A Preliminary Note
Most Ancient Days -- Preface
Chapter 1 -- The Number of the Years: chronology from Adam to Saul
Chapter 2 -- The Age of Evil Imagining: the Confusion and Scatter at Babel
Chapter 3 -- The Generations of the Sons of Noah: the Tabel of Nations
Chapter 4 -- Cities of the Twin Rivers: Shinar from Babel to Sodom
Chapter 5 -- Profane Fables: Egyptian historiagraphy and the standard paradigm
Chapter 6 -- Kings of the Nile: Egypt from Babel to Sodom

Chapter 7 -- Stones of Sumer: Jemdet Nasr and "Early Dynastic"

Chapter 8 -- Sands of Egypt: Dyanasty XIIa & IIa

Chapters 9 & 10 (The Age of Base Metal: The Middle Bronze Age) -- Expanded and presented here.

Chapter 11 -- Joseph Over the House of Pharaoh: Egypt in the 18th century

Chapter 12 -- The Pharaoh Who Knew Not Joseph: The Old Kingdom to the Exodus

Chapter 13 -- Moses Prince of Egypt: Dynasty XIII and the "First Intermediate Period"

Chapter 14 -- Into the Hands of the Living God: the Ten Plagues of Egypt

A Preliminary Note

It has occurred to me that this work deserves a wider reading than its original limited distribution allowed, in the mid-1990s. I will refrain in this brief forward from indulging in many personal references. My most active blog, Forgotten Prophets, overflows with my idiosyncratic ruminations. But I'll share one thing. My relationship with God is not as untroubled as it was in that previous decade. I was tempted to remove any pious sentiments in this work, since they no longer reflect my current state, in God's grace. But I have chosen to leave the work unmolested. I would not dishonor that younger man's naivety, even in the light of my later anguish. He was not wrong, that younger self. I'm wrong. Perhaps I'll emerge from this long wilderness and rejoin the communion. But everyone must pass through his own night.

Regarding this text, I've had great difficulty in posting it. All of the endnote citations have been lost, due to incompatible formats and awkward conversion programs. I could enter the information manually, but I have no reason to, at this point -- my time is limited, and interest in the topic is likely to be limited. Likewise with the charts, graphs and tables -- so far, 5 chapters in, only one has survived. Again, I have hard copies, and I have the original computer files, somewhere. Perhaps over time I'll post them. We shall see. I will be adding chapters, on no particular schedule.

In any case, I hope that any reader of these chapters will be edified. I wrote them in good faith, and I believe my conclusions are correct, in general outline if not in perfect detail. This is copyrighted material, and I trust that fact is honored. Fair use is permitted, and encouraged, but the usual limitations are asserted.


Most Ancient Days: Preface

Most Ancient Days:

A Biblical Reconstruction of Ancient History

from Noah to Saul


Jack H

Copyright 2010


Books by

Jack H:

Idols of the Cave:

the Arguments of Evolution

* * *

The Pillars of Heaven:

Creation, Fall and Flood

According to Science and the Bible

Dragons in the Earth:

Ark and Ice Age

According to Science and the Bible

* * *

The Serpent in Babel:

Fire-worship, Astrology and the Mystery Religion

from Eden to Babylon

* * *

Most Ancient Days:

a Biblical Reconstruction of Ancient History

from Noah to Saul

The Days of Brass and Iron:

a Biblical Reconstruction of Ancient History

from Saul to Alexander


Table of Contents

Preface: World Views

The Age of Legend

1 — The Number of the Years: Biblical Chronology from Adam to Saul

2 — The Age of Evil Imagining: the confusion and scattering at Babel

3 — The Generations of the Sons of Noah: the Table of Nations

4 — Cities of the Twin Rivers: Shinar from Babel to Sodom

5 — Profane Fables: errors of the standard paradigm

6 — Kings of the Nile: Egypt from Babel to Sodom

The Age of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

7 — Stones of Sumer: the "Sumerian Period"

8 — Sands of Egypt: the "Middle Kingdom" & the "Archaic Period"

9, 10 — The Age of Base Metals: the confusion of the Bronze Age

The Scepter of Israel

11 — Joseph Over the House of Pharaoh: Egypt in the 1700's

12 — The Pharaoh Who Knew Not Joseph: the "Old Kingdom" to the Exodus

13 — Moses, Prince of Egypt: Dynasty XIII & the First Intermediate Period

14 — Into the Hands of the Living God: the Ten Plagues of Egypt

15 — Rise Up and Get You Forth: Exodus & Wilderness

Judges Over the Land

16 — Amalek, First of Nations: Dynasties XV & XVI

17 — The Kings of the East: from Sargon to Hammurabi

18 — When There Was No King in Israel: Middle Bronze IIB

19 — The End of Agag: Saul and Ahmose



World Views

Every reasonable person knows our world is billions of years old, and that the course of the planets have affected Earth only in the subtle, distant work of gravity. Everyone knows about the many ice ages, and that humans Evolved from lower forms. Everyone knows about the slow migration out of Africa of the ‛human’ animal which spread and Evolved over the past 100,000 years, and about the gradual increase in the complexity of human culture over scores of thousands of years, and about the 10,000-years-old settlement of Jericho. Everyone knows that there was no Adam and Eve, no Fall from grace, no Flood of Noah, no Tower of Babel, no Long Day of Joshua.

Yet I main­tain otherwise. You have before you a work which some may call lunatic-fringe, on a par with belief in a flat-earth. It may be accused of being religious, or ignorant, or of misusing evidence, or of not meeting the criterion of disinterested­ness which is expec­ted in any work of research. As to that, I trust that evidence and sound reasoning will speak louder than bigotry and ad hominem at­tacks.

