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607 B.C.E. - Is it Biblically Supported?

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The October 1, 2011 Watchtower says this date is important for two reasons. 

*** w11 10/1 p. 26 When Was Ancient Jerusalem Destroyed?—Part One ***
But why be interested in the actual date when Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II razed the city of Jerusalem? First, because the event marked an important turning point in the history of God’s people. . . .
Second, because knowing the actual year when this “ultimate catastrophe” began and understanding how the restoration of true worship in Jerusalem fulfilled a precise Bible prophecy will build your confidence in the reliability of God’s Word. So why do Jehovah’s Witnesses hold to a date that differs from widely accepted chronology by 20 years? [Emphasis added]

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(Introductory Comments)

Although the Watchtower article says that we should take an interest, some JWs believe that questioning the 607 date is tantamount to apostasy. We shouldn't question the Governing Body or the "faithful and discreet slave." If we question the 607 date we are, perhaps, showing too much pride in our own understanding.

These are legitimate concerns for all of us. And it's one of the reasons that very few of us even understand the reason that such a question might come up in the first place. A discussion was already begun on the subject, but it quickly devolved into a discussion that showed more concern about the questioner(s) rather than the evidence itself. I take my own share of the blame for that problem. That's why, I'm restarting the question again, but this time we'll keep the focus only on evaluating the evidence, both Biblical and archaeological. I hope more people join in, and everyone is welcome, of course, but this time I think we can keep it moderated so that only comments about the evidence remain in the discussion. 

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[Part One - Just a little more background]

The Bible contains no dates, at least not anything like the dates we use today. There is no such thing as a date like 539 BC, or 607 BCE, or 29 CE, or AD 33, or 70 CE, or 1914. The only types of dates that the Bible uses are expressions like:

(Genesis 5:21-27) 21 Eʹnoch lived for 65 years and then became father to Me·thuʹse·lah. 22 After becoming father to Me·thuʹse·lah, Eʹnoch continued to walk with the true God for 300 years. And he became father to sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Eʹnoch amounted to 365 years. 24 Eʹnoch kept walking with the true God. Then he was no more, for God took him. 25 Me·thuʹse·lah lived for 187 years and then became father to Laʹmech. 26 After becoming father to Laʹmech, Me·thuʹse·lah lived for 782 years. And he became father to sons and daughters. 27 So all the days of Me·thuʹse·lah amounted to 969 years, and then he died.

(1 Kings 15:25-34) 25 Naʹdab the son of Jer·o·boʹam became king over Israel in the second year of King Aʹsa of Judah, and he reigned over Israel for two years. 26 He kept doing what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah . . .  . . . 33  In the third year of King Aʹsa of Judah, Baʹa·sha the son of A·hiʹjah became king in Tirʹzah over all Israel and reigned for 24 years. 34  But he kept doing what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah, and he walked in the way of Jer·o·boʹam and in his sin that he caused Israel to commit.

A portion of the Bible therefore includes a chronology system, that appears to track the number of years from Adam to Noah (and the Flood). Another portion appears to track the number of years from Noah (through Shem) to Abraham. Other sections track the time from Abraham to the Exodus. Then it gets a bit murky. Even so we know we are not too many years off between the Exodus and the Judges and then to King Saul and David. There is a also a lot of information to help track the time from David through the last Judean King Zedekiah. But even these "synchronisms" between the lines of kings leaves several open questions, which can be interpreted in various ways. Of course, not long after Zedekiah and the return of the Jews from Babylon to Judea & Israel, it gets murky again. And we have no chronology to track the time from, say, Zedekiah until Jesus is born.

In other words, you could know that Methuselah was born a certain number of years after Adam was created, or even that Shem or Abraham was born a certain number of years after Adam was created. but you would still have no idea when Adam was created, or what year the Flood arrived. We also have those murky or incomplete portions. That means that we know, for example, that Jereboam's son Nadab became king over Israel in the second year of King Asa of Judah, but we don't know how long that was after Adam or Noah or Abraham.

Still, the main point is that even if we did have a perfectly linked chronology from Adam through Zedekiah, such as the one seen in Genesis 5 or 1 Kings 15, above, we would still have no way to tell how long ago that time period started or ended. We would not be able to identify specific years, only relative years.

The only way we can start attaching specific years, like 4 BCE, or 70 CE, or 539 BCE to any of these "relative dates" is if we decide that we will accept non-Biblical dates, otherwise known as secular dates.

  • 4 BCE is not a Biblical date, it's a secular date.
  • 33 CE is not a Biblical date, it's a secular date.
  • 607 BCE is not a Biblical date, it's a secular date.
  • 587 BCE is not a Biblical date, it's a secular date
  • 539 BCE is not a Biblical date, it's a secular date.

The reason that is important is because the question about whether Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 BCE or 587/6 BCE is often framed as if one of those dates is Biblical and the other is secular. They are both secular! Everyone in the world, incluing historians, scientists, archaeologists, Bible scholars, the Watch Tower Society and the Governing Body must rely completely on secular dates to figure out how many years ago a Biblical event might have happened. 

So what do we do?

We need to pick a secular date that we think we can trust and begin trying to link Biblical events to it.  Then we see if we can't create a chain of linked events backwards and forward from there. In fact, we need to pick several secular dates because the Bible's relative chronology does not really link the time around Adam, Noah and Abraham all the way through the time of the Judges and Kings. And after the Temple is rebuilt after the time of Ezra, the timeline stops again, so we'd need to find another secular date to see if we can match the time of Jesus birth, baptism, death, and any other events in the Christian Greek Scriptures.

We need to find some secular dates that we can trust! This is exactly where 539 BCE becomes so interesting. That's the time when Cyrus conquers Babylon, right? Yes, and it seems to be a perfectly good secular date for that event. If we accept it, we also get a pretty good idea when Jerusalem was destroyed. In fact, by accepting 539 BCE we ARE accepting the same secular chronology that pinpoints the destruction of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar's 19th year.

(2 Kings 25:8, 9) 8 In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, that is, in the 19th year of King Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar the king of Babylon, Neb·uʹzar·adʹan the chief of the guard, the servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. 9 He burned down the house of Jehovah, the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem; he also burned down the house of every prominent man.

This is the whole problem! We like 539 BCE, as the final year of a Babylonian king, but don't want Nebuchadnezzar's 19th year to be 587 BCE. We want his 19th year to be 607 BCE, instead. But we have a lot of trouble taking one without the other. In fact, if we say that Nebuchadnezzar's 19th year must be 607 BCE, then that's the same thing as saying that Cyrus conquered Babylon in 559 BCE instead of 539 BCE.

It makes no sense to say one is Biblical and one is secular. They are both secular and if you say you trust that 539 BCE is correct, then that's also the same as saying you accept that 587/6 BCE, NOT 607 BCE, is the destruction of Jerusalem. Therefore the WTS has always been looking for a way to try to accept one part of the secular chronology without accepting another part of the same chronology.  Those attempts have never worked out, but this is what we'll need to discuss next.

 

 

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16 hours ago, JW Insider said:

Therefore the WTS has always been looking for a way to try to accept one part of the secular chronology without accepting another part of the same chronology.  Those attempts have never worked out, but this is what we'll need to discuss next.

Not only this, but the fact that the WTS only accepts secular chronology when it suits them and their teaching. In one publication they support the use of the Canon of Ptolemy ( Insight vol 1, page 454, under Persian Chronology) in finding the date 539 B.C. as well as being accurate (Insight vol 1, page 455). Now in the Oct 1 Watchtower under the article When was ancient Jerusalem destroyed? - Part one they discredit the Canon with this statement:

"In general, Ptolemy’s canon is regarded as accurate. But in view of its omissions, should it really be used to provide a definite historical chronology?" (

    Hello guest!
).

We just saw in the Insight book that it IS used as an accurate source for chronology, according to the WTS. So which is it? You can't have it both ways. This is completely dishonest. 

I look forward to other information that hopefully will come out of this discussion and my learning more about what others feel. This topic is the foundation of the organization itself as it directly relates to 1914/1919, so it should be interesting. 

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42 minutes ago, Shiwiii said:

We just saw in the Insight book.....

What I saw in the Insight book vol 1 p454 is:

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.

Is that the reference you meant @Shiwii?

 

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Yes, that is part of it, although this part directly accepts the evidence Ptolemy presents as inline with "other sources as well" which is being used here as accurate support.  If you go to pages 455-458 and read through from "Ptolemy's Canon" through to "from human creation to the present" to you will see collectively that the WTS supports Ptolemy's Canon in its use of supporting the dates and accuracy. Here is just a sample:

"But even though Ptolemy may have calculated accurately or recorded the dates of certain eclipses in the past (a modern astronomer found three fifths of Ptolemy's dates correct),"

"These astronomical diaries contain references to the reigns of certain kings and appear to coincide with the figures given in Ptolemy's canon."

"Finally, as in the case of Ptolemy, even though the astronomical information ( as now interpreted and understood ) on the texts discovered is basically accurate,"

"Another date that can be used as a pivotal point is the year 539 B.c.E. , supported by various historical sources as the year for the overthrow of Babylon by Cyrus the Persian. ( Secular sources for Cyrus' reign include Diodorus, Africanus, Eusebius, and Ptolemy, as well as the Babylonian tablets.)"

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It doesn't matter if it is stand alone or not, what matters is that it is being used to support chronology in one publication, and in the another it is being discredited for the exact same usage.  

 

I'd like to get back to the topic at hand. If in fact the WTS uses Ptolemy's Canon in support of 539 B.C., as we have seen in the Insight book, then what factors or references are used to end up with 607 vs 587? 

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11 hours ago, Shiwiii said:

We just saw in the Insight book that it IS used as an accurate source for chronology, according to the WTS. So which is it? You can't have it both ways. This is completely dishonest.

For many years now, the Watchtower has actually been consistent in acknowledging that Ptolemy's canon "may" be accurate, but that we might not be able to rely on it for everything. Almost every reference to Ptolemy, especially in the Insight book, has a somewhat negative side added to it:

*** it-1 p. 456 Chronology ***
Finally, as in the case of Ptolemy, even though the astronomical information (as now interpreted and understood) on the texts discovered is basically accurate, this does not prove . . .

*** it-1 p. 456 Chronology ***
These astronomical diaries contain references to the reigns of certain kings and appear to coincide with the figures given in Ptolemy’s canon. While to some this might seem like incontrovertible evidence, there are factors greatly reducing its strength.

Following up on the point I was making about 539 BCE, 607 BCE, 29 CE, etc, all being secular dates, this is admitted under that same topic heading in the Insight Book:

*** it-1 p. 458 Chronology ***
To make the count in terms of modern calendar dating, we must use some fixed point or pivotal date with which to commence, that is, a date in history that has sound basis for acceptance and that corresponds with a particular event recorded in the Bible. From this date as a pivotal point we can figure backward or forward and assign calendar dates to many of the events referred to in the Bible.
One such date, harmonizing with both Biblical and secular history, is the year 29 C.E., the early months of which were in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar, who was named emperor by the Roman Senate on September 15, 14 C.E. (Gregorian calendar). It was in the year 29 C.E. that John the Baptizer began his preaching and also when, perhaps about six months later, he baptized Jesus.—Lu 3:1-3, 21, 23; 1:36.
Another date that can be used as a pivotal point is the year 539 B.C.E., supported by various historical sources as the year for the overthrow of Babylon by Cyrus the Persian. (Secular sources for Cyrus’ reign include Diodorus, Africanus, Eusebius, and Ptolemy, as well as the Babylonian tablets.)

Of course, someone could read that, especially the last paragraph, and think that 539 BCE for the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus is somehow more supported by various historical sources than is 587 BCE for the destruction of Jerusalem.  In fact, 587 BCE for Nebuchadnezzar's 19th year is part of the same Neo-Babylonian chronological system, supported by the same sets (and types) of sources. If the first year of the conquest of Cyrus is a pivotal date, then so is Nebuchadnezzar's 19th year -- for the same reasons.

The quote that Eoin included was:

*** it-1 p. 454 Chronology ***
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.

This is very accurate, of course, but It would have been exactly as accurate for the Insight book to have said this:

The date of 587 B.C.E. for the fall of Jerusalem can be arrived at not only by Ptolemy’s canon but by other sources as well.

As it turns out, in fact, there are additional sources that add to the evidence for Nebuchadnezzar's 19th year (587 BCE), so that the evidence for 587 BCE could even be said to be a little better than the evidence for 539 BCE, but it doesn't matter because both are equally accurate. Of course, the only reason we focus only on 539 BCE is because we reject 587 BCE.

This argument is equally true in the opposite direction. Both 587 BCE and 539 BCE are also supported by "astronomical diaries" which evidently contain sometimes daily observations of priests or astronomers of the royal court. A specific diary that supports 587 BCE has sometimes been criticized by the WTS for 4 major weaknesses. Without even mentioning the details of those weaknesses, it turns out that all 4 of them are the exact same weaknesses for the diary that supports 539 BCE.

For anyone who might not be aware, these astronomical diaries contain information that can look something like the following:

10th Year of King "So-and-So"

  • On the night of April 13, Saturn passed within 3 fingers of the moon as it disappeared at the horizon
  • On the night of April 15, the upper star of the head of the Scorpion passed within 2 fingers of the moon.
  • On the morning of April 16, this is the last day this month when the moon set before sunrise. The Euphrates River was at a height of 4 today.
  • On the evening of April 19, there was a lunar eclipse. In 10 degrees of the night it made an eclipse of 4 fingers, 2 fingers remained to totality, it was obscured on the northeast side when it began.

It usually turns out that various abbreviations had developed for many of the astronomical phrases. But the main point is that sometimes there was not enough information for a specific day, and sometimes there was plenty of information, but when all of the recorded data was put together, it could often be matched to a certain year where such phenomena would not be repeated again for a thousand years.

What's more important is that all these diaries that contain enough information not only fit the time period that is already known about the various kings identified, they also match the exact year already identified from other sources. Also, they fit each other. There are sometimes two known diaries for the same king, covering separated years. It's as if the example above called: "10th Year of King So-and-So" was identified as 405 BCE and then another diary was found for the same king and it was called "15th Year of King So-and-So" and its astronomical phenomena exactly matched 400 BCE.

Unfortunately there aren't so many of these detailed diaries from the time of Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus, but the ones we do have can still be matched to their year both from the astronomical data and what we already know about their chronology from other sources.

Also, even if we could completely discredit Ptolemy's canon, which we can't, we don't need it anyway for either the 539 BCE date or the 587 BCE date. We get good evidence for both those dates, even without Ptolemy. There is no such evidence from any source that supports 607 BCE for the destruction of Jerusalem.

 

 

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"Almost every reference to Ptolemy, especially in the Insight book, has a somewhat negative side added to it:"

Yes, however it is still claimed to be accurate in one instance and discredited in another.  That was my only point. Using it when it fits the theology and distancing themselves when they like. 

