A nice symmetry about Ezekiel 4:5-6’s ‘390 days’ and ‘40 days’

Image result for ezekiel 4



 Damien F. Mackey



“I have assigned you the same number of days as the years of their sin.

So for 390 days you will bear the sin of the people of Israel.

After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side, and bear the sin of the people of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year”.

 Ezekiel 4:5-6




Israel’s period of Monarchy

likened to servitude in Egypt


 Rev. Arnold J. Tkacik (O.S.B), writing on “Ezekiel” for The Jerome Biblical Commentary (1968), has equated Ezekiel’s 430 (390 + 40) ‘years’ under monarchical rule with the 430 years of servitude experienced by the ancient Hebrews.

The Jews are to undergo a “second Exodus”.

Thus Fr. Tkacik writes (21:24):


The suggestion here [in Ezekiel 4] is that 390 years is approximately the number of years from the beginning of the monarchy to the great reform of Josiah (climaxed by the destruction of the altar at Bethel). From that point to the destruction of the Temple is another generation, or 40 years, when the second Exodus will take place from which a new people will be formed. Thus, the monarchy is compared to the servitude in Egypt, which also lasted 430 years (… Gal 3:17). The Exile is a new Exodus: “I will lead you to the desert of the peoples” (20:35).


Building a chronology

around the 430 years


Dr. John Osgood has, in his most important article “The Times of the Judges — A Chronology” (EN Tech. J., vol. 1, 1984), arrived at basically the same span of time in relation to the history of Israel as had Fr. Tkacik. Dr. Osgood writes on p, 156, in support of his view for a shorter-than-usually-accepted reign for king Saul (Osgood’s BC dates here are not necessarily mine): https://creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j01_1/j01_1_141-158.pdf


… further evidence in support of a short reign by Saul is given in Ezekiel. In Ezekiel 4:5-6 the years of Israel and Judah’s ‘iniquity’ are given as 390 + 40 which is 430 years. The prophecy refers to the siege of Jerusalem which began in 588 BC (Ezekiel 24:1-2, Jeremiah 52:4-6) and continued into 586 BC.

…. The 40 years of Ezekiel 4:5-6 (the sins of Judah) must be calculated back from 10th day of 10th month of 9th year of Ezekiel, that is 588 BC. This brings us back to the 12th year of Josiah 628 BC (see Thiele, “A Chronology of the Hebrew Kings”). Significantly, in that year Josiah began to purge the whole land of Israel and Judah (2 Chronicles 34:3-7). The further 390 years of Ezekiel 4 then bring us back to the beginning of the kingdom and the inaugural year of the reign of Saul, that is, 1018 BC.

If the period of Israel’s sins was 430 years, its starting point would have been 1018 BC (measuring back from the start of the siege). This is less than a decade before David’s accession to the throne. Such a statement only seems to make sense if it refers to Israel’s KINGDOM, beginning of course with its first king, Saul. This is clearly consistent with the above interpretation of the length of Saul’s reign.


This leads Dr. Osgood into an account of the “70 years of desolation” to be found in various OT texts, and to his highly different-from-usual interpretation of an integral part of Daniel 9, namely the “62 weeks”:


These 430 years of the kingdom would then explain the strange 70 years of desolation of the land as substitution for missed years of Sabbath (Jeremiah 25:11-12, Daniel 9:2, 1 Chronicles 36:21, Leviticus 26:34), the 70-year figure being arrived at in the following manner:

430 years gives 62 Sabbath years (to the nearest Sabbath in front) or to be precise 61.5 missed Sabbath years, plus 8 (or more correctly 8.5) Jubilee years (Exodus 23:10-11, Leviticus 25:1-17), giving a total of 70 years. ….

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