607: The Shaky
Foundation of the 1914-doctrine
Watchtower Society (WTS) has provided what can be called a theological
framework for the Jehovah's Witnesses. As we will see, this framework rests
entirely on the date 1914. Currently, Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs) hold that in
1914, Jesus Christ was put upon a throne in heaven, and started to 'rule in the
midst of his foes' (Psalm 110:2). The end of the world started that year.
Until the November 1st issue of the Watchtower, the
WTS also argued that some of those who witnessed the events in 1914 would also
be alive to see the end. When this doctrine now is abandoned, the importance of
1914 is reduced. Still, quite a few key doctrines are built on the 1914 date:
- The WTS claims that the JW leadership, the
so-called "anointed," were selected by Christ to be his sole channel of
communication to mankind, and that this happened in 1919. This is based on the
premise that Christ returned in 1914, and did an inspection of Christian
groups three and a half year later, sent the WTS leadership in "Babylonian
captivity" (actually, prison) then and finally selected them in 1919. Without
1914, the WTS has no specific position relative to Christ.
- JWs claim that they alone fulfill Matt 24:14 by
proclaiming the 'good news' all over the world in our time. This "good news"
is that Christ started to reign in 1914, and the end will come "soon."
If this is false, JWs have been preaching a false gospel (Gal 1:6-9).
- The JWs interpretation of most parts of the
Bible is based on the idea of Christ's invisible presence since 1914. If it is
wrong, their interpretation is a false one, and any claim to being directed by
God will be proved horribly wrong.
- There is no evidence that our time has any
specific Biblical prophetic importance if the 1914 claims are wrong.
- Even doctrines like the "two-class" system,
which is a unique interpretation by the Jehovah's Witnesses, is actually
dependent on the 1914 date. The WTS claims that the "gathering" of the "great
crowd" (non-anointed living on Earth) started around 1935, and that this
happened after the "time of the end" had started. So without this chronology,
this strange doctrine also falls.
JWs claim that the year 1914 was predicted by
Charles Taze Russell, the founder of the movement, from the 1870s, and this is
used as a major evidence that Russell was directed by God.
It is true that Russell had 1914 as an important
part of his Chronology. He predicted the end of the world and the full
establishment of God's Kingdom on Earth for this date. This was not what
happened, but yet JWs argue that something important happened when World
War I started.
What chronological evidence did Charles Taze
Russell use? His chronological argument was borrowed completely from the second-adventist
Nelson Barbour. They had a long list of dates, one of which was 1914.
Nelson Barbour built all his arguments upon his
complete Bible chronology, which placed the creation of Adam in 4127BC. Barbour
(and Russell) thought that different Bible verses containing numbers were
'coded' messages from God about the dates of various events.
One of these texts were Daniel chapter 4. The
prophet Daniel here says to king Nebuchadnezzar:
Dan 4:24,25 "And you they will be driving
away from men, and with the beasts of the field your dwelling will come to be,
and the vegetation is what they will give even to you to eat just like bulls;
and with the dew of the heavens you yourself will be getting wet, and seven
times themselves will pass over you, until you know that the Most High is
Ruler in the kingdom of mankind, and that to the one whom he wants to he gives
Somehow, Barbour (and JWs today) interpret this to
mean something more than years (or 'seasons') of insanity for Nebuchadnezzar.
The English expression "times" is also used in translations of
Revelation 12:6, 14. Here it can be interpreted as if three and a half
"times" equals 1260 days. One "time" is defined as 360 days, and seven times
will be 2520 days. The WTS then appeal to the "year-day" rule, based on Numbers
14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6 (which interestingly is no longer applied to the WTS
interpretation of Rev 12!) and get 2520 years.
But what lasted for 2520 years? Barbour, without
any further evidence, applied this period to Jesus' words about the fall of
Jerusalem, fulfilled in 70AD:
Luk 21:24 "and they will fall by the edge
of the sword and be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be
trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations
Dispite the fact that Jesus words "will be" informs
us that the start of these "times of the nations" or "gentile times" (most
translations) would be when Jerusalem should fall in the future, Barbour
argued that these "gentile times" started when Jerusalem fell to Babylonians
centuries earlier, in the 19th year of King Nebuchadnezzar. (Jeremiah
52:12) When was this?
Barbour said Jerusalem was destroyed in 606BC.
Counting 2520 years from 606BC gives us 1914,
Barbour was, like Russell, very ignorant about
chronology and history. When the calendar we use (Julian, later improved to the
Gregorian) was created, there was no zero year, so 1 BC was followed by 1 AD.
2520 years from 606BC would give us 1915, which Russell actually used instead of
1914 for a few years. But then World War I started in 1914. Russell had
predicted something for 1914, something did indeed happen, so
Russell thought he had been right. Russell then 'forgot' about the zero-year,
and changed the chronology to 1914 again.
But sooner or later this had to be corrected. How?
By moving the destruction of Jerusalem by one year, from 606 to 607BC. This
is easy to do on paper.
The Watchtower book Revelation - Its Great
Climax is at Hand! (1988) quotes the old Barbour booklet on page 105:
"'It was in B.C. 606, that God's kingdom ended,
the diadem was removed, and all the earth given up to the Gentiles. 2520 years
from B.C. 606, will end in A.D. 1914.' - The Three Worlds, published in 1877,
A footnote informs us:
"Providentially, those Bible Students had not
realized that there is no zero year between "B.C." and "A.D." Later, when
research made it necessary to adjust B.C. 606 to 607 BC, the zero year was
also eliminated, so that the prediction held good at "A.D. 1914." - See "The
Truth Shall Make You Free," published by the Watch Tower Society in 1943, page
Isn't this quite impressive? "Providentially" - by
God's direction - they had made two errors cancelling each other out!
What new "research" changed this date? None, of
course. If you examine the WTS' books, you will find no evidence whatsoever for
this new date.
This change was necessary to keep the 1914 date,
on which the whole superstructure of Watchtower doctrine is built.
Fact is, Jerusalem
fell to Babylonians in 587BC, not 607. Barbour's and Russell's ignorance in
chronology and history has given the WTS a tremendous problem. The
a source often used by the WTS, says :
"In 587/586 BC the city and Temple were
completely destroyed by Nebuchadrezzar, and the captivity began. It ended in
538 BC when Cyrus II the Great of Persia, who had overcome Babylon, permitted
the Jews, led by Zerubbabel, of the Davidic house, to return to Jerusalem."
