Old Testament Timeline: An Overview*

The following dates (all b.c.) are close approximations based on correlating dates between the Bible and other ancient Near Eastern sources (largely from Assyrian accession lists, Babylonian king-lists, or Egyptian historical sources). Often dates can be confirmed between the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires by narratives recording contacts between these two countries.

Patriarchs to Judges (c. 2166–1030)

1446 Date for Exodus**1260 Date for Exodus**
Moses’ birth15261340
Desert wanderings1446–14061260–1220
Entrance into Canaan14061220
Period of the judges1375 to 1050–10301210 to 1050–1030

United Monarchy (c. 1050–931)

Saul’s reign1050–1030 to 1010Numerals relating to Saul’s age and length of reign may be missing in the Hebrew text (see 1 Sam. 13:1)***
David’s reign1010–971
Solomon’s reign971–931

Divided Monarchy to Exile (931–586)

Kingdom divided931See The Divided Kingdom: Kings of Judah and The Divided Kingdom: Kings of Israel
Syro-Ephraimite war740–732Pekah (Israel) and Rezin (Syria) pressure Jotham and Ahaz (Judah) to join their opposition to Tiglath-pileser III (Assyria)
Fall of Samaria (Israel)722Shalmaneser V (727–722) and Sargon II (722–705) of Assyria
Josiah’s reforms628
Battle of Carchemish605Daniel and three friends exiled to Babylon
Jerusalem attacked597Nebuchadnezzar II takes exiles to Babylon including Jehoiachin and Ezekiel
Fall of Jerusalem (Judah)586Nebuchadnezzar II takes more exiles to Babylon

Return from Exile (539–445)

Fall of Babylon539Cyrus of Persia (539–530)
1st return of exiles to Jerusalem538
Temple building begins536
Temple completed516Darius I (522–486)
Esther in palace of Xerxes478Xerxes I/Ahasuerus (485–464)
2nd return of exiles to Jerusalem under Ezra458Artaxerxes I (464–423)
3rd return of exiles to Jerusalem under Nehemiah445

*See also Historical Books Timeline; The Divided Kingdom: Kings of Judah and The Divided Kingdom: Kings of Israel.

**See The Date of the Exodus.

***Possible dates for the beginning of Saul’s reign are calculated based on other data in the OT: e.g., David’s age at accession and length of reign (2 Sam. 5:4–5); Ish-bosheth’s age when he became king (2 Sam. 2:10); and Jonathan’s probable age in relation to both Ish-bosheth and David, presuming that Jonathan was Saul’s firstborn son (1 Sam. 14:49; 31:2) and was at least 20 when referred to as a commander of troops early in Saul’s reign (1 Sam. 13:2).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *