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Open letter to science editors
KRONOS Vol II, No. 1
PRECISE SYNCHRONIZATION INVOLVING THE REVISED CHRONOLOGY
Various issues of Pensee and KRONOS have focused on Velikovsky's
Ages in Chaos
and dealt with some of the questions it raises. But, so far, no one has yet attempted the
relatively simple task of plotting the revised chronology (at least through the reign of
Akhnaten) to within an accuracy of a year or two. (The charts in Pensee IV and
KRONOS I, 3
were drawn vaguely enough to allow at least ten years' error.) This is an important task,
however, for obviously if the Egyptian and Hebrew chronologies cannot be so synchronized
within the limits of the available data, we can reasonably say that Ages in Chaos has been
effectively killed. Accordingly, I have here provided two schemes by which this synchronism
can be accomplished, using the Revised Standard Version of the Bible,
Ages in Chaos, and Sir
Gardiner's Egypt of the Pharaohs (Oxford, 1962) as my main sources.
On the Egyptian side, we have our data in the form of the highest recorded year of
each king; admittedly the weakness here lies in the fact that a later date may turn up at any
time. We shall here start with Thutmose III for a reason I shall mention below. The highest
recorded dates are: Thutmose III, 54 years(1); Amenhotep II, 23 years; Thutmose IV, 8 years;
Amenhotep III, 38 years(2); Akhnaten, 17 years.
After the death of Solomon, on the Hebrew side, the Books of Kings and Chronicles
give reigns for each king; the kings of Judah were: Rehoboam, 17 years; Abijam, 3 years; Asa,
41 years; Jehoshaphat, 25 years.
The only point of exact synchronism, with a definite year on both sides, is the invasion
of Palestine by Thutmose III. The Battle of Mefiddo, the first in the campaign, occurred in
Thutmose's 23rd year(3) and Rehoboam's 5th year. The two chronologies can be synchronized
from this starting point as follows:
INSERT KII1_72.TIF HERE
This causes trouble in the el-Amarna period, since by this scheme neither Ahab nor
Jehoshaphat could have written to Akhnaten. We must, therefore, either "compress" the
Egyptian time-span or "stretch" the Hebrew record, or both.
For Egypt, a number of scholars have assumed, on the basis of certain tomb-reliefs and
the like, that there was a twelve-year coregency between Amenhotep III and Akhnaten.(4) A
co-regency might also be postulated in the case of Thutmose III and Amenhotep II; see Egypt
of the Pharaohs, p. 200.(5) On the biblical side, the most available source of possible
alternative combinations is in the reign of Asa. In contrast to the 41 years of I Kings 15: 10,
we are told that Elah came to the throne in Asa's 26th year (I Kings 16:8), after the death of
Baasha; Omri coming to the throne of Israel in Asa's 31st year and ruling for 12 years (I Kings
16:23), then Ahab ruling for three years before the death of Asa (I Kings 22:41-2). Adding up
these itemized figures gives Asa not 41, but 46 years; the total in I Kings 15:10 is probably
due to the omission of the six years Omri ruled in Samaria.(6) The chronologies can thus be
re-plotted as follows:
INSERT KII1_73.TIF HERE
However, various scholars, Velikovsky himself among them (Oedipus and Akhnaton,
notes pp. 53-54), claim that there was no co-regency between Akhnaten and his father. This
gives Amenhotep III a full 38 years before his son ascended the throne.
(I suggest that perhaps instead of dying, could not Amenhotep III have simply been
deposed by the near-omnipotent priests of Amen about his 26th year, and continued to live at
his Malkata palace until his death? The priests could have circulated false rumors of his death,
and installed Tiye, and later Akhnaten, on the throne. Even under Velikovsky's Oedipus
reconstruction, this idea has some attractive features -- such as explaining why Tiye refrained,
for twelve years, before ousting Nefertiti and becoming Akhnaten's Great Royal Wife.)
