first-fruits of the harvest (Leviticus 2:14; Leviticus 23:10-11). The reaping of the barley commenced the harvest (2 Samuel 21:9), the wheat following (Ruth 2:23). Josephus expressly says that the offering was of barley (Ant. 3:10, 5). It is therefore necessary to find when the barle heccmes ripe in Palestine. According to the observation of travelers, the barley is ripe, in the warmest parts of the country, in the first days of April.

The barley- harvest therefore commences about half a month after the vernal equinox, so that the year would begin at about that tropical point were it not divided into lunar months. We may conclude that the nearest new moon about or after the equinox, but not much before, was chosen as the commencement of the year. Ideler, whom we have thus far followed as to this year, concludes that the right new moon was chosen through observation of the forwardness of the barley-crops in the warmer districts of the country (Handbuch, 1:490). There is, however, this difficulty, that the different times of barley-harvest in various parts would have been liable to cause confusion. It seems, therefore, not unlikely that the Hebrews adopted the surer means of determining their new-year's day by observations of heliacal risings or similar stellar phenobemia known to mark the right time before the barley-harvest. Certainly the ancient Egyptians and the' Arabs made use of such means. The method of intercalation can only have been that which obtained after the Captivity the addition of a thirteenth month, whenever the twelfth ended too long before the equinox for the first-fruits of the harvest to be offered in the middle of the month following, and the similar offerings at the times appointed.

This method would be in accordance with the permission granted to postpone the celebration of the Passover in the case of any one who was either legally unclean or journeying at a distance, for a whole month, to the 14th day of the second month (Numbers 9:9-13), of which permission we find Hezekiah to have availed himself for both the reasons allowed, because the priests were not sufficiently sanctified and the people were not collected (2 Chronicles 30:1-3; 2 Chronicles 30:15). The later Jews had two beginnings to the year, or, as it is commonly, but somewhat inaccurately said, two years. At the time of the Second Temple these two beginnings obtained, the seventh month of the civil reckoning being Abib, the first of the sacred. Hence it has been held that the institution at the time of the Exodus was merely a change of commencement, and not the introduction of a new year; and also that from this time there were the two beginnings. The former opinion is at present purely hypothetical, and has been too much mixed up with the latter, for which, on the contrary, there is some evidence. (See YEAR).

(6.) Seasons. The ancient Hebrews do not appear to have divided their year into fixed seasons. We find mention of the natural seasons, קִיִוֹ, "summer," and חֹרֶ Š, "winter," which are used for the whole year (in Psalm 24:17; Zechariah 14:8; and perhaps Genesis 8:22). The former of these properly means the time of cutting fruits, and the latter that of gathering fruits; the one referring to the early fruit season, the other to the late one. Their true significations are, therefore, rather summer and autumn than summer and winter. There can be no doubt, however, that they came to signify the two grand divisions of the year, both from their use together as the two seasons, and from the mention of the "winter- house" (בֵּית הִחֹרֶ Š) and the "summer-house" (בֵּית הִקִּיִוֹ, Amos 3:15). The latter evidence is the stronger, since the winter is the time in Palestine when a palace or house of different construction would be needed from the light summer

pavilion, and in the only passage besides that referred to in which the winter-house is mentioned, we read that Jehoiakim "sat in the winter-house in the ninth month;" that is, almost at mid-winter; "and [there was a fire] on the hearth burning before him" (Jeremiah 36:22). It is probable, however, that "winter," or חֹרֶ, when used without reference to the year, as in Job 29:4, has its original signification. The phrase קֹר וָחֹם cold and heat," in Genesis 8:22, is still more general, and cannot be held to indicate more than the great alternations of temperature, which, like those of day and night, were promised not to cease (Ideler, Handbuch, 1:494). There are two agricultural seasons of a more special character than the preceding in their ordinary use. These are זֶרִע, "seed-time," and קָצִיר, "harvest." Ideler makes these equal to the foregoing seasons when similarly used together; but he has not proved this, and the passage he quotes (Genesis l. c.) cannot be held to afford any evidence of the kind, until some other two terms in it are proved to be strictly correspondent. (See SEASON).

3. Festivals and Holy Days. Besides the Sabbaths and new-moons, there were four great festivals and a fast in the ancient Hebrew year, and a great celebration every seventh and fiftieth year. (See FESTIVAL).