 

Back to the point. I agree with your findings here:

"It's as if the example above called: "10th Year of King So-and-So" was identified as 405 BCE and then another diary was found for the same king and it was called "15th Year of King So-and-So" and its astronomical phenomena exactly matched 400 BCE."

We can only go by what we have, and not speculation on what might have been. So, like you said, there is NO  support for 607. What resources can even come close to supporting 607? I mean we have canons, cuneiforms and astronomers from that time, and even IF those don't exactly go in hamony with each other,  what evidence is there? If we discredit all of them, then isn't any date acceptable?  So do we throw out records if they do not agree with us? Then it becomes the opinion of men and who you choose to follow. I'd hardly throw out ALL historical evidence for the sake of man's wants or ideas.

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19 minutes ago, Eoin Joyce said:

So...Is it Biblically Supported?

I think it's pretty clear that there are NO dates that are Biblically supported if they are connected to the letters BC, BCE, CE, or AD. Those very terms always refer a secular support. (In some cases dates are made up that don't have any secular support or any Biblical support, either.)

Evidently, it's also pretty safe to say that 607 BCE is NOT Biblically supported, if we assume that 539 BCE is correct. (Based on what the Bible says about the "70 years" in at least 4 different places. There is the additional Biblical issue of a 70-year period that starts at the commemoration of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, and coming to a close at a period nearly 20 years past the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus. 

(Zechariah 1:12) . . .“O Jehovah of armies, how long will you withhold your mercy from Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with whom you have been indignant these 70 years?

(Zechariah 7:5) . . .‘When you fasted and wailed in the fifth month and in the seventh month for 70 years. . .

(Zechariah 8:19) . . .‘The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth month, the fast of the seventh month, and the fast of the tenth month will be occasions for exultation and joy for the house of Judah. . .

*** w96 11/15 p. 5 Does God Require Fasting? ***
For example, at one time the people of Judah had four annual fasts to commemorate the calamitous events associated with Jerusalem’s siege and desolation in the seventh century B.C.E. (2 Kings 25:1-4, 8, 9, 22-26; Zechariah 8:19)

According to our current understanding of the chronology that includes the supposed destruction of Jerusalem in 607 BCE, then this produces a contradiction, because we date the book of Zechariah as follows:

*** nwt p. 1662 Table of the Books of the Bible ***
Zechariah
Jerusalem rebuilt
518
520-518 [BCE]

If Jerusalem was destroyed in 587 BCE, then 518 BCE is 69 years later, and therefore matches Zechariah's theme of 70 years of withheld mercy and indignities, and wailing and fasting over Jerusalem, which is now being rebuilt.

If Jerusalem had been destroyed in 607 BCE, then by Zechariah's time, in 518 BCE, it would have been 89 years of wailing and fasting.

Neither date is "Biblical" and neither date should really matter that much, but it is curious that 607 BCE is totally impossible from the perspective of secular evidence, and it becomes very difficult from the perspective of Biblical evidence. Yet 587 BCE is totally supported from the perspective of secular evidence and provides an excellent match to the Biblical evidence. There should really be no reason why we are not rejoicing that secular, historical, archaeological evidence for 587 BCE once again shows the Bible to be accurate and sound from a historical perspective.

 

 

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14 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

There should really be no reason why we are not rejoicing that secular, historical, archaeological evidence for 587 BCE once again shows the Bible to be accurate and sound from a historical perspective.

Exactly, and shouldn't all evidence confirm the Bible and the Bible all evidence. That is of course if one believes the Bible to be true, which I do. 

So now, if there is no support for 607, but there is for 587, then why the long held belief in 607? Is it just to make a date of 1914 ring true? It appears that way.

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9 hours ago, JW Insider said:

If Jerusalem was destroyed in 587 BCE, then 518 BCE is 69 years later, and therefore matches Zechariah's theme of 70 years of withheld mercy and indignities, and wailing and fasting over Jerusalem, which is now being rebuilt.

How do you think Daniel 9:1-2 relates to this scenario?

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On 4/15/2016 at 3:55 AM, Eoin Joyce said:

How do you think Daniel 9:1-2 relates to this scenario?

There may be better and clearer alternatives to the idea from Daniel 9:1-2, but I don't believe anyone has found any major problems or discrepancies with the WTS understanding.

(Daniel 9:1, 2) 9 In the first year of Da·riʹus the son of A·has·u·eʹrus—a descendant of the Medes who had been made king over the kingdom of the Chal·deʹans— 2 in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, discerned by the books the number of years mentioned in the word of Jehovah to Jeremiah the prophet to fulfill the desolation of Jerusalem, namely, 70 years.

(Daniel 1:1) 1 In the third year of the kingship of King Je·hoiʹa·kim of Judah, King Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.

(Jeremiah 52:28-30) 28 These are the people whom Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar took into exile: in the seventh year, 3,023 Jews. 29 In the 18th year of Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar, 832 people were taken from Jerusalem. 30 In the 23rd year of Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar, Neb·uʹzar·adʹan the chief of the guard took Jews into exile, 745 people.. . .

 

Based on the fact that Daniel's had discerned the 70 years of Jeremiah and that this is juxtaposed with the fact that it is now the 1st year of Darius, it seems safe to assume the following:

  • The Chaldeans/Babylonians have been just very recently been conquered by the Medo-Persian Empire.
  • History & Archaeology puts this event at about 539 BCE, and it appears consistent with Biblical evidence.
    • Accepting 539 BCE is the same as accepting the entire Neo-Babylonian chronology. (Otherwise it would be like accepting that the U.S. Civil War ended in 1865 but you won't accept that it started in 1861.) Therefore, accepting 539 BCE means that Assyria fell in 609, Nebuchadnezzar became ruler in 604, numerous incursions around Judea, and exiles of prisoners from Judea were known from around 605 (months before Neb was ruler), 598/7 (Neb 7th yr. non-accession), 587/6 (Neb 18th yr), 582/1 (Neb 23rd yr) -- Jer. 52:28-30.
  • Since Jeremiah had spoken of 70 years given to Babylon so that Babylon could rule and wreak havoc over the nations for that length of time, Daniel must have known that the 70 years was up due to the fall of Babylon. (This matches 2 Chronicles that stated that the 70 years would be up when the Persian king began ruling.)
  • Daniel indicates that the 70 years were somehow also a part of the fulfillment of the desolation of Jerusalem, and that it was now time for the punishment to end and the restoration to Judea.
    • But we know that Daniel would not likely be of the opinion that this meant 70 years of total desolation, since the first physical "desolations" (through incursions, battles and exile) evidently didn't start counting until about 605 and ended about 5 years after the final desolation of Jerusalem, per Jeremiah 52:30. It had been about 66 years since the first exiles.

Daniel never mentions the decree of Cyrus. In Daniel 10:1 he mentions the 3rd year of Cyrus while Daniel is evidently still in Babylonia, but with no specific historical event tied to it. It seems impossible that Daniel wouldn't have known about the decree of Cyrus, but Daniel is apparently looking beyond just the return, to the actual re-inauguration of the Temple, which wouldn't start for another 20 years, and wouldn't be ready for dedication until the next century.

So Daniel receives a different kind of answer about the 70 years. For the "real" fulfillment, it wouldn't be 70 years, but 70 times 7 years. This uses not a "day-for-a-year" rule but a "7-years-for-a-year" rule. Something like this rule is mentioned a couple other times in the Bible. Exactly when to start the 70 x 7 = 490 years, I wouldn't know. But it seems that Daniel is now to look far off into the future for the true Temple fulfillment. Every Christian-oriented commentary makes sense of this by having it point to Jesus as the true Temple, but this produces a couple of chronology issues, too. And our solution (WTS) doesn't do anything with the 62 weeks, or the 7 weeks, it merely combines them. We also don't have Jesus "cut off" at the 69th week. (We use the 69.5 weeks instead of the 69.0 found in Daniel 9:26 “And after the 62 weeks, Mes·siʹah will be cut off, with nothing for himself." So I wouldn't say our explanation is complete or perfect, yet, but I can't see any real evidence against it. There are other explanations that account for the 7 and the 62, but these have their own problems.

This is really no different from the WTS, it would still start very close to 607 BCE (+/- a year or two) and end just as close to 539 BCE. The only thing it can't do is start at the very time of the temple destruction, but our own WTS argument also (inadvertently) argues against starting it them, because it is supposed to start at a time of full and complete desolation, which obviously didn't happen at the time of the temple destruction anyway.

  • (Jeremiah 52:15, 16) 15 Neb·uʹzar·adʹan the chief of the guard took into exile some of the lowly people and the rest of the people who were left in the city. He also took the deserters who had defected to the king of Babylon as well as the rest of the master craftsmen. 16 But Neb·uʹzar·adʹan the chief of the guard left some of the poorest people of the land to serve as vinedressers and as compulsory laborers.

And as already quoted above...

  • (Jeremiah 52:28-30) 28 These are the people whom Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar took into exile: in the seventh year, 3,023 Jews. 29 In the 18th year of Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar, 832 people were taken from Jerusalem. 30 In the 23rd year of Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar, Neb·uʹzar·adʹan the chief of the guard took Jews into exile, 745 people.. . .

 

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On 4/14/2016 at 6:06 PM, JW Insider said:

Biblically supported, if we assume that 539 BCE is correct. (Based on what the Bible says about the "70 years" in at least 4 different places. There is the additional Biblical issue of a 70-year period that starts at the commemoration of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, and coming to a close at a period nearly 20 years past the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus. 

Wait a minute, isn't 539 BCE plus 70 years 609 BCE,? And then when we consider the actual return of the Jews to start re- building the temple as being 537 BCE and add 70 years it gives us 607 BCE....so .how does that go 20 years past the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus?

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JW Insider

I have several issues with your post: Firstly, the dating of the commencement of the seventy years from 609 BCE is problematic for the simple reason nothing of historical significance occurred in that year further its ending in 539 BCE is also absurd because the Jews were still in Babylon after that date. So both the beginning and the end of the seventy years simply does not work. Carl Jonsson failed to resolve these problems especially the first objection as he wavered between 609 BCE and 605 BCE.

Further, the seventy years of Zechariah are also problematic if we simply ignore the fact that Zechariah was referring to those seventy years that began with Jerusalem's destruction in 607 BCE until their end in 537 BCE. Again, Jonsson who discussed these seventy years in some detail could come with a coherent chronology.

One can only conclude that 607 BCE is the only possible date for the Fall of Jerusalem and the beginning of the seventy years and with some fine tuning well harmonizes with the secular evidence. The date 587 BCE is unacceptable as it has to compete with 586 and other dates.

scholar JW

 

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On 11/4/2017 at 5:51 AM, JW Insider said:

Yes. A 70 year period that ended in 539 would have to have started around 609. And this is a pretty good match for when Babylonian power reared its head over Assyria. The capital of Nineveh fell in 612 and Babylon took advantage and became the next world power. 609 was the year that Josiah died. Josiah was considered by many Jews to be the next potential Messiah, a king like David.

In fact, notice that 609 is exactly the year that the Watch Tower publications point to (indirectly) when it speaks of the end of the Assyrian empire. (Remember that the WTS arbitrarily adds 20 years to every date prior to 587 B.C.E., so that 607 B.C.E.is actually 587 B.C.E., and therefore 629 B.C.E. is actually 609 B.C.E.)

*** it-1 p. 205 Assyria ***

  • According to the same chronicle, in the 14th year of Nabopolassar (632 B.C.E.), Ashur-uballit II attempted to continue Assyrian rule from Haran as his capital city. This chronicle states, under the 17th year of Nabopolassar (629 B.C.E.): “In the month Duʼuzu, Ashur-uballit, king of Assyria, (and) a large [army of] E[gy]pt [who had come to his aid] crossed the river (Euphrates) and [marched on] to conquer Harran.” (Ancient Near Eastern Texts, p. 305; brackets and parentheses theirs.) Actually, Ashur-uballit was trying to reconquer it after having been driven out. This record is in harmony with the account relative to the activity of Pharaoh Nechoh recorded at 2 Kings 23:29, which activity resulted in the death of King Josiah of Judah (c. 629 B.C.E.). This text states that “Pharaoh Nechoh the king of Egypt came up to the king of Assyria by the river Euphrates”—evidently to help him. “The king of Assyria” to whom Nechoh came may well have been Ashur-uballit II. Their campaign against Haran did not succeed. The Assyrian Empire had ended.

So this is an excellent match for the 70 years of Babylonian domination from 609 to 539, spoken about by Jeremiah:

  • (Jeremiah 25:11, 12) 11 And all this land will be reduced to ruins and will become an object of horror, and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon for 70 years.”12 “‘But when 70 years have been fulfilled, I will call to account the king of Babylon and that nation for their error,’ . . .

Just as the Watch Tower publications have explained it in the "Isaiah's Prophecy" book:

*** ip-1 chap. 19 p. 253 par. 21 Jehovah Profanes the Pride of Tyre ***

  • “These nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” (Jeremiah 25:8-17, 22, 27) . . . Evidently, the 70 years represents the period of Babylonia’s greatest domination—when the Babylonian royal dynasty boasts of having lifted its throne even above “the stars of God.” (Isaiah 14:13) Different nations come under that domination at different times. But at the end of 70 years, that domination will crumble.

So that is ONE period of 70 years that started in 609 and ended in 539.

The Bible, in the book of Zechariah, also mentions another period of 70 years that starts around 587 (destruction of Jerusalem) or even 588 when the siege began, and ends around 518. Since it's been so many months I'll repeat some portions of the post you referred to, where this was explained:

------- the remainder of this post copied from a previous post (JWI: 4/14/2017) above -------

(Zechariah 1:12) . . .“O Jehovah of armies, how long will you withhold your mercy from Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with whom you have been indignant these 70 years?

(Zechariah 7:5) . . .‘When you fasted and wailed in the fifth month and in the seventh month for 70 years. . .

(Zechariah 8:19) . . .‘The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth month, the fast of the seventh month, and the fast of the tenth month will be occasions for exultation and joy for the house of Judah. . .

*** w96 11/15 p. 5 Does God Require Fasting? ***
For example, at one time the people of Judah had four annual fasts to commemorate the calamitous events associated with Jerusalem’s siege and desolation in the seventh century B.C.E. (2 Kings 25:1-4, 8, 9, 22-26; Zechariah 8:19)

According to our current understanding of the chronology that includes the supposed destruction of Jerusalem in 607 BCE, then this produces a contradiction, because we date the book of Zechariah as follows:

*** nwt p. 1662 Table of the Books of the Bible ***
Zechariah
Jerusalem rebuilt
518
520-518 [BCE]

If Jerusalem was destroyed in 587 BCE, then 518 BCE is 69 years later, and therefore matches Zechariah's theme of 70 years of withheld mercy and indignities, and wailing and fasting over Jerusalem, which is now being rebuilt.

