TH - Templum Hierosolymae - The Temple at Jerusalem

The Origin and Fate of the Temples at Jerusalem
Philip E.H. Thomas



Note:  'The New Chronology of Egypt' by Rohl (1995), lowering conventional dates up to 350 years, has not been accepted in academic Egyptology.
• Bennett, Chris, "Temporal Fugues," Journal of Ancient and Medieval Studies, XIII, 1996.
• "New Chronology." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 2010. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. <>.
• "Kenneth Anderson Kitchen." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 2010. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. <>.


Map of Egypt Map of Egypt

In the Egyptian Museum at Turin, there exists a papyrus document which was composed in the early 19th. Dynasty. Although badly deteriorated, it nevertheless lists in some detail, amongst other things, all known pharaohs from the 1st. Dynasty (c. 2920 NC) up to those of the 18th. Dynasty (1194-952 NC). Allowing for partial damage and deterioration over the years, each pharaoh is shown with his or her length of reign in years, months and days. It is known as 'The Royal Canon of Turin'.

Throughout the Middle East almost all records previous to this Canon were written on wet clay and then baked. In every instance such tablets were dated in relation to the lunar month and regnal year of the appropriate king; whether Egyptian, Babylonian or Assyrian. For example, in the 13th. Dynasty, Pharaoh Iayib reigned for 10 years 8 months 28 days, followed by Pharaoh Ay who reigned for 23 years 8 months 18 days. Obviously, the ancients did not have our advantage of relating events to the Common Era.

Hitherto, Egyptologists have been inclined to add together most, if not all, the reigning periods in order to obtain a time scale. It is only recently that there has come the realisation that many rulers functioned either as contemporaries of adjoining kingdoms or as co-regents of the same kingdom. Thus, the only completely reliable method of assessing the degree of such 'overlaps', has been to resort to astronomical dating, or rather retro-dating, that can be proven scientifically by modern standards.

For centuries the ancients regarded eclipses of the sun and positions of the planet Venus with special veneration. Mention of such events have been deciphered on tablets dug up in Egypt, the Levant and Syria. As a result, it has now been possible to establish three specific dates with total accuracy and confidence. These dates can be taken as the 'bench marks' of the New Chronology of the pharaohs.

The years in question are: 664 BCE; 1012 NC and 1540 NC. Very briefly, the methodology to achieve this has been as follows:

• 664 BCE

For a long time this datum has been accepted in ancient chronology. It is based upon the unalterable fact that King Ashurbanipal of Assyria invaded Egypt that year and sacked the city of Thebes (Luxor) as a penalty for the revolt led by King Taharka and which cost him his life. This episode has been inscribed upon contemporary monuments, as well as surviving accounts written at that time in Babylon, Greece and Rome. It also confirms the coronation of Pharaoh Psamtek I of the 26th. Dynasty.

The introduction of the two extra datum points has dramatically revised the scheduling of Biblical history for the previous 1000 years.


• 1012 NC

Akhenaten Amarna

Hitherto, conventional chronology has placed the 18th. Dynasty in the time span of 1539-1295 BCE. The fifteen pharaohs forming this dynasty are well recorded and are not disputed. However, the historical relationship between the Egyptians and Israelites has had to be refined more accurately.

In CE 1887, a peasant woman of Tell el-Amarna, nowadays a small village on the Nile and midway between Cairo and Luxor, dug up 380 clay tablets from beneath the floor of a ruined mudbrick house. They subsequently transpired to be part of the contents of the 'House of Correspondence of Pharaoh'. The majority of these letters were either from notables of the Levant or Pharaoh's own file copies of replies. They also included letters to both Akhenaten and his Queen Nefertiti. It seems that all these letters were lost when the then city of El Amarna was abandoned (for whatever reason) early in the reign of Tutankhamun.


These letters also contained reports of military campaigns in Canaan, including David's raids and his seizure of Jerusalem. One vital document helped to pin-point the death of Amenhotep III in 1012 NC. It was from Abimilku, King of Tyre, commiserating upon the death of Amenhotep. It went on to describe a disastrous fire in the palace archives of King Nikmaddu II at Ugarit (about 120 miles (200 km) up the coast from Tyre). Subsequent archaeological digs beside the palace ruins found a blackened tablet which described the total eclipse of the sun at sunset in April/May of that year, and which was watched by Nikmaddu and his priests.