I maintain that an issue should be decided on its merit — not on its popularity, and not on how readily it is ridiculed. I maintain that it is evidence, rather than conviction or bias, which should decide an issue. I propose a different set of ‛truths which everybody knows’.

When I was in my early teens, I read all the books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, including the Pellucidar series which told of a fantas­tical, Mesozoic world at the core of our plan­et. Later, at age sixteen, I came across a book by a fellow who insisted that Earth actu­ally was hollow, with openings at the poles. I dimly recall that he used as evidence the fact that icebergs were not salty: where else could such mountains of ice come from, if not from the very poles themselves? What he said about Antarctica I do not recall.

I have encountered flat-earthers, and al­chemists and ritual magicians, and commu­nists and atheists and evolutionists and reincarna­tionists. And I have come to see that, while such world views may be fringe or mainstream, they are all based on uncritical faith and a less-than-rigorous acceptance of ‛evidence’.

Karl Marx spent years in the Library of the British Museum, gathering information which he used to support his argument, with its prediction that the most industrialized nations would be the first to become commu­nist. His analysis of history as the struggle between classes is the absolute soul of his system. The validity of that analysis is not to be questioned by the faithful. But what if the ‛evidence’ which Marx used does not sup­port his thesis? Then his ‛dialectical mate­rialism’ becomes just another system of dual­istic metaphysics — a religion which does­ not know it is a religion.

Hinduism and Buddhism have been swallowed whole by New Agers, who regurgi­tate their faith in a form more palatable to Westerners. The hopelessness of karma is reinter­preted as a system of justice to which is added the es­cape tunnel of mercy. It is okay that women are raped and children tortured and babies murdered or born deformed, because that is karma, and they will get another chance, and they deserve what they get anyway for acts they committed in past lives. The First ‛Noble’ Truth, of Bud­dhism, is that life is pain, and the highest goal of life is to become non-existent. The godhood which reincarnationists claim for themselves does not last, since god ‛itself’ is an illusion — froth which sinks down once more into the sea of nothingness. But while we may put words together in a pretty or poetic way, the image and what is real need not be the same thing.

Atheists point to the fact that God has not in the flesh introduced Himself personally to them or any of their friends, and from this observation they conclude that there is no God. "Everyone who says otherwise is just too uncritical and emotion­al. Those who claim to have had communion with some Creator are de­luded or brain­washed, or simple-minded or insane, or they're engaged in wish-fulfillment, or they can't tell when they're dreaming, or they're wrong in some other way . . . but they are wrong. Only randomness and unobserved laws of nature can explain the existence of ourselves and of the universe," says the atheist. "Only Evolutionism is true."

In my book Idols of the Cave I examine the arguments and the evidence used to support the claim that Evolutionism is scientific. The conclusion is that Evolutionism is a metaphys­ical philosophy dissembling as science, which distorts the fossil record with self-serving interpretations, rewrites the laws of nature, and uses shoddy and distressingly superficial ‛logic’. ‛Disinterestedness’ is not even an issue with regard to Evolutionism, since Evo­lution is absolutely foundational to the mod­ern, naturalistic bias — no more to be ques­tioned than one's own heartbeat.

Again, in The Pillars of Heaven and in Dragons in the Earth, I examine the positive case for Creationism. The age of the universe and of Earth and the six days of Creation, the physics of the Fall of Adam and the world and the great age of the pre-Flood patri­archs, the Flood and the fossil record and the geological evidence of stratified rock and of coal and of continental ‛drift’ and mountain-building, the Ark itself and the subsequent Ice Age — all these questions and more are dealt with from an evi­dentiary perspec­tive. Here, my conclusion is that the more literally one takes the Bible, the closer one comes to reality — always re­membering, of course, that there is such a thing as a figure of speech.

In The Serpent in Babel, I look at the origin and spread of paganism. Myths contain the hints and memories — though thoroughly corrupted — of the days before the Flood and of the time surrounding the confusion at Ba­bel. The characters who were prominent at Babel were made into gods by later genera­tions, and the true religion — known to all who cared to be informed — was perverted into the Mys­tery system which to this very day has obscured the fact that Messiah was prophe­sied long before Osiris died.

Now, in this book, Most Ancient Days, I address what I consider to be the final issue: not philosoph­y or physics or faith, but history. History and truth are dif­ferent things, which may happen to agree. This is not a cynical or fatalistic state­ment, but simply a recognition of the limits of what history is. History is what we are told about the past. If it was not written down, it is not history. It may be arche­ology, or tradition, or myth, or even a correct guess, but it is not history. That some civilization once thrived may be a fact, but unless we can read their writings, or what their neighbors said about them, their civilization is not a histor­ical fact, but rather an archeological fact. And we can learn a great deal from archeology — I do not mean any slight whatsoever. But just as a dentist and a barber do differ­ent jobs, so do the historian and the archeol­ogist. Indeed, archeology is often the predecessor of history, as when libraries or ar­chives are unearthed.

In this and its companion volume, The Days of Brass and Iron, I retell the history of mankind, from a precise beginning, to the Classical Age. We will proceed through his­tory chronologi­cally, as conceived in this reconstruction. I will not deal with one region at a time, but rather I will tell the story straight through. As a result, I cannot deal with, for example, each Egyptian dynasty ac­cording to its numerical order, and this will no doubt be a bit confusing: I am going to be talking about Dynas­ty XII before Dynasty III. Reference to the charts will be very useful. This topic is so large, and so chal­lenging, that it must be, unavoidably, confus­ing. Where my prose fails, I hope the charts and tables will be of help, and visa ver­sa. They are meant to complement each other.

