Old Testament Chronology

Old Testament Timeline, Grace Chapel Online

Bible Diagrams:

From Compelling Truth …

The following Old Testament chronology is based on the assumption that the genealogies are literal and complete—that God created the world some 6,000 years ago. All years are approximate.

Creation to the Flood
Creation: 4000 B.C. (how long did Adam and Eve live in the Garden before their exile?)
Adam: 4000 – 3070 B.C. (Genesis 2:7; 5:5)
Methuselah: 3350 – 2350 B.C. (Genesis 5:21; 5:27)
Noah: 2950 – 2000 B.C. (Genesis 5:29; 9:29)
Flood: 2350 B.C. (Genesis 6-9)

Methuselah died a very short time before the Flood. It is possible that his name, literally “death, spear, violence – bring,” was the prophecy “his death shall bring.” His death certainly did herald a significant event.

The Flood to Abraham
Flood: 2350 B.C. (Genesis 6-9)
Tower of Babel: 2250 B.C. (Genesis 11:1-9)
Egypt founded: 2170 B.C.
Abraham: 2165 – 1990 B.C. (Genesis 11:26; 25:8)

The genealogies in the Old Testament show that Noah died while Abraham’s father was living. Noah’s father, Lamech, was born about eighty years before Adam died. It’s very possible that the story of creation could have been passed on through very few steps.

Abraham to the Exile
Abraham: 2165 – 1990 B.C. (Genesis 11:26; 25:8)
Abraham goes to Canaan: 2090 B.C. (Genesis 11:31)
Ishmael: 2080 B.C. – ? (Genesis 16:11)
Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed: 2065 B.C. (Genesis 19:1-29)
Isaac: 2065 – 1885 B.C. (Genesis 21:1; 25:29)
Jacob: 2050 – 1855 B.C. (Genesis 25:26; 49:33)
Joseph: 1910 – 1800 B.C. (Genesis 30:23-24; 50:26)
Joseph sold into slavery: 1895 B.C. (Genesis 37:18-36)
Jacob and family move to Egypt: 1870 B.C. (Genesis 46-47)
Exile to Egypt: 1870 – 1450 B.C. (Genesis 46 to Exodus 12:33-41)

After the Flood, lifespans drastically decreased. Noah lived to be 950 years old. Abraham, who was born shortly after Noah died, lived to be only 175.

The Exile to the Monarchy
Exile to Egypt: 1870 – 1450 B.C. (Genesis 46–Exodus 12:33-41)
Moses: 1530 – 1410 B.C. (Exodus 2:2; Deuteronomy 34:5)
Moses flees to Midian: 1490 B.C.(Exodus 2:15-25)
Exodus from Egypt: 1450 B.C. (Exodus 12:33-14:31)
Forty years in the Wilderness: 1450 – 1410 B.C. (Exodus 16–Joshua 1)
Joshua’s rule: 1410 – 1390 B.C. (Deuteronomy 34:50Judges 2:8)
Conquest of Canaan Completed: 1400 B.C. (Judges 1)
Deborah serves as Judge: 1245 – 1200 B.C. (Judges 4-5)
Gideon serves as Judge: 1195 – 1155 B.C. (Judges 6)
Samuel serves as Judge: 1090 – 1045 B.C. (1 Samuel 1:1-25:1)

The Timeline of the Old Testament shows the Israelites were in Egypt for about 400 years and then were ruled by judges for about 400 years. They then demanded a king.

