SEDER OLAM - Revisited

סדר עולם - חדש

The Talmudic saying of the day:



What is new

Index of names


Generations  1-14
(3760 - 2080 BCE)

Generations 15-21
(2080 - 1240 BCE)

Generations 22-28
(1240 - 400 BCE)

Generations 29-35
(400 BCE - 440 CE)

Generations 36-42
(440 - 1280 CE)

Generations 43-49
(1280 - 2120 CE)

Generation 50


Bible and History

Bible and Archaeology

Bible and Knowledge

Text of the Seder Olam Rabbah


If you would like to support this web site and the amount of research it involves, I will be grateful and will give you access to a library of resources

***** Latest addition is Generation 49 - pre-Messianic times *** If you already visited this site, welcome back and please check the What is new page to find out about the additions since your last visit. *****

What is this site about?

Seder Olam  is an ancient book compiled in Hebrew by Babylonian talmudists about 160 CE. It gives a chronology of the history of the Jewish people and the world around them since the first man Adam until the Great Revolt against the Roman rule. Seder Olam means Order (or Chronology) of the World. Some 450 years later, another book called Seder Olam Zutta (the Small Seder Olam) was issued in Babylone to complete the former work until their time. Since then, and to distinguish the two works, the former one is referred as Seder Olam Rabbah (the Great Seder Olam). There have been other works to continue the chronology since, but they based their work on the Seder Olam chronology. Yet, this chronology met hard challenges to resolve because it made some assumptions which should not be considered as correct with the hindsight of chronologies from other parallel civilizations which have only been deciphered in the past 100 years or so. So the Seder Olam needs some revision and corrections, and this is the goal of the present web site.

Although the Seder Olam chronology from the Creation to the Exodus is fairly detailed and almost free from debate, the periods that follow, from the time of Joshua and the Judges until later events was based on assumptions from the original author(s). Unfortunately these assumptions do not always match historical chronologies that have been established since from the Egyptian, Babylonian and Persian records. The present site presents an attempt to reconcile these differences and point to possible mistakes in the original assumptions made in the Seder Olam. And, of course, the goal is also to continue the original work until the present days. Some however say that the misleadings of Seder Olam chronology was intentional, as the Sages wanted to hide the true details, giving echo to what Daniel himself was told when he requested to understand the time of the ultimate Redemption: (Daniel 12:9): "Go your way, Daniel; for the words are shut up and sealed till the time of the end." Indeed these details are sealed from human knowledge, but the chronology thus far is not, and should not, be sealed. At the contrary, their study is commanded, as a mean to educate: (Deuteronomy 4:32) "For ask now of the days past, which were before you, since the day that God created man upon the earth."

I have divided the present chronology into 50 different "generations" of mankind from the arrival of Adam. Why 50? It will be fully explained in the last (50th) generation, which will be the Messianic times according to Jewish scriptures, but, in essence it is related to the Jubilee of the world and to the importance of the number 7. Since the Creation, God has established the Shabbat, which is the 7th day. Then the Israelites were ordered to respect it as a "rest" day (rest in the sense of stopping one's daily activity and dedicate that day to prayer and study in order to connect with the Creator), and to also observe the 7th month (Tishri) as a renewal of the year cycle. They were also commanded to respect the 7th year as a rest year for the land (the so-called Shmita or Shemitah). The number 7 is tied to day-month-year cycles and has no other source than the Bible and the Shabbat. After 7 cycles of 7 years, totalling 49 years, they were ordered to respect the Jubilee year, the 50th year. This cycle is mirrored into the chronology of the world which will continue for 49 generations, until the last generation, the 50th one. The world, as it is known to Jews, is supposed to last 6000 years: this gives 50 generations of 120 years each. So each "generation" of the present chronology covers 120 years of Jewish history. The period of 120 years is also given by God, at a certain point of time in the Biblical narrative, as the maximum number of years that humans can live.

I hope you will enjoy going through these pages and, as this is a work in progress, do come back and check the updates in the What is New section. If you have comment or message to send me, please do so by using the Contact form.

To read the text of the Seder Olam Rabbah, see the links in this page.

Albert Benhamou
May 2013
Private Tour Guide in Israel -- Click here to visit my other Web Site, in case you plan a visit to Israel
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                    (click on the image to jump to the corresponding history page)

Where Bible meets History

Summary of the chronology of the Bible and quick links below to major periods in Biblical and Jewish History with maps:

Biblical Kingdom Persian Greek Roman Diaspora

- the six "days" of the Creation
- the Flood, 2104 BCE
- the Tower of Babel, 1764 BCE
- the Covenant with Abraham, 1729 BCE
- Joseph becomes Viceroy of Egypt, 1531 BCE
- the Exodus, 1306 BCE

Map for the Biblical period (Google Maps)

View Biblical period in a larger map

- completion of the First Temple, 1008 BCE

- the Israelite pagan temple of Dan, one of the two high places established by Jeroboam, 979 BCE
- Assyrian conquest: end of the kingdom of Israel, 718 BCE
- Babylonian conquest: end of the kingdom of Judah and destruction of the First Temple, 587 BCE