(1.) The Feast of the Passover (פֶּסִח ) was properly only the time of the sacrifice and eating of the paschal lamb, that is, the evening, בֵּין הָעִרְבִּיִם, "between the two evenings" (Leviticus 23:5)-a phrase previously considered of the 14th day of the first month, and the night following, the Feast of Unleavened Bread (חִג הִמִּצּוֹת ) commencing on the morning of the 15th day of the month, and lasting seven days, until the 21st inclusive. The 15th and 21st days of the month were Sabbaths, that is, holy days. (See PASSOVER).

(2.) The Feast of Weeks (חִג שָׁבֻעוֹת ), or Pentecost, was kept at the close of seven weeks, counted from the day inclusive following the 16th of the 1st month. Hence its name means the feast of seven weeks, as indeed it is called in Tobit (ἁγία ἑπτὰ ἑβδομάδων, 2:1). As the ears of barley as first-fruits of the harvest were offered on the 16th day of the lst month, so on this day thanksgiving was paid for the blessing of the harvest, and first- fruits of wheat offered as well as of fruits; hence the names חִג הִקָּצִיר, Feast of the Harvest, and יוֹם הִבִּכּוּרִים, Day of the First-fruits. (See PENTECOST).

(3.) The Feast of Trumpets, יוֹם תְּרוּעָה (lit. day of trumpet-sound), also called שִׁבָּתוֹן זִכְרוֹן תְּרוּעָה, i.e. "a great festival of celebration by the sound of the trumpet," was the 1st day of the 7th month, the civil commencement of the year. (See TRUMPET).

(4.) The Day of Atonement, יוֹם הִכִּפֻּרִים, was the 10th day of the 7th month. It was a Sabbath, that is, a holy day, and also a fast, the only one in the Hebrew year before the Babylonish Captivity. Upon this day the high- priest made an offering of atonement for the nation. This annual solemn rite seems more appropriate to the commencement than to the middle of the year; and the time of its celebration thus affords some evidence in favor of the theory of a double beginning. (See ATONEMENT (DAY OF).)

(5.) The Feast of Tabernacles, חִג הִסֻּכּוֹת, was kept in the 7th month, from the 15th to the 22d days inclusive. Its chief days were the first and last, which were Sabbaths. Its name was taken from the people dwelling in tabernacles, to commemorate the Exodus. It was otherwise called חִג הָאָסִי . i.e. "the feast of gathering," because it was also instituted as a time of thanksgiving for the end of the gathering of fruit and of the vintage. (See TABERNACLES (FEAST OF).)

The small number and simplicity of these primitive Hebrew festivals and holy days is especially worthy of note. It is also observable that they are not of an astronomical character; and that when they are connected with nature, it is as directing the gratitude of the people to him who, in giving good things, leaves not himself without witness. In later times many holy days were added. Of these the most worthy of remark are the Feast of Purim, or "Lots," commemorating the deliverance of the Jews from Haman's plot, the Feast of the Dedication, recording the cleansing and re- dedication of the Temple by Judas Maccabmeus, and fasts on the anniversaries of great national misfortunes connected with the Babylonish Captivity. These last were doubtless instituted during that period (comp. Zechariah 7:1-5). (See PURIM); (See DEDICATION).

(6.) Sabbatical and Jubilee Years. The sabbatical year, שְׁנִת הִשְּׁמִטָּה, "the fallow year," or possibly "year of remission," or שְׁמִטָּה alone, also called a "sabbath," and a "great sabbath," was an institution of strictly the same character as the Sabbath a year of rest, like the day of rest. It has not been sufficiently noticed that as the day has a side of physical necessity with reference to man, so the year has a side of physical necessity with reference to the earth. Every seventh year appears to be a very suitable time for the recurrence of a fallow year, on agricultural principles. Besides the rest from the labors of the field and vineyard, there was in this year to be remission, temporary or absolute, of debts and obligations among the people. The sabbatical year seems to have commenced at the civil beginning of the year, with the seventh month. Although doubtless held to commence with the first of the month, its beginning appears to have been kept at the Feast of Tabernacles (Deuteronomy 31:10), while that of the jubilee year was kept on the Day of Atonement. This institution seems to have been greatly neglected, as indeed was prophesied by Moses, who speaks of the desolation of the land as an enjoying the sabbaths which had not been kept (Leviticus 26:34-35; Leviticus 26:43). The seventy years' captivity is also spoken of in 2 Chronicles 26:21 as an enjoying sabbath; but this may be on account of the number being sabbatical, as ten times seven, which, indeed, seems to be indicated in the passage. After the lapse of seven sabbatical periods, or forty-nine years, a year of jubilee was to be kept, immediately following the last sabbatical year.

