Unified Kingdom Kings

Three kings ruled over a unified nation of Israel in ancient times. Those kings were Saul, David and Solomon. The dates for the main periods in the rule of these men can be known. At the end of Solomon’s reign the kingdom was divided by civil war and remains divided to this day.

Background

Three kings ruled over the entire kingdom of ancient Israel. Those kings were Saul, David and Solomon. This was the high point of the national power of ancient Israel. This power and prestige ended at the civil war in the reign of Rehoboam.

King Saul

The people of Israel, in a way that is much like us today, refused to let God remain king over their land. They wanted a human king. One which would be like the kings they could see in the lands around them.

God warned them that a king would cause them trouble, that having God as king was better, but they would not listen. Recall earlier that in the first 200 years as an independent nation, with God as king, that there had only been 4 short wars. Now things were going to be different. Rarely would there be a king who would not be at war with the countries around Israel, and always would the king oppress his own people.

Nowhere in the Old Testament are we told explicitly how long Saul reigned. (Though some translations introduce this interval at First Samuel 10:1.) The reference to the length of time Saul reigns before David is given in Acts 13:21 as 40 years.

Given that this interval began on 9907/8 the end must have been 9947/7.

Note some odd things with regard to this passage. Saul is anointed by Samuel.First Samuel 10:1 This appears to be within the time alloted to Saul’s reign. Also note that Saul’s son Ish Bosheth is age 40 when he reignsSecond Samuel 2:10 and that he reigns for two years.Second Samuel 2:10

Since Acts records Saul being followed by DavidActs 13:22 and since it ignores Ish Bosheth, we must reconcile what the author of Acts had in mind. It appears that Acts is indicating that it was 40 years that the "house of Saul" would reign before David. This is an acceptable meaning. For proof of this, consider that the Angel told Mary before Jesus was born that Jesus would sit on David’s throne, which, of course, at that point did not have David still sitting on it.Luke 1:32

This suggests that Ish Bosheth rules from 9945/8 through the end of the house of Saul’s 40 years in 9947/7. It also suggests that Ish Bosheth’s 40 years before reign are 9905/8 through to the month before his reign.

King David

The Bible records quite a few details of David’s life especially chronological details. To finish our chronological gap we need only a couple details.

Scripture makes clear two very important points, that David ruled in Hebron for 7 years, 6 months First Samuel 5:4 Second Samuel 2:10Second Chronicles 2:4 and for the remainder of his 40 year reign he reigned in Jerusalem. Second Chronicles 2:4 First Kings 2:11 Second Chronicles 29:27

This change in venue for his reign suggests that Saul and for the last couple years Ish Bosheth were reigning in Jerusalem while David was in Hebron. This also suggests that David and Saul were reigning at the same time in different places.

This is probably why the Old Testament does not touch this issue, it wants to let David rule alone, without "interference" from Saul.

To finish the chronology all we need do is stitch David’s time into the times we’ve already shown. David spends 7 years 6 months in Hebron, and then goes to Jerusalem. Saul’s house, as we’ve already established, rules through 9947/7 so David must have ruled through this same month in Hebron. 7 years, 6 months earlier, would be 9940/2 as the first month of reign.

Since we know David reigned 40 yearsSecond Kings 5:4 First Chronicles 29:27 the last month of his reign would be 9980/1. Compare that with what we found earlier that Solomon started construction of the Temple in 9980/2 and we have a match. Note some things. This says that Solomon must have reigned at the same time as David. David would live to be the oldest of all the kings we have ages for. He would have been frail. Because of an attempt to steal the throne David anointed Solomon, which is probably when the co-reign started. David’s heart was to build God a temple for the Ark. Because David had shed blood God would not allow him to do that, though David would design it and do much of the preparation. That David’s life ends in the month before Solomon starts the building process suggests that Solomon, and the rest of the workers already assembled to do the work, were waiting patiently for David to die. This probably happened around the Passover time in the year 9980.

Solomon would complete the temple, which David so carefully prepared, in the events of Solomon’s reign.

King Solomon

The main event of Solomon’s reign is the construction of the temple. Solomon would not endure war for this time so that he could accomplish the work set before him to do. We are told that Solomon would work 20 years on both the Temple, and on the Palace, 7 of those twenty on the Temple, 13 on the palace. First Kings 6:38 First Kings 7:31 First Kings 9:10 Second Chronicles 8:1

We have further details that the temple itself was completed in the 11th year 8th month of Solomon’s reign or 9987/8. The remaining 13 years, like the remaining 33 years in David’s reign, being fractional, but recorded as full years.

Since he started this great adventure in 9980/2 his last month of work on this great project was 20 years later, or 10000/1. This is the month of Passover, and scripture is probably trying to tell us that this temple, the first temple, was finished, with a first Passover celebrated, 10,000 years from Adam.

The remainder of Solomon’s reign is uneventful, from a chronological perspective. Since he reigns 40 yearsSecond Chronicles 9:30 First Kings 11:42 the last year of his reign is 40 after the start. 9977 + 39 = 10016.

Summary

We have covered the biblical chronology through the time of Solomon’s reign.

Phil Stone, Updated 2016-11-04