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CHAPTER THREE: Jehoiakim 606 BCE to 596 BCE
Apologetic in relation to King Jehoiakim of Judah
|This chapter concentrates on the narratives of Josephus, the Bible, and the Babylonian Chronicles, to realign the reign of King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon. It discusses Jehoiakim's tribute and death, Nebuchadnezzar's 7th regnal year, and Nebuchadrezzar's near defeat at the hands of Pharaoah Necho.|
In the last chapter a variety of issues were discussed and examined, the specific purpose of which was to provide apologetic for the 'King's Calendar' chronological perspective for the divided kingdom, as will be revealed commencing at Chapter Five. Each issue is meant to highlight a variance between the 'King's Calendar' perspective and current academic opinion, and to demonstrate justification for the 'King's Calendar' position. This chapter serves the same purpose.
In the previous chapter the significance of the synchronistic relationship between the reigns of Jehoiakim and Nebuchadrezzar was discussed and it was asserted that Jeremiah 25:1 synchronizing Jehoiakim's fourth (4th) year with Nebuchadrezzar's First (1st) year was correct.
In this chapter, which is completely devoted to the reign of Jehoiakim, the balance of his reign will be examined specifically as it relates to the reign of Nebuchadrezzar. It is a crucial matter, for the precise synchronization of these two king's reigns, is fundamental to the process of correctly demonstrating the validity and process of the 'King's Calendar' hypothesis.
There are three particular issues to be examined in this chapter. These are:
1. Jehoiakim's three year tribute to Nebuchadrezzar
2. Nebuchadrezzar's near defeat (during his 4th year) by Pharaoh Necho of Egypt.
3. The chronology of events leading to Jehoiakim's death and Jehoiachin's captivity.
Before proceeding it may be of assistance to overview the 'King's Calendar' presentation of Jehoiakim's reign.
|'King's Calendar Presentation of Jehoiakim's Reign|
|5||7||Aug||602||2||2||- " -||602|
|6||10||Jul||601||3||3||- " -||601|
|7||11||Jun||600||4||4||- " -||600|
|8||14||May||599||5||5||- " -||599|
|9||17||Apr||598||6||6||- " -||598|
1. Jehoiakim's tribute and Nebuchadrezzar's Near Defeat.
In 601 BCE (1) (as per current opinion) Nebuchadrezzar engaged in battle with Pharaoh Necho. Because of it's relevance to the reign of Jehoiakim, and the synchronisation of his reign with that of Nebuchadrezzar, the timing of this battle is of significance, and it's examination is necessary. (2)
We shall examine three documentary evidences.
a) The Babylonian Chronicle (BM 21946)
b) Josephus' Account (Antiquities Book 10:6:1 (87)
c) The Biblical Narrative - 2 Kings 24:1
a) The Babylonian Chronicles
We commence our examination at this point because the Babylonian Chronicle (Wiseman, 1961, p.71 -BM 21946 -Reverse Lines 5-8) provides us with the necessary background information, against which to frame certain questions regarding Jehoiakim. From what is recorded therein, we learn that:
1. In his 4th year, Nebuchadrezzar marched unopposed in Hatti land.
2. In Kislev (Nov/Dec) he marched to Egypt.
3. Necho mustered his army to meet Nebuchadrezzar
4. They fought in open battle, inflicting great havoc on each other.
5. Nebuchadrezzar turned back to Babylon
6. During Nebuchadrezzar's 5th year, he stayed at home.
If we compare the data contained in the Babylonian Chronicles with the 'King's Calendar' synchronization of the reigns of Nebuchadrezzar and Jehoiakim, the following picture emerges.