In presenting this information, I affirm that I am certainly not disinterested in the con­clu­sion. But my ‛yes’ means ‛yes’, and with that in mind I assert that I have striven to let the evidence speak for itself. In dealing with ancient history, the first and most troublesome prob­lem is the lack of evidence, and the often contradictory reports of those elder histori­ans who wrote before our ‛modern’ age. From the data, some information must be accept­ed, and some dismissed as corrupt. I have not given every detail, but I have given what I judge to be the relevant information. This is what every theorist does, and must do.

I have depended on the prior, ground brea­king research of other writers, most promi­nently Immanuel Velikovsky. In his initial intuition that post-Exodus Egyptian chronology is grossly misunderstood, and in his proposal of an interplanetary cause for earthly catastrophes, Velikovsky arrived at great insight, and has significantly eased the task which I set for myself. He started with the Exodus, and allowed the logical implications to demand that conven­tional chronology be revised. While I dis­a­gree with some of what he proposes, this work would be significantly less detailed without his trailblazing effort.

In another sense, however, Velikovsky is irrele­vant: the Bible demands a revision, and Veli­kovsky's greatest contribution was in provid­ing an example of courage. For the most part, he revised only the history of post-Exodus Egypt. A more orderly approach must bring us to the same conclusions, except that it is clear that the whole of ancient history must be corrected.

I started with the assumption that the Bible contained a recoverable and valid chronolo­gy. From this assumption, the requirement immediately appeared that ancient history as it is commonly under­stood be revised. Making some simple and reasonable judgments (and with the aid of Assyrian and Persian king lists), we can firm­ly date the Flood, the days of Abraham and Joseph, the Exodus and the reign of Saul. With some rigorous research, we can date the confusion at Babel, and mark this as the start of the Empire of Nimrod. When we tie the end of his grandson Ur-Lugal's reign to the death of Amra­phel, the outline comes into pretty clear fo­cus. But the dates which the Bible gives are in harsh contradiction to standard chronology. Precisely how the confusion of the standard model of ancient history may be made rational, is the subject of this book.

Since virtu­al­ly all of the more ancient dates produced by the conven­tional con­struction of history are in harsh contradic­tion with the data from the Bible, I will provide both systems, for ease of ref­er­ence. To indicate the normal but incor­rect dates, they will always be preceded by a symbol which indicates the specific erroneous timeline of some region and era.

The Old Babylonian (OB) timeline, generally off by about 700 years, is indicated by an as­terisk [*]. Thus, the dates for Hammu­rabi (the great king of the Old Babylo­nian dynas­ty) are 1069-26/ *1792-50 — the first set is my cor­rec­tion, and the second is the standard albeit incorrect version of the OB timeline. Also relevant is the Egyptian timeline, which is utterly unpredictable, with no rule to guide us (due to the erroneous order of the Dynasties). This Egyptian timeline is indicated by an "equivalent" sign [≡] — suggesting both an E, and also the three kingdoms of Egyptian history. Of less importance in this volume is the Amarna/ Ashurite timeline [↕] (off by about 500 years), and the erratic Minoan/ Mycenaean/ Homeric [μ] and Anatolian/ Hittite [☼] timelines. Finally, dates or numbers which are simply wrong are indicated by double exclamation points [‼].

Now, there are passages in this work which may well be nothing but boring. I have given details of pharaohs about which almost nobody is likely to care. This is not an eat-your-vegetables book. If you are not interested in the topic of a paragraph, skim it or skip it. It is far more important that you see the over-all picture, than that you understand the minutia of archeology or historiography. But for the sake of completeness, and since it is in the details that a matter is established, I have been, admittedly, overly-precise.

But aside from the great wash of details, and behind the rigors of logic, the overriding theme of this book is that there is a God, who wrote a book by which we may come to know His character and the way to gain salvation — through Jesus Christ. I will not preach in this work, but that the Bible is true and Jesus is Lord is the backdrop against which every word appears. Some will take this clear statement of my bias as disqualifying my conclusions from serious scholarship. I offer no defense. Everyone has a religion. I state mine up front, and expect evidence to determine truth.

Chapter 1 -- The Number of the Years: chronology for Adam to Saul

Chapter 1

The Number of the Years:

Chronology from Adam to Saul

In the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by books the number of the years . . .

— Dan 9:2

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness . . .

— 2 Tim 3:16

The Bible is the family tree of Jesus. The first verses of the first book of the Old Testament speak of the generation by Jesus of Creation. The first verses of the first book of the New Testament speak of the generation of Jesus through his ancestors. The last ver­ses of the last book of the Old Testa­ment speak of the Com­ing of Jesus. The last verses of the last book of the New Testa­ment speak of the Second Coming of Jesus. The en­tire Bible tells a single story, of the coming of the Redeemer. This is not pious blathering — it is demonstra­ble fact.

Jesus is on every page of the Old Testa­ment. When the Holy of Holies was veiled, it spoke of man's separa­tion from God; when once each year the High Priest entered in, alone, it spoke of Jesus the High Priest, whose priest­hood never ends. When the scapegoat was driven from the camp, it spoke of the rejec­tion of Jesus. When Moses raised up the bra­zen serpent in the wilder­ness, it was a sign of the judge­ment of sin on the Cross. But the plan of the Bible could not be seen until the canon was com­pleted by the New Testament. Noah stopped his account — trans­mitted to Moses, and so to us, in pictographs — at Gen 6:9. Shem stopped writing at Gen 11:10. The abrupt stop gave no hint of any continuation — but the theme is taken up again by a new writ­er, who carries the story along through new chapters.

