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CHRONOLOGY OF ISRAEL / JUDAH'S MONARCHY
Includes Prophets and Foreign Kings

 

Table of Contents

General Info

The period of Israel’s monarchy began when Samuel, the last judge, anointed Saul as the first king about 1050 BC.  The nation split into the northern (Israel) and southern (Judah) kingdoms in 931 BC.  The northern kingdom was conquered and deported by Assyria in 722 BC, and Judah later fell to the Babylonians, with the final of three exiles coming in 586 BC.

Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered Babylon in 539 BC and issued a decree allowing the first of the Jews to return to Jerusalem the following year under Zerubbabel.  Many events from Israel’s post-exilic period are recorded in the books of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther.

Our chronology chart below covers the period from the beginning of the monarchy (~1050 BC) to the approximate end of OT times (~400 BC).  See Timelines of the OT History Books for events corresponding with the chart below.

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Timeline

All Dates are BC.   A tilde symbol ( ~ ) indicates an approximate date.   A date with a forward slash ( / ) indicates a co-regency (see the next chapter below).  For example, "820/810-795" indicates that the king began his co-regency (or co-reign, usually with his father) in 820 BC, then ruled from in 810 until 795 BC.

Color Codes:

King of Israel or Judah
Prophet
Foreign King

Years Person Description Scripture Notes
1050-1011 Saul King of United Israel 1Sam 8:1-31:13; 1Chr 10:1-14 Killed fighting the Syrians
1011-1004 David King of United Israel (1) 2Sam; 1Kg 1:1-2:9; 1Chr 11:1-29:30  
990–930 Hezion (aka Rezon) King of Syria 1Kg 11:23-25; 15:18
971-931 Solomon King of United Israel (2) 1Kg 2:12-11:43; 1Chr 29:20-30; 2Chr 1:1-9:31  
841 Ahaziah (aka Jehoahaz) King of Judah 2Kg 23:31–34; 2 Chr 36:1–4) Killed by Jehu (Israel)
931-913 Rehoboam King of Judah 1Kg 14:21–31; 2Chr 10:1–12:16
931-910 Jeroboam King of Israel 1Kg 12:25–14:20; 2Chr 10:1–13:22
~930-885 Tabrimmon King of Syria 1Kg 15:18
913-911 Abijam (aka Abijah) King of Judah 1Kg 15:1–8; 2Chr 13:1–22
911-870 Asa King of Judah 1Kg 15:9–24; 2Chr 14:1–16:14
910-909 Nadab King of Israel 1Kg 15:25–31 Killed by Baasha
909-886 Baasha King of Israel 1Kg 15:32–16:7; 2Chr 16:1–6
886-885 Elah King of Israel 1Kg 16:8–14 Killed by Zimri
885-874 Omri King of Israel 1Kg 16:21–28
~885–860 Ben-Hadad I King of Syria 1Kg 15:18-20
885 Zimri King of Israel 1Kg 16:15–20
874-853 Ahab King of Israel 1Kg 16:29–22:40; 2Chr 16:1–34 Killed fighting the Syrians
873/870-848 Jehoshaphat King of Judah 1Kg 22:41–50; 2Chr 17:1–21:3
~870-850 Elijah Prophet of Israel 1Kg 17:1–19:21; 2Kg 1:1-2:17; 2Chr 16:1–34
~860-841 Ben-Hadad II King of Syria 1Kg 20; 2Kg 6:24; 8:7-14
853-852 Ahaziah King of Israel 1Kg 22:51–53; 2Kg 1:1–18; 2Chr 20:35–37
~853-798 Elisha Prophet of Israel 1Kg 19:16-19; 2Kg 2:1-13:21
853/848-841 Jehoram King of Judah 2Kg 8:16–24; 2Chr 21:4–20 Married a daughter of Ahab (Israel)
852-841 Jehoram (aka Joram) King of Israel 2Kg 2:1–8:15; 2Chr 22:5–7 Killed by Jehu
841-835 Athaliah Queen of Judah 2Kg 11:1–16; 2Chr 22:10–23:21 Killed by Jehoiada the priest
841-814 Jehu King of Israel 2Kg 9:30–10:36; 2Chr 22:7–12
~841-801 Hazael King of Syria 1Kg 19:15-17; 2Kg 8-13:25
~840s Obadiah Prophet of Judah Obadiah
835-796 Joash (aka Jehoash) King of Judah 2Kg 11:17–12:21; 2Chr 24:1–24:27
~835-796 (3) Joel Prophet of Judah Joel
814-798 Jehoahaz King of Israel 2Kg 13:1–9
