In terms of our current and modern dating system, what year did Joshua and the Hebrew nation cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan? Also, based on this what year would the first Jubilee year have occurred as described in Leviticus 25:1-4,8,9

When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a sabbath to the LORD. 3 Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather its fruit; 4 but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to the LORD. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard.’ 8 “And you shall count seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years; and the time of the seven sabbaths of years shall be to you forty-nine years. 9 Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the trumpet to sound.”

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The dates for these events, as with most biblical chronological estimates, are debated. Scholars cited in this answer date the crossing of the Jordan at 1406 BCE, 1260 BCE, or 1451 BCE, and the first year of Jubilee to be immediately after or some time soon after those respective dates.

Here is a (lightly edited) elucidation on the method of the calculation of the date of 1406 BCE from The Pattern of Prophecy:

We know this [date of 1406 BCE] from a key chronological marker recorded in the book of Kings. The year Solomon began to build the Temple is given both in terms of the exodus from Egypt as well as the year of Solomon’s reign:

1 Kings 6:1 And it came to pass in the 480th year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.

It was established in Thiele’s Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings that the fourth year of Solomon corresponds to 966 BCE. Therefore the date of the Exodus must be 480 years prior to 966 BCE, or 1446 BCE. Since the Crossing of the Jordan took place 40 years later, that dates it to 1406 BCE.

This commenter on the Seder Olam, a traditional Rabbinic text of chronology, disagrees with that date. He also gives a date of 1268 BCE for the first year of Jubilee. Bracketed comment's are this author's, and the text has been reformatted:

When did these counts start? The Biblical text states: When you come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the Lord. This means that the first cycle to be counted was when they will come into the land and this first count was a Sabbatical year. This first Sabbatical took place when the first tribes took possession of their inheritance, East from the Jordan River, when Moses was still alive. He gave that territory to the tribes of Reuven, Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh (Numbers 32:33). This took place before the death of Aaron (Numbers 33:38-39) in Hebrew year 2494 [1266 BCE].

After the conquest, the land of Canaan was also divided and given as inheritance to the other tribes. The final inheritance was given to Caleb from the tribe of Judah after he made a plea to Joshua: Caleb was then 85 years old. He must have made his plea just after the end of the first Jubilee, so that a count of 50 years will be fully available to him and his tribe. Therefore the First Jubilee was counted when Caleb was 84 years old. This was in Hebrew year 2500. And the first Sabbatical year was counted 8 years earlier (1 year as the Jubilee year + 7 years for a full Sabbatical cycle), therefore this was in Hebrew year 2500-8= 2492. This indeed was at a time when Aaron was still alive and he performed the first celebrated Sabbatical year. But both he and Moses died before they could celebrate the first Jubilee year in 2500 [which corresponds to 1260 BCE].

In a more Scholarly approach in his book Old Testament Chronology: A Return to the Basics (pdf), Dr. Floyd Nolan Jones gives yet a different date for the crossing of the Jordan supported by previous scholars, and also identifies the first year of Jubilee as 1395 BCE (parenthetical notes are Jones'):

The year Moses died and Joshua entered the land was long ago determined by Ussher, Bishop Loyd, Nicholas Toinard, William Wiston, and now independently confirmed by this author [Jones] as 1451 BC. However, the year of Jubilee did not have to do with merely being in the land but with its actual possession and cultivation (Lev. 25).

After seven years of conflict with the Canaanites, the wars ended at the close of 1445 BC (c. April 1451 - 1445 = 7 years inclusive). From the base camp at Gilgal, Joshua then gave the tribes of Judah and Joseph their portions. Early in 1444, the tabernacle was moved to Shiloh. The rest of the land west of the Jordan was then divided among the remaining seven tribes, and the men from the two-and-a-half tribes east of the Jordan returned home.

Until this, Israel had lived off of the crops of the Canaanites, volunteer crops and supplies from the eastern two-and-a-half tribes (Josh. 24:13). Israel's tillage thus began in 1444. Hence, fom this year are reckoned the Sabbatic and Jubilee years (1444- 49 = 1395 BC, the first Jubilee. See p. 289 ff).