The entire Bible is a chronolo­gy, having a single theme: the ge­nealogy of one Man. Only the line leading to Christ is given chronologi­cal benchmarks. Eldest sons are often ig­nored: Seth, Shem, Abram, Isaac, Ja­cob, Judah, David are all younger sons, but highlighted by the Bible. The children of Cain are listed, but with no time frame. The clans of Edom are given, but only as a list of names. The lives of Moses and Aaron are de­tailed, but without those neces­sary details which we find in the chronological tables, of the age of their father at the time of their births. From Adam to Abraham, there exists a record of an unbroken line of descent, and of one only, in which line the chronology is ac­cura­tely preserved and safe­guarded from error by the simple expedient of giving the father's age, in each genera­tion, when that particu­lar son was born through whom the line was to be continued . . .

Of the sons of Noah, only the line of Shem is associated with a chronology, while those of Ham and Japheth are simply recounted, without reference to any time frame except that of the event at Babel. Japheth's lineage is most vague, concluding with the statement that the gentiles divided in their lands according to their tongue, families, nations. Ham's line notes Nimrod's kingdom, starting with Babel. And Shem's line remembers the division of tongues in Peleg, in whose days the earth was divided.

The Bible is about Israel, of course, but only in its rela­tionship to God. The plot focuses on Israel, but the theme is God's plan for the redemp­tion not only of Israel, but of all humanity. This is an important distinc­tion — just as when we point at the moon, we do not focus on the fin­ger, so when we read the Bible, the hero is not man, but God — Fa­ther, Son and Spirit.

Now, all this is theology, which is fine, since God and His plan is the theme of this work. But the plot is history. And there is an obvious con­flict between history as it is told in the Bible, and the construction of his­tory as we have it now, pieced togeth­er thousands of years later by human­istic historians. The evidence which these historians used to weave their tale will be studied in this work, but for now, let's con­sider their attitude toward the Bible.

The books of the Old Testament that deal with the early history of Israel are not his­torical narratives in the usual sense of the term. Rather, they are collections of remi­nis­cenc­es, of greater or lesser reliability, writ­ten down several cen­turies after the events they describe and rearranged and edited many times since. As they stand, therefore, they contain many anachro­nisms, contradictions, and obscurities . . .” At one level, of course, this is an aggressively offensive state­ment, to people who take the Bible on its own terms rather than on the subjective terms of those who for their own rea­sons can­not accept the idea of an actu­al God with an actual personali­ty who gives actual revelations. But more to the point for our purposes, this quote reveals the assumptions of the sec­ular arrangement of his­tory.

What are these ‛contradictions’ which the Bible supposedly contains? Well, for example, There are two conflicting accounts of the route the Isra­elites took through Transjordan, one (Num. 33) suggesting a direct route through Edom and Moab, the other (Num 20:12 ff. and Judg. 11:17) telling of a long detour through the desert to the east of these countries.” What can I say? Open up a Bible and see if this is a fair statement. It is in­credi­ble. This is the kind of abject stupid­ity that smart people fall into — where, instead of letting a text say what it says, one's active imagination inserts objec­tions and explains away the clear mean­ing. I have spent much time deal­ing with the superfi­cial — as of Evol­utionism — and all I can say is that this is just another such example.

It is an absolute fact, in my judg­ment, that if the humanistic reconstruc­tion of ancient history is correct, then the Bible truly is just a grab-bag of half-accurate reminiscences. But, again, the secular hypothesis — though truly elaborate — is the less elegant and ulti­mately less defensible theory, when com­pared to the chronology of his­tory which I am proposing in this work.

But why should we suppose that the Bible has any more au­thority, any more claim to truth, than the imaginings of atheis­tic schol­ars? What is so special about the Bible? Briefly, of all the scriptures of any world religion, only the Bible contains prophecy. The atheist tries to explain away the accuracy of prophecies by saying that they were insert­ed after the fact. But the evidence for such a claim is [a] the fact that prophecy is accurate, and [b] the assumption that there can be no such thing as prophecy. So, the first reason I would give for taking the Bible as the final authori­ty, is that it exhibits qual­ities which may well be characterized as su­pernatu­ral. It demonstrates a mastery of the future, by which the prophets may be tested.

In terms of textual criticism or manuscript evi­dence, the prophetic books of the Bible clearly have internal consistency. The same can be said of virtually all supposed contra­dictions. Rather than defend this state­ment, I simply refer any reader to, say, Glea­son Archer's A Survey of Old Testa­ment Intro­duction, or his Encyclopedia of Bible Diffi­cul­ties. The Bible has a unity of world-view which spans the thousands of years of its com­position (thousands, since Genesis contains the "Book of Adam"). In aesthetic terms, it has an undeniably lofty style, wed­ded to an un­yield­ingly realistic awareness of human na­ture. Despite the dogma of modernism and so­cialism, history every­where demonstrates that man is a sinner who sometimes acts nobly, ra­ther than a saint who sometimes sins.

While other "religious" writings con­jure up a flaccid cos­mogony, as vague and mal­leable as a child's lie, the Bible is, again, just unique. A superficial reading of the first few chapters of Genesis has led some people into confusion, but a studied reading leads to concrete insight: I refer any doubter to the first few chapters of my book, The Pillars of Heaven, which deals with the natural sciences.

In terms of the focus of this work — his­tory — the Bible is utterly unique, in pre­ser­ving the unbroken story of mankind from abso­lute earliest times into Classical times. People who do not have a firm grasp on ancient history may not appreciate what this means.