If Jerusalem had been destroyed in 607 BCE, then by Zechariah's time, in 518 BCE, it would have been 89 years of wailing and fasting.

Neither date is "Biblical" and neither date should really matter that much, but it is curious that 607 BCE is totally impossible from the perspective of secular evidence, and it becomes very difficult from the perspective of Biblical evidence. Yet 587 BCE is totally supported from the perspective of secular evidence and provides an excellent match to the Biblical evidence. There should really be no reason why we are not rejoicing that secular, historical, archaeological evidence for 587 BCE once again shows the Bible to be accurate and sound from a historical perspective.

Sorry, I have just now had the chance to return to this.

So basically, from what I can see, the difference between the two dates is this:

The 607 calculation is based on 70 years of desolation to the START of rebuilding the temple in 537/8

The 587 calculation is based on 70 years of desolation to the END (completion) of the temple in 516

So I see it is simply a matter of when the 70 years were considered ended, at the beginning or at the end of rebuilding the temple.

 

 

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9 hours ago, Anna said:

So basically, from what I can see, the difference between the two dates is this:

The 607 calculation is based on 70 years of desolation to the START of rebuilding the temple in 537/8

The 587 calculation is based on 70 years of desolation to the END (completion) of the temple in 516

Sort of. That sounds simple, but I think that it could cause some confusion, too. 

The 607 calculation is based on claiming that 70 years ended in 538/7 and it is a CORRECT calculation of the 70 years. (plus or minus one or two years)  It's just that it has nothing to do with the date of the destruction of Jerusalem. It's a very good calculation of the 70 years of dominance given to Babylon. And of course, we know that the 70 years of Babylonian dominance would result in a corresponding desolation to be fulfilled upon Judea. It is possible to interpret it, but there is no specific Bible statement that the years of Judean desolation would have to also last exactly 70 years, but there would be a definite correspondence, because the 70 years for Babylon would PRODUCE the years of desolation for Judea to fulfill its sabbaths. Also, there is no specific Bible statement that  period of complete and utter desolation for the entire 70 year period that was given to Babylon for dominance. If we looked for that literally we would probably never find proof of an exact period of full and complete desolation. It appears to refer to 70 years that started with a paralyzing fear of Babylon, followed by desecrations by Babylon, deportations to Babylon,  death and destruction by Babylon, and ultimately resulting in a destruction of the capital and temple, the further fleeing of inhabitants, and a near desolation of Judea lasting for nearly 50 years until Jews returned in 538 or so. That 70 years of dominance by Babylon resulted in 70 years of desolation of Judea from about 609 when Babylonian domination began to 539, when Babylonian domination ceased as Persia came to power. The 607 calculation can be made this way, but it is impossible to date the destruction of Jerusalem and it's temple by using this calculation of the 70 years. The Bible does not say that there was a specific point starting from the destruction of the temple, for example, which is the unique point from which to start counting a period of 70 years of desolation of Judea.

Then this is compared with a 587 calculation based on 70 years to a temple completion milestone dated to 516. This is just another period of 70 years, but it is not another way to calculate the first period of 70 years, which was 70 years of Babylonian domination according to Jeremiah. It is another period of desolation of the Temple site, but was defined as a period of 70 years of mourning and fasting and wailing over the events involved in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. Therefore they could have started with the siege more than a year before the actual burning of the Temple. So this period could be called a period of 70 years as early as 518, for example.

So while you present both calculations as DIFFERENT ways to figure the date for the destruction of Jerusalem, they are both CORRECT calculations for different periods, only the latter of which is closely related to the date for the destruction of Jerusalem.

 

Just an aside as a postscript:

Of course, there are others who would make the latter 70 years from about 587 to about 517 refer to THE 70 years of desolation, explaining, perhaps, why Daniel asks about the end of the 70 years as soon as the 70 years for Babylon are completed, but Daniel gets an answer that he has to continue to wait past 7 weeks of years (49 years) and then another 62 weeks of years for a real fulfillment. If those two periods are broken with a gap in the middle, then they could represent the time from 588 to 539 (49 years) and another period that might lead to the Messiah or a Messianic event. I don't buy the complication this causes.  

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3 hours ago, JW Insider said:

The 607 calculation is based on claiming that 70 years ended in 538/7 and it is a CORRECT calculation of the 70 years. (plus or minus one or two years)  It's just that it has nothing to do with the date of the destruction of Jerusalem. It's a very good calculation of the 70 years of dominance given to Babylon.

So is it wrong to say that the dominance given to Babylon started with the destruction of Jerusalem?  I know you gave reasons why we cannot be sure when the 70 years started, but as it stands, it looks like it's down to  interpretation....?

Excuse my being a little thick, but just pretend I am a 10 year old

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18 minutes ago, Anna said:

So is it wrong to say that the dominance given to Babylon started with the destruction of Jerusalem?

I think so. The dominance given to Babylon would have been when Babylon became the obvious ascendant heir to the Assyrian Empire. Egypt had dominance when they were the "world empire" then Assyria had dominance when they were the "world empire." Therefore, it would start around 609 BCE and end in 539 BCE, when Babylon was the "world empire." It's the exact same time period given to the 70 years of Babylon over Tyre.

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8 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

I think so. The dominance given to Babylon would have been when Babylon became the obvious ascendant heir to the Assyrian Empire. Egypt had dominance when they were the "world empire" then Assyria had dominance when they were the "world empire." Therefore, it would start around 609 BCE and end in 539 BCE, when Babylon was the "world empire." 

Ok....so that is looking at the dominion of Babylon in general, but wasn't the point of the 70 years referring only to how it affected the Jews politically, i.e. when Jerusalem, as the capital, and the Temple representing everything the Jews stood for, was razed? Wasn't that the coup d'etat? Not all the bits and pieces that occurred all the years leading up to it? (paralyzing fear of Babylon, followed by desecrations by Babylon, deportations to Babylon,  death and destruction by Babylon etc)

22 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

It's the exact same time period given to the 70 years of Babylon over Tyre.

I feel this must be an important point. I have heard about Babylon and Tyre but am not familiar with it. I will have to do some homework on that..

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Hi Anna and JW Insider

Let us be perfectly clear. The 70 years of Jeremiah cannot refer to Babylonish domination alone as dating from either 609 or 695 BCE for the simple reason that the geopolitical world at that time did not favour Babylon but rather Egypt as all good historians know. The geopolitical situation at the Dawn of the 6th Century had Babylon in its infancy with no hegemony respecting the land of Judah. This major historical point reality was made very clear to me when I was presented with a number of slides of maps for the region and time period prepared by the team led by Prof. Obed Lipschits at Tel Aviv University.less than two years ago. The online University program which I received a Certificate of Completion with a Academic Grade is called 'The Fall and Rise of Jerusalem'. Such a program of study proved to me that the 70 years could not have  begun in either 609 or 605 BCE because no event of any significance occurred at these dates to warrant the beginning of the most important event in Biblical and Jewish history namely the beginning of the Exile- a Catastrophe.

Therefore, the only  possible event in history which could begin the 70 years is the destruction of Jerusalem in 607 BCE which is exactly as the Bible describes In Jeremiah, Daniel, Chronicles, Isaiah and Zechariah.

scholar JW

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1 hour ago, scholar JW said:

Let us be perfectly clear. The 70 years of Jeremiah cannot refer to Babylonish domination alone as . . .

At least we should be able to agree that the 70 years that Jeremiah mentions is always about the length of time of Babylonian domination though, right?

Jeremiah mentions the 70 years in three different places and ALWAYS with reference to Babylon's time of domination:

  • (Jeremiah 25:11, 12) 11 And all this land will be reduced to ruins and will become an object of horror, and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon for 70 years.”’ 12 “‘But when 70 years have been fulfilled, I will call to account the king of Babylon and that nation for their error,’ declares Jehovah, ‘and I will make the land of the Chal·deʹans a desolate wasteland for all time.
    • Hello guest!
    (Jeremiah 29:10, from JW.ORG) For Jehovah says, As soon as Babylon has had a full seventy years, I will look after you and keep my good word for you, bringing you back to this place.
    • Hello guest!
    (Jeremiah 29:10, from JW.ORG)
    For thus saith Jehovah, After seventy years are accomplished for Babylon, I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.

Clearly, those involved in developing the Watchtower's doctrine were not too pleased with the fact that the Hebrew says "for Babylon" here, so without any authority from the Hebrew language manuscripts or Dead Sea Scrolls, etc. The NWT decided to translate this as "at Babylon" which gives a slight different idea, as if it might refer to 70 years of Judea's affliction in Babylonian captivity, which of course doesn't even make sense, since people were taken both before and after the time of Jerusalem's destruction.

  • (Jeremiah 29:10) . . .For this is what Jehovah says, ‘When 70 years at Babylon are fulfilled, . . .

The other two translations available on the JW.ORG website, Byington and American Standard, both match the Hebrew by translating the equivalent of "for Babylon." I think the best translation is actually this one:

    Hello guest!

  • (Jeremiah 29:10) This is what the LORD [Jehovah] says: When Babylon's 70 years are over, I will come to you. I will keep my promise to you and bring you back to this place.

For a time, when a couple of the NWT Bibles in other languages began to translate from the Hebrew instead of the English, they actually began using the term "for Babylon" instead of "at Babylon." Currently, with the 2013 NWT, I believe we are back to translating the other languages from the English rather than the the Bible manuscripts.

So I hope you can at least agree about what these 70 years refer to. Do you agree with the Isaiah book where it references Jeremiah's 70 years with respect to Tyre?

*** ip-1 chap. 19 p. 253 par. 21 Jehovah Profanes the Pride of Tyre ***

  • “These nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” (Jeremiah 25:8-17, 22, 27) . . . Evidently, the 70 years represents the period of Babylonia’s greatest domination—when the Babylonian royal dynasty boasts of having lifted its throne even above “the stars of God.” (Isaiah 14:13) Different nations come under that domination at different times. But at the end of 70 years, that domination will crumble.

 

 

 

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JW Insider

No, I cannot agree that Jeremiah's seventy years refers to Babylonish domination alone but only in part for those two texts that you have quoted make it quite clear that the 70 years was also a period of Exile and desolation of the land of Judah.This is proven by the context of Jer. 25:8-11 wherein the Exile and Desolation is well described. In vs. 12 judgement will befall Babylon only after a period of 70 years has expired. In Jer. 29:10 the servitude and Exile to Babylon and in Babylon is foretold. So this means that apart from the other 70 texts of Daniel, Zechariah and Ezra, Jeremiah' confirms the fact of DESOLATION-EXILE-SERVITUDE.

The translation of Jer.29:10 remains a matter of dispute as to whether the Hebrew proposition should properly be rendered as 'for' or'at' as these are possible meanings. However, it does not matter because the above interpretation of the 70 years as outlined above can accommodate either of these two meanings. In short, it makes no difference whatsoever.for the simple reason that the 70 years contains the element of servitude as shown by 'for' indicating purpose  and exile as shown by 'at' indicating location.

The 70 years of Isaiah belonging to TYRE are totally different to Jeremiah's seventy years which belong to Judah so we should not conflate the two periods for the only commonality is that both indicate Babylon's domination either in part or in whole. The 70 years of Jeremiah does contain that one aspect of Babylon's domination or servitude to or for Judah.

scholar JW

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7 hours ago, scholar JW said:

However, it does not matter because the above interpretation of the 70 years as outlined above can accommodate either of these two meanings.

The JW interpretation can't accommodate either meaning because, if it was "at Babylon," the context demands that the exiles Jeremiah was addressing would have been there 80 years - not 70, and the destruction of Jerusalem was still only a future possibility rather than a foregone conclusion. Anyway, we've had this conversation many times before - the scriptural and historical facts speak for themselves and you *still* won't change your views to align with them. Hope you and yours are well, btw. :) 

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I am really late on the scene here as JWI started this topic in 2016, with the intent of keeping it devoid from any personal attacks but keeping strictly to the subject, which is great. I hope also it will be free from personal bias. I am no scholar and I am just starting to look into the 607/587 chronologies, so please bear with me because I may have some stupid questions!

I wouldn't mind keeping to some order and developing this systematically (otherwise I'll get lost with all you guys who know so much about it)

One thing I wouldn't mind having explained first is the for/at Babylon thing. If this was for Babylon, then some sources suggest this meant the the period of the Babylonian empire, but according to Wikipedia: The Neo-Babylonian Empire  began in 626 BC and ended in 539 BC”

So that there is 87 years is it not? So I am thinking,  why would the 70 years apply to Babylon, rather than to the Jews under Babylonian captivity?

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Hi Anna

This highlights a major problem for WT critics as to when should the dating of the 70 years properly begin? Because the beginning of the NB Period is an open question historically speaking. The beginning of the 70 years should be an event that meets all of the prophetic and historic considerations and the only possible candidate for this epochal event is when Jerusalem was destroyed which scholars use the term the 'Fall of Jerusalem'. the 70 years would be and was a period of desolation of the Land Of Judah- a period of servitude for/to Babylon and Exile in/at Babylon- this formula alone encapsulates all of the relevant '70year' texts of Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezra and Zechariah and duly noted by Josephus.

In short, you are quite correct the 70 years applies to Jews exiled to Babylon and to their former homeland-Judah.

scholar JW

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Ann O'Maly

Hi Ann

WT interpretation most certainly accommodates both meanings 'for' or 'at Babylon' because your proposition asserts  that the Exile began 10 years earlier and it is true that for those earlier exiles their length may well have been much longer than 70 years. However, the Biblical passages relevant to this matter synchronize the seventy years with the land being desolate so this requirement necessitates that the Exile proper began only after the Fall in 607 BCE. This viewpoint is in harmony with current scholarship and I urge you to read 'Israel In Exile' by Rainer Albertz and expert in the specialized study of the Exile and Restoration. Further, this also matches the description of the 70 years by Josephus. I can say much more on this topic but that will do for now!

scholar JW

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Another question:

The battle of Megiddo was in 609 where Egypt and its ally the Assyrian Empire went against the Neo-Babylonian empire (also when Josiah is killed and Judah becomes a vassal state of Egypt). 

Then the battle of Carchemish in 605 where the Neo-Babylonian empire defeats the Egyptians...

Are the dates of these two battles recognized by WTS?*

If so, is there any reasonable theory where Jerusalem could have been destroyed by the Babylonians in the years between Megiddo and Carchemish? 

 

*did some research later and no,  according to WT Carchemish happened in 625.  As for Megiddo, WT doesn't seem to give a date, at least I can't find one...ok, found it..WT gives Megiddo 629......it's those notorious 20 years again!

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9 hours ago, Anna said:

 according to WT Carchemish was 625.  and   Megiddo 629.....

