1. From Cain & Abel to the Judges

Historical dates cannot be verified reliably until King Ahab of Israel and King Adad-idri (Ben-Hadad) of Aram are recorded as taking part in a coalition venture against King Shalmaneser III of Assyria at the Battle of Karkar in 853BC. After this, the kings of Israel and Judah are recorded independently in the ninth century BC annals of Assyria.

Prior to this, traditional dates are still accepted by many scholars, while others such as Peter James and David Rohl have more recently put forward alternative dates. The timeline below shows the ‘New Chronology’ dates proposed by David Rohl. These ‘New Chronology’ dates have also been adopted in the text (see Dating events in the Old Testament). For a full explanation of the ‘New Chronology’ see David Rohl, A Test of Time: The Bible – from Myth to History, Random House, 1995.


Life in Mesopotamia, Canaan and Egypt   c.5000BC – c.1404BC

c.5000 BC                   Cain kills his brother Abel and starts a nomadic life

c.4250 BC                   Enoch arrives in Sumer (Mesopotamia)

c.3100 BC                   Noah builds the ‘ark’ and survives the Flood

c.2850 BC                   Nimrod builds the Tower of Babylonia in Sumer


c.1900 BC                   Abram is born at Ur in Lower Mesopotamia

c.1877 BC                   Abram sets off from Ur to Haran in Upper Mesopotamia

c.1855 BC                   Abram moves on from Haran to Canaan

c.1853 BC                   Abram visits the eastern Nile Delta

c.1842 BC                   Abram’s son Ishmael is born

c.1833 BC                   Abram rescues Lot and his family

c.1830 BC                   Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed

c.1829 BC                   Abraham’s son Isaac is born

c.1820 BC                   Abraham prepares to sacrifice Isaac

c.1815 BC                   Abraham dies and is buried at Hebron

c.1760 BC                   Isaac’s twin sons Jacob and Esau are born

c.1710 BC                   Jacob flees to Haran to escape Esau’s wrath

c.1700 BC                   Jacob’s son Joseph is born at Haran

c.1690 BC                   Jacob’s wife Rachel dies giving birth to Benjamin

c.1683 BC                   Joseph is sold into slavery in Egypt

c.1670 BC                   Joseph become Vizier to Pharaoh Amenemhat III

c.1662 BC                   Joseph reveals his true identity to his brothers.

c.1660 BC                   Jacob and his family settle in Egypt

c.1642 BC                   Jacob dies in Egypt

c.1617 BC                   Joseph dies in Egypt


c.1528 BC                   Moses is born at Avaris in Egypt

c.1508 BC                   Prince Moses kills an Egyptian and escapes to Midian

c.1452 BC                   Moses is called by God at a burning bush in Sinai

c.1447 BC                   Moses leads the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt

c.1446 BC                   God gives the Law and Commandments to Moses at Mt Sinai

c.1407 BC                   Moses leads the Israelites into Moab

c.1406 BC                   Moses dies at Mt Nebo overlooking the ‘promised land’

c.1406 BC                   The Israelites invade Canaan under Joshua’s leadership

c.1404 BC                   Joshua dies at Shechem in the newly conquered land of Israel


The Judges rule over the people of Israel    c.1397BC - c.1012BC

c.1397-c.1344 BC       Othniel            Othniel defeats King Cushan of Mesopotamia

c.1344-c.1268 BC       Ehud               Ehud kills King Eglon of Moab

c.1268-c.1208 BC       Deborah          Deborah defeats Sisera’s Caananite army

c.1208-c.1170 BC       Gideon            Gideon defeats the Midianite kings Zebah & Zalmunna

c.1170-c.1168 BC       Abimelech       Abimelech becomes the first King of Israel

c.1168-c.1146 BC       Tola                 Tola restores the rule of the Judges

c.1146-c.1125 BC       Jair                  Jair leads Israel for twenty two years

c.1125-c.1108 BC       The Philistines and Ammonites rule over Israel for eighteen years

c.1108-c.1102 BC       Jephthah          Jephthah defeats the Ammonites

c.1102-c.1097 BC       Ibzan                (Israel is under the control of the Philistines)

c.1097-c.1088 BC       Elon                  (Israel is under the control of the Philistines)

c.1088-c.1081 BC       Abdon               (Israel is under the control of the Philistines)

c.1081-c.1061 BC       Samson            Samson destroys the Philistine Temple of Dagon

c.1061-c.1024 BC        Eli                    Eli allows the Philistines to capture the sacred Ark

c.1024-c.1012 BC       Samuel            Samuel defeats the Philistines at Mizpah

The Book of Job is written during the time of the Judges in c.1100 BC         


c.1094 BC                   Samuel is born at Ramah and grows up in the sanctuary at Shiloh

c.1060 BC                   Ruth and Naomi return to Bethlehem from Moab

c.1050 BC                   Ruth (the great grandmother of King David) marries Boaz

c.1024 BC                   The Philistines capture the Ark at the Battle of Ebenezer

c.1024 BC                   The Ark is returned 7 months later to Beth Shemesh

c.1024 BC                   The Ark is moved to Kiriath Jearim where it stays for twenty years

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