This was called שְׁנִת הִיּוֹבֵל, "the year of the trumpet," or יוֹבֵל alone, the latter word meaning either the sound of the trumpet or the instrument itself, because the commencement of the year was announced on the Day of Atonement by sound of trumpet. It was similar to the sabbatical year in its character, although doubtless yet more important. In the jubilee year debts were to be remitted, and lands were to be restored to their former owners. It is obvious from the words of the law (Leviticus 25:8-11) that this year followed every seventh sabbatical year, so that the opinion that it was always identical with a sabbatical year is untenable. There is a further question as to the length of each jubilee period, if we may use the term, some holding that it had a duration of fifty, but others of forty-nine years. The latter opinion does not depend upon the supposition that the seventh sabbatical year was the jubilee, since the jubilee might be the first year of the next seven years after. That such was the case is rendered most probable by the analogy of the weekly Sabbath, and the custom of the Jews in the first and second centuries B.C.; although it must be noted that, according to Maimonides, the jubilee period was of fifty years, the fifty- first year commencing a new period, and that the same writer mentions that the Jews had a tradition that after the destruction of the first Temple only sabbatical years, and no jubilee years, were observed (Ideler, Handbuch, 1:503, 504). The testimony of Josephus does not seem to us at all conclusive, although Ideler (l. c.) holds it to be so; for his language (ταῦτα πεντήκοντα μέν έστιν ἔτη τὰ πάντα , Ant. 3:12, 3) cannot be held to prove absolutely that the jubilee year was not the first year of a sabbatical period, instead of standing between two such periods. It is important to ascertain when the first sabbatical year ought to have been kept; whether the sabbatical and jubilee periods seem to have been continuous; what positive record there is of any sabbatical or jubilee years having been kept; and what indications there are of a reckoning by such years of either kind.

1. It can scarcely be contested that the first sabbatical year to be kept after the Israelites had entered Canaan would be about the fourteenth (Jennings, Jewish Antiquities, bk. 3, cap. 9). It is possible that it might have been somewhat earlier or later; but the narrative will not admit of much latitude.

2. It is clear that any sabbatical and jubilee years kept from the time of Joshua until the destruction of the first Temple would have been reckoned from the first one, but it may be questioned if any kept after the return would be counted in the same manner: from the nature of the institutions, it is rather to be supposed that the reckoning, in the second case, would be from the first cultivation of the country after its reoccupation. The recorded sabbatical years do not enable us to test this supposition, because we do not know exactly the year of return, or that of the first cultivation of the country. The recorded dates of sabbatical years would make that next after the return to commence in B.C. 528, and be current in B.C. 527, which would make the first year of the period B.C. 534-3, which would not improbably he the first year of cultivation; but in the case of so short a period this cannot be regarded as evidence of much weight.

3. There is no positive record of any jubilee year having been kept at any time. The dates of three sabbatical years have, however, been preserved. These were current B.C. 163, 135, and 37, and therefore commenced in each case about three months earlier than the beginning of these Julian years (Josephus, Ant. 12:9, 5; 13:8, 1; 14:16, 2; 15:1, 2; War, 1:2, 4; and 1 Maccabees 6:49; 1 Maccabees 6:53).

4. There are some chronological indications in the O.T. that may not unreasonably be supposed to be connected with the sabbatical system. The prophet Ezekiel dates his first prophecy of those in the book "in the thirtieth year," etc., "which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity" (Ezekiel 1:2); thus apparently dating in the former case from a Letter known aera than that of Jehoiachin's, captivity, which he employs in later places, without, however, in general again describing it. This date of the 30th year has been variously explained; some, with Usher, suppose that the aera is the 18th year of Josiah, when the book of the law was found, and a great passover celebrated (see Hä vernick, Commentar ü ber Ezech. p. 12, 13). This year of Josiah would certainly be the first of the reckoning, and might be used as a kind of reformation-aera, not unlike the aera of Simon the Maccabee. Others suppose that the thirtieth year of the prophet's life is meant, but this seems very unlikely. Others again, including Scaliger (De Emendatione Temporum, p. 79, 218, ed. 1583) and Rosenmü ller (Schol. in loc.), hold that the date is from the commencement of the reign of Nabopolassar.

