Part I: Sennacherib’s First Five Years
Being foundational to my treatise part II of II (biblical chronology), this part I of II treatise corrects the chronology of the last four of Sennacherib’s first five regnal years (Table 2.1), confessed by its foundational scholars as challenged by thorny problems. These problems are exposed as based first on Sennacherib’s 705 BC accession year religious trauma at the ominous death in battle without burial of his father, Sargon II, indicating to him the jealousy of Assyria’s gods neglected due to Sargon’s excessive attention to Babylonia’s gods. Thus for fear of further offending Assyria’s gods, Sennacherib renounced his godforsaken father, reckoning his regnal years as if he had had no predecessor, namely as having followed an interregnum, consequently reckoning his accession year as his first regnal year. By normal Mesopotamian “accession-year succession”, a king’s calendrical year of death was reckoned as his final year, and simultaneously his successor’s accession year (not numbered), whose first year (numbered 1) thus began on the next New Year’s Day, making successive regins additive.
Two centuries later, the influential Babylonian Chronicle 1 (ABC-1), column ii, lines 6-25 of 499 BC failed to understand Sennacherib’s first two regnal years there named as idiosyncratically reckoned, thus interpreting them conventionally (offset), compounded by nonrecognition of Bel-ibni’s enthronement as interpolation, which in turn misleadingly agreed with the first offset, compounding confusion. Modern scholarship, repeating these ABC-1’s mistakes exactly, caused its flawed understanding of ABC-1 to discredit the primary source BM 113203 1st and BM 22502 2nd editions’ clear February 704 BC start of Sennacherib’s 1st campaign, despite confirmation by the Assyrian Eponym Chronicle (AEC) Cb6 ss704 dating of Sennacherib’s 1st campaign conquest of Larak and Sarabanu, thus misdating Sennacherib’s first five years by distorting their three military campaigns, notably the first.
ABC-1 Blindness to interpolation into Sennacherib’s BM 113203 first campaign annals first edition, of Sennacherib’s post-campaign year appointment of Bel-ibni to the Babylonian kingship, misdated the first campaign to Bel-ibni’s accession year. This interpolation was hidden by its misleading accord with the false assumption of Sennacherib’s conventional regnal year reckoning: the first error reinforcing the second, resulting in late dating of Sennacherib’s first campaign by up to two years. Four such misleading governorship interpolations are discovered in the first two campaign annals, including Bel-ibni’s, confirming such practice as systematic.
A fifth example of a probable first campaign governorship interpolation and not merely conflation, explained in section 4.8 and chapter 5, exposes the well-known conflation of Sennacherib’s first and fourth campaigns as involving interpolation of his fourth campaign appointment of his son, Assur-nadin-šumi to supplant Bel-ibni into the 1st campaign record of the “Other Bull Inscriptions (F2),” line 11 of Luckenbill’s “Annals of Sennacherib,” pp. 76-77.
A sixth example of systematic practice of interpolation is disclosed in section 4.5 and chapter 5 as the addition of “Cilicia” to the original “Mannai” and “Que” of the first campaign annals in the second campaign annals first edition; and a seventh as further interpolation of “Philistia, and Tyre” added to the previous “Mannai,” “Que,” and “Cilicia” in the third campaign first edition. These are exposed as interpolations due to their identical context being a word-for-word copy of the first campaign building report, wherein “Mannai and Que,” “Cilicia,” “Philistia, and Tyre” pop up in successive annals editions, exposing interpolated additions to the building annals appended at the ends of these three successive campaign annals editions.
Abundant direct evidence for the corrected chronology follows, the best being absolute proof that the fourth of four contracted annual tribute payments (sec.2.1.6) was paid “for the fourth time” (Fig. 4.7) at the start of Sennacherib’s third campaign as due since Sennacherib’s 705 BC accession year reckoned by him as his first regnal year. Thus his payments for 705, 704, 703, and 702 date the third campaign to 702, and not 701 BC. Thus is revealed a 705-704 BC first campaign, a 703 BC second, and a 702 BC third, preceding the undisputed 700 BC fourth campaign. The exposed 701 BC hiatus confirms Sennacherib’s 702 BC Jerusalem disaster.
