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SECULAR EVIDENCE and NEO-BABYLONIAN CHRONOLOGY (Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, etc.)


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We know that dates like 1513 BCE, 606 BCE, 587 BCE, 539 BCE, 70 CE (or AD), don't occur in the Bible, nor in the ancient astronomical diaries either. If we can pin a specific astronomical event to a record of any of Nebuchadnezzar's years, it would help. But we don't need those kinds dates yet. We can get them later.

The first thing we need to do is to figure out where the variously listed kings fit in our timeline relative to each other. If we knew the order of the kings in succession and knew how long they each ruled for, we could at least create a "relative" timeline.

So. To begin. Do ancient records provide an agreed upon list of kings, their order of succession, and the lengths of their rule?

Yes.

Do all ancient records agree?

No. (Most would argue that they agree in all the important areas, and minor disagreements are easily fixed, but we should still admit that not all records are 100% in agreement.)

So. Can we find two or three that do agree with each other, or perhaps even the majority of the records, in order to start a tentative timeline, and then deal with the disagreements later?

Yes. The most important of the ancient records from Babylon itself and from those who made use of Babylonian records for astronomical purposes all agree anyway (Babylonians, Persians, Greeks). We would expect the most accurate records to relate to works for predicting or understanding eclipses (for example) or various lunar cycles  and planetary movements. We know that certain types of astronomical phenomena were predicted in advance, or even known to be occurring even if invisible behind thick clouds, or because it occurred below the horizon, or invisible because some events relative to stars and planets could not be seen in the daytime. So  we should expect records accurate enough to be used to actually calculate and predict a future eclipse even if it would be invisible.

OK. So we'll put into our chart an example where two of these records agree with each other. For now, we'll pick the Royal King List that must have been available to Ptolemy's Almagest as a kind of "look-up table" and the writings of Berossus a Babylonian historian/priest from the Seleucid Period. They both agree on the following:

  • Nabopolassar        21 years
  • Nebuchadnezzar  43 years
  • Awel-Marduk         2 years
  • Neriglissar             4 years
  • [Labashi-Marduk  9 months]*
  • Nabonidus            17 years

So, we have two "witnesses" (so far) to the names, years, and order of succession for these kings, which I will place in the chart below. To save space and give us a fairly legible font size, I only put in the last few years of Nabopolassar's 21 year reign. And we haven't discussed the length of position of Cyrus reign yet, but both Berossus and the Royal King List give him 9 years starting immediately after the 17th year of Nabonidus.

So this, so far, becomes an 81-year span (arbitarily) from the 16th year of Nabopolassar up to the 9th year of Cyrus as King of Babylon. It might not be right, but it's a version that we can begin to test against the data to see if it holds up. E-M by the way, is short for Evil-Merodach (Awel-Marduk).

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81
Nabopo-lassar N E B U C H A D N E Z Z A R II (reigned for 43 years) E-M Nerig- lissar N A B O N I D U S C Y R U S
16 17 18 19 20 21 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 1 2 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

 

*Labashi-Marduk reigned only a few months, but we would NOT expect his name included in a timeline used for counting the number of years between any points on the timeline. And we definitely would not expect it to be included for any purposes related to astronomy calculations. That's because if a reign was so short that it started in a year already counted as "Neriglissar 4" and it ended before the start of "Nabonidus 1" then it should not be inserted because those full years were already counted. In fact, it would be considered a mistake then to include it in an astronomical reference, because it would have thrown off all calculations. predictions and cycles by a full year, making the entire king list worthless. In this case, Berossus, in the role of historian mentions him, but in the Royal King List used for astronomical purposes as a reference for Ptolemy's Almagest, for example, it should NOT be listed, and it wasn't.

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Let me try to lay this out for you (although this is more for any interested readers' benefit than for yours). The stars, planets, and Moon are components in a giant sky-clock that keeps perfect time. The 'fixed' stars are like the numbers spaced out on the clock's face. The planets and Moon are like the hands on the clock. Through their cyclical alignments with each other and against the 'fixed' starry backdrop, we can tell the time - the year, the month, the day. Now, to be a 'competent'

Since love doesn't keep account of the injury and covers a multitude of sins, I will not go back and show you what you have actually said. Besides, I've never wanted to make this into a contest of who is smart or not. I've never claimed to be smarter than you or anyone else here. This just happens to be one of my strong interests -- and of course it's an interest that is recommended in the Watchtower itself. It's easy to make mistakes in this area of study. I've made quite a few while learning a

It was already answered, by AlanF, and I will go ahead and answer it again in my next post. But you need to understand why "scholar JW" will always claim that it wasn't really answered. This type of question is a kind of game with "scholar JW." He has about 4 of these types of questions from what I can see. If you have looked up his former behavior on all forums where he brings such things up, you'll see that "scholar JW" believes this must be a trick question. It's easy to answer correctly

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So far, we've used two "witnesses" to the timeline of Babylonian kings:

  • Berossus
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  • Royal Canon, sometimes called "Ptolemy's Canon" (a "king list" going back to the 8th century BC, and updated by various persons over the next centuries as they added successive new kings and their reigns to it).
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It may also be of interest to note that scholars believe these two sources are independent of each other.

