I'm finding so many conflicting dates on when the Great Flood took place and how far after that Sargon came into power. Do you have any insight on this for me?
I'm not surprised that you are having difficulty. Dating gets very difficult the further you go back in time for a number of reasons:
- There hasn't been a consistent calendar for the entire history of the world. Various nations used various calendars and determining the overlaps is just plain hard.
- Most ancient cultures told dates from major events, but oftentimes they rounded their numbers. For example, "Now Jehoram the son of Ahab became king over Israel at Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years" (II Kings 3:1). "In the eighteenth year" could mean 18 years and 1 month or 18 years and 11 months. It could even be that eighteenth calendar year since Jehoshaphat had become king. Now rounding doesn't make much difference in a short time span (say 100 to 200 years), but when you start measuring across 4000 years, those small variations can add up to some major variations.
- Fortunately, the Bible and other ancient documents will sometimes mention a major event that coincides. If we can date those major events, they can serve as anchors to keep the small variations within a reasonable limit. But here again, we run into problems because people aren't always objective in their dating. There are many archeologists who prefer older dates for their research, as older often get more money. Some have a strong bias against what the Bible states and given a choice will pick answers that conflict with the Bible, just because it conflicts.
- Sometimes the wording of a passage is just vague enough to cause controversy. Vague means some people will understand the dating to mean one thing, and others will select something else. Of course, there is only one right answer, but without something additional to settle the dispute, you are going to get a variance on the dates selected.
The great flood of Noah's day occurred, very roughly, over 4,000 years ago. I haven't sat down to pinpoint a date and layout the justification myself. But, then, I haven't run across an issue where the precise date is needed.