The second biblical chronology
The Epistle to Henry II contains two biblical chronologies regarding the Old Testament. These chronologies are entirely different from each other in time span and transition moments.
In some of my other essays on this site, such as the one about a time structure in the prophecies or the one about the 1941-Vreede-translation of the Prophecies, the second biblical chronology was discussed briefly, and printer’s errors and revisions were mentioned. This essay deals entirely with this second biblical chronology and a number of findings in the NAB-project (Nostradamus, astrology and the Bible).
The second biblical chronology1
The second biblical chronology preceeds a set of predictions, which begins on January 1, 1606. The first part of this set runs until the beginning of the seventh millennium. The second part runs from the beginning of the seventh millennium until the release of Satan after his imprisonment for about 1000 years.2 According to the Epistle, the second biblical chronology is based on the Bible and (in the case of the period Temple - Jesus) on calculations by Scribes. It opens with the creation of the world and closes with the birth of Jesus. The period after the birth of Jesus is not calculated because of the diversity of sects.
At the beginning of the description of the second biblical chronology, the appliance of solar years, lunar years or soli-lunar years is discussed briefly. The relevant periods, given in the Bible, are interpreted as referring to solar years.
The lenghts of all periods are given without restriction, whereas in the first biblical chronology almost every period has the restriction about.3
The transition moments in the second biblical chronology are marked by biblical persons or biblical events.
Table 1. The second biblical chronology
|Creation - Noah||1506|
|Noah - Arch||600|
|End Deluge - Abraham||295|
|Abraham - Isaac||100|
|Isaac - Jacob||60|
|Jacob - Egypt||130|
|Egypt - Exodus||430|
|Exodus - Temple||480|
|Temple - Jesus||490|
The second biblical chronology ends with the remark that its total is around 4173 years and 8 months. This remark is not confirmed by the periods in the Epistle, which together form a total of 4092 years and 2 months.
Margins, printer’s errors and deviations
In the Epistle, it is stated clearly that the length of the periods of the second biblical chronology is taken from the Bible, except for the period Temple - Jesus, which is taken from calculations, done by Scribes. While working on the NAB-project, the lengths of the periods, given in the Epistle, were compared with relevant verses in the Old Testament.
This way of calculating time can also be found in the Chronicorum of Eusebius of Cesarea, known as the father of Church history, mentioned in the first biblical chronology.4
a. The period Creation - Noah
…comptans les ans depuis la creation du monde, jusques à la naissance de Noë, sont passez mil cinq cens et six ans…
Together, the verses in Genesis about the ages of the patriarchs from Adam until Noah at the time of fathering their eldest son, form the source of the calculations for this period :
Table 2. The Old Testament: period Adam - Noah
According to Genesis 1,31, Adam was created on the sixth day of the creation process. In the Epistle, these six days are not taken into account. But this is a small, unimportant detail. More important is the fact that according to Genesis, the period Creation - Noah did not last 1506 years, but 1056 years. The difference in totals is caused by what turns out to be a printer’s error in the Epistle. Instead of mil cinquante et six, the words mil cinq cens et six were printed.5
In the Almanach for 1566, the period Creation - Deluge is estimated 1590 years.6
b. The period Noah - Ark and the deluge
... depuis la naissance de Noë iusques à la parfaicte fabrication de l’arche, approchent de l’universelle inondation passerent six cens ans...
... et à la fin d’iceux six cens ans Noë entra dans l’arche pour estre sauvé du deluge, & fut iceluy deluge universel sus la terre, & dura un an et deux mois...
The length of 600 years corresponds with what is written in Genesis 7,6 : Noah was 600 years old when the deluge came over the earth. The length of the deluge can be derived from Genesis 7,11 and Genesis 8,13-14. In Genesis 7,11 it reads that the deluge began on the 17th day in the 2nd month of the 600th year of Noah. In Genesis 8,13-14 it reads that the deluge ended on the 27th day of the 2nd month of the 601st year of Noah. According to Genesis, the time span of the deluge was 1 year and 10 days. The time span, given in the Epistle, is around 50 days more. In the NAB-project, the reason for this difference did not become clear.
