Skip to comments.Traditional Jewish/Biblical Chronology and History
Posted on 05/23/2006 10:32:19 AM PDT by Zionist Conspirator
We are currently in the 5766th year of Creation, which is dated from the creation of 'Adam HaRi'shon on the Sixth Day of Creation, which is the first Ro'sh HaShanah. Counting backwards this corresponds to the year 3761 before the "common era." Yet according to the Torah Ro'sh HaShanah is the first day of the seventh month and Nisan (the month of Pesach) is the "first month of the year." Why is this so? Did the Sages of Israel at a certain point drift away or deviate from the ancient Mosaic calendar? Not at all. Nisan is indeed the "first month of the year" because the rest of the year depends on the first day of Nisan. Whenever an extra month is called for to keep the lunar calendar in harmony with the seasons it is always added before Nisan, which fixes the dates for all the days that follow, including Ro'sh HaShanah. However, chronologically and historically the years are counted from the first day of the seventh month because this is the day Adam was created. Leviticus 23 confirms this when it mandates that shemittah (sabbatical) and yovel (jubilee) years, which are dated from creation, begin in the seventh month.
Originally the date of the new moon was dependent on the testimony of two witnesses before the Sanhedrion (if no such witnesses appeared on the thirtieth day of the month to say they had seen the new moon then the new month began automatically on next day). This means that the special sacrifices of the new moon (and the sanctity of the first day of the seventh month) had to be observed on the thirtieth day even before any witness came forward. If the witnesses came forward that day was the new moon/new year. If not then the sacrifices and sanctity automatically applied as well the following day. This is the origin of the two days of Ro'sh HaShanah and the two days of Ro'sh Chodesh when months have thirty days.
The current fixed calendar which exists apart from the appearance of witnesses dates from Hillel II in the year 359 of the common era, though it has been "tweaked" a bit since then and will theoretically eventually require further "tweaking" in the future, though Mashiach will have arisen by then.
Although the Jewish chronology is the oldest and surest in existence, dating all the way back to Adam, nevertheless there remain a few problems and areas of disagreement. Also there is misunderstanding by chr*stians and secularists regarding the length of the sojourn in Egypt and the length of the Persian ascendancy. I will now attempt to the best of my poor ability to explain these issues.
The problem of the year of Adam's creation
There are three ways to number the year of Adam's creation and lifespan:
1)Adam was created on Ro'sh HaShanah of the year One and in order to live 930 years would have died in the year 931.
2)Adam was created in the year "Zero" and the year One was the first anniversary of his creation. Adam's life thus would have been from the years 0 to 930.
3)The year One actually refers to the year of Molad Tohu, so Adam was created on the first day of the year Two and would have lived from 2 to 932.
Compared to the chronologies of the nations of the world this is a small problem indeed. As a matter of convention Adam's life is dated from 1 to 930, even though this gives only 929 years. The length of the lifespans of all other Torah figures are interpreted exactly as written.
The sojourn in Egypt
Those whose only knowledge of the Torah comes only from translations and do not understand the authentic Oral Interpretive Tradition have a problem with the length of the Egyptian exile. In one place it says the exile was four hundred years, in another 430, and yet the pedigrees of those who came up out of Egypt indicate that the time was much shorter.
The truth is that Abraham was told that his descendants would be exiles in a land not theirs for four hundred years. At that time 'Eretz Kena`an had not yet been given to Abraham so that the four hundred years commenced with the birth of Isaac in the year 2048. Abraham's seed from that time lived in a land not theirs even while living in Canaan. The 430 years refers to the Berit Bein HaBetarim (covenant between the parts) which took place in the year 2018, thirty years before Isaac's birth. The Exodus took place in the year 2448--430 years from the time of the Covenant and four hundred years from the time of Isaac's birth. (Interestingly, the tribe of 'Efrayim mistakenly assumed the Egyptian exile would come to an end 400 years after the covenant, in the year 2418. Thirty thousand of the tribe of 'Efrayim thus revolted and engaged in a premature "exodus" which resulted in their massacre by the Pelishtim. It was these corpses that were raised before the Prophet Ezekiel in the Valley of Dry Bones.)
What then is the true chronology of the Egyptian exile? Jacob and his family descended to Egypt in the year 2238. The slavery did not begin until 94 years later with the death of Jacob's last surviving son Levi in the year 2332. The "harsh slavery" didn't begin until thirty years later (2362) at the time of the birth of Miriam and the premature "exodus" of 'Efrayim. Israel was thus in Egypt for a grand total of 210 years. They were enslaved for 116 years and endured "harsh slavery" for thirty years. Then in the year 2448 they came up out of Egypt.
Thus we see that the entire period of world history from the creation of Adam to Jacob's descent into Egypt was 2238 years. There is simply no room here for contemplating the theories of secular historians. Furthermore (as pointed out by Rabbi Shlomo Rotenberg), the lives of four men spanned this entire 2238-year period: Adam, Methuselah, Shem (the son of Noah), and Jacob. Jacob actually studied for many years at the academies of Shem and `Eiver after leaving his father's house and before arriving at the house of Lavan in Charan. In fact, Jacob's life overlapped that of Shem by fifty years; Shem's life overlapped that of Methuselah (his grandfather) by 98 years, and Methuselah's life overlapped that of Adam by a period of 243 years. Even more amazingly, if we add to these four names those of three more (`Amram the father of Moses, 'Achiyyah HaShiloni, and Elijah) we cover the entire span of world history with the lives of seven men (since Elijah is still alive).
The Persian Ascendancy
Chr*stian and secular historians place the Babylonian exile from the years 586 to 516 before the common era. In this chronology Babylonian rule was followed by well over a century of Medo-Persian rule. However, this is not correct. Instead the destruction actually occurred in the year 3338, corresponding to the year "422" before the common era--a difference of 164 years! What is the reason for this discrepancy? Simple: the secularists are wrong!