1. Nebuchadrezzar's 4th year commences in Nisan of 600 BCE
2. Nebuchadrezzar's 5th year commences in Nisan of 599 BCE
3. Nebuchadrezzar's 4th and 5th years, align with the 6th, 7th and 8th years of Jehoiakim's reign.
4. The battle in Kislev of Nebuchadrezzar's 4th year, took place during Jehoiakim's 7th year.
5. Nebuchadrezzar spent his 5th regnal year in Babylon, devoted to reviving his military forces (Wiseman, 1961, p.31).
6. Nebuchadrezzar's 5th year involved both Jehoiakim's 7th year (Nisan to May) and 8th year, (May to Nisan)
Synchronising the Reigns of Jehoiakim and Nebuchadrezzar
|Mar/Apr||2||- " -||602|
|Mar/Apr||3||- " -||601|
|Mar/Apr||600||4||- " -||600||4th year of|
|7th year of||7||11||Jun||600||600||is the 6th & 7th|
|Jehoiakim is||Dec||600||Battle with Necho||600||years of|
|the 4th & 5th of||Jehoiakim|
|599||5th year is the|
|8||14||May||599||599||7th & 8th years|
|Mar/Apr||598||6||- " -||598||6th year is the|
|9||17||Apr||598||8th & 9th years|
|10||20||Mar||597||7||13/4||597||7th year is the|
|10th & 11th year|
|3||Apr||596||8||3/4||596||11th of Jehoiakim|
The specific point is that Nebuchadrezzar's near defeat occurred during Jehoiakim's 7th year.
Having examined the Babylonian Record, and having noted that the Battle between Nebuchadrezzar and Necho occurred in the Seventh (7th) year of Jehoiakim, we turn now to the record of Josephus, to determine what other information may be gleaned.
Antiquities Book 10:6:1-2 (87-88) - Whiston,1993, p.272
But when Nebuchadnezzar had already reigned four years, which was the eighth of Jehoiakim's government over the Hebrews, the king of Babylon made an expedition with mighty forces against the Jews and required tribute of Jehoiakim, and threatened on his refusal, to make war against him.
He was affrighted at this threatening and bought his peace with money, and brought the tribute he was ordered to bring for three years. But on the third year, upon hearing that the king of the Babylonians made an expedition against the Egyptians; he did not pay his tribute; yet he was disappointed of his hope, for the Egyptians durst not fight at this time.
The Chronology provided in this account is:
1. Nebuchadrezzar had already reigned 4 years at this time
2. This was the 8th year of Jehoiakim
3. Jehoiakim was ordered to pay tribute for 3 years
4. In the third year, relying upon the Egyptians, he refused tribute
The first thing to note when considering the chronological synchronism provided by Josephus in relation to Jehoiakim's tribute, is that Josephus commences the discussion with reference to the Battle of Carchemish in Nebuchadrezzar's accession year and synchronises it with Jehoiakim's 4th year, as per Jer 46:2. Therefore his synchronism between Nebuchadrezzar's fourth (4th) year and Jehoiakim's eighth (8th) year is mathematically correct. According to the 'King's Calendar' however, this event occurred during Jehoiakim's Seventh (7th) year.
In his reference to Nebuchadrezzar's fourth (4th) year however, Josephus states that Nebuchadrezzar 'had already reigned four years'. The phraseology may imply that he was referring to Nebuchadrezzar's 5th year (Jehoiakim's 8th year). To do so however would be to contradict Babylonian insistence that Nebuchadrezzar remained in Babylon that year.
What is clear, is that if Josephus is in fact speaking of Nebuchadrezzar's fourth (4th) regnal year, he is speaking of the very year in which according to the Babylonian Chronicles, Nebuchadrezzar and Necho fought a disastrous pitched battle. (3) One wonders then if the required tribute was demanded of Jehoiakim before or after the battle. (4)
While Josephus' makes no mention of Nebuchadrezzar's near defeat, (and the Babylonian Chronicles make no mention of the tribute), the impact of Josephus' account is that the three years of Jehoiakim's tribute is fixed at between Nebuchadrezzar's 4th and 7th regnal years, (5) and his subsequent refusal to continue paying, was the direct stimulus leading to Jehoiakim's death.(6)
These three years fall approximately between January 599 BCE and March 596 BCE. and equates with Jehoiakim's 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th years.
The specific point is that Jehoiakim's tribute commenced during Nebuchadrezzar's fourth (4th) year.
c) The Biblical Narrative - 2 Kings 24:1
The Biblical account at this point while less definitive than Josephus, does provide some helpful details. (7)
In verse one (:1) of Second Kings Chapter Twenty-Four (24) we are informed that Nebuchadnezzar came, and that Jehoiakim became his servant three years. Then Jehoiakim turned and rebelled against him. In Verse two (:2) we are informed that the Lord sent against him bands of Chaldeans, Syrians, Moabites, and Ammonites, to destroy Judah. (according to the word of the Lord which he spoke by his servants the prophets).
The first thing to note is that Second Kings 24:1, is a summary, and as such, a more concise account than that of Josephus. Secondly, (given that verse one is a summary) that while it is important to realise that verse two need not be immediately connected to the rebellion mentioned in verse one, it is nevertheless possible to view these 'bands sent against Judah to destroy it', as the composition of the army (8) with which Nebuchadrezzar marched upon, Judea and Jerusalem.