Total eclipses of the sun occur at the same place, on average, every 360 years. Only once in recorded history has this happened near sunset. Advanced computer technology (by M.I.T.) has been able to calculate the exact time as 6:09 pm on 9th. May 1012 NC, and 30 minutes before sunset. Clearly, therefore, Akhenaten must have succeeded Amenhotep that year. Consequently, it has been possible to bring forward the 18th. Dynasty's time span by as much as 345 years to 1194-952 NC.


• 1540 NC

Zimrilim Syria

Tablets discovered at Nineveh (now Mosul, on the river Tigris in Northern Iraq), have been certified as copies from the reign of King Ammisaduga of the 1st. Dynasty of Babylon. Such records include the precise description of the risings and settings of the planet Venus. These observations are known to have coincided exactly with Ammisaduga's reign of 21 years. Use now had to be made of the Venus cycle; i.e. the period between exact repetitions of its risings and settings, and which average 60 years.

Old Babylonians dated their documents in relation to the days of the lunar month, beginning with the first crescent of the moon. The dating of these tablets, taken in conjunction with the specific positions of Venus, have been subjected to further advanced computer analysis in much the same way as described in the 1012 NC datum. The result has shown that Ammisaduga became king in 1419 NC and died in 1398 NC. Moving back from this, and knowing the names of all eleven kings of that dynasty, it has been possible to determine the reign of the 6th. and most famous (or infamous) of those kings, namely Hammurabi (1565-1522 NC). In his 35th. regnal year (1531 NC), Hammurabi attacked and destroyed the huge yet beautiful palace of Zimrilim, King of the city-state of Mari (now known as Abu Kemal, on the river Euphrates in eastern Syria). Zimrilim perished with it.


In CE 1933, a French archaeologist unearthed 25,000 tablets from the archive of that palace. The last date traced from those tablets showed that Zimrilim must have died in his 6th. regnal year, having reigned 1536-1531 NC. A particular tablet, however, was an inventory of gifts on the occasion of his enthronement, including a solid gold cup. It had come from Yantin, in his 9th. regnal year as King of the city-state of Byblos (now Yuniye, 13 miles (20 km) north of Beirut) and which, in those days, formed part of the Egyptian empire. Thus Yantin must have been enthroned in 1544 NC. Sadly, at this point, any archaeological hope of establishing an Egyptian connection went cold.

It is true to say that every archaeologist lives in the hope that perhaps once in a lifetime he or she may benefit from some dramatic and unexpected bonus, even indirectly, such as in the case of the Amarna woman's discovery. In CE 1952, there was just such an instance.

Arising from a comprehensive excavation of Byblos, a large limestone slab was uncovered with Egyptian hieroglyphics carved upon it. It showed Yantin in his 5th. year as King of Byblos. What was astonishing, however, was that beside Yantin's inscription was the partially damaged cartouche of Pharaoh Neferhotep in his first regnal year. It therefore followed that Neferhotep must have begun his reign in 1540 NC, thereby bringing forward the re-dating of the 13th. Dynasty by 127 years to 1632-1440 NC.


'KJ' signifies reference to the King James Bible (Old Testament)
'GN', the Good News Bible (Old Testament)
'AP', the Apocrypha.