Map for the period of the Judges until the First Temple (Google Maps)

View Judges and Kingdom period in a larger map

- Cyrus the Persian authorizes the Return to Sion, 539 BCE

- Queen Esther and the festival of Purim, 475 BCE

Map for the period of the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah,
until the exile to Babylon and the return to Sion during the Persian rule

View The Two Kingdoms in a larger map

- Alexander the Great in Judea, 332 BCE

- revolt of the Maccabees and the festival of Chanukkah, 167-164 BCE
- new alliance between the Maccabees and Rome, 161 BCE
- start of the Hasmonean dynasty, 142 BCE

Map for the period of the Greek rule until the end of the Hasmonean dynasty

View Greek and Hasmonean in a larger map

- Pompey in Jerusalem, 63 BCE
- end of the Hasmonean dynasty, reign of Herod, 40 BCE
- Judea becomes Roman province, 6 CE
- crucifixion of Jesus, 33 CE
- destruction of the Second Temple, 70 CE
- the Great Revolt of Bar-Kochba, 132-135 CE

- the end of the Sanhedrin institution was prophecized and so was the end of the Roman Empire as a result
- the rise of Islam and the Hijrah, 622 CE

- more to come....

The chronology established by the author(s) of the ancient Seder Olam Rabbah leads to many discrepancies with historical facts. For a comparison of this chronology with the present revision, click here

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Bible and Archaeology
The items below are related to people, places, events, or customs mentioned in the Bible:

- the legendary Sumerian kings who lived long lifes before the Flood, like the early Biblical characters
- cultic offerings of the fruits of human labour took place in the Late Chalcolithic, at the time of Abel and Cain 
- the Bronze Age started at a time mentioned in the Bible, and the Early Bronze Age disappeared for no reason at the time of the Flood
the origin of the Hebrews
- the obsession of Ancient Egypt with the Cult of the Dead
- Gilgal Rephaim, remains of the old kingdom of Bashan, of the Anakim giants
- the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Epic of Atrahasis echoe the Biblical account about the Flood
- Assur, the Biblical ancestor of the Assyrians
- the city-state of Ur mentioned in the Bible
- the Code of Hammurabi echoes the Noachide laws of the Bible for the post-Flood humanity
- the name Jerusalem is mentioned in ancient Egyptian texts, contemporary to Biblical Salem
- the ruins of the kingdoms of Sodom and Gomorrah have been found
- the Cave of Machpelah, burial place of the patriarchs
- the Tomb of Rachel, on the road to Bethlehem, a location as described in the Bible

- the Hapiru people, assumed to be the Hebrews, mentioned in the Statue of King Idri-mi
- the Ipuwer Papyrus describes the plagues that fell upon Egypt at the time of the passage of Abraham
- Ahmose I had massive silos built to store grain, as per the recommendation from Joseph
- the Tempest Stele of Ahmose I may be describe the disaster that caused famine in Egypt at the time of Joseph
- a hieroglyph text dating from Amenhotep III's reign mentions the Hebrew tetragram name for God
- the tale of the conquest of Sichem by the Apiru (Hebrews) mentioned in the Amarna letters
- the Great Hymn of Aten, from Pharaoh Akhenaton, suggests he was influenced by the Hebrews
- the empty tomb of Pharaoh Horemheb may be the result of his Biblical end
- the Biblical story of the heathen prophet Balaam is proven by Archaeology
- the stele of Beth-Shean recalls the victory campaign of Seti I in Canaan before the Israelites came in
- the altar that Joshua built on Mount Ebal has been found
- the Tomb of Joseph in Sichem, where the Bible stated Joshua had buried him

- the Merneptah Stele is the first archaelogical item that mentions the name 'Israel'
- the Biblical name of Jabin, king of Hazor, is mentioned in a tablet found in the ruins of that city
- archaeologists have found the location of the camp of general Sisera who oppressed the Israelites for two decades
- the writing (as symbols for words) was born in Sumer, but the alphabet was introduced in Canaan by the Israelites
- a jar was found with the ancient Hebrew alphabet bearing the rare name of one of Saul's sons, "Eshbaal"
- the clay seals found in Tell El-Hesy confirm that there was a central power (monarchy) at the time of David ca. 1000 BCE
- an inscription on a limestone slab confirmed the Biblical name of Ekron, one of the five cities founded by the Philistines
- one relief in the Temple of Karnak shows Pharaoh Shoshenq (the Biblical Shishak) fighting Israelite enemies
- the Mesha Stele refers to several Biblical characters from the time of the Israelite kingdom
- the Tel-Dan Stele refers to the names of King David, Israel and Joram
- the Bat Creek inscription, found in North America, with inscription in Paleo-Hebrew: forgery or genuine? You decide !
- the Joash Inscription refers to the reparations King Joash directed over the Temple
- the Zakku Stele refers to Ban-Hadad, the Biblical king of Aram at the time of the Israelite kingdom
- the Uzziah Tablet, related to the relocated tomb of Uzziah king of Judah who died a leper
- the religious reform of King Hezekiah (ca. 720 BCE) is proven by archaeology, including a toilet seat used to defile the high place

