Jeremiah's prophecy initially refers to the captives sent to Babylon in 604/603 BCE. 2 Chronicles 36:21 however, indicates that the people taken captive in 586 BCE at the time of the destruction of the temple was in accordance with and to fulfill Jeremiah's Prophecy, and that these seventy years were ordained because the land had not received its Sabbath year rests. This inherently implies two things: 1. That Jeremiah's prophecy was given in relation to the Babylonian exile of 586 BCE (not the 603 BCE captivity nor the 596 BCE overthrow of Jehoiachin) – and - That there had been a period of 490 years during which the 'Sabbath Rest' of the land had not been complied with.. The implications of 2 Chronicles 36:21 are problematical. In Chapter 28: 1, in the story of Jeremiah's conflict with Hananiah, which is dated to the 4th year of Zedekiah, i.e. 592 BCE., Hananiah maintains that the exile will end in two (2) years While Jeremiah expresses his hope that it will be so, he also expresses some doubt. In hoping that the prophecy was true, Jeremiah is saying that 'he hopes that his own prophecy is false.'
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King's Calendar Academic Newsletter No.7 Archaeology and the Bible Series II Truth & Error
One of the themes in the last Series of Academic Newsletters (1 – 6), was that many religious fundamentalists, through fear of losing their faith, REFUSE to acknowledge the existence of the demonstrable errors that exist in the Biblical Historical Records. The predominating theme of those Newsletters however, was that Secular Academics have mislead us with their 'findings' in relation to archaeology and ancient history.
In this series, I want to focus attention on the matter of 'Error and Truth' as found in the Biblical and Extra Biblical Historical Records. We commence this week, by looking at Jeremiah's Prophecy of a Seventy Year Babylonian Exile.
And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans; and I will make it perpetual desolations.
Jeremiah's Prophecy has 4 Salient Points:
i) 70 years extend from its pronouncement to some future point in history.
ii) The King of Babylon is to be punished.
iii) The Nation of Babylon is to be punished.
iv) Babylon is to be laid waste forever.
Jeremiah's prophecy initially refers to the captives sent to Babylon in 604/603 BCE. 2 Chronicles 36:21 however, indicates that the people taken captive in 586 BCE at the time of the destruction of the temple was in accordance with and to fulfill Jeremiah's Prophecy, and that these seventy years were ordained because the land had not received its Sabbath year rests. This inherently implies two things:
1. That Jeremiah's prophecy was given in relation to the Babylonian exile of 586 BCE (not the 603 BCE captivity nor the 596 BCE overthrow of Jehoiachin) – and -
2. That there had been a period of 490 years during which the 'Sabbath Rest' of the land had not been complied with.. The implications of 2 Chronicles 36:21 are problematical.
Leaving the former point aside for a moment and instead, looking at the latter point, we note that, 490 years (70 times the 7 years) backdated from 586 BCE. (as per Chronicles) in true solar years takes us to the year 1076 BCE., a date that has no apparent significance. We also note that while seventy years from 586 BCE, (as per Jeremiah) takes us to the completion of the restoration of the Temple in 516 BCE, (Snaith, 1963, p.17) this event is not that to which Jeremiah referred.
Irrespective of how you wish to explain this, the textual and factual rendering of either or both of these Scriptural records is erroneous.
ELEMENTS OF TIME:
The Chronological Background to Jeremiah and his prophecy.
There are three things to note about this prophecy:
1. It was given in the 4th year of Jehoiakim, and the first year of Nebuchadrezzar (Jeremiah 25:1), and is therefore given between September 603 BCE. and April 602 BCE. (According to the King's Calendar) or 604/603BCE according to current chronology. Therefore the 70 years is completed somewhere between 534 and 532 BCE. Chronologically, the prophecy is inaccurate.
2. In Chapter 29:1-2, we are told that Jeremiah sent a letter to the elders, priests, prophets and peoples of the exile in Babylon. In verse 10 we are informed that the exile will last 70 years. - "For thus saith the LORD: After seventy years are accomplished for Babylon, I will remember you, and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place." - This letter is dated ...'after Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) had departed for Babylon..' indicating that the letter was written around 596/95 BCE. We should textually require that this event is 'a follow up' if you will, to the prior event of nominating a 70 year exile as from 603 BCE, but at the very least, it must be calculated as from 596 BCE. In that case, the Prophecy should be fulfillled in 526/525 BCE., but there is no chronological fulfillment.
3. In Chapter 28: 1, in the story of Jeremiah's conflict with Hananiah, which is dated to the 4th year of Zedekiah, i.e. 592 BCE., Hananiah maintains that the exile will end in two (2) years While Jeremiah expresses his hope that it will be so, he also expresses some doubt.
In hoping that the prophecy was true, Jeremiah is saying that 'he hopes that his own prophecy is false.' He does not for a moment state that the prophecy is false, until the Lord sends him back to Hananiah with a message, declaring it to be so. Jeremiah at least, if not everyone else as well, ought in fact to have been aware that Hananiah was a false prophet, if in fact Jeremiah had previously prophesied a specific 70 year time period.
If the 'Seventy Years' had been known, Hananiah would have been a fool to prophesy as he did, and Jeremiah would have been a fool to say 'Amen!' to it. There would have been no need for G-d to send him back to pronounce judgement. The conclusion to be reached here, is that while Jeremiah undoubtedly prophesied 'AN Exilic Return,' he did not specify the time period.
Of course, some will say, 'it is just a matter of interpretation.' Well yes of course it is, after all, isn't the 'King's Calendar' just an 'interpretation'? Of Course, but what of the other prophets? What did they say about Jeremiah's prophecy?
