Mark Edward: “Mutually Exclusive Chronologies” in Judges

Mark Edward, “The Judges as Legends of the Two Kingdoms” (2022),

While the Book of Judges purports to lay out the history between the post-exodus leader Joshua and the pre-monarchy leader Samuel, this has severe problems. The most basic of these is that the timeline given in Judges is one of at least three mutually exclusive chronologies given for this time period in the Hebrew Bible. Most of the stories in Judges contain notations on how long each foreign oppressor or judge had power. A little over halfway through (11.26), we are directly told that 300 years have passed since Israel settled in Canaan, which closely fits the sum of the time notations up to that point. By the end of the book, the grand total ends up being a minimum of 410 years. Yet, after all this time, Phinehas and Jonathan, the grandsons of Moses and his brother Aaron, are active participants in the book’s epilogue. These two men were at least 30 years old when the escape from Egypt happened; how are they still alive after four centuries?

3 thoughts on “Mark Edward: “Mutually Exclusive Chronologies” in Judges

  1. A four-century period for the Judges also conflicts with the generally preferred chronology that puts the Exodus (or at least an exodus of some sort) in the 1200s. 410 years simply won’t fit between then and the monarchy’s establishment in the 1000s.

    Conservative proponents of an early (15th century) Exodus/Conquest would happily say there’s no material problem by their reckoning, which might be true as far as the book of Judges goes. But then we’re talking about the Judges account taking place during the centuries of Egyptian hegemony (ca. 1450-1150) in Canaan. It just doesn’t work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lex,

      I recently wrote about OT chronology:

      “When Was the Exodus: 15th or 13th Century B.C.?”

      A literal-only interpretation of biblical numbers is problematic for either position (a 15th c. Exodus or a 13th c. one). That being the case, I go by archaeological findings suggesting the later date. In other words, science (archaeology in particular) can help us to better interpret the Bible.

      I have replied to your recent article on Pearce’s site:

      “Joshua’s Conquest: Rapid, Always Violent, & Total?”

      I also replied to another one of yours (also posted there) a while back:

      “Moses Wrote the Torah: 50 External Evidences”

      I can’t access OnlySky sites to comment. I tried again today and thought I finally succeeded, but when I went to comment, nothing happened. Of course you are welcome on my blog at any time, to comment, and you’ll be treated with respect by all. I’ll see to that.

      Because of the glitch at OnlySky, I went searching for your name and ran across this site, which looks excellent. I will send you and also the webmaster here, a free pdf of my new book, “The Word Set in Stone: How Archaeology, Science, and History Back Up the Bible” (Catholic Answers Press: March 15, 2023, 271p) if you like. It’s doing very well on the Amazon Kindle charts (right now #34 in Religious Antiquities & Archaeology and #69 in Christian History).

      Just send me your email address or a Facebook page so I could attach it to a PM, and you can both have it.

      In any event, you two are precisely the sorts of atheists I am most interested in dialoguing with. And I suspect that it works both ways: maybe I would be the sort of Christian you would enjoy dialoguing with (once my positions are understood). The common ground is love of science and fact. That’s what my book is based on: secular science, that (so I contend) backs up biblical claims.


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