Of course, the WTS admits that they are pretty
alone in the world claiming that Jerusalem fell in 607. They argue that this is
because they alone really hold the Bible above "secular" sources.
The WTS, in the book Your Kingdom Come
(1981) page 187, says:
"Christians who believe the Bible have time and
again found that its words stand the test of much criticism and have been
proved accurate and reliable. They recognize that as the inspired Word of God
it can be used as a measuring rod in evaluating secular history and views. "
This may sound very nice to a Christian, but is it
true? Does the Watch Tower Society really hold the Bible to be 'accurate and
reliable'? Do they use the Bible as a measuring rod?
The Bible contains no absolute dates, since our
calendar was not invented when any part of the Old Testament was written. It is
not possible, therefor, to date events directly. The Bible does, however,
provide many relative dates.
One example can be found in
Dan 1:1 "In the third year of the kingship
of Jehoiakim the king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon came to
Jerusalem and proceeded to lay siege to it."
Then follows an account of how the holy things in
the temple was taken to Babylon, and also some prominent Israelites - among them
Daniel - were taken captive. Jerusalem was not destroyed at this point. In
Daniel 2:1, we likewise find an event dated in the 2nd year of
Nebuchadnezzar. Logically, this means that the deportation of Daniel and
others occurred in the
accession year (or, theoretically, the first year, but verse 5 shows
otherwise since a three year education is betweeen 1:1 and 2:1) of
This was how events were dated in the Biblical
times. If we can date the reigns of the Kings, in this case Jehoiakim and
Nebuchadnezzar, we can date the events.
Any dating therefor requires some
independent non-Biblical evidence. Only relative dates can be taken from
the Bible itself. We will look at how these absolute dates are obtained
As we have seen, the WTS claims they follow the
Bible and defend it against criticism. Is this true? Sometimes, but not in this
We noticed that Daniel 1:1 said that Nebuchadnezzar
took prisoners from Jerusalem in the 3rd year of Jehoiakim (accession-year
According to Watchtower chronology, this is not
The WTS Bible encyclopedia, Insight on the
Scriptures (hereafter: it), Volume 1, page 1269, states:
"Evidently it is to this third year of Jehoiakim
as a vassal king under Babylon that Daniel refers at Daniel 1:1. It could not
be Jehoiakim's third year of his 11-year reign over Judah, for at that time
Jehoiakim was a vassal, not to Babylon, but to Egypt's Pharaoh Necho."
"Evidently," they say. A person not versed in the
Bible may find it possible that Daniel refers to "the third year" since a
specific event of a king's reign. But when we know that this was the way time
was counted in those days, we understand how extremely unlikely this is. To use
an example: Is it likely that any person living in our days will date the start
of World War II to 1869, simply because he meant the fall of Jerusalem to the
Romans was a more interesting event to initiate the start of our calendar? If
Daniel had made such a strange statement, he would have known he would almost
certainly be misunderstood. Also, Daniel like many other Bible writers use this
dating frequently (Daniel
Daniel 2:1 has the prophet interpret the dreams of Nebuchandezzar in his
2nd year. Again, the WTS must appeal to acrobatics, when the text itself
says "in the second year of the kingship of Nebuchadnezzar" which is extremely
This refusal to put Scripture ahead of dogma
becomes especially embarrassing in Your Kingdom Come (hereafter:kc),
which in an appendix tries to refute criticism against WTS chronology. On page
188 they try to refute the value of the Babylonian chronicles by Berossus:
"Though Berossus claims that Nebuchadnezzar took
Jewish captives in his accession year, there are no cuneiform documents
Isn't it astonishing to see that just a few
paragraphs after the WTS heralds itself as the sole defender of the Bible, they
purposely fail to acknowledge that the Bible itself, in Daniel, supports
Berossus against the WTS chronology?
These are certainly not the only examples. The
prophet Zechariah delivers the most striking blow against the WTS chronology.
Zec 1:7 "On the twenty-fourth day of the
eleventh month, that is, the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the
word of Jehovah occurred to Zechariah the son of Berechiah the son of Iddo the
This time, the WTS agrees with every source that
the event must be dated in February 519 BC. After all, the 607 date of the WTS
uses the reign of Cyrus as an "anchor point," so it would be unwise to deny
What did the prophet Zechariah see and hear?
Zec 1:12 "So the angel of Jehovah answered
and said: "O Jehovah of armies, how long will you yourself not show mercy to
Jerusalem and to the cities of Judah, whom you have denounced these seventy
Yes, for 70 years God had denounced the
cities of Judah. This takes us back to 589BC. According to Watchtower
chronology, nothing of significance happened this year. In the established
chronology, this was the year when Nebuchadnezzar started the siege on
Moreover, it would have been meaningless for this
angel to say the cities had been denounced for "seventy years" if this period
started eighteen years after the complete destruction of the capital! On the
other hand, if this angel was talking about a seventy year period from 607 to
537 - as a JW no doubt will argue - why should the angel ask "how long?" These
very words demonstrate that at this point the period of denouncing had not
yet ended. And since they still continued, they must have started with a
major event in 589BC.
As if this was not enough, Zechariah later delivers
an even more fatal blow to Watchtower chronology:
Zec 7:1-5 "Furthermore, it came about that
in the fourth year of Darius the king the word of Jehovah occurred to
Zechariah, on the fourth day of the ninth month, that is, in Chislev. And
Bethel proceeded to send Sharezer and Regem-melech and his men to soften the
face of Jehovah, saying to the priests who belonged to the house of Jehovah of
armies, and to the prophets, even saying: "Shall I weep in the fifth month,
practicing an abstinence, the way I have done these O how many years?" And the
word of Jehovah of armies continued to occur to me, saying: "Say to all the
people of the land and to the priests, 'When you fasted and there was a
wailing in the fifth month and in the seventh month, and this for seventy
years, did you really fast to me, even me?"
The chronological evidence in these verses is
astonishing and gives a wealth of information. Even WTS literature must agree
that these events the Jews were mourning and fasting are clearly marked in the
Bible. They had been fasting in the fifth month "in order to commemorate how on
that day Nebuzaradan, the chief of Nebuchadnezzar's bodyguard, after two days of
inspection, burned down the city of Jerusalem and its temple," as stated in the
WTS book Paradise Restored to Mindkind - by Theocracy! (hereafter: pm),
page 235. They also fasted in the seventh month "to commemorate the
assassination of Governor Gedaliah, who was of the royal house of King David and
whom Nebuchadnezzar made governor of the land for the poor Jews who were allowed
to remain after the destruction of Jerusalem." (pm, p. 235).
