1 Kings 6:1 & The Judges Controversy

1 Kings 6:1 & The Judges Controversy
Written By Jessi Warren
This article is regarding genealogical chronology

To start we must first examine the most controversial scripture which is Acts 13:19-20, I have seen many articles trying to reconcile this time by adding Moses and Joshua as Judges, stretching and shortening different time periods and all of them without a satisfactory outcome.

If we take Acts 13:19-20 that the Judges should span 450 years AFTER the death of Joshua (Joshua 24:29) we run into big problems. We can only assume how old Joshua was before God sentenced the Israelites to wander 40 years, the most common answer is around 20 years old, add 40 years of wandering and this places Joshua around 60 years old. There was a long period of peace (Joshua 23:1) after Joshua’s 7 year conquest of the land of Canaan, Joshua died at 110 years old which leaves a time of peace of around 43 years. In Judges 2:16 God declares raising up Judges after Joshua’s death, which means that the combined time of the Judges (including the oppression years) is 450 years (without Samuel’s Judgeship because we do not know when he started nor the age he died, much of that must be inferred). This far exceeds both Acts and 1 Kings, what is the solution?

After quite a bit of research it became clear that the passage in Acts was translated improperly, besides the KJV and NKJV all other Bible translations state:

The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He led them out from it. For a period of about forty years He put up with them in the wilderness. When He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land as an inheritance -- all of which took about four hundred and fifty years. After these things He gave them judges until Samuel the prophet”

Essentially, all Bible versions (except KJV and NKJV) and the oldest manuscripts say that since the fathers were chosen to the distribution of land (during Joshua’s time) took about 450 years AND then he gave them Judges until Samuel. So Acts 13:19-20 is not referring to the time of the Judges as being 450 years but from the fathers (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) to just after Joshua’s 7 year conquest. From Abraham at 100 years old (Isaacs birth) to the exodus is 400 years (400 year sojourn mentions), 40 years of wandering with 7 years of conquest is 447 years, which fits Acts 13:19-20. 

Reconciling Acts 13:19-20 sources



As stated above, the time of the Judges with the years of oppression is 450 years not including Samuel’s time because Samuel was a Judge his whole life. Adding to that we must have the 40 years of wandering, 7 years of conquest, an unknown time for Joshua’s peace/rest (average estimates are ~40 years), Saul and David’s reigns over the monarchy of Israel which is 40 years for Saul and 40 years for David, ending with the fourth year of Solomon’s reign in 976 BC. This should be 480 years (1 Kings 6:1), but it is not; it adds up to 617 years not including Samuel’s time. (I dropped the fourth year into Solomon’s reign, throughout this post I do not include it but will conclude with ‘give or take four years’)

The most disturbing is when I see articles say we must rework 1 Kings 6:1, basically many do not want to read the context of Judges and 1 & 2 Samuel. Context is key, either the Bible is right or it is wrong, we don’t substitute our presuppositions or other peoples opinions. I have thoroughly read Judges and 1 & 2 Samuel, written out a timeline with minimal commentary which I will link but I do not hold to their timeline 100% because many of the explanations are invalid based on a faulty synchronism with Egypt and conclusions they didn’t explain. (Linked below)


Any asterisks ** are places I made inferences and they are places where the age and death can be potentially shifted or judgeship.

Moses 80 years old at the Exodus - 1450 BC

Wandering of 40 years - 1450 - 1410 BC

Joshua’s Conquest 7 years - 1410 - 1403 BC

**Joshua’s time of rest/peace - unknown 

**Joshua’s death 110 years old (if 20 years old at Exodus) 1360 BC

-(Note, Joshua is called a young man in Exodus 33:11 while Caleb is known to be past the age of 20 and not under the condemnation of God in Numbers 14:24 & 30. In Joshua 14:10 Caleb says he was 40 years old at the Exodus and 85 when speaking in that verse. We cannot have Joshua too old because scripture says he was young, he could be older than 20 years old but not by much)

Judges 2:16 - God raised up Judges over Israel

3:8 Cushan oppression 8 years 1361 - 1353 BC

3:11 Othniel 1st Judge 40 years 1353 - 1312 BC

3:14 Eglon of Moab oppression 18 years 1312 - 1294 BC

3:14 Ehud 2nd Judge 80 years 1294 - 1214 BC

-(Note: these cannot be split up or modified or have co-reigns, it is very clearly laid out in scripture they each Judged one after another)

*4:3 Jabin & Sisera 20 years 1214 - 1194 BC

**6:1 Midianites 7 years 1201 - 1194 BC

**5:31 Deborah 3rd Judge & 8:28 Gideon 4th Judge 1194 - 1154 BC (40 years)

-(Note: The article linked above shows the synchronism between Deborah and Gideon. Both had the same length of rest, both had the same tribes refuse to join them and the same tribes join them. They fought their battles in different parts of Israel (Deborah north and Gideon central))

