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#5e BIBLICAL TIME - AGES OF PEOPLE

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Introduction 5e

Before you do this bible study you need to understand what we mean by inclusive reckoning, and righteous reckoning. There are two considerations that we need to check when scripture refers to the ages of people. What method of time does the bible use to calculate their ages? There are two different kinds of time, actual time and calendar time. For the ages of people inclusive reckoning uses calendar time and rounds short periods up, but righteous reckoning uses actual time. This is a bible study on how to calculate the ages of people in scripture.

#5e1 MOSES WAS EIGHTY YEARS OLD WHEN HE SPOKE TO PHARAOH

ACTS 7:22-23, 30
22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.
23 And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers the children of Israel.
30 And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sinai an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.

EXODUS 3:1-2
1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.
2 And the angel of Yahweh appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

EXODUS 4:18-20, 27, 29
18 And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father in law, and said to him, Let me go, I pray you, and return to my brethren who are in Egypt, and see whether they are yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace.
19 And Yahweh said to Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead who sought your life.
20 And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand.
27 And Yahweh said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God, and kissed him.
28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of Yahweh who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him.
29 And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel:

EXODUS 5:1
1 And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus says Yahweh God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.

EXODUS 7:7
7 And Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron eighty three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh.

Note: According to Stephen, Moses was forty years old when it came to him to visit his brethren (Acts 7:23). The Greek words translated "he was full forty years old", ἐπληροῦτο αὐτῷ τεσσαρακονταετὴς χρόνος (Gtr. epleouto auto tessarakontaetes chronos), literally translate as "a time of forty years was fulfilled to him". Within a few days he had killed an Egyptian, and fled to Midian. When another "forty years were expired" (Gr. πληρωθέντων ἐτῶν τεσσαράκοντα  Gtr. plerothenton eton tessarakonta) literally "being fulfilled forty years" (Acts 7:30), which makes him at least eighty years old, the angel of God appeared to him in the burning bush at mount Sinai. When Moses addressed the children of Israel (Deuteronomy 31:2) he said he was a hundred and twenty years old that day. So it was his hundred and twentieth birthday. Now we know the day that he said this, as it is recorded for us:

(Deuteronomy 1:3) "And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spoke to the children of Israel, according to all that Yahweh had given him in commandment for them;"

Now this gives us some important information. Moses measured his age from the date of his birth, not from the beginning or end of the calendar year in which he was born. Also, working back to the time that the exodus started, on the 15th Nisan (Numbers 33:3), this is two and a half months short of forty years, as these things were spoken "in the fortieth year" (Deuteronomy 1:3). Now going back to Moses standing before the burning bush was a full forty years, as he was then eighty years old (Acts 7:23, 30). This leaves us with about two and a half months for Moses to travel back to Midian, return to Sinai, then to the Israelites in Egypt with his brother, confront Pharaoh, and be used by God for the ten plagues on Egypt. We can therefore estimate that if we allow one month for his travelling it would leave one and a half months for his confrontation with Pharaoh. This could obviously vary a little, but Moses would then be eighty years and one month old when he stood before Pharaoh, which has been rounded down to eighty years, because we are told that Moses was eighty years old when he spoke to Pharaoh (Exodus 7:7). The Hebrew for "eighty years old" reads בֶּן-שְׁמֹנִים שָׁנָה (Htr. ben shemonim shana), literally "a son of eighty years". Now if we consider that Moses was born on the first day of the eleventh month, that would be the first of Shevat, then it would be about the first of Adar, the twelfth month, when he stood before Pharaoh. Now according to inclusive reckoning the two months to the end of the year would count as a year in his age, and the eleven months of the year when he stood before Pharaoh would also count as a year, which would make him in his eighty first year. If inclusive reckoning had been used here he would have been recorded as eighty one years old. so in this case it does not work.
However, his actual age would be about eighty years and one month, so in agreement with righteous reckoning, which rounds his age down to the previous whole year, he is said to be only eighty years old when he spoke to Pharaoh. This indicates that Moses measured ages of people with the righteous reckoning method.

#5e2 MOSES WAS A HUNDRED AND TWENTY YEARS OLD WHEN HE DIED

DEUTERONOMY 31:1-2, 9, 14, 24
1 And Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel.
2 And he said to them, I am a hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no more go out and come in: also Yahweh has said to me, You shall not go over this Jordan.
9 And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it to the priests the sons of Levi, who bore the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, and to all the elders of Israel.
14 And Yahweh said to Moses, Behold, your days approach that you must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge. And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation.
24 And it came to pass, when Moses had completed writing the words of this law in a book, when they were finished,

DEUTERONOMY 34:5-7
5 So Moses the servant of Yahweh died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of Yahweh.
6 And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Bethpeor: but no man knows of his grave to this day.
7 And Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural vigour diminished.

Note: When Moses addressed the children of Israel (Deuteronomy 31:2) he said he was a hundred and twenty years old that day. So it was his hundred and twentieth birthday. Now we know the day that he said this, as it is recorded for us:

(Deuteronomy 1:3) "And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spoke to the children of Israel, according to all that Yahweh had given him in commandment for them;"