There is another famous king list, the Uruk King List which can be found translated into English here:

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and several other places. It completely covers the portion of kings in the chart below and then some additional kings, both before and after the ones shown below. It includes kings much further back into the Assyrian period. I'll list them below the chart, as copied from Livius. But first, this is what it does to our chart. It's another independent witness to the exact same evidence. It's in perfect harmony with Berossus and "Ptolemy."

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81
Nabopo-lassar N E B U C H A D N E Z Z A R II (reigned for 43 years) E-M Nerig- lissar N A B O N I D U S C Y R U S
16 17 18 19 20 21 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 1 2 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Timeline above confirmed by Berossus
Timeline above confirmed by Royal Canon ("Ptolemy's")
Nabopo-lassar N E B U C H A D N E Z Z A R II (reigned for 43 years) E-M Nerig- lissar N A B O N I D U S C Y R U S
16 17 18 19 20 21 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 1 2 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Timeline above exactly confirmed by the Uruk King List

As copied from Livius.org below. The other side of this inscription continues beyond Cyrus, Cambyses, Darius, etc.):

1'note /MU 21\ [mAššur-bâni-apli]
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21 years 668-631
2' ša-niš /m\Šamaš-šuma-ukîn Šamaš-šuma-ukîn at the same time 667-648
3' MU 21 mK[an-da]-la-an Kandalanu 21 years 647-627
4' MU 1 m dSîn2-šumu-lîšir2 Sin-šumliširnote 1 year 626
5' u m dSîn2-šarra-iš-ku-un and Sin-šar-iškûn Id. Id
6' MU 21 m dNabû-apla-usur
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21 years 626note-605
7' [M]U 43 m dNabû-kuddurî-usur
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 [II]
43 years 604-562
8' [M]U 2 mAmîl-dMarduk
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2 years 561-560
9' [MU] /3\ 8 ITI m dNergal2-šarra-usur
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3 years, 8 months 559-556
10' [(...)]note 3 ITI mLa-ba-ši-dMarduk
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[accession year] 3 months 556
11' [MU] /17?\ m dNabû-nâ'id
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17? years 555-539
12' [MU x mK]ur-aš
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 [the Great]
[x years] 539-530
13' [MU x mKambu-z]i-i
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 [II]
[x years] 530-522
14' [MU x mDaria-m]
    Hello guest!
 [the Great]
[x years] 522-486

 

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The reason I included the kings from the Uruk King List going back a bit further is because our next "witness" is easier to understand if one goes back before Nabopolassar, into the time of the Assyrian kings.

This next one is the Adad-Guppi’ inscription, also known as Nabon. No. 24 (Nabon H 1, B.). It was for a kind of funeral/grave inscription for Nabonidus' mother (Queen Adad-guppi) who lived to be about 102. So part of this inscription includes various events from her long life, and it includes a list of all the kings she lived through. You can find a translation here:

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  • From the
  • 20th year of Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria, that I was born (in), until the
  • 42nd year of Ashurbanipal, the
  • 3rd year of Aššur-etilu-ili, his son, the
  • 21st year of Nabopolassar, the
  • 43rd year of Nebuchadnezzar, the
  • 2nd year of EvilMerodach, the
  • 4th year of Neriglissar – for 95 years, Sîn, king of the gods of heaven and earth, (in) which I sought after the shrines of his great godhead, (for) my good doings he looked upon me with a smile, he heard my prayers (Adadguppi Stele I:29–36)

(Note that there are no differences in the Uruk King List, Adad-Guppi, and Royal "Ptolemy" King List in any of the Neo-Babylonian kings. But the Assyrian Kings are not listed in the Babylonian records except where they were simultaneously kings of Babylon.)

Another part (of the Adad-guppi' inscription) says she died in the 9th year of Nabonidus, which would indicate at least an age of 102, and the Nabonidus Chronicle (B.M. 35382) confirms the same information.

So here's what this new piece of evidence gives us. And remember it's a "stone witness" that is both contemporary and independent of the others.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81
Nabopo-lassar N E B U C H A D N E Z Z A R II (reigned for 43 years) E-M Nerig- lissar N A B O N I D U S C Y R U S
16 17 18 19 20 21 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 1 2 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Timeline above confirmed by Berossus
Timeline above confirmed by Royal Canon ("Ptolemy's")
Nabopo-lassar N E B U C H A D N E Z Z A R II (reigned for 43 years) E-M Nerig- lissar N A B O N I D U S C Y R U S
16 17 18 19 20 21 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 1 2 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Timeline above exactly confirmed by the Uruk King List
Nabopo-lassar N E B U C H A D N E Z Z A R II (reigned for 43 years) E-M Nerig- lissar N A B O N I D U S  
16 17 18 19 20 21 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 1 2 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9                                  
Timeline above exactly confirmed by the Adad-Guppi' inscription (although it only goes to Nabonidus 9)

 

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By now we can have a pretty good idea that several independent sources are in complete agreement, giving the same order of succession for these kings, and they also give the same number of years for each king.

