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Dates of Kings of Judah / Israel and surrounding empires

Julian Spriggs M.A.

This is a helpful reference giving suggested dates for the reigns of the kings of the nations from the reign of Saul, through the time of the divided monarchy in Israel and Judah, to the end of the Old Testament period. Dates of rulers during the intertestament period are available on the Ptolemy and Seleucus page.

Setting dates for the kings of the divided kingdom is very difficult, so dates will vary in different reference books. An initial reading of the Books of I and II Kings would give the impression that it should be easy to construct a time-line of the period of the divided kingdom, as each king is introduced in relation to the king reigning in the other kingdom. However, on further study, setting a chronology of the kings is found to be difficult. There are three main reasons for this:

1. The accession year

The question is whether the first year of the reign of the king is counted, as Hebrews often counted time inclusively. In modern terms, if a king ruled from December 2004 to January 2006, we would say he ruled for one year and two months. However if the accession year is counted, he ruled for three years. This would mean that the year with a change in king can easily be counted twice, if not three times. During the early years of the divided monarchy, Israel counted the accession year, but Judah did not.

2. The time of New Year

During this period, Judah started their New Year in the month of Tishri (September or October), but Israel’s New Year was in Nisan (March or April). Because the reigns of kings are normally dated by the king in the other kingdom, confusion of years would be easy.

3. Regencies

Regencies occurred particularly in Judah, but not in Israel. This is when the son of the current king began his reign when his father reached old age and was not capable of ruling the kingdom effectively. This system brought stability to the monarchy at a time of potential weakness. When David reached old age, Solomon was anointed king before David had died (1 Kg 1). Jotham acted as regent when his father Uzziah was struck down with leprosy (2 Chr 26:21). There may have been regencies between several other kings, including Asa and Jehoshaphat, Ahaz and Hezekiah, and Hezkiah and Manasseh. The Book of Kings does not always indicate whether the period of regency has been counted in the length of a king’s reign. So when constructing the chronology, it would be easy to count the period of regency twice, thus making the chronology inaccurate.

4. Competing kings

The history of the northern kingdom of Israel was often turbulent, with frequent changes in king and dynasty involving violence. Often there were two rival claimants to the throne, normally ruling from different centres, bringing civil war to the nation. Before Omri became sole king, the nation was divided between him and another claimant to the throne called Tibni (1 Kg 16:21-22). This situation can also bring confusion to the dates.

The dates suggested below are not perfect, but those which are normally accepted in Biblical studies. All dates are BC.

United Kingdom

1 Saul 1050/45? - 1011/10
2 David 1011/10 - 971/70
3 Solomon 971/70 - 931/30

Kings of Judah

1 Rehoboam 931/30 - 913
2 Abijam 913 - 911/10
3 Asa 911/10 - 870/69
4 Jehoshapat 870/69 - 848 (Regent 873/2)
5 Jehoram 848 - 841
6 Ahaziah 841 - 841
7 Athaliah 841 - 835
8 Joash 835 - 796
9 Amaziah 796 - 767
10 Uzziah 767 - 740/39 (Regent 791/90)
11 Jotham 740/39 - 732/31 (Regent 750)
12 Ahaz 732/31 - 716/15 (Regent 744/43)
13 Hezekiah 716/15 - 687/86 (Regent 729)
14 Manasseh 687/86 - 642/41 (Regent 696/95)
15 Amon 642/41 - 640/39
16 Josiah 640/39 - 609
17 Jehoahaz 609 - 609
18 Jehoiakim 609 - 598
19 Jehoiachin 597 - 597
20 Zedekiah 597 - 587/86

Deportations from Judah

1 Nobility, including Daniel 605
2 Jehoiachin & Ezekiel. Largest deportation 598
3 Fall of Jerusalem, Zedekiah 586

Kings of Israel

The horizontal lines show a change of dynasty

1 Jeroboam I 931/30 - 910/09 House of Jeroboam
2 Nadab 910/09 - 909/08

3 Baasha 909/08 - 886/85 House of Baasha
4 Elah 886/85 - 885/84

5 Zimri 885/84 - 885/84

6 Omri 885/84 - 874/73 House of Omri
(Tibni) 885/884 - 885/84
7 Ahab 874/73 - 853
8 Ahaziah 853 - 852
9 Jehoram 852 - 841

10 Jehu 841 - 814/13 House of Jehu
11 Jehoahaz 814/13 -
12 Jehoash 798 - 782/81
13 Jeroboam II 782/81
(Regent 793/92)
- 753
14 Zechariah 753 - 752

15 Shallum 752 - 752

16 Menahem 752 - 742/41 House of Menahem
17 Pekahiah 752 - 742/41
18 Pekah 740/39 - 732/31

19 Hoshea - 723/22

Returns from exile

1 Zerubbabel 536
2 Ezra (main return) 458
3 Nehemiah 445

Significant dates

Division of the kingdom 931
Battle of Qarqar 853
Fall of Damascus (Syria) 732
Fall of Samaria (Israel) 722/21
Fall of Nineveh (Assyria) 612
Battle of Carchemish 605
Fall of Jerusalem (Judah) 587/86
Fall of Babylon 539

Syrian Kings

Ben-hadad 900 - 860, 860 - 843
Hazael 843 - 796
Ben-hadad 796 - 770
Rezin 750 - 732

Assyrian Kings

Tiglath - pileser III 747 - 727
Shalmaneser IV 727 - 722
Sargon II 722 - 705
Sennacherib 705 - 681
Esarhaddon 681 - 668
Ashurbanipal 668 - 626

Babylonian Kings

Nebuchadnezzar 605 - 562
Nabonidus 556 - 534
Belshazzar 553 - 539 (regent)

Median Kings

Cyaxares 625 - 585
Astyages 585 - 550

Persian Kings

Cyrus II 550 - 530
Cambyses 530 - 521
Smerdis 521
Darius I 521 - 486
Xerxes 486 - 464
Artaxerxes I 464 - 423
Darius II 423 - 404
Artaxerxes II 404 -

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