1 Exodus 12:40 KJ The Sojourn.
2 Exodus 1:7-10 KJ Alarm at the increasing numbers of Israelites.
3 Exodus 7:17-12:30 KJ The ten plagues in Egypt.
4 Exodus 12:37 GN The reported exodus of 600,000 men.
5 Exodus 13:19 KJ Joseph's burial remains are removed.
6 Exodus 14:16 & 27 KJ Moses parts the Red Sea.
7 Exodus 32:15/35:29 GN The two stone Tablets.
8 Baruch 2:28 AP Writing the Ten Commandments.
9 Exodus 25:10-16 KJ The construction of the Ark.
10 I Samuel 4:4-11 KJ The Ark is lost in battle.
11 I Samuel 7:2 GN The Ark is recovered.
12 I Chronicles 21:5-14 GN David's first census.
13 II Samuel 24:18-24 KJ David buys Mount Moriah.
14 I Kings 1:34 & 39 KJ Solomon is anointed King.
15 I Chronicles 28:19 GN Solomon's undertaking to his father David.
16 II Chronicles 9:13-14 GN Solomon's annual income.
17 I Kings 6:37-38 KJ Time taken to build the First Temple.
18 Genesis 50:2-28 KJ The Twelve Tribes of Israel.
19 I Kings 5:8-11 KJ Hiram, King of Tyre, supplies Solomon.
20 I Kings 5:13-16 KJ Adoniram oversees the labour force.
21 I Kings 7:36 KJ Layout of the Temple walls.
22 I Kings 7:13-14 GN Hiram Abif invited to embellish the First Temple.
23 I Kings 7:23-26 KJ Constructing the Molten Sea.
24 I Kings 7:47 KJ The various precious metals used are unrecorded.
25 II Chronicles 7:5 KJ Sacrifice at the dedication
26 II Chronicles 9:1-6 GN Queen of Sheba visits Jerusalem.
27 II Chronicles 10:12 GN Solomon's Kingdom divided.
28 II Chronicles 12:2-9 KJ Ramesses II loots the Temple.
29 II Maccabees 2:4-7 AP Jeremiah hides the Ark.
30 II Kings 25:8-17 KJ First Temple is destroyed.
31 Jeremiah 52:31-34 GN Jehoiachin is released.
32 Ezra 1:1-3 GN The exiled Jews are freed to return to Jerusalem.
33 Ezra 6:5 KJ The First Temple's treasures restored.
34 Ezra 6:15 GN The Second Temple is dedicated.
35 Baruch 2:34-35 AP G-d pledges Israel to the Jews.



Note:  'The New Chronology of Egypt' by Rohl (1995), lowering conventional dates up to 350 years, has not been accepted in academic Egyptology.
• Bennett, Chris, "Temporal Fugues," Journal of Ancient and Medieval Studies, XIII, 1996.
• "New Chronology." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 2010. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. <>.
• "Kenneth Anderson Kitchen." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 2010. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. <>.


Note: From time to time, there were many minor pharaohs or local kings, particularly during the Intermediate Periods. They have been deliberately excluded to avoid complication. Ruling Queens are annotated (Q).

Middle Kingdom Period

Middle Bronze Age
12th. Dynasty
Span = 1813-1663 Formerly 1937-1759 (Old Chronology); i.e. a revision forwards of 124 years.
1813-1786 Amenemhat I
1786-1741 Senuseret I
1741-1731 Amenemhat II
1731-1712 Senuseret II
1712-1682 Senuseret III 1683: Joseph kidnapped.
1682-1636 Amenemhat III 1670: Joseph made Vizier to Egypt.
1662: Jews arrive.
1653-1645 Amenemhat IV (Co-Regent for 8 years) 1645: Jacob dies.
1636-1633 Neferusobek (Q)

Second Intermediate Period

13th. Dynasty
Span = 1632-1440 Formerly 1759-1621 (Old Chronology); ie. a revision forwards of 127 years.
1632-1630 Khutawyre (Wegaf)
1630-1625 Sekhemkare
1625-1619 No king Interregnum exercised by Joseph.
1619-1616 Amenemhat V
1616-1611 Sehetepibre I
1611-1606 Iufni
1606-1601 Sankhibre
1601-1596 Smenkhkare c.1600: Joseph dies, aged 100+ years.
1596-1591 Sehetepibre II
1591-1586 Sewadjkare
1581-1579 Sobekhotep I
1579-1578 Renseneb
1578-1573 Awibre Hor
1573-1568 Sedjef...kare
1568-1563 Sobekhotep II
1563-1558 Khendjer
1558-1553 Mermesha
1553-1548 Inyotef
1548-1543 ...set
1543-1540 Sobekhotep III
1540-1530 Neferhotep I 1540 Datum
1530-1529 Sihathor
1529-1508 Sobekhotep IV (also k/a Khenophres) 1527: Moses born.
1517: Israelites put in bondage.
1508-1503 Sobekhotep V
1503-1493 Iayib
1493-1470 Ay 1493: Moses flees into exile.
1470-1468 Sobekhotep VI
1468-1467 Sankhreensewadjtu
1467-1464 Ined
1464-1459 Hori
1457-1455 ... lost
1455-1450 ... lost
1450-1448 ... lost 1449: Moses returns from exile, aged 78.
1448-1440 Dudimose (also k/a Tutimaos) 1448-7: The ten plagues.
1447: The Exodus starts. Joshua born.
Note: There were considerable overlaps between the 14th. and 17th. Dynasties. In some instances amounting to 108 years.

