Jehoiakim's death is problematical. The Babylonian Chronicles mentions only one siege of Jerusalem and one king taken captive. The Biblical book of Chronicles indicates that there were two sieges and that both Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin were taken captive. Josephus mentions that Jehoiakim was killed but the Book of Kings makes no mention of his murder. The Babylonian Chronicles are not being Judeocentric and OMITS mention of one of the three named Biblical kings during this period of time. Academics COMPRESS Biblical events to make it all fit together. Jehoiakim's 11th artificial (Biblical) year commenced on February 20th of 596 BC - the 7th year of Nebuchadrezzar. By April 3rd, he was dead, and Jehoiachin was on the throne. The Babylonian chronicles whilst recording that Nebuchadrezzar besieged Jerusalem on Adar 2nd or March 5th 596 BC. does not mention the death of the king. It does mention however that the (ONE) king was taken captive and replaced by another. Therefore Academics assume that this refers directly to Jehoiachin.
(King's Calendar Academic Newsletter - Archaeology and the Bible No.12 Sereies II - Truth & Error)
In following the Truth & Error theme, this newsletter details some of the problems encountered in understanding the Biblical Chronology in terms not only of its' narrative, but the records left to us by the Babylonians. Understanding the historical reality is far from easy.
For a narrative of events for this period go to: Chapter 4: From the Death of Josiah to the Fall of Jerusalem: The narrative history of Israel from 606 BC - 586 BC Sequence of Events: The Reign of Jehoiakim Chronological chart that aligns the reign of Jehoiakim with that of the details listed in the Babylonian Chronicles. More detailed version in the second Chart in Appendix 6
The Death of Josiah &
The Significance of Nabopolassar's 19th Year
As stated last week, Josiah's death occurred near to September of 606 BC, in the 19th year of Nabopolassar; not as Academics believe, in the 17th year during the Babylonian battle with Assyrian/Egyptian troops at Carchemish.
While it was not mentioned in last week's Newsletter, the real significance of the 'King's Calendar' determination of 606 BC for Josiah's death, is that from this chronological perspective, (with the necessary one year shift in the reigns of Nabopolassar and Nebuchadrezzar), Josiah's death and the subsequent events of the following months, can be seen to synchronise with the recorded events in the Babylonian Chronicles for Nabopolassar's 19th year.
In July/August of Nabopolassar's 19th year (606 BC as per King's Calendar), Nebuchadrezzar was in Carchemish and returned to Babylon a month later (August/September). This then appears to be the time in which Necho was on his way to Carchemish, and Josiah was killed. Upon Josiah's death, Jehoahaz his son took the throne, but three months later was removed by Necho, who put Jehoiakim on the throne.
According to the Babylonian Chronicles, (BM 22047- Line 12 /13), in Tishri (Sept/Oct) of that year, Nabopolassar mustered his army and traveled to Kimuhu to meet the renewed threat of Egyptian attack down the Euphrates Valley. He captured Kimuhu in Kislev (Nov/Dec).
Josephus, in his account (Antiquities 10:5:2 (81) - Whiston (1993, p271 ) states that as Necho returned from battle 'he sent' for Jehoahaz to come to him to the city called Hamath, which belongs to Syria. Second Kings 23:33 maintains that Necho put Jehoahaz in bonds at Riblah in the land of Hamath.
FROM THIS YOU MIGHT PERCEIVE that the 'King's Calendar' arguments against Academic opinions concerning a 609/608 BC death of Josiah, were not merely self justifications, but credible arguments that provide a solid foundation for an alternative Biblical Chronological placement of the event in Nabopolassar's 19th year, and this, achieved in synchronisation with the record within the Babylonian Chronicles.
Josiah in fact died in 606 BC during the 19th year of Nabopolassar, prior to the successful recapture of Kimuhu by Nabopolassar in Kislev of that year.
Jehoiakim came to the throne of Judah in November of 606 BC, just three months after Josiah's death. Whilst there are many issues that could be addressed in this newsletter, the specific issue of interest is the circumstance of Jehoiakim's death. CHAPTER 3: Jehoiakim 606 BC to 596 BC : Apologetic in relation to King Jehoiakim of Judah - 2. Jehoiakim's Death
The matter of Jehoiakim's death is problematical, for while the Babylonian Chronicles mentions only one siege of Jerusalem and one king taken captive, the Biblical book of Chronicles indicates that there were in fact two sieges and that both Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin were taken captive; and while Josephus mentions that Jehoiakim was killed, the Book of Kings story makes no mention of his murder, but merely says he died, and thus appears to indicate that it was a natural death.