 

To get the 609 and 605 dates for the two battles what source was used? I calculated it comes to those dates using VAT 4956, but were there any other sources for dating those two battles? How come  WT dates it earlier by 20 years? 

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9 hours ago, Anna said:

To get the 609 and 605 dates for the two battles what source was used? I calculated it comes to those dates using VAT 4956, but were there any other sources for dating those two battles? How come  WT dates it earlier by 20 years? 

It's pretty simple. The Watchtower merely relies on secular dating to get all dates during this period.

To get any date up to and prior to the destruction of Jerusalem, they merely take the secular date and add 20 years:

  • 587+20=607
  • 605+20=625
  • 609+20=629
  • In effect, this would have to have gone all the way back to Adam, if there had been an unambiguous timeline going all the way back.

In fact, it averages out to something similar when comparing to Bishop Ussher's numbers which put Adam's creation at 4004 BCE and we effectively add 22 years to that (4004+22=4026).

For any date after and including the destruction of Babylon in 539, the Watchtower relies completely on this secular date. They merely take the secular date and add 0 years:

  • 539+0=539

There is an exception made for the reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus, but only so that we can make the 70 weeks of years fit an interpretation that is easier to explain.

*** it-1 p. 182 Artaxerxes ***

  • Artaxerxes Longimanus, the son of Xerxes I, is the king referred to at Ezra 7:1-28 and Nehemiah 2:1-18; 13:6. Whereas most reference works give his accession year as 465 B.C.E., there is sound reason for placing it in 475 B.C.E.—See PERSIA, PERSIANS (The Reigns of Xerxes and of Artaxerxes).

At this point, with Artaxerxes, we are moving back from the secular dating by 10 years, not 20, but that was after accepting the secular dating as exactly correct in 539. The reason is always to make our interpretations work.

The embarrassing part of all of this is that we have absolutely no idea at what point between 607 and 539, for example, that we have actually added the 20 years that we needed. We just say that it's in there somewhere, and maybe someday maybe some evidence will turn up for it.

Remember that the WT had to add 20 years to the Neo-Babylonian calendar to push the destruction of Jerusalem far enough back so that 2,520 years would end in 1914. In effect, then, the WT must add 20 years to every secular date. The WT is forced to break not just one line of evidence for 587, but at least half-a-dozen lines of evidence, plus the evidence derived from LITERALLY!! ALL of more than 10,000 clay tablets and literally ALL the evidence from Babylonian, Assyrian and Persian sources in the relevant time period.

if you look too closely at this, be prepared to become ashamed or become [academically] dishonest. It's just my opinion, but I see no other choices.

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23 hours ago, Anna said:

One thing I wouldn't mind having explained first is the for/at Babylon thing. If this was for Babylon, then some sources suggest this meant the the period of the Babylonian empire, but according to Wikipedia: The Neo-Babylonian Empire  began in 626 BC and ended in 539 BC”

In 626 BCE, Nabopolassar (Nebuchadnezzar's father) took the Babylonian throne from the Assyrian ruler, Sin-šarra-iškun. Yes, Nabop. began a new era of Babylonian rule BUT he didn't gain hegemony over parts of Babylonia and the predominant power Assyria for some years. There were some Babylonian cities/states that were still loyal to Assyria - it was, politically, a messy time with each side trying to wrest control from the other, bringing in support from other sympathetic nations. Eventually, Nabop. prevailed and, with the help of the Medes, trashed Assyria's capital Nineveh in 612 BCE. Aššur-uballit (the new Assyrian king) went west and made Harran the new Assyrian capital. Long story short, Nabop. conquered Harran in 610/609 BCE and took its spoils. Aššur-uballit tried to take it back a few months later in the summer of 609 BCE but failed. The Assyrian kingdom was finished.

So, if one wants to take the 70 years' period of nations' servitude literally (rather than as a rounded or figurative number), one could reasonably argue that Babylonian domination over the nations began in 609 BCE and ended with the Persian conquest of Babylon in 539 BCE.

The point about how long the exiles were 'at Babylon' is that Jeremiah's letter at Jer. 29 is specifically addressed to the vast number of Jews who had been deported in 597 BCE with King Jehoiachin and the royal family (the second recorded siege of Jerusalem in the Bible - the first one, of course, being the one mentioned at Dan. 1:1). Jer. 29:10 says that when the 70 year period was completed, God would turn his attention to these exiles and make good on his promise to bring them back home ... only, if we use WT time, those exiles would have been taken in 617 BCE. So, assuming a 537 BCE return (just for the sake of argument), it would mean the majority of the total number of exiles (from all the deportations) would be 'at Babylon' for 80 - not 70 - years. It doesn't fit.

 

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@scholar JW

Neil, as I said, you and I have had these discussions numerous times. Your objections have been countered and rebutted each time. Rainer Albertz agrees with the conventional timeline (see his table on p. xxi) and you already know what I'm going to say about you selecting one of Josephus' figures over the other one he gives.

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Ann, Yes we have had numerous discussions numerous times and your objections have been countered and rebutted on each and every occasion. Rainer Albertz does conform to traditional Chronology or timeline except that he begins the Exie or Exilic Era from the destruction of Jerusalem in 587/586 BCE, rather than an earlier date. Josephus gives several references which are explanatory of the 70 years and it is only one other that refers to a period of 50 years which alone is contentious.

scholar JW

 

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Ann

It is impossible to begin the 70 years of nation's servitude in 609 BCE because nothing of any historical significance occurred in that year. At that time it is historically incorrect to speak of any Babylonish domination at that time for the major player in the Region was Egypt and remained a dominant player until the Battle at Carchemish some four years later.Further, nowhere does the OT refer to the expression of '70 years of nation's servitude' for it seems you are conflating this with the seventy years of Jeremiah'.Scholars including Albertz refer to 3 deportations so that means that for some exiles their respective exiles would vary in length as you have explained but when we come to the chronology and nature of the 70 years our minds are focussed on that Exile proper which consumed the nation and as Albertz termed it- a CATASTROPHE. It is this Exile which began after the Fall and lasted until the Return which the 70 years of Jeremiah refer because it was commensurate with a period of servitude to Babylon and Desolation of the land of Judah.

scholar JW

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JW Insider

WT Chronology only uses the secular date for the Fall of Babylon in 539 BCE for all other dates are based on the biblical narrative counting backwards or forwards in order to construct a scheme of Chronology, During the Neo-Babylonian Period alone there is found to be a Gap of 20 years and thus is used as 'corrective'in order to harmonize Biblical Chronology with traditional Chronology. For Dates that lie outside this period the biblical data where applicable is used to construct a Chronology that goes far back to Adam in 4026 BCE. 

Your claim that 'we have absolutely no idea at what point between 607 and 539 for example, that we have actually added the 20 years that we needed' is simply nonsense.The fact of the matter is that period, the Neo-Babylonian Period parallels Biblical Period of Jewish history and contains events that are or can be synchronized between both schemes. It is proven that there is a 20 years gap which floats between the two because of the '70' years missing from the NB Period historically, therefore, any interpreter, Chronologist or scholar needs to make an adjustment or corrective in order to harmonize the two systems. This is what scholars call -METHODOLOGY!!!!! This represents sound academic practice.

According to at least not half a dozen as you say but there are 17 lines of evidence which would corroborate NB Chronology along with thousands of clay documents wherein no mention or description of the biblical 70 years occurs. How strange! Yet the Bible mentions. discusses, explains this most important and critical period of biblical history so it cannot be ignored for it intruded upon and shaped the NB Period.

scholar JW

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Anna

Herein I will attempt to answer your questions in your last two posts simply for if you read my responses to Ann and JW Insider these would address your questions in part.

The two dates of 609 and 605 BCE are used in our publications for different events so it is not the events but the dates that are not recognized in our publications or in WT/ Bible Chronology. Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 which of course lies between these two dates but these events, the battle at Carchemish and Megiddo preceded the Fall thus must be duly corrected or adjusted.

The dates for those events 629 and 625 now corrected by means of the insertion of the biblical 70 years causing a twenty-year corrective factor.

scholar JW

 

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7 hours ago, scholar JW said:

During the Neo-Babylonian Period alone there is found to be a Gap of 20 years

Not true. There has never been found to be a 20 year gap. That's the problem. And it really is a problem of honesty. No one has found one, no one has seen any hint of one. No one would even know where to look for such a gap because each and every year is completely accounted for.

7 hours ago, scholar JW said:

WT Chronology only uses the secular date for the Fall of Babylon in 539 BCE for all other dates are based on the biblical narrative counting backwards or forwards in order to construct a scheme of Chronology

As I said, it is a matter of honesty. Although merely highlighting the word "scheme" here would be a cheap shot. The real problems were already discussed and you (scholar JW) already failed to provide any evidence for your claims, even though you gave the impression you have been looking for evidence even among scholarly circles for many years now.

It's almost like you have come into a room with 100 people to claim that 20+30=70, while 99 others are saying that 20+50=70. You can't find your evidence, but say it exists, then you go away for a time but come back saying the evidence exists, but you still can't find it.

7 hours ago, scholar JW said:

Your claim that 'we have absolutely no idea at what point between 607 and 539 for example, that we have actually added the 20 years that we needed' is simply nonsense.The fact of the matter is that period, the Neo-Babylonian Period parallels Biblical Period of Jewish history and contains events that are or can be synchronized between both schemes. It is proven that there is a 20 years gap which floats between the two because of the '70' years missing from the NB Period historically, therefore, any interpreter, Chronologist or scholar needs to make an adjustment or corrective in order to harmonize the two systems. This is what scholars call -METHODOLOGY!!!!! This represents sound academic practice.

As I said, it is a matter of honesty. You don't have any idea at what point between 607 and 539 where you have added the 20 years. It's as if you think it just floats somewhere between the two dates. Then you say it is proven, but you still say that you have no idea where the point is. You even admit the words that:

  • "there is is a 20 years gap which floats between the two because of the '70' years missing from the NB Period historically."

What does that even mean? That you actually do know the point because it floats somewhere at some unknown point? As I said, it's a matter of honesty. What you have done here is what scholars call a lack of methodology. It's completely unsound academic practice. Sorry, but it sounds like pretentiousness in the hopes that no one will read what you just said very carefully.

7 hours ago, scholar JW said:

According to at least not half a dozen as you say but there are 17 lines of evidence which would corroborate NB Chronology along with thousands of clay documents

Yes. There are even more lines of secular evidence that corroborate a timetable which is also confirmed by the Bible. And this overwhelming evidence is no challenge at all to the Bible's chronology. The Bible chronology works just fine with the secular chronology here. The 70 years of Jeremiah is a nearly perfect fit, as a matter of fact.

But there is a simple way for you to show whether you are telling the truth. If you actually do have an idea at what point between 607 and 539 you have added the 20 years, simply tell me where it is. You have the secular dates, nearly a 50 year period from 587 to 538, and you know the names and length of reigns of each of the know Neo-Babylonian kings in this period that have even been admitted by the Watchtower publications. So just tell us where the extra 20 years fits into that secular chronology. Show us at what point the secular chronology went wrong, and then we'll know if what you said was true, or nonsense.

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JW Insider

The Babylonian Gap of 20 years is proved by comparing that period with the 70 years of biblical history, The Bible specifies the period which was commensurate with the Babylonian Period therefore that Period requires that adjustment. Such a corrective harmonized all of the data allowing an accurate scheme of chronology to be realized

The scheme of WT chronology.is a valid presentation of all of the evidence and can be tested and has been subject to scholarly inquiry over many decades but recent research has proven its validity such as in the case of Furuli's research into VAT 4956 amongst other things. I am no late entrant into this discussion but remain very comfortable not only with our Chronology but of others and have long debated these matters over decades with many different WT critics.

You do not need a specific point to insert the twenty years but if you require some specificity I would insert it between the Neb's 18th year and the last year of Nabonidus' reign in 539 BCE for that will do nicely.Honesty requires consideration of all relevant factors so if you ignore the 70 years then your scholarship is compromised. This requires sound methodology and this is plainly evident because all factors are considered even secular evidence where necessary and relevant. There is no room for pretentiousness in Chronology but simply following the evidence where it leads.

Traditional Chronology ignores the seventy years mostly and where some have included it in their schemes there is a lack of consistency in its timing or its nature is misconstrued eg such lists or schemes end it with the Fall of Babylon and not the Return so this creates many problems. In your last paragraph, I have answered your question in the foregoing: iNSERT the 20 years anywhere between 587/586 and 539 BCE and that will expand the timeline to 607 BCE. QED

scholar JW

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15 hours ago, scholar JW said:

Rainer Albertz does conform to traditional Chronology or timeline except that he begins the Exie or Exilic Era from the destruction of Jerusalem in 587/586 BCE, rather than an earlier date.

... and finishes it in 520 BCE, while acknowledging that "it is difficult to delimit the exilic period historically" and there were "substantial deportations" from earlier times (p. 2). This doesn't help your defense of WT's chronology, Neil. Why bring it up?

14 hours ago, scholar JW said:

It is impossible to begin the 70 years of nation's servitude in 609 BCE because nothing of any historical significance occurred in that year.

Perhaps you need to re-read my earlier post that evidences the opposite.

14 hours ago, scholar JW said:

At that time it is historically incorrect to speak of any Babylonish domination at that time for the major player in the Region was Egypt and remained a dominant player until the Battle at Carchemish some four years later.

ip-1 chap. 19 p. 253 par. 21
"Evidently, the 70 years represents the period of Babylonia’s greatest domination—when the Babylonian royal dynasty boasts of having lifted its throne even above “the stars of God.” (Isaiah 14:13) Different nations come under that domination at different times."

14 hours ago, scholar JW said:

Further, nowhere does the OT refer to the expression of '70 years of nation's servitude' for it seems you are conflating this with the seventy years of Jeremiah'.

Jer. 25:11 - "'And all this land will be reduced to ruins and will become an object of horror, and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon for 70 years.'"

3 hours ago, scholar JW said:

The scheme of WT chronology.is a valid presentation of all of the evidence and can be tested and has been subject to scholarly inquiry over many decades but recent research has proven its validity such as in the case of Furuli's research into VAT 4956 amongst other things.

You don't know whether Furuli's 'research' is valid or not. You've not checked.
 

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@scholar JW,

At least you have admitted that your claim was totally FALSE. Thank you.

Let's review:

  • I said that we [in the WT publications] have absolutely no idea at what point between 607 and 539, for example, that we have actually added the 20 years that we needed. We just say that it's in there somewhere, and maybe someday maybe some evidence will turn up for it.
  • You said, that's nonsense. More specifically you even said: "Your claim that 'we have absolutely no idea at what point between 607 and 539 for example, that we have actually added the 20 years that we needed' is simply nonsense."
  • I said: there is a simple way for you to show whether you are telling the truth. If you actually do have an idea at what point between 607 and 539 you have added the 20 years, simply tell me where it is.
  • Then you admit that you have still FAILED to identify the point in question. You said that you can INSERT the 20 years anywhere between 587/586 and 539 BCE.

