Old Testament Dates

Often in reading one of the Old Testament books, one will run across the mention of a specific date, such as in Jeremiah 39.2: “In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, a breach was made in the city.” The information below translates such dates into those we more easily recognize.

First, it provides a set of calendar year dates for the kings of Judah and Israel, based upon the work of Thiele and Galil as filtered through Cogan, and Kitchen. As far as I am aware, this scheme is the only one with these precise dates, but they are better fitting to the history of the period than are the dates in Cogan (which don’t take account of the co-regnal data, apparently) and those of Kitchen (which, despite his typically formidable reputation for chronological studies, still appear to be consistently one year either too early or late throughout, in the dates for the later kings of Judah, especially). Further input comes from the old but still useful work of Parker and Dubberstein, and an article of Nadav Na’aman, of particular use in determining the proper dates to associate with the reign of Hezekiah, based on some Assyrian psources.

Several things are important to keep in mind in using this information, especially the chart of reigns below. Firstly, the years given correspond to calendar years. Secondly, these years begin with Nisan in the case of Judah, and Tishri in the case of Israel. This makes best sense out of the synchronisms given between the two kingdoms. Also note that all the details of synchronisms, accession years, etc, are not explicitly marked here. Of the several ways to present the data, this seemed the most informative and efficient. For instance, Ahaz of Judah participated in a lengthy co-regency with Jotham, as indicated by the synchronisms describing Hoshea of Israel’s accession (2 Kgs 15.30; 17.1). The dates and length of reign given here are intended to indicate those official lengths as given precisely in those notices in the 1-2 Kings regnal notifications. The underlining of the names of certain kings of Israel indicates the end of a dynasty with that ruler. Many of the dates below the chart rely upon these dates.

Reigns of the Kings of Judah and Israel

Saul c. 1045-1005 David c. 1005-965
Ish-bosheth c. 1005-1003 Solomon 970-930
Judah Israel
Rehoboam 930-913 Jeroboam 932-911
Abijah 914-911 Nadab 912-911
Asa 912-871 Baasha 911-888
    Elah 888-887
    Zimri 887 (7 days)
    Tibni 887-882 (rival)
    Omri 887-872
Jehoshaphat 873-848 Ahab 874-853
Jehoram 849-842 Ahaziah 853-852
Ahaziah 842-841 Jehoram 852-841
Athaliah 841-835 Jehu 841-814
Joash 835-796 Jehoahaz 822-806
Amaziah 804-775 Jehoash 805-791
Azariah 787-734 Jeroboam II 791-750
Jotham 750-730 Zechariah 750-749 (6 months)
    Shallum 749 (1 month)
    Menahem 748-738
    Pekahiah 738-736
Ahaz 731-715 Pekah 736-731
Hezekiah 715-686   (backdated 750-)
Manasseh 696-641 Hoshea 731-722
Amon 641-639    
Josiah 639-608    
Jehoahaz 608-607 (3 months)    
Jehoiakim 607-597    
Jehoiachin 597 (3 months)    
Zedekiah 597-586    

Dates Found in the Prophetical and Historical Books

Short notes are included where necessary. Note that the dates given reflect the setting of the various books and passages, not necessarily the dates of their composition (as in the case of Jonah, most notably). Likewise, note that precise dates below are (as in Parker and Dubberstein) according to the Julian Calendar, not the Gregorian:

Isaiah c. 750-700 max=775-686, min=735-715
6.1: 735  
7.1: 730-715  
14.28: 715  
20.1: 712  
36.1: 701  
Jeremiah c. 627-586  
1.2: 627-626  
1.3: August 586  
3.6: 639-608  
25.1: 604-603  
25.3: 627-626  
26.18: 715-686 Places prophet Micah in reign of Hezekiah
28.1: 25 Aug – 23 Sept 593  
28.17: 23 Oct – 21 Nov 593  
32.1: 587-586  
35.1: 607-597  
36.1: 604-603  
36.9: 13 Nov – 12 Dec 603  
39.1: 27 Dec 588 – 24 Jan 587  
39.2: 18 July 586  
45.1: 604-603  
46.2: 604-603  
51.59: 593-592  
52.4: 5 Jan 587  
52.5: 587-586  
52.6: 18 July 586  
52.12: 17 August 586  
52.28: 598-597  
52.29: 587-586  
52.30: 582-581  
52.31: 20 or 21 March 560  
Ezekiel    
1.1,2: 31 July 593  
8.1: 17 Sept 592  
20.1: 14 Aug 591  
24.1: 15 Jan 588  
26.1: 587-586  
29.1: 7 Jan 587  
29.17 Yr of Jeh: 26 April 571 “27th Year, 1st Month, 1st Day”
  Yr of Neb: 14 April 578  
30.20: 18 Oct 587  
31.1: 21 June 587  
32.1: 3 March 585  
32.17: 17 March 585  
33.21: 8 Jan 585  
40.1: 28 April 573  
Daniel c. 605-536  
1.1: 605  
1.21: 538-537  
2.1: 603-602  
7.1: 552  
8.1: 550  
9.1,2: 538  
10.1: 536  
11.1: 538  
Hosea c. 765-725 see here for detailed notes on these
Joel c. 730 dates for the Twelve Minor Prophets
Amos c. 752  
Obadiah c. 730  
Jonah c. 750  
Micah c. 725  
Nahum c. 650  
Habakkuk c. 625  
Zephaniah c. 625  
Haggai    
1.1: 29 Aug 520  
2.1: 17 Oct 520  
2.10: 18 Dec 520  
Zechariah    
1.1: 27 Oct – 24 Nov 520  
1.7: 15 Feb 519  
7.1: 7 Dec 518  
14.5: c. 750  
Malachi c. 500 dated by description of intermarriage problems decried which are similar to those Ezra fixed
     
