History of Israel : 734 BCE - 586 BCE - Issues of Evidence in Biblical Archaeology - Nebuchadrezzar/NebuchadnezzarThe first thing to note about Nebuchadrezzar, is that no one is certain whether he reigned 43 years or 42 years. The current preferred reading is 43 years, but this is based on a business text relating to his 43rd year, that standing alone, offers no clue as to whether these 43 years "include or exclude" his accession year. The Second thing to note about the length of Nebuchadrezzar's reign, is that the date he commenced his reign, depends on whether he destroyed Jerusalem in 587 BCE or 586 BCE. If one must move the date for Nebuchadrezzar's Burning of Solomon's Temple, from 587 BCE as is fashionably preached today, to 586 BCE., (the former date ascribed to this event), it causes problems in relation to the reigns of Kandalanu and Nabopolassar, Nebuchadrezzar's predecessors.
Issues of Evidence Part 1:
Nebuchadrezzar / Nebuchadnezzar : History of Israel : 734 BCE - 586 BCE
As this article appears in the "Rules of Evidence & Archaeology" articles section of the King's Calendar, it is appropriate to be aware of and to read the legal notes and definitions pertinent to issues in relation to "Evidence" and the 'provision of testimony,' and to keep these things in mind when reading or studying anything in which 'authoritative' claims or statements are made.
Unlike the 4 part series: "The Law, Rules of Evidence & Archaeology"this article does not focus on legal argument, but highlights the weaknesses in Academic Opinion (and therefore 'weaknesses in Law'), in relation to King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon; King Hezekiah of Judah, and the Syro-Ephraimitic War 734-732 BCE.
In the Legal Bibliography section at the end of this article, can be found some definitions that ought to be born in mind by all readers, so as not to confuse 'opinion' with 'evidence.' Claims made by any party that have a vested interest in your acceptance of those claims, ought to be approached with caution. One ought not to just 'trust' without due consideration for the evidence. [Refer to: Direct Evidence : Circumstantial Evidence : Opinions & Presumptions : Expert Witnesses in the Legal Bibliography section at the bottom of this article.]
Nebuchadrezzar King of Babylon, Destroyer of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem 586 BCE.
Academia likes to make many authoritative claims about many things, which, standing alone, sound reasonable to the naive, but when you put them into perspective, that is, in context with the overall number of claims made, one can often see that much is amiss. Take Nebuchadrezzar (Nebuchadnezzar) for instance.
How Long Did Nebuchadrezzar reign?
The first thing to note about Nebuchadrezzar, is that no one is certain whether he reigned 43 years or 42 years. The current preferred reading is 43 years, but this is based on a business text relating to his 43rd year, that standing alone, offers no clue as to whether these 43 years "include or exclude" his accession year.
Currently Nebuchadrezzar is believed to have ascended the throne of Babylon in 605 BCE., commencing his first regnal year in Nisan of 604 BCE (Wiseman, 1985, pp.18-19), reigning forty-three (43) years until 562 BCE. (Cambridge Ancient History,1991, p.240).
This is not the picture however that Thiele paints. (Thiele, 1966, p.216 , Appendix 'G').
The chart in Appendix Six - Nebuchadrezzar's 42 year Reign & Babylonian Chronicles: 18th year of Nabopolassar to 2nd of Nebuchadrezzar of the King's Calendar demonstrates that according to Thiele's calculations, Nebuchadrezzar reigned 42 years + his Accession Year. Find App 6 in Chapter Precis
The 'King's Calendar' can demonstrate that professor Wiseman's figures are excessive by one year, and that 603 BCE is Nebuchadrezzar's first regnal year, having ascended the previous year, 604 BCE. Since Nebuchadrezzar's records are not complete, (Wiseman 1961. p.94) and other references to his reign may include his accession year as a regnal year, current academic opinion concerning the length of Nebuchadrezzar's reign can only be tentative. They can offer no evidence that would hold up in a court of Law.