Your last statement is so patently false. It's such an admission of failure that I'm surprised you ever bothered to call something I said "nonsense" and then so clearly showed that it was correct all along.

As I said, it's a matter of honesty.

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@Anna ,

I think that the following explanation offers a good start for discussing the points in a well organized manner. It's well written, easy to understand, and I don't think it comes from anyone who has a biased stake in the current Watchtower explanation. It's just another person trying to grapple with the same Bible verses that we are, and trying to defend the Bible against Bible detractors. From here to the remainder of the post, it's all a quote from an article at

    Hello guest!

-----------beginning of quote, through end of this post -------------

Seventy years of Babylonian rule: A detailed look at Jeremiah 25:9-12 and some objections that skeptics have

Many people have questioned the accuracy of Jeremiah's prophecy about a 70-year period during which Babylon would dominate Judah and hold Jews as captives in Babylon. These questions, in my opinion, are based on a mistaken belief that the captivity was supposed to last 70 years. My response is in three parts:

  • Part 1. Summary of my understanding of the prophecy
  • Part 2. My explanation of when the 70 years ended.
  • Part 3. My theory on when the 70 years began.

Part 1. Summary of my understanding of the prophecy:

1. Jeremiah 25:9-12 said that Judah would serve Babylon for 70 years.

2. Jeremiah 29:10 makes it clear that Babylon's domination of Judah would include a captivity during which Jews would be taken as captives to Babylon.

3. Jeremiah 29:10 said that the captivity would end when the "70 years" ended.

4. But Jeremiah never said that the captivity itself would last 70 years. He only said that Babylonian rule would last 70 years.

5. Babylon's rule lasted 70 years, from 609 BC when the last Assyrian king, Ashur-uballit II, was defeated in Harran, until 539 BC when the Medo-Persians conquered Babylon.

Part 2. My explanation of when the 70 years ended:

The people who have questioned the accuracy of this prophecy are, as far as I have been able to determine, are correct in that the captivity Jews in Babylon did not last 70 years, if the commonly assigned dates for the captivity are taken seriously. Most historical sources that I have seen state that 539 BC was the year that Babylon was conquered by the Medo-Persians. And that would seem to be a reasonable ending date for the captivity. But when did the captivity begin? Some say it began in 597 BC, when Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem. If this date is accepted, then the captivity spanned no more than 59 years. So how does or 59 years equal 70 years? It can't and it doesn't.

Believers, including myself, often point out that the book of Daniel states that there was an earlier taking of captives from Judah to Babylon, in either 605 BC or 606 BC, depending on which source of information is used. And, the believers often point out that although Cyrus conquered Babylon in 539 BC, he didn't release the Jews until the following year, in 538 BC or even 537 BC. And some believers have assigned the actual year in which the Jews of Babylon did begin to return to Judah was 537 BC or 536 BC. Using the two extremes as the starting and ending points, one could arrive at a 70-year span. But, in my opinion, none of this is even necessary because Jeremiah never said that the captivity would last 70 years. He only said that Babylonian rule would last 70 years.

In Jeremiah 25:9-12, it said that Judah and the surrounding nations would serve Babylon for 70 years. But, Jeremiah does not say that the forced deportation of Jews from Judah would last 70 years. The captivity is something that grew out of Babylon's domination of Judah. The domination was supposed to span 70 years, but Jeremiah never said that the captivity itself would span 70 years. Below is the NIV translation of Jeremiah 25:9-12:

Jeremiah 25:9-12

9 I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon," declares the LORD, "and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin.

10 I will banish from them the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light of the lamp.

11 This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

12 "But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt," declares the LORD, "and will make it desolate forever.

But, in Jeremiah 29:10, Jeremiah does clearly say that the captivity will terminate at the end of the 70-year period. Below is the NIV translation of Jeremiah 29:10:

Jeremiah 29:10

This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place.

In Daniel 9:1-2, the prophet Daniel refers to the 70 years in that "the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years." But he too does not state that the captivity was supposed to last 70 years. What did he mean by "desolation?" Some might argue that he meant "captivity." But that would be an assumption, and nothing more than an assumption. And, in my opinion, given the fact that Daniel is probably referring to the Jeremiah prophecy, it would be a weak assumption to think that he meant "captivity" when he said "desolation." The desolation could simply refer to Babylonian domination, lasting from 609 BC to 539 BC. Others might claim that the "desolation" that Daniel referred to might actually be a reference to the 70 years in which the Temple had been destroyed. The Temple, and Jerusalem, were destroyed in 586 BC by the Babylonians. The Temple, which was rebuilt, was consecrated in 516 BC, 70 years after its destruction. Below is the NIV translation of Daniel 9:1-2:

Daniel 9:1-2

1 In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom--

2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.

In 2 Chronicles 36:19-21, the Bible refers to a 70 year period during which the land of Judah enjoyed its Sabbath rests. This Bible passage begins with a reference to the 586 BC destruction of Jerusalem, during which the Temple was also destroyed. If it specifically meant to apply Jeremiah's 70-year prophecy to the destruction of the city, then that application could find fulfillment in that the Temple remained destroyed and non-operational for 70 years, from 586 BC to 516 BC. After the Jews rebuilt the Temple, it was consecrated in 516 BC. But regardless of how the 70 years reference is being used in this passage, it does not say that the captivity itself would last 70 years. Below is the NIV translation of 2 Chronicles 36:19-21:

2 Chronicles 36:19-21

19 They set fire to God's temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there.

20 He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power.

21 The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah.

In Zechariah 1:12, the prophet Zechariah makes a passing reference to a 70 year period. But that passage also does not in any way contradict my contention that the 70 year prophecy of Jeremiah refers to Babylonian rule and that Jeremiah never said that the captivity would last 70 years.

Part 3. My theory on when the 70 years began:

When did Babylon begin its domination of Judah? We know that there are historical records that claim that the Assyrian Empire dominated Judah, and many other nations. And we know that the Assyrian Empire was conquered by the Babylonian Empire.

In 612 B.C. the Babylonians and the Medes conquered Nineveh, which at that time was the capital of the Assyrian Empire. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica: "…Nineveh suffered a defeat from which it never recovered. Extensive traces of ash, representing the sack of the city by Babylonians, Scythians, and Medes in 612 BC, have been found in many parts of the Acropolis. After 612 BC the city ceased to be important…"

After the defeat of Nineveh, the last of the Assyrian kings, Ashur-uballit II, fled to the west with members of his army. Most online historical references that I have been able to find state that the reign of Ashur-uballit II ended in 609 BC. My sources for this are the two Web site addresses below, the first of which is a page from the Missouri Western State College web site:

    Hello guest!

The conquest of the Assyrian Empire allowed Babylon and the Medes to divide the empire amongst themselves. The Babylonians chose a vast area of the Assyrian-controlled territories, including Judah and the surrounding countries.

Using the 609 BC date for the demise of the Assyrian Empire and for the rise of the new Babylonian Empire, and using the 539 BC date for the end of the Babylonian Empire, we end up with a 70-year span of Babylonian rule. That, for the reasons described above, is what I believe is the 70-year period referred to in Jeremiah 25:9-12 and Jeremiah 29:10.

 

----- end of quote from

    Hello guest!

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I admit to no such thing. Honesty is a two-way street. The simple fact is that NB Chronology as currently presented fails to mention or include the 70 years and its impact on the life and times of its vanquished people and their Land of Judah. the Biblical record contains such a period so when one wishes to construct a scheme based on the Bible then clearly there is a Gap of 20 years. Thus, the NB Period is falsified by this Gap of twenty years so to ignore it is dishonest. The twenty years must be inserted somewhere so that would be at the discretion of the Chronologist and according to his/her Methodology.

You choose to ignore the Gap along with most if not all other scholars so that is fine with me for in any event Chronology is personal, is individual and this accounts for the many schemes and interpretations at present. Chronology is based on  Methodology and Interpretation which underscores the foregoing.

The Gap exists when one compares one scheme with another. If you make no comparison then there is no Gap. If you choose to ignore the historical reality of the 70 years then also there is no Gap. You preach Honesty to me and yet you choose to ignore such a major piece of Biblical/Jewish history which was the Exile leaving Judah totally devastated whilst its population was enslaved by a foreign conqueror-Babylon. Whitewashing history is dishonest and trivializing the period by adopting 'fuzzy' beginning, 609 BCE and a 'fuzzy' end, 539 BCE is also dishonest. Perhaps now you should make that insertion at a point of time within the NB Period!!!

scholar JW

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Anna

Ann O Maly has kindly posted links to two scholarly articles by Ross Winkle on the Seventy Years. I recommend both articles but please be advised that these are published by a University affiliated with the Seventh Day Adventists. Also, if you choose to examine these articles do not neglect the other major  studies that Winkle references in ftn.1. p.201 of first article-PART 1.

Methodology:

1. Read all of the 70 texts and take personal notes on your thoughts

2. Research WT publications on each of those texts so that you have a firm understanding of the subject

3. Read Winkle's article again take personal notes or questions

4. Contact me for any assistance required

scholar JW

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JW Insider

After I had made a post to you this morning I was sitting on the throne whereupon much inspiration and meditation can be entered into for knows how great minds have constructed ideas which have altered the course of history or civilization. I thought of you and your need for some insertion regarding the 20 years Babylonian Gap. So, I propose that in view of the fact that NB Chronology is silent regarding Neb's 18th year when he destroyed Jerusalem and King Zedekiah's 11 th year that it should be at that time and event the 20 years could be inserted thus altering the traditional 587 or 586 BCE to 607 BCE.

See, I have most dutifully corrected the problem.

scholar JW

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Ann O Maly

I brought Rainer Albertz up because his view on the timing and nature of the Exile agrees with us in many respects but not all

 

. He begins the Exile not from 609 BCE the choice of many scholars but from the Fall of Jerusalem in 587/6 BCE but differs from us in that he ends the Exile in 539 BCE with the Fall of Babylon.  In that same paragraph on p.2 He begins the Exilic Era from that same event, the Fall of Jerusalem in 587/6 and ends it in 520 BCE which is OK with me. Also, he dates the seventy years from 587 BCE until 517 and not 609 BCE which supports our view but differs on the endpoint based on his interpretation of the two texts in Zechariah.

I repeat nothing of any historical significance occurred in 609 according to NB Chronology. If there is something then state it but remember it must be of such significance that warrants the beginning of the 70 years.  

 

Jere. 25;11 is problematic for all exegetes because ' these nations are not identified. This could refer to the inhabitants of Judah or it could refer to the peoples of the Babylonian Empire. There are a number of linguistic possibilities and the immediate context which targets Judah alone is the determinant factor.

No  I have not checked Furuli's hypothesis as to its validity but others have and it has been subject to Peer Review. But boy it is impressive don't you think?

scholar JW

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Ann OMaly

An update on Jer.25:11: I do not withdraw my comment that nowhere in the OT does the seventy years refers to the nation's servitude to Babylon and in the context of all of the seventy years of Jeremiah's corpus for this applies to Judah alone. However, Jer. 25:11 can be interpreted as it is read so in accordance with the insightful comment in Keil & Delitzch's Commentary On the Old Testament, Vol.8.p.374 it offers this interesting observation on 'these nations'. In short, these peop[es or nations which surrounded Judah would also be desolated and along with Judah would have to serve Babylon. So it could well be argued at the time of Judah' servitude, desolation and exile other nations also experienced that same fury whether at that time or later is unknown so the Babylonish intervention during that time may well have  extended beyond the borders of Judah which raise some additional questions of research. The text in view has a number of interpretations regarding its application to 'these nation's.in the context of the entire chapter. Rolf Furuli has discussed the linguistics of this verse with alternative translations.

Another interpretation concerns these nations viewed metaphorically or theologically namely with the downfall of Jehovah;s kingship at Jerusalem with the end of the Davidic Monarchy it could be said that all other nations were now subject to Babylonian sovereignty. These are just short comments but nothing obscures the simple fact that Judah served Babylon for 70 years whilst exiled at Babylon leaving behind a devastated and depopulated land of Judah and perhaps beyond its borders. It is amazing how one simple expression opens many other doors for further reflection and research and I thank you for quoting that text.

scholar JW

 

 

 

 

 

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On 12/10/2017 at 3:02 PM, scholar JW said:

Honesty is a two-way street.

No. Honesty is NOT a two-way street. I hope you are not thinking of "theocratic war strategy" when you consider it OK to be dishonest if you consider someone to be an enemy or not entitled to honesty.

*** w57 5/1 p. 286 Use Theocratic War Strategy ***

  • So in time of spiritual warfare it is proper to misdirect the enemy by hiding the truth.

*** it-2 p. 244 Lie ***

  • ". . . saying something false to a person who is entitled to know the truth . . ."
On 12/10/2017 at 3:02 PM, scholar JW said:

Thus, the NB Period is falsified by this Gap of twenty years so to ignore it is dishonest.

This is misdirection through circular reasoning.

If Bob says 20+30=70, and Jim says 20+50=70, Bob can't say Jim is dishonest because Jim is ignoring Bob's 20-integer Gap.

On 12/10/2017 at 3:02 PM, scholar JW said:

for in any event Chronology is personal,

No. Chronology is not "personal."

On 12/10/2017 at 3:02 PM, scholar JW said:

If you choose to ignore the historical reality of the 70 years then also there is no Gap

This is part of the false, circular reasoning. I find no Gap, and yet I choose NOT to ignore the historical reality of the 70 years. I find all 70 years perfectly accounted for.

On 12/10/2017 at 3:02 PM, scholar JW said:

Whitewashing history is dishonest and trivializing the period by adopting 'fuzzy' beginning, 609 BCE and a 'fuzzy' end, 539 BCE is also dishonest. Perhaps now you should make that insertion at a point of time within the NB Period!!!

I have already stated my acceptance of making the insertion point of the 70 years of Babylonian "empire" from 609 to 539. But I am not against someone accepting a "fuzzy" beginning or end to this period -- within reason. I know, for example, that the Watchtower teaches a "fuzzy end" of this period that admits that the Babylonian empire ended in 539 but also admits that we are only guessing when we say that the Jews returned to end this period in 537. I am not concerned about the 2 years of the Watchtower's "fuzziness" as you would call it. There was a time when the Watchtower accepted 536 as the first year of Cyrus - and not only the first year, but the year of the Edict itself. If there were good reasons to accept that this "70-year period" was shorter, or longer by a few years, or even symbolic, I'd have no problem with it, and I therefore have no problem with a date near 537 as the end of the period. (And I'd have no problem with a date like 607 as the beginning of the 70 years.) But you will see why I consider "honesty" to be an integral part of the discussion when we look more closely at how the Watch Tower publications have "toyed" with this time period.