The specific point to note is that Jehoiakim's Death results from cessation of payment of three years of tribute.
The forgoing sections can be summarised in three statements.
1. Jehoiakim's tribute commenced during Nebuchadrezzar's fourth (4th) year.
2. Nebuchadrezzar's near defeat occurred during Jehoiakim's 7th year.
3. Jehoiakim's Death results from cessation of payment of three years of tribute.
The evidence as is available, and as incorporated into the artificial chronological scheme of the 'King's Calendar', clearly indicates that Nebuchadrezzar's first regnal year is synchronised with the 4th year of Jehoiakim and as a result, Nebuchadrezzar's battle with Necho occurred in 600 BCE. Subsequent to that battle (c. Jan/Feb 599 BCE) Nebuchadrezzar imposed tribute which Jehoiakim paid for three solar years.
Upon Jehoiakim's cessation of payment (c. December 597 BCE), Nebuchadrezzar marched upon Jerusalem, slew Jehoiakim, and set Jehoiachin upon the throne. To these details we must now turn.
2. Jehoiakim's Death
One of the difficulties that arises out of current academic attempts to synchronise the Biblical chronologies with both its' narratives and those of the Babylonian Chronicles, is that Jehoiakim's reign suffers from compression. Without entering into the specifics at this point, academics find it necessary to link not Jehoiakim, but Jehoiachin, with the punitive action already indicated to have resulted from Jehoiakim's refusal to pay tribute. This is felt necessary by reason of the wording of the Babylonian records.
Within this section, we shall examine the direct documentary evidences pertaining to Jehoiakim and this period in the history of the Ancient Near East.
Despite the forgoing mention of the Babylonian records, current understanding of Israelite history for this period actually relies heavily upon biblical chronological data, which, as the 'King's Calendar' insists, has been completely misunderstood.
Firstly, it must be understood that reasonable guesswork plays a significant part in academic research. Conclusions are often based upon 'reasonable', 'plausible', or 'probable' determinations, deduced from sometimes very scant information. (9)
Secondly, academics often fail to treat the biblical narratives as the primary documentary evidence that they are, preferring not to take them as seriously as they do other evidence, for example, the Babylonian Chronicles. (10)
This in no way demeans their conclusions, nor invalidates them; but it is necessary to always keep in mind, that there is a great deal of difference between 'absolute truth' and 'perceived truth'. While a presumption or an opinion is only that, conclusions are tentative at best, and until they can be established as incontrovertible facts, must always be left open to reconsideration, adjustment and refutation.
Within this section, we will challenge a good
deal of current thinking on the events and chronology of this time, and it will
be helpful to remember that to date, there is no 'one uniformly accepted'
opinion, concerning the matters under discussion here.
The Four Pieces of Documentary Evidence
There are four accounts of Jehoiakim's death, and it will be helpful if prior to discussion, each is listed in point form. This enables us to determine more clearly what each says, without initially attempting any interpretation. The accounts to be listed are:
A) 2 Chronicles 36:5-10
B) 2 Kings 23:36-24:6
C) Josephus 10:6:3 (96-97)
D) Babylonian Chronicle BM 21946 Rev Line 11-13.
In order to examine these four pieces of evidence, each account will be displayed in point fashion, with each point consecutively numbered, to assist in a later reconstruction of the events.
