Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

Walking the Bible Timeline

Prehistory

According to the Bible, God destroys the world in a flood after telling Noah to build an ark. Noah's ark lands on Mount Ararat in modern Turkey, and Noah's descendents repopulate the world.

4000 -
3150 BCE

Prehistoric nomads in the Sinai desert build tombs called Nawamis, the oldest surviving buildings in the area.

3100 -
3000 BCE

Early civilization advances in the Fertile Crescent, leaving evidence of agriculture and irrigation, and the domestication of animals. Early systems of writing develop: cuneiform writing in Mesopotamia and hieroglyphic writing in Egypt.

c. 2650 BCE

Great pyramids are built in Giza, Egypt, as mortuary temples for Pharaohs.

2500 BCE

Earliest syllabic script, Sumerian

c. 2000 -
1700 BCE

THE PATRIARCHS

According to the Bible, Abraham is born in the city of Ur in Southern Mesopotamia, now Iraq. A competing tradition places his birth in Sanliufa, now Turkey.

According to tradition, Abraham migrates to Harran, in Northern Mesopotamia, where he is then directed by God to take his family to the land of Canaan. Over the years, they migrate between Canaanite cities including Shechem and Gerar. Abraham fathers 2 sons, Ishmael and Isaac.

Isaac fathers 2 sons Esau and Jacob.

Jacob, also called Israel, leads his family into Egypt.

c. 1700 -
1280 BCE

IN EGYPT

Joseph, son of Jacob, serves as advisor to Pharaoh.

Descendents of Jacob prosper and multiply in Egypt for five centuries.

1570 -
1070 BCE

Pharaohs of New Kingdom Egypt commission rock-cut tombs in the Valley of the Kings. They also sponsor expansions of the Temple at Karnak, making it the largest in the World.

1479 -
1425 BCE

Reign of Pharaoh Thutmose III

c. 1400 BCE

Development of first alphabetic writing in Sinai & Levant

c. 1280 -
1240 BCE

EXODOS FROM EGYPT

According to the Bible, Moses leads people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. In the Sinai desert, Moses receives the Torah.

The Israelites live in the desert for forty years.

Aaron dies on Mount Aaron near Petra in modern Jordan.

Moses sees Promised Land from Mount Nebo in Northern Jordan, then dies.

1279 -
1214 BCE

Reign of Pharaoh Rameses II

Constuction of Egyptian garrison cities Pithom and Rameses

1212 -
1202 BCE

Reign of Pharaoh Merenptah

1209 BCE

Egyptian stela with inscription commemorating Egypritan victories over Canaanite cities of Ascalon, Gezer, Yenoam, and Israel

c. 400 BCE

Petra built as capital of Nabateans

c. 40 BCE

Construction of Tomb of the Patriarchs, in Hebron, West Bank. According to tradition, burial place of Sarah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

300 -
400 CE

Empress Helena of Rome travels the Middle East looking for sites mentioned in the Bible. She commissions a church and monastery on the site where she believes Moses saw the Burning Bush, now Saint Catherine's Monastery.

500 -
600 CE

Mosaic map of Holy Land showing routes of pilgrims to Holy Land laid in St. George's Church in Madaba, Jordan.


Back to top

Buy the Program

Walking the Bible