*** it-1 p. 458 Chronology ***

  • During Cyrus’ first year his decree releasing the Jews from exile was given. And, as considered in the article on CYRUS, it is very probable that the decree was made by the winter of 538 B.C.E. or toward the spring of 537 B.C.E. This would permit the Jews time to make necessary preparations, effect the four-month journey to Jerusalem, and still arrive there by the seventh month (Tishri, or about October 1) of 537 B.C.E.

*** w07 9/1 p. 19 par. 9 Highlights From the Book of Daniel ***

  • The year is now 539 B.C.E. Babylon has fallen, and Darius the Mede has become ruler over the kingdom of the Chaldeans

*** w05 5/1 p. 12 par. 18 The Resurrection—A Teaching That Affects You ***

  • he received a vision in 536 B.C.E., the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia. (Daniel 1:1; 10:1) Some time during that third year of Cyrus, Daniel received a vision of the march of world powers

So Babylon fell in 539, and Cyrus therefore had the power and authority to declare Babylon's captives to be free immediately: in 539. In fact, one Biblical meaning of "first year" as you know (and as you yourself have pointed out previously) can refer to the accession year, which in this case would be 539. But notice that the "Insight" book, in the first of the three quotes above, pushes his "first-year" decree all the way out into 537 or "toward" 537, but in the last quote his third year is 536.

Older Watchtower publications placed Cyrus first year in 536, or even his accession year when Babylon was destroyed, in 536. So in Watchtower terms, both his first year and his third year have, at times, been stated to be 536.

*** Watch Tower, 6/1/1905, p.183

  • In accordance with the Edict of Cyrus (536 B.C.) many of the Israelites returned from Babylon and laid the foundations of the Temple.
      Hello guest!
    , however, states that the work then "ceased unto the 2nd year of the reign of Darius, king of Persia." The length of time from the Edict of Cyrus in 536 B.C. . . .

Throughout all of the earlier publications the statements were always consistent with these examples below:

  • All students of chronology may be said to be agreed, that the first year of Cyrus was the year 536 before the beginning of our Anno Domini era. (Watch Tower, 5/1896, p.113)
  • With these facts before us, we readily find the date for the beginning of the Gentile Times of dominion; for the first year of the reign of Cyrus is a very clearly fixed date--both secular and religious histories with marked unanimity agreeing with Ptolemy's Canon, which places it B.C. 536. (The Time Is At Hand, p.79-80)

So the THREE YEARS of "fuzziness" in the Watchtower's explanations of this date have all been necessary in order to keep 1914 afloat. At first, it could have been that the Jews began returning in the year of the Edict, 536, back when all students of chronology supposedly agreed that the first year of Cyrus was 536. Then, when all students of chronology must have supposedly realized that "Ptolemy's Canon" actually would have placed the destruction of Babylon by Cyrus in 539, that's when some scrambling began. The solution was to try to push the Edict as close to 537 as possible (see "Insight," above) nearly two years after Cyrus had destroyed Babylon.

Then we still needed an extra year for 1914 to work, so we thought there would have to be a few months of preparation time, and then about 4 more months of travel. Perfect!! We resolved the three years of fuzziness with some conjecture.

You already know that something very similar happened when it was discovered that "all students of chronology" realized that there was no ZERO year. The destruction of Jerusalem had to be moved from 606 to 607 in order for 1914 to work. So it was a "fuzzy" date anyway, and moving it just one year was not a problem.

Therefore in Watchtower chronology, BOTH ends of this period were considered very fuzzy and flexible.

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13 hours ago, scholar JW said:

After I had made a post to you this morning I was sitting on the throne ...

xD Ah ha. That explains the subsequent bout of verbal ... um ... outpourings.

12 hours ago, scholar JW said:

No  I have not checked Furuli's hypothesis as to its validity but others have and it has been subject to Peer Review. But boy it is impressive don't you think?

Yes, it is impressive ... but for all the wrong reasons.

 

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17 hours ago, scholar JW said:

After I had made a post to you this morning I was sitting on the throne whereupon much inspiration and meditation can be entered into for knows how great minds have constructed ideas which have altered the course of history or civilization. . . . See, I have most dutifully corrected the problem.

Well, I'll look into how dutifully the problem has been corrected. Let's hope it's duty-free, considering where you've been. :$

17 hours ago, scholar JW said:

I thought of you and your need for some insertion regarding the 20 years Babylonian Gap. So, I propose that in view of the fact that NB Chronology is silent regarding Neb's 18th year when he destroyed Jerusalem and King Zedekiah's 11 th year that it should be at that time and event the 20 years could be inserted thus altering the traditional 587 or 586 BCE to 607 BCE.

So, you are saying that the 20 years can be inserted altogether in one piece starting in Nebuchadnezzar's 18th year, which was also the same point as King Zedekiah's 11th year. This would, of course, mean that Nebuchadnezzar did not just rule for 43 years, but for 63 years. This is where those 10,000 tablets could really help out your theory. There are plenty of tablets representing every year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign from his first to his 43rd, but you have absolutely zero for every one of these extra 20 years.

The evidence from thousands of tablets is actually definitive enough. But you would also have an  bigger problem, the Bible itself:

Notice that if your dates were correct then Jehoiachin would have surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar in 597 which you would call 617, assuming this 20-year gap theory was correct. This is admitted in the "Insight" book:

*** it-1 p. 1267 Jehoiachin ***

  • It appears that Jehoiakim died during this siege and Jehoiachin ascended the throne of Judah. His rule ended, however, a mere three months and ten days later, when he surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar in 617 B.C.E.  . . . 

    In fulfillment of Jehovah’s word through Jeremiah, he was taken into Babylonian exile. (Jer 22:24-27; 24:1; 27:19, 20; 29:1, 2) Other members of the royal household, court officials, craftsmen, and warriors were also exiled.—2Ki 24:14-16;

  • (2 Kings 25:27) 27 And in the 37th year of the exile of King Je·hoi?a·chin of Judah, in the 12th month, on the 27th day of the month, King E?vil-mer?o·dach of Babylon, in the year he became king, released King Je·hoi?a·chin of Judah from prison.

*** it-1 p. 1267 Jehoiachin ***

  • In the fifth year of JehoiachinÂ’s exile, Ezekiel began his prophetic work. (Eze 1:2) About 32 years later, evidently in 580 B.C.E., Jehoiachin was released from prison by NebuchadnezzarÂ’s successor Evil-merodach (Awil-Marduk) and given a position of favor above all the other captive kings. Thereafter he ate at Evil-merodachÂ’s table and received a daily allowance.—2Ki 25:27-30; Jer 52:31-34.

In other words, the Bible shows that your theory is impossible because the Bible confirms that the secular tablets are correct in giving Nebuchadnezzar only 43 years. You can't squeeze out more than 43 years in his reign, if Evil-Merodach became king in the 37th year of Jehoiachin's exile. The Bible also, therefore, agrees with "Ptolemy's Canon" and the evidence from all the astronomical tablets here, too.

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31 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

In other words, the Bible shows that your theory is impossible because the Bible confirms that the secular tablets are correct in giving Nebuchadnezzar only 43 years. You can't squeeze out more than 43 years in his reign, if Evil-Merodach became king in the 37th year of Jehoiachin's exile. The Bible also, therefore, agrees with "Ptolemy's Canon" and the evidence from all the astronomical tablets here, too.

Again, I will quote from a source that attempts to support the Bible, but evidently with no particular stake, one way or another, in the Watchtower's version. Below I am quoting two paragraphs from

    Hello guest!

Jeconiah is of course the same as Jehoiachin:

 

-------------- start of quote from website ---------------

Reign

Jeconiah reigned three months and ten days, from December 9, 598 to March 15/16, 597 BC. He succeeded Jehoiakim as king of Judah[2Ki.24:6] in December 598, after raiders from surrounding lands invaded Jerusalem[2Ki.24:2] and killed his father. It is likely that the king of Babylon was behind this effort, as a response to Jehoiakim's revolt, starting sometime after 601 BC. Three months and ten days after Jeconiah became king, the armies of Nebuchadnezzar II seized Jerusalem. The intention was to take high class Judahite captives and assimilate them into Babylonian society. On March 15/16th, 597 BC,[5]:217 Jeconiah, his entire household and three thousand Jews, were exiled to Babylon.

Release from captivity

According to 2 Kings 25:27, Jeconiah was released from prison "in the 37th year of the exile", in the year that Amel-Marduk (Evil-Merodach) came to the throne. Babylonian records show that Amel-Marduk began his reign in October 562 BC.[8] According to 2 Kings 25:27, Jeconiah was released from prison "on the 27th day of the twelfth month", during March of 561 BC. This indicates the first year of captivity to be 598/597 BC, according to Judah's Tishri-based calendar. The 37th year of captivity was thus, by Judean reckoning, the year that began in Tishri of 562, consistent with the synchronism to the accession year of Amel-Marduk given in Babylonian records.

------------- end of quote from website --------------------

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 JW Insider.

Honesty is a two-way street required by both sides in a debate therefore no need for any ;theocratic war strategy..

If the Gap does not exist then how do you account for the 20 year difference between 586/587 BCE and 607 BCE for the same event? No need for circular reasoning here.

Chronology is personal because most if not all schemes of Chronology are written up by individuals beginning with James Ussher also such is based on Methodology, personally selected and Interpretation again personally selected.

If there is no Gap then why or what are we discussing?

You talk honesty but your following comments replete with many references to earlier WT Publications finally concluding that some dates were or are fuzzy! Yet you begin your diatribe with the astonishing statement that the Babylonian Empire began in 609 BCE. What nonsense for nothing of any historical significance occurred in 609 BCE. Carl Jonsson in the 2nd edn of his Gentile Times Reconsidered produced a Chart on p.235. This Chart presents a' fuzzy' statement that the 70 years began with the Assyria crushed with no historical data in support to support this assertion.

Chronology is not an exact science for it is always a 'work in progress' and is simply a scheme or device that relates history into our modern  day calendation. It is based on  Methodology and Interpretation for these are the 'tools' of the Chronologist and explains why our dates in the past have been adjusted, a feature common to all modern-day chronologies. You only have to compare the different Chronologies for the Divided Monarchy and to examine the conflict over whether Jerusalem fell in 586 or 587 BEC.

One thing can be said about our wondrous Bible Chronology there is no room for 'fuzziness' or dogmatism.

scholar JW

 

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JW Insider.

Now I am off the throne and in a relieved state I am ready for battle.. 

Nebuchadnezzer reigned for 43 years and not 63 years as shown by NB Chronology.Methodology allows one to insert 20 years into the scheme in order to harmonize NB Chronology with Biblical history via the seventy years of Jeremiah unaccounted for in NB Chronology..i have suggested that in Neb's 18th regnal years which of course would expand the the NB Period by 20 years. Now , I hear a very loud voice of protest about such an intrusion but that is not my problem it a problem for those scholars or scribes who compiled the list of reigns in the first place. they should have exercised greater diligence and not been sloppy or careless. They were very naughty.

Your claim that our theory is impossible is unclear to me because we accept the 43 years of Neb' s reign and have well described how this synchronizes with the reigns of the last Kings of Judah according to the biblical data. If it does not fit certain data from the NB Chronology then that is not my problem. Just make the required adjustment based only on trusted biblical facts . If you have found a problem then why not try to solve it? DO YOU WANT ME TO SOLVE IT FOR YOU. Already, there are other problems in connection with Jehoiakim's reign such as the 'third year of his kingship' in Dan. 1:1. and this is explained in the Insight article under 'Jehoiakim'. You will find the chart for the Reigns of Judah and Israel published in the Aid  book most helpful.

If you want me to solve your problem then present your question simply and clearly. Just present the facts, skip the references. Chronology is complex enough so simplicity works for me. You got it?  When I get a problem I usually get the solution even though it can be hard work.

scholar JW

 

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20 hours ago, scholar JW said:

Honesty is a two-way street required by both sides in a debate therefore no need for any ;theocratic war strategy..

You were using the term "honesty is a two-way street" as if it were an excuse to explain why you made a false claim. In a "debate" you don't get to make false claims and then make excuses for it. You should be honest no matter what you think of the other person's evidence.

20 hours ago, scholar JW said:

If the Gap does not exist then how do you account for the 20 year difference between 586/587 BCE and 607 BCE for the same event? No need for circular reasoning here.

There is no gap in the NB evidence. You don't create a gap in another set of evidence by simply making a claim that one exists:

Let's say that I have a coin collection of all the different types of United States coins made during World War 1: a 1914 penny, nickel, dime, quarter, half-dollar, silver dollar, gold quarter-eagle, gold half-eagle, etc., etc., from each of the applicable locations where coins are officially minted. Let's say that  I have an entire set not just from 1914, but also from 1915, 1916, 1917 and 1918. Now you come along and tell me that there is a three-year gap in my WW1 coin collection. But that doesn't create a gap in my collection. It does not create a gap in the evidence for when WW1 started and ended. It just creates a gap in your credibility.

If I ask you where this supposed three-year gap might be placed, you could say that the extra three years should be placed between 1916 and 1917. Again, this claim is only a gap in your own credibility and it has no effect on the evidence for what coins were made during World War 1 and it has no effect on the evidence for the actual years of World War 1. It's just a claim. Even if it came from your beloved grandfather who has never told a lie before, it still doesn't mean that the start of World War 1 must now be reset to 1911 instead of 1914.

You could insist that there must be a three-year gap because your grandfather actually told you that World War 1 started in 1911. He is so sure of it that he has also pushed back the beginning of the U.S. Civil war to 1858 instead of 1861, and the U.S. Declaration of Independence from Britain to July 4, 1773 instead of 1776. But this would only mean that you (and your grandfather) have a gap. It does not produce any gap in United States chronology or coinage.

20 hours ago, scholar JW said:

If there is no Gap then why or what are we discussing?

We are certainly not discussing any gap in the NB evidence itself, but a gap in someone else's claim about it. We are discussing the idea that you believe there is a gap somewhere in the NB, but you still don't even know exactly where that gap should be placed. We are in exactly the same type situation that would be created if you and your grandfather were claiming that World War 1 started in 1911 instead of 1914, assuming that you agreed that it ended in 1918, but that WW1 covered parts of 8 different years (1911-1918) instead of parts of 5 different years (1914-1918). But you still don't know where the current evidence for WW1 from 1914 to 1918 went wrong. Perhaps the three years of information you need to add should be inserted between the current evidence for 1916 and 1917. Or between the current evidence for 1917 and 1918. Or perhaps the three years should be added between February 3, 1915 and February 4, 1915.

20 hours ago, scholar JW said:

You talk honesty but your following comments replete with many references to earlier WT Publications finally concluding that some dates were or are fuzzy!