The data, given in Genesis 7,11 and 8,13-14, lead to confusion. The first year of life runs from birth until the first birthday. If the deluge began in the 600th year of Noah, his age was 599. Then, in Genesis 9,28-29 it reads that Noah lived 350 years more after the deluge and died at the age of 950. The words after the deluge must be read as after the outbreak of the Deluge, or else his age would have been 951, since the Deluge lasted 1 year and 10 days.
It seems that in the Epistle these problems were handled by referring to Noah’s age, given in Genesis 7,6.
c. The period End deluge - Abraham
... et depuis la fin du deluge iusques à la nativité d’Abraham, passa le nombre des ans de deux cens nonante cinq...
This period corresponds with data, given in Genesis 11,10 until Genesis 11,26. The total of the time spans in Genesis is 3 years smaller than 295, the total given in the Epistle.
The data in Genesis contain a calculating error. In Genesis 11,10 it reads that Sem had the age of 100 years when he fathered Arpaksad, two years after the Deluge. According to Genesis 5,32, Noah had the age of 500 when he fathered Sem. The outbreak of the deluge was 100 years later, which means that at the time of the outbreak of the deluge, the age of Sem was 100. The words two years after the deluge can be read as two years after the outbreak of the deluge, in which case the age of Sem was 102. These words can also be read as two years after the end of the deluge, in which case the age of Sem was 103. The calculation error is either two or three years. In the listing below, the period End deluge - Abraham is estimated to have been two years.
Table 3. Old Testament: period End deluge - Abraham
|Genesis 11,10||End deluge-Arpaksad||2|
d. Abraham - Isaac - Jacob
... et depuis la nativité d’Abraham iusques à la nativité d’Isaac, passerent cent ans. Et depuis Isaac iusques à Iacob, soixante ans...
These data match with data, given in Genesis. In Genesis 21,5 it reads that Abraham fathered Isaac at the age of 100. In Genesis 25,26 it reads that Isaac fathered Jacob at the age of 60.
e. Jacob - Egypt - Exodus
... des l’heure qu’il entra dans Egypte, iusques en l’yssue d’iceluy passerent cent trente ans. Et depuis l’entrée de Iacob en Egypte iusques à l’yssue d’iceluy passerent quatre cens trente ans...
In Genesis 47,9 it reads that Jacob’s age was 130 when he entered Egypt. In Exodus 12,40 it reads that the Israelites, after 430 years of living in Egypt, began their exodus to the Promised Land. In the Epistle, Genesis 47,9 is paraphrased wrongly while Exodus 12,40 is paraphrased correctly.
In the Dutch translation of the Epistle by Houwens Post, the wrongly phrasing of Genesis 47,9 was tacitly corrected, without annotation.7 In the English translation of the Epistle by Leoni, the French text was litterally translated, but the wrong phrasing was not annotated.8
f. Exodus - Temple
... Et depuis l’yssue d’Egypte iusques à la edification du temple saicte par Salomon au quatrieme an de son regne, passerent quatre cens octante ou quatre vingt ans...
This fragment is an almost litteral quotation of 1 Kings 6,1. There it reads that in the 480th year after the exodus, in the 4th year of the reign of Salomon, the 2nd month, the building of the temple began. In 1 Kings 6,38 it reads that the building was accomplished in the 11th year of the reign of Salomon, in the 8th month.
In the Dutch 1941-Vreede-translation of the Prophecies, the period Exodus - Temple has two different estimations: 480 and 490 years.9 No French source text of the Epistle contains these two different estimations.
g. Temple - exile to Babylon
... Et depuis l’edification du temple iusques à Iesus Christ selon la supputation des hierographes passerent quatre cens nonante ans...
This is the only part of the second biblical chronology which refers to the Scribes instead of the Bible itself. This is caused by the fact that there is a data shortage regarding the period End Babylonic exile - birth of Jesus. Only the length of the periods of reign of the Judean kings and the exile to Babylon can be calculated with data, given in the Old Testament.
In 1 Kings 11,42 it reads that the reign of Salomon lasted 40 years. The period Exodus - Temple was estimated from the year of the Exodus until the 4th year of the reign of Salomon. Therefore, in the table below, the reign of Salomon has been estimated 36 years, counting from the 4th year of his reign.