A) 2 Chronicles 36:5-10
1. Jehoiakim was 25 years old
2. Jehoiakim reigned 11 years
3. Nebuchadrezzar came against him
4. And Bound him in fetters to take him to Babylon
5. Nebuchadrezzar also took part of the vessels from the Temple
6. His son Jehoiachin reigned in Jehoiakim's place
7. Jehoiachin reigned 3 months and 10 days
8. In the Spring of the year Nebuchadrezzar sent for him
9. Jehoiachin taken to Babylon
10. Zedekiah his brother was appointed King in his stead.
B) 2 Kings 23:36 - 24:17
11. Jehoiakim was 25 when he commenced to
12. He reigned 11 years
13. Nebuchadrezzar came up
14. Jehoiakim became his servant 3 years
15. Chaldeans, Syrians, Moabites and Ammonites sent to destroy Judah
16. Jehoiakim slept with his fathers i.e. died naturally?
17. Jehoiachin his son reigned 3 months in his stead
18. The servants of Nebuchadrezzar besieged Jerusalem
19. Then Nebuchadrezzar arrived while his servants were besieging it.
20. Then Jehoiachin surrendered
21. He surrendered in the 8th year of Nebuchadrezzar
22. Jehoiachin was taken captive to Babylon
23. Zedekiah, Jehoiachin's uncle was appointed king in his stead.
C) Josephus Antiquities 10:6:3 (96) - 10:7:1 (102)
24. The King of Babylon made an expedition against
25. Jehoiakim received Nebuchadrezzar out of fear
26. He neither shut the gates nor fought against him
27. Nebuchadrezzar slew Jehoiakim (Thrown before the walls)
28. Jehoiachin his son was made king in his stead
29. Captives (including Ezekiel) were taken to Babylon
30. Later, a terror seized Nebuchadrezzar so that
31. Nebuchadrezzar sent his army back to Jerusalem for Jehoiachin
32. The City was besieged
33. Jehoiachin surrendered
34. Zedekiah was appointed King.
35. Jehoiachin was taken to Babylon later in the year.
D) The Babylonian Chronicle B.M. 21946 Rev Line 11-13
36. In Nebuchadrezzar's 7th year in Kislev he
mustered his army and marched to Hatti-land
37. He encamped against Jerusalem (12)
38. On the 2nd of Adar (March), he seized the city and captured the king
39. He appointed a king of his own choice
40. He received tribute and sent it to Babylon
The Salient points found in these four accounts are:
Chronicles, Kings and Josephus all maintain that in the space of less than 4 months, there were 3 kings on the throne of Judah, two of which were Nebuchadrezzar's nominees.
The Babylonian chronicle mentions only two, of which only one was a nominee. The other is ignored.
The 'King's Calendar' indicates that Jehoiakim's 11th year commenced on February 20th 596 BCE. The first of Nisan that year was April 3rd. The Babylonian Chronicle reference to the events of Adar 2nd, can only refer to Jehoiakim. Current academic opinion would insist that it refers to Jehoiachin, and would insist that Jehoiakim died sometime around December of the previous year.(13)
Between February 20th and the end of June, three kings sat on the Judean throne, of which Jehoiachin and Zedekiah were both appointees of Nebuchadrezzar. According to the biblical narratives and Josephus, two kings were taken captive, only one was taken to Babylon. The other was killed. The Babylonian chronicle however, makes no mention of the killing of a king, and mentions only one siege of Jerusalem
Chronicles, and Josephus, state that Nebuchadrezzar personally came against Jehoiakim, but sent for Jehoiachin. The Babylonian Chronicle, which fails to mention one of these two kings, appears to indicate that Nebuchadrezzar personally came to Jerusalem and captured the city and took the king captive.
The book of Kings appears to indicate that Jehoiakim died naturally.
Neither Josephus nor Second Chronicles synchronises these events with the reign of Nebuchadrezzar.
The book of Kings indicates that Jehoiachin was taken in the 8th year of Nebuchadrezzar. The Babylonian Chronicles makes it quite clear that at the very end of Nebuchadrezzar's 7th year, he captured Jerusalem and appointed a king of his own choice.
However, the Second Chronicles account records that three months after Jehoiakim's death, in the 'spring of the year' (which can be translated as 'at the beginning of the year'), Nebuchadrezzar sent for Jehoiachin. While this could on primary reading of the text, indicate that Jehoiachin was king prior to the beginning of the year (Nisan 1st), in the context of the text in which it appears, it ought only to be read to mean that, subsequent to Jehoiakim's death (prior to Spring, the beginning of the year, i.e. Nisan 1st,), Jehoiachin was 'sent for', i.e. in the spring of the year (April to June)
Jehoiakim was captured and killed on Adar 2nd during Nebuchadrezzar's 7th year, and three months later (during the spring), Jehoiachin was deposed, i.e. during Nebuchadrezzar's 8th regnal year.
Josephus says that Jehoiakim did not bar the city to Nebuchadrezzar, but openly received him; but states that Jehoiachin initially resisted him.
The Babylonian Chronicles which speaks of only one campaign against Jerusalem, states that Nebuchadrezzar encamped against Jerusalem.