But some might question whether there were any gaps we didn't account for. Perhaps one king couldn't start ruling until some coup or civil war was decided. Perhaps a king died and no successor could be found immediately. Or, perhaps two kings overlapped in their rule and it's not accounted for in the chart. (Of course, we might immediately doubt that we will encounter such problems, because if it had been a real problem, then all those calculations for eclipses and other events --and the Babylonians were well known for these-- could never have worked.)

So how do we check that there are no gaps? or no co-regencies in these King Lists?

As it turns out there are many ways. One of them involves two completely different inscriptions, written for different reasons. Here they are:

  • The Babylonian Chronicle 3 (B.M. 21901) says that  The chronicle states that in the “sixteenth year” of Nabopolassar, the Medes (Umman-manda) marched to Harran and captured the city. He carried off the vast booty of the city and the temple.
  • The Adad-guppi’ inscription (already mentioned above) states the same thing: that in the 16th year of Nabopolassar, their god got angry and the city and its people were destroyed.

Nabonidus provided inscriptions that spoke of the gods coming to him in a dream in his accession year, telling him he should rebuild those temples at Harran destroyed by the Medes. Here's one in Nabod. No. 8:

(Concerning) Harran . . . which had been lying in ruins for 54 years because of its devastation by the Medes (who) destroyed the sanctuaries, . . . the time for reconciliation approached, 54 years, when [the god] Sin should return to his place.

The accession year of Nabonidus was the same partial year that he took office during Neriglissar's 4th year. Note the count over the top of that year is marked with a 55. And notice that we already started counting Nabopolassar's 16th year with a "1" above it. How many years is it from "Nabonidus 16" to Neriglissar 4 (a.k.a., Nabonidus accession year)?

55-1=54. Exactly 54 years. Which is exactly how long the inscription says it is.

It turns out there are hundreds of these evidences that the chart is correct, and they are found in the most mundane of business documents, not just in the royal inscriptions. But this one shows that there were no gaps between the end of the rule of Nabopolassar and the beginning of the reign of Nabonidus. That covers the entire reign of Nebuchadnezzar.

 

 

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So far, we have seen evidence for the following timeline:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81
Nabopo-lassar N E B U C H A D N E Z Z A R II (reigned for 43 years) E-M Nerig- lissar N A B O N I D U S C Y R U S
16 17 18 19 20 21 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 1 2 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Timeline above confirmed by Berossus
Timeline above confirmed by Royal Canon ("Ptolemy's")
Nabopo-lassar N E B U C H A D N E Z Z A R II (reigned for 43 years) E-M Nerig- lissar N A B O N I D U S C Y R U S
16 17 18 19 20 21 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 1 2 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Timeline above exactly confirmed by the Uruk King List
Nabopo-lassar N E B U C H A D N E Z Z A R II (reigned for 43 years) E-M Nerig- lissar N A B O N I D U S C Y R U S
16 17 18 19 20 21 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 1 2 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9                                  
Timeline above exactly confirmed by the Adad-Guppi' inscription
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81
Years with no evidence of gaps or co-regencies (Bab Chronicles, Adad Guppi, Nabon. No. 8 )

 

Of course, one might still argue that a gap of a year or so, might be balanced out by co-regencies totaling the same number of years.

That point is covered by looking at literally tens of thousands of pieces of evidence. Maybe even 100,000! 

Imagine if all the bank checks written in the United States from 1930 to 2010 had been found to be made of nearly indestructible material, like some kind of laminated plastic. And imagine that every check contained the then-current president's name up there where the date goes. If you had about 100,000 of these checks spread fairly evenly across each year from 1930 to 2010, you could easily create a chart that showed how many years Hoover served as president since 1930, how many years FDR was president, Truman, Ike, LBJ, JFK, etc.

Fortunately, we have just about the equivalent of that in literally tens of thousands --perhaps 100,000-- of these "checks" because they were written on wet clay that dried as hard as stone and thousands have remained intact in the dry climate of Babylonia/Iraq for more than 2,500 years. These are even more valuable than bank checks for our purposes, however, because they include contracts, legal agreements, sales agreements, trade agreements, rental (land use) agreements, receipts, loans, gifts, etc. And all of them are dated with the month, day, and specific year of the currently reigning king. They even include the indication for a partial "accession" year when a king takes over for the previous king mid-year, and doesn't start his official "Year 1" until the new year.