Ezra    
1.1: 538-537  
3.1: 17 Sept – 15 Oct 538  
3.6: 17 Sept 538  
3.8: 10 Apr – 9 May 537  
4.2: Esarhaddon: 680-669  
4.7: Artaxerxes: 465-424  
4.24: 520-519  
5.13: 538-537  
6.3: 538-537  
6.15: 12 March 515  
6.19: 21 Apr 515  
6.22: 22-28 Apr 515  
7.7: 458-457  
7.8: 4 Aug – 2 Sept 458  
7.9: 1/1:  8 April 458  
  1/5: 4 Aug 458  
8.1: 465-424  
8.15: 16-18 April 458  
8.31: 19 April 458  
8.32: 4-6 Aug 458  
8.33: 7 Aug 458  
10.8 16-18 Dec 458  
10.9: 18 Dec 458  
10.16: 29 Dec 458  
10.17: 27 Mar 457  
Neh    
1.1: 6 Dec 445 – 3 Jan 444 Nehemiah is counting years to begin in Tishri judging from 1.1 and 2.1
2.1: 3 Apr – 1 May 444  
5.14: 444-433/2  
6.15: 25 Elul:  2 Oct 445  
  4 Ab: 12 Aug 52 days work on wall: 12 Aug – 2 Oct 445
7.73: 8 Oct – 6 Nov 445  
8.2: 8 Oct 445  
8.13: 9 Oct 445  
8.14: Festival: 22 – 28 Oct 445  
8.18: 7 days: 22 – 28 Oct 445  
  8th day:  29 Oct 445  
9.1: 31 Oct 445  
13.6: 433-432  
Esther    
1.3: 483-482  
2.16: 22 Dec 479 – 20 Jan 478  
3.7: Nisan:  5 Apr – 3 May 474  
  Adar:  24 Feb – 23 Mar 473  
  13th Adar: 8 Mar 473  
  14th Adar: 9 Mar 473  
  15th Adar: 10 Mar 473  
3.12: 17 Apr 474  
3.13: 8 Mar 473  
4.16: 13-15 Nisan: 17-19 Apr 474  
5.1, 4: 15 Nisan: 19 Apr 474  
5.8: 16 Nisan: 20 Apr 474  
7.2: 16 Nisan: 20 Apr 474  
8.1: 16 Nisan: 20 Apr 474  
8.9: 25 June 474  
8.12: 8 Mar 473  
9.1: 8 Mar 473  
9.15: 9 Mar 473  
9.17: 13th Adar: 8 Mar 473  
  14th Adar: 9 Mar 473  
9.19: 14th Adar: 9 Mar 473  
9.21: 14th Adar: 9 Mar 473  
  15th Adar: 10 Mar 473  

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Cogan, Michael. 1 Kings. Anchor Bible 10. New York: Doubleday, 2001.
________. “Chronology: Old Testament” in Anchor Bible Dictionary. ed. David N. Freedman. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Galil, Gershon. The Chronology of the Kings of Israel and Judah. Leiden: Brill, 1996.
Kitchen, K. A. On the Reliability of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2003.
Na’aman, Nadav. “Hezekiah and the Kings of Assyria.” pp 98-117 in Ancient Israel
and Its Neighbors: Interaction and Counteraction. Collected Essays Volume 1
. Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 2005.
Richard A. Parker and Waldo H. Dubberstein. Babylonian Chronology 626 B.C.-A.D. 75. Providence, Rhode Island: Brown University Press, 1956.
Thiele, Edwin. The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1986.

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