Key Words: Sennacherib • Hezekiah • Sargon II • biblical chronology • Sennacherib’s campaign against Judah • Assyriology • Babylonian Chronicle • 701 • third campaign • Annals of Sennacherib • Bible Chronology • Edwin Thiele
Part II: The Chronology of the Hebrew Kings Completed
This part II treatise builds upon its foundational part I correcting the chronology of Sennacherib’s first five years, which established 702 BC as the true date of Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah in order to undo Dr. Edwin Thiele’s error in his widely accepted chronology of the Hebrew kings. Part I proved that Sennacherib’s third campaign, biblically recorded in king Hezekiah of Judah’s 14th regnal year, did not take place in 701 BC as Thiele had trusted for the cornerstone of his chronology, but rather in 702 BC, vindicating and perfecting his work.
By his Assyrian cornerstone thus out of place, no other Assyrian synchronism would fit Thiele’s at first perfect internal biblical chronology, “IBC”, (my solution has 8). So he emended it in Jotham’s reign (2 Kgs. 15:30-33), adding 4 years to Jotham to shift Ahab’s disastrous 853 Battle of Qarqar (Shalmaneser III’s 6th year) immediately before Ahab’s 1 Kgs. 22 fatal battle against his Qarqar ally Benhadad. Thus Shalmaneser’s 18th year receipt of Jehu’s tribute in 841, 12 (= 18 – 6) years after Qarqar by IBC, harmonized Jehu’s 841 accession with his 14th year of Hezekiah set in 701! But Thiele failed to notice that annihilation of Ahab’s powerful military at Qarqar per Shalmaneser’s 6th year annals, made impossible his 1 Kgs. 22 participation in his fatal war with Benhadad. Likewise Shalmaneser’s 18th year annals report of Hazael’s total incapacitation for his 2 Kgs. 9:15-16 wounding of Israel’s Joram in battle, discredited Jehu’s having killed both Joram and his sickbed visitor Judah’s king Ahaziah in 841 (Appx. A, chart 2/17), stripping Thiele of all Assyrian synchronisms.
The Chronology Comparison Chart 2.1 of my and Thiele’s chronologies, exposes its two simple structural corrections: Thiele’s 701 BC synchronism with Hezekiah’s year 14 corrected to 702 BC, and Jotham’s 20th year corrected to his official 16th. R. C. Young’s by 6 months corrective and simplifying refinement from Solomon through Asa of 2003 further validates not only my revision, but the Masoretic Text into which this chronology was woven, watermarking its authenticity and clarifying its meaning.
Sec. 2.8.1 details my 25 extrabiblical synchronisms: 2 Egyptian, 8 Assyrian, 6 Babylonian, 1 Tyrian, 3 Persian, 1 Sabbatical, and two pairs = 4 of Jubilee synchronisms (49th & 50th year Jubilee pairs, extrabiblically anchored to Bar Kokhba’s spring-summer of 132 AD 49th Jubilee cycle year launching his revolt against Hadrian). These include the Exodus synchronized by Amenhotep II’s year 10, a Tyrian and Sabbatical year synchronism with Solomon’s accession, Assyrian and Jubilee synchronisms in Hezekiah’s 14th & 15th years, and Persian and Jubilee synchronisms of Ezra 7:7; exposing 3 Jubilee years synchronous with B. Zuckermann’s 1857 Sabbatical cycle.
Chapter 4 details my recovery of the Leviticus 25 Sabbatical and Jubilee cycles I first found in (fall-to-fall = ff) ff702/701 BC as the 14th observance of Jubilee identified by its Isaiah 37:30 twin consecutive sabbattical (ie. fallow) years of Leviticus 25:8-12 in Hezekiah’s 14th and 15th years. This biblical association of Hezekiah’s 14th year with the 49th, terminal year of a heretofore unknown (discovered 14th) Jubilee cycle, in light of Fig. 2.7 charting the 1 Kings 6:1 specification of the Exodus from Egypt (ff1444/1443 BC) having preceded Solomon’s 4th regnal year (ff965/964 BC) by 480-1 years, enabled unambiguous recovery of the authentic Sabbatical and Jubilee cycles as commencing in ff1388/1387 BC. Here ff1388/1387 was the 16th year after Canaan’s conquest rather than its entry terminating Israel’s 40-years wandering in Midian’s deserts. My Jubilee cycle recovery was verified by its 14th Jubilee of ff702/701 being found in 49-year cyclical synchronism with the 19th Jubilee of ff457/456 BC found in Ezra 7:7. Both biblical Jubilees are likewise in synchronism with the extrabiblical Jubilee of ff132/131 AD (the 31st) celebrated in the 2nd year of Bar Kokhba’s rebellion against Hadrian, and with Benedict Zuckermann’s 1857 Sabbatical cycle. Development of my revision of Thiele’s Hebrew kings chronology concludes with chapter 4.
