For thousands of years, the cryptic, chronological texts of Kings, as specified by the ancient Masoretic texts, have baffled historians and Bible students alike. The synchronous data specified by the Bible appeared so disjointed that many secular scholars dismissed them as useless.
Throughout the span of time, various translations of the Hebrew books, like the Septuagint, altered the data in a failed attempt to reconcile the apparent discrepancies. The Masorite Jews, however, desired to preserve the scriptures just as they received them. In fact, the copyists used strict rules through the ages to make sure the scriptures remained the same.
In the 1950s, Edwin Thiele finally harmonized the chronology of the Hebrew Kings. He discovered that the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah used, at discernible stages, different modes of reckoning time. Because each kingdom synchronized the king's year with the opposing king's year, and because each kingdom began the new year at opposite equinoxes, we find an accurate accession date (within six months) for each king.
Although this site disagrees with his arrangement during the rule of kings from the beginning of Menahem in the North to the end of Hezekiah in the South, his work is an uncontested masterpiece and remains the standard for scholars studying this era of history. In the graph below, we show his chronology as indicated by his book, "The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings."
Our interactive chart lists the Hebrew kings and their lengths of reign as synchronized by the Bible. The Israel kings, who began the new year for kings in spring are coded red. Judah, who began the new year for kings in the autumn month of Tishri is coded blue.
Some ancient nations, like Egypt and Israel periodically, used non-accession reckoning for kings. The king's year began when he first sat on the throne. Most other nations of the Levant, including Judah, used the accession method where the king's first year did not begin until the beginning of the next, new year. The accession year is indicated in our graph by a yellow block and capital "A."
Often, a king would serve as a co-regent before his sole reign. The Israelites and Judaens reckoned the years of a co-regent inclusively, meaning his first year of co-rule commenced immediately. A king who was co-regent before becoming a sole ruler will have two number lines running down his graphical bar in our chart.
To see the biblical synchonism for each king in a pop-up, click on the small, red box on the right hand side of the chart.