Here's what they tell us:

  • There are tablets representing EVERY SINGLE YEAR of reign for ALL the kings mentioned above.
  • The tablets are dated so accurately that we can know, to within a matter of days, when one king was succeeded by the next king.
  • ALL of them are in agreement with Berossus, the Royal King List, the Uruk King List, the Babylonian Chronicles, the Adad-Guppi' stele, Royal Temple Inscriptions, Royal Palace Inscriptions, and Astronomical Diaries.
  • There are NO tablets that create any contradictions or discrepancies to the years shown in the chart above
  • These tablets provide another independent witness to the accuracy of the Kings' Lists, the Royal Inscriptions, the Babylonian Chronicles, and the Astronomical Diaries (which haven't been discussed yet).
  • These tablets include examples that cross over from one king to the next so that ALL the transitions are known to be without co-regencies or gaps of more than a few days.
  • There is an average of up to 1,000 tablets for each year of the chart shown above, and ZERO (so far) for any proposed additional years not shown in the chart, which is more evidence that there are no possible gaps.
  • There are even such texts for the short reign of Labashi-Marduk which lasted only a couple of months.

 

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So far, then, we have consistent evidence all corroborating the following timeline. But none of these yet includes one of the most powerful pieces of evidence supporting this timeline. And I'm not even talking about the Astronomical Diaries, yet.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81
Nabopo-lassar N E B U C H A D N E Z Z A R II (reigned for 43 years) E-M Nerig- lissar N A B O N I D U S C Y R U S
16 17 18 19 20 21 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 1 2 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Timeline above confirmed by Berossus
Timeline above confirmed by Royal Canon ("Ptolemy's")
Nabopo-lassar N E B U C H A D N E Z Z A R II (reigned for 43 years) E-M Nerig- lissar N A B O N I D U S C Y R U S
16 17 18 19 20 21 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 1 2 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Timeline above exactly confirmed by the Uruk King List
Nabopo-lassar N E B U C H A D N E Z Z A R II (reigned for 43 years) E-M Nerig- lissar N A B O N I D U S C Y R U S
16 17 18 19 20 21 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 1 2 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9                                  
Timeline above exactly confirmed by the Adad-Guppi' inscription
Nabopo-lassar N E B U C H A D N E Z Z A R II (reigned for 43 years) E-M Nerig- lissar N A B O N I D U S C Y R U S
16 17 18 19 20 21 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 1 2 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Timeline above exactly confirmed by THOUSANDS of Business/Contract Tablets
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81
Years evidenced to be without gaps or co-regencies thru multiple inscriptions (Bab Chronicles, Adad Guppi, Nabon. No. 8  )
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81
Years evidenced to be without gaps or co-regencies by THOUSANDS of Business/Contract Tablets
 

 

One of the most powerful areas of evidence is supplied within specific sets of the Business/Contract Tablets. The various 'Business Tablets' are already like thousands of independent witnesses all exactly corroborating the timeline above. So we are already well beyond the need to find "two witnesses" that agree; we have found tens of thousands of effectively independent witnesses.

But these special sets of them are another witness, independent from the other types of contracts, and of course they perfectly support the consistent timelines above.

These, of course, would be the various "houses of business" much like the records of a specific bank, or specific real estate company, or family trading company. There are several of these, and one of the most studied is the "House of Egibi." The Egibi house is known through literally THOUSANDS of tablets spanning the time from third year of Nebuchadnezzar to Evil-Merodach to Neriglissar to Nabonidus to Cyrus to Cambyses to Darius I.

Naturally, it confirms every year perfectly in line with the above timelines, but it does much more than that. It provides a double-check validation of all of the kings by including not just the month day and year of the king, but also the name of the current head ("president") of the Egibi House. These provide a kind of audit of the timeline and show that:

  • The first president was head of the firm for 20 years from "Nebuchadnezzar 3" to "Nebuchadnezzar 23."
  • Then the second head of the firm was president for 38 years from "Nebuchadnezzar 23" to "Nabonidus 12."
  • Then the third president was for 23 years from "Nabonidus 12" to "Darius 1"

Those 20+38+23=81 years are exactly the 81 years matching the evidence from Berossus, Adad-Guppi', the King Lists, the Babylonian Chronicles, the Royal Inscriptions, "Ptolemy" etc.

More than that, a few of the documents of this type (business houses) refer to contracts starting under one king and going on for a number of years and ending under another king, all matching the timeline confirmed by every other source of evidence.

There are many good references to be able to read many of these types of tablets in translation. I can include several of my favorites, and links, in another post.

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At this point, it should be obvious to anyone, scholar or not, that if you could put a specific BCE date on any one of these years in the chart, that you have just put a date on every other year in the chart.

For example:

  • If you could show that Nabopolassar's 21st year was 605 BCE, then you would simultaneously be showing that his 20th must have been 606 BCE, and that the year after 605 was 604 BCE.
  • If you could show that the 2nd year of Cyrus was 537 for example, you would simultaneously be showing that the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar was 586 BCE, and that the 17th year of Nabonidus was 539 BCE. (And also therefore the accession year of Cyrus.)

Evidence of any date in the timeline is now exactly the same evidence for every other date in the timeline.

Also, these king's lists extend the same type of accuracy far into the future beyond Cyrus, Cambyses, etc., even up until well past the birth of Christ, and the Roman Caesars, for example.