The most ‛palpable’ difference between the early chapters of Genesis and all other forms of religious literature is the fact of [the Bible's] objec­tive historical character. The reli­gions of Greece and Rome, of Egypt and Persia, of India and the East, did not even postulate a historical basis.” This histo­ricity is no incidental fluke: it is absolute­ly fundamental to both the Hebrew and the Chris­tian faiths. If God did not make literal promises to Abraham, the Jews are not chosen. If there was no first Adam, there is no last Adam — Christ (2Cor 15:45). Because Abraham lived, the Jews were chosen; because Adam lived, Jesus Christ is Savior. Bultmann and Frazier may place the Bible on the same shelf as the Brothers Grimm and the Bhagavad Gita, but to do so is to make the Bible a liar — and the evidence, when objectively viewed, will not allow such a conclusion.

Where pagans find their origins in the nebulous murk of mythology, the Bible is ex­plicit. Even the gentiles remember traditions of the young age of the world. But the Bible is unique. We might look at it as the world's oldest textbook of history: appar­ently it did not enter into the minds of any of the scribes and schol­arly men of those early nations to preserve connec­ted his­torical re­cords, year by year (dating from some definite era), as has been the uni­ver­sal practice of the modern nations.” Even the Assyrian chroni­cles do not succeed here, since the dates depended on the whim of the king. The Hebrews are the only exception: the Bible pays such close attention to chrono­logi­cal details that it is possible to account for every year since the Fall! This chrono­logy is 100% consis­tent — there are no con­tra­dictions. I do not just assert this — I demonstrate it, as we shall see. The Bible is the only source of chronolo­gy prior to the first mil­lennium bc, and even more impressive, it uses origi­nal documents, the chroni­cles of eyewit­nesses. We will consider the writings of an­cient Egypt and Mesopotamia, but for now it is enough to stress the merely local charac­ter, of place and era, of such pagan writings.

Let's test my assertions as to the cohe­siveness of the Bible, using the book of Gene­sis. This book of beginnings is com­posed of 12 individu­al books, most with titles pre­served; they were written over about 2½ thousand years, by various pa­tri­archs, Adam to Joseph. Moses edited these books together into a single scroll, but they have the force of primary docu­ments. The first six of these separate books are identi­fied accord­ing to the cunei­form convention of the colophon, or end title. There is confu­sion on this point, which has led to the same word being vari­ously translat­ed as ‛histo­ry’, ‛gen­era­tions’, ‛account’, or ‛ori­gin’; this word, tohledah, is used ten times in the titles of such books. (Before I give the de­tails, let's under­stand that the conventional read­ing, by which the titles are made to pre­cede their books, is reason­able, so there is no place for arro­gance in this discussion.)

The first book (Gen 1:1 to 2:4) is named The History of the Heavens and the Earth, and tells of events witnessed in their entirety only by God. This book was no doubt given to Adam, as the Revelation was given to John. The second book of Gen­esis (2:5 to 5:1a) is called The Book of the His­tory of Adam,○ and re­lates Ad­am's expe­riences in Eden and after the Fall. Cain's line is included here, either edited in by Moses, or written by Adam, who would have chro­ni­cled his wretched son's descen­dants. The third book (5:1b to 6:9a) is called The His­tory of Noah, and con­tains a detailed gene­alogy, up until Noah was 500 years old, at the births of his three sons. The book ends with God's an­nouncement of the coming Flood. (Notice that this book could not be by Adam, since it records the birth of Noah, who was born after Adam died.)

These first three books would have been transmitted to successive generations through pictographic, rather than phonet­ic (e.g., cuneiform) or even ideographic writing (e.g., Chi­nese). I have concluded this on deductive grounds, since writ­ing simply does not appear in the archeological record until long after the Confusion at Babel — in fact, not until the very life­time of Abraham. Presumably, some symbolic system of notations was used prior to this time, but it could not be con­sidered proper writ­ing. The visual medium which the earliest patriarchs used would have been supple­mented by the poetry of epic and song. Whether Moses was using these very earliest pictographic documents, or translations written by, say, Shem or Abraham, is unknowable.

The fourth book (Gen 6:9b to 10:1a, 10:1b to 32) is called The History of Shem, Ham and Japheth, not because it is about them, but because it is by them. These men start the book by stating their father's character: righ­teous — it was not Noah boasting about himself, but rather the respect of his sons which caused these words to be written. In this book, they detail their father's life and events which occurred during and after the Flood. As a part of this book the genealogies of these three sons are includ­ed, in the second part of the book, which is subtitled The Families of the Sons of Noah.

The fifth book (Gen 11:1 to 10a) is called The History of Shem, who was, as it were, the High Priest of the post-Flood world. Noah lived for 350 years into the new era, but he was not really a part of it. This brief book is a moralistic narra­tive of the continuing rebellion of humanity, which led to the Tower of Babel event. In my book, The Serpent in Babel, I greatly expand upon this story, and upon the reason that it is Shem in particular who writes this section. The sixth book (11:10b to 27a) is called The History of Terah, and is a straight­forward genealogy, from Shem to Terah at age 70, when the older brothers of Abram were born. (Since it was by Terah, it does not include the life of Abra­ham).

Notice the structure of these books. The first and fourth books tell of the creation of ‛new’ worlds; the first is told by the Trini­ty, and the fourth by the trio of Noah's sons. The second and fifth books (of Adam and Shem) tell of survival through God's judgement, first in the Fall, and then in the Confusion of tongues. The third and sixth books (of Noah and Terah) each give genealogies of ten generations, and stop at the births of three sons.

The rest of Genesis has three main parts, tell­ing the story of Abraham, of Isaac and Jacob, and of Joseph in Egypt. Much more personal detail is given, because the stories were written not pictograph­ically, but in literary form. What the system of writing was I cannot say, but the cuneiform convention of the colophon is interrupted by genealo­gies.