If as Wiseman's (1991, p.73) insertion suggests, 'encamped against' means 'besieged', then the Babylonian Chronicle refers to a siege in the 7th year of Nebuchadrezzar that is not attested to in either the Biblical Narratives or Josephus; and it fails to mention a siege attested to in both, as occurring in Nebuchadrezzar's 8th year.
Keeping in mind that the Babylonian Chronicle in nowise identifies the Judean Kings; that it fails to mention one king involved in this drama and that it is just a summary of the events for the year, the following is the 'King's Calendar' reconstruction of both the events and the narratives. Authors Footnote:
'King's Calendar' Reconstruction
This reconstruction uses thirty-nine (39) of the previously listed Forty (40) points. Additionally it is colour coded to assist in identifying the source material from which it is derived.
1. Jehoiakim was 25 years old when he commenced to reign
2. He reigned 11 years
3. Nebuchadrezzar came against him
13 In Nebuchadrezzar's 4th year he came up and took tribute
14 Jehoiakim became his servant three years
24 The King of Babylon made an expedition against Jehoiakim
36 In Nebuchadrezzar's 7th year in Kislev he mustered his army and marched to Hatti-land
15 Chaldeans, Syrians, Moabites and Ammonites sent to destroy Judah
37 Nebuchadrezzar encamped against Jerusalem
25 Jehoiakim received Nebuchadrezzar out of fear
26 He neither shut the gates nor fought against him
38 On 2nd Adar Nebuchadrezzar seized the city and captured the king.
27 Nebuchadrezzar slew Jehoiakim
16 Jehoiakim slept with his fathers
39 Nebuchadrezzar appointed a king of his own choice
28 Jehoiachin made king
40 Nebuchadrezzar received tribute and sent it to Babylon
5 Nebuchadrezzar also took part of the vessels from the Temple
29 Captives (Including Ezekiel) taken to Babylon
6 His son Jehoiachin reigned in Jehoiakim's place
17 Jehoiachin reigned 3 months
7 Jehoiachin reigned 3 months and 10 days
30 Nebuchadrezzar changed his mind
31 Nebuchadrezzar sent his army back to Jerusalem for Jehoiachin
8 In the Spring (April - June) of the Year, Nebuchadrezzar sent for him
18 The servants of Nebuchadrezzar besieged Jerusalem
32 The City is Besieged
19 Then Nebuchadrezzar arrived while his servants were besieging it
20 Then Jehoiachin surrendered
33 Jehoiachin surrendered
21 Jehoiachin taken prisoner in the 8th year of Nebuchadrezzar
22 Jehoiachin taken captive to Babylon
9. Jehoiachin was taken to Babylon
10. Zedekiah his brother was appointed king in his stead
23 Zedekiah his uncle was appointed king in his stead.
34 Zedekiah his uncle appointed king
35 Jehoiachin was taken to Babylon later in the year.
40 Nebuchadrezzar received tribute and sent it to Babylon.
There is only one number omitted from this reconstruction, i.e. No. 4. Second Chronicles indicates that Nebuchadrezzar bound Jehoiakim in fetters to take him to Babylon. This is clearly incorrect and it appears that this account like the Babylonian Chronicle, confuses two different kings and events. If any king was bound, it was Jehoiachin.
A second point to note is that whereas Kings and Josephus identify Zedekiah as Jehoiachin's uncle, the Chronicles account identifies him as his brother.;
Another important point is, that the King's account has Nebuchadrezzar arriving while Jehoiachin is being besieged. Josephus contradicts this.
From this reconstruction, we can determine the following four (4) things.
1. That the Second Chronicles account confuses
2. That the Babylonian Chronicle is a summary of events regarding three kings - not two.
3. That the King's Account contains all the relevant material, except Jehoiakim's murder. Its' reference to Chaldean, Syrian Moabites and Ammonites may demonstrate an intimate knowledge of the composition of Nebuchadrezzar's forces.
4. Josephus' account, contains all the relevant information except for chronologically synchronistic references to Nebuchadrezzar's regnal years.
'King's Calendar' Sequence of Events (14)
|1||597||Apr||13th||Nebuchadrezzar commences 7th regnal year|
|2||597||Dec||Nebuchadrezzar marches to Hatti-land.|
|3||596||Mar||5th||Nebuchadrezzar captures and kills Jehoiakim|
|4||596||Mar||Nebuchadrezzar appoints Jehoiachin as king.|
|5||596||Mar||Nebuchadrezzar leaves Jerusalem|
|6||596||Apr||3rd||Nebuchadrezzar commences 8th Regnal Year|
|7||596||Jun||7th||Nebuchadrezzar captures Jehoiachin|
|8||596||Jun||Zedekiah appointed King|
|9||595||Jan||22nd||Zedekiah commences 1st artificial year.|
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 BCE, capture and kill him. In his place, Nebuchadrezzar appointed Jehoiakim's son, Jehoiachin.