The history of these Watchtower dates that you are relying on is fuzzy. The reasons the Watchtower has needed them to be fuzzy becomes sharp and clear when you study the history of the Watchtower's chronology claims more closely. And you don't even need the older publications because the CURRENT "Insight" book admits that the two year difference between 539 and 537 is based on something that "is very probable." Current publications put the third year of Cyrus at 536, but the first year of Cyrus is pushed as closely as possible toward the spring of 537. Obviously, the WTS does this, even though Cyrus had the authority to release captives in 539 and 538, but we just don't want any Jews coming back in 539 or 538,  as that would throw off 1914 by throwing off 607 by a year or two. In the past, we allowed them to come back in 536 because we thought that was the first year of Cyrus (and therefore put Jerusalem's destruction in 606). If we were arguing for the same two-year-plus delay that we argue for now in the WTS publications, then the Jews might not be back home until 534 or even 533. The fuzziness has worked in favor of the WTS to keep 1914 afloat.

The WTS was always willing to re-adjust the old dates, although to be fair, the solution for a while was to change 1914 to 1915. Both Russell and Rutherford began using 1915 as the new end of the Gentile Times even until a few years after 1914.

  • During the time of trouble, closing this age, they will be exalted to power, but their "reign" of righteousness over the world could not precede A.D. 1915—when the Times of the Gentiles have expired. (The Time Is At Hand, p.81.)
  • the "battle of the great day of God Almighty" (Rev. 16:14), which will end in A.D. 1915, with the complete overthrow of earth's present rulership, is already commenced. (ibid, p.101)

Here's what we the WTS said when they were first learning about the "zero year" problem in the Watch Tower from December 1912. By 1914 the WTS "discerned" that there WAS a zero year, but still kept referring to October 1915 as the end of the Gentile Times when it looked like 1914 wasn't working out. Apparently, they misunderstood the quote in the Encylopedia Britannica, below, referring to a common misunderstanding that is still made today by amateur astronomers. Then in 1943, the WTS "discerned" that there was NO zero year.:

---------quote from Watch Tower, December 1912, p. 377 [new paragraphs shown as bullet points]---------------

  • Whether Dionysius began his A.D. period January 1st, A.D. 1, or whether he began it January 1st, A.D. 0, we may not be sure; neither may we feel too certain whether he began the B.C. dates December 31st, B.C. 0, or December 31st, B.C. 1. For all ordinary purposes this question would be rather immaterial. But it has a very important bearing on our calculation of Gentile Times. . . .
  • Coming now to a very critical examination of the date 536 B.C., there is an open question: Shall we call it 536 full years to A.D., or 434 [sic] full years? The difference in time between October 1st and January 1st would be the fourth of a year; hence our query is respecting 536-1/4 or 535-1/4 years B.C. What is the proper method of calculation, is in dispute. If we count the first year B.C. as 0, then the date 536-1/4 B.C. is the proper one for the end of the seventy years of captivity. But if we begin to reckon it by counting the first year before the Christian era as B.C. 1, then evidently the desolation ended 535-1/4 years B.C.
  • As to the methods of counting, Encyclopaedia Britannica says, "Astronomers denote the year which preceded the first of our era as 0 and the year previous to that as B.C. 1--the previous year B.C. 2, and so on."
  • Whichever of these ways we undertake to calculate the matter the difference between the results is one year. The seventy years of Jewish captivity ended October, 536 B.C., and if there were 536-1/4 years B.C., then to complete the 2,520 years' cycle of the Times of the Gentiles would require 1913-3/4 years of A.D., or to October, 1914. But if the other way of reckoning were used, then there were but 535-1/4 years of the period B.C., and the remainder of the 2,520 years would reach to A.D., 1914-3/4 years, otherwise October, 1915.

 

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18 hours ago, scholar JW said:

Yet you begin your diatribe with the astonishing statement that the Babylonian Empire began in 609 BCE. What nonsense for nothing of any historical significance occurred in 609 BCE.

Have you written the Watchtower Society to tell them that this claim is "nonsense"?

*** ip-1 chap. 19 p. 253 par. 21 Jehovah Profanes the Pride of Tyre ***

  • True to the prophecy, for the duration of “one king”—the Babylonian Empire—the island-city of Tyre will not be an important financial power. Jehovah, through Jeremiah, includes Tyre among the nations that will be singled out to drink the wine of His rage. He says: “These nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” (Jeremiah 25:8-17, 22, 27) True, the island-city of Tyre is not subject to Babylon for a full 70 years, since the Babylonian Empire falls in 539 B.C.E. Evidently, the 70 years represents the period of Babylonia’s greatest domination—when the Babylonian royal dynasty boasts of having lifted its throne even above “the stars of God.” (Isaiah 14:13) Different nations come under that domination at different times. But at the end of 70 years, that domination will crumble.

If you don't have the Watchtower Library CD/DVD installed just click the link to jw.org here:

    Hello guest!
and scroll down to paragraph 21 (page 256) to see the same point.

So, are you saying you do not agree with the assessment of the Watchtower Society that the 70 years of Babylonia's greatest domination ends in 539 B.C.E.?  If Babylon's 70 years of domination ended in 539, then when did it begin? I get 539+70=609.

 Unless you can offer a different answer, I'll have to assume that you get the same thing. So why do you call this claim "nonsense"? Usually, you appear to be defending what's on JW.ORG.

18 hours ago, scholar JW said:

Carl Jonsson in the 2nd edn of his Gentile Times Reconsidered produced a Chart on p.235. This Chart presents a' fuzzy' statement that the 70 years began with the Assyria crushed with no historical data in support to support this assertion.

Yes. I see that JW.ORG also does something just like what you say Carl Jonsson did. Do you think that JW.ORG got this idea from Carl Jonsson? Jonsson wrote about 15 years before the "Isaiah's Prophecy" book was written in 2000?

18 hours ago, scholar JW said:

You only have to compare the different Chronologies for the Divided Monarchy and to examine the conflict over whether Jerusalem fell in 586 or 587 BEC.

You seem confused about the reason that there is any supposed "conflict" over whether Jerusalem fell in 586 or 587. The reason is explained on JW.ORG and it has absolutely nothing to do with different chronologies for the divided monarchy. The Bible lists both the 18th and 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar for what appears to be the same Jerusalem event. It can simply be a matter of whether the Bible is including Nebuchadnezzar's accession year when referring to the Jerusalem event.

*** it-2 p. 481 Nebuchadnezzar ***

  • on Tammuz (June-July) 9 in the 11th year of Zedekiah’s reign (Nebuchadnezzar’s 19th year if counting from his accession year or his 18th regnal year), a breach was made in Jerusalem’s wall.

The scriptures quoted are as follows:

  • (Jeremiah 52:29) In the 18th year of Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar, 832 people were taken from Jerusalem.
  • (2 Kings 25:8, 9) In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, that is, in the 19th year of King Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar the king of Babylon, Neb·uʹzar·adʹan the chief of the guard, the servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. 9 He burned down the house of Jehovah, the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem; . . .

I know you already knew this from a previous conversation.

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19 hours ago, scholar JW said:

Your claim that our theory is impossible is unclear to me because we accept the 43 years of Neb' s reign and have well described how this synchronizes with the reigns of the last Kings of Judah according to the biblical data.

You were claiming that our (WTS) theory was impossible when you tried to add another 20 years to the Neo-Babylonian timeline at a point during Nebuchadnezzar's reign. You suggested Zedekiah's 11th year. You create a contradiction for yourself precisely because the Bible synchronizes the reigns of the last kings of Judah in a way that fits Ptolemy's Canon, and the Babylonian Chronicles and the combined evidence from thousands of clay tablets, along with the astronomical diaries.

19 hours ago, scholar JW said:

If it does not fit certain data from the NB Chronology then that is not my problem. Just make the required adjustment based only on trusted biblical facts . If you have found a problem then why not try to solve it? DO YOU WANT ME TO SOLVE IT FOR YOU.

Actually it is your problem if you are the one interpreting an idea in a way that contradicts all the evidence. Especially since you already admitted that many lines of evidence and thousands of tablets already represent the NB chronology. It's the same as if you wanted to make World War 1 last for parts of 8 years instead of parts of 5 years. If you say that there are three years of history about WW1 missing, then you would have to be the one to figure out where these new years should be inserted.

There is nothing for me to solve here. I see that all the years are already accounted for, and that they already fit the Bible evidence very well. I am happy that the Bible account is corroborated by the historical accounts and evidence from archaeology.

19 hours ago, scholar JW said:

Already, there are other problems in connection with Jehoiakim's reign such as the 'third year of his kingship' in Dan. 1:1. and this is explained in the Insight article under 'Jehoiakim'. You will find the chart for the Reigns of Judah and Israel published in the Aid  book most helpful.

I never mentioned Jehoiakim. I only referred to Jehoiachin. (Also called Jeconiah) It's easy to confuse them.

19 hours ago, scholar JW said:

If you want me to solve your problem then present your question simply and clearly. Just present the facts, skip the references. Chronology is complex enough so simplicity works for me. You got it?  When I get a problem I usually get the solution even though it can be hard work.

I looked up several of your past discussions here and elsewhere. I have seen from these past discussions that you typically don't try to solve any of the chronological problems related to this matter. I have noticed a common pattern of trying to imply that it is the other person who has the problem to solve. You even do that in this very post I am responding to. Apparently, you also have made use of a tactic of abandoning a problem when it is clear that you have failed to address it, and then disappearing and coming back at some later point and claiming that you previously solved the problem or "won the argument" that you had abandoned. You seem to give the impression that everything must start all over "from scratch" even after the evidence against your position was already made clear in your last attempt.   

But evidently the most common tactic, and the one I am trying to understand in this current thread, too, is this tendency to offer completely illogical nonsense as if it is relevant to the questions and claims being made. There appears to be a lot of bluster and obfuscation and I can't always tell if it's on purpose. If it is, I don't know who you would be trying to bluster here.

But if you were truly looking for a simple and clear question, in a presentation of facts without references, then I could oblige that, too. But first I'd like to ask if you would address any of the very simple questions that have already been brought up.

One, for example, was:

  • What is the year you get for the beginning of the 70 years of Babylonian domination assuming you agree with the Watch Tower Society's assessment about these 70 years that ended in 539 B.C.E.? (See the previous post for the references to Jeremiah 25:8-27 in chapter 19 of Isaiah's Prophecy.) If you still insist that this date is "nonsense," as you called it, then please explain why you think the Society's idea here is nonsense, and why it's still on JW.ORG?

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Insider JW

You have posted in three parts so I will respond accordingly:

A debate has two sides with opposing points of view, honesty is required by both parties so I call this a two-way street.

There is no Gap in the NB Period at this stage of our present knowledge but there is a difference of 19 years. when one compares WT Chronology with NB Chronology. The much earlier  Babylon the Great Has Fallen-God's Kingdom Rules , 1963, p. 138. Rol Furuli in recent times has published extensively on the Chronologies of the Ancient World and his thesis is that the Babylonian Empire should be expanded some 20 Years. In view of these viewpoints and because the NB Period and its appended Chronology omits any mention of the Jeremiah's 70 years a Prophett who was contemporaneous with the NB  Period, a eyewitness 'to boot', I have classified the difference between the two systems as the 'Babylonian Gap'. The 'missing 20 years' I propose could properly be inserted at either two points: Neb's 18th year or his 37 th years and that will harmonize the two dating systems and all is well!!

Your claim that the methodology used by WT in connection with 537 BCE for the Return of the Exiles is 'fuzzy' is simply nonsense. Our explanation of all of the relevant data and its sources is well discussed in our publications and 537 BCE is well established. You accuse WT of being fuzzy with dates and cite 537 BCE as an example of this but I must remind you that Historians and Scholars are very fuzzy about this event for you cannot find a specific date for the event in the scholarly literature for this is a fact plain and simple. You quibble over the use of language or terms used in the WT publications which express uncertainty or a lack of finality but history is imperfect and there is no room for dogmatism in either history or chronology. Where matters are uncertain then the reader is advised but this not mean that a Chronology in harmony with certain facts cannot be constructed. The question you should be asking yourself is: 'what then is the precise date for the Return of the Jews?' 

You seem to 'hung up' on the Zero Year problem which is often raised by apostates but not by serious scholars. The WT has simply explained the anomaly and back then some chronologists possible misunderstood the difference between the Astronomical Year and the Years in the Gregorian Calendar and perhaps many reference works at that time made a similar error but once the error was noted then an adjustment was made fortunately or providentially the integrity of the 1914 CE date was preserved as the beginning of the Gentile Times. End of Part One.

scholar JW

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On 12/10/2017 at 8:30 PM, scholar JW said:

. He begins the Exile not from 609 BCE the choice of many scholars but from the Fall of Jerusalem in 587/6 BCE but differs from us in that he ends the Exile in 539 BCE with the Fall of Babylon. 

Scholar JW

This is an honest assessment for the year 609BC. 2 Kings were appointed within a 3 month period. 1 by Egypt, 1 by Babylon.

In my opinion, certain people are having a hard time grappling with secular chronology, and how the Watchtower is interpreting it. Honestly, there is enough information to support both theories. The easier chronology to explain would be, secular chronology with the date 609BC.

625BC.jpg

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Thank you @JW Insider @Ann O'Maly and @scholar JW. I am processing all the information, and made lots of notes. Just haven't had time to put it all together yet.

I have one question in the meantime, why is it that WT has no trouble accepting the 539 date but will not accept the 587 date? Besides the obvious reason, are both dates based on completely different historical sources? Pardon the ignorance, I just haven't got that far in my research yet.

 

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16 minutes ago, Foreigner said:

This is an honest assessment for the year 609BC. 2 Kings were appointed within a 3 month period. 1 by Egypt, 1 by Babylon.

You're referring to Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim? Jehoahaz was appointed by his own people. Pharaoh Necho hauled off Jehoahaz to Egypt and appointed Jehoiakim in Jehoahaz's stead (2 Kings 23:30-35).

Your chart is confusing. Honestly, the plentiful information supports only one theory, and the data on VAT 4956 belongs only to 568/7 BCE.

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13 minutes ago, Anna said:

I have one question in the meantime, why is it that WT has no trouble accepting the 539 date but will not accept the 587 date? Besides the obvious reason, are both dates based on completely different historical sources?

In fact, both dates conform to the exact same set of sources. They are both part of the same NB chronology which is overwhelmingly supported by the evidence from all the archaeological and astronomical sources. You could use 8 sources and come up with both 539 and 587 as correct, and you use only four of those sources and still come up with both dates as correct. You could also dismiss those 4 you just used, and use the other 4 and still see that both dates are correct. You simply cannot accept the data for 539 without also accepting the data for 587.

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@Anna -  No. The date 539 BCE is derived from the very same historical sources as 587 BCE.

There is the

    Hello guest!
that indicates Babylon fell in Nabonidus' 17th year.

