In an astonishing find out, scientists have got hold of the exact date of the oldest solar eclipse that occurred on Earth. Usually, the solar eclipse happens once in every two to four years. But now, according to the scientist, the exact date of the oldest solar eclipse ever recorded has been successfully found out.
The solar eclipse event is mentioned in the Bible, and it occurred on 30 October 1,207 BC- exactly 3,224 years ago on today’s date. This could help scientists date the Egyptian pharaohs and could have consequences for the chronology of the ancient world. The researchers from the University of Cambridge carried out the study and combined the biblical text with an ancient Egyptian text to figure out the date of the solar eclipse.
The solar eclipse is mentioned in the Old Testament book of Joshua, which states: ‘Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon, and the sun stood still, and the moon stopped until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. The co-author of the study, Professor Sir Colin Humphreys from the Cambridge University said that if these words are describing a real observation, then a major astronomical event was taking place, but the main question for them is to figure out the actual meaning of the text.
He informed that Modern English translations, which follow the King James translation of 1611, usually interpret this text to mean that the sun and moon stopped moving. But when they followed the original Hebrew text, they found out that an alternate meaning could be that both the sun and moon just stopped doing what they normally do that means they stopped shining. This indicates that the Hebrew text was referring to a solar eclipse when the moon passes between the earth and the sun appear to stop shinning. He added that this interpretation is supported by the fact that the Hebrew word translated ‘stand still’ has the same root as a Babylonian word used in ancient astronomical texts to describe eclipses.
Along with the Bible, the researchers also analyzed the Merneptah Stele, an Egyptian text dating from the reign of the Pharaoh Merneptah, son of the well-known Ramesses the Great. The text also had evidence that the Israelites were in Canaan between 1500 and 1050 BC during the date of the solar eclipse. Sir Humphrey said that the Stele states on it that it was carved out in the fifth year Pharaoh Merneptah and he defeated the people of Israel through a campaign in Canaan. He informed that the annual solar eclipse that they have calculated is the only one visible from Canaan in the period 1500-1050 BC.
The calculated date of this solar eclipse is 30 October 1207 BC in the afternoon which is in the reign of Merneptah, when it was known from his Stele that the Israelites were in Canaan. So they have a consistent story. From the calculations the researchers also got to know that the reign of Merneptah began in 1209 or 1210 BC and considering the Egyptian texts which informed how long he and his father reigned for it, it can be said that Ramesses the Great reigned from 1276-1210 BC. These are the most accurate dates revealed till date about the Egyptian Pharaohs.