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Abstract

Table of Contents

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Appendixes


     

 

 

Appendix II
(See Part I, Chapter 4)

 

The Two Values Of The Saros

     The Babylonian system of counting involved a process of multiplying by an alternate number instead of multiplying by the same number. We use the number ten. We start with one and multiply it by 10 to give us TEN, then again by 10 to give us a HUNDRED, and again by 10 to give us a THOUSAND, and so on. In the Babylonian system, they began with one and multiplied by 10 as we do. But then they multiplied this by 6. The next step they multiplied by 10 again, and then once more by 6. They did not, of course, use the word TEN or HUNDRED or THOUSAND which are English words . . . they used the words SOSSOS, NAROS and SAROS. Thus:

A SOSSOS was 10 x 6, or 60.
A NAROS was 60 x 10, or 600, i.e., 10 SOSSI.
A SAROS was 600 x 6, or 3600, i.e., 6 NARI.

     They had a further term which signified a SAROS multiplied by 10, i.e., 36,000: and the next number in the series was 36,000 multiplied by 6, or 216,000. This was referred to as Shar-ges.
     Now according to the above system, the usual value of a Saros for ordinary purposes of mathematical calculation was 3600 and this is the value which has been given to it by scholars in interpreting the Table of Berossus in which the reigns of the Kings were listed as so many Sari. This Table was set forth as follows:

     pg.1 of 18    


TABLE IX

TABLE OF BEROSSUS

 NAME  SARI   USUAL VALUE IN YEARS
 1. ALORUS  10  36,000
 2. ALAPAROS  3  10,800
 3. AMELON  13  46,800
 4. AMMENON  12  43,200
 5. AMEGALAROS  18  64,800
 6. DAONOS  10  36,000
 7. EDORANCHOS  18  64,800
 8. AMEMPSINOS  10  36,000
 9. OTIARTES  8  28,800
 10. XISUTHROS  18  64,800
 TOTALS  120  432,000

 

     But, as we have noted, there was the alternative value to the Saros. This shorter value was first reported by Suidas, a Greek lexicographer of whom little or nothing is known except that he must have lived before Eustathius (12th‹13th century A.D.) who frequently quoted him. Under the heading ADAM, Suidas in his lexicon gives a brief chronology of the world ending with the death of the Emperor John Zimisces (975 A.D.). This would indicate that Suidas lived in the latter part of the tenth century. His lexicon is in the nature of a dictionary and encyclopedia combined, and it includes numerous quotations from ancient writers such as Aristophanes, Homer, Sophocles, and Thucydides. A prefatory note gives a list of earlier

     pg 2 of 18      

dictionaries, and although the work is somewhat uncritical it contains much information on ancient history and life. It also gives the length of reigns of the antediluvian Kings in Sari. But at this point Suidas informs us that this unit of measurement had a double value among the Babylonians. His words are: (251)

     Sari are, with the Chaldeans, both a measure and a number. . . .  According to the calculations of the Chaldeans, the saros contains 222 lunar months which is equivalent to 18 years and 6 months.

     The mathematics of Suidas can be bothersome unless one realizes that he is using a year of 360 days and a month of 30 days. With these equivalents his figures of 222 months does work out at 18 years and 6 months. But the modern Saros which is given the value of 18 years, 11 days, and 8 hours does not satisfy his calculation. The point is not important unless one is a mathematical purist. From the point of view of Suidas, we simply have an alternative value of the Saros attributed to the Babylonians which makes an enormous difference to the figures in the tabulation of Berossus as will be seen from the following:

TABLE X

MODIFIED TABLE OF BEROSSUS

 NAME  SARI  SHORTER VALUE IN YEARS
 I. ALORUS  10  185
 2. ALAPAROS  3  55.5
 3. AMELON  13  240.5
 4. AMMENON  12  222
 5. AMEGALAROS  18  333
 6. DAONOS  10  183
 7. EDPRANCHOS  18  333
 8. AMEMPSINOS  10  185
 9. OTIARTES  8  148
 10. XISUTHROS  18  333
 TOTALS  120  2220

