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The 1914 Chronology
 

 

by James White
 

A. Establishing an Ancient Date

1. Fixed Dates
2. King List
3. Cuneiform Tablets
4. Correlation

B. Astronomical Data

1. VAT 4956 - astronomical observations made during Nebuchadnezzar’ s 37th regnal year - 568/67 B. C. Hence, his first regnal year was spring 604 B. C., or, using Babylonian reckoning, 605/04 B. C., or, in Jewish civil calendar, it was 606/05 B. C., fall to fall.

2. BM n.4. 76-11 - Cambyses 7th regnal year 523/22 B.C. We shall see that Cyrus was enthroned 16 years earlier, 538/37 B. C.

3. Ptolemy’s Alamgest records 19 lunar eclipses. Two are here significant - April 21, 621 B. C., which was in the 5th year of Nabopolassar. Second was 11:00PM, July 16, 523 B. C., the 7th of Cambyses. Note the correlation between VAT 4956 and Almagest:

Eclipse:     Nabopolassar’s first year = 626 B.C.
                    Nabopolassar’s last year = 605 B. C.
VAT 4956: 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar  = 568 B. C.
                    First year of Nebuchadnezzar  = 605 B. C.

4. Considerations:
Since Cyrus took the throne in 538/37 B. C., the Jews could have settled in Jerusalem by 537/36 B.C. (2 Chronicles 36: 22-23, Ezra 1: 1-3: 6) . Hence, the 70 years, reckoning inclusively, would have begun in 606/05 B.C. fall to fall (Jewish calendar). This has been locked in as Nebuchadnezzar's accession year.

C. Establishing a Ring List

1. Nabonidus Stele A - 1906 (Aid, p. 327).
2. Nabonidus Stele B - 1956; also called Harren Stele B.

King List: Nabopolassar           21 years
                  Nebuchadnezzar      43 years
                  Amel-Marduk               2 years
                  Neniglissar                  4 years
                  Nabonidus                   ?

D. Cuneiform Tablets

On the basis of’ over 4,000 tablets:

Nabopolassar           21 yrs        May 17, 626 - Aug 15, 605
Nebuchadnezzar       43 yrs        Sept 7, 605 - Oct 8, 562
Amel-Marduk                2 yrs        Oct 8, 562 - Aug 7, 560
Nergal-shar-usur        4 yrs         Aug 13, 560 - Apr 16, 556
Labashi-Marduk       2 mos         May 3, 556 - Jun 20, 556
Nabunaid                    17 yrs        May 25,556 - Oct 13, 539
Cyrus                              9 yrs        Oct 26, 539 - Aug 12, 530
Cambyses                    8 yrs        Aug 31, 530 - Apr 18, 522

E. Correlation:

Nabopolassar            21 yrs        626 - 605        5th yr - 621/620      Almagest
Nebuchadnezzar        43 yrs        605 - 562      37th yr - 568/567      VAT 4956
Evil-Merodach               2 yrs        562 - 560
Neriglissar                     2 yrs       560 - 556
Labashi-Marduk         2 mos            556
Nabonidus                   17 yrs
      556 - 539
Cyrus                               9 yrs       539 - 530
Cambyses                      8 yrs       530 - 522       7th yr - 523/522     
Almagest, BM n. 4. 78-11

F. Biblical Considerations:

1. Interpreting the 70 years - Two views:

A. Seventy years began in Nebuchadnezzar’s 19th regnal, year when he destroyed Jerusalem, removed Zedekiah, and took the populace captive. 2 Kings 24:18-25:21, 2 Chronicles 36: 11-21.

B. This view also marks the end of the 70 years with the return of the Jews to Jerusalem. However, it marks the beginning in the 4th regnal year of Jehoiakim, corresponding to Nebuchadnezzar’s first regnal year., 605 B. C. C Daniel 1: 1-6, 2 Kings 24: 1) . This view also sees Jeremiah 25:12 as significant.

2. Which view fits?

View A:  70 year period: 607 - 537 B. C.
                Nebuchadnezzar’ s 19th year: 607 B. C.
                Nebuchadnezzar’s 1st year: 626 B.C.

View B:  70 year period: 605 - 537 B.C. (incl)
                Nebuchadnezzar’ s 19th year: 586 B. C.
                Nebuchadnezzar’s 1st year: 605 B.C.


3. supporting evidence: BM 21946 records:

Nebuchadnezzar conquered “Hatti-land” Sept. 605 B.C.
4th regnal year (601/600) defeated by Egypt
6th regnal year (599/598) quelled rebelling Arabs
Next winter, 598/97, took Jehoiakin (2 Kings 24:14) as well as Ezekiel.
Notice - Nebuchadnezzar was not even king in 607!

BM 22047 says that Nabopolassar was king in 607, and that he led a military campaign against “the mountains of Za” in Assyria!

