This document has been prepared primarily for the interest of all Freemasons whose Constitutions are recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England. That does not mean that it is private to Freemasons only; it is not, nor can it be. It deals essentially with Biblical facts insofar as it has been possible to establish them with reasonable confidence. In so doing, it encompasses that portion of Biblical history which, in essence, forms the bedrock of much Freemasonic ritual; not only within the Craft but within the Holy Royal Arch as well.
In assembling this presentation, it is important to appreciate that many learned books have been written about the Old Testament. The Exodus of the Israelites from Egyptian captivity, culminating in the eventual establishment of a homeland under the rule of David and then Solomon, is an account that is both fascinating and controversial.
Following publication of the Authorised King James I Bible in 1661, the calendar of events therein were set against a starting date of 4004 BC which was regarded as the beginning of Creation: (Anno Lucis began in 4000 BC). Up to the AD 1850's, Christians accepted implicitly the historical narratives of the Old Testament, including its calendar. However, since then there has been a growing tendency to examine and challenge the accuracy of its writings by focusing on the cradle of its origin - the Middle East.
When Egypt was a condominium of Great Britain and France, a few wealthy archaeologists had begun to search and dig around the spectacular monuments and relics that were there for all to see. This, in turn, led to the exploration and excavation of many hidden tombs. When, in AD 1922, the tomb of Tutankhamun was discovered and opened up, its treasures motivated such enterprises to further heights. Detailed studies were made of the hieroglyphic signs, cuneiform inscriptions and papyrus script as well as the Akkadian language which was the lingua franca of those times. The advent and development of sophisticated electronics, coupled with the latest evolution in scientific skills, has speeded up both the desire and facility to achieve historical precision.
The purpose of this document is to offer an updated, yet easily digestible, précis of this part of Biblical history and the events that led up to it. Account has been taken of the latest archaeological discoveries and associated astronomical retrocalculations. These, in turn, have necessitated a reappraisal of ancient Egyptian chronology in order to bring such history much more in line with the facts, rather than with long-held supposition.
To introduce greater authenticity into this narrative, the newly acquired data has been embodied. This, in turn, has meant amending the hitherto conventional dates in order to incorporate what is coming to be recognised as The New Chronology of Egypt. The background and basis of how The New Chronology has come to be established is laid out in some detail at Appendix A.