Old Testament Chronology—Characteristics -- By: Melvin Grove Kyle

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 089:355 (Jul 1932)
Article: Old Testament Chronology—Characteristics
Author: Melvin Grove Kyle

Old Testament Chronology—Characteristics

Melvin Grove Kyle

In undertaking to portray the characteristics of the Bible’s own Chronology it will be important to keep well in mind those striking peculiarities which everywhere are found in counting the course of life and history in the Orient; the reckoning of events, the constant noting of things round about and comparison with them. The difficulties, moreover, which confront us must never be forgotten or lost from sight; that there is no epochal system of Chronology, no general epoch considered in the Old Testament, and that genealogies are not to be made a basis for Chronology, were not intended so to be used, and actually never were used by the Biblical writers for the purpose of reckoning time. The years in genealogies are never added up to get a total of time for a period. Keeping these things in mind, we may be able safely to find our way along a pathway that is new to us, to discover a method entirely different from the systems in vogue, but after all perfectly familiar to us from very childhood.

Old Testament Chronology chronicles events rather than the flight of time, man’s relation to life rather than his relation to time.

Some historical examples out of many will make this plain. In Moses’ first address to the people about to enter the Promised Land (Deut. 1–3). he gave a summary of the events of the wilderness journey from the giving of the Law at the Mountain on to the time at which they had arrived, about ready to go in and possess the land. It was when the journey was all but ended, after the conquest of Sihon, king of the Amorites. and Og. king of Bashan, just at the end of the forty years of wandering. The events are arranged in perspective. The tragic events at Kadesh Barnea and the failure there, then the turning back into the wilderness life to walk with the weak of

faith, the experiences with churlish Edom and the temptations of Moab are briefly glanced at, the death of the old generation is noted, as also the giants and the Horites, and last the attempt for a treaty of peace with Sihon and with Og and its failure, and the distribution of lands on the east of Jordan to a part of the tribes, Reuben, Gad and Manasseh. Then the vision from the top of Pisgah and the charge to Joshua. All this is recounted with hardly a note of passing time, and then only in general expression, “and”, “then”, “and it came to pass’, and “So ye abode in Kadesh many days, according unto the days that ye abode there.” It is a record of events; the flight of time is almost ignored.

When Joshua came near the end of his career, he gathered the people at the old...

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