**Eli born 1185 BC - this is an assumption on my part which will be explained later on

9:22 Abimelech (not called a Judge) 3 years 1154 - 1151 BC

10:2 Tola 5th Judge 23 years 1151 - 1128 BC

10:3 Jair 6th Judge 22 years 1128 - 1106 BC

-(Note: Many articles suggested combing these two but scripture is clear, one verse to the next, they followed each other so closely there isn’t a verse separating them)

10:7 “And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the children of Ammon”

**10:8 Ammonite oppression 18 years 1106 - 1088 BC

**13:1 Philistine oppression 40 years 1106 - 1066 BC

-(Note: Here and moving forward is where I diverge from the previous article listed. Judges 10:7 indicates Israel was attacked on two fronts and can be readily implied from 1 Samuel 7:14 this was probably the case. Judges could be contemporary is implied in 1 Samuel 12:9-12)

**15:20 Samson 11th Judge 20 years in the days of the Philistines 

-(Note: We do not know when Samson began is Judgeship nor when he died)

**Samuel’s birth 1099 BC 

-(Note: This is my assumption, he more than likely was born before this but I am placing him here because the contemporary thought is that Samuel was 12 when God called him in 1 Samuel 3, with the cute story of God calling Samuel but Samuel thought it was Eli but by verse 20 we see he is established throughout Israel as a prophet)

11:26 300 year occupation mention by Jephthah, his Judgeship begins right after this mention at the end of the 18 year Ammonite oppression

12:7 Jephthah 7th Judge 6 years 1088 - 1082 BC

**1 Samuel 4:15-18 Eli’s death 98 years old & 40 years Judge 1087 BC

**1 Samuel 6:1 Ark of God in Philistine hands 7 months

**1 Samuel 7:1-4 Ark of God in Kirjathjearm 20 years 1087 - 1066 BC

-(Note: I place Eli’s death here and subsequently his birth 98 years prior as stated during Deborah and Gideon’s time. It is clear from scripture Eli died when the Ark of God was taken and Samuel was obviously born and old enough to be called ‘old’ in 1 Samuel 8:1. In 1 Samuel 12:2 Samuel calls himself ‘old and greyheaded’ which seems to imply greater age than in 1 Samuel 8:1. This also could mean I need to push Samuel’s birth date back but old is a subjective term, Moses was 120 and was not called old but hearty and hale, Caleb was 85 and not called old but still had strength as a warrior; each person experiences age differently)

12:9 Ibzan 8th Judge 7 years 1082 - 1075 BC

12:11 Elon 9th Judge 10 years 1075 - 1065 BC

12:4 Abdon 10th Judge 8 years 1065 - 1057 BC

**7 year gap for Samuel and his activities, meeting with Saul and anointing him captain. This also gives time for the events from Judges 17 to 21 to happen, there are no more Judges raised up after chapter 17

1 Samuel 11:15 Saul is King 1050 - 1010 BC

**Samuel’s death 1011 BC

-(Note: 1 Samuel 25:1 & 1 Samuel 28:3 records his death but within a short timeframe Saul calls on a witch in 1 Samuel 28:7 to bring Samuel back since God had abandoned him. Within days it seems Saul dies, that is my interpretation of 1 Samuel 29:10 when David departs, then in 1 Samuel 30:1 it had been only three days for David and his men, so the rest of chapter 30 could be seen in a short period, a week to a few weeks. In 1 Samuel 31 we have the death of Saul and three of his sons, so I place Samuel’s death during the last year and regnal year of Saul)

2 Samuel 5:3-5 David is King, reigning 7 years over Judah and then 33 years over Judah and Israel 1010 - 970 BC

**2 Samuel 2:10 Ishbasheth, Saul’s son who is 40 years old in this passage reigned after Saul (contemporary with David, potentially) for 2 years over Israel.

-(Note: 1 Samuel 13:1 has missing numbers for Saul’s reign, there is much contention over this but most Hebraic scholars think his Kingship was between 22-42 years with the majority saying it is 32 years. This whole verse is omitted in the LXX, Syriac and Vulgate have two different translations and the MS has 1 & 2 numbers and some copies with a 30 added, meaning 32 years. Saul reigning for 32 years could make sense in light of his son Ishbasheth being 40 years old and ruling the last years after his father died but it contradicts Acts 13:21 that says Saul’s reign was 40 years. Whatever the puzzle is here, it is not enough to shift the chronology more than 10 years at most, so very insignificant and a minor scribal error)

To conclude we have 40 years of wandering, 7 years of conquest, Judges and oppression years 302 years, Saul and David 80 years of Kingship which equals 429 years. 1 Kings 6:1 says 480 years so minus 429 years which is 51 years that we can place during Joshua’s time of peace/rest as mentioned in Joshua 23:1 “And it came to pass a long time after that the LORD had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age”

Descriptions of the Judges - Fun article to read, simple condensed biographies 


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