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The usual date given for the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in academic and Christian publications is either 587 BCE or 586 BCE. The Watchtower claims it was destroyed in 607 BCE.

This date is critically important to them, because on it Charles Taze Russell calculated the year 1914 (2520 years later).

What do Jehovah's Witnesses think is the evidence for 607 BCE as the year of the destruction of Jerusalem? Please note, there are two kinds of evidence I consider acceptable: Biblical evidence and extra-Biblical evidence. It is really fine if only Biblical evidence is offered, but in such a case please indicate why you think the JW interpretation is correct.

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This exact question was posed by a reader of the Watchtower magazine published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

It led to the printing of a two-part article: When Was Ancient Jerusalem Destroyed?​

Part one main points are

“Seventy Years” for Whom?

When Did “the Seventy Years” Start?

When Did “the Seventy Years” End?

Classical Historians —How Accurate?

The Canon of Ptolemy

The Conclusion Based on This Evidence

Part 2 main points are

What the Clay Documents Really Show

Why Trust the Bible?

As time permits I will return to add a salient point of interest from each of the above headings.

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    Please do give a brief summary of what those pages say. – curiousdannii Feb 21 at 13:07
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    If the destruction of Jerusalem was 607 bc and it was in Nebuchadnezzar's 19th year (Jer 52:12, Jewish (non-accession year) reckoning) 18th (52:29, Babylonian (accession year )reckoning) then Nebuchadnezzar's accession year was 625 bc. This would mean that Daniel was in captivity, not for 70 years, but from 625 to 537 or 88 years! (Dan 1:1, 1:5, 2:1). It would also mean Ezekiel and his fellow captives were taken captive in 618 bc (Ez 40:1) and the exile would last 81 years for them(!) – Andrew Shanks Feb 21 at 14:38
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    Not sure what is relevant there. If anything it suggests more than 88 years, because it suggests some years are missing. – Andrew Shanks Feb 21 at 19:42
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    @AndrewShanks Yes, you're right. Since Jerusalem was attacked twice, the people who were taken captive in the first attack would have been held captive for more than 70 years. But the prophetic 70 years didn't start until the second attack of Jerusalem. (See this paragraph in Part 1) – 4castle Feb 21 at 21:04
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    OK. But for what its worth, actually, there were three attacks: in the first Daniel et al were taken; in the second Ezekiel et al were taken; in the third Jerusalem was destroyed. – Andrew Shanks Feb 21 at 23:43
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Battle of Megiddo (June 609 BC, based on Brooklyn Museum artifact) when King יֹֽאשִׁיָּ֑הוּ "Josiah" is defeated.

  • We learn in [2 Chronicles 26] Josiah's son Jehoahaz ruled Jerusalem (3 months, September 609 BC) - until Josiah's other son אֶלְיָקִ֣ים "Eliakim" (called יְהֽוֹיָקִ֑ים "Jehoiakim" by Egyptians) became ruled over יְהוּדָה֙ "Judah" and יר֣וּשָׁלִַ֔ם "Jerusalem".

  • [Daniel 1:1]: "In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it." (606 BC)

By those dates referenced in the Tanakh starting from the date published by Brooklyn Museum relating to commemorative statue of Necho II, the argument could be made Nebuchadnezzar "conquered" Jerusalem around 607-606 BC.

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  • Yes we agree the Battle of Megiddo at which Josiah died was in the summer of 609 BCE. But we are told that Jehoiakim reigned 11 years (2 Chron 36:5), after him came Jeconaih (Jehoiachin) a few months and after him Zedekiah who reigned 11 years (2 Chron 36:11) at the end of which Jerusalem was finally destroyed. How do you fit this into the JW chronology? (I am not sure you are qualified to represent the JW point of view? But thank you for the answer.) – Andrew Shanks Aug 5 '20 at 22:14
  • Thanks, Andrews! I was just helping solve a puzzle that helps reveal biblical truth. – חִידָה Aug 5 '20 at 22:20
  • You're welcome... except I was too tired to get it right! Josiah killed 609; Jehoahaz 3 months; Jehoiakim 11 years; Jehoiachin (Jeconiah) 3 months; Zedekiah 11 years. The Jews used the Non-Accession Year dating method which I expect both these (round-number) "11 year" reign lengths are using. Thus "11 years" can be anything between a couple of days over 9 years(!) and fully 11 years. Using Non-Accession method an 11 year reign contains 10 New Year's Days (1st Tishri). – Andrew Shanks Aug 6 '20 at 8:33
  • Furthermore, the Watchtower put the Battle of Megiddo and Josiah's death both at 629 BC. Their dates, once again, do not agree with Egyptian history, which puts the reign of Necho II as 610 to 595 BC, so obviously he couldn't have killed Josiah in 629 BC. The Egyptian chronology is confirmed independently from all the other chronologies (ie the Assyrian, Babylonian and Bible chronologies). The point of agreement between the Watchtower and everyone else is the reign of Cambyses II - everyone agrees he reigned from 530 to 522 BC. It was him who conquered Egypt and ended the 26th dynasty and – Andrew Shanks Oct 18 '20 at 12:02
  • 26th dynasty and the reign of Pharaoh Psammeticus III in May/June 525 BC. (See the JW publication "Aid to Bible Understanding" page 1294 on "Persia, Persians" section on "From Cyrus' Death to Nehemiah's Governorship".) – Andrew Shanks Oct 18 '20 at 12:17

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