251. Suidas: from F. A. Jones, The Dates of Genesis, London, Kingsgate Press, 1912, p.114.

     pg 3 of 18      

     It should be borne in mind that the figures given by Berossus are not life spans as in Genesis but lengths of reigns. The average length of reign from the above Table will be seen to be 222 years, which is far more reasonable than the figure of 4320 years which is the average length of reign according to Berossus' list when calculated on the basis of the higher value of the Saros. If we assume that each King ascended to the "throne" upon the death of his predecessor, we can add together the ten successive reigns and take this to be the total period from Adam to the Flood.

     pg 4 of 18      

Appendix III
(See Part I, Chapter 4)

Criticisms Of The Shorter Value Of The Saros

     The Greeks adopted the Babylonian asterisms and appropriated their knowledge of the planets and their courses, and they learned to predict eclipses by means of the Saros. This cycle of 18.03 years is the time in which the moon returns very nearly to her original position with respect to both the sun and to her nodes and perigee. A. M. Clerke notes that there is no getting back to the actual beginnings of such knowledge of the heavens, but records dating from the reign of Sargon of Akkad (2350 B.C.) imply that the varying aspects of the sky had even then been long under expert observation. (252) There is reason to suppose that the star groupings with which we are now familiar had even then begun to be formulated. (253) Clerke observes that clay tablets preserved in the British Museum have supplied detailed knowledge of the methods practiced in Mesopotamia in the second century B.C. and that these show no trace of Greek influence. The Babylonian observers were not only aware that Venus returns in almost exactly eight years to a given starting point in the sky, but they had established similar periodic relations of 46, 59, 79, and 83 years for Mercury, Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter.
     They were accordingly able to fix in advance the approximate positions of these objects with reference to eclipitical stars which served as fiducial points for their determination. The dates and circumstances of solar and lunar eclipses were predicted. Clerke notes that F. X. Kugler made the discovery that the various periods underlying their lunar predictions were identical with those hitherto believed to have been reached independently by Hipparchus, who accordingly must be held to have borrowed from Chaldea the lengths of the synodic, sidereal, anomalistic and draconitic months. Evidently a steady flow of knowledge began from East to West in the seventh century B.C. A Babylonian sage founded a school about 640 B.C. in the Isle of Cos, and possibly may have counted Thales of Myletus (c. 639‹548 B.C.) among his pupils. Clerke believes that the famous "eclipse of Thales" in 585 B.C. has not yet been authenticated by research, yet the story as told by Herodotus appears to intimate that a knowledge of the Saros, such as would have allowed such a prediction to be made, was indeed possessed by Thales. The question is, Where did he get it from? If Thales obtained it from the

252. Clerke, A. M., Encyclopedia Britannica, 1953 edition, article, Astronomy.
253. Free, Joseph P., Archaeology and Bible History, Wheaton, Illinois, Scripture Press, 1962, p 32.

     pg.5 of 18    

Babylonians either by studying their records or by having been taught it at school, then obviously the shorter value of the Saros, upon which such knowledge depends, must have long antedated the Greeks and there would be no fundamental reason why the antediluvian patriarchal ages might not actually have been recorded by the early Babylonians in Sari having this shorter value.
     This is a point at issue in Sarton's view. He argues that the Babylonians could not have been acute enough to extract this eighteen year cyclical period from their observations of the heavens, and he supports this conclusion from a work by a Dr. Antone Pannekoek, a Dutch astronomer, who wrote a paper entitled, "The Origin of the Saros" which appeared in the Proceedings of the Royal Academy of Amsterdam in 1918.
(254) According to Sarton, "neither the Babylonians nor the Greeks had any idea before the fifth or fourth century B.C." of the shorter value of the Saros. (255) He argues that such a period would have been exceedingly difficult to discover if for no other reason than that it does not embrace a whole number of days. It involves a certain number of days, plus eight hours. In his view the discovery of the Saros was therefore "not simply difficult but impossible." (256)
     Any writer who holds categorically that something is impossible is asking for trouble. There are impossible things, of course. But in a case like this, the word impossible means that no document can ever be allowed to be discovered which contradicts it. And this, of course, is an impossible prohibition!
     Now Pannekoek, in his original paper, makes the following observation:
(257)

