We have shown that the chronological works of Josephus have been tampered with over the centuries, and probably most of this occurred in the second and third centuries of the Christian era. In this appendix I would like to have a look at some of the grand tour chronologies of Josephus, and see what they tell us. This expression I have coined to describe certain statements, the like of which is as follows –
Ant.8.3.1 “Solomon began to build the Temple in the 4th year of his reign, on the 2nd month, 592 years after the Exodus out of Egypt, but 1,020 from Abraham’s coming out of Mesopotamia into Canaan, and after the Deluge 1,440 years, and from Adam, the first man who was created, until Solomon built the Temple, there passed in all 3,102 years.”
We have already had occasion to mention a part of this statement, in determining the time from Adam to the Flood, being 3,102 – 1,440 = 1662. This fact was used in chapter 18 to show how the table of dates of antediluvian patriarchs had been altered to give an exalted interval of 2,262 years to the Flood. But there are other calculations possible from the above quotation.
The period from the Flood to Abraham’s departure from Ur, is 1,440 – 1,020 = 420 years
The period from the Flood to the Exodus, is 1,440 – 592 = 848 years
The period from Abraham’s departure from Ur to the Exodus, is 1,020 – 592 = 428 years
The period from Adam to the Exodus, is 3,102 – 592 = 2,510 years
Keeping these results on the back burner for the moment, we can now turn to another example of the grand tour, namely Wars.6.10.1. “Thus was Jerusalem taken in the 2nd year of Vespasian, on the 8th day of Elul. . . . But the destruction by the king of Babylon [Nebuchadnezzar] occurred 1,468 years and 6 months after it was built. . . The Babylonians demolished the city of Jerusalem 477 years and 6 months after David had made Jerusalem the capital city. . . . Thus from King David to this destruction under Titus there were 1,179 years, but from its [i.e. Jerusalem’s] first building to this last destruction there were 2,177 years.”
These dates all refer to the city of Jerusalem. We can make the following assessments –
From 2nd year of Vespasian, which was A.D.70, to David’s 7th year there were 1,179 years. This makes David’s 7th year 1,179 – 70 = B.C. 1,119
From the founding of Jerusalem until its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar, there were 1,468 years.
From the founding of Jerusalem until its destruction by Titus, there were 2,177 years. Therefore from the destruction by Nebuchadnezzar to the destruction by Titus there were 2,177 – 1,468 = 709 years.
The founding of Jerusalem must have been in 2,177 – 70 = 2,107 B.C., a date that doesn’t refer to any specific happening in the Biblical account.
Now we move on the third grand tour statement, found in Ant.10.8.5. “The Temple was burned in the 5th month, on the 1st day of the month, in the 11th year of Zedekiah, and the 18th year of Nebuchadnezzar. . . . This was 470 years, 6 months and 10 days after it was built. It was then 1,062 years, 6 months and 10 days from the departure out of Egypt, and from the Deluge it was 1,957 years, 6 months and 10 days, and from Adam 3,513 years 6 months and 10 days.”
A new set of calculations is now possible, as follows –
From Adam to the Flood is 3,513 – 1,957 = 1,556 years (as already observed in chapter 18)
From the Flood to the Exodus is 1,957 – 1,062 = 895 years
From Adam to the Exodus is 3,513 – 1,062 = 2,451 years
From Solomon’s 4th year to Zedekiah’s 11th year there were 470 years 6 months and 10 days.
Observations on these results.
The Hebrew text shows 2453 – 1656 = 797 years from the Flood to the Exodus. Josephus gives a figure of 895 years in one calculation, and 848 years in another, differences of 98 and 51 years.
The Hebrew text shows 2,453 years from Adam to the Exodus. Josephus gives two figures, namely 2,451 and 2,510. One of these is very close to the Hebrew text, whilst the other is only 57 years deviant. It would seem therefore that in the original textJosephus kept very closely to the Hebrew text. Here again, we see a vast chronological chasm separating the grand tour results from the individual results, which made 2,262 years from Adam to the Flood, and would have made the Exodus date 3,754 instead of his figure of about 2,500. Whoever manipulated his figures to fit his own agenda, clearly didn’t search through his records to find these grand tour entries.
More use may be made of these long-term periods from Josephus, but we shall leave them for now because our main purpose has been to consider the period of time from Adam to the Exodus. The rest will be referred to later as we move on.