New Kingdom Period

Iron Age
18th. Dynasty
Span = 1194-952 Formerly 1539-1295 (Old Chronology); i.e. a revision forwards of 345 years.
1194-1170 Ahmose
1170-1150 Amenhotep I
1150-1139 Thutmose I
1139-1138 Thutmose II
1138-1116 Hatshepsut (Q) (de facto ruler)
1138-1085 Thutmose III (Nominal Co-Regent for 22 years)
1085-1059 Amenhotep II
1059-1050 Thutmose IV
1050-1022 Amenhotep III 1037: Saul becomes King.
1022-1006 Akhenaten (Co-Regent for 11 years) 1012 Datum
1011-1007 Nefertiti (Q) (Also k/a Neferneferuaten) (Co-Regent for 4 years)
1010: David becomes King.
1006-1003 Smenkhkare
1003-995 Tutankhamun
995-979 Ay (Kheperkheperure)
979-952 Haremheb 965: Solomon becomes King.
957: 1st. Temple dedicated.
19th. Dynasty
Span = 952-851 Formerly 1295-1186 (Old Chronology); i.e. revision forwards of 343 years.
952-951 Ramesses I
951-936 Seti I
936-871 Ramesses II (Also k/a Shishak) 931: Solomon dies.
925: Ramesses raids 1st. Temple.
871-866 Merenpath
866-862 Amenesse
862-857 Seti II
857-853 Siptah
853-851 Tausert (Q)
Note: There were considerable overlaps between the 20th. and 25th. Dynasties. In some instances amounting to 71 years.

Late Kingdom Period

26th. Dynasty
Span = 689-525 Contemporary with rulers of 25th. Dynasty for 33 years.
689-681 Ameris The Chronology henceforth remains unchanged.
681-669 Tefnakht II
669-668 Nekauba
668-664 Necho I
664-610 Psamtek I 664 Datum
610-597 Necho II
597-583 Psamtek II 538: Jews return from exile.
31st. Dynasty
Span = 525-304
525-522 Cambyses
522-494 Darius I 514: 2nd. Temple dedicated.
494-380 Not known
380-362 Nectanebo I
362-343 Nectanebo II
343-335 Not known
335-332 Darius III
332-323 Alexander III
323-316 Arrhidaeus
316-304 Alexander IV
323-304 Not known
Ptolemaic Period
Span = 304-30
304-284 Ptolemy I
284-266 Ptolemy II
266-221 Ptolemy III
221-51 Not known
51-30 Cleopatra VII (Q)
44-30 Ptolemy XV
Roman Period
Span = 58BCE-CE81
58-44 Caesar
44-27 Triumvirate: Antony, Lepidus & Octavian (renamed Augustus).
27BCE-CE14 Augustus 6? BCE: Jesus is born.
4 BCE: King Herod dies.
14-37 Tiberius CE 36: Jesus is crucified.
37-41 Caligula
41-54 Claudius
54-68 Nero
68-69 Golba
69-69 Otho
69-69 Vitelius
69-79 Vespasian CE 70: Romans destroy 2nd. Temple.
79-81 Titus


Note: Metric equivalents (given in parenthesis) are approximations to the British measurements.