The reign of Achazja lasted 1 year. After his murder, Atalya, his wife, took over the reign while Joas, her son, was into hiding. The reign of Joas lasted 40 years. Therefore, the period of hiding must also be taken into account.
The reign of Joachaz lasted only 3 months.
Table 4. Period kingship of Salomon - end exile to Babylon
|1 Kings 11,42||Kingship of Salomon||36|
|1 Kings 14,21||Kingship of Rechabeam||17|
|1 Kings 15,2||Kingship of Abia||3|
|1 Kings 15,10||Kingship of Asa||41|
|1 Kings 22,42||Kingship of Josafat||25|
|2 Kings 8,17||Kingship of Jorat||8|
|2 Kings 8,26||Kingship of Achazja||1|
|2 Kings 11,3||Joas into hiding||6|
|2 Kings 12,2||Kingship of Joas||40|
|2 Kings 14,2||Kingship of Amasja||29|
|2 Kings 15,2||Kingship of Azarja||52|
|2 Kings 15,32||Kingship of Jotam||16|
|2 Kings 16,2||Kingship of Achaz||16|
|2 Kings 18,2||Kingship of Hizkia||29|
|2 Kings 21,2||Kingship of Manasse||55|
|2 Kings 21,19||Kingship of Amon||2|
|2 Kings 22,1||Kingship of Josia||31|
|2 Kings 23,31||Kingship of Joachaz (rounded)||0|
|2 Kings 23,36||Kingship of Jojakim||11|
|2 Kings 24,8||Kingship of Jojakin||3|
|2 Kings 24,11||Kingship of Sidkia||11|
|2 Chronicles. 36,21||Length exile to Babylon||70|
An attempt to revise the second biblical chronology
According to biblical data, the period Kingship of Salomon - End of exile to Babylon lasted 502 years. In the Epistle, the period Temple - Jesus is given. The end of the exile to Babylon took place earlier than the birth of Jesus. This means that the period Temple - Jesus should cover more than 502 years. According to the Epistle, its length is 490 years, which is shorter. This does not make sense.
Next, in the Epistle a total of 4173 years and 8 months is given :
... et ainsi par ceste supputation que i’ay faicte colligee par les sacrees lettres sont environ quatre mille cent septante trois ans, & huict moys peu ou moins...
The totals of the several periods, given in the Epistle, form together a total of 4092 years and 2 months, which is 81 years and 6 months less.
We are confronted with two problems. First: an apparent miscalculation of the length of the period Temple - Jesus. Second: an apparent miscalculation of the total of the elements of the second biblical chronology.
The first step to correct the contents of the second biblical chronology, is to remove unfitting elements.
The preceeding analysis showed that there is a printer’s error regarding the total of the period Creation - Noah (mil cinq cens et six instead of mil cinquante et six). If the period Creation - Noah is estimated 1056 years instead of 1506 years, the total of the periods, given in the Epistle, is 3642 years.
The period Temple - Jesus is removed, since its total of 490 years is entirely wrong, given the fact that it does not match with biblical data. Counting from the Creation until the beginning of the building of the Temple, the number of years is 3152 years and 2 months. Compared with the total of 4173 years and 8 months, there is a shortage of 1021 years and 6 months. This shortage should cover the length of the period Temple - Jesus.
In the Epistle, the first biblical chronology does not contain a period Temple - Jesus, but a period David - Jesus, which, according to some chronographs, lasted 1350 years. The nature of the first biblical chronology is entirely different from the second biblical chronology, but it looks as if the first biblical chronology is also based on solar years, given the fact that there is no distinction between the periods of the Old Testament and the time span of 621 years, counting from the birth of Jesus until the destestable seduction of the Saracens. In the Old Testament, the age of David at the beginning of his kingship is not given, but according to 1 Kings 2,11 his reign lasted 40 years. David was succeeded by Salomon, of whom was written in the second biblical chronology that the building of the Temple started in his 4th year of reign. This means that the first biblical chronology indicates that the period Temple - Jesus covers more than the given 490 years.