Within a few months however, fearing that that appointment had been a mistake, he sent for Jehoiachin to be taken captive, and to be replaced by his uncle Zedekiah. Back in Babylon, he kept his captive under house arrest, where he remained for the next 37 years.
To Chapter Four
1. Tabouis. G.R. (1977) Nebuchadnezzar. The Columbia Encyclopedia 6th Ed. 2001. Columbia University Press. Nebuchadnezzar http://www.bartleby.com/65/ne/Nebuchad.html
2. It is expedient at this point to note that as has been demonstrated in the previous chapter, the 'King's Calendar' perceives Wiseman's (1961 - BM 22047 & BM 21946) Chronology of events to be erroneous by virtue of an excessive one year applied to the reign of Nebuchadrezzar.
3. (Wiseman 1961 BM 21946 'Reverse Side' Line 7 states that great havoc was inflicted on each other and that Nebuchadrezzar turned back to Babylon.)
4. It probably makes more sense for Nebuchadrezzar to specifically attempt a show of force subsequent to his near defeat to demonstrate that he was very much the lord and master of his realm.
5. This is not how Finegan (1965, p.204) views the situation. See also Mitchell (Cambridge Ancient History, 1991, p398) They, it would appear, see the servitude as falling prior to Nebuchadrezzar's battle with Necho. Ragozin (1889 p.174) however sees the situation in line with Josephus' inherent implication. [Ragozin.Z.A. (1889) Media, Babylon and Persia : including a study of the Zend-Avesta or religion of Zoroaster, from the fall of Ninevah. T.Fisher Unwin. The Story of the Nations Series:19.
6. The Babylonian Record lacks any mention of Jehoiakim's three years of tribute, or specifically that he failed to pay it.
7. Remembering that it was Biblical chronological contradiction that set us on this path in the first place.
8. Mitchell (Cambridge Ancient History, 1991, p.398), however, refers to the Chaldeans and Arameans as elements of Babylonian garrison troops. Refer also to: Bright. J. (1981) A History of Israel. 3rd Ed. Philadelphia. Westminster Press. (p.327)
9. To understand just how true this is, it would be profitable to read James (1991, p.309) citing Hanfmann. James P. Thorpe.I.J., Kokkinos.N., Morkot.R., Frankish.J. (1991) Centuries of Darkness. Rutgers Uni Press. New Jersey. Hanfmann. G.M.A. The Bronze Age in the Near East. A Review Article. A.J.A. 55, 355-65 See also Chapter Fifteen.
10. Refer to James et.al. (1991, p.162) and comments in relation to hypercritical treatment of the biblical narratives, and poor methodology. See also Miller & Hayes (1986, p.74) in relation to 'attitudes' of historians.
11. In context, the reading of this verse appears to indicate that this event occurred 'a little time after' the fifth year of Jehoiachin. However, careful reading of the complete text indicates that Josephus is not providing a consecutive chronological order of events. He moves from Jehoiakim's 4th year, to his 8th, to his 5th, and finally (although not specifying it) to his 11th year.
12. Wiseman (1961, p 73) inserts 'besieged' after the phrase 'encamped against'. This bears noting at this point.
13. Bright (1981, p.327) suggests that Jehoiakim was earlier assassinated, to make way for Jehoiachin, in the hope of preventing a Babylonian invasion. Refer also to: Mitchell (Cambridge Ancient History, 1991, p.400). This is not however, the picture painted by Josephus (Antiquities 7:10:1), in which Nebuchadrezzar is personally present at the death of Jehoiakim, and later sent for Jehoiachin.
14. The sources for the specific dates provided are:
2 Chronicles 36:9 lists Jehoiachin's reign as 3 months and 10 days, while 2 Kings 24:8 records it as 3 months. While one may be a specific length, and the other an approximate length, it is possible that one is given in the Babylonian system, and the other in the artificial. 3 months 10 days in the Babylonian reckoning is approximately 100 days to 13.6.586). Clines (1972, p.30) Jehoiachin may have reigned as little as two and a half months (75 days 19/5/586)
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.
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