As further evidence that Academic opinion ought not to be relied upon as 'legally credible' evidence; according to current scholarship, Nebuchadrezzar burned Solomon's Temple on either 15th August 586 BCE (Thiele 1966, p.164, Table XV) or August 5th 587 BCE (Wiseman, 1985, p.37).
When Did Nebuchadrezzar destroy Solomon's Temple?
The Second thing to note about the length of Nebuchadrezzar's reign, is that the date he commenced his reign, depends on whether he destroyed Jerusalem in 587 BCE or 586 BCE., for we have a synchronous historical reference to the specific regnal year in which this occurred.
Whilst the King's Calendar clearly demonstrates that Nebuchadrezzar destroyed Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE. scholars still argue the issue. The importance of this year is paramount, for upon it hangs the particular and individual chronological preferences of various academics. By this is meant that they have vested interests in the issue, and as such, would not be considered credible witnesses in a court of law.
If one must move the date for Nebuchadrezzar's Burning of Solomon's Temple, from 587 BCE as is fashionably preached today, to 586 BCE., the former date ascribed to this event, it causes problems for certain scholastic opinions in relation to the reigns of Kandalanu and Nabopolassar, Nebuchadrezzar's predecessors.
In that section of the King's Calendar, it is pointed out that according to Roux (1982), Kandalanu is the name under which Ashurbanipal (the Assyrian King) ruled in Babylon from 648 BCE onwards.
Wiseman (1961, p89) however, indicates that Kandalanu was Ashurbanipal's appointee, immediately upon the death of Shamash-sum-ukin in 648 BCE. [Shamash-sum-ukin revolted from his brother Ashurbanipal, and facing defeat, suicided in his palace].
This disagreement in identifying Kandalanu, demonstrates once again, that the 'evidence' is open to interpretation. The issue is mentioned here, for it is significant, in that it impacts directly upon not only Kandalanu's reign, but provides the 'window of opportunity' that permits the King's Calendar to commence Nebuchadrezzar's reign one year later as well. (That determination is a mathematical requirement, not a preferential choice.)
In order to justify the King's Calendar one year 'shift' forward in time, of Nebuchadrezzar's reign, from 605 BCE to 604 BCE, it is necessary to demonstrate that Kandalanu's reign can likewise be shifted.
The King's Calendar not only needs to show that such is possible, but demonstrates that if Kandalanu is 'an appointee,' and not Ashurbanipal himself, then with just a few months delay in his appointment, Kandalanu's reign would commence in the following Babylonian year, and thus justify shifting Nebuchadrezzar's reign.
The King's Calendar presentation of Reigns
What Do We Know For Certain About Nebuchadrezzar?
The only thing certainly known, is that Nebuchadrezzar's reign ended in 562 BCE. with the ascension of Evil - Merodach (Amel Marduk), which Wiseman (1985, p.9) dates to October 8th 562 BCE.
This is an important date, for Second Kings 25:27 [Direct Documentary Evidence] informs us in the 37th year of Jehoiachin's exile, Amel-Marduk, during his accession year, set Jehoiachin free from his prison.
The King's Calendar insists that reference to 37 years of captivity is demonstrably an artificial reference, for it would otherwise require that he was captured by Nebuchadrezzar earlier than Nebuchadrezzar's first campaign against Jerusalem. When these 37 artificial years are calculated from 596 BCE (not 597 BCE), they arrive at 562 BCE, and validate the Biblical claim that it was in Amel-Marduk's accession year that Jehoiachin was released from Prison.
To see how Nebuchadrezzar's reign inter meshes with Jehoiachin's, see the Chart in Chapter TWO: 3. Determining the length of Nebuchadrezzar's reign.
The point I make in this article, is that generally speaking, Academics are pulling the wool over our eyes when they make definitive statements about Nebuchadrezzar.