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    I will add support and a few more sources and alternate viewpoints in a few hours. I wanted to give you an answer in the meantime.
    – Andrew
    May 15, 2015 at 11:50

The Book of Jubilees clearly states that the crossing occurred in the year 2450 (counting from the Creation). Some use the A.M. designation (Anno Mundi ="in the year of the world"). See http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/jub/jub87.htm.

49 jubilees + one week + 2 days + 40 years to come

2,401 + 7 + 2 + 40 = 2,450 A.M. (=end of the 50th jubilee)

This is how jubilees are accounted for in the Dead Sea Scrolls: http://www.haderech.info/DSS/Calendar/4Q319.pdf

Additional research after my original post demonstrates that 2450 AM correlates to 1407 BCE: http://bit.ly/JubileeCalculator (Excel)

  • Anno Mundi year 1 was 3761 BC, so 2450 AM was 1312 BC. How do you arrive at 1407 BC for the date of the entry into the Promised Land? I'm not arguing with the year you have arrived at, but it looks to be a fraudulent calculation. Nov 16, 2023 at 18:48

What year did the Hebrew nation with Joshua cross the River Jordan into the Promised Land?

For two thousand years and more we have had contained in the book of Ezekiel and some Talmudic literature good indications for the date of the Exodus and the date of entry into the Promised Land under Joshua. “Unfortunately”, because of the complexity of the presentation of the data about reign lengths in 1st and 2nd Kings, and because of a lack of certainty about all the dates of events in Old Testament times, the data in the book of Ezekiel was not taken so seriously until it was finally somewhat forgotten. Only with the extra help of the Assyrian historical data, especially the Assyrian Eponym List and the information contained in the Assyrian historical archive did the data in 1st and 2nd Kings become possible to unravel. Once the reign lengths in 1st and 2nd Kings were unravelled the importance of the data in Ezekiel and the “Seder Olam Rabbah”, once it was noticed again, became plain as another witness to the date of the Exodus, that "out of the mouths of two or three witnesses everything might be established".

The short answer to the question is: They entered in the Spring shortly before the Passover of 1406 BC. This was in the year 1407t, that is the year beginning in the month of Tishri (Sept/Oct) of 1407 bc.

Testimony of the book of Ezekiel & the Seder Olam Rabbah

The Fall of Jerusalem was on 9 Tammuz, 29th July (Julian) 587 BC, before Tishri. The 14th year (with a Tishri start) after its fall was 574 bc. The Seder Olam Rabbah was an attempt to produce a chronology of the Jewish people by a second century Rabbi. The Seder Olam says that the year of Ezekiel 40v1 was a Jubilee Year with Rosh Hashanah, New Year's Day, falling on the 10th day of the month, (see Leviticus 25v9). The Seder Olam also stated it was the 17th Jubilee since entering the Promised Land: this information must have been stored with the Priesthood who had been recording the Jubilee years.

Each Jubilee Cycle lasted 49 years. 49 * 17 is 833 years. And 574 bc plus 833 is 1407 bc. The Israelites crossed the Jordan in Nisan of the year 1407t (“t” means a year starting in Tishri) which was the Spring of 1406 BC.

Ezekiel first talks of the Jubilee Cycle in Ez 1:1-2, which was "the thirtieth year" and the "fifth year of Jehoiachin's captivity". Ezekiel 40:1 was the "twenty fifth year of our captiivity", twenty years later, and therefore not the 30th year but the 50th year.

In Leviticus 25:3 the Israelites were commanded "to sow and reap" for six years, and the following year would be a Sabbath Year. They would then have a Sabbath Year every 7th year, and the 7th Sabbath Year would be a Jubilee Year. The year they entered the land they entered in the Spring so they did no sowing because the land had already been sown. The six years of sowing and reaping were (Tishri) years 2 to 7, and then year 8 was the first Sabbath Year.

The Sabbath Years in each cycle were therefore (multiples of 7 plus 1) years 8, 15, 22, 29, 36, and 43; and year 50 was the Jubilee Year. Jubilee Years started on the 10th of the month of Tishri (Lev 25:9, Ezekiel 40:1) and the 50th year was also the 1st year of the next cycle.

John Calvin believed "the thirtieth year" in Ezekiel 1:1 was the 30th year of the Jubilee Cycle. It was also the 30th year since Josiah had celebrated the Passover with huge reformation and repentance (2 Kings chapters 22 & 23; see 23:22-23): but Calvin maintained the reason for the huge activities of reform were because Josiah's 18th year was a Jubilee Year. (See Calvin's Commentary on Ezekiel on chapter 1.)