     The forecast of eclipses, which to the uneducated is such a convincing proof of the power and accuracy of astronomical science, is not the fruit of highly developed modern theory, but belongs to the oldest products of human science. Greek writers tell us that the Babylonians were already able to predict the eclipses by means of a period of eighteen years, which they called a saros, and which rested on the fact that 223 synodic lunar periods and 242 draconic revolutions are practically equal (both 6585.3 days), that after the period therefore, full and new moon return to the same position relative to the nodes. . . .
     According to the theory of Hugo Winckler's school, Babylonian astronomy had reached its highest perfection as early as 2000 to 3000 B.C., and therefore the origin of the saros lay in such a far off time that there is no possibility of following the road to its discovery.

254. Pannekoek, Antone, "The Origin of the Saros," Proceedings of the Royal Academy, Amsterdam, vol.20, communicated by W. de Sitter, 29 Sept.,1918, pp.943‹955.
255. Sarton, George, The History of Science, Harvard, 1952, p.119.
256. Sarton, George, ibid., p.120.
257. Pannekoek, Antone, op. cit., ref. #254, p.943.

     pg.6 of 18     

     Pannekoek proceeds to show that the Babylonians could not possibly have had the insight to observe this astronomical measure on the grounds that it would require someone to make a continuous compilation of events and then to notice from his own compilation the almost exact recurrence of events over a cycle of eighteen years. The argument, in effect, is that their minds were not keen enough to observe the recurrence of events over a comparatively short period, although as we now know they did observe cycles of considerably longer lengths, which would require even greater powers of observation! As a matter of fact, Pannekoek himself refers to a list of lunar eclipses arranged according to Saros periods which is now in the British Museum (Sp.ll.71) of which Strassmaeir had given a transcription in 1894. Pannekoek stresses that it could only be after such lists of eclipses had accumulated "in the course of centuries" that their periodical recurrences could be noted. He did not have a very high opinion, obviously, of the competence of these people whose mathematics is now known to have been highly advanced, as Professor T. J. Meek has shown. (258)
      So Pannekoek concludes, "This shows that the familiar story according to which the Greek philosopher Thales predicted a total eclipse in 585 B.C. by means of a knowledge of the saros borrowed from the Babylonians can only be regarded as a fiction. At that time the saros was still unknown. . ." But then, of course, Pannekoek (and Sarton) may be quite mistaken!

258. Meek, T. J., "Magic Spades in Mesopotamia," University of Toronto Quarterly, vol.7, 1938, p.243, 244.

     pg.7 of 18     

Appendix IV
(See Part I, Chapter 4)

Weld-Blundell Prism

     The Weld-Blundell Prism is believed to have been written by a certain NURNINSUBUR and has been dated about 2170 B.C. This Sumerian King List is known in several variant forms, the variance being chiefly in slight differences in the spelling of the names and in the appearance of only eight names rather than ten in some editions. In Table XI we give the ten-name variant after Halley but corrected to more exact figures. (259) Halley seems to have rounded his figures to the nearest thousand years.

TABLE Xl

ACCORDING TO HALLEY

 NAME  SARI   LONG VALUE  SHORT VALUE
 1. ALULIM  8  28,800  148
 2. ALALMAR  10  36,000  185
 3. ENMENLUANNA  12  43,200  222
 4. KICHUNNA  12  43,200  222
 5. ENMENGALANNA  8  28,800  148
 6. DUMUZI  10  36,000  185
 7. SIBZIANNA  8  28,800  148
 8. EMENDUEANNA  6  21,600  111
 9. UBURRATUM  5  18,000   93
 10. ZINSUDDU  18  64,800  333
 TOTALS    349,200  1795

Average reign = 180 yrs.

