I talked to an Assyriologist at the British museum, by the name of Paul Collins. I asked him when he thought Jerusalem’s First Destruction was 607 BC or 587 BC. He said I can send you a document by email that shows the obvious year of Jerusalem’s First Destruction, as 587 BC. He did so and i printed it out. This document has been written by Christopher Walker, the former Deputy Keeper of the Department of the Ancient Near East at the British Museum and was revised October – November 2008. I put it in here for you to read. You will find the document if you scroll down on this page.
I posted this document to the writing department at the Watchtower in Brooklyn and asked them what this document meant to our present faith as Jehovah’s Witnesses. They replied after four months and said, “we are going to send two elders to you and they will talk to you about our 1914/607 doctrine”. I opposed such a meeting, because they did not have any new material to present (I had been a Jehovah’s Witness for 25 years and had researched this subject thoroughly), so the consequence was, that they eventually disfellowshipped me, for being rebellious.
The prophecy of Babylons domination over all these nations in Jeremiah 25:11 is the basic reason why we can say that the “Watchtowers 1914 chronology” is wrong. The prophecy clearly shows that God used Babylon as a tool to punish “all these nations” including Judah and Jerusalem, in that they should have to serve the King of Babylon for 70 years. Nowhere in this text does it say that Judah and Jerusalem should lay desolate waist for 70 years, just that they should be a desolate waist and an object of astonishment. Here is a quote: Jer 25:11:
“And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years“.
Well i have checked and according to Carl-Olof Johnssons book “the gentile times reconsidered” and other sources on the Internet, the Babylonians conquered the Assyrians in the year 609 BC in a great battle. So the empire Assyria was a great empire until the year 609 BC, when Babylon conquered them. So if we count from the year 609 BC, until the year 539 when the Medo-Persians conquered Babylon totally and became itself an empire we come to 70 years. This is exactly what God told us in the prophecy in Jeremiah 25:11 should happen and it really did. So what about the Jews then? the prophecy in Jeremiah 29:10 tells us this: Jeremiah 29:10 (Darby)
“For thus saith Jehovah: When seventy years shall be accomplished for Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in bringing you back to this place“.
So when the 70 years had been accomplished for Babylon namely the year 539 BC, Cyrus told the Jews in the year 538 BC, that they could go home and rebuild Jerusalem. Many of them did and they where back approximately around the year 537 BC. This does not mean (as the Watchtower says ) that we shall count 70 years back from the year 537 BC. This does not harmonize with the bible, which we have just shown in the text above.
The watchtower says that the prophecy in Jeremiah 25:11 is all about Judah and Jerusalem being laid a desolate waist for 70 years, but this is actually a wrong interpretation. This is one of the reasons they have succeeded in constructing this doctrine about Gods kingdom starting to rule in 1914.
Jehovah’s witnesses is therefore lead to believe that the prophecy in Jeremiah 25:11 is all about Judah and Jerusalem being laid waist for 70 years and Gods people being forced to go and be subjective to the king of Babylon for 70 years. Here is when the watchtower says “we have to count back from 537 BC when the Jews came back to their land 70 years then we come to 607 BC”. One reason they do this is because they focuses on the fact that Israel and Judah should be a desolate waist for 70 years, but this is something they have read into the text, that never was there.
Jeremiah 25:11 is about Babylon having domination over all these nations for 70 year. If this is the case there is no support for starting to count when the Jews came back to their land 537 BC. The only possible solution is to count from when Babylon lost its domination in 539 BC, 70 years back and we reach to the year 609 BC, when they where given domination over all these nations.
I have checked all of the scriptures included in this subject and compared 20 different bibles with the help of a program called “E-sword“. The scriptures i have checked where Zachariah 1:12, Zachariah 7:5, Daniel 9: 1,2., 2 chronicles 36:21. You will notice that the scriptures in most of these bibles translates the text in a way that it says “these seventy years“. This gives us a hint that it just points to Jeremiah 25:11 and talks about the seventy years when Babylon should dominate all these nations for seventy years.