So the same holds true if you could put a specific CE (AD) date on any event during Persian, Greek, or Roman empires, you would simultaneously be putting a date on any years of Nabonidus, Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, etc. And in the next posts, which should be unnecessary at this point, it can be shown that the astronomical diaries actually offer hundreds of specific astronomical events and configurations that can only be tied to one specific BCE or CE date during those empires (Babylon, Persia, Greece & Rome).

And all of the astronomical dates spread across various points of the timeline also confirm the timeline. Therefore a discussion of the astronomical diaries will give us even more evidence for the accuracy of the initial timeline. In fact, if anyone had an idea that the timeline could somehow still be "falsified" then it would be more efficient to look for any recorded astronomical event that is NOT aligned with the timeline. There are certain diaries that have been copied and recopied, or show damage making them difficult to read in places. Yet, there are rarely more than three or four errors out potentially a dozen or more easily datable readings in these same diaries.
 

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The older the diary, the more it has been recopied, and the more likely a few errors would creep into it. This will be true of VAT 4956 for which the planetary positions interspersed throughout certain lines of the diary provide excellent evidence that Nebuchadnezzar's 37th year was 568/7 BCE. But the lunar positions on other interspersed lines of the same diary match only 17 dates of the 23 lunar positions, and 17 out of those 23 positions are a match (73.9%).

These are discussed very well here, where the author ("Ann O'maly") has compared the accuracy score, to another proposed date, 20 years further back for Nebuchadnezzar's 37th year:

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The final tabulation is almost identical to the results anyone can get with computer-based astronomy programs. The final column on the right is the score given to the lunar positions for 568/7 which matches the timeline above. (Green is good, red is not.) The left column is a good indication of how well (actually, how poorly!) the lunar positions might match a date 20 years earlier, or even perhaps for any other random year. This attempt to make it match another date scores about 5 out of the 23 positions (21.7% vs 73.9% for the more accurate year).

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The author also provides probable reasons for certain non-matches, giving a good reason for assuming the mis-identification of a specific star, which would have otherwise made a couple of mis-readings much closer, or even a match. Scholars have sometimes assumed a simple one day error in the date, which would also have produced a match (and could also swap non-matches to matches in the final column).

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26 minutes ago, scholar JW said:

Your presentation of NB Chronology is excellent with lovely coloured charts and it appears infallible.

Thanks.

26 minutes ago, scholar JW said:

How does one test or falsify this scheme of Chronology.

By looking at any additional items of Neo-Babylonian data to see if they continue to corroborate the timeline that fits the data we have made use of, so far.

26 minutes ago, scholar JW said:

Can it now be viewed as an Absolute Chronology and can it now be used to construct a OT Chronology

 As you can see, I have not attempted to turn this into an absolute chronology yet. It may very well be "absolutely" accurate as a relative chronology, however. I have only referenced one small item, so far, purporting to offer us several data points for an "absolute" chronology.  On its own, however, it is only one piece out of many, and I prefer to discuss the overall quality of these evidences for an absolute chronology first.

By "absolute," of course, I am referring to the ability to attach it to the BCE/CE era. A relative timeline can be "absolutely" accurate and still not be called an "absolute chronology" as the term is used by a chronologist/historian/archaeologist. I like to start with at least two witnesses to the evidence.

What I have presented here, so far, is a reference to to some of the relevant evidence that indicates that we do have a solid basis for a "relative" chronology from at least the reign of Nabopolassar through Cyrus. (We also know that this same level of confidence continues into the future well past the time of Jesus, Augustus, Nero, etc.) So we know that if anyone accepts any particular date as absolute (through the range of Napopolassar through Nero, for example), that they are, in effect, accepting every date along this line as absolute.

It need not be tied to the OT. It stands on its own. The fact that it CAN be tied to the OT and still be perfectly supported and not falsified by the OT only gives additional support to the evidence.

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JW Insider

19 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

y looking at any additional items of Neo-Babylonian data to see if they continue to corroborate the timeline that fits the data we have made use of, so far

What is of concern to me that there is the danger of circular reasoning. What i am seeking is some external or independent evidence that lies outside NB Chronology that would validate it.

21 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

As you can see, I have not attempted to turn this into an absolute chronology yet. It may very well be "absolutely" accurate as a relative chronology, however. I have only referenced one small item, so far, purporting to offer us several data points for an "absolute" chronology.  On its own, however, it is only one piece out of many, and I prefer to discuss the overall quality of these evidences for an absolute chronology first.

By "absolute," of course, I am referring to the ability to attach it to the BCE/CE era. A relative timeline can be "absolutely" accurate and still not be called an "absolute chronology" as the term is used by a chronologist/historian/archaeologist. I like to start with at least two witnesses to the evidence.