Book seven (Gen 11:27b to 25:11) includes the biography of Abra­ham. The name of this book as been excluded, and the use of the colo­phon is suspended. Thus book eight is the straight­for­ward Gene­alogy of Ishmael (25:12 to 18), followed by book nine, The His­tory of Isaac (25:19 to 26:35). After this, the biog­raphy of Jacob is taken up in book ten, called The History of Jacob (through Gen 37:2a); this book is interrupted by book eleven, the two­fold Genealogies of Esau (36:1 to 8 & 9 to 43). Fi­nal­ly, the untitled twelfth book relates the story of Joseph, which takes up the rest of Genesis (37:2b to 50:26) — if it was not written by Joseph himself, it is perhaps more the work of Moses than any other part of Genesis.

Exodus takes up the story after several generations had passed. It has an entire­ly different style than most of Genesis — ex­cept perhaps the story of Joseph — since it is not an archi­val collec­tion of the histories of ancestors, but instead the living experience of Moses him­self. Rather than maintain the ar­chaic style of the tablets, Moses abandons the colophon, and identifies his theme at the be­gin­ning, as the story of the sons of Israel in Egypt (Ex 1:1).

Secular history is founded on fragments only, as of the legendary Synchroni­athon of the Babylonian Berosus, or the quot­ed scraps of the Egyptian Manetho — both of whom were pagan priests of the third century bc. All their original books have been lost, and we have only spotty quotations. Only when we get to Ptole­my, of the second century ad, do we have a foundation for a comprehensive chrono­logi­cal system (not just a history, such as that of Diodorus of Sicily), in his list of Persian kings, from Cyrus the Great to Alexan­der the Great. Upon this ‛canon’ all modern chronolo­gists have built their systems, and this for the simple reason that there is noth­ing else, apart from the Bible, for them to build on.” Ptolemy wrote seven hundred years after the events he describes, and cites no au­thorities. Worse, he is contradicted by Josephus, by the Per­sian traditions recorded by Fidusi, by the Jewish traditions in the Sedar Olam, and by the timing of well-known events. Worst of all, he is in conflict with the chronology of the Bi­ble, report­edly by eighty years. This is a problem in terms of history (rather than of religion), because the Bible is primary docu­mentation, of eyewit­ness­es, whereas Ptolemy's account has the weight of mere gossip. Like­wise, for Egyptian chro­nolo­gy, Mane­tho is taken as the prima­ry autho­rity for the order and succes­sion of the pha­raohs, al­though we shall have cause to dismiss out of hand such a foun­dation (see Chapter 5).

Only in the first millenni­um bc does any concreteness come to define the gentile concept of history. And just when the "time of the gentiles" is start­ing, biblical and pagan chronologies are tied to­gether, in the first verse of Jeremiah 25: The fourth year of Jeho­iachim, which was the first year of Nebu­chad­nezzer.” This is the anchor of world chro­no­logy. At precisely the time when secular sources become verifi­able, through the estab­lishing of a ‛world’ empire, the Bible allows a correla­tion. In­deed, Nebu­chadnezzer was the very first world leader to be explicitly ap­pointed to that of­fice by God. With the recov­ery of the writ­ings of the Assyr­ians, other keys to chronolo­gy can be found, pushing secu­lar chronology further back. But we shall have much opportu­nity to study the breaks, the gaps, the "dark ages" of standard history — enough to re­al­ize that there is no truly uni­fied account of history, other than the Bible.

It is easy enough to make the claims I have made. But Table 1-2 — Benchmarks of Biblical Chronology — should demonstrate the validity of such claims. Rather than spend many words repeating the information of the table, I will just explain a few points. First, I assume that there are no gaps in the genealogies of the Bible, except those which are specifically indicated. Even conservative scholars have assumed that there are gaps, in order to make the Bible fit into the humanistic time frame. I reject this compro­mise not out of some hyper-orthodoxy or over-zealous piety, but because, as we shall see, the evidence does not warrant such a scheme.

Next, the year 931 bc for the end of Solomon is taken from cor­re­spon­dences with the Assyrian records. If these records are not as straightforward as has been assumed, then all the bc dates will need to be adjusted accordingly. But this is not an im­portant issue, since the true value of chro­nol­ogy is not in any absolute date, but rather in the power to draw out correspondenc­es and relationships.

Next, I have assumed that Abram was not born when his father was age 70 (2126 bc), but rather that this was Terah's age when his sons Nahor and/ or Haran were born. In fact, Abram was 60 years youn­ger than one or both of his broth­ers, as we may conclude from the immedi­ate context of Gen 11:32 & 12:1. Here, Abram left Haran at age 75 (c. 2036 bc), shortly after his fa­ther had died at age 205; calcu­lating back, we find that Terah was age 130 when Abram was born (2066 bc), 60 years af­ter the older sons were born. Aside from the con­textual evidence we have just seen, the an­cient rabbis said that when the sons of Ham crowned Nimrod as their king, Nimrod chose Terah, fa­ther of Abram, as his gen­er­al. If we take this statement as having historical sub­stance, it forbids Abram's birth before his brothers (as the conven­tional interpretation of Gen 11:26 would have it), since Nimrod's con­quests would long since have been complet­ed, and Terah would simply be too young. Be that as it may, if this as­sumption is incor­rect, it has no relevance to the dates of Abram, but it would pull all the pre-Abram dates 60 years clos­er to us — which itself would have no meaningful ef­fect on the thesis of this work.