So you can easily see that these four scriptures does not support the idea that Judah and Jerusalem should be a desolate waist for 70 years. Actually it where a desolate waist for 50 years between 587 BC and 537. So the prophecy in Jeremiah 25:11 is about Babylon having domination over “all these nations” for 70 years and nothing else.
This document from the British museum enlightens us to the fact that when the first capture of Jerusalem occurred it was the seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar. We know that he became king the year 605 -604 BC and seven year from that we come to the year 597 BC.
The document also tells us the precise date of this first capture of Jerusalem from another table, where the first day of Addar for Nebuchadnezzars 7:th year is given as 15:th of March 597 BC.
Later in this document we read that if we use Jeremiah 52: 1-5 we can calculate the date when Jerusalem was destroyed totally. The text says “in the eleventh year of Zedekiah” so the exact date for the destruction of Jerusalem is July 587 BC. Zedekiah was made king of Judah ten year earlier by the Babylonians, namely the year 597 BC.
The Watchtower tries to overcome this by moving all dates 20 years back, they say that Nebuchadnezzar became King of Babylon 625 BC. This has absolutely no support neither in the scripture nor in the secular research. They do this because they have invested so much in their own calculations about the year 607/1914.
If you feel safe as a Jehovah’s witness and have friends and life is great you probably do not have to research this and as a result leave the watchtower organization. But if you see all the bad things going on in the organization and also are a person wanting to be loyal to God and his word i recommend you to thoroughly research this subject to the bottom.
————————————————— Here is the document ————————————————–
Babylonian Chronology and Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of Jerusalem.
Nebuchadnezzar II’s first capture of Jerusalem, is briefly described in a tablet of the so-called “Babylonian Chronicle” series in the British Museum, BM 21946. This chronicle covers a period of 12 years from the 21st year of Nabopolassar which was Nebuchadnezzar’s accession year through to Nebuchadnezzar’s 11th regnal year. The entry for his 7th year may be translated,
“The seventh year: In the month Kislev the king of Akkad mustered his army and marched to Hattu [i.e. Syria]. He encamped against the city of Judah and on the second day of the month Adar he captured the city (and) seized (its) king. A king of his own choice he appointed in the city (and) taking the vast tribute he brought it to Babylon.”
This translation is taken from A. K. Grayson, Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles (Texts from Cuneiform Sources, volume 5, Locust Valley, New York, 1975), p. 102.
The precise date of this capture of Jerusalem can be read off the tables of R. A. Parker and W. H. Dubberstein, Babylonian Chronology 626 B.C.-A.D. 75 (Brown University Press, 1971 reprint), p. 27, where the first day of Addar for Nebuchadnezzar’s 7th year is given as 15 March 597 BC. This precise date (as all of their calendrical tables) depends on modern computer calculation of the day on which the new moon would be expected to have been visible at Babylon, and the authors point out (page 25) that “… it is possible that a certain number of dates in our table may be wrong by one day …It should be noted that there is an additional element of uncertainty for biblical dates given in the Babylonian calendar, since the new moon was visible at Jerusalem thirty-seven minutes before it was visible at Babylon and therefore upon occasion the new month could begin a day earlier at Jerusalem.”
Babylonian days begin at sunset, so if the 1st of Addar is listed as 15 March this actually means 15/16 March, and the 2nd of Addar will be 16/17 March 597 BC. The Babylonian text, of course, refers to the first occasion on which Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem. His second capture of Jerusalem is not recorded in currently available Babylonian records, since the Babylonian Chronicle series is incomplete; so its date has to be calculated on the basis of the Biblical record (in the 11th year of Zedekiah, so July 587 BC),(Jeremia 52:1-5).
