Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Ussher: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Job (1821-1635 BC)

     This essay is the fourth summary of Annals of the World (1658) by James Ussher. It takes us from Abraham’s death (Genesis 27) to the death of Joseph (Genesis 50, the end of the book). It also makes brief mention of the time of Job. I wrote and share it with you so that we might both benefit from a careful reading of the historical and chronological data given to us in the Bible. It will help us to better understand the biblical point of view and to witness with greater clarity to Jesus in our day.

Ussher’s Third Age: The Call of Abraham to the Exodus (1921-1491 BC)
     1821 BC: Death of Abraham, aged 175, 100 years after he left Haran. Jacob is 15 years old (Gen. 25:7, 10; cf. Heb. 11:9) (P101).
     1817 BC: Death of Eber, 430 years after the birth of his son Peleg (Gen. 11:17). As a descendent of Eber, Abraham was called the Hebrew (Gen. 14:13). Later all the descendants of Jacob would be called by the same name (Gen. 40:15) (P102).
     1796 BC: Esau, aged 40, marries two Hittite women (Gen. 26:34-35; cf. Gen. 27:46, 28:8) (P105).
     1773 BC: Death of Ishmael aged 137 (Gen. 25:17) (P108).
     1760 BC: Isaac, blind 44 years before his death, is tricked into giving Esau’s blessing to Jacob (Gen. 27:28-29). Jacob flees to extended family in Mesopotamia to avoid being murdered by his twin brother Esau (Gen. 27:41) (P111).
     As a result of a vision Jacob has in Luz, he changes its name to Bethel (“House of God”).
     Jacob arrives at the house of Laban, his uncle, and, after a month, asks Laban for his permission to marry Laban’s daughter Rachel (Gen. 27:1, 29:20). Jacob is 77 years old (P112).
     Jacob marries Leah, then Rachel (Gen. 29:21-30). Because Jacob favors Rachel, Yhwh makes her barren and enables Leah to give birth to four sons in consecutive years (P114-116).
     1758 BC: Leah gives birth to her first child Reuben (Gen. 29:32). Reuben later loses his birthright for having sexual intercourse with Bilhah, who was Leah’s servant and his father Jacob’s concubine (Gen 35:42, 49:3-4; 1 Chr. 5:1) (P117).
     1757 BC: Leah gives birth to Simeon (Gen. 29:33) (P118).
     1756 BC: Leah gives birth to Levi (Gen. 29:34) (P119).
     1755 BC: Leah gives birth to Judah (Gen. 29:35). Jews are named after him (Gen. 35:35) (P120).
     1745 BC: Rachel gives birth to her first child Joseph at the end of Jacob’s fourteen years of service to Laban for the hand of his two daughters (Gen. 30:24).
     Jacob was 91 years old when Joseph was born. Consequently, he was 77 years old when he first started working for Laban. This is because Jacob was 130 years old when he first met Pharaoh and that was after the 7 years of plenty and first 2 years of famine foretold by Joseph (Gen. 45:6, 47:9). At that time Joseph was aged 39 since he was 30 when he was first summoned by Pharaoh (Gen. 41:32, 46) (P121).
     1739 BC: Jacob worked 14 years for his wives and an additional 6 for flocks (Gen. 30:22, 25, 31; 31:41). He leaves Mesopotamia with his wives, children, and flocks without telling Laban after serving him for 20 years. He crosses the Euphrates in late spring when Laban is having his sheep sheared ((Ge 31:1, 3, 19, 21, 38, 41) (P123).
     Jacob wrestles with an angel and his named is changed to Israel (Gen. 32:1-32, Hos. 12:3-4) (P125).
     After a surprisingly peaceful meeting with his brother Esau, Jacob and his family settle in Shechem. There he buys some land upon which to pitch his tents and keep his sheep (cf. Jud. 9:7). He also erects an altar to Yhwh (Gen. 33:1-20). He does so at the same place that Abraham had set up at altar to Yhwh years before (Gen. 12:6-7). Samaritans later find Jacob’s well there—at the foot of Mount Gerizim. A Samaritan women would later talk with Jesus about her ancestors worshiping Yhwh on that mountain (John 4:5, 6, 12, 20) (126).
     1728 BC: The sons of Jacob sell their 17-year-old brother Joseph into slavery (Gen. 37:2, 3, 6) (P128).
     1717 BC: In prison, Joseph correctly interprets the dreams of two court officials who briefly join him there (Gen. 40:1-41:1) (P129).
     1716 BC: Isaac dies aged 180 (Gen. 35:28-29) (P130).
     1715 BC: Aged 30, Joseph is called from prison and correctly interprets Pharaoh’s dreams. Pharaoh makes him governor and gives him a wife from On (or Heliopolis) (Gen. 41:1-46) (P131).
     During the seven years of plenty, Joseph’s wife Asenath gives birth to their two sons Manasseh and Ephraim (Gen. 41:47, 51, 53) (P132).
     1708 BC: The seven years of famine begin in Egypt and surrounding lands (Gen. 41:54, 57) (P133).
     1707 BC: Joseph’s ten brothers come to buy grain from him. To ensure that they return with his full brother Benjamin, he jails Simeon—the brother who sold him into slavery (Gen. 42:1-38) (P134).
     1706 BC: Joseph’s brothers return with Benjamin and he releases Simeon (Gen. 44). Eventually he reveals his true identity to his brothers (Gen. 45). They return home, fetch father and families, and move to Egypt. This is during the third year of the famine and Jacob is 130 years old (Gen 45:6; 46:1, 27; 47:9; Deut. 26:5) (P138).
     Pharaoh settles them in Goshen in the Nile Delta (Gen. 47:1-12) (P139).
     1701 BC: The seven years of famine end (P143).
     1689 BC: Jacob dies aged 147 years. He spent the last 17 years with family in Egypt (Gen. 49:1-33, 47:25). Before his death, he adopted Joseph’s sons as his own but gave precedence to the younger Ephraim over his older brother (Gen. 48:1-22, Heb. 11:12). Joseph takes the body of Jacob and buries it in the cave at Machpelah near Hebron as he wished (Gen. 50:15-21).
     1635 BC: Joseph dies in Egypt aged 110 (Gen. 50:22-26, Heb. 11:22). Apparently, Joseph had ruled Egypt for 80 years under a number of pharaohs. The death of Joseph concludes the book of Genesis. In all, 2369 years elapsed between the creation of the world (4004 BC) and the death of Joseph (P149).
     Job apparently lived during the time of Joseph (P149).

Copyright © 2017 by Steven Farsaci. All rights reserved.