259. Halley, Henry H., Pocket Bible Handbook, Chicago, 1951, p.71.

     pg.8 of 18     

     In Table XII we give two eight-name variants, of which the first column of names is the form in which they are presented in Barton's translation based on Professor Stephen Langdon's text, (260) and the second column of names is the form in which Pritchard presents them on the basis of Thorkild Jacobsen's Sumerian King List. (261) Jacobs then attempted to reconcile all the available variant readings and to produce a kind of textus receptus or "standard version." He believed that all currently known texts went back to a single original written at the time of UTU-HEGAL, King of Uruk, around 2100 B.C. I have shown two numbers, (4) and (10), as blanks in the list merely to preserve the pattern of ten names which more or less correspond with the lists in Tables X and Xl.

TABLE XII

ACCORDING TO JACOBSEN

 ACCORDING TO BARTON  SARI   LENGTH OF REIGN IN YRS.  ACCORDING TO PRITCHARD
 1. ALULIM  8  28,800  ALULIM
 2. ALALMAR  10  36,000  ALALGAR
 3. ENMENLUANA  12  43,200  ENMENLUANNA
 4. --  -  -  -
 5. ENMENGALANNA  8  28,800  ENMENGALANNA
 6. DUMUZI  10  36,000  DUMUZI
 7. SIBZIANNA  8  28,800  ENSIPAZIANNA
 8. ENMENDURANNA  6  21,000*  ENMENDURANNA
 9. UBERRATUM  5  18,600*  UBARTUTU
 10. --  -  -  -
 Total    241,000 for 8 kings  

Average length of reign:  Long reckoning 30,150 years;  Short reckoning 155 years

* The two final figures appear to be somehow in error (presumably in the original) if whole Sari are the units, since 21,000 would be 5.83 Sari and 18,600 would be 5.16 Sari. Probably these figures should be 21,600 (i.e.,6 whole Sari) and 18,000 (i.e. 5 whole Sari). The 600 has somehow been transposed from the 21,000 entry to the 18,000 entry.

260. Barton, George, Archaeology and the Bible, Philadelphia, American Sunday School Union, 1916, p.325.
261. Pritchard, James B., editor, Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, Princeton, 1969, p.265.

     pg.9 of 18     

     In order to reconcile Berossus' version with Jacobsen's (i.e., Table X with Table XII), we have to deal with three points of disagreement: the first is in the number of names (10 as opposed to 8), the second is in the spelling of the names, and the third is in the lengths of the reigns. The common factor which is assumed to equate these lists in point of fact, is the concluding comment by the originator in each case to the effect that what followed next was the Deluge. In the Berossus version after number 10 we are told, "in the time of Xisuthros the great deluge occurred." In the standard version of Jacobsen, following his entry of UBARTUTU are the words, "then the flood swept over the earth." These all, therefore, refer to pre- Flood times.
     With respect to the divergence in numbers, nothing can be said at the present time. With respect to the difference in names, it could be argued that Berossus' List gives the names in a form which had become familiar to the Greeks. Although none of the proposed reconciliations in this respect are very satisfactory, there are some rationalizations. For example, in view of the fact that L and R are commonly interchanged, ALOR- (in Table X) could conceivably be a corruption of ALUL- (in Table XII) for entry No.1. In No.2 ALAPAR- (in Table X) could be ALAMAR- (in Table XII), in view of the fact that P and M are interchangeable. In this case, a hypothetical ALAMAR- would be a broken down form of the ALALMAR- (Table XII). S. R. Driver suggested that OTIARTES (Table X) is a corruption for a hypothetical OPARTES, which in turn might be a broken down form of UBAR-TUTU (Table XII), which means "father of UT-NAPISHTIM" who was the "Noah" of one of the Cuneiform Flood stories. OPARTES would then be equated with No.9 of Table XII.
     However, it is very generally agreed that this kind of bridge building has a somewhat doubtful value, and at the present moment we have to accept the fact that Berossus' King List does not match very well in this respect with the Weld-Blundell Prism which it is nevertheless probably "descended from."
     The question of the difference in the number of entries possibly finds its explanation in a more exciting way. First of all, it is necessary to bear in mind that these Cuneiform Lists provide us with lengths of reigns only. They are strictly "King Lists." It might be supposed, therefore, that individuals who did not become kings in the line would be omitted. By contrast, the biblical list is a straightforward genealogical table, giving us merely the names and ages of the firstborn sons from Adam to Noah. The wonderful thing about the latter list is that it also informs us, indirectly, that two of the ten died before their fathers, namely, Enoch and Lamech. Assuming that the head of the house of the leading family was "king" until his decease, then there could only have been eight such kings: though there were actually ten generations. Enoch was removed by translation 435 years before his father Jared died; and Lamech, being a man of violence, seems to have come to an end earlier