This runs the WTS into an obvious problem, since
they claim this happened in 607BC. November 518BC, in the 4th year of Darius,
when Zechariah had this vision, is 90 years after 607BC. The WTS agrees
that the seventy years of mourning started when Jerusalem was destroyed. The
Bible text above shows as clearly as any text can do, that the seventy years ran
up to the year 518. The Israelites asked if they should continue this
fasting. If they had stopped twenty years earlier, this question would not make
sense. Also, in 1:12, the seventy years were called "these seventy years"
as opposed to "those seventy years" which would be the choice of word if
they ended twenty years earlier (in Zec 7:5
RSV says "for these seventy
years", NIV says "for the past
How does the WTS answer this serious objection to
their chronology? With respect to the Angel in Zechariah chapter 1, they say:
"So did Jehovah's angel mean that those seventy
years had not yet ended, or that they had just now ended? This could not
historically be true." (pm, p. 131; bold added)
Yes indeed! Every historian and every Bible
commentary, backed by thousands of cuneiform documents, ancient documents and
inscriptions, states that 586/7BC is the correct date for the fall of Jerusalem.
Now, when God himself and God's Angel says the same thing through the prophet
Zechariah, the Watchtower Society boldly states 'This could not historically be
Further examples should not be necessary to
demonstrate to what degree the WTS supports the Bible.
Yet, let us examine the arguments used by the WTS
to establish the date of 607BC.
To counterbalance the wealth of evidence against
their chronology, the WTS appeals to some Bible scriptures. Your Kingdom Come
(kc) page 187-8, says:
"The prophet Jeremiah predicted that the
Babylonians would destroy Jerusalem and make the city and land a desolation. (Jeremiah
25:8, 9) He added: "And all this land must become a devastated place, an
object of astonishment, and these nations will have to serve the king of
Babylon seventy years." (Jeremiah
25:11) The 70 years expired when Cyrus the Great, in his first year,
released the Jews and they returned to their homeland. (2
Chronicles 36:17-23) We believe that the most direct reading of Jeremiah
25:11 and other texts is that the 70 years would date from when the
Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and left the land of Judah desolate."
The 70 years of Jeremiah is here fully applied to
the period from Jerusalem's destruction by Nebuchadnezzar until the Jews were
permitted to return home from Babylon. The fall of Babylon to Cyrus was in
539BC. This is not in dispute. The WTS argues that the Jews came home in 537BC.
This is possible, even though 538 is a more probable year. It then follows, the
WTS argues, that Jerusalem fell 70 years earlier, in 607BC.
The seventy years is a prophetic period used
by Jeremiah, so it is natural to first examine how this expression is used in
his book. As we have seen above, the first mention is in Jeremiah 25:11. This
text does not say what the WTS claims it does say.
Jer 25:11 "And all this land must become a
devastated place, an object of astonishment, and these nations will have to
serve the king of Babylon seventy years."
We will immediately note that Jeremiah nowhere says
that Jerusalem will lay desolate for seventy years. These seventy years were a
time of servitude, not desolation. Even though the context speaks about
the devastation, the seventy years themselves applies to servitude only. The
text in kc quoted above ignores this completely. Moreover, the servitude
was not limited to the Israelites, "these nations" naturally includes many, if
not all, nations in this Syro-Palestianian area.
What did Jeremiah mean with the words "seventy
years?" Naturally, the expression can refer to a period of exactly 70 years,
as opposed to 71 or 69 years. This is the way it is understood by the WTS, and
it is quite possibly correct.
However, it can just as well be a round number and
apply to an approximate period. One example is the text in Psalm 90:10
"In themselves the days of our years are seventy years." Nobody will based on
this text argue that the lifetime of a human being is exactly seventy
years. In Isaiah
23:15 we see that "seventy years" is equalled to "the days of one king,"
which naturally is approximate. This principle, being known by Jeremiah, can
simply mean he said the nations would serve Babylon for a lifetime,
approximately seventy years.
"These nations" started serving Nebuchadnezzar no
later than 605BC, when - as we have seen - he even took prisoners and booty from
Jerusalem. This year Nebuchadnezzar defeated Pharao Nechoh (Jeremiah
46:2), and the nations in this area had to pay tribute to the king of
Babylon from this year. The period ended abruptly in 539BC, when Babylon fell to
Cyrus. This period of servitude is sixty-six years, which nobody can deny is
It is quite possible, however, to apply the start
of these seventy years on the year 609BC, giving exactly seventy years.
This year Harran fell, and the Assyrian empire had definately given space for
Babylon as the dominating power in this area. Thus, in 609 the dominion of
"these nations" shifted from Assyria to Babylon. Some nations came under Babylon
immediately, others followed soon. [Footnote
It is of course not possible to know for sure what
Jeremiah meant. Note, however, that no matter what interpretation we choose for
the seventy years, the "most natural reading" of Jeremiah 25:11 gives the
seventy years to end in 539BC when Babylon fell to Cyrus. Also, the start
of these years has nothing to do with the fall of Jerusalem, but the supremacy
Jeremiah mentions the seventy years in another
Jer 29:10 "For this is what Jehovah has
said, 'In accord with the fulfilling of seventy years at Babylon I
shall turn my attention to you people, and I will establish toward you my good
word in bringing you back to this place.'" [NWT]
At this point, the New World Translation shows its
bias toward WTS interpretation. It must be noted, however, that in the
discussion of "the seventy years" this is the only place the NWT is
With the sole exception of the King James Version
(or Authorized Version) from 1611, and newer translations derived from it, the
NWT is completely alone in stating "at Babylon" here.
For every other translation we have been able to
lay hands on, the texts says "for Babylon" or similar:
Jer 29:10 "For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for
Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfil to you my promise and bring
you back to this place." [RSV]
Olof Jonsson sent a letter to a number of acknowledged Hebrew scholars in
Scandinavia, asking what was the exact meaning of the Hebrew expression "LeBabel"
which occurs here. With no exceptions, they answered that the translation "for
Babylon" was correct. These scholars were Dr. Seth Erlandson in Uppsala, Dr.
Hans M. Berstad, Prof. Tryggve Mettinger and Dr. Tor Magnus Amble. Hebrew
scholars are unanimous on this question, which should be obvious from the fact
that every modern translation has this meaning.