Finally, the duration of Israel's Bondage in Egypt is almost always misunderstood, imagined to have lasted almost half a millennium, based on Ex 12:40, which says that Israel sojourned in Egypt for 430 years. The meaning of this verse is clarified by the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament): And the sojourning of the children of Israel, while they sojourned in the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan, was four hundred and thirty years.” The 430 years were counted from the days of Abraham, since he exiled himself from the Promised Land by descending into Egypt. We will look at this period later, but here I will just supplement my chronology by citing Josephus, who says in Book 11 of his Antiquities that 220 years passed from the death of Isaac until the Exodus; this is only five years off from my calculations, and if anyone can find my error, I will be greatly edified. In the mean time I assume that it is Josephus who miscalculated. All of the other evidence is given in Table 1-2, so need not be explicated here.

Related to this, I suggest, is the fact that the Babylonians used a calendaric cycle of 480 years, called "the Era of Isis." It may be just a coincidence, but Semiramis/ Isis came to power precisely around 2041 bc (see Chapter 6), and 480 years after this is the year 1561, the year of the Exodus — a significant benchmark if ever there was one.

More detail is given in Table 1-3, Biblical Chronology from Noah to Saul. It should be enough to say that the left-hand column gives the years since the Fall of Adam — Anno Mundi — and the right-hand column gives the years Before Christ (the secondary right-hand column gives dates based on the assumption that Abraham was older than his brothers). All dates which are used in this book will be based on my biblical chronology.

The center-left column of the following table gives all the strict­ly chronological data, from which any reader should be able to verify my conclu­sions; the center-right col­umn gives points of inter­est — some of these dates are best-esti­mates, or taken from traditional writ­ings. If any reference has been omitted, it is by acci­dent. The style is somewhat tele­graphic, but I trust a bit of thought will make it clear.

After the table of Biblical Chronology is a chart correlating the several timelines of the true blocks of history. This scheme is the key to understanding my reconstruction of the whole of ancient history. Throughout this book, this chart should be helpful; the companion volume, The Days of Brass and Iron, includes a continuation of this graphic presentation.


Biblical Chronology from

Adam to Saul


Antediluvian Era


1. Adam's Fall

Genesis 5



2. Seth born; Adam age 130



3. Enosh born; Seth age 105



4. Cainan born; Enosh age 90



5. Maha­lale­el born; Cainan age 70



6. Jar­ed born; Mahalaleel age 65



7. Enoch born; Jared age 162



8. Methuse­lah born; Enoch age 65



9. Lamech born; Methuselah age 187



1. Adam dies, age 930



7. Enoch translated, age 365



2. Seth dies, age 913



10. Noah born; Lamech age 182

[From Adam to Noah, 10 generations]



3. Enosh dies, age 905



4. Cainan dies, age 910



5. Mahalaleel dies, age 895



6. Jared dies, age 962



Flood announced (Gen 6), Ark started



11. Shem born; Noah age 502



9. Lamech dies, age 777



8. Methuselah dies, age 969; Noah age 600, Shem age 98; Flood (Gen 7:6)




12. Arphaxad born; Shem age 100

two years after Flood (Gen 11:10); Noah age 602



13. Salah born; Arphaxad age 35



14. Eber born; Salah age 30



15. Peleg born; Eber age 34



16. Rue born; Peleg age 30



17. Serug born; Rue age 32


325 before Shem's death, his rule starts in Erech



18. Nahor born; Serug age 30



19. Terah born; Nahor age 29



Tower of Babel event, Nimrod, Peleg age 125



Terah age 70; Nahor/ Haran born



15. Peleg dies, age 239. Traditional year of Babel event, 340 years after Flood.



18. Nahor dies, age 148



10. Noah dies, age 950



20. Abram born; Terah age 130

[From Noah to Abram, 10 generations]



16. Rue dies, age 239



17. Serug dies, age 230


Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

19. Terah d. 205 (Gen 11:32).



Abram, 430 years (starts Gen 12:10; cf Ex 12:40-41; Heb 11:8-13) to Sinai (Gal 3:17).

Abram 75 (Gen 12:4) when he entered Canaan and into Egypt (12:10): Plague on Pharaoh (12:17)


War of Mesopotamian four kings (14:1,4, 9)


10 years later, Abram m. Hagar (16:13)



Abram age 86, Ishmael born (16:16; 17:24)



12. Arphaxad dies, age 438



Abraham age 99, Sarah age 90 (Gen 17:17, 21,24, 18:10), Ish­mael age 13 (17:25), cir­cumci­sion, everlasting cove­nant; Sodom & Gomor­rah (Gen 19). Abraham Sarah and Abime­lech (24:).



21. Isaac born (17:21, 21:5, 18:10); Abra­ham age 100; Sarah age 91



Start 400 year (Gen 15:13) so­journ of Abra­ham's seed (Gen 21:12; Acts 7:6; Gen 27:9).

Isaac age 5, proclaimed heir by feast of wean­ing, (Gen 21:8-10, Gal 4:29-30). Ban­ishment of Hagar and Ishma­el.



13. Salah dies, age 433



Sarah dies, age 127 (23:1); Isaac as sacri­fice, age 36



Isaac marries, age 40 (25:20). Chasm in Delta



11. Shem dies, age 600. Height of Ice Age.



22. Jacob born; Isaac age 60, Abra­ham 160.



20. Abraham dies, age 175 (25:7)



14. Eber dies, age 464



Esau marries, age 40 (26:34); Isaac age 100



Ishmael dies, age 137 (25:17).