     pg.10 of 18     

than expected at the age of 777 years, just five years before his father Methuselah died. He must have been a very frustrated prince!
     Thus the figures in the Bible are sufficient to provide us with a possible key to the difference between the Weld-Blundell Prism of 2100 B.C. or thereabouts which was a list of "chiefs," while the Berossus account perhaps is a list of the names (as then remembered) of the full ten generations. If they are in the correct order, Enoch would be represented by EDORANCHOS in Berossus' List, a name which might be composed of two elements: EDOR and ANCHOS. Conceivably ANCHOS is a corruption of Enoch. Lamech would be represented by the name OTIARTES, which is not easy to account for.
     Although I do not think much weight can be attached to the argument, it is just possible that in 2 Peter 2:5 where Noah is spoken of as "the eighth," and not "the tenth" as might have been expected, the reference could be to his position as eighth chief or "king" from Adam.
(262) In Jude 14 where Enoch is spoken of as the seventh from Adam, the reference would presumably be to his position merely in the line of descent. At any rate, it is an intriguing thought that we may have in the Genesis account an explanation for the apparent divergence between Berossus and his original source.
     Perhaps even these pagan accounts from the Cuneiform and elsewhere, in spite of their gross exaggeration of the figures (due possibly to a misreading of the units of measurement somewhere along the line) are genuine reflections of an actual phenomenon in the early history of the human race. Such a tradition, as we have seen, is remarkably widespread among the nations of antiquity, and virtually all such traditions agree among themselves
at two important points: man lived for centuries before the Flood, and there were ten generations only from the creation of the first man to that event. It is true that the number ten might conceivably be artificial, chosen as a mnemonic aid on the basis of the number of fingers on both hands. By the same token, it would surely not be reasonable to account for the eight names of what is believed to be the Sumerian King List on the ground that we only have eight fingers ‹ the two thumbs being excluded! 

262. 2 Peter 2:5 ‹ It is customary to say that in this passage the phrase "the eighth" () is a convenient way in the Greek of implying "with seven others," as though the writer really had in mind a phrase such as "he, being the eighth of a party."  G. Abbott-Smith, in his Manual Greek Lexicon, agrees, but observes that the Greek word is usually added. This has not been done in the present instance, though I find that other biblical passages of a similar construction (including 2 Maccabees 5:27) also omit the , although the meaning is clearly "with nine others." Young's Literal Translation has followed the Authorized Version, as has also the Concordant Version and that of Ferrar Fenton. It seems more likely to me that the meaning is strictly "the eighth," the definite article being used (cf. Luke 1:59). Since this is not so in 2 Peter 2:5, it is probable that the meaning is simply "with seven others." 

     pg.11 of 18     


Appendix V
(See Part I, Chapter 4)

Genesis 5: Names Viewed As Dynasties

 

The family of Seth originated when Adam
          was 130 years old (v.3)              [130 years]

Adam and his direct line were at the head of affairs
         for 930 years (v.5) when they were superceded by ‹‹         [930 years]

The family of Seth.
          In Seth, 105 years after it attained leadership,
          the family of Enosh took its rise (v.6).
          After being at the head of affairs for 912 years (v.8) Seth was succeeded by  ‹‹          [1842 years]

The family of Enosh.
          Ninety years after Enosh attained to the headship,
          there sprang from it the family of Kenan (v.9).            [1932 years]
          After Enosh had held the leadership for
          another 815 years (v.10), Enosh gave place to ‹‹

The family of Kenan.                   [2747 years]
          Seventy years after Kenan had founded his dynasty,
          the family of Mahalaleel began its rise to power.            [2817 years]
          Meanwhile Kenan's dynasty survived another 840 years
          and was then replaced by ‹‹

