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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Lesson #60 Fixing a date through Solomon

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #60
Break out your maps and histories as we travel again in our time machine to examine history & geography through a biblical worldview. We now come to the last of the three kings who defined the Israelite monarchy. David makes Solomon his coregent two years before he dies in 969 BC.  Solomon begins his reign in 971 BC and dies in 932 BC, serving as Israel’s king for just over 40 years.

Solomon is a key figure for Biblical chronologists because he serves as a sort of anchor with multiple extra-biblical sources (sources outside the Bible) that affirm his existance and supplement our understanding of his chronology. This is also important because Solomon gets a lot less coverage in scripture than his predecessors do.

Kenneth Kitchen is a well-known and respected Egyptologist and archeologist at the University of Liverpool in England. The majority of the Egyptological community agrees with his chronological conclusions in the area of Egyptology; two of which are listed below. The biblical connections to and conclusions from these sources in the next two paragraphs are from Andrew Steinmann, Professor of Theology and Hebrew at Concordia University, Chicago.

           Pharaoh Sianum’s reign ends around 968 BC.  He is the king who conquered Gezer and gave it to Solomon as a dowry for his daughter (one of Solomon’s many wives). Solomon’s reign then would have had to have begun prior to the end of Sianum’s, and this lines up very nicely. The Tyrian King List preserved for us by Josephus also confirms Solomon’s reign from 971 to 932 BC.

Shoshenq The 1st’s invasion of Israel takes place around 925 BC. The Egyptian Pharaoh Shoshenq the 1st corresponds to the Biblical king called Shishak, mentioned in 1 Kings 14:25 and 2 Chronicles 12:1. According to both Biblical and Egyptian sources, he invades and conquers Israel under King Rehoboam, who was Solomon’s son and successor.

There are numerous archeological discoveries from the time of Solomon as well. However, there is always a cloud of scholastic doubt hovering over these finds and claims because of a mixture of anti-Biblical views held by many in these vocations. They, of course, would never admit this bias. They claim their critiques to be scientific in nature while offering no evidence to support the doubts they assert. Here are a few examples from the respected National Geographic Society: (Note the uses of the word “tale” and question marks in the titles of the articles.) These articles provide no information to support the skeptical nature in which much of the information is presented. 

“King Solomon's Wall Found—Proof of Bible Tale? A 3,000-year-old defensive wall might be unprecedented archaeological support for a Bible passage on King Solomon”, by Mati Milstein in Tel Aviv, Israel, for National Geographic News, February 26, 2010. “King Solomon's Mines Rediscovered?” by Rebecca Carroll for National Geographic News, October 28, 2008. “Solomon's Temple Artifacts Found by Muslim Workers”, by Mati Milstein in Tel Aviv, Israel for National Geographic News, October 23, 2007. All three of these articles deal with real evidence that supports Solomon’s existence in a timeframe that is in keeping with Scripture. Even though no evidence is given against the Biblical connection, doubt and caution against leaning too heavily on Scripture for archaeology is a common thread in the articles. So while they present clear evidence that affirms Scripture, they cannot bring themselves to make that conclusion.

As Solomon is such an important character in fixing many other dates, I felt it important to give a little time to this topic. Next month we will discuss some of the highlights of Solomon’s life and reign

Till then, Shalom
In Christ,

Pastor Portier