That aside, it is not at all possible to interprete
this text to mean that the seventy years ran from Jerusalem's destruction until
Cyrus freed the Jews from Babylon. The context of this verse is that it is a
part of a letter sent from Jeremiah to those who were taken captive from
Jerusalem in the second (of three) deportations (2.
This was ten years prior to the destrcution of
In this letter (Jeremiah
24:9-11) Jeremiah tells the captives that they should settle in Babylonia
and not expect a quick return as a few false prophets have predicted. They would
stay in Babylon until seventy years "are completed for Babylon." Only then would
This only makes sense if the seventy years had
This interpretation of Jeremiah 29:10 is supported
by Dr. Avigdor Orr:
"The sense of the Hebrew original might even be
rendered thus: 'After seventy years of (the rule of) Babylon are accomplished,
etc.' The seventy years counted here evidetly refer to Babylon and not
to the Judeans or to their captivity. They mean seventy years of Babylonain
rule, the end of which will see the redemption of the exiles." [Footnote
If the seventy years should begin in the future,
ten years after Jeremiah's words were written, it would mean God had already
decided that Jerusalem would be destroyed. In this case, the later warnings of
Jeremiah would have no meaning:
Jer 38:17,18 "Jeremiah now said to
Zedekiah: "This is what Jehovah, the God of armies, the God of Israel, has
said, 'If you will without fail go out to the princes of the king of Babylon,
your soul will also certainly keep living and this city itself will not be
burned with fire, and you yourself and your household will certainly keep
living. But if you will not go out to the princes of the king of Babylon, this
city must also be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they will actually
burn it with fire, and you yourself will not escape out of their hand.'""
If God had already decided to burn the city ten
years before he did it, such a warning would have been futile. The example in
the book of
Jonah shows that God will change his plans when met with repentance.
We have seen that Jeremiah never talks about
seventy years of devastation for Jerusalem. We should have this in mind when we
examine the next two references, where Daniel and Ezra applies these
words. Naturally, no interpretation of these texts should be contrary to the
words of Jeremiah himself.
The prophet Daniel experienced the dramatic
fulfillment of Jeremiah's prophecy. He was possibly among the Jewish captives
who received the letter from Jeremiah (Jeremiah
29:4-14). At least he knew the contents of this letter, promising a return
to the holy land after 70 years of Babylonian supremacy.
On a night in 539 BC, the time was up for the
mighty Babylonian empire, when the King of Babylon saw the writing on the wall -
literally. Daniel interpreted these mysterious writings:
Dan 5:25-28 "And this is the writing that
was inscribed: ME'NE, ME'NE, TE'KEL and PAR'SIN. "This is the interpretation
of the word: ME'NE, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and has finished
it. "TE'KEL, you have been weighed in the balances and have been found
deficient. "PE'RES, your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and
Yes, God had "numbered the days" of the kingdom of
the Babylonians. Exactly seventy years after they finally defeated the
Assyrians, the Medes and the Persians under King Cyrus put an end to the
Baylonian dominance. Daniel concludes: "In that very night Belshazzar the
Chaldean king was killed" (v30).
There is no doubt that this refers back to the
prophecies of Jeremiah. This "numbering of days" was of course revealed in
advance and not kept secret:
Amos 3:7 "For the Sovereign Lord Jehovah
will not do a thing unless he has revealed his confidential matter to his
servants the prophets."
Note the order of events as described by Jeremiah:
Jer 25:11,12 "And all this land must
become a devastated place, an object of astonishment, and these nations will
have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years."' "'And it must occur that
when seventy years have been fulfilled I shall call to account against the
king of Babylon and against that nation,' is the utterance of Jehovah.""
First the seventy years had to run out, and
then would the king of Babylon be called to account. According to WTS
interpretation, the seventy years ended two years after the king was
called to account. This is, as anyone can easily see, a contradiction of the
The Jews who were in the Babylonian exile no doubt
appreciated the end of the Babylonian empire. They knew that this would have to
happen before they could return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple and the
city. Then, as Jeremiah had said, they would return. God had promised "I
will establish toward YOU my good word in bringing YOU back to this place."
This was what Daniel found when he started to
examine these prophecies immediately after the fall of Babylon:
Dan 9:2 "in the first year of his reigning I myself, Daniel,
discerned by the books the number of the years concerning which the word of
Jehovah had occurred to Jeremiah the prophet, for fulfilling the devastations
of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years." [NWT]
The WTS has often used these words to support their
interpretation of the seventy years, namely that these years were the years from
Jerusalem's destruction until the Jews returned. In some translations (NIV
is one example), the wording is inaccurate and gives the impression that seventy
years had to pass while Jerusalem was in ruins. The NWT, however, faithfully
retains the somewhat ambiguous wording of the original.
Daniel simply says that seventy years had to
pass before Jerusalem's devastations could end. He does not say that these
seventy years started when Jerusalem was destroyed. Note this leading
Dan 9:2 "In the first year of his reign I,
Daniel, was studying the scriptures, counting over the number of years - as
revealed by Yahweh to the prophet Jeremiah - that were to pass before the
desolation of Jerusalem would come to an end, namely seventy years." [NJB]
Another accurate translation:
Dan 9:2 "in the first year of his reign,
I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years which, according to the
word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the
desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years." [RSV]
Note that RSV and NWT uses plural,
"devastations." The WTS argues that the devastation of
Jerusalem occurred when the city was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. But Daniel
talks about several devastations. The Jerusalem Bible even use the
expression "the successive devastations of Jerusalem."
The word for "devastation" is chorbah. It
does not, as we will see, mean complete destruction. We have seen that
Nebuchadnezzar took prisoners and booty from Jerusalem already in 605 BC, his
accession year. Every year after this his army passed through the land, no doubt
casuing more destruction, and the Bible even speaks about marauder bands from
different nations causing havoc in this time (see
2 Kings 24:2;
If we look at how this expression is used elsewhere
in the Bible, the WTS argument falls completely down. The prophet Ezekiel speaks
about "the inhabitants of these devastated places" (Ezekiel
33:24, 27), which then makes it pretty obvious that the word need not
necessarily refer to places that are completely devoid of people. When we also
Nehemiah 2:17, that the Bible calls Jerusalem devastated even after the Jews
had returned to it, we realize that the WTS application of this word is in
We have now seen that Daniel 9:2 gives no support
to WTS interpretation. First, Daniel nowhere states that the seventy years
started when Jerusalem was finally destroyed. Second, the devastations of
Jerusalem started many years before the final destruction in 587 BC.