The family of Mahalaleel.              [3657 years.]
         Sixty-five years after the rise of the dynasty of Mahahaleel,
         the family of Jared began to be prominent.                  [3722 years]
         The dynasty of Mahalaleel meanwhile continued for another 830 years,
         but was then overthrown by ‹‹

     pg.12 of 18     


The dynasty of Jared.                [4552 years]
          One hundred and sixty-two years after the rise of Jared's family,
          the family of Enoch began to become powerful.             [4714 years]
          But Jared's family retained power for another 800 years
          and then died out, to be succeeded by ‹‹

The dynasty established by Enoch.                 [5514 years]
          Sixty-five years after the rise of the family of Enoch,
          however, the family of Methuselah began to be prominent.            [5579 years]
         The dynasty of Enoch survived for 300 years to be replaced by ‹‹

Methuselah's dynasty.            [5879 years]
          One hundred and eighty-seven years after the rise of
          the family of Methuselah, Lamech's family became prominent.              [6066 years]
          However, the supremacy of Methuselah's dynasty continued
         for another 782 years, to be replaced by ‹‹

The family of Lamech.                   [6848 years]
         One hundred and eighty-two years after Lamech's family had begun
         its rise to power, the family of Noah came into existence.                  [7030 years]

And six hundred years later, the Flood came and brought to an end all these dynasties.

This makes a grand total, from Adam to the Flood, of                     [7630 years].

     pg.13 of 18     


Appendix VI
(See Part III, Chapter 22)

The Combined Genealogies Of Matthew And Luke

      The study of an ancient genealogy can be quite fascinating but it takes a little getting into and demands more than ordinary dedication.
      The two genealogies of our Lord which together establish his absolute right to the throne of David, both by blood relationship through Mary and by title through Mary's husband, bear close examination. For they show how the two lines were preserved at one particularly critical period when almost all family relationships in Israel were being disrupted. This was at the time of the Captivity in Babylon. It is shown in a standard genealogy chart as a kind of "wasp-waist" joining the head and the body of the genealogy above and below Zerubbabel.

          Chart: The Family Tree from Adam to Jesus

      The details of this gate are the subject of this Appendix. It seemed important to say something about the circumstances here because it is at this point in the line that the blood relationship between the Lord and David comes nearest to being destroyed.
     The numbers which appear against the names in the Tabulation (See Chart) represent the two different systems of accounting adopted by Matthew, on the left side, and Luke, on the right. In Matthew, David appears as the 14th name from Abraham: in Luke David is the 34th name from Adam. The red line represents the blood line connection: the yellow line represents the carrying of title to the throne of David.
     David had two sons who figure as heads of the two branches of the family as indicated in Matthew and Luke, namely, Solomon and Nathan. In Matthew's genealogy Solomon becomes No. 1 in the second group of 14 names: and in Luke's genealogy Nathan becomes No. 35 on the other branch line.
     From Solomon we move down to Joram, No. 6. Joram married Athaliah, the wicked daughter of a wicked father and mother (Ahab and Jezebel). As a consequence of this evil man and his wife, his seed was cursed for four generations in accordance with the reference made in Exodus 20:5. Thus Matthew, who probably follows the Temple records faithfully in his list, omits the next three names (Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah) from his genealogy. There is little doubt that these Temple records had, by divine providence, removed these three

