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Topics Biblical History

Ancient Hebrew Timeline

By Jeff A. Benner

Hebrew Bible
20th C. BC
Early Semitic
The known beginning of the early Semitic alphabet is used in Egypt and Sinai penninsula.

Wadi El-Hhol
The oldest early Semitic script is inscibed on rock in Wadi-El-Hhol, Egypt.
19th C. BC
18th C. BC
17th C. BC
The Patriarchs
The patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the first recorded Hebrews, who lived in Canaan.
16th C. BC
15th C. BC
The early Semitic script is inscribed on rocks at Serabit El-Kadim.
14th C. BC
13th C. BC
Middle Semitic
The early Semitic alphabet evolves into the middle Semitic alphabet, also called paleo-Hebrew.
12th C. BC
The Israelites leave Egypt.
11th C. BC
Tel Zayit
This abecedary is inscribed using the middle Semitic script.
10th C. BC
Greek Alphabet
The middle Semitic alphabet is adopted by the Greeks.

Gezer calendar
Inscribed using the middle Semitic script.
9th C. BC
King David
Rules over the southern kingdom of Judah.

The Greek alphabet evolves into the more modern form.

Mesha Stele
Also called the Moabite stone, is inscribed using the middle Semitic script.

Siloam Inscription
Inscribed in Hezekiah's tunnel with the middle Semitic script.

Tel Dan Inscription
The inscription, which mentions the "house of David," is inscribed using the middle Semitic script.
8th C. BC
Israel Captured
The northern Kingdom of Israel is captured by the Assyrians and the Israelites are taken into captivity (720 BC).

Romans adopt the Greek alphabet.

Ketef-Hinom Scrolls
Small silver scrolls, inscribed with the Aaronic blessing and other prayers, are inscirbed using the middle Semitic script and placed in a tomb at Ketef Hinnom in Israel.
7th C. BC
Lachish Ostraca
The Lachish inscriptions are inscribed using the middle Semitic script.
6th C. BC
Judah Captured
The southern Kingdom is captured by the Babylonians and the Jews are taken into captivity (586 BC).

Judah Returns
The Jews return to Israel from Babylon and rebuild the temple (516).

Late Semitic
The middle Semitic script evolves into the late Semitic script, also called the Square Aramaic script.

The Phoenician Sarcophagus in Sidon is inscribed using the middle Semitic script.
5th C. BC
4th C. BC
Jewish scholars translate the Torah, the first five books of Moses, into Greek.
3rd C. BC
Nash Papyrus
Written in Egypt using the late Semitic script.

2nd C. BC

Dead Sea Scrolls
The first of the Dead Sea Scrolls are written, mostly in the late Semitic script, but some are written in the middle Semitic script.

1st C. BC
1st C. AD
Temple destroyed
The second temple in Jerusalem is destroyed by the Romans (70 AD).

Targum Onkelos
The Torah is translated into Aramaic by Onkelos, a Roman convert to Judaism.

Targum Jonathon
The Prophets are translated into Aramaic by Jonathon Ben Uziel, a student of Hillel the Elder.
2nd C. AD
Jewish Revolt
Revolt ends in failure and the Jewish people are expelled from the land of Israel. The Hebrew language ceases as their native language (135 AD).

Bar Kockba letters
The letters from General Simon Bar Kockba, during the second Jewish revolt against Rome, were written using the late Hebrew script (135 AD).

The writings and the prophets were translated into Greek by unknown translators.
3rd C. AD
The Talmud is written in the Late Semitic script.

The Hebrew Bible and the New Testament are translated into Aramaic.
4th C. AD
5th C. AD
A Latin translation by Jerome of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.
6th C. AD
7th C. AD
English language adopts the Roman alphabet.
8th C. AD
9th C. AD
10th C. AD
Modern Semitic
The development of the vowel pointings that are inserted into the text to represent vowel sounds.

Aleppo Codex
The oldest known Hebrew Bible, is written with the modern Hebrew script by Jewish Masorites.
11th C. AD
12th C. AD
13th C. AD
14th C. AD
15th C. AD
Gutenburg Bible
The first Bible, a copy of the Latin Vulgate, printed on moveable type.
16th C. AD
17th C. AD
King James Bible
English translation of the Bible published.(1611).
18th C. AD
19th C. AD
Eliezer Ben-Yehuda
Begins a revival of the Hebrew language for the Jewish people.
20th C. AD
Nation of Isarel
The state of Israel is established and Hebrew becomes the official language of Israel (1948).

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Related Pages by Jeff A. Benner

The Ancient Hebrew Language and Alphabet Target=The Ancient Hebrew Language and Alphabet (Book)
Understanding the Ancient Hebrew language of the Bible, based on the Ancient Hebrew culture and thought.

ExtantExtant Manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible (Article)
Original autographs of the books of the Bible have been lost to history, but we do have copies, some complete and some partial.

TheThe Ten Commandments in Ancient Hebrew (Article)
The Hebrew text of the Ten Commandments written in the early pictographic script, which was used before 1000 BC.