What I have presented here, so far, is a reference to to some of the relevant evidence that indicates that we do have a solid basis for a "relative" chronology from at least the reign of Nabopolassar through Cyrus. (We also know that this same level of confidence continues into the future well past the time of Jesus, Augustus, Nero, etc.) So we know that if anyone accepts any particular date as absolute (through the range of Napopolassar through Nero, for example), that they are, in effect, accepting every date along this line as absolute

Herein lies the problem.  A failure to carefully distinguish between these two terms, 'relative' and absolute' because wil confuse the two and believe that what as been constructed becomes a absolute chronology.

For NB Chronology to have a useful or practical purpose for Bible Students it must have an interface to OT chronology which can stand alone from NB Chronology as shown by the independent WT chronology which employs identical regnal data for both the Monarchies of Judah, Israel, Babylonian, Persian and Egyptian and Assyrian. Thus interface between these different periods and chronologies is the regnal data. Now of course, we have the additional problem of a lack of consensus with respect to the Divided Monarchy. Thus if we admit to the absoluteness of the NB Period and its Chronology then we have the problem of the INTERFACE between the two- NB Period and OT period.

scholar JW

scholar JW

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This can only bring our mind back to the last mention that the Bible makes of Babylon - Revelation 17:5 The clues about Babylon the Great brought us to the nation of Israel so the question we should ask ourselves is ... "From what year we should start counting the 2520 years (ie 360 * 7) until we see the rebirth (if any) of Babylon? " From the story of Daniel the possible dates from which to count the seven times are two: 1) Since Nebuchadnezzar has had the vision or has fallen into "misfortune" (in fact, Daniel says "the tree is you" - Daniel 4: 20-22) 2) From the death of Nebuchadnezzar (if Nebuchadnezzar represents the kingdom of Babylon, his death is the moment when the tree is "knocked down" but it is to be noted that there is no reference to this in the narration of Daniel who, indeed, he says that the kingdom would be assured - Daniel 4:26) As far as the first hypothesis is concerned, it is impossible to have an accurate date because neither the Bible nor the secular history tells us in which year Nebuchadnezzar was expelled from his kingdom. This happened, obviously, after 597 a.E.V. (year in which Nebuchadnezzar brings the first Jewish prisoners to Babylon according to the secular date, there is a difference of 20 years with that of the slave who, in fact, puts 617 a.E.V.) and within 570 a.E.V. (if Nebuchadnezzar dies in 562 BCE - always according to the secular date - and the period of "captivity" lasts 7 years and the kingdom is returned to him presumed to have reigned for at least a year, 570 is the last useful year) . However in the first four chapters of Daniel we mention Daniel, Sadrac, Mesac and Abednego first as children (Daniel 1: 3, 4) and later as robust men (Daniel 3:12, 27) and all this before Nebuchadnezzar has the famous dream tree. This means that, from their deportation until the day when the king erected the image of gold, at least 15, 20 years passed. So if the Jews came to Babylon in 597 a.E.V. but they pass 20 years before the construction of the golden idol and having taken for good the secular date (562 a.E.V) it is possible to restrict the period from 577 a.E.V. up to 570 a.E.V. Obviously they are only estimates but the important date is the maximum time limit (570 a.E.V) so if from the deportation until the construction of the image had passed 15 years instead of 20, the starting date would be 582 a.E.V. but the last possible useful date would always be 570 a.E.V. The eventual rebirth of Babylon, if Daniel is talking about this, would have happened between 1943 E.V. (2520-577) and 1950 E.V. (2520-570). To reinforce this hypothesis there would also be the fact that the narration of his expulsion is the last story reported to Nebuchadnezzar. Few verses later, in fact, we no longer speak of him but of Baldassarre (Daniel chapter 5). It is reasonable to conclude, therefore, that Nebuchadnezzar had the vision in the last years, perhaps during the last decade of his reign.   The second hypothesis concerns the death of Nebuchadnezzar, which takes place, according to the secular sources, in 562 a.E.V. According to the slave, in 582 a.E.V. (see the book "Pay Attention to Daniel's Prophecy" chapter 7, page 99). Counting 2520 years we arrive at 1958 E.V. in the first case and to 1938 E.V. in the second case.   Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. "Babylon will fall, remain inactive for seven times and then rise again"   What does recent history tell us? If, as we have seen, Babylon the Great is the nation of Israel, this would corroborate the first hypothesis. The first hypothesis places the rebirth of Babylon between 1943 and 1950. Indeed, the "resurrection" of Israel took place in May 1948.   Knowing the fixation of human beings for dates and calculations, however, it is prudent to pay attention to the most important things. The secular dates can not be secure, based on findings and comparisons more or less incomplete, and certainly we can not base our faith on this - 2 Corinthians 5: 7 What would happen if the 597 a.E.V., as well as 607 or 537 or any other date on which we based much of the biblical prophecies (without there being a real reason for doing so) tomorrow proved to be completely wrong? The consequences could be very serious and not just from a human point of view - Amos 3: 1, 2 We must not take Jehovah's mercy for granted, so we must be cautious in our statements. Since we have no certainty that the "seven times" do not simply represent seven years, we should not lose ourselves in these speculations. Is not the most important thing to understand the identity of Babylon the Great? Those who have truly studied the Bible without preconceptions have understood that Babylon the Great is indeed Israel and this has understood it regardless of dates and calculations. This is a crucial aspect of prophecy because it is the clues that guide us in the subjects and times in which we are living, such as road signs, and not the calculations - Compare Matthew 24:32, 33 and 2 Timothy 3: 1-5 and do a contrast with Matthew 24:36 There is no temporal indication for the killing of the two clothed witnesses (see Revelation chapter 11) but we know that they are revealed at the end of the war. We know that the city called "Sodom and Egypt" is Babylon the Great, hence Israel, and as a result we also know which nation and events to watch carefully. That the Bible actually prophesises the year of his "resurrection" or not, is certainly interesting but not fundamental for those who believe that it is indeed the inspired Word of God. Fundamental, if anything, will be "get out of it" when the UN prepares to destroy it.   * However the Bible confirms the "one day for a year" method and also that this was the same method used by God's people - Ezekiel 4: 6; Luke 3:15 ** The Bible allows us to be "fully competent" then all the speeches made on 607 a.E.V. pro and contra, they are absolutely useless. Nebuchadnezzar's dream, as we have seen, has nothing to do with the Kingdom of God    
    • By Jack Ryan
      Watchtower has referred to Ptolemy's Canon as corroborating the accepted 539 BCE date, iirc, but otherwise pooh-pooh it as being unreliable.
    • By Israeli Bar Avaddhon
      The immense statue of Nebuchadnezzar's dream.
      Babylon comes from the north, according to what Ezekiel 26: 7 says (see also Jeremiah 46:10).
      Comparing Jeremiah 50: 9 with Isaiah 21: 2, 9 and Daniel 5:28 it is understood that the average Persian comes from the north.
      Reading Daniel 11: 3 understands that the "mighty king" is Alexander the Great, identified as the "king of the north".
      Reading Daniel 11:16, 20-22 it is understood that Rome is the next king of the north.
      If all the kings of the statue were "king of the north" ... the last king can be the Anglo-American empire, or the king of the south?