The Talmud also indicates that both the 18th year of Josiah (Talmud b Meg 14b) and the year of Ezekiel 40:1 (b Arak 12a) were Jubilee Years. (For further reading see "The Talmud's two Jubilees and their relevance for the date of the Exodus" by Rodger C. Young, (Westminster Theological Journal 68, 2006, p71-83) at www.rcyoung.org). (On the basis of the year calculations the third year of Jehoshaphat, 868t, was also a Jubilee Year, the eleventh, when the law was read to the people, 2 Chronicles 17:7-9, just as in the Jubilee Year of Josiah’s reign, 623t, 2 Kings 23:2.)

It is generally believed that Ezekiel is the only prophet to have dated anything with reference to a Jubilee Year. The reason why he did this is because the Jubilee Cycle which started with crossing the River Jordan with Joshua came to an end in the days of Ezekiel. The Jubilee Year mentioned in Ezekiel 40:1 was the last one in its series. The Holy Spirit wanted this extra piece of evidence for the date of the Exodus on record.

After the return from Babylon a new series of Sabbath and Jubilee Years began; the data of the new series indicates they returned in Nisan of 533 bc; there is evidence the new Sabbath-Jubilee series continued until at least AD 440 (“From Abraham to Paul – a Biblical Chronology”, Andrew Steinmann, 2011, p190).

Valerius Coucke used dates outside of scripture

In 1925, Valerius Coucke used an entirely different method to arrive at precisely the same year, 1446 bc, for the Exodus. See wikipedia.

Edwin Thiele was helped by data from the Assyrian Eponym List

In 1951, Edwin Thiele published "Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings", the result of his doctoral thesis, which arrived at 1445 bc for the Exodus and thus 1405 bc for the entry into the Promised Land. Rodger C Young later found where Edwin Thiele had made a mistake in his assumptions and showed he should have arrived at 1406 bc, not 1405 bc.

Concluding points

So we have three entirely independent methods all pointing to exactly the same year for the Exodus (1446 bc) and the year of crossing the River Jordan (1406 bc).

We have four important, even startling, conclusions from this:-

  1. The "mysterious numbers" in 1st and 2nd Kings, once their own rules of recording are understood, harmonise perfectly, and have been faithfully preserved up to the present day. And this is true despite the fact they were not understood in ancient times nor by anyone else until Valerius Coucke in the 20th century.

  2. We can be confident the Exodus happened in 1446 bc and the crossing of the Jordan was in 1406 bc.

  3. Most "scholars" believe the books of the Pentateuch, including Leviticus, were written a very long time after 1406 bc. Many believe they were written around the time of the Babylonian Captivity. But the evidence given above is very strong evidence that the book of Leviticus, which contains the rules for the Sabbath-Jubilee years, from which the whole series of years up to 574 bc was counted, must have been written before 1406 bc.

  4. 1st and 2nd Kings were written under inspiration based on source documents which were also inspired. These were the Book of the Acts of Solomon (1 Kings 11:41), the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel (1 Kings 14:19, 15:31; 2 Kings 1:18, 10:34) and the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah (1 Kings 14:19, 15:7; 2 Kings 8:23, 21:17, 24:5). These different sources used different methods of recording the reign lengths. In that the manner in which the years of reign lengths were recorded in 1st and 2nd Kings is so cryptic and convoluted we can take it for granted that neither the author of Ezekiel 40:1 nor the author of the Seder Olam Rabbah were just re-phrasing what they had already understood from the source data for 1st and 2nd Kings. We are dealing then with entirely independent evidences of the date of the Exodus, the era of the writing of Leviticus, etc. In fact the author of the Seder Olam admits he does not understand how it could have been 17 Jubilees. For him, the years do not seem to add up because he does not understand the numbers for the reign lengths which now appear in 1st and 2nd Kings. This was the very reason why God made the data in 1st and 2nd Kings confusing and complex... so there might be certainty that the evidence given in Ezekiel is a second witness, pointing to exactly the same year, that out of the mouths of two or three witnesses everything might be established. No one need be in any doubt any longer about the date of the Exodus/Entry into the Promised Land.


What year did the Hebrew nation with Joshua cross the Jordan river into the promised land?