The final Bible verse we will examine in regards to
the seventy years is also concerned with the fulfillment of Jeremiah's
prophecy. Again, the text must be examined with the words of Jeremiah himself in
mind. Ezra the scribe concludes his chronicles about the kings of Judah with
2Chron 36:20,21 "Furthermore, he carried
off those remaining from the sword captive to Babylon, and they came to be
servants to him and his sons until the royalty of Persia began to reign; to
fulfill Jehovah's word by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had paid off
its sabbaths. All the days of lying desolated it kept sabbath, to fulfill
Again, these words can imply that the land
was desolated for exactly seventy years. As we have seen above, the devastations
started before the final destruction of Jerusalem, so this lends no support to
the WTS interpretation anyway.
Moreover, Ezra did not say that the period of
seventy years ran parallel with the period the country laid desolated. He simply
said that the seventy years had to end before the time of desolation was
over. This also applies to Ezra's reference to the sabbaths.
Jeremiah nowhere mentions sabbath years in relation
to the seventy years. Ezra no doubt refered to the prophecy in
Leviticus 26:33-35. Ezra does not equal the time needed to pay off sabbaths
with the seventy years. He refers to two different prophecies, and states that
two periods had to be completed before the Jews could return: the sabbath
rest and the seventy years of Babylonian supremacy.
There are two principles in relation to the sabbath
rest worth remembering. If the land had to rest for seventy years, this would
have to mean that for 490 (7*70) years, the Jews had not kept sabbath. This
takes us back to 1077 BC (or 1097 in WTS chronology). This was before the
reign of the rightous David, even before Saul who was the first king. Is it
likely that the country did not hold Sabbath for a single year during the reigns
of eg. Saul, David, Solomon and Josiah? On the other hand, using established
chronology the country was desolate (in this sense, not being used for
agriculture) for 50 years. This (7*50 years) brings us back to 937 BC, very
close to the time of the division of the Kingdom, which is attributed to the
faithlessness of the king. Too much emphasis on details in this prophecy has a
doubtful value, but it is a factor worth consideration.
The Bible teaches 587 BC as date
The conclusion of the above must be that there is
nothing in the Bible contradicting the established ("secular") chronology dating
the accession year of Nebuchadnezzar as 605 BC. The Bible states that the final
fall and destruction of Jerusalem was in the 19th regnal year of Nebuchadnezzar
2 Kings 25:1-4;
2. Chron 26:11,19).
This is 587 BC. [Footnote
On the other hand, the WTS has failed to make a
system that is internally consistent with the Bible testimony about the seventy
years. Moreover, their chronology directly contradicts clear statements in
Daniel and Zechariah.
While the Bible itself is sufficient
to reject the Watchtower Society's chronology, we will take our time to examine
the enormous amount of archeological evidence for established chronology.
summary of evidence
As we have seen
earlier, the Bible
contains no absolute dates. It contains relative dates and
timespans, and only if we can pinpoint at least one of the events and relative
dates to our calendar, do we come up with an an absolute date.
This problem of course faces the WTS as well. They
have focused on one key-date, an event that is witnessed in both secular
historical sources and the Bible itself: The fall of Babylon to King Cyrus in
How was this date arrived on? Historians have used
the regnal lists of Ptolemy and Berossus. These are considered accurate and
reliable, and they date the reign of Cyrus over Babylon from 539 BC. This has
been confirmed by the most reliable dating method known in history: contemporary
documents with astronomical observations.
The most secure source of absolute dates comes from
contemporary inscription with astronomical observations. Babylonians did, like
many other people, place much emphasis on astrology, and they carefully observed
the celestial phenomena and wrote down the exact placement of planets relative
to the zodiac. These inscriptions were accurately dated relative to the reign of
the king. Many such observations can be found on single inscriptions, forming a
unique "finger print" for a year, since the observations could not possibly
occur any other date for thousands of years in either direction. Astronomers
today can accurately calculate the astronomical phenomenon described in the
astronomical inscriptions, and will verify that it is impossible that these
observations are fake or can apply to any other year.
So, the only chance for an inscription with correct
astronomical observations to be "fake," is to have be dated wrong. Since WTS
chronology is consistenly off with twenty years, the contemprary
astronomical records would have to be dated twenty years wrong. Can anyone
imagine astrologers and chroniclers in the neobabylonian era to do such a thing?
The work involved in forging just one of these astronomic tables is enormous,
considering that they mention numerous dates and events in a king's life, and
just one change in the observations themselves or the dates would make these
observation fit no constellation of astronomical phenomenoms in known history.
The WTS consider such astronomical calculations to
be extremely reliable:
"A Babylonian clay tablet is helpful for
connecting Babylonian chronology with Biblical chronology. This tablet
contains the following astronomical information for the seventh year of
Cambyses II son of Cyrus II: "Year 7, Tammuz, night of the 14th, 1 2/3 double
hours [three hours and twenty minutes] after night came, a lunar eclipse;
visible in its full course; it reached over the northern half disc [of the
moon]. Tebet, night of the 14th, two and a half double hours [five hours] at
night before morning [in the latter part of the night], the disc of the moon
was eclipsed; the whole course visible; over the southern and northern part
the eclipse reached." (Inschriften von Cambyses, König von Babylon, by
J. N. Strassmaier, Leipzig, 1890, No. 400, lines 45-48; Sternkunde und
Sterndienst in Babel, by F. X. Kugler, Münster, 1907, Vol. I, pp. 70, 71)
These two lunar eclipses can evidently be identified with the lunar
eclipses that were visible at Babylon on July 16, 523 B.C.E., and on January
10, 522 B.C.E. (Oppolzer's Canon of Eclipses, translated by O.
Gingerich, 1962, p. 335) Thus, this tablet establishes the seventh year of
Cambyses II as beginning in the spring of 523 B.C.E. This is an astronomically
confirmed date." (it-1, p 453; bold and italic as in original)
This astronomically confirmed date must be
beyond doubt. Without it, the WTS key date, 539 BC for the fall of Babylon to
Cyrus, has no foundation in fact. We have no wuarrel with this. But the WTS is
grossly dishonest when they accept this piece of evidence as definite and beyond
doubt, when they discard exactly the same type of evidence, for the
Neo-Babylonian era. As we will see, the astronomical evidence for Neo-Babylonian
chronology is more direct and then even stronger.
