BAR 27:05, Sep/Oct 2001
How We Know When Solomon Ruled
Synchronisms with Egyptian and Assyrian rulers hold the key to dates of Israelite kings
Ever wonder how scholars date the reigns of the Israelite kings but were too embarrassed to ask? If so, this is the article for you.
The short answer is that scholars use a variety of approaches and data from numerous sources to deduce regnal years. Take, for example, the reign of King Solomon, to cite one of ancient Israels most illustrious rulers. We could search for an ancient inscription that gives the year when Solomon became king or the year of his death, but we would almost certainly come up empty-handedinscriptions from tenth-century B.C. Israel are simply too rare.