     pg.14 of 18     


generations from the register, so that Ozias (No. 7) appears as though he were the son of Joram, No. 6, in the accounting of Matthew 1:8. We know from 1 Chronicles 3:11 and 12 that in the original court records, these three missing names were written down. In this court record, Ozias (No. 7) is given an alternative name Azariah (1 Chronicles 3:12), and elsewhere he is also called Uzziah (Isaiah 6:1). These are merely variants of the same name.
     We pass on to No. 14, Jehoiakim. It is important to note that his name ends with an M, not an N, and he is not to be confused with his son whose name was Jehoiakin (or alternatively Jeconiah, Jechonias, Coniah, and Conias). This multivariant form of a name applied to a single individual is common in many of the older cultures. It seems to be particularly prevalent in Russia, even today.
     Now, with Jehoiakim (No. 14) we begin to see the hand of God at work in a very special way separating the thread of continuity of blood relationship and titular right to the throne in David's family. Jehoiakim was the last king of Israel to come to the throne as a free man. Unfortunately he was both an evil man and a foolish one. He began his reign just when the Fertile Crescent was in a state of political turmoil, Nebuchadnezzar in particular having very ambitious designs for empire building which were challenged by Egypt. In this see-saw contest for power that habitually characterized the relationship between Egypt and Babylon, Palestine stood at the pivot point. But Jerusalem itself need not really have become involved, for the city actually stood off the main route between the two warring parties. Any king of Judah who kept out of the fray and conciliated the antagonists as they marched their armies back and forth to attack each other, could expect to be left more or less alone except for paying token tribute.
     Jehoiakim was not humble enough or wise enough to realize this, and provoked Nebuchadnezzar to attack Jerusalem. This was the Lord's way of punishing a wicked man who had unwisely aligned himself with the king of Egypt. His immediate punishment was to have his city besieged and over-run, and to be carried captive to Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:5,6). But for some reason Nebuchadnezzar decided to return him to Jerusalem as a puppet king while he completed his unfinished business in Egypt. His long range punishment was foretold by Jeremiah (36:30) that none of his seed should ever sit upon the throne of David. This was a severe blow to him because he was in the direct line, as Matthew's genealogy shows, and probably had every expectation of seeing this greatest of all honors accorded to his seed in due time.
     Meanwhile Nebuchadnezzar, having completed his Egyptian campaign, soon discovered that Jehoiakim was a treacherous man who could not be trusted by friend or foe. Indeed, so treacherous was he that even the people of his own city, Jerusalem, turned against him, murdered him, threw his body over the walls and left him unburied

     pg.15 of 18     


outside the city ‹ exactly as predicted by Jeremiah (22:18,19). Nebuchadnezzar must surely have known what had happened, but he did not interfere when Jehoiakin (i.e., Jechonias, No. 55) succeeded his father.
     But this young prince who was only eighteen years old when thus honoured (2 Kings 24:8) proved to have no more good sense than his evil father. He provoked Nebuchadnezzar (after only three months and ten days on the throne) to invest the city once more and depose him (2 Chronicles 36:9). Jechonias and all his court were taken captive to Babylon while his uncle, Zedekiah, was left as regent. Unfortunately, Zedekiah behaved as the rest of his family had done and eleven years later, Nebuchadnezzar seized Zedekiah, put all his sons to death before his eyes, and then deliberately blinded him. Zedekiah was taken to Babylon and died there. Jerusalem meanwhile was utterly destroyed (2 Kings 24:17-25:16).
     Now Jechonias, after being taken to Babylon, was put in prison where he remained for some thirty-seven years. It appears that either before he was taken captive or possibly during his captivity he was married to a woman of appropriate status who appears to have been a daughter of Neri (No. 54 in Nathan's branch of the family) and therefore of David's line. In order to account for the subsequent relationships shown in the two converging genealogies, we have to assume that this woman was a widow whose husband had probably been killed in one of the many sieges which Jerusalem had suffered. It seems as though the prophet Zechariah had this circumstance in mind (12:12). This widow already had a son by her deceased husband when Jechonias took her as a wife. This son's name was Pedaiah. His name is not numbered in the genealogy shown in the chart. It appears only in 1 Chronicles 3:18 where he is shown as a son of Jehoiakin (i.e., Jechonias). If his widowed mother was married to Jechonias, he would by Jewish custom become the son of Jechonias automatically.
     But Jechonias appears to have had a son of his own by this widow of the royal line. This son's name was Salathiel (No. 2 and No. 56 in the two pedigree lines). By this marriage of a widow to Jechonias, these two boys ‹ sons of the same mother ‹ would become brothers by Jewish custom.
     However, Salathiel appears to have died childless, though not until he had reached manhood and married a wife. Jehoiakim's blood line thus came to an end in his grandson Salathiel ‹ indicated by termination of the red line. But as it happens the actual title to the throne remained active. The curse of Jeremiah 36:30 was to be fulfilled not by the removal of the title itself from Jehoiakim's line but by the denial of that title to anyone who happened to be a blood relative in the line. With the death of Salathiel this blood line terminated.
     But now, according to Jewish custom as set forth in the principle of the Levirate (Deuteronomy 25:5,6), it became incumbent upon Pedaiah, the deceased Salathiel's (step) brother, to take his widow and raise up seed through her who would not therefore be of Salathiel's blood line but would be constituted legally as Salathiel's