1 Cubit:   varied between 18" and 21" (457-533 mm), depending upon the region of use.

1 Reed:   approximately 5 feet (1520 mm).

1 Palm:   approximately 5 inches (127 mm).

1 Finger:   approximately 1 inch (25.4 mm).


1 Bath:   approximately 4 gallons (22.7 litres).

10 Baths:   10 Ephahs, or 1 Homer, or 1 Cor, or approximately 40 gallons (227 litres).


20 Gerahs:   1 Shekel, or approximately 1/4 ounce (7.08 g) in weight.

60 Shekels:   1 Mina, or approximately 1 pound (434 g) in weight.

1 Talent:   3000 Shekels, or 50 Minas, or approximately 50 pounds (22.7 kg) in weight.


United Monarchy
Span = 1037-930
1037-1017 Saul (in real life, known as Labayu)
1017-1010 Ishbaal
1010-965 David
965-931 Solomon
Divided Monarchy
Span = 930-690
Judah      Israel
930-913 Rehoboam 930-909 Jeroboam I
913-910 Abijah 909-908 Nadab
910-869 Asa 908-885 Baasha
869-848 Jehoshaphat 885-884 Elah & Zimri (Jointly)
848-841 Jehoram 884-880 Tibni
841-841 Ahaziah 880-873 Omri
841-835 Athaliah 873-853 Ahab
835-796 Joash 853-852 Ahaziah
796-767 Amaziah 852-841 Joram
767-739 Azariah 841-813 Jehu
739-731 Jotham 813-798 Jehoahaz I
731-715 Ahaz 798-781 Jehoash
715-690 Hezekiah 781-753 Jeroboam II
  753-752 Zechariah
752-752 Shallum
752-741 Menahem
741-739 Pekahiah
739-731 Pekah
731-722 Hoshea
722-690 Under Assyrian rule
Re-United Monarchy
Span = 690-586
690-686 Hezekiah (Formerly King of Judah 715-690)
686-642 Manasseh
642-640 Amon
640-609 Josiah
609-609 Jehoahaz II
598-597 Jehoiachin 597: Dies after reigning three months.
597-586 Zedekiah 597: Nebuchadnezzar invades Israel & Judah.
587: Zedekiah blinded. Israelites exiled.


1700NC Joseph the Patriarch is born in Canaan.
1683 Kidnapped by seven of his brothers and thrown into a well; later sold to a passing caravan heading for Egypt. There sold to Potiphar, head of the Royal Guard. Pharaoh Amenemhat became impressed by Joseph's logic and foresight.
1670 Appointed Vizier; the second highest position in Egypt.
1662 Invites his father, Jacob, with 70 relations plus other Israelites, to emigrate to Egypt to escape the existing famine in Canaan.
1645 Jacob dies.
c.1600 Having served 10 Pharaohs, Joseph dies and is buried at Avaris.
1527 Moses is born near Memphis and is adopted as a Prince of Egypt.
1517 Israelites are placed in bondage and subjected to widespread infanticide.
1493 Having led many successful military campaigns, Moses incurs the jealousy of Pharaoh Ay and is obliged to flee in exile to Saudi Arabia where he later marries.
1449 Moses returns and pleads for the release of the Israelites. The Pharaoh refuses and the ten plagues begin.
1447 The tenth disaster persuades Pharaoh Dudimose to free the Israelites. The Exodus begins and Joshua is born on the way to Mount Sinai.
1410 On arrival at the River Jordan, Moses dies. Joshua takes over and begins the invasion of Canaan with the destruction of Jericho.
1397 Joshua dies and the 12 Tribes are each ruled by a series of Judges for 360 years.
1037 Saul is selected by Samuel (the last Judge) as the first King of a United Israel.
1018 Saul commits suicide after losing the battle of Gilboa. He and three of his sons are decapitated and put on display.
1010 Upon the death of Saul's remaining son, Ishbaal, David seizes the kingship of Israel.
965 Solomon becomes King and builds the First Temple at Jerusalem.
931BCE Solomon dies and Israel splits into two kingdoms.
925 Pharaoh Ramesses II (also known as Shishak) invades Canaan and loots the Temple at Jerusalem.
690 Hezekiah reunites Judah with part of Israel.
598 After reigning just three months, Hezekiah's sixth successor, Jehoiachin (aged 18), is believed to have died.
597 Zedekiah becomes King and, for nearly 11 years, he resolutely resists the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar II despite being offered various favours.
587 Zedekiah is captured. Furious at being spurned, Nebuchadnezzar orders the execution of Zedekiah's three sons. Zedekiah himself has his eyes gouged out and is taken off to Babylon followed, in stages, by 5000 Israelites. Meanwhile Jerusalem is sacked, including the Temple.
586 Some six months after capture, Zedekiah dies as the last King of Israel.
538 Cyrus, Emperor of Persia, frees the Israelites to return to Jerusalem.
514 The Second Temple at Jerusalem is completed.
12 Herod the Great embellishes part of the exterior of the Second Temple and enlarges the Citadel.
c.6? Jesus is born.
4 Herod dies.
CE 36 Jesus is crucified on Friday, 30th. March.
CE 70 Romans destroy the Second Temple and banish the Jews from Jerusalem for the next 150 years.