The difficulty for academics is to try and marry the Biblical narratives with the Babylonian Chronicles, when in fact they don't synchronise chronologically. This results from an incorrect understanding of Biblical Chronology due to its' artificial nature, and additionally, because the Babylonian Chronicles being both a summary of events, and not being Judeocentric, OMITS mention of one of the three named Biblical kings during this period of time. Academics must therefore COMPRESS Biblical events to make it all fit together.
Although the Bible and Josephus make it quite clear that when Jehoiakim ceased to pay his tribute to Nebuchadrezzar (which he had done for 3 years), Nebuchadrezzar came up to Jerusalem and captured him (Chronicles) and killed him (Josephus), Academics insist, (because they can't synchronise events) that Jehoiakim must have died earlier, and that Jehoiachin had already taken the throne before Nebuchadrezzar arrived, and this, despite Biblical mention of his captivity.
At this point, it cannot be stressed enough, that Academics literally 'pick and choose' Biblical chronological material on the sole basis of whether or not they are useful in supporting academic opinions. From the perspective of the 'King's Calendar,' this is completely unnecessary, for the Scriptures do indeed synchronise with the extrabiblical records.
According to the 'King's Calendar,' in 600 BC (currently placed at 601 BC based on a 43 year reign for Nebuchadrezzar), King Nebuchadrezzar during his 4th year, met and battled with Pharaoh Necho on the borders of Egypt. His 4th year covers both the 6th and 7th artificial years of King Jehoiakim, and the battle itself occurs in December during the 7th artificial year (although Josephus places it during his 8th solar year based on the erroneous Jeremiah 46:2).
The Battle was a stalemate, but at that time (before or after the battle), Nebuchadrezzar placed Jehoiakim under tribute. During Nebuchadrezzar's 5th year he remained in Babylon. This constitutes the 7th and 8th artificial years of Jehoiakim.
Jehoiakim is said to have paid tribute for 3 years, after which he ceased. He commenced at the latter end of 600 BC, and by the end of 597 BC. he refused to pay. This brought a response from Nebuchadrezzar, who in December of that year left Babylon for Judea.
Jehoiakim's 11th artificial (Biblical) year commenced on February 20th of 596 BC - the 7th year of Nebuchadrezzar. By April 3rd, he was dead, and Jehoiachin was on the throne.
The Babylonian chronicles whilst recording that Nebuchadrezzar besieged Jerusalem on Adar 2nd or March 5th 596 BC. does not mention the death of the king. It does mention however that the (ONE) king was taken captive and replaced by another. Therefore Academics assume that this refers directly to Jehoiachin.
The four documentary evidences of these events provide the following information:
A) 2 Chronicles 36:5-10 makes it appear that both Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin were taken captive.
B) 2 Kings 23:36 - 24:17 says that Jehoiakim slept with his fathers, which appears to imply that he died naturally - but nevertheless he died.
C) Josephus Antiquities 10:6:3 (96) - 10:7:1 (102) records that Nebuchadrezzar slew Jehoiakim by throwing him before the walls.
D) The Babylonian Chronicle B.M. 21946 Rev Line 11-13 says that On the 2nd of Adar (March), Nebuchadrezzar seized the city and captured the king appointing a king of his own choice
The real problem for academics in working out the exact circumstances is that all four records of the events of this year, are in conflict with each other in one way or another. The 'King's Calendar' perspective is that:
1. The Second Chronicles account confuses two events.
2. The Babylonian Chronicle is a summary of events regarding three kings - not two.
3. The King's Account contains all the relevant material, except Jehoiakim's murder.
4. Josephus' account, contains all the relevant information except for erroneous chronologically synchronistic references to Nebuchadrezzar's regnal years.
The four pieces of documentary evidence available to us, contain all the necessary information to piece together the sequence of events. Whilst there is no need to believe one account more than another, it is necessary to be aware of the differences in accounts.
When one considers such things as the origins of the particular accounts, the time at which they were written, and their particular purpose, the differences become understandable. Such differences, far from discrediting the accounts, enable us to see with clarity, the solid core of information that they wish to convey.
It is apparent from these four pieces of documentary evidence, that it was against Jehoiakim that Nebuchadrezzar marched, and that he did on Adar 2nd 596 BC, capture and kill him. In his place, Nebuchadrezzar appointed Jehoiakim's son, Jehoiachin. Three months later he 'sent' for Jehoiachin, took him captive to Babylon (where he remained 37 years), and installed Zedekiah on the throne.