The Death of Josiah & Nebuchadrezzar
Academic arguments concerning the Death of Josiah [in relation to the chronology for Nebuchadrezzar], are made without recourse to any documents other than the Biblical, and the Biblical documents do not provide any chronological synchronisation to substantiate Academic Opinion. Rather, there is much doubt about what Academics do insist upon. SEENo 11: Josiah to ZedekiahandNo. 12: Josiah to the Destruction of Jerusalem
Whilst I could continue to discuss holes in the academic claims for this period of time, the purpose of this section is to merely demonstrate that evidence presented by academic is not always quite what it is claimed to be.
For Example: Academic claims surrounding King Jehoiakim's death and King Jehoiachin's captivity, are other contentious issues because the Babylonian Chronicles [Direct Documentary Evidence] lack precise details in identifying King's of Judah. Presently, Academics must 'alter' the Historical records of Israel [Direct Documentary Evidence] as found in the Bible, in order to suit their chronological schemes [Opinion & Presumption], even though there is no supporting data found in the Babylonian chronicles to justify this.Refer to : No. 12: Josiah to the Destruction of Jerusalem- Also Refer to Footnotes
Solomon's Temple & Babylonian Exile
Currently, issues surrounding the precise year in which Solomon's Temple was destroyed, and the exact length of Nebuchadrezzar's reign, are significant, for the 'King's Calendar' demonstrates them to be other than what is currently accepted. Deriving from these issues, Kandalanu's identity and precise chronological placement of his reign, are justifiably contested.
To insist that because 'we' believe something to be so, is insufficient in Law to establish a matter as fact. While the King's Calendar can justifiably (mathematically) demonstrate that current opinion is in error, academics are honor bound to 'factually demonstrate' that the King's Calendar is wrong.
Whilst the 'King's Calendar' relies upon mathematics (Scientifically Testable) to demonstrate the accuracy of its chronological reconstruction of history, Academics are relying upon (legally)demonstrably untrustworthy evidence, in order to substantiate their chronological schemes.
It's time for the Academics to be up front in their claims, and clearly distinguish for 'us' plebes, between that which is 'opinion' and that which is 'established fact.'
In Part Two of this series: King Hezekiah of Judah: A man with No Equal in Israel, we will discuss the ultimate absurdity of the various academic claims about this particular King of Judah.
NOTE FOR THE ACADEMICS: Chapters 2 and 3 of the King's Calendar are a hard slog for anyone without the dogged determination and mental agility to hold all the strings together, (like a spider's web) but if you can manage it, you will see how Nebuchadrezzar's reign ought to be presented.
This Chart demonstrates the King's Calendar Placement of Nebuchadrezzar's reign in relation to Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah.
Nebuchardrezzar's 7th regnal year commences in 597 BCE
His first regnal year will have been 603 BCE
He will have commenced his accession year in 604 BCE.
Biblical Synchronisms align the reigns of Nebuchadrezzar and the King's of Judah in this fashion
The following comments are those found in the footnotes to Chapter three of the King's Calendar in relation to Nebuchadrezzars attack on Jerusalem in 596 BCE against Jehoiakim, and not as current academics insist against Zedekiah. They alter the Biblical narrative to suit their particular chronologies.
Whilst there is no necessity for Kings, Chronicles or Josephus to be given pre-eminence over each other or the Babylonian Chronicles, one must not forget, that the Babylonian Chronicles are no more 'inerrant,' than the others, nor are they 'Judeo-centrically' specific.
The Jewish writings were as pre-occupied with their own history as were the Babylonian Chronicles. Omission of detail by the one or the other, does not automatically have 'implicit' meaning, other than that such detail was of no concern to the author or redactor. That the Babylonian Chronicle fails to account for one of the three Judean kings, of itself says nothing. The way it has been interpreted however, is contrary to the balance of data
The most pointed assertion, is that it was against Judah (i.e. Jehoiakim), that Nebuchadrezzar mustered his troops. (Wiseman 1961, p33)
Nevertheless, since the Babylonian Chronicles are treated as 'gospel,' and they speak of only 'one' siege (Adar 2nd), and because that reference appears to necessitate that it was Jehoiachin who was captured on Adar 2nd, academics insist that it most definitely does refer to him.