The relative chronology of the kings of the Neo-Babylonian (“Chaldaean”) and Achaemenid Dynasties has long been known from Claudius Ptolemy’s Canon Basileon. For a recent presentation of the Canon see G. J. Toomer, Ptolemy’s Almagest (Duckworth, London, 1984), pp. 9-14. Since the list was presumably compiled for the purpose of controlling astronomical records, short reigns of less than a year such as that of Labashi-Marduk and the various rebels against Darius and Xerxes are ignored. The number of regnal years assigned to each king in the Canon are confirmed in the case of all kings from Nabopolassar down to Darius II from contemporary economic documents. Thus Ptolemy credits Nebuchadnezzar with 43 years and we have many economic documents dated in each of those 43 years; and the same applies to his successors. The relevant figures are: Nebuchadnezzar II 43 years (604-562 BC) Amel-Marduk (Evil-Merodach) 2 years (561-560 BC) Nergal-shar-usur (Neriglissar) 4 years (559-556 BC) Nabu-na’id (Nabonidus) 17 years (555-539 BC) Cyrus 9 years. (538-530 BC) Modern Assyriologists follow the Babylonian system in which the regnal year begins sometime around the spring equinox, but tend to ignore the overlap to the following year. So Cyrus having captured Babylon in October 539 BC, his first full regnal year would have run from March 538 to March 537, but Assyriologists tend to call it just “538 BC”. The precise date of the return of the Jews from exile in Babylonia will depend on whether one assumes the first chapter of the Biblical book of Ezra uses the Babylonian or the Jewish calendar.
In any case Babylonian chronology certainly does not support the idea of a 70 year exile of the Jews in Babylonia if that is to be counted from the second capture of Jerusalem to the first year of Cyrus. Although precise dates in Babylonian chronology can be derived from a combination of Ptolemy’s Canon and contemporary economic documents, there is a further source of dates in the Babylonian astronomical texts. From about 747 BC (the beginning of the reign of the Babylonian king Nabu-nasir (Nabonassar) Babylonian astronomers were keeping regular records of astronomical observations. These observations survive in the (incomplete) series of what are now called “astronomical diaries” and in other astronomical texts probably derived from these diaries. There also survive fragments of tables for such events as eclipses of moon, the 18-year cycles of which became well understood by the Babylonians. Thus there are in the British Museum fragments of a table of successive lunar eclipse possibilities arranged in 18 year cycles in 24 columns, starting apparently in 747 BC, which if complete would have given 18×24 = 432 years of eclipse data from 747 to 315 BC. It seems probable that such tables of Babylonian data were available to Ptolemy (whose Almagest refers to a few dated Babylonian lunar eclipse observations), and this may explain how it is that the chronology embodied in his Canon Basileon has survived the test of 150 years of excavation of contemporary Babylonian sources. It should in any case be pointed out that the chronology of the Achaemenid kings of Persia is also tied in to a well established Greek chronology by numerous events recorded by Greek historians.
In general for Assyriologists and others engaged in studying the available source material for the Neo-Babylonian and Achaemenid periods the chronology is secure and needs no further discussion. But there are two groups who may take a different view. Firstly, the Jewish Talmud contains some chronological remarks which have been understood to imply a significantly shorter (by several decades) chronology for the Achaemenid Dynasty; but in general Talmudic scholars have been ready to accept this as a mistake. Secondly, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, apparently on doctrinal grounds, seek to establish a date for the second fall of Jerusalem some 20 years earlier than would be accepted by main-stream historians. The British Museum, while using the dates given above, has engaged in correspondence with people on both sides of this particular discussion over the years and would recommend anyone interested to read the following two books which represent the two sides of the argument: Rolf Furuli, Persian Chronology and the Length of the Babylonian Exile of the Jews (Oslo, 2003; ISBN 82-994633-3-5). Carl Olof Jonsson, The Gentile Times Reconsidered: Chronology and Christ’s Return (4th edition, Commentary Press, Atlanta, 2004;ISBN 0-914675-07-9).