Jacob in Padam Aram, northern Mesopotamia by Ha­ran, age 77 (Gen 28); Isaac old” age 137 (27:1)



Jacob age 84; worked 7 years, marries both Leah and Ra­chel (works another 7 years) (29:30)



Ruben born to Leah



Simeon born, L


Levi born L



Judah born L

Bilhah (Rachel): Dan


Naphtali B (R)

Zilpah (Leah): Gad


Asher born Z

Issachar L


23. Joseph born; Jacob age 91

Zebulun L

Joseph born to Rachel

Jacob had served 14 years (30:25)



Dinah L


Jacob age 97, returns to Canaan (31:41)



Dinah raped, age 15, Hamor (T-12, Levi)



Benjamin born to R, near Bethlehem (35:19), then Jacob in Hebron (35:27, 37:14). Joseph age 17 (37:1-2), into Egypt.



21. Isaac dies, age 180 (Gen 35:28)



Joseph age 30, before Pha­raoh (41:46)


Sons of Joseph born (41:50)


Joseph age 37, end of plen­ty



Jacob age 130 (47:9);

Joseph age 39

2 years of famine, Jacob into Egypt (45:6, 11).

Of Jacob's descendants, 66 into Egypt, not coun­t­ing him­self or Joseph (46:26); 70 inclu­d­ing him, Joseph & two sons (46:27); all his kin, 75 (Acts 7:14), after LXX, count­ing 2 sons of Man­as­sah & 3 of Eph­raim



7th year of famine; Zoser's inscription


Time of Job's troubles; ending of Ice Age



22. Jacob dies, age 147 (Gen 47:28); Joseph age 56 — Levi age 60, Kohath born??


Nile flows with honey



23. Joseph dies, age 110 (50:22). Simeon dies, age 115 or 120 (5 year con­tra­diction in T-12). 712 years after Flood.



Ruben dies, 2 years after Joseph (T-12) [age 118 or 125; 7 year con­tradic­tion in T-12]


Zebulon dies, age 114 (T-12 says 32 after Jo­seph's death)


Levi age 119, Kohath 59??, Amram born??



Judah dies, age 119 (T-12)


Dan dies, age 125 years (T-12)


Issachar dies, age 122 (T-12)


Asher dies, age 125 (T-12)


Gad dies, age 127 (T-12)


Naphtali, age 132 (T-12)


Levi dies, age 137 (Ex 6:16). Fourth generation (14:16) from Levi is return: Kohath, Amram, Moses all born and died out of Promised Land.



Benjamin dies, age 125 (T-12). Egyptian war with Canaan



Era of Moses


Moses born

Kohath age 118?? Amram age 59?? Moses born.

64 years between Joseph's death and Moses' birth



Kohath son of Levi dies?? age 133 (6:18). Job dies, if age of 140 dou­bled.



Joshua born



Moses flees, age 40 (Ex 2:11); Amram 99??



Caleb born

era of Sargon I



Amram son of Kohath dies?? age 137 (6:20)



Moses age 80 (Ex 7:7)

— End 430 for Abraham (Ex 12:40-41); end 400 for seed (Gen 15:13, Acts 7:6).

— Start "480 years" (1 K 6:1) of Ta­berna­cle The­ocra­cy — 594 years total, less 7 periods of oppres­sion which to­tal 114 years.

Exodus 1/15 (Ex 12:2, 41-2; Num 33:3); Sin 2/15 (Ex ); Si­nai 3/15?? ‛the same day’ (Ex 19:1). Law, after moun­tain 3 days (Ex 19:3,11).

857 years after Flood



Caleb age 40, (Josh 14:7)

Tabernacle, 1/1 (Ex 40:17); Leviticus 1/1-2/1 (Num 1:1); Num­bers 2/1-2/20 — census done, leave Sinai for Paran (Num 10:11); 12 spies 2nd month (Num 13:3)



Moses dies, age 120

See Gen 15:16. Miriam dies, 1st month (Num 33:36); Aaron dies, 5th month (Num 20:23-33:8). Census 11th month (Deut 1:3). Moses dies 12/1, mourning 30 days (Deut 34:8).



Cross Jordan, 1/3 (Josh 3:2). Jericho earthquake just after Pass­over (5:10). c. March 13


Long day, around Passover, c. March 21



Caleb age 85 (Josh 14:10)

Land of Canaan is divided; 14 years of peace.



Joshua dies, age 110 (Josh 24:29)


Era of Judges


oppression 8

— Starts 450 years of Judg­es (Acts 13:20).

Cushan of Mesopotamia (Judg 3:8) [Inkishush of Gutium]. Paul says about 450, but exact if count op­pres­sion.



Othneil 40

(Judg 3:11)



oppression 18

Eglon of Moab (Judg 3:14)



Ehud 80

(Judg 3:30); his captain is Shamgar (3:31)



oppression 20

Jabin of Canaan (Judg 4:3)



Barak/ Deborah 40

(Judg 5:31); disaster 5:4,5



oppression 7

Midian (Judg 6:1)



Gideon 40




oppression 3

King Abimalech son of Gideon, (Judg 9:22)



Tola 23

(10:1, 2)



Jair 22

(10:3, 5)



oppression 18

Ammonites (10:8, 18; 11:1)



Jephtha 6

(12:7). Had occupied Land for "300 years", (Judg 11:26) — roun­ded from 333 years since the Land was di­vided.



Izban 7




Elon 10

(12:11); Eli born



Abdon 8




oppression 40

Philistines (13:1); includes Samson's 20 years (15:20). Sam­son doesn't fit pattern (2:18).



Eli 40

(1 Sam 4:18), age 58; Samuel born



Saul born (1Sam 13:1)



Samuel 20

(1 Sam 7:2, 15, 8:1); at most age 40



Ends 450 years of Judges (Acts 13:20); disaster (1S 7:10)


United Israel


Saul 40

(Acts 13:21); Samuel age 60 = ‛old’ (8:1); Isbo­sheth born