WHAT THE OTHER PROPHETS HAD TO SAY:
Ezekiel (Jeremiah's counterpart in Babylon), makes no mention of this prophecy at all. Instead, he comes up with his own version of a time period; 430 Prophetic Years. Ezekiel 4:1-8 (King's Calendar Chapter 22)
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying:
Ezra writing of Cyrus' Decree (538 BCE) declares that the proclamation of Cyrus was made so that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished.
This occurs: 65 Solar years after the first captivity in 603 BCE / 48 Solar Years after the Fall of Jerusalem in 586 BCE / 51.5 Artificial years after the Exile of 586 BCE. / BUT 70 Artificial years after the first captivity in 603 BCE
Then the angel of the LORD spoke and said: 'O LORD of hosts, how long wilt Thou not have compassion on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which Thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?
Zechariah in reference to [verse 7] Darius' 2nd year (522/521 BCE), states that the indignation of the Lord has been against the Jews for Seventy years.
This occurs 81 Solar Years after the First captivity in 603 BCE / 64 Solar Years after the Exile of 586 BCE / 89 Artificial Years after the First captivity in 603 BCE / BUT 70 Artificial Years after the Exile of 586 BCE.
in the first year of his reign I Daniel meditated in the books, over the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish for the desolations of Jerusalem seventy years.
Daniel perceives, during Darius' first year, i.e. 522/21 BCE, the number of years referred to by Jeremiah, with regard to the desolation of Jerusalem.
He does not recognise that the 70 years have been fulfillled; does not state that Jeremiah prophesied 70 years; states that his research in the books has resulted in his ability to perceive the number of years that must come to pass concerning Jeremiah's prophecy (surely redundant if Jeremiah had already stated the number of years); AND states that the 70 years were weeks (i.e. sevens) of years or 490 years.
And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia; to fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had been paid her sabbaths; for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying:
According to this reference, Nebuchadrezzar took the exiles to Babylon where they would remain until the establishment of the kingdom of Persia, until the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths. That the exile extended until the king of Persia conquered Babylon, is an historical fact.
Jeremiah however, made no mention directly of the Persians, nor any reference to the Sabbath rest of the land.
As for the period of seventy years, it equates with neither the fall of Babylon, nor the desolation of the land of the Chaldeans.
70 years Babylonian Captivity.
THE HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE:
Chronicles and Jeremiah
a) From 603 BCE., 70 Solar years extends to 533 BCE with no significance.
b) From 603 BCE., 70 artificial years, (depending upon the exact date of the captivity of that year), extends to 540/539 BCE which is extremely significant for it refers to Cyrus, but not the return to their homeland.
c) From 586 BCE. 51/52 artificial years transpire to the establishment of the kingdom of Persia in Babylon by Cyrus in 538 BCE.
d) From 586 BCE. 70 artificial years extend to the time of Darius' decree to return to Judea.
e) From 586 BCE. 70 Solar years extend to 516 BCE and the restoration of the temple and makes the prophecy refer to the temple restoration, not an exilic return.
f) There are only three perspectives from which a 70 year period might be seen to apply.
1.In artificial years from 603 BCE to the conquering of Babylon.
2.In artificial years from 586 BCE to Darius Decree
3.In Solar years from 586 BCE to the restoration of the Temple.
It seems quite clear, that Jeremiah was completely ignorant of G-d's intended duration for the Babylonian Exile, and must therefore not have prophesied one. What seems far more certain, is that such a period was later attributed to him. If Jeremiah never specified the duration of the prophecy, then each prophet was able to see the prophecy as fulfillled as each felt it appropriate. If we accord these prophets some credibility, mathematical ability, and common sense, we must accept that Jeremiah's 'Seventy Years' is a redactorial insertion within the artificial construct, based in perceptions of the causes and extent of the Babylonian exile.
Furthermore, the seventy year reference does not truly synchronise with either the prophecy as attributed to Jeremiah, nor as interpreted in Chronicles.
3. Ezekiel does not mention Jeremiah's prophecy but comes up with his own chronology
4. While Ezra 1:1 is correct in that 70 artificial years elapse from the first Captivity in 603 BCE to 538 BCE. - but Cyrus does not fulfill the terms of the prophecy.
5. Zechariah 1:12 & 7:5 are correct in artificial years from 586 BCE to 522 BCE but do not fulfill the exact prophecy.
6. Daniel does not see Jeremiah's 70 years as being fulfillled.
7. The restoration of the temple in 516 BCE does not fill any criteria of Jeremiah's Prophecy, except the doubtful 70 years.
8. 2 Chronicles 36:20-22 in qualifying the reasons for the Babylonian exile, provides three (3) reasons, none of which are contained in Jeremiah's prophecy; especially the 70 years of Sabbath Rest.
9. The reference of 2 Chronicles 36:20-22 (which relates to the captivity of 586 BCE.) in order to fulfill 70 years, in artificial years refers to the year 522 BCE, which chronologically is incorrect. The King of Persia who punished the King of Babylon was Cyrus, and the year was 538 BCE not 522 BCE.
10. In 592 BCE in dealing with Hananiah, Jeremiah appears ignorant of the 70 year time period that he quoted in 603 BCE and 596 BCE.
IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS:
In the Final Analysis, fundamentalists must accept that SOMETHING is erroneous in the received text. All that the 'King's Calendar' maintains to be incorrect, is the statement that Jeremiah prophesied a specific time period.
Technical Articles to Understand the KingsCalendar Research
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 BCE (but continuing down to at least 104 BCE), 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]