The following is a reconstruction of the chronologies for Nebuchadrezzar, Jehoiakim,Jehoiachin and Zedekiah during 597/596/595 BC.
The 'King's Calendar' places the captivity of Jehoiachin in 596 BC not 597 BC as most (not all) academics now do.
If the Biblical chronological material is provided in ordinary solar years, for him to have been taken captive in 597 or 596 BC. requires that he remained prisoner until 561 or 560 BC. Both of these dates are incorrect.
To have been released in 562 BC. AFTER 37 YEARS, requires that his first regnal year was 598 BC with an accession year in 599 BC. But both of these dates are incorrect.
If Jehoiachin was released in his 37th ARTIFICIAL year, then given that he WAS released in 562 BC, his first artificial year must be 595 BC. 596 BC will be his accession year, since he commenced DURING Jehoiakim's 11th artificial year.
Nevertheless, Jehoiachin commenced his first Regnal/solar year in Nisan OF 596 BC, which fell on April 3rd 596 BC. You can see these details on this chart.
If the Biblical Chronological Details are considered to be correct, then they are provided in artificial years.
The difficulty for students of the Bible when it comes to errors, is deciding when something is in fact an error. On some occasions however, there can be no doubt. It is hard to ignore such blatant erroneous statements as that Zedekiah was both the Uncle and Brother of Jehoiachin, for such are the claims of the Chronicles and Kings accounts.
Leaving the subject of errors aside for a moment, let us now look at some chronological details of Zedekiah's reign.
Zedekiah was appointed king when Jehoiachin was removed by Nebuchadrezzar in June of 596 BC. Since this is the 11th year of Jehoiakim (and the Accession year of Jehoiachin), it becomes Zedekiah's accession year. His first artificial year commences in January of 595 BC, and his first Regnal/Solar year begins in Nisan of 595 BC.
We are informed that Zedekiah also rebelled against Nebuchadrezzar, so that on the tenth day of the tenth month of his ninth year (around March of 587 BC), Nebuchadrezzar laid siege to Jerusalem. The siege lasted about eighteen months, until on the ninth day of the fourth month of his eleventh year (around 18/19th July 586 BC), a breach was made in the city walls. Zedekiah fled the expected carnage, only to be caught on the plains of Jericho. He was taken to Nebuchadrezzar who was at Riblah. His sons were slain in his presence before he himself was blinded and taken prisoner to Babylon.
On the seventh day of the next month (around 15/16th August 586 BC), the great temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. (7th day of the 5th month as per the Babylonian Calendar: the 'King's Calendar' equivalent is 10th day of the month. Jer 52:12)
With the Temple Destroyed, the nation defeated and its' king in captivity, the nation entered into what is termed the Babylonian Exile.
This is not however where we finish with Zedekiah.
Since 2004 he has been writing academic articles, social commentaries and photographic 'Stories from China' both here at KingsCalendar, and formerly as a contributing columnist at Magic City Morning Star News (Maine USA) where from 2009 to 2015 he was Stand-in Editor. He currently has a column at iPatriot.com and teaches English to Business English and Flight Attendant College Students in Suzhou City Jiangsu Province People's Republic of China.)
BenDedek originally created the site to publicize his research results into the Chronology of Ancient Israel. Those results were published under the title: 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran.' Whilst there have been many attempts to solve the chronological riddle of the Bible's synchronisms of reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah and their synchronism with other Ancient Near Eastern Nations, no other research is based on a simple mathematical formula which could, if it is incorrect, be disproved easily. To date, no one has been able to dismiss the mathematical results of this research.
Free to air Academic articles set forth Apologetics for and results of his discovery of an "artificial chronological scheme" running through the Bible, Josephus, the Damascus Documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Seder Olam Rabbah. Check the Chapter Precis Page to see details of each chapter and to gain access to the Four Free to Air Chapters
(The Download book does not contain a section on Seder Olam)
Definition: King's Calendar Chronological Research
The Premise: Between the 5th and 3rd centuries BC (but continuing down to at least 104 BC), Sectarian redactors transcribed the legitimate 'solar year' chronological records of Israel and Judah, into an artificial form, with listed years as each comprised of 12 months of 4 weeks of 7 days, or 336 days per year, thus creating a 13th artificial year where 12 solar years existed.
When the Synchronous Chronological Data provided in the Books of Kings and Chronicles for the Divided Kingdom Period are measured in years of 336 days, the synchronisms actually align. [Refer to Appendix 5. to see how it synchronises the Divided Kingdom Period]