The Unified Monarchy
Saul Reigns: 1095 – 1015 B.C. (1 Samuel 10:17-2:13)
David Reigns: 1015 – 970 B.C. (2 Samuel 1:11 Chronicles 19:1)
Solomon Reigns: 970 – 930 B.C. (1 Chronicles 19:12 Chronicles 9:31)
The Kingdom Splits: 930 B.C. (2 Chronicles 10)

Israel, the Northern Kingdom: 930 – 725 B.C.
Elijah serves as Prophet: circa 870 B.C.
Obadiah serves as Prophet: circa 845 B.C.
Elisha serves as Prophet: circa 840 B.C.
Jonah serves as Prophet: circa 780 B.C.
Hosea serves as Prophet: circa 760 B.C.
Assyria destroys Israel: 725 B.C. (2 Kings 17)

Judah, the Southern Kingdom: 930 – 590 B.C.
Joel serves as Prophet: ca. 825 B.C.
Amos serves as Prophet: ca. 750 B.C.
Micah serves as Prophet: ca. 725 B.C.
Isaiah serves as Prophet: ca. 690 B.C.
Zephaniah serves as Prophet: ca. 640 B.C.
Nahum serves as Prophet: ca. 625 B.C.
Habakkuk serves as Prophet: ca. 620 B.C.
Ninevah destroyed: 612 B.C.
Jeremiah serves as Prophet: ca. 600 B.C.
Babylonian exile: 590 B.C. (2 Kings 25)

After being ruled by judges for 400 years, the nation of Israel only lasted about 165 more years united under one king. The Northern Kingdom of Israel so rebelled against God that it was only another 200 years before the Assyrians destroyed them. The Southern Kingdom of Judah managed to last about 340 years before the Babylonian captivity.

Exile in Babylon
Babylonian Empire: 1984 – 539 B.C.
Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon: 605 – 562 B.C.
Daniel taken to Babylon: 605 B.C. (Daniel 1)
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego survive the fiery furnace: 595 B.C. (Daniel 3)
Daniel’s confrontation with Belshazzar: 539 B.C. (Daniel 5)
Persian Empire: 539 – 330 B.C.
Cyrus King of Great Persian Empire: 576 – 530 B.C.
Jews start returning to Jerusalem: 536 B.C.
Temple Rebuilt: 530 – 515 B.C. (Ezra)
Haggai serves as Prophet: circa 525 B.C.
Zechariah serves as Prophet: circa 525 B.C.
Xerxes (Ahasuerus) King of Persia: 485 – 465 B.C. (Esther)
Esther becomes Queen: 475 B.C.
Esther saves the Jews: 470 B.C.
Ezra serves as Priest: 460 – 430 B.C.
Nehemiah Governor of Jerusalem: 460 – 430 B.C.
Malachi serves as Prophet: circa 440 B.C.

Jeremiah was right—from the fall of Judah to the first refugees returning to Jerusalem was about seventy years (Jeremiah 25:11). But the Old Testament timeline doesn’t tell the whole story. Not all the Jews left, and there are still small pockets of Jews in such places as Iran and India.

The Intertestamental Period
Alexander the Great reigns in Greece: 336 – 323 B.C.
Judea ruled by the Greek Empire: 330 – 308 B.C.
Judea ruled by Egypt: 308 – 195 B.C.
Judea ruled by Syria: 195 – 130 B.C.
Maccabean Revolt: 164 – 63 B.C.
Judea ruled by the Roman Empire: 65 – 70 A.D.
Julius Caesar rules Roman Empire: 46 – 44 B.C.
Herod the Great reigns as King of the Jews: 37 – 4 B.C.
Jesus born: 6-4 B.C.

Neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament have much to say about the timeline between Malachi and the birth of John the Baptist. Most of what we can gather from this period comes from the Apocryphal books of 1 and 2 Maccabees as well as secular historical records.

Read more at Compelling Truth 

Helpful images:

Books of the Old Testament in Chronological Order (Church of the Lutheran Confession)

See a study on the Poetry of the Psalms.

See a Reference chart of all the kings of Israel and Judah.

See a study on the Fulfilment of the Prophecies of Nahum.

See a chart detailing the Chronology of the work of Haggai and Zechariah.

See a Chronology of events and people following the Babylonian Captivity.

This list is in its entirety available at the Church of the Lutheran Confession as accessed February 20, 2014.

Featured Image: Books of the Old TestamentWaggle Dance


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And of them was the whole earth overspread