     pg.16 of 18     


son through whom the title would pass to his descendants. The son of this Levirate union was Zerubbabel. In Matthew 1:12 and Luke 3:27 Zerubbabel is listed legally as Salathiel's son: but in 1 Chronicles 3:19 he is listed as the son of Pedaiah by actual blood relationship.
     In the terms of biblical reckoning these two statements are in no sense contradictory. We might wish to be more precise by substituting such extended terms of relationship as son-in-law, stepson, and so forth. But Scripture is not required to adopt our particular terminology. It is required only to be consistent with itself, and the facts of the case as recorded of those who were the actors in the drama are precisely as stated.
     We thus have a remarkable chain of events. Jehoiakim has a son, Jechonias, who has a son, Salathiel, who by Levirate custom has a son named Zerubbabel. This son, Zerubbabel, has no blood line connection whatever with Jechonias, for he has no blood relationship with Salathiel. The blood relationship of Zerubbabel is with Pedaiah, and through Pedaiah with Pedaiah's mother, and through this mother with Neri. Thus Neri begat a grandson, Salathiel, through his daughter; and Salathiel "begets" a son, Zerubbabel, through Pedaiah.
     The blood line thus passes through Zerubbabel: but so does the title also. The former passes via Pedaiah's mother, the latter passes through Salathiel's father. And though this mother and this father were also man and wife, the blood line stopped with Salathiel who literally died childless. It is necessary to emphasize this word literally, for it appears that it was literally true. Jeremiah 22:30 had predicted that Jechonias would also die "childless" ‹ but we are reasonably sure that this was not literally the case, for he had a son Salathiel whom we cannot otherwise account for. But Jechonias' subsequent history tells us the sense in which childlessness was to be applied to him.
     Jechonias seems to have matured and softened during his thirty-seven years of imprisonment in Babylon, and Nebuchadnezzar's son, Evil-Merodach, evidently took a liking to him and set him free, giving him a pension for the rest of his life (2 Kings 25:27‹30: Jeremiah 52:31‹34). He would by now be nearing sixty and probably be counted a harmless old man.
     Reading these two records of Scripture concerning this surprising act of clemency accorded to the last genuine king of Israel (until Messiah shall be crowned), one has a strange sense of the mercy of God and the

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potential for gracious action that even pagan kings could display in those days. It is a touching swan-song to the old kingdom of David's line which will yet be renewed in glory. At any rate, when Jechonias died, he seems to have died alone without male descendants, "childless" in his old age, as Jeremiah had predicted he would.
     As to Zerubbabel, he became a very prominent and worthy man in the rebuilding of Israel's fortunes after the Captivity, under the benevolent authority of Cyrus. He stands as No. 3 and No. 57 in the dual pedigree. He appears to have had several sons and one daughter (1 Chronicles 3:19). We do not know why his sons were disqualified: we only know that their sister, Shelomith, inherited the title and carried the blood line. Both of these she passed on to her eldest son, Abiud, and so to Joseph. But with Joseph, as with Salathiel, the blood line terminated once again in so far as the Lord Jesus received nothing from him by natural procreation. However, Mary drew her line, the blood line, through Heli from Joanna (No. 59), the second son of Shelomith.
     And thus the Lord Jesus received the two guarantees of right to the throne of David: the blood line through his mother directly, and the title through his adopting father, Joseph. With his death and resurrection these two rights became locked for ever in his Person and cannot be passed on to, or henceforth claimed by, any other man. 

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Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights reserved

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