- the Kurkh Stele depicting the Battle of Qarqar won by Shalmanezer III against a large coalition
- the Black Obelisk of Shalmanezer III refers to Biblical kings, Hazael for Aram and Jehoash for Israel 
- the eclipse of 763 BCE was announced by Amos the Prophet for the turn to the new Biblical millennium 3000
- the Shiloah plaque testifies of the work caried out by King Hezekiah to protect Jerusalem from the Assyrians
- the Annals of Sennacherib mentions King Hezekiah
- Sennacherib's violent assault on the Israelite city of Lachish is commemorated on many reliefs
- the Throne of Solomon is depicted in one of the reliefs of the conquest of Lachish
- the Biblical names of Hezekiah and Jerusalem are mentioned in clay cylinders from Nineveh
- the assassination of Sennacherib by his sons is reported in the Bible
- the tax-system set by King Menasseh is proven by bullae listing cities and districts mentioned in the Bible

- the Battle of Carchemish and the Battle of Meggido are mentioned in historical annals and the Bible
- the name of a servant of Nebuchadnezzar mentioned in the Bible has been found in a cuneiform tablet
- the year when Nebuchadnezzar spoiled Egypt is indicated precisely in the Bible and in a clay tablet
- the royal "rations" allocated to the captive king of Judah, Jehoiakim, are mentioned on a clay tablet
- the names of the captors of Prophet Jeremiah, as mentioned in the Bible, is confirmed by Archaeology !
- the Biblical Book of Ezekiel has been found inscribed in stones, with identical text, in his shrine in Iraq
- the importance of royal dreams is echoed in the Bible and in annals such as the Cylinder of Nabonides

- the proclamation of religious freedom by Cyrus the Great is mentioned in the Bible and in the Cylinder of Cyrus
- a drachm-type coin was found in Judea and features the name of the new Judean province in the Persian Empire
- the History of Berossus, written about 280 BCE, borrowed from the Bible (but before the Septuagint)
- the introduction of alphabet in the Persian Empire dates from the time of their emancipation of the Israelites

The compilation of the Jewish Bible (Tanakh) was completed in 440 BCE by Nehemiah. Its first translation in Greek, known as the Septuagint, was completed about 200 years later around 230 BCE.

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Bible and Knowledge
The items below are related to people, places, events, or customs mentioned in the Bible:
- Creation and Evolution
- the start of Bronze Age with Tuval-Cain
- the water of the Universe and the Flood
- Jabob mastered the rules of Genetics some 3500 years before they were "discovered"
- the number Pi and the Temple of Solomon
- The division of the day into 24 hours: click here
- the transmission of knowledge from Solomon to the Phoenicians to the Greeks
- the Phoenicians learn about the "trade winds" and become the greatest maritime nation of their time
- the Continental Drift and the seven continents, alluded to in the Scriptures
- Thales, the father of Philosophy, meets Jeremiah the Prophet
- Pythagoras, the Father of Mathematics, is influenced by the "doctrine of the Jews"
- Aristotle studies the Hebrew manuscripts held in Babylon and "borrows" from the Jewish "philosophy"
- the Greek philosophers are accused of plagiarism from the Hebrew scriptures (see also the Sibylline Oracles)
- the Moon phase was given by the Sages 2000 years ago with a precision lower than half a second

- the first anesthesia practiced on a man?
- how to cure someone from rabies, explained in the Talmud some 1700 years before Pasteur
- the division in "fair allocation", as opposed to proportional allocation, explained 1800 years before its mathematical understanding
- the Talmud stated, some 1600 years ago, that "the world looks like a ball"
- the creation of public schools, free for all children, with no more than 25 pupils per class
- the Sabbation river that "rests" on Shabbat days (Saturday = Saturn Day), and the Romans' 7th planet (Saturn)
- the Zohar describes the shape and rotation of the Earth over 1000 years before Galileo
- is there "life" after death? The Talmudists thought so
- Resh Lakish gives the number of stars in the Universe
- Samuel describes of the Pleiades star cluster
- Rabba gives an estimate of the size of the Earth
- Abaye calculates the 28 years Solar Cycle, which was only 'discovered' in 1843
- Rabbi Aha describes the rotation of the Earth on its axis
- Maimonides (12th century) gave his advice on how Education should be delivered to children
- Bahya (14th century) mentions the lightning rod as a protection against fire from the sky
- Isaac Newton studies the sizing of the Temple of Solomon, among other Biblical studies
- Abraham bar Hiyya resolved the quadratic equations
- the 19 years cycle that synchronises the lunar and solar calendars
- the Zohar predicted the time of the Industrial Revolution
- the periodicity of the comets was known to Talmudists 1600 years before Halley "discovered" it
... and more to come....

Text of the Seder Olam Rabbah
Links below to the text of the Seder Olam Rabbah, with annotations, in PDF format
    - Part 1 - From Adam to Jacob, click here
    - Part 2 - From Jacob to Joseph in Egypt, click here
    - Part 3 - Sojourn in Egypt until the Exodus, click here
    - Part 4 - Calculations about the Flood, click here

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Copyright Albert Benhamou 2013 - All rights reserved.