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Chronology of the Septuagint Text

Aug 02, 2008

Everyone has their fair share of critics, and I am no exception. I accept this as a basic fact of life, and it does not bother me in the least when people disagree with me. I have many friends who disagree with much of what I teach, particularly on the law of God.

But I want to say something today about the chronology of the Septuagint, since it differs from the chronology of the Hebrew text of Scripture. The Septuagint was a Greek translation of the Old Testament that was done a few centuries before Christ. When Alexander the Great took control of Judea in 332 B.C., the Judeans recognized that he was the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy concerning the "belly of bronze" (Dan. 2:32) and the "leopard" (Dan. 7:6). So they opened the gates of Jerusalem and welcomed him.

Later, Alexander founded a new city in Egypt, which was called Alexandria. To populate this new city, he gave Judeans some incentives to move there, and many did. Within a generation or two, many of the people no longer understood Hebrew, but spoke Greek instead. So the need arose for a Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures. Because 70 prominent rabbis were said to have done the work of translation, it was called the Septuagint ("Seventy").

Three centuries later, by the time of Christ, the Septuagint was the King James Bible of the world. Of course, it included only the Old Testament, since the New Testament had not yet been written. The New Testament often quotes the Septuagint in its Old Testament quotations.

Now the Egyptians and Babylonians had long contended for the right to be known as the oldest, or original, civilization/religion in the world. For this reason, the Egyptians had often falsified their own records to make themselves look centuries older than the Babylonians. It appears that the rabbis got caught up in that same spirit when translating the Septuagint. They added 100 years to all the ages of the early patriarchs in order to better align with the antiquity of Egypt and to make their own history more venerable.

And so, while the Hebrew text (note the KJV) says that Adam was just 130 years old when he begat Seth, the Septuagint says he was 230 years old when Seth was born.

Whereas the Hebrew text says that Seth was 105 when Enos was born, the Septuagint says Seth was 205 when Enos was born.

This goes on all the way to Methuselah. The Hebrew text tells us that Methuselah was 187 when his son Lamech was born. For some reason, the Septuagint reduces this figure to 167.

The Hebrew text says that Lamech was 182 years old when Noah was born; the Septuagint says that Lamech was 188.

So the birth of Noah occurred either in 1056 or in 1647 (years from Adam), depending on which text one uses. This is a difference of 591 years. It is enough to throw off the entire chronology of biblical history. For example, depending on which text one uses, the date for the 120th Jubilee from Adam will be drastically different.

The Septuagint agrees with the Hebrew text in saying that Noah was 600 years old when the flood came. The Hebrew text dates this as the year 1656, while the Septuagint says it happened in 2247. But here is where the Septuagint text runs into a problem and is proven to be incorrect. It tells us that Methuselah was born in 1292 and lived 969 years in all. In other words, Methuselah is said to have died in the year 2261.

The problem is that the Septuagint puts the flood 14 years before Methuselah died. In other words, Methuselah supposedly outlived the flood, and yet he is not one of the "eight souls" in Noah's ark. Did Methuselah build his own ark? Did he live through the flood without joining Noah and his 3 sons and all of their wives?

It is a contradiction within the text of the Septuagint that the rabbis apparently missed.

The Hebrew text, on the other hand, shows that Methuselah died in the year of the flood. He was born in 687 and lived 969 years to the year 1656. That was when Noah was 600 years old and when the flood hit. Essentially, Methuselah died shortly before the flood. In fact, his name prophesied of the flood, for it means, "When he is dead, it shall be sent." His death was the time marker for the flood, and the flood could not come until Methuselah was dead.

That explains why Methuselah was not in the ark with the others, and it also explains the prophetic meaning of his name. But if we use the dating found in the Septuagint text, we have to deal with this inherent contradiction.

Likewise, the chronology of the Septuagint does not reflect the 4 x 414 years of Cursed Time for the earth. God cursed the ground in Gen. 3:17, and this put the earth itself on Cursed Time (i.e., 414-year cycles). When Noah was born, the revelation came that he would give rest and comfort to the earth because of that curse (Gen. 5:29). This was fulfilled by the flood itself. The pronouncement of judgment on the earth in Gen. 3:17 was actually carried out in the flood 4 x 414 years later (1656).

Because the Hebrew text is accurate, and the Septuagint is not, it works out that Israel was supposed to return to the land of Canaan (their inheritance) in the 50th Jubilee from Adam. The 12 spies gave their report on that very day, but because Israel refused to fulfill their Jubilee, they turned it into a Day of Atonement. They turned joy into mourning. It is therefore only in Christ and the New Covenant that our mourning is turned to joy (Jer. 31:13).

The Septuagint problem is compounded in Genesis 11 as well, for in the post-flood account, it adds a century to the age of the patriarchs from Shem to Abraham. This throws off the entire chronology from Noah to Moses.

The Hebrew text shows us that Noah put a curse upon Canaan in the year 1660, just a few years after the flood, and this put the Canaanites themselves on Cursed Time (2 x 414 years). It ended in 2488 when Joshua brought judgment upon Canaan when they crossed the Jordan and took Jericho. (1660 + 828 = 2488)

But if we use the Septuagint chronology, the time is extended another thousand years, and the numbers are rendered meaningless.

I discovered, too, that it was 50 Jubilees from Enoch's translation (987) to the beginning of Daniel's 70 weeks (3437). Note that 3437 minus 1987 = 2450 (49 x 50 years). Ten Jubilees later brings us to 3927 (or 33 A.D. when Jesus was crucified and when the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost). Forty more Jubilees afterward brings us to 1993. This was also fifty Jubilees from the beginning of Daniel's 70 weeks.

Thus, it was 100 Jubilees from Enoch's translation to 1993 A.D., when "Saul" died.

There are also those who insist that Adam's chronology began in 4002 or 4004 B.C. Bishop Ussher worked hard to force Adam's creation in 4004, assuming that Jesus was born precisely 4000 years later in 4 B.C. The problem was that Jesus was NOT born in 4 B.C., as I proved in my book, When REALLY Was Jesus Born? Jesus was actually born in September of 2 B.C., because this is the only possible time when Cyrenius could have been governor of Syria according to Luke 2:2.

For this reason, some have tried to force Adam's creation to 2002 B.C. But there is absolutely no historical evidence to back up such a statement. When I did my chronology for Secrets of Time back in 1991, I did not start with a preconceived idea. I let the facts speak for themselves, and when I was finished, I discovered all sorts of very interesting time cycles that had been hidden by incorrect chronologies done previously by others.

This is why I have no confidence in the Septuagint's chronology. Not only is it self-contradictory insofar as Methuselah is concerned, it is not workable insofar as the laws of time are concerned.


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Dr. Stephen Jones


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