According to the Ancient Seder Olam, it was on the 10th of the month of Nisan, in 2488 or 1407 BC that Joshua took Israel across the Jordan River. This took place 40 years after the exodus from Egypt.

The month of Nisan is the first month on the religious calendar.

Joshua 3:13-17 (NKJV)

And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from upstream, and they shall stand as a heap.”

So it was, when the people set out from their camp to cross over the Jordan, with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest), that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. So the waters that went down into the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, failed, and were cut off; and the people crossed over opposite Jericho.

Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

Jos 3:14-17. The Waters of Jordan Are Divided.

14-16. And it came to pass when the people removed from their tents, &c.—To understand the scene described we must imagine the band of priests with the ark on their shoulders, standing on the depressed edge of the river, while the mass of the people were at a mile's distance. Suddenly the whole bed of the river was dried up; a spectacle the more extraordinary in that it took place in the time of harvest, corresponding to our April or May—when "the Jordan overfloweth all its banks." The original words may be more properly rendered "fills all its banks." Its channel, snow-fed from Lebanon, was at its greatest height—brimful; a translation which gives the only true description of the state of Jordan in harvest as observed by modern travellers. The river about Jericho is, in ordinary appearance, about fifty or sixty yards in breadth. But as seen in harvest, it is twice as broad; and in ancient times, when the hills on the right and left were much more drenched with rain and snow than since the forests have disappeared, the river must, from a greater accession of water, have been broader still than at harvest-time in the present day.

  • Welcome to Christianity.SE. For a quick overview, please take the Site Tour. For more on what this site is all about, see: How we are different than other sites. In particular, this is a Q&A site rather than a discussion site. While the first part of your answer does answer the question, the rest of it, about "soles of the feet" and so on, is not answering the question asked. I would suggest editing that part out to avoid downvotes or deletion. Jul 26, 2018 at 19:17

The Question is the true date of the arrival of Joshua into the Holy Land. I hate to say this but there were those who tried to screw up the dating of the scriptures to disprove Christ way back when. One example of this is found in the Septuagint which was the Greek Scriptures and used in the Coptic Bibles. 1 Kings 6:1 in our bibles corresponds to 3 Kings 6:0 in theirs which reads. ""Listen to Kings III Chapter 6:0 And it came to pass in the {four hundred and fortieth year} after the departure of the children of Israel out of Egypt, in the fourth year and second month of the reign of king Solomon over Israel, 17 that the king commanded that they should take great and costly stones for the foundation of the house, and hewn stones. 18 And the men of Solomon, and the men of Chiram hewed the stones, and laid them for a foundation. '''' (http://www.ecmarsh.com/lxx/Kings%20III/index.htm) Please note that 40 years were either lost or gained depending on which scripture you chose to have be the authority. The Question of what was the true date of this comes up. We know that Christ came, died, roses from the dead and about when but ask when did Joshua arrive in the Holy Land and the answer is clouded by the alterations in the attempt to disprove Christ timing. The answer to Joshua's arrival is 40 years after the Exodus started. How can we figure the true year. Right this second it is impossible, but God's covenant with Israel took place 2 years after the Exodus began. It was a conditional covenant which was to last 70 jubilee sabbath years. We know this because the captivity in Babylon was for 70 years. If we do our home work and read scriptures, Lev 25:2-9, 26:35 &43, 2 Chronicles 36:21 Daniel 9;1, 2 and others, you will find that 3500 years after God gave Israel the Holy Land He will take it back. God help anyone there that does not belong is my guess. This says nothing of his date of return but it does say he will take back the property for other projects He has. That time is soon coming and may even be this 9th of AV. , aug 13/14. When it does happen Events will force us to take notice. All anyone so inclined will need to do then is add 38 years to the date and then subtract 3500 and have the year Joshua and the rest of Israel went happily into the promised land.

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    Welcome! We're glad you are here, but this answer would be much stronger if you showed, with sources, that this represents the view of some Christian tradition or denomination, and isn't just your own analysis. I hope you'll take a minute to review how this site is different from others, and better understand how your answer can be supported. Aug 3, 2016 at 19:29
  • its been 2 years since you put forth the 1 year date :D, I wonder if what you mentioned has happened in your estimation
    – L1R
    Jul 26, 2018 at 17:28

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