THE SEVENTY-YEAR PROPHECY

B.C. Dates     B.C.E. Dates  
*spring to spring
 625/24
Nabopolassar's first regnal year. Beginning of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. spring to spring
625/24
Nebuchadnezzar's first regnal year. Jehoiakim's fourth regnal year. (BGF, p. 126*)
spring to spring
621/20
Astronomically fixed as Nabopolassar's fifth regnal year based on the lunar eclipse recorded in The Almagest. spring to spring
621/20
In his fourth regnal year, Nebuchadnezzar came up against Jerusalem and subjected Jehoiakim (BGF, pp. 132-134*). [The Bible makes no mention of this campaign, however. And Babylonian Chronicle B.M. 21946 says that during his fourth regnal year, Nebuchadnezzar led an unsuccessful military campaign against Egypt. It makes no mention of a successful campaign against Jerusalem as it certainly would have done had there been such a campaign.
spring to spring
607/06
Nabopolassar's 19th regnal year. Babylonian campaign against the "mountains of Za" in Assyria. (Babylonian Chronicle B.M. 22047) No recorded Babylonian campaign against Judah. Nebuchadnezzar not yet king. spring to spring
618/17
Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem. This was Jehoiakim's 11th regnal year during which he died or was killed. Jehoiachin was taken captive to Babylon, and Zedekiah made king over Judah. Daniel and his companions were also taken captive to Babylon at this time. (BGF, pp. 134-137*) [Daniel, however, dates his own captivity to Jeohaikim's third year, not his eleventh year -- Dan. 1:1. In fact, if Daniel was taken captive in Jehoiakim's eleventh regnal year, which corresponded to Nebuchadnezzar's eighth year as king of Babylon, as the Watchtower Society's leaders claim, then Daniel's statement that he was a captive in Babylon during Nebuchadnezzar's second regnal year is inaccurate -- Dan. 2:1ff.]
**fall to fall
606/05
 

spring to spring
605/04

Nabopolassar dies and Nebuchadnezzar ascends throne. Nebuchadnezzar defeats Egypt at Carchemish, conquers Syria-Palestine, besieges Jerusalem, seizes some Temple furniture, and takes Daniel and others captive in Jehoiakim's third year by accession-year dating (Babylonian Chronicle 21946; Dan. 1:1-2). The seventy years of servitude to Babylon begins (Jer. 46:2; 25:11). October
607
In his 19th regnal year, Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem, took Zedekiah off the throne and exiled "all Judah." The seventy years begins. (BGF, pp. 156-163*)
fall to fall
605/04
Nebuchadnezzar's first regnal year.    
spring to spring 604/03      
fall to fall
599/98

spring to spring
598/97
Nebuchadnezzar's seventh regnal year. He besieges Jerusalem, seizes more Temple furniture, kills Jehoiakim, exiles Jehoiachin and others (including Ezekiel), and puts Zedekiah on the throne (Babylonian Chronicle 21946; 2 Chron. 36:5-10; Jer. 22:18-19; 2 Kings 24:8-17). The 70-year prophecy of servitude to Babylon continues to be fulfilled.    
fall to fall
587/86
Nebuchadnezzar's 19th regnal year. He destroys Jerusalem, seizes all remaining Temple furniture, exiles Zedekiah and "all Judah." (2 Kings 25:1-21; 2 Chron. 36:11-21)

Josephus says that in the Jewish historical records (which included the Old Testament scriptures as a primary source), "it is written that Nebuchadnezzar, in the nineteenth year of his reign, laid our temple desolate, and so it lay in that state of obscurity for fifty years [emphasis supplied]; but that in the second year of the reign of Cyrus, its foundations were laid and it was finished again in the second year of Darius." (Against Apion, Bk. 1. para. 21)

     
spring to spring
568/67
Astronomically fixed as Nebuchadnezar's 37th regnal year by tablet VAT 4956.    
fall to fall
539/38

spring to spring
539/38
Babylon falls to Cyrus in Nabonidus' 17th regnal year. Darius becomes king over Babylon (Dan. 5:30-31), but Babylonian records still reckon this as Cyrus' ascension year. This is not an astronomically fixed date, but nevertheless a reliable date based upon a synchronization of the astronomically fixed dates in Nabopolassar's, Nebuchadnezzzar's, and Cambyses' reigns with the king list established by the Nabonidus Harran Stele (NABON, III, B), Ptolemy's Canon and thousands of contemporarily dated cuneiform tablets. October
539
Cyrus overthrows Babylon. Darius becomes king over Babylon. The Watchtower leaders choose this as the fixed date from which all other dates during the 70-year period must be derived. They based this on the Nabonidus Chronicle which says that Cyrus overthrew Babylon on the 7th month, 14th day, and 17th year of the Nabonidus' reign over Babylon. To determine the date for Nabonidus' 17th regnal year it is necessary to consult astronomical, archeological, and historical sources. (W, p. 488-494+)
fall to fall
538/37
Cyrus' first regnal year by Jewish civil calendar. Cyrus decree allowing Jews to return to Palestine (2 Chron. 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4). 538/37 Cyrus becomes king over Babylon and issues his decree allowing the Jews to return to Palestine (W, pp. 493).
fall to fall
537/36
Jewish migration and resettling back to homeland. The 70-year prophecy reaches fulfillment. (Ezra 1:5-3:7) Sept./Oct.
537
Jews return to resettle in their homeland. End of the 70-year prophecy. (W, pp. 393, 394+)
spring to spring
523/22
Astronomically fixed as Cambyses' seventh regnal year by astronomical tablet B.M. n.4 78-11 and the lunar eclipse recorded in The Almagest.    
* The Babylonian calendar year was from spring to spring.
**The Jewish calendar year was from fall to fall.
*"Babylon the Great Has Fallen!" God's Kingdom Rules! Brooklyn, New York: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., 1963.

+Watchtower, August, 1968.

     


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