Now since it was not possible for Nebuchadrezzar to have accomplished everything necessary, between Kislev and Adar 2nd (Jehoiakim's capture, his death, and a three month reign by Jehoiachin), it has been determined, that Jehoiachin had succeeded Jehoiakim prior to Nebuchadrezzar's forces leaving Babylon. (Wiseman, 1961, p.33)
There is however, no specific identification of kings in the Babylonian Chronicle. The only basis for identifying Jehoiachin's captivity as having occurred on Adar 2nd, is the reference to the captive kings' transportation to Babylon, and Wiseman's interpretation of 'encamped' to mean 'siege.'
The word 'encamped' is not used in reference to the sieges or capture of either Kimuhu (B.M. 22047 Obv. Line 14) or Askelon (B.M. 21946 Obv Line 18 ), and one can only wonder whether Professor Wiseman's insertion of the word '(besieged)' in the relevant passage, is academic clarification or personal interpretation. Certainly the word 'encamped' in its usual meaning, fits well with the other narratives which indicate that Jehoiakim made no effort to hinder Nebuchadrezzar.
Nevertheless, given that Jehoiakim was 'killed,' rather than transported to Babylon, it is obvious, that either the Babylonian Chronicles is incorrect (confusing two events) or that the other three witnesses are wrong. According to the interpretation of the 'King's Calendar,' the King taken captive on Adar 2nd, was not transported to Babylon, and this particular account is but a summary of events, fusing or confusing two different events occurring within a very short time of each other.
The 'King's Calendar' maintains that since Jehoiakim's 11th year commenced in February of 596 BCE and the main event referred to in the Babylonian Chronicle occurs in March 596 BCE., that it is Jehoiakim to whom the Babylonian Chronicle refers. It was Jehoiakim who was captured (and killed) in the 7th year of Nebuchadrezzar. Three (3) months later, in the spring of the year, in the 8th year of Nebuchadrezzar, he sent for Jehoiachin, to be brought to Babylon.
I hope that this article has been of assistance to you.
'Direct Evidence is evidence of the facts in issue themselves and will be constituted either by the testimony of a witness who perceived the event or the production of a legally admissible document which constitutes the fact in issue.'(Bates,1985,p.2)
'Circumstantial Evidence is evidence of facts which are not in issue, from which a fact in issue may be inferred. (Bates, 1985, p.2)
Presumption and assumption are not permitted as evidence in legal issues. (See Bates, 1985, p.46)
Opinions, Assumptions and Presumptions are not facts in relation to evidence. Ligertwood (1988, p.284) in discussing 'opinion evidence' makes it clear, that opinion is an attempt to establish a fact from other facts. [For a sociological explanation of why presumption is often accepted as fact, see Bates, 1985, p.46]
Presumption can rightly be described as an attempt to establish as a fact something for which no legal evidence or proof exists.
In law, expert witnesses are not permitted to become involved in final decision making with regard to the 'fact' of a disputed matter or issue. [Gobbo. Et.Al.(1979, p.430) Cross on Evidence 2nd Edition. Sydney. Aust. Butterworths Pty.Ltd.]
Bates.F. (1985) Principles of Evidence. 3rd Edition. Sydney The Law Book Company Limited.
Freckelton. I.R. (1987) The Trial of the Expert. A Study of Expert Evidence and Forensic Experts. Melbourne.Aust.Oxford University Press.
Gobbo. J.A., Byrne. D., Heydon J.D. (1979) Cross on Evidence 2nd Edition. Sydney. Aust. Butterworths Pty.Ltd.
Ligertwood. A.L.C. ( 1988 ) Australian Evidence. First Edition. Butterworths P/l. North Ryde
Vinson.D.E. (1985) How to Persuade Jurors. American Bar Association Journal 72, 76
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]