The biblical chronology in the Almanach for 1566 contains a period Temple - exile to Babylon, estimated 474 years, and a period Exile to Babylon - Jesus, estimated 613 years. Together, they cover a time span of 1087 years. The Almanach 1566 points to a time span, more than the given 490 years in the Epistle.
In Thesaurus Temporum, written in 1606 by Joseph Juste Scaliger, (the son of Jules-César Scaliger, with whom Nostradamus was acquainted in the 1530’s) the period Temple - Jesus was estimated 1014 years.10 A post-contemporary source points to a time span, more than the given 490 years in the Epistle.
Present-day Bible editors in the Netherlands estimate the period Temple - Jesus to be about 966 years.11 Present-day sources point to a time span, more than the given 490 years in the Epistle.
In the Dutch 1941-Vreede-translation of the Prophecies, the period Temple - Jesus is estimated to be 1020 years.12 This number can not be found in whatever available French edition of the Epistle and it is not commented by Houwens Post (aka Vreede), the translator. In his translation, the given 490 years were replaced by 1020, while the words quatre cens octante, ou quatre vingt ans for the period Exodus - Temple were replaced by the numbers 480 or 490 years.13 It is not clear whether Houwens Post did some research regarding this matter. If he did, it is not clear whether he encountered the printer’s error (mil cinq cens et six instead of mil cinquante et six). If he saw this printer’s error, one can only wonder why he did not correct it instantly.
Leaving aside the 1941-Vreede-translation, it is clear that the period Temple - Jesus was originally estimated to be about 1020 years. This means that the 4173 years and 8 months is the total of the second biblical chronology, as indicated in the context of the Epistle. This leads to a revised i.e. corrected second biblical chronology :
Table 5. The revised second biblical chronology
|Creation - Noah||1056|
|Noah - Arch||600|
|End Deluge - Abraham||295|
|Abraham - Isaac||100|
|Isaac - Jacob||60|
|Jacob - Egypt||130|
|Egypt - Exodus||430|
|Exodus - Temple||480|
|Temple - Jesus (rounded)||1022|
In 1927, P.V. Piobb noted that in the first biblical chronology, the number 621 occurred several times, i.e. in the time span Adam - Noah (1242 = 2 x 621) and in the time span Jesus - Saracens (621 years).14 The revised second biblical chronology contains something similar. The period Creation - Noah lasts 1056 years. The period Deluge - Jacob lasts (600 + 1 + 295 + 100 + 60) also 1056 years. This is because the period End deluge - Abraham was estimated to be 295 years in the Epistle instead of 292 years, as given in Genesis. The period Jacob - Temple lasts (130 + 430 + 480) 1040 years. The period Temple - Jesus lasts 1020 years. Does the second biblical chronology contain a hidden structure of about 1050 years ? In the NAB-project, this peculiarity is noticed, but no answer could be given.
The second biblical chronology has been revised by correcting a printer’s error, a wrong phrasing and a miscalculation. The revising of the miscalculation (period Temple - Jesus : 490 years instead of 1020 years) is based on the loose total of 4173 years and 8 months. The insertion of 1020 years seems to be justified by other calculations, such as the ones in the Almanach 1566 and the Thesaurus Temporum.
While working on the NAB-project, no answer has been found to the question how and why the supposed number 1022 (mil vingt et deux) was replaced by or printed as 490 (quatre cens nonante). But it is not impossible that something like that has occurred. Another peculiar case can be fount in the introduction to the predictions for spring 1558 in the Pronostication nouvelle pour 1558.15 In the first line it reads that on March 11, 1558, the date of the quarterchart for spring 1558, the zodiacal longitude of the Moon was 16:40 Leo. Present-day software shows that the Moon's zodiacal longitude was 24:56 Sagittarius. The given zodiacal longitude of the Moon in Leo occurred on March 11, 1557, the date of the quarterchart for spring 1557. Recalculations showed that the Moon’s zodiacal longitude was 16:20:01 Leo for 12:00:00 true local time, Salon-de-Provence. In both charts, the zodiacal longitude of the Sun was given to be 0:53:00 Aries.16
The results regarding the second biblical chronology put some other findings in a different light. While discussing the second biblical chronology, Leoni wrote that the calculations were off, unless Jacob was 212 years old when he went into Egypt. In fact, Leoni considered the age of Jacob as a stumbling block.17 This essay shows that the source of the second biblical chronology is formed by various verses in the Bible, which Leoni did not discuss, and that, although the phrasing of the period Jacob - Egypt is wrong, the age of Jacob is conform Genesis 47,9.