~807-780 Ben-Hadad III King of Syria 2Kg 13:3-25
798-782 Jehoash (aka Joash) King of Israel 2Kg 13:10–25; 2Chr 25:17–24
796-767 Amaziah King of Judah 2Kg 14:1–22; 2Chr 25:1–28
793/782-753 Jeroboam II King of Israel 2Kg 14:23–29
791/767-740 Uzziah (aka Azariah) King of Judah 2Kg 15:1–7; 2Chr 26:1–23
~780-750 Jonah Prophet of Israel Jonah Three days in large fish; prophesied to Ninevah (Assyria)
~780-732 Rezin King of Syria 2Kg 15:37; 16:5-9
~765-750 Amos Prophet of Israel Amos
~755-715 Hosea Prophet of Israel Hosea  
753-752 Zechariah King of Israel 2Kg 15:8–12 Killed by Shallum
752-742 Menahem King of Israel 2Kg 15:16–22
752 Shallum King of Israel 2Kg 15:13-15 Killed by Menahem
750/740-731 Jotham King of Judah 2Kg 15:32–38; 2Chr 27:1–9
744-727 Tiglath-pileser III King of Assyria 2Kg 15:29
743/731-715 Ahaz King of Judah 2Kg 16:1–20; 2Chr 28:1–27
742-740 Pekahiah King of Israel 2Kg 15:23–26 Killed by Pekah
740-732 Pekah King of Israel 2Kg 15:27–31 Killed by Hoshea
~740-690 Micah Prophet of Judah Micah Likely prophesized to both Israel and Judah
~740-685 Isaiah Prophet of Israel Isaiah
732-722 Hoshea King of Israel 2Kg 17:1–41 Israel Falls to Assyria in 722 BC
728/715-686 Hezekiah King of Judah 2Kg 18:1–20:21; 2Chr 29:1–32:33; Is 36–39
727-722 Shalmaneser V King of Assyria 2Kg 17:3; 18:9
721-705 Sargon II King of Assyria
704-681 Sennacherib King of Assyria
696/686-642 Manasseh King of Judah 2Kg 17:3; 18:9
680-669 Esarhaddon King of Assyria
668-626 Ashurbanipal King of Assyria
642-640 Amon King of Judah 2Kg 21:19–26; 2Chr 33:21–25
640-609 Josiah King of Judah 2Kg 22:1–23:30; 2Chr 34:1–35:27 Killed by Pharaoh Neco of Egypt
~635-622 Zephaniah Prophet of Judah Zephaniah
~630-612 Nahum Prophet of Judah Nahum Prophesized the destruction of Nineveh (Assyria)
~627-580 Jeremiah Prophet of Judah Jeremiah
609-598 Jehoiakim King of Judah 2Kg 23:35–24:7; 2Chr 36:4–8 Installed by Pharaoh Neco of Egypt
609 Jehoahaz King of Judah 2Kg 23:31–34; 2Chr 36:1–4 Exiled by Pharaoh Neco to Egypt
~606-604 Habakkuk Prophet of Judah Habakkuk
605-562 Nebuchadnezzar II King of Babylon 2Kg 24-25; Dan 1-4 Invaded Judah in 605 BC (first deportation)
~605-535 Daniel Postexile Prophet Daniel in Babylon
598-597 Jehoiachin King of Judah 2Kg 24:8–16; 2Chr 36:9-10 Exiled to Babylon when Nebuchadnezzar seized Jerusalem (second deportation); Released from Babylonian prison in 561 BC
597-586 Zedekiah King of Judah 2Kg 24:17–25:21; 2Chr 36:11–21 Judah falls to Babylon in 586 BC (third and final deportation)
~597-570 Ezekiel Postexile Prophet Ezekiel
559-530 Cyrus the Great King of Persia 2Chr 36:22-23; Ezra 1-6 Conquered Babylon in 539 BC
~556-539 Nabonidus King of Babylon Dan 5 Last king of Babylon; Belshazzar (son) served as co-regent
522-486 Darius I the Great King of Persia Ezra 4-6
~520-518 Zechariah Postexile Prophet Zechariah
~520 Haggai Postexile Prophet Haggai
486-465 Xerxes (aka Ahasuerus) King of Persia Esther Husband of Esther
465-424 Artaxerxes I King of Persia Ezra 4-6 Commissioned Ezra to return to Jerusalem
~450-400 Malachi Postexile Prophet Malachi
423-404 Darius II King of Persia Neh 12:22

(1)  After Saul's death, David became king over Judah and Saul's son Ish-Bosheth proclaimed himself king over the northern tribes (~1011 BC - 2Sam 1-4).  After he was killed, David became king over United Israel (~1004 BC - 2Sam 5).

(2)  After Solomon's reign. the kingdom of Israel split into two nations, the northern tribes (Israel) and the southern tribes (Judah). 

(3)  Most likely date, but Joel's prophecy has been dated anywhere from the ninth to the fourth century BC.