There is no record of an aera of Nabopolassar; that king had been dead some years; and we have no instance in the O. Test. of the use of a foreign aera. The evidence, therefore, is in favor of Josiah's 18th year, B.C. 623. There seems to be another reference to this date in the same book, where the time of the iniquity of Judah is said to be 40 years; for the final captivity of Judah (Jeremiah 3:30) was in the 41st year of this reckoning. In the same place (Ezekiel 4:5-6) the time of the iniquity of Israel is said to be 390 years, which sum, added to the date of the captivity of this part of the nation, B.C. 720, goes back to B.C. 1111. This result leads to the indication of possible jubilee dates; for the interval between B.C. 1111 and B.C. 623-2 is 488-9 years, almost exactly ten jubilee periods; and it must be remembered that the seventy weeks of the prophet Daniel seem to indicate the use of such a great cycle.

It remains to be asked whether the accounts of Josiah's reformation present any indications of celebrations connected with the sabbatical system. The finding of the book of the Law might seem to point to its being specially required for some public service. Such a service was the great reading of the Law to the whole congregation at the Feast of Tabernacles in every sabbatical year (Deuteronomy 31:10-13). The finding of the book was certainly followed by a public reading, apparently in the first month, by the king to the whole people of Judah and Jerusalem, and afterwards a solemn passover was kept. Of the latter celebration is it said in Kings, "Surely there was not holden such a passover from the days of the Judges that judged Israel. nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah" (2 Kings 23:22); and in Chronicles, "There was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept" (2 Chronicles 25:18). The mention of Samuel is remarkable, since in his time the earlier supposed date (B.C. 1111) falls. It may be objected that the passover is nowhere connected with the sabbatical reckoning; but these passovers can scarcely have been greater in sacrifices than at least one in Solomon's reign, nor is it likely that they are mentioned as characterized by greater zeal than any others whatever, so that we are almost driven to the idea of some relation to chronology. (See SABBATICAL YEAR); (See JUBILEE).

4. AEras. There are indications of several historical seras having been used by the ancient Hebrews, but our information is so scanty that we are generally unable to come to positive conclusions. Some of these possible aeras may be no more than dates employed by writers, and not national meras; others, however, can scarcely have been used in this special or individual manner from their referring to events of the highest importance to the whole people. (See EPOCH).

(1.) The Exodus is used as an aera in 1 Kings 6:1, in giving the date of the foundation of Solomon's Temple. This is the only positive instance of the occurrence of this sera, for we cannot agree with Ideler that it is certainly employed in the Pentateuch. He refers to Exodus 19:1, and Numbers 33:38 (Handbuch, 1:507). Here, as elsewhere in the same part of the Bible, the beginning of the Exodus-year not, of course, the actual date of the Exodus (see Regnal years, below) is used as the point whence time is counted; but during the interval of which it formed the natural commencement it cannot be shown to be an aera, though it may have been, any more than the beginning of a sovereign's reign is one. (See EXODE).

(2.) The foundation of Solomon's Temple is conjectured by Ideler to have been an aera. The passages to which he refers (1 Kings 9:10; 2 Chronicles 8:1) merely speak of occurrences subsequent to the interval of 20 years occupied in the building of the Temple and the king's house, both being distinctly specified; so that his reading ("Zwanzig Jahre, nachdem Salomo das Haus des Herrn erbaute") leaves out half the statement, and so makes it incorrect (Handb. l. c.). It is elsewhere stated that the building of the Temple occupied seven years (1 Kings 6:37-38), and that of Solomon's house thirteen (1 Kings 7:1), making up the interval of twenty years. (See TEMPLE).

(3.) The aera once used by Ezekiel, and commencing in Josiah's 18th year, we have discussed above. (See JOSIAH); (See EZEKIEL).

(4.) The aera of Jehoiachin's captivity is constantly used by Ezekiel. The earliest date is the 5th year (Ezekiel 1:2), and the latest the 27th (Ezekiel 24:17). The prophet generally gives the date without applying any distinctive term to the aera. He speaks, however, of "the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity" (Ezekiel 1:2), and "the twelfth year of our captivity" (Ezekiel 33:21), the latter of which expressions may explain his constant use of the sera. The same aera is necessarily employed, though not as such, where the advancement of Jehoiachin in the 37th year of his captivity is mentioned (2 Kings 25:27; Jeremiah 52:31). We have no proof that it was used except by those to whose captivity it referred. Its first year was current B.C. 598, commencing in the spring of that year. (See JEHOIACHIN).