While discussing the Almanach for 1566, Benazra characterized the biblical chronology in this almanac as as arbitrary and in time span wrong as the ones in the Epistle.18 This essay shows that the second biblical chronology has an arithmetic fundament, the Bible and some calculations by Scribes, as written in the Epistle. It also shows that the method behind this chronology was known and used by Eusebius in the 4th century.
While working on the NAB-project, no answers have been found to the question why there are two different biblical chronologies in one and the same letter. Perhaps the arithmetic fundaments of the other chronologies will be discovered in due course. If the arithmetic and biblical fundaments and backgrounds of the second biblical chronology was made sufficiently clear, this essay has fulfilled its purpose.
T. W. M. van Berkel
De Meern, June 19, 2003
- R. Benazra, Répertoire Chronologie Nostradamique (1545 - 1989). Paris, 1990.
- B. Chevignard, Présages de Nostradamus, Saint-Amand, 1999.
- E. Leoni, Nostradamus And His Prophecies, New York, 1982 (1961).
- Katholieke Bijbelstichting, De Bijbel uit de grondtekst vertaald (Willibrord vertaling), Boxtel, 1978.
- M. Nostradamus, Les propheties, Lyon, 1568, Lyon, 2000.
- M. Nostradamus, Les aages du monde selon la computation des Hebrieux, in Almanach pour l’an M.D.LXVI, Lyon, 1565. By courtesy of R. Benazra.
- P.V. Piobb, Le secret de Nostradamus et de ses célèbres prophéties du XVIe siècle, Paris, 1927.
- J. J. Scaliger, Thesaurus Temporum, Amsterdam, 1658 (1606).
- Dr. W.L. Vreede, De profetieën van Nostradamus, Amsterdam, 1980 (1941).
1 Nostradamus 2000 (1568), pp. 166 - 167. Retour
2 Nostradamus 2000 (1568), pp. 169 and 172. These predictions are opened by a series of astrological references (retrogradations, zodiacal signs and aspects). The last of these aspects (a Sun / Jupiter conjunction with some kind of involvement of the Caput Draconis) refers to the Last Judgment, which takes place after Satan being defeated once and for all. See my essay “A time schedule of the Prophecies”, Site ramkat.free.fr. Retour
3 Nostradamus 2000 (1568), p. 157. Retour
4 Scaliger, section Chronicorum canonum omnimodiae historiae libri duo. This section is a reconstruction of remainders of the oeuvre of Eusebius. Eusebius presents several calculations regarding the past, such as Greec, Roman, Egyptian and Hebrew ones. The Greec one is referring to the Septuagint system, the Hebrew one is based on the Bible, as is the second biblical chronology in the Epistle. Retour
5 In all editions, the length of the periods is printed in letters. By coincidence, this printer’s error can also be noticed when looking at the numbers 1056 and 1506: the numbers 0 and 5 changed places. Retour
6 ... De la creation du monde iusque au deluge mille cinq cens nonante ans... (Nostradamus 1565). Retour
7 Vreede, p. 147. Retour
8 Leoni, pp. 338 - 339 and 688 - 689. Retour
9 Vreede, p. 147. Retour
10 Scaliger, section Isagogicorum chronologiae canonum libri tres, second book, section epochae temporis historici, p.124 - 127. According to Scaliger, the building of the Temple began in the year 3696; the birth of Jesus took place in the year 4710. This means that a period of 1014 years is at stake. Retour
11 Willibrord translation, p. 1761 and further. Retour
12 Vreede, p. 147. Retour
13 Vreede, p. 147. In the 1941-Vreede-translation, most of the numbers are not written in letters, but in numbers. Retour
14 Piobb, p. 15. Retour
15 Chevignard, p. 426. Retour
16 Chevignard, pp. 401 and 427. Retour
17 Leoni, p. 339. Retour
18 Benazra, p. 71. Retour
Tous droits réservés © 2003 T. W. M. van Berkel