THE PERFECT HARMONY OF THE NUMBERS OF THE HEBREW KINGS
By Harold Camping
The Perfect Harmony of the Numbers of the Hebrew Kings
In the book Adam When?, calculations were made to provide an exact chronology from the year of creation (11,013 B.C.) to the laying of the temple foundation in 967 B.C. This was accomplished by carefully examining the Biblical record. Additionally, by God's mercy, the Biblical record of the chronology of the judges who judged Israel were ascertained. They judged Israel during the 360-year period from the time Israel came into the land of Canaan (1407 B. C.) until Saul was made king over Israel in the year 1047 B.C.
But what about the chronology of the kings who ruled over Israel? Does the Bible give sufficient information so that we can determine an exact chronology of all the kings from the first king, Saul, to the last king, Zedekiah, who reigned until Jerusalem was completely destroyed by the Babylonians?
In this book, an endeavor is made to show that such a reconstruction of history is indeed possible. This is so because of the exquisite accuracy of God's Book, the Bible.
A book which sets forth an exact chronology of all the kings who ruled over Judah and Israel is not one that the average student of the Bible will find to be exciting reading. Who really is interested in which years Asa reigned over Judah or the time frame of Ahab's reign over Israel. Thus, it would appear that such a book has little to offer the reader and, therefore, is of insignificant importance.
... a book detailing with great accuracy the reigns of the kings of Judah and' Israel is of great importance.
In actuality, however, a book detailing with great accuracy the reigns of the kings of 7udah and Israel is of great importance. This is
so because there is probably no other body of Biblical citations that has done more to seem to invalidate the authority of the Bible than those pertaining to the duration of the reigns of these kings.
We read, for example, in one citation (II Chronicles 36:9) that Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign. Yet in another citation (II Kings 24:8), we read that he was 18 years old when he began to reign.
Or, for example, we read in I Samuel 13:1 that Saul was apparently one year old when he began to reign. Many more of these kinds of apparent errors can be cited in connection with the reigns of these kings.
The result of these apparent contradictions and errors is that a great many theologians have concluded that the numbers of the Bible are not accurate; they are not to be trusted. Perhaps they are not accurate, not because they were not accurate in the original manuscript, but perhaps a scribe made an error in transcribing a later copy.
In any case, these apparent errors associated with the numbers of the Bible are very obvious and, therefore, they conclude that we cannot trust any numbers of the Bible.
If the ancient copies, from which we obtain our present Bible, are inaccurate insofar as the numbers of the Bible are concerned, then how can they be trusted concerning any part of the Bible.
This conclusion concerning the apparent inaccuracies of the numbers of the Bible destroys the authority of the whole Bible. If the ancient copies, from which we obtain our present Bible, are inaccurate insofar as the numbers of the Bible are concerned, then how can they be trusted concerning any part of the Bible. After all, numbers are words and the whole Bible consists of words. If some words of the Bible are not to be trusted, then how can we trust any words of the Bible. We thus can understand why so many Bible scholars do not trust the Bible. They like what they read when it pleases them, but a
passage that does not please them can easily be set aside in their minds as having no binding authority.
Unfortunately, this undercurrent of mistrust is far more in place than we might think. So many preachers and teachers of the Bible stress that the Bible is the infallible, inerrant Word of God, yet in practice, they subject themselves to the authority of the Bible only when it appears to agree with the theological ideas that they themselves or their church hold. But when the Bible appears to disagree with their theological position, the Biblical citation in question is disregarded or modified in their thinking so that it does agree with their theological position.
This kind of conduct is often consciously or unconsciously fostered and encouraged because they at some time in their studies have read commentaries that suggest the possibility of scribal error, particularly in connection with the numbers of the Bible.
Thus, we should readily understand that if it can be shown that there are no errors or contradictions regarding the numbers of the Bible, great strides will have been made in accepting the Bible as it should be accepted. There are no errors or real contradictions in the Bible. The whole Bible in the original languages is completely trustworthy. This includes every word whether it is a number or some other word.
The only errors that may be found will be those resulting from faulty translation into our present languages or because inferior Greek texts were used in translating the New Testament. Wonderfully, the King James translation has used the correct Greek copies.
So we should begin to understand that if any and all of the citations of the Bible that have any relationship to the chronologies of the kings of Judah and Israel can be accurately harmonized, a monumental source of potential mistrust of the Bible will have been removed.
So we should begin to understand that if any and all of the citations of the Bible that have any relationship to the chronologies of
the kings of Judah and Israel can be accurately harmonized, a monumental source of potential mistrust of the Bible will have been removed. For this reason, the work done in preparing this book was done with great love and concern for the authority of the Bible.
Moreover, when each and every citation of the Bible that deals with the chronologies of the kings of Judah and Israel can be completely harmonized, the true believer is tremendously blessed. While he never doubted the perfect accuracy of the Word of God, to actually see this perfect accuracy exposed to his view is a wonderful encouragement. Indeed, this proves again that the Bible is God's Book. Only God could have crafted the Bible so that all of these apparent contradictions are not contradictions at all. And if these difficult numbers can be harmonized, then anything and everything in the whole Bible is in perfect harmony with everything else in the Bible.
We must bear in mind that the Bible was crafted by God. Each and every word, even each letter of each word, in the original languages was precisely what God desired. Because He is God, He could have designed the Bible so that any six-year-old child could clearly understand each and every teaching that God wished mankind to understand.
But God purposely wrote the Bible so that it would be difficult to discover many truths of the Bible.
But God purposely wrote the Bible so that it would be difficult to discover many truths of the Bible. Jesus declares in Mark 4:11-12:
And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not
understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
In Proverbs 25:2, He further declares:
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.
God declares in I Corinthians 2:11-14:
For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
As we examine these three citations, we begin to understand that God purposely wrote the Bible to foster unbelief in the hearts of those who do not want the salvation of the Bible. For them, the Bible appears to contain errors, contradictions, and many things that apparently have no relationship to truth.
This, I believe, is the reason that the numbers that relate to the chronology of the kings of Judah and Israel appear so frequently to be in error.
But when we adopt Biblical principles, namely, that we are to trust that every word in the Bible in the original languages is Godbreathed, that we are to compare Scripture with Scripture, and that we are to pray for wisdom, asking that the Holy Spirit will lead us into truth, then these supposed errors and contradictions will be eliminated. If they are not eliminated, it means that we must patiently
wait upon God because ultimately they will be eliminated. This i simply because the Bible is the Word of God.
Emphasis must be made once more: In trying to understand a difficult passage, we must never countenance the thought that per} a word or a phrase has been accidentally or purposely altered t scribe in transcribing from one copy to another. We can rest assured that not only did holy men of old speak as God the Holy Spirit mo them, but also God protected His Word so that it would be available in its pure form to succeeding generations.