A comprehensive astronomical diary,
VAT 4956, dated in
Nebuchadnezzar's 37th year, gives definite aobservations that cannot fit any
other year but 568 BC. This is beyond any doubt; not a single year thousands of
year before or after this year can fit all evidence, and the chance of
fabricating observations that by accident fits this year is not even worth
considering. Since the Bible establishes that Jerusalem fell in the 19th year of
2 Kings 25:1-4;
2. Chron 26:11,19), this must have happened in 587/6 BC, and certainly not
20 years earlier.
The WTS cannot accept this. They try to discredit
"VAT 4956: This is a cuneiform tablet that
provides astronomical information datable to 568 B.C.E. It says that the
observations were from Nebuchadnezzar's 37th year. This would correspond to
the chronology that places his 18th regnal year in 587/6 B.C.E. However, this
tablet is admittedly a copy made in the third century B.C.E. so it is possible
that its historical information is simply that which was accepted in the
Seleucid period." (kc, p 186)
This is indeed a copy, but it is by no means
"possible" that the historical information is what was accepted in this mystical
"seleucid period" which we again see is assumed to be a dubious period for
extensive forgery of chronological evidence.The copyist did not add
information, which is evident from the fact that in two places where the table
is damaged, the copyist inserted the words "broken off, erased." This shows how
extremely unlikely it is that the copyist should insert some later, "accepted"
chronological details. Also, there are about forty dates in the text, and
it should be beyond consideration that a copyist who is so conscientious that he
indicates where the original source is illegible, should be engaged in wholesale
forgery by inserting the name of a king who was dead in 568 BC in a historical
This is even beyond discussion, for quite recently
the astronomical diary named BM
32312 was discovered. It contains exact astronomical observations from
652/51. Here, no copyist could have made any change to the date, because it is
broken off! However, the table mentions the battle of Hirit on "month 12, day
27" where the King of Babylon was involved. And a more well-known diary, the
Akity chronocle, states that this date occurred in the 16th year of king
Shamashshamukin's reign (667-648 BC). So, we have a late and independent
confirmation, including two solid pieces of evidence, that the established
chronology of the Neo-Babylonian era is correct. As an added curiousity, we can
add that this Babylonian text informs us that the king of Babylon lost
this battle, seriously undermining the WTS' stock claims that Babylonian
chroniclers were dishonest.
What we have seen, is that the WTS accepts evidence
that support their chronology, while rejecting the same sort of evidence when it
contradicts their ideas. Moreover, the table from Cambyses II's reign
establishes the date for Cyrus' conquest of Babylon only indirectly, by
consulting regnal lists to find out how long Cyrus ruled and that he was
succeeded by his son Cambyses II in 529 BC. VAT4956, on the other hand,
establishes Nebuchadnezzar's reign directly, and a person who will not
allow himself to doubt the Bible's chronology can't possibly reject this. So if
the WTS were correct when they claim that the Bible stated 70 years from the
fall of Jerusalem to the return of the Jews (which,
as we have seen, they are not!), they would have to deny 539 not
587/6. Then, of course, they would lose 607 as a key date, and it would be naive
to believe all this distrortion of evidence from the WTS is for any other reason
than keeping the 607 date, again to save 1914.
One major piece of evidence against the WTS
chronology is the regnal lists we have after Berossus and Ptolemy. Berossus was
a Babylonian priest living in the 3rd century BC. He wrote a three-volume
history of Babylonia, of which only fragments are known through quotations in
later works, like those by Josephus and Eusebius. Ptolemy (70-161AD) was a
multi-faceted scholar who lived in Egypt. Ptolemy wrote a mathematical work
known as Almagest in Latin, where he included the canon, a regnal
list. The Encyclopedia Britannica
source from which the exploration of Mesopotamian chronology started is a
text called Ptolemy's Canon. This king list covers a period of about 1,000
years, beginning with the kings of Babylon after the accession of Nabonassar
in 747 BC. The text itself belongs to the period of the Roman Empire and was
written by a Greek astronomer resident in Egypt. Proof of the fundamental
correctness of Ptolemy's Canon has come from the ancient cuneiform tablets
excavated in Mesopotamia, including some that refer to astronomical events,
chiefly eclipses of the Moon. Thus, by the time excavations began, a fairly
detailed picture of Babylonian chronology was already available for the period
after 747 BC." (under the headlines "The Study of History, Babylonian and
Assyrian, Mesopotamian chronology, 747 to 539 BC.")
Berossus and Ptolemy, living in different parts of
the world at different times, and both being respected as reliable sources by
both early and modern historians, give the same regnal data:
It is no surprise, then, that the Society is trying
to discredit these sources. Even this would not help much if these sources could
be demonstrated to be independent of each other. So in Aid to Bible
Understanding from 1971, the Watch Tower Society flatly claimed that Ptolemy
had copied Berossus:
"In preparing his canon Ptolemy is thought to
have used the writings of Berossus" (page 328)
The passive wording hides the fact that only the
Watchtower Society's own writers have ever "thought" this! There is substantual
evidence that Ptolemy built on earlier records. After this argument had been
debunked, the WTS had to use another:
"Evidently Ptolemy based his historical
information on sources dating from the Seleucid period, which began more than
250 years after Cyrus captured Babylon. It thus is not surprising that
Ptolemy's figures agree with those of Berossus, a Babylonian priest of the
Seleucid period." (It-1, page 455; same text in kc page 186)
It is hard to understand how linking Ptolemy and
Berossus with the "Seleucid period" can discredit them, as if this was a time
when records were forged wholesale. The Watchtower Society itself depends 100%
on the date 539BC. As we have seen, this comes from Ptolemy and Berossus as
well. Seeing this problem, the WTS has gone to strange quarters to find
additional support after having discredited Ptolemy:
"The date of 539 B.C.E. for the fall of Babylon
can be arrived at not only by Ptolemy's canon but by other sources as well.
The historian Diodorus, as well as Africanus and Eusebius, shows that Cyrus'
first year as king of Persia corresponded to Olympiad 55, year 1 (560/559
B.C.E.), while Cyrus' last year is placed at Olympiad 62, year 2 (531/530
B.C.E.)." (It-1, page 454)
This is quite interesting, since Diodorus (1st
century BC) lived right after the "Seleucid period," and used sources
from this period. One of the problems with Diodorus is that he often does not
mention his sources, reducing the possibility to check him. Africanus is a
Christian writer from the 3rd century AD. He uses Diodorus as a source. Living
in the 3rd and 4th century we find Eusebius, who says he uses Diodorus and
Africanus as sources!