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Challenges of Dating the Reigns of Kings

There are several challenges associated with dating the reigns of Israel’s kings.  Factors that must be taken into consideration in assembling chronological data of the period include the Hebrew calendar year, accession vs non-accession year dating, and co-regencies.  Yet, as we will discover (and would expect), the events in the Bible’s historical books covering the era of the monarchy (Samuel, the Kings, and the Chronicles) are consistent with the external history records.

Hebrew Calendar Year

The annual calendars of ancient Egypt, Israel, Assyria, and Babylon do not correlate with our modern calendar.  Some were solar-based, while others were founded on a lunar cycle.  In addition, Israel’s united monarchy and Judah’s kings used a royal or civil-year dating method beginning around September or October (Tisri), but the northern kingdom of Israel (and Babylon) used a dating method beginning with the first calendar month of Nisan (our modern March or April).  See our articles on Calendar Systems for more information on ancient and modern calendars.

Regnal-Year Dating - Accession and Non-Accession Years

During this time period, events were not fixed to a set calendar date, but with reference to the reign of a particular king.  The number of years of a king's reign is given in “regnal-years” (regnal comes from the Latin regnum, meaning rule, authority, kingdom or realm); however, there there were no partial regnal years, only whole years that coincided with whichever calendar was in effect.  So, if the throne changed rulers during the year, that year would only count toward the reign of one or the other.  To complicate matters further, there were two different methods in counting the year that a new rule took over.  The first, known as the “accession system” (aka post dating) credited the entire transition year to the departing king,  Thus, the new king's first regnal year begins on the first day of the following calendar year.  By contrast, the “non-accession system” (aka ante-dating) credited the transition year to the incoming king.  The Jewish sacred calendar began on the first day of Nissan, which typically falls in March or April of our Gregorian calendar, but the Jewish civil calendar began the first day of Tishri (Gregorian September or October).

By comparing Biblical, Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian and Israeli records, it has been determined that Assyria, Babylon and Judah used the accession year system for counting the reigns of their kings, while Egypt and Israel typically used the non-accession year method.  Thus, when determining  a year for an event based on the harmonization of Jewish records versus other nations, differences between both the regnal-year counting method and the appropriate calendar systems must be taken into account.

Co-regencies

Finally, we must account for the co-regency system, in which a son would officially begin his reign while his father was still living.  This system was particularly popular in the southern kingdom of Judah, probably to allow the son to gain experience to ensure a more orderly transfer of power.

Some chronological lists count the son’s years from the time he began his co-regency, while others begin from the time of his sole reign.  We have attempted to provide both dates in our chart above.

Conclusion

At first glance, it might appear that these dating complexities might be very difficult to resolve.  Yet, we can gladly acknowledge that scholars have essentially overcome these obstacles, so that we can be confident of the dependability of the biblical dating, usually within an accuracy of a few months.

This task is greatly aided by many archaeological findings, including several key Assyrian documents.  One in particular, the Assyrian Eponym Canon, not only contains the names of the Assyrian kings from 910-612 BC, but also records key events including battles, weather (droughts and floods) and cosmological incidents that occurred during each year.  Extremely significant was the inclusion of eclipses, whose predictable patterns allowed scholars to connect events to our modern calendar system.

Numerous other Assyrian documents mention events that occurred in Israel and Judah.  For example, 2Kings 18:13 reads “In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.”   The Sennacherib Relief  found at Nineveh goes into great detail concerning the Assyrian attack on the city of Lachish.  King Sennacherib built a siege ramp at the southwestern corner of the city and employed archers, infantry, and machines to overcome its defenses.  The Judeans responded by erecting a counter-siege ramp, but could not prevent Sennacherib’s victory.  Both actual ramps have now been uncovered by archeologists.  In addition (and of particular value to establishing the date), a six-sided prism dating to 689 BC has been found that contains the annals of the Assyrian King Sennacherib (704–681 BC) .  The prism describes eight military campaigns, including information on Sennacherib’s siege of Jerusalem that allows us to date the siege in 701 BC.  Thus we can date the fourteenth year of Judah's King Hezekiah’s reign to the same year.

We can also determine the dates of the Israeli kings Ahab and Jehu from the annals of Assyrian King Shalmaneser III (859–824 BC).  Shalmaneser III erected a large stone monument now known as the Black Obelisk that contains a sculpture depicting King Jehu of Israel paying tribute to the Assyrian King.  Since we now have fixed dates for both Israeli and Judean kings, we can determine the dates of other Jewish kings simply count forward and backward using the Biblical text while taking the appropriate preceding factors into account.  We also have the relative regnal-year data throughout the history books of the Bible that cross-references between the Judean and Israeli kings to verify our dates.

Due to the abundance of the aforementioned and other available historical documentation, the relative (regnal year) dates in the biblical text can be accurately converted into fixed dates on our modern calendar system.  Furthermore, the incredible harmony between the records of these various nations adds to our confidence in the reliability of the sources.

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