Now this gives us some important information. Moses measured his age from the date of his birth, not from the beginning or end of the calendar year in which he was born. Also, working back to the time that the exodus started, on the 15th Nisan (Numbers 33:3), this is two and a half months short of forty years, as these things were spoken "in the fortieth year" (Deuteronomy 1:3). Now going back to Moses standing before the burning bush was a full forty years, as he was then eighty years old (Acts 7:23, 30). This leaves us with about two and a half months for Moses to travel back to Midian, return to Sinai, then to the Israelites in Egypt with his brother, confront Pharaoh, and be used by God for the ten plagues on Egypt. We can therefore estimate that if we allow one month for his travelling it would leave one and a half months for his confrontation with Pharaoh. This could obviously vary a little, but Moses would then be eighty years and one month old when he stood before Pharaoh, which has been rounded down to eighty years.
After he had spoken all the law of Deuteronomy to them, he had to write it all down (Deuteronomy 31:9, 24). This must have taken some time. He took Joshua to be ordained as the new leader, pronounced his blessings on Israel (Deuteronomy 33), and then climbed up mount Nebo to view the promised land  before he died (Deuteronomy 34:1-7). Now Joshua and all Israel crossed Jordan into the promised land on the tenth of Nisan the following year (Joshua 4:19), which was only two months and ten days from when Moses spoke these words. After Moses died, the children of Israel mourned for him thirty days in the plains of Moab (Deuteronomy 8:8), and then spent three days sanctifying themselves before they crossed over Jordan (Joshua 1:11). So now we can calculate:

2 months and 10 days - 1 month and 3 days = 1 month and 7 days

So Moses lived about one month and seven days after he said, "I am a hundred and twenty years old this day" (Deuteronomy 31:2). Now it is said that he was a hundred and twenty years old when he died (Deuteronomy 34:7). The Hebrew words translated "a hundred and twenty years old" (Deuteronomy 31:2, 34:7) are בֶּן-מֵאָה וְעֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה (Htr. ben me'ah ve'esrim shana) literally translate "a son of one hundred and twenty years", but we can see that he was well into his one hundred and twenty first year. By inclusive reckoning his age at death should have been recorded as a hundred and twenty one years old, but it isn't. Instead, in full agreement with our righteous reckoning method, which rounds down to the previous whole year using the exact time for his age, he is still said to be one hundred and twenty years old when he died (Deuteronomy 34:7). This proves that at this time Israel were using the righteous method of reckoning time.

#5e3 AARON WAS A EIGHTY YEARS OLD WHEN HE SPOKE TO PHARAOH

EXODUS 5:1
1 And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus says Yahweh God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.

EXODUS 7:7
7 And Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron eighty three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh.

NUMBERS 33:38-39
38 And Aaron the priest went up into mount Hor at the commandment of Yahweh, and died there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the first day of the fifth month.
39 And Aaron was a hundred and twenty three years old when he died in mount Hor.

Note: We have seen in the previous example that there was about a month and a half between Aaron and Moses speaking to Pharaoh and the exodus from Egypt, which would be a month before the end of the previous year to the exodus. Now add to that 39 years and 5 months (Numbers 33:38), and we then know that Aaron was about 39 years and 6 months older when he died than he was when he stood before Pharaoh. However, the difference between 83 years (Exodus 7:7) and a 123 years is 40 (Numbers 33:39), so how do we calculate it? Considering inclusive reckoning, Aaron would have been anywhere between 81 and 83 years old in actual time when he stood before Pharaoh. At the time of his death he would be anywhere between 121 and 123 years old in actual time, this is therefore technically possible.
Using righteous reckoning the recorded age of 83 years counts as anywhere between 82 and a half years and 83 and a half years old, and the recorded age of 123 years counts as anywhere between 122 and a half years and 123 and a half years old in actual time. The maximum time span would be 123 and a half years minus 82 and a half years, which is 41 years. The minimum time span would be 122 and a half years minus 83 and a half years, which is 39 years. The actual time span between Aaron standing before Pharaoh and his death is 39 years 5 months, which falls inside these limits, therefore righteous reckoning is also acceptable.

#5e4 CALEB WAS FORTY YEARS OLD WHEN MOSES SENT HIM TO SPY OUT THE LAND

NUMBERS 13:17-20, 23-25
17 And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain:
18 And see the land, what it is; and the people who dwell in it, whether they are strong or weak, few or many;
19 And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it is good or bad; and what cities there are that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds;
20 And what the land is, whether it is fat or lean, whether there is wood in it, or not. And be of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the first ripe grapes.
23 And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from there a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they carried it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs.
24 The place was called the brook Eshcol, because of the cluster of grapes which the children of Israel cut down from there.
25 And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.

JOSHUA 14:7-10 (Caleb)
7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of Yahweh sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in my heart.
8 Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed Yahweh my God.
9 And Moses swore on that day, saying, Surely the land on which your feet have trodden shall be your inheritance, and your children’s for ever, because you have wholly followed Yahweh my God.
10 And now, behold, Yahweh has kept me alive, as he said, these forty five years, even since Yahweh spoke this word to Moses, while Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am eighty five years old this day.

Note: This is a very good example because although it does not give specific dates, it does allow us to time the start and finish of these events very well. When Caleb said, "I am eighty five years old this day." (Joshua 14:10), he revealed to us that he was not calculating his age according to calendar years, but according his date of birth. He said he was forty years old when Moses sent him to spy out the land (Joshua 14:7), but this was the time of the first ripe grapes (Numbers 13:20), which would probably be in the fifth month "Av". They returned forty days later with a very large bunch of grapes (Numbers 13:23), so it was still grape harvest which usually occurs in the sixth month "Elul". This proves that it was not near the beginning of the calendar year when Caleb was forty years old, but rather near the middle, so we can rule out anything that involves calendar years. Therefore inclusive reckoning does not work, as the two half years at beginning and end would each be counted as a whole year, and the interval would add to 46 years instead of 45.
Now it was at the sending out to Kadesh Barnea that Caleb said he was 40 years old, and forty days later when God gave him the promise through Moses, as this was after they came back from searching the land. Then it was said to be 45 years to his eighty fifth birthday (Joshua 14:10). So we can see it was 40 days before his 40th birthday that he was sent out. With righteous reckoning this would be called 40 years, which it was (Joshua 14:7), so this certainly works right.

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