The actual period of Persian rule over the Jews was a mere 52 years, not over a century. There were four primary kings: Darius the Mede (who conquered Babylon), Cyrus the Great (who was succeeded by a son who ruled less than a year), Ahasuerus (of the Book of Esther), and Darius the Persian (the son of Ahasuerus and Esther). This 52 year period was followed immediately by the period of Alexander the Great.
The Destruction of the Second Temple
As with the year of Adam's creation (and actually connected with it), there is a problem about the date of the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans. The traditional date given for this event is the year 3828 from creation. However, sabbatical years are now observed every seventh year since this destruction, and by following these backward we arrive at the year 3829 for the destruction (a year later). How is this discrepancy to be reconciled? There are two ways:
1)The destruction actually occurred in the year 3829, but the final year is not considered to be part of the Second Temple era, which ended with the previous year, 3828.
2)A sort of "daylight savings time" on an annual scale was performed, so that the year 3828 became the year 3829. This would involve either the subtraction of one year from the chronology or else the backwards shifting of all previous years by one (eg, changing the year One from the day Adam was created to the Ro'sh HaShanah of the year of Molad Tohu).
However, considering the unprecedented length, continuity, and accuracy (seeing as how so much of world history took place within the lifespans of such a few people), whatever problems or disagreements remain unresolved are absolutely miniscule in comparison with every other calendar, chronology, and history in existence. This is the true history of the world according to the Jewish Tradition, dating literally from the day Adam was created and confirmed at Mt. Sinai when G-d gave the Ultimate Revelation: the Holy Torah.
The teachings of authentic Jewish Tradition are so radically at odds with the "wisdom" and "sophistication" of the Nations of the World that attempts to reconcile the first five days of Creation with Charles Darwin seem downright silly. What are you going to do with all this other stuff, eh?
Ping to read later
Very informative. Thank you.
How does a description of how the years of the bible are added affect me?
A mikveh is a ritual bath, see: Mikveh - Ultimate Spiritualty
Fun with numbers
In order for a mikveh to be kosher it must contain 40 seah of water (a unit of measure). One seah contains 144 eggs (area). 40 x 144 = 5760. On Rosh HaShanah 5761 then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon journeyed to the Temple Mount to pray setting off protests (fire) that will engulf the world. The waters of the mikveh started to spill over
The current year is 5766. Fasten your seatbelts!
The Number Forty (Study)
The fig tree (Israel) put forth its leaves (Six Day War) back in 1967
1967 + 40 = .... tick tock...
Warning! This is a high-volume ping list.
Thanks for the ping.
You missed the point, perhaps intentionally. I am invoking authentic Jewish authorities who say that this chronology is not fictional (like that of Middle Earth) but actual history. This makes you a rejecter of Tradition when you defer and a hypocrite when you invoke your own tradition.
My apologies for errors or misspellings.
Sorry, but that is pure wishful thinking. The three dates in question - 586 BC for the Babylonian conquest, 538 for the Persian release of the Jews, and 331 for the arrival of Alexander - are just about as certain as any dates in the Ancient Near East. They are attested by multiple chronologies from multiple peoples.
Your attempts to date mythological people is a harmless pastime, but bald assertions that "the secularists are wrong" about true and verifiable history can serve only to persuade people that the Jews are idiots, which is not an attitude I would like to see in this forum.
Discuss the issues all you want but do not make it personal.
>> You missed the point, perhaps intentionally. I am invoking authentic Jewish authorities who say that this chronology is not fictional (like that of Middle Earth) but actual history. This makes you a rejecter of Tradition when you defer and a hypocrite when you invoke your own tradition. <<
I tried to avoid stating this publicly, because I felt it better to keep such matters away from third parties whose faith may be weak or poorly more informed than ours: The point is that I just don't accept Jews as the repository of Tradition.
I whole-heartedly reject the doctrine of utter depravity; I hold that the Jews are a remarkable demonstration of unconditional love for God, even while many Christians sometimes seem to think that they will be rewarded in this life for attitudes which seem more like sucking up to a bully than loving the perfect Father; I believe the Jews will share in the resurrection of the dead when Christians keep ****ing things up; and I regard Jews as our elder brothers in the faith.
Nonetheless, I do not believe that the Jewish community is any longer protected from error by the extraordinary action of the Holy Spirit, and therefore no longer has the power of discerning truth through Tradition. I believe they once had that authority, but it was lost when the Temple curtain was torn, and the stone table cracked, and was in fact removed from Earth until it was restored through Christ to the apostles. Further, I reject the notion that such traditions held by certain Jews to be Tradition are in fact Tradition, since I do not believe they truly date back to when the Jews had the authority to discern Tradition.
Further, I would hold Christianity inherently must reject that Jews currently have the authority to discern Tradition, since they reject as scripture the Christian New Testament.
Even if i were to accept, for instance, that the Masoretic text, for instance, was pre-Christian, there is abundance evidence that many faith-filled Jewish sects did not use the Masoretic text. Why should I be expected to hold as authoritative the text of the Jews who did not become my co-religionists over the text of the Jews who did?
I appreciate your efforts, but this has been going on through a few different threads, and I don't have any squabble with his statement. I further understand you are protecting the decorum and not me, but I think it is reasonable to conclude from my arguments that I do reject post-Jamnian Jewish Tradition; in context, there is no slur.
So your glib assertion that the people under discussion are "mythological" is somehow less than "bald," I presume. And anyone who dares disagree with you is automatically perceived to be an idiot? Rich intellect on display here.
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