Still, the Bible has yet another conflicting statement that can be used to accommodate
this period. II Chronicles 16:1 mentions Baasha of Israel attacking Judah in Asa's 36th year;
this is ten years after Baasha would have died according to the other accounts. The grounds
for adopting this statement as true are rather less than we might like, and indeed the figure
looks suspiciously, to my untrained eye, like a scribal error. If we adopt it, however, Asa has a
reign of 56 years, and the synchronical plot looks like this:
INSERT KII174A.TIF HERE
Finally, all that remains is to carry the sequence back to the expulsion of the Hyksos.
Counting back from the battle of Megiddo, on the Egyptian side we have: Thutmose III, 23
years (this includes his years as subordinate to Hatshepsut); Thutmose II, 18 years; Thutmose
I, 4 (or possibly 9) years; Amenhotep I, 21 years; 'Ahmose, 22 years. The expulsion of the
Hyksos is assumed to have been in the fourth year of 'Ahmose.(7)
On the Hebrew side, counting back from the invasion, we have: Rehoboam, 5 years;
Solomon, 40 years; David, 40 years. The defeat of the Amalekites/Hyksos is not given any
certain date, but was near the end of Saul's reign. The synchronical plot for these years can be
made as follows, therefore, taking 9 years to be the length of Thutmose I's rule:
INSERT KII174B.TIF HERE
Finally, we can attempt to fit this scale into the context of real years. Here, however,
the only fixing points are the two statements of Shalmaneser III that Ahab fought in the battle
of Qarqar in Shalmaneser's 6th year (853 B.C.)(8) and Jehu's tribute in Shalmaneser's 18th
year (841 B.C.). Using Velikovsky's clarification of the succession in Israel and the death of
Ahab ("Ahab or Jehoram Two Versions of the Scriptures,"
Ages in Chaos, I, pp. 255-262), it
follows that, within the framework of these two dates, Ahab could have died any time between
853 and 847 B.C., and Jehu revolted six years later, at any time between 847 and 841 B.C.
Albert W. Burgstahler in his article, "The El-Amarna Letters and the Ancient Records
of Babylonia and Assyria" (Pensee V, Fall, 1973 pp. 13-15), mentions el-Amarna letter No. 6,
which was written by "Burnaburiash (Shalmaneser III in Ages in Chaos), king of Babylonia";
the addressee's name is not preserved, but since the letter refers to a time when the addressee
and "Burnaburiash's" (fore) father "were on good terms with one another," it is assumed that
the letter was sent to the senior Pharaoh, Amenhotep III.
For reasons that Burgstahler explains, Shalmaneser III could not have written as "king
of Babylonia" until after about 850 B.C. And this is indeed possible with either of the
synchronical schemes. But, is it not possible that the letter was meant for Akhnaten after all?
In Oedipus and Akhnaton, Velikovsky maintains that Akhnaten spent his youth abroad. Could
he not have spent some time at Nineveh, and been "on good terms" with Shalmaneser's
predecessor, Ashurnasirpal II?
REFERENCES AND NOTES
1. All Eighteenth Dynasty dates, save Amenhotep III, given and referenced in A. H.
Gardiner, Egypt of the Pharaohs (Oxford, 1962), p. 443.
2. Quoted from reference No. 4 in A. W. Burgstahler, "The El-Amarna Letters and the
Ancient Records of Babylonia and Assyria," Pensee V (Fall, 1973), pp. 13-15.
3. Gardiner, op. cit., p. 189.
4. See C. Desroches-Noblecourt, Tutankhamen (N. Y., 1963).
5. I have assumed the co-regency to have lasted seven years, since in Amenhotep's seventh
year came the first campaign definitely his (Gardiner, op. cit., pp. 200-201). An earlier
campaign came in year 3 (Ibid.) and with a seven-year co-regency this falls in Asa's 12th year;
this fits in well with II Chron. 14:1 ("In [ Asa's] time the land had peace for ten years.").
6. Velikovsky applies the same logic to Ahab in Ages in Chaos (pp. 255-262).
7. Gardiner, op. cit., p. 159.
8. Shalmaneser III ruled 858-824 B. C. (Quoted from reference No. 2 in Burgstahler,