This does not mean, of course, that the 539BC date
is not well established. But fact is, it is less secure than 586/7BC as
the date for Jerusalem's destruction.
One of the most extensive and overwhelming pieces
of evidence is the enormous amounts of business and administrative documents
unearthed from the Neo-Babylonian era. These are contemporary documents, not
later copies, and there can be around 50,000 (!) of these documents, many of
them stored at British Museum in London. Some thousand of these documents are
documented. The WTS admits:
"Business tablets: Thousands of
contemporary Neo-Babylonian cuneiform tablets have been found that record
simple business transactions, stating the year of the Babylonian king when the
transaction occurred. Tablets of this sort have been found for all the years
of reign for the known Neo-Babylonian kings in the accepted chronology of the
period." (kc, p 187)
So for every known year in this era, there
are such contemporary documents. However, the WTS claims twenty years are
missing. Where is the business documents covering this period? They do not
exist. If some king reigned for more than the years assigned to them in the
established regnal lists, or if some unknown king reigned for twenty years (or a
combination), there must have been hundreds if not thousands of business
documents dated in this period. There are indeed none. The documents
contains details of hundreds of thousands of trivial and not-so-trivial business
transactions -- buying and selling -- and the idea that this did not happen
during this period is absurd. Moreover, we can track business transactions from
delivery of goods to payment of the same goods. We can establish who is head of
the company in the given year. It is patently obvious that to believe that the
WTS chronology can be defended against this evidence, makes the infamous "illuminaty
conspiracy" seem likely by comparision. It would involve not only hundreds of
scribes, chroniclers, officials and astrologers from the Neo Babylonain period
onwards through the centuries, it would also require a conspiratory silence from
thousands of business man in a whole empire!
It is more than obvious that there are no records
for the "missing twenty years" because they never existed. Not a single
piece of cuneiform text has ever hinted that they existed. No chronicler or
astrologer had heard of them. And as we have seen demonstrated
above, if they existed
the Bible itself would contradict itself on many chronological details, and
Jeremiah's prophecy would have failed.
More direct evidence from the Neo-Babylonian era
has also been found. A inscription from the Seleucid era, The Uruk King List,
discovered in 1959/60, confirms the reigns of Nabopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar,
Amel-Marduk and Labashi-Marduk. Other parts of the text is unfortunately
damaged. While we have no such king lists from earlier eras, we have a number of
inscriptions that confirms the chronology in the most direct way.
Nabon No. 18 mentions a lunar eclipse
establishing Nabonidus' second year to 554/53, thus confirming established
Nabon No. 8 (Hillah stele) confirms the
chronology for the whole era from Nabopolassar to Nabonidus, giving the
total period of the kings as established from all other sources. It also gives
details of astronomical events further establishing the exact dates of Nabonidus'
Nabon H 1, A and H 1, B. The WTS admits:
"Nabonidus Harran Stele (NABON H 1, B):
This contemporary stele, or pillar with an inscription, was discovered in
1956. It mentions the reigns of the Neo-Babylonian kings Nebuchadnezzar, Evil-Merodach,
Neriglissar. The figures given for these three agree with those from Ptolemy's
Canon." (kc, p 186)
The later copy of the same stele (B), gives us
details of which had been damaged on the original find.It also gives details of
the Assyrian king Assurbanipal and Nabopolassar, thus establishing
Neo-Babylonian chronology yet again.
The Nabonidus Chronicle (BM 35382) is often
used by the WTS to argue the Bible's correctness in historical details (see
it-1 pp 148, 283-4, 566 and many other places). It's obviously not ignorance
that causes them to never mention this famous chronicle in this debate. Fact is,
this chronicle gives the reigns of all kings in this era, and they are
exactly the same as those given by Ptolemy and Berossus. All arguments that
later chroniclers only used "popular" chronology in their lists is thus
shattered, because this chronicle is contemporary with the Neo-Babylonian
kings themselves! No wonder the WTS will not mention this devastating piece of
evidence, dispite being well aware of what it says.
Lunar eclipse (saros) texts
As we have seen, the WTS is more than eager to
accept "secular" evidence for the later Persian era, which they are dependent on
for their own chronology, but they reject the same -- and stronger -- evidence
establishing the chronology of the Neo-Babylonian era. Now we will examine a
piece of evidence untouched by the WTS, which carries us directly from the
Neo-Babylonian era into the later Persian era without any possibility for
"interruption" from the "twenty missing years" the WTS need to keep the 607
Some Babylonian texts known as "saros" texts, or
moon eclipe texts, contains details of lunar eclipses. The eclipses occur in
groups, which repeat at approximately 18-year intervals. They can be assigned
precisely to specific absolute dates, because the precise observations
are unique and cannot be repeated for thousands of years.One particular document
spans the time from Nabopolassar's 17th year all the way down to the 18th year
of the Persian king Artaxerxes!
The impact of this evidence is by itself
overwhelming. We see a continuous record of astronomical observations.
These can all be pinpiinted to an absolute date, and because of the very nature
of our solar systems nothing can be shifted twenty years without breaking this
long list of lunar eclipse date leading into a period where the WTS agrees
with the "secular" chronology. Again, we have an independent and secure
confirmation of the established chronology, leaving no room in reality for the
As we have seen, Neo-Babylonian chronology rests
solidly on its own feet. However, we have an excellent opportunity to test this
body of evidence against a wholly independent set of evidence. The contemporary
chronology of Egypt has been established based on different evidence. We have
already used much space to go into detailed evidence for Babylonian chronology,
so for this treatise it is sufficient to note that this evidence consist of
several grave steles, the Greek historian Herodotus and the Egyptian priest
Manetho (third century BC), and several papyri, including some astronomical
details (ie. Demotic Papyrus Berlin 13588). This chronology is solidly
founded, and even more, it is fully independent from Neo-Babylonian
The Watch Tower Society is consistently off by
around 20 years also relative to Egyptian chronology.
There are several synchronisms between Biblical,
Egyptian and Babylonian chronology, and in these it is evident that the WTS
chronology is wrong.
2. Kings 23:29 let us know that Josiah died during Pharao Nechoh's reign.
Nechoh started his reign in 610 BC, but according to the WTS Josiah died 19
Jeremiah 46:2 informs us of a battle between Nebuchadnezzar and Pharao
Nechoh in Jehoiakim's fourth year. In WTS chronology this would be 625 BC, but
as we have seen Nechoh didn't start his reign before 610!
