WHEN DID KING SOLOMON REIGN?

 

Aristeo Canlas Fernando, Peace Crusader

 

 

King Solomon is the son and successor of David.According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, he flourished in the mid-10th century BC, i.e. around 950 BC.The Good News Bible in its Outline Chart of Bible History places his reign around 970 to 931 BC or for 39 years.This Bible stated that the starting year of 970 BC is an approximate date whereas his death in 931 BC is a more exact date.Other sources like The Emergence of Man Ė The Israelites by the Editors of Time-Life Books placed King Solomonís death in 922 BC, while Through the Year in Israel by Denise Bergman & Lorna Williams placed his reign from 961 to 925 BC.But when did this traditionally regarded as the greatest king of Israel reign?

 

From the Bible, we may determine when he started his reign.In 1 Kings 6:1, it states (Holy Bible, King James Version): ďAnd it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomonís reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord.ĒThis commencement of the construction is restated in 1 Kings 6:37 to wit: ďIn the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the Lord laid, in the month Zif.Ē

 

It says 480 years after the children of Israel came out of Egypt.This is 480 lunar years and not 480 solar years, for during that time, the Israelites were using a lunar calendar.The equivalent of 480 lunar years is about 466 solar years.This places Exodus to have happened in 1436 BC, i.e. 466 solar years earlier than 970 BC.Did Exodus really happen around 1436 BC?This is about 200 years from the generally accepted date.

 

As shown in another website (http://www.geocities.com/peacecrusader888/exodus.htm), Exodus happened on April 12, 1260 BC.If we use this date and add 466 solar years, we would get 794 BC.This year of 794 BC is not correct because after King Solomonís death in 931 BC, the dates, according to the Good News Bible, are more exact.How could King Solomon build the temple in 794 BC when he started his reign in about 970 BC?There is a discrepancy of about 200 years.

 

So how do we resolve the issue?I would suspect that number of years in 1 Kings 6:1 should be 280 and not 480 lunar years.The word four should be two to read two hundred and eightieth year.Four hundred and eighty years from Exodus seems to be a very long time before a temple for the God who delivered the Israelites from Egypt to be built.Coincidentally, 280 years is the estimate of the Good News Bible from Exodus in 1250 BC to the start of King Solomonís reign in 970 BC.

 

The equivalent of 280 lunar years is about 272 solar years.From Exodus date of 1260 BC, we find that the start of the building of the temple would be 988 BC.If this year was already the fourth year of King Solomonís reign, his kingship therefore started in 992 BC.This is 22 years earlier than the 970 BC approximate by the Good News Bible for the start of his reign.The Good News Bible is ten years later in its estimate when Exodus happened than what was determined in the above cited website.Overall, the Good News Bible was off by twelve years only.It was good enough considering that the records prior to his reign were scarce.

 

King Solomon died after ruling Israel for 40 lunar years (1 Kings 11:42, 2 Chronicles 9:30).This is equivalent to about 39 solar years.His reign therefore was from 992 BC to 953 BC.†† He was buried in Davidís City (1 Kings 11:43, 2 Chronicles 9:31).

 

The building of the temple in Jerusalem was an especially noteworthy achievement of King Solomon.It was finished after seven (lunar) years (about seven solar years) of construction.This is recorded in 1 Kings 6:38 to wit (Holy Bible, King James Version):ďAnd in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it.So was he seven years in building it.Ē

 

Using the Aristean Cycle where the year is 33 years earlier than the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars before 1 BC (1 BC = 1 BCA), the following dates are derived:

       Construction of the temple started on the second month (month of Zif) in the fourth year of the reign of King Solomon (1 Kings 6:1,37; 2 Chronicles 3:2).This occurred between December 12, 1021 BCA and January 9, 1020 BCA (or December 12, 988 BC and January 9, 987 BC).December or January might have been an ideal time to start construction especially if it was not rainy during this time of the year in Jerusalem.

       The temple was finished on the eighth month (month of Bul) in the eleventh year of his reign (1 Kings 6:38).This occurred between March 10, 1013 BCA and April 8, 1013 BCA (or March 10, 980 BC and April 8, 980 BC).

       The seven-year construction period of the temple was from 1021 BCA to 1013 BCA (or 988 BC to 980 BC).

       The temple was dedicated on the seventh month (month of Ethanim) of the following year during the Festival of Shelters (1 Kings 8:2, 2 Chronicles 5:3) which occurred on February 14, 1012 BCA (or February 14, 979 BC).The furnishings for the temple were still being made even after the templeís completion.Most likely, they became ready the following year for the templeís dedication.††

 

Table 1 shows the equivalent of years in the proleptic Gregorian calendar to years in the proleptic Aristean calendar.BC as used in the Gregorian calendar is the acronym for Before Christ (was born) whereas BCA is the acronym for Before Crucifixion (of Jesus Christ) in the Aristean calendar.The birth of Jesus is assumed to be in 1 BC in the Gregorian calendar. In the Aristean calendar, 1 BCA is the year when Jesus was crucified as revealed by the Holy Spirit and proven in http://www.geocities.com/peacecrusader888/jesuscrucify1.htm and His birth happened in 34 BCA.

 

Table 1.Events in the life of King Solomon.

Event

Bible

Reference

Proleptic

Gregorian Calendar

Proleptic

Aristean Calendar

Start of his reign

1 Kings 6:1,37; 2 Chr 3:2

992 BC

1025 BCA

Start of temple construction, foundation laid (month 2, Ziv)

1 Kings 6:1,37; 2 Chr 3:2

988 BC

1021 BCA

Finish of temple construction, start work on Solomonís Palace (month 8, Bul)

1 Kings 6:38

980 BC

1013 BCA

Dedication of the temple during the Festival of Tabernacles (month 7, Ethanim)

1 Kings 8:2; 2 Chr 5:3

979 BC

1012 BCA

Completion of Solomonís Palace

1 Kings 7:1; 9:10

967 BC

1000 BCA

His death

1 Kings 11:42; 2 Chr 9:30

953 BC

986 BCA

File solomon.htm last updated: September 10, 2003

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