Chapters 5 and 6 solve the closely related and hotly debated since 1858 issue of the identity and the chronological and historical implications of the brief mention of “Tirhakah, king of Kush” in 2 Kings 19:8-10 and Isaiah 37:8-10. To this end and more, chapter 6 delves into Egyptian and Greek records identifying beyond reasonable doubt the biblical “Tirhakah, king of Kush” as having been the “King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Tirhakah, son of Re Piankhy,” as attested by the Ward collection scarab made famous by Flinders Petrie’s bewilderment upon examinining its confoundingly normal pharonic title in its most conventional prenomen and nomen form. This startling revelation of the identity of the Tirhakah of Hezekiah’s 14th year is further confirmed by my detailed examination of Leclant’s publication of the inscription of the British Museum BM EA24429 Statue of Iti, proving that king Piankhy of Kush was alive as suzerain over Egypt in king Shabako’s 15th and last regnal year of the battle of Eltekh in the Summer semester of 702. This suzerainty (not coregency) is identical to its contemporary example of Sennacherib having enthroned his son Assur-nadin-shum as his vassal (not coregent) over Babylonia, a throne which Sennacherib himself had occupied three years previous to installing his Babylonian courtier Bel-ibni on it as a doomed experiment. This was equivalent to Piankhy’s own organizational failure in Lower Egypt geographically beyond his control as proven by the revolt of Bakenranef, requiring Piankhy’s installation of his brother Shabako as his local über-vassal on the Memphite throne over Upper and Lower Egypt to keep a close rein over his other vassals. Piankhy’s suzerainty principle of government, published in his year 3 “Sandstone Stela” ultimately included his brother Shabako and his son Shebitko as vassals (not coregents), thus reconciling the heretofore chronologically disruptive “Tang-i Var” inscription of Sargon II with professor K. A. Kitchen’s correct chronology of the 25th dynasty, undisturbed by my solution. Rather, it is strengthened by fresh insights arising from locating Shabako’s defeat at the Battle of Eltekh in 702 rather than in 701, explaining the coronation origin by Piankhy’s appointment of Shebitku’s stridently anti-Assyrian pharonic titles reflecting Piankhy’s purpose for replacing the defeated Shabako by his nominally more militant nephew Shebitku.
Chapter 7 develops the patriarchal chronogenealogies back to Adam via my Chapter 8 proof and chronology of the 215 years “short Egyptian sojourn” of Ex. 12:40 confirmed by the Egyptian high chronology of Amenhotep’s 10th year synchronism of the Exodus as confirmed by conventional astronomical Sothic dating, but improved by my Chapter 9 astronomical solution of the pre-1320 BC Sothic civil calendar. Thus my exclusively Masoretic Text-based chronology dates back to at least the post-midnight Saturday, Julian 21 April 1443 BC Exodus and arguably earlier, proving the Masoretic text authentic over the Greek and Sameritan texts. Chapter 10 concludes this work on the forward-looking note of solving the chronology of Jeremiah’s 70 years in its broad Neo-Babylonian and Medo-Persian complex of synchronisms fundamental to Daniel. 17 biblical chronology charts of Appendix A marking their 25 extrabiblical synchronisms by anchor symbols graphically completes proof of this chronology.
Key Words: chronology • biblical chronology • Bible chronology • Masoretic Text • Old Testament • Ancient Near East • Assyriology • Egyptology • Sothic Calendar • 18th Dynasty • 25th Dynasty • Tyrian chronology • Hebrew Bible • Exegesis • Edwin Thiele