    • By TrueTomHarley
      They may no longer do anti-types at Bethel, having had too many blow up in their face, but that doesn't mean I don't do them. Ralph Kramden, the hefty loud-mouthed bus driver of the 'Honeymooners' TV show, is the antitypical Nebuchadnezzar.
      Each show he began by blustering. Each show he was totally humiliated. Each show he was contrite at the end. And each new show he totally forgot the lessons learned from the one before. So it is with Nebuchadnezzar.
      And what is it with Nebuchadnezzar and the magic-practicing priests? He picks a fight with them right out the gate in chapter 2 of Daniel:
      "Then the king said to them: “I have had a dream, and I am agitated because I want to know what I dreamed.” The Chaldeans replied to the king in the Aramaic language: “O king, may you live on forever. Relate the dream to your servants, and we will tell the interpretation.” The king answered the Chaldeans: “This is my final word: If you do not make the dream known to me, along with its interpretation, you will be dismembered, and your houses will be turned into public latrines."
      Why? What did they do? They are yanked out of bed to learn they must tell the king what his dream IS in addition to what it means? Now they will have to sit each in his house, without any arms or legs, and watch people come in to pee on their couch and poop on their carpet. There's bad blood between the king and them, somehow. How it came about is not described, but it hardly seems fair he should pick on them.
      Or does it? If the king made such demands, it is likely because he is fed up with their claims that they can do things like that. They are always playing him for a sucker with their air of religious mystery, and he has had it up to here. That's my guess, anyway.
      We're used to quoting Daniel 1:20 to show how, after a short trial period in which the Hebrew captives did little more than eat vegetables, the king found them "ten times better than all his magic practicing priests." We're used to saying it is because of God's blessing that Daniel was elevated so high. Probably so, but I'll bet it is more a reflection of how worthless he found the priests. It was a pretty low bar they set, and Daniel leapt it without fuss.
    • By PeterR
      So if this is the basis for your belief, then probably what you'll want to do is first of all find out which bible book your foundational scripture is in. (It's Exodus by the way.)
       
      Ex 1:6 - Eventually Joseph died, and also all his brothers and all that generation.
       
      It's not a complicated scripture.
      Let me ask you this. If you die in 2017 and all your brothers and all your generation also die at some point, what does "generation" mean if you don't impose any weirdness on the text? Do your precise birth and death times change the fundamental meaning of the word generation?
      Of course there are overlaps in a "generation". The only possible way for there not to be overlaps would be for each generation to have a batch of children be born at the same minute of a certain year, and die at a simultanous minute of a later year.
      But does your grandfather suddenly become part of your generation just because your life overlapped with him? Does that overlap of a few years between you and your brothers give latitude to distort the language to allow for President Kennedy to be of your generation even if your life overlapped with him?
       
