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chronology (2) from Abraham to Moses

29-09-2015 - Posted by Andre Piet

images_18 Concerning Abram, we saw in Part 1 that he was born in the year 2000 AH (Anno Hominis = counted from Adam). It was also the year when Noah died. Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born (Genesis 21:5). That was in the year 2100 AH. Earlier, God had promised the following to Abram (Genesis 15)

13 And saying is He to Abram, “Knowing, yea, knowing are you that a sojourner is your seed to become in a land not theirs, and they are to serve them. Yet evil shall they do to them and humiliate them four hundred years. 14 Moreover, also, the nation which they are serving will I adjudicate. And afterward they are to fare forth hither with great goods. 15 Yet you shall come to your forefathers in peace, and be entombed at a good grey-haired age. 16 And in the fourth generation they shall return hither, for the depravity of the Amorites has not been repaid hitherto.”

four hundred years of sojourning

Two distinct matters are foretold in the above passage. In verse 13 it is about the total number of years of sojourning and affliction of Abram’s seed. It would last four hundred years. It would start at the birth of Isaac (2100 AH) and continue until the exodus out of Egypt (2500 AH). When Isaac was 60 years old, Jacob was (born in 2160 AH, Gen.25:26). And at the age of 130 years, Jacob arrived with his family in Egypt (Gen.47:9) and that was in the year 2290 AH. Even before Jacob’s family arrived in Egypt, they already experienced tribulations, as strangers “in a land that was not theirs”. It started already with Isaac’s birth (Gen.21:9; Gal.4:29) and continued in the land of the Philistines (Gen.26:12-26). And later, Jacob had to flee for Esau and after that he endured twenty years of injustice, by his father-in-law, Laban (Gen.28-31).

four generations in Egypt

The second matter to which the prophecy in Genesis 15:14-16 refers is Israel’s sojourn in Egypt (2290-2500 AH, 210 years). At the exodus, the nation that oppressed them would be judged. We know that this was fulfilled in the famous ten plagues that struck the people of Egypt. The fourth generation, i.e., calculated from their arrival in Egypt, would return to the land. If we follow the line of Moses, then Levi’s son, Kohath, (presumably) was the first generation born in Egypt; the second generation was Amram, the third generation was Moses and Moses’ children (Gershom and Eliezer) were the fourth and final generation in Egypt (for these generations, see Ex.6:16-18).

four hundred and thirty years from Abram to Sinai

In Galatians 3:16-18, Paul writes about the period from the promise to Abraham to the law on Sinai.

16 Now to Abraham the promises were declared, and to his Seed. He is not saying “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of One: And to “your Seed,” which is Christ. 17 Now this am I saying: a covenant, having been ratified before by God, the law, having come four hundred and thirty years afterward, does not invalidate, 18 so as to nullify the promise. For if the enjoyment of the allotment is of law, it is no longer of promise. Yet God has graciously granted it to Abraham through the promise.

In this passage, Paul does not count the time (as in Genesis 15:13) from Abram’s seed to the exodus. No, in Galatians 3, the count starts over thirty years earlier, from the moment that the promises were given to Abram. This was thirty years before the birth of Isaac and thus in (2100-30 =) in 2070 AH. Then Abram was 70 years old. We also know that when he was 75 years old, he left Haran (Genesis 12:4). That was five years after his call in Ur (Acts 7:2-3).

thirty years and four hundred years

This distribution of thirty years and four hundred years,we see again in the book of Exodus. In Exodus 12 we read (literally translated):

40 Now the dwelling of the sons of Israel and their fathers who dwelt in the land of Canaan and in the land of Egypt was four hundred thirty years. 41 And it came to be at the end of four hundred thirty years– and it came to be on this very day— that all the host of Yahweh went forth from the land of Egypt.

Most translations render Ex.12: 40 as though the time of Israel’s sojourn in Egypt would have taken four hundred and thirty years. But it does not say that. The phrase, “who live in Egypt” does not define the time period, but it specifies the group that it is all about (namely, the sons of Israel). The Exodus from Egypt was a period ending thirty and four hundred years. At the Exodus from Egypt a period of thirty and four hundred years was concluded. “Thirty years’ refers to the time from the promise to Abraham to the birth of Isaac (2070-2100 AH) and” four hundred years “refers to the time after that to the Exodus (2100-2500 AH). The record of counting, is according to the writer of Exodus not only accurate concerning the years, but even exactly to the day! So that, therefore, it is established that Abram (four hundred and thirty years earlier) received the promise on the day of Passover, 14 Nisan. In other words, Israel celebrated their exodus on the anniversary of the promise! The same date, by the way, when later the true Passover would be slain…

the year 2500: the 50th jubilee

The exodus out of Egypt, thus, took place in the year 2500 AH. That is 50 x 50 years after the creation of Adam. It was also the year that God gave Israel to observe the year of jubilee (Lev.25), i.e. the 50th year in which any debt would be forgiven and all the slaves were to be released. What a chronological planning and design of God to deliver His people out of bondage from Egypt, precisely in the 50 x 50th year, the jubilee squared!