(5.) The beginning of the seventy years' captivity does not appear to have been used as an aera; but the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians is occasionally referred to for chronological purposes (Ezekiel 40:1). (See CAPTIVITY).

(6.) The return from Babylon does not appear to be employed as an aera; it is, however, reckoned from in Ezra (Ezra 3:1; Ezra 3:8), as is the Exodus in the Pentateuch. (See EZRA).

(7.) The aera of the Seleucidme is used in the first and second books of Maccabees. (See SELEUCUS).

(8.) The liberation of the Jews from the Syrian yoke in the first year of Simon the Maccabee is stated to have been commemorated by an aera used in contracts and agreements (1 Maccabees 13:41). The years 1, 2, and 3 on the coins ascribed to Simon, (See MONEY); (See SHEKEL), are probably of this aera, although it is related that the right of coining money with his own stamp was not conceded to him until somewhat later than its beginning (1 Maccabees 15:6), for it may be reasonably supposed either that Antiochus VII confirmed privileges before granted by his brother Demetrius II (comp. 1 Maccabees 15:5), or that he gave his sanction to money already issued (Encycl. Brit., 8th ed., s.v. Numismatics, p. 379, 380). (See MACCABEES).

(9.) Regnal Years. By the Hebrews regnal years appear to have been counted from the beginning of the year, not from the day of the king's accession. Thus, if a king came to the throne in the last month of one year, reigned for the whole of the next year, and died in the first month of the third year, we might have dates in his first, second, and third years, although he governed for no more than thirteen or fourteen months. Any dates in the year of his accession before that event, or in the year of his death after it, would be assigned to the last year of his predecessor and the first of his successor. The same principle would apply to reckoning from aeras or important events, but the whole stated lengths of reigns or intervals would not be affected by it.

II. Data. The historical part of Hebrew chronology is not less difficult than the technical. The information in the Bible is indeed direct rather than inferential, although there is very important evidence of the latter kind; but the present state of the numbers makes absolute certainty in some cases impossible. In addition to this difficulty, there are several gaps in the series of smaller numbers which we have no means of supplying with exactness. When, therefore, we can compare several of these smaller numbers with a larger number, or with independent evidence, we are frequently prevented from putting a conclusive test by the deficiencies in the first series. Lately some have laid great stress upon the frequent occurrence of the number 40, alleging that it and 70 are vague terms equivalent to "many," so that "40 years" or "70 years" would mean no more than "many years." Primâ facie this idea would seem reasonable, but on a further examination it will be seen that the details of some periods of 40 years are given, and show that the number is not indefinite where it would at first especially seem to be so. Thus the 40 years in the wilderness can be divided into three periods:

1. From the Exodus to the sending out of the spies was about one year and a quarter (1 year, 1+x [2?] months, Numbers 9:1; Numbers 10:11; comp. Numbers 10:29, showing it was this year, and 13:20, proving that the search ended somewhat after midsummer); 2. The time of search, 40 days (Numbers 13:25); 3. The time of the wandering until the brook Zered was crossed, 38 years (Deuteronomy 2:14)-making altogether almost 39½ years. This perfectly accords with the date (yr. 40, m. 11, d. 1) of the address of Moses after the conquest of Sihon and Og (Deuteronomy 1:3-4), which was subsequent to the crossing of the brook Zered. So, again, David's reign of 40 years is divided into 7 years 6 months in Hebron, and 33 in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 2:11; 2 Samuel 5:5; 1 Chronicles 3:4; but 1 Kings 2:11; 1 Kings 2:7 years, omitting the months, and 33). This, therefore, cannot be an indefinite number, as some might conjecture from its following Saul's 40 years, and preceding Solomon's. The last two reigns, again, could not have been much more or less from the circumstances of the history. The occurrence of some round numbers, therefore, does not warrant our supposing the constant use of vague ones. (See NUMBER).

The attempt to "correct" or improve the Hebrew chronology by means of the data lately deciphered from the Egyptian and Assyrian inscriptions has been a favorite method of late, as was in previous times a similar comparison with the relics of ancient records in heathen authors. But, unfortunately, these statements are so discrepant with one another, and the results vary so widely, as to be of very little practical value for such a purpose. The hieroglyphical data are too fragmentary and disconnected, as well as too uncertainly translated hitherto, to afford any definite chronological chain; and the cuneiform legends do not rise so early as the disputed part of Biblical chronology. (See EGYPT); (See ASSYRIA).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Chronology,'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/c/chronology.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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Thursday, June 4th, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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