How can we pin a BCE date to Nabonidus' 17th year? Babylonian astronomical tablets, that's how - by using the ancient sky clock. The astronomical record on VAT 4956 gives an anchor point for Nebuchadnezzar's 37th year being none other than 568-7 BCE. There are other astronomical anchor points too - one of which is dated to Cambyses' 7th year (522-1 BCE). The method is, once we find out how many years kings ruled (evidenced from other historical data), to count forwards or backwards accordingly.

And so, we arrive at 539 BCE for Babylon's conquest and 587 BCE for the 18th year of Nebuchadnezzar when he destroyed Jerusalem (Jer. 52:29).

 

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1 hour ago, Ann O'Maly said:

You're referring to Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim? Jehoahaz was appointed by his own people. Pharaoh Necho hauled off Jehoahaz to Egypt and appointed Jehoiakim

This is correct. King Necho ll originally deposed one King and substituted him with another. Both were under the control of Egypt. 1 King, then Jehoiakim became a puppet King to Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar ll, 1 King. 1 Egyptian, 1 King Babylonian. The crossover was King Jehoiakim. That in effect makes it easier to explain secular chronology with their own timeline.

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7 hours ago, scholar JW said:

A debate has two sides with opposing points of view, honesty is required by both parties so I call this a two-way street.

I will be honest in a debate whether any other party in a debate is honest or not. That is what I meant when I said it is not a two-way street, at least for me. Debates often end up highlighting the academic dishonesty or false foundations of another person's theory. Academic dishonesty can often be the result of giving too much weight to a certain interpretation and then using logical fallacies to bolster the false claims. So academic dishonesty is not always a "personal" dishonesty, but can come about through sloppiness in research, misuse of evidence, being fooled by someone else's mistakes, etc.

7 hours ago, scholar JW said:

There is no Gap in the NB Period at this stage of our present knowledge

Thanks for admitting that.

7 hours ago, scholar JW said:

but there is a difference of 19 years. when one compares WT Chronology with NB Chronology.

This is pretty much true. A lot of people make claims that turn out to be untrue, even if they make perfect sense to a lot of people. I have heard people who believe the chronology of the "Great Week" mentioned below (from

    Hello guest!
)

  • Since it is thought that 6,000 years would go by before the sabbatical millennial Day of the Lord begins, some people have thought that the 6,000th year since Adam's creation would be about 2,000 A.D. I have heard it said that from Adam to Abraham was 2,000 years and from Abraham to Christ was 2,000 years.

Like the "Oslo" schema, it's more of a "scheme" than a chronology, but some will fight for it as if it were the only true Bible chronology, and anything different is just a secular falsehood. In the same way, some will also fight to make Cyrus' Edict begin around 460 B.C.E. so that they can make the 70 weeks of years match with their supposedly more "obvious" interpretation of Daniel. There are a lot of claims about Bible chronology, just like several of the old Watchtower claims, that have necessarily been abandoned by now for obvious reasons.

7 hours ago, scholar JW said:

The much earlier  Babylon the Great Has Fallen-God's Kingdom Rules , 1963, p. 138.

That book contains many claims that are shamefully wrong. Note this one on the page you quoted:

  • It is because of making the mistake of dating the beginning of the seventy-year period for the desolation of Jerusalem and the land of Judah after King Jehoiakim reigned at Jerusalem but three years that the chronologers in Christendom throw their time schedule of history at least nineteen years out of order, shortening up the stream of time by that many years. They do this because of trying to harmonize the Bible records with the astronomical Canon of Claudius Ptolemy, an Alexandrian or Egyptian astronomer of the second century after Christ, but whose system of astronomy has long since been exploded. In this we do not go along with such chronologers.

For a time, the WTS had relied on the king list matching Claudius Ptolemy's to get 539. People noticed the mistake right away. In fact, one letter came in to the Watch Tower the year before the book came out. They should have known better than to print this nonsense.

For example, Max Hatton wrote the Watch Tower Society on June 10, 1962. This letter also contained information about an even earlier letter sent to the Watch Tower Society on July 9, 1959. The 1962 letter says in part:

  • To date our arguments have been largely concerned with the 70 years mentioned by Jeremiah. I am confident that with the aid of the Societies [sic] publications and some private research I have and will have no real difficulties with this portion of the discussion. It seems that the next item for discussion will inevitably be whether the period of 70 years literal desolation can be accommodated by a Chronological arrangement for the period. As far as I have been able to ascertain the basis for the Chronology, popularly accepted, for the years 747 B.C., to the fall of Babylon in 539 B.C. and further on, is the Canon of Ptolemy. It therefore seems obvious that one cannot accept the record of the 70 year desolation and at the same time accept the Canon as being an accurate record. In rejecting the Canon completely, a problem seems to arise, because, as far as I am aware, the date for the destruction of Babylon in 539 B.C. per medium of the Chronological arrangement for which Ptolemy's Canon is the basis. . . . I would greatly appreciate your advice then, whether 539 B.C. can be accurately calculated by some other means entirely independent of the Canon, such as a continuous list of kings with their Accession years calculated by the length of their reign, based on some other evidence. (Either Bible or Secular.) I fully appreciate the advice in the Watchtower of 1st December, 1946 that an eclipse of the moon is not sufficient data by which to locate the year of a certain event, however the "Secretary of the Australian Institute of Archaeology" has advised me that "Ptolemy's Canon is based on a much wider range of astronomical data, the details of which are recorded in his Almagest. It is necessary to correlate the details he gives in his canon with dates he has calculated in other works. The sum result of this is that his canon appears to be accurate within all reasonable limits."  . . . Could I be advised please in what respects the Society considers the Canon to be in error and also reasonable grounds to substantiate such a claim?

That is only a small part of the letter, without the original paragraph breaks from the letter. The Watchtower wrote back to Brother Hatton on June 28, 1962. That letter gave some of the best evidence ever that the Society simply did not understand the claims they were making or that, less likely one hopes, they were willing to be very dishonest. Brother Hatton's next response naturally contained more questions, and even more research, and the Society's next letter, told him that they didn't have time to stop for such a research project with the current preparation for the 1963 "Everlasting Good News" assembly coming out (at which the Babylon book would be released). The following exchange of letters shows that the Society was now on the defensive with nowhere to turn. The Babylon book only made the matters worse because the Society was obviously "digging in its heels" on things they had no right to claim. They asked him to give less attention to chronology. The Society told him that if he didn't agree he could still point persons to the place in the Society's publications where such explanations were given, even if he had mental reservations. By July 1965, the Society had disfellowshipped both Brother Hatton and his wife for apostasy. His wife had possibly never said anything but it was suspected that she supported her husband. 

 

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JW Insider

This response is to your claims about the'' Babylon the Great  ' book and Max Hatton.

I reject your claim that this book 'makes claims that are shamefully wrong'. The quotation from this book is correct both in fact and in history. Ptolemy's Canon has traditionally drawn much criticism over the centuries and even in Russell's day there was criticism of the Canon in the early WT. In 1913 Martin Anstey published his Romance of Bible Chronology which was a significant piece of scholarship in its time. On pp. 18-21 Anstey makes some criticisms of the Canon and his ability as an historian although a high regard for this work remains. In 1963 the Society published its first major work on Chronology proper in the  All Scripture Is Inspired of God and it explained how the Absolute Date for 539 BCE was determined. It stated that various historical sources including Diodorus,Africanus, Eusebius, Ptolemy and other Babylonian tablets support 539 BCE when Babylon was overthrown. So it is incorrect to say that we relied only on the Canon for establishing the Absolute Date. We knew even before 1963 that there were significant problems with the traditional Chronology when compared with Bible Chronology because of the 70 years which we had long regarded as period of Desolation of the land of Judah.

Max Hatton whom I have met in 1983 or thereabouts became a Seventh Day Adventist and was one of the earliest critics of WT Chronology on the world scene and  perhaps was influenced by a thesis written by a resident in Western Australia ,  G. Rogerson who wrote An Examination Of The Year 1914 In The Prophetic interpretation Of The Watchtower Society. I have copies  of all Hatton's correspondence to the Society and would need to compare its contents with Rogerson's treatise I should say rather than a thesis because Hatton spent his earlier days in Perth, Western Australia about that time.. This treatise deals much with the Babyl;on book and its criticism of the Canon. When I met Max at Bondi, Sydney after 1983 Max excitedly told me that he had just received a copy of Edwin Thiele'ds third edition perhaps to put me to shame but I told him that I had in fact already had purchased Thiele's edition so that deflated him somewhat. Edwin Thiele perhaps Christendom's greatest Chronologist was a Seventh Day Adventist . 

scholar JW

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Anna

The reason why we accept 539 BCE and not 587 Bce even though both dates are derived from similar secular sources but reflect diifferent methodologies in calculating these. The answer is Methodology for WT scholars make a determination based upon the textual, historical, biblical and astronomical sources. All of these things must come together in order for a measure of confidence be assured. It is only very recent times from 2000 that METHODOLOGY has become part of the Chronologist's toolkit in order to solve some of the vexing issues of OT chronology such as the precise date for the Fall of Jerusalem in either 586 or 587 BCE We have course have long solved this problem by fixing the precise date of 607 BCE because of the 70 years.

scholar JW

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21 minutes ago, scholar JW said:

I reject your claim that this book 'makes claims that are shamefully wrong'. The quotation from this book is correct both in fact and in history. Ptolemy's Canon has traditionally drawn much criticism over the centuries and even in Russell's day there was criticism of the Canon in the early WT.

That's my point about the shameful use of Ptolemy. He is relied on for 539 even though our publications tried to discredit Ptolemy in 1963 by saying his work was "exploded." It's shameful to be so certain about a chronological scheme, but not know what you are doing and at what points you are relying on the same types of sources. Not everything about the works Ptolemy passed on through his writings and collection of work is correct. I have read the criticism of Ptolemy from Russell's day. It was amazing that they thought they could just pick and choose without being careful. As I already pointed out from some older quotes, Russell also used Ptolemy's support as evidence for how accurate 536 was (even though we considered that a fuzzy date and changed it at a later point). Although I already mentioned that it was quite possible to also reach 539 through other lines of evidence -- these also support 587/6 for the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar.

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Foreigner

 I thank you for your colourful diagram and ii wish I had your computer skills.You mention 609 BCE but is this an error? Perhaps you meant 607 BCE instead. Like Ann O Maly I too am a little confused.

scholar JW

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24 minutes ago, scholar JW said:

Max Hatton whom I have met in 1983 or thereabouts became a Seventh Day Adventist and was one of the earliest critics of WT Chronology on the world scene and  perhaps was influenced by a thesis written by a resident in Western Australia ,  G. Rogerson who wrote An Examination Of The Year 1914 In The Prophetic interpretation Of The Watchtower Society. I have copies  of all Hatton's correspondence to the Society and would need to compare its contents with Rogerson's treatise I should say rather than a thesis because Hatton spent his earlier days in Perth, Western Australia about that time..

I still have not read all of his story, but I find it amazing. The first letter admitted influence from a Seventh Day Adventist source. I'm surprised he became a Seventh Day Adventist himself, however. And yes I am impressed with Thiele at many points of his studies. He appears to have been able to resolve several chronological issues on the secular side, by using the Bible as a primary historical source.

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JW Insider

The use of Ptolemy comes down as with all other sources to Methodology. Scholars are free to cherry pick facts from sources in order to construct a scheme of Chronology because this is what. they do and explains why there are so many different OT Chronologies right down to the present day. Ptolemy's Canon is of value to the Historian and the Chronologist and should not be ignored but Edwin Thiele had a realistic and honest view about the Canon for he stated "Ptolemy's Canon was prepared primarily for astronomical, not historical purposes. It did not pretend to give a complete listof all of the rulers of either Babylon or Persia, nor the exact month or day of the beginning of their reigns but it was a device which made possible the correct allocation into a broad chronological scheme of certain astronomical data which were then available". Mysterious Numbers Of The Hebrew Kings, 1965, pp.216-7

scholar JW

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JW Insider

Max Hatton became a Pastor of the Seventh Day Adventists, he is rather aged now and not sure whether he is still alive. He last resided in Newcastle, NSW and if alive possibly blind. Max Hatton wrote several articles on Chronology which I have in my files and one thing that struck me was his independent dating of the 70 years from normal Adventist orthodoxy. My conclusion was and still is that Scholarship broadly speaking is all at sea when it comes to the seventy years. They do not have a clue!!

scholar JW

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Another point about Thiele who is long deceased is that in his seminal writings he makes no mention of the 70 years, completely missing from his majestic MNHK.an important slice of the history of the very period that Thiele engaged with in his theses.

scholar JW

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On 12/12/2017 at 3:55 PM, scholar JW said:

Where matters are uncertain then the reader is advised

No, that's not true, and that's the problem. The reader is NOT advised. That's a form of academic dishonesty.

Here is one of literally HUNDREDS of examples of this in our literature:

*** it-2 p. 481 Nebuchadnezzar ***

  • One fragmentary Babylonian text, dated to Nebuchadnezzar’s 37th year (588 B.C.E.), does, in fact, mention a campaign against Egypt. (Ancient Near Eastern Texts, edited by J. Pritchard, 1974, p. 308)

You might know better, of course, but don't you think that some of the brothers will read this line in the "Insight" book under "Nebuchadnezzar" and get the impression that a well-researched resource about Babylonian texts indicates that Nebuchadnezzar's 37th year was 588 B.C.E.?

It's amazing (and shameful) that our publications still do this repeatedly. The referenced book by Pritchard is 100% aware that all the evidence consistently points to 568 for Nebuchadnezzar's 37th year, and therefore 587/6 for his 19th year (not 607). There is only one reason that the Watchtower publications sneaks 588 in there without any explanation about how the book they referenced actually rejects this date. It's because 588 is the date that would allow 607 to work which would allow 1914 to work. We should not have to depend on dishonesty and slick tricks like this. If the evidence stood on its own, we would be happy to point to the evidence, instead of trying to denigrate the evidence, and then "dishonestly" forget to tell the readers that it's this same denigrated evidence that we rely on for 607.

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30 minutes ago, scholar JW said:

Another point about Thiele who is long deceased is that in his seminal writings he makes no mention of the 70 years, completely missing from his majestic MNHK.an important slice of the history of the very period that Thiele engaged with in his theses.

No need to. Jeremiah explained why the 70 years need not be related to the destruction of Jerusalem. It was pretty obvious, no doubt, that nations served Babylon over a period of Babylon's 70 years of domination. (Can I assume you might still get to that question I asked you about the explanation of Jeremiah 25 in the Isaiah book?)

Also, of course, Thiele takes Zedekiah's 11th year (and 4th month) as part of a Nisan-to-Nisan year which also influences his acceptance of 586 as the destruction of Jerusalem. I think Thiele is still an excellent resource for this time period. He is another good resource to show why 607 has no evidence behind it for Jerusalem's destruction.

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