Jeremiah 44:30 informs us that shortly after the death of Gedaliah, Pharaoh
Hophra (elsewhere called Aphries) was king in Egypt. He ruled Egypt 589-570, so
this fits perfectly with dating Jerusalem's fall in 587 but not 607. Finally, we
have the cunieform text BM33041, telling us that Nebuchadnezzar makes a
campaign against Egypt's Pharao Amasis in his 37th regnal year. Amasis ruled
570-526, so this cannot have happened in 588/87 as WTS chronology claims.
The WTS have to admit:
"The difference between the above dates and those
generally assigned by modern historians amounts to as much as a century or
more for the Exodus and then narrows down to about 20 years by Pharaoh Necho's
time." (It-1, page 450)
It would be a coincidence beyond anything we have
seen if the WTS' chronology was correct and all this evidence was wrong. It
reminds us about the proud mother of a boy scout who exclaimed during a great
parade: "Imagine, three thousand boy scouts, and only my boy is in step."
- Chronicles, historical records, and royal
inscriptions from the Neo-Babylonian period, beginning with the reign of
Nabopolassar and ending with the reigns of Nabonidus and Belshazzar, show it
ran from 626 to 539 BC, not from 645 to 539 BC as the Society claims.
Various Babylonian chronicles such as the
Nabonidus No. 18
The Hillah stele, Nabonidus No. 8
The Adda-Guppi stele, Nabonidus H1,B
Business and administrative documents
- Tablets exist that are dated from each year of
the Neo-Babylonian period as established by Berossus, Ptolemy and
contemporary stele; no tablets are inconsistently dated. About 5000 have
been published and about 50,000 remain. These are contemporary documents
from the Neo-Babylonian period.
VAT 4956 fixes the 37th
year of Nebuchadnezzar to 568 BC by a unique set of astronomical
observations, establishing his accession year in 605 BC.
BM 32312 plus the Akitu
Chronicle pin the 16th year of Shamashshumukin (a Babylonian king before the
Neo-Babylonian period) to 652/1 BC This, combined with business documents,
Ptolemy's canon, the Akitu Chronicle and the Uruk King List combine to date
Nebuchadnezzar's reign to 605/4-562/1, with his 18th (destruction of
Jerusalem, Jer. 52:28-30) year in 587/6 BC.
Saros (lunar eclipse) texts
- Four independent texts provide absolute dates
within the Neo-Babylonian period. Nebuchadnezzar's 18th year is fixed at
Synchronisms with contemporary Egyptian chronology show Watchtower
chronology consistently off by 20 years.
- Josiah died during Pharaoh Nechoh's reign,
which began in 610 BC. The Society dates Josiah's death to 629 BC.
- Some Jews fled to Egypt under Pharaoh Hophra (Apries)
immediately after Jerusalem's destruction. Since he began to reign in 589
BC, Jerusalem could not have been destroyed in 607 BC.
- A fragmentary cuneiform text mentions a battle
by Nebuchadnezzar in his 37th year against Pharaoh Amasis, who began to rule
in 570 BC The Society claims Nebuchadnezzar died in 582 BC.
|100,000nds of cuneiform tablets, incl.
|628: Jehoiachim's accession year
NBUs accession year
|617: NBU take Jewish prisoners in in
Jehoiachim's 3RD YEAR (!). Da1:1,2; 2Ki24:10-17; 2Ch36:10
||609: Fall of Harran. Babylon world power.
Possible START OF 70 YEARS. Josiah killed in battle with Pharao
|607: FALL OF JERUSALEM; start of 70 years
NBU's accession year. First
deportation of Jews (Dan 1:1,2; 2:1).
||597: NBU takes prisoners. Second deportation.
Jehoiachin in exile; Zedekiah's reign starts.
||BM21946:11-13; 2Ki24:10-17; 2Chr36:10.
||587: FALL OF JERUSALEM
BM33041. Agreement with
independent Egyptian chronology
astronimical obs. for 568/67 dated as NBU's 37th year.
Nabon no 18
||555: Nabonidus' accession year
Nabon H 1, B
|539: Fall of Babylon
||539: FALL OF BABYLON to Cyrus; 70 YEARS END.
Pharaoh Hophrah rules Egypt
in this time; Jer 44:30
|537: Jews return from exile, 70 years end.
In Babylonian chronices, the year a King ascends the throne is called
accession year, the following year is the first year and so on. This is
called the accession year system. Jewish chronicles, following a
non-accession year system, counts the starting year as the first
regnal year, the next as the second and so on. The third year of Jehoiachin's
reign in Babylonian chronicles would be the fourth year in Israel's chronicles.
King Nebuchadnezzar (also called Nebuchadrezzar).
New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. Bible translation by the
Watchtower Society. Quotes from CD-ROM version, 1993. All Bible quotes in this
document from the NWT except if otherwise noted.
New International Version of the Holy Bible, by The International Bible Society
1973, 78, 84.
Revised Standard Version. The built-links refers to this translation.
The New Jerusalem Bible (1985). Catholic.
1: The fall of Harran in 609 BC is often understood in relation to the
book of Jeremiah. See Professor D. J. Wiseman in The New Bible Dictionary,
2nd ed, 1982, p. 101; and Prof. Guy P. Couturier in The Jerome Biblical
Commentary, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1968, p. 300; Dr. J. A. Thompson: The
Book of Jeremiah, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1980, p. 21, 533.
2: Avigdoz Orr: The Seventy Years of Babylon, Vetus Testamentum,
Vol VI, 1956, p. 305. The same argument, that the seventy years was for
Babylonian supremacy and not Jewish exile, is also emphasised by other
experts. See Dr. Peter R. Ackroyd in Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol
XVII, 1958, p. 23; Prof. Norman K. Gottwald: All the Kingdoms of the Earth,
New York, Evanston, London 1964, p. 265, 2666; Dr. Otto Plöger: Aus der
Spätzeit des Alten Testaments, Göttingen, 1971, p. 68.
3: Actually, some sources say 586 BC, which is only caused by an
apparent contradiction between 2. Kings 24, 25 and Jeremiah 52:12 on one side
and Jeremiah 52:28-30 on the other hand. Since the book of Jeremiah was
obviously completed by a Jew living in Babylon, he is likely to have used the
accession year system
while Jeremiah who wrote Kings would use the Jewish system.
person responsible for 99% of the research behind this page is Carl Olof
Jonsson. His book The Gentile Times Reconsidered (Commentary Press,
Atlanta, 1986), which unfortunately is out of print, contains the most extensive
and exhaustive discussion of this topic available.