       
       
       
    • By ComfortMyPeople
      An unexpected visit

      Characters: Angel (A) You (Y) Narrator (N)

      N- Imagine that an angel visits you today. He wakes you up in the middle of the night and says:

      A- Jehovah granted me choose one of his servants to inform Armageddon’s date, and I’ve chosen to you.

      Y- Wonderful! What a privileged man I am! When will it be?

      A- January 1, 2025. Now, I’m going to give further information about this date of capital importance

      Y- Errr, excuse me angel, thanks for this marvelous information, but my alarm clock is set at 5 AM, and I wish to sleep. Tomorrow I will have a hard day and I need to feel awake.

      A- What a lack of appreciation! If only I had known!

      N- The angel, sorrowful and turning its back on you, is ready to depart.

      Y- Please angel, don’t feel bad. It remains 8 years. I have no savings to live without my secular work. Next month my wife has a surgery, and also I need to ponder the education of my children. You aren’t going to think I take my children off from the school all these 8 years!

       A- I think if you were more spiritual…

      Y- One moment, I’ve just applied for the pioneer next month, and with my collaboration my wife is going to start the regular next September. What’s wrong with me!

      A- And what’re your plans for next holidays? Now you know for sure the Date! Would not you rather dedicate it to preach?

      N- The angel a little bitter, you a little worried.

      Y- Well… perhaps you’re right… one moment!

      A- Yes

      Y- The brothers at Bethel, missionaries and traveling overseers, do you think they are, in general, spirituals?

      A- Of course!

      Y- And don’t have they fully conscience of the closeness of the end?

      A- Yes, I think so

      Y- And, don’t they enjoy of their holidays these years?

      A- Well, I believe this, yes.

      Y- Look. If you only had said to me this date is, let’s say, is in a few months, perhaps I could have made some arrangements. But believe me, dear angel, I love Jehovah and I’m trying make my most every day, without any date in consideration.

      N- And they both say goodbye with affection

       

      Abraham’s example

      Some emphasis added: (Genesis 12:1-4) “And Jehovah said to A′bram: “Go out from your land and away from your relatives and from the house of your father to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will make your name great, and you will become a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who calls down evil on you, and all the families of the ground will certainly be blessed by means of you.” 4 So A′bram went just as Jehovah had told him, and Lot went with him. A′bram was 75 years old when he left Ha′ran.”

      What would be your reaction if someone promises YOU all these things? Would it not be logical to expect the fulfillment of these words in your own life? Let’s continue with Abraham.

      Some emphasis added: (Genesis 13:14-18) “Jehovah said to A′bram, after Lot had separated from him: “Raise your eyes, please, and look from the place where you are, to the north and south, east and west, 15 because all the land that you see, I will give to you and your offspring as a lasting possession. 16 And I will make your offspring like the dust particles of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust particles of the earth, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Get up, travel through the length and breadth of the land, for to you I am going to give it.” 18 So A′bram continued to live in tents”

      Again, would it not be logical to suppose for Abraham to think he will receive these rewards during the span of his life?

      Now, some years after, about ten perhaps, these words happen.

      Again, emphasis added: (Genesis 15:13-16) “Then He said to A′bram: “Know for certain that your offspring will be foreigners in a land not theirs and that the people there will enslave them and afflict them for 400 years. 14 But I will judge the nation they will serve, and after that they will go out with many goods. 15 As for you, you will go to your forefathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age. 16 But they will return here in the fourth generation…”

      “What? What does this mean? It was assumed that I was going to get your promises in my life, and now, you’re going to say me that I’m going to die, and my reward is postponed until a very distant future, for some remote descendants.” Perhaps no one between us find this hypothetic answer odd or rare, but did Abraham felt deceived? Well, the rest of his life, very known for all of us offers a clear answer.

      Conclusion

      Did Abraham need date information to serve God with all his soul? No. Why? Because he simple loved God. And here I am, like all of you. Serving to Jehovah decades after our thoughts about when the end should come.  Because our main motivation is, simply, love.

      What I’m trying to say with the little story about the angel visiting at night and the account about some passages regarding Abraham’s life is the danger of getting quickly excited with some developments, in the world or in God’s people. When I listen to some brother saying something like “look at the news today… China, Middle East, etc., the end is near” I always answer, yes, you’re right, but I also thought to myself “the same I believed when I was a child.” These recursive ideas bother me, because always lead to disappointment. I try to share the attitude of Abraham, attempting to serve Jehovah till the end of my days with all my soul.

       

    • By JW Insider
      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]
    • By Jesus.defender
      Yes....Watchtower 7/1879 page 8
      No.....Watchtower 6/1/52 page 338
      Yes....Watchtower 8/1/65, page 479
      No.....Watchtower 6/1/88, page 31
      Yes...Live Forever (old Ed.) page 179
      No....Live Forever (new Ed.) page 179
      Yes...Insight, vol. 2., page 985
      No...Revelation book, page 273.
       
    • By The Librarian
      Part of the series on:

      See attached images
      Anyone by chance have a PDF of these images combined? 
       
       
       
      See also:

       












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