M.N. Adler (Paper) The Temple at Jerusalem. 1887
D. Baly Geography of the Bible. 1974
M. Bietak Egypt and Canaan during the Middle Bronze Age. 1991
J. Brand Some Observations on the Second Temple Edifice. 1960
J. Bright A History of Israel. 1972
W.G. Dever Monumental Architecture in Ancient Israel. 1962
J. Ferguson The Temples of the Jews. 1878
R.L. Fox The Unauthorised Version. 1991
C.H. Gordon & G.A. Rensburg The Bible and the Ancient Near East. 1997
M. Haran The Ark and the Cherubim. 1959
M. Haran Temples and Temple Service in Ancient Israel. 1978
J.H. Hayes A History of Ancient Israel - Judah. 1986
S. Herrmann History of Israel in Old Testament Times. 1981
V. Hurowitz 'I have built you an Exalted House'. 1993
W. Keller The Bible as History. 1989
K.M. Kenyon & P.R.S. Moorey The Bible and Recent Archaeology. 1978/1987
K.A. Kitchen Pharaoh Triumphant. 1982
J.M. Miller & J.H. Hayes A History of Ancient Israel and Judah. 1986
E.W. Nicholson Exodus and Sinai in History and Tradition. 1973
M. Noth History of Israel. 1960
J.B. Pritchard (Ed.) The Times Atlas of the Bible. 1987
D.M. Rohl A Test of Time - Vol. 1. 1995
G. St.Clair The Buried City of Jerusalem. 1887
R.B.Y. Scott The Pillars of Jachin and Boaz. 1939
J.A. Soggin A History of Israel: from the Beginnings to the Bar Kochba Revolt. 1984
R. de Vaux Ancient Israel - Its Life and Institutions. 1958/1960
E. Thiele The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings. 1983
G. Vermes The Dead Sea Scrolls: Qumran in Perspective. 1982
C. Warren Underground Jerusalem. 1876
C. Warren The Temple or the Tomb. 1880
L. Waterman (Paper) The Damaged Blueprints of the Temple of Solomon 1943
W. Whiston (Trans.) The Complete Works of the Learned and Authentic Jewish Historian, Flavius Josephus, (CE 37-98). 1850
C.W. Wilson & C. Warren The Recovery of Jerusalem. 1871


I remain indebted to the following for their critiques and guidance, without which much of this presentation would have had less substance:

  • Rev. Peter Davies, Principal, Elim Bible College, Nantwich, U.K.
  • Professor Michael Goulder, Dean, School of Continuing Studies, University of Birmingham, U.K.
  • Rev. Canon Michael Hocking (Former Arch Deacon of Jerusalem), U.K.
  • Rev. Dr. Stephen B. Dawes, Chairman, Cornwall District of Methodist Churches, U.K.
  • Mr. George Edison, Shepherd, Montana, U.S.A.
  • Dr. David M. Rohl, former Chairman, Institute for the Study of Interdisciplinary Sciences, London, U.K.
  • Rabbi David Roller, Livermore, California, U.S.A.
  • D. Farhey.

I am also immensely grateful for the generosity of the following for allowing me to make use of those illustrations as indicated by their reference letters:

  1. From 'The Times Atlas of the Bible', by courtesy of Times Books Ltd, imprint of Harper Collins Ltd., London, U.K.:
    Prints: C, D, F, H, M and N.
  2. From 'A Test of Time', by courtesy of Dr. David M. Rohl:
    Prints: A, B, P, R, S, T, V and W.
  3. By courtesy of Vaughan Tregenza, Esq., Penzance, Cornwall, U.K.:
    Prints: G, J and O.
  4. The following prints are from sources published more than 50 years ago and are now out of copyright:
    Prints: E, I, K, L, Q and U.

P.E.H. Thomas