I Kings 6:1
Acts 13:17-18, 20-22
I Chronicles 29:26-27
I Kings 6:1 clearly states that the building of the Temple was 480 years after the Exodus, and was in the 4th year of his reign, meaning that Solomon’s reign began about 476 years after the Exodus.
Regarding Acts 13, a few possibilities exist as to what the 450 years is referring to. These possibilities are outlined in Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones’s The Chronology of the Old Testament (the following three points are a direct quote): 1
- A parenthetic remark concerning the span of time of this whole thought from the Exodus in 1491 BC until 1048 BC when David became king of all 12 tribes (i.e., c. 443 years).
- The 400 years of affliction (vs.17 cp. Gen. 15:13) by Egypt plus the 40 years in the wilderness (vs.18) and the 7 years of war until the actual distribution of the land (vs.19) totaling 447 years.
- A parenthetic remark beginning when the covenant ritual with Abraham (initiated in Genesis 15; cp. “chose our fathers,” Acts 13:17) was consummated in the 99th year (born 1996 BC – 99 = 1897 BC) in Genesis 17 by the changing of his name from Abram and the seal of circumcision. The period ended in 1444 BC when the land was divided among the last 7 tribes (1897 – 1444 = 453 years).
The first possibility means that the 450 years overlaps with the 40 years in the wilderness (which includes Moses among the judges), and also overlaps most of the reign of Saul (since the judge Samuel lived through most of his reign).
The third possibility would mean that the 450 years is not a measurement of how long the Judges were given, but a measurement of when they were given in relation to God’s promise to Abraham being fulfilled in the birth (or the choosing) of Isaac. 2
The fact that Paul used a technical chronological reference demonstrates that he was indeed “a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee” (Acts 23:6). This ~450 timeframe may have been somewhat common knowledge among the Pharisaical elite in that day, or even a time landmark commonly referred to in sermons. We may not be entirely sure which possibility Paul was referring to, but Paul knew his audience and must have realized that they knew their biblical chronology. Since the audience would know right away that the 450 years was obviously not referring to the time of the judges (excluding Moses and the latter part of Samuel’s judgeship), Paul did not need to clarify this in his speech. In any case, the “about 450” years does not contradict I Kings 6:1, since it is a separate span of time.
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Jones, F. N. (2004). Chronology of the Old Testament: a return to the basics (15th ed.). Green Forest, Ark.: Master Books.