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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 (7 * 360) 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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  • The scriptures speak of seventy years of Babylonian captivity (Jeremiah 25:11-12, 29:10; Daniel 9:2; Zechariah 7:5), ending with the first year of Cyrus, in 539/8 BC (2 Chronicles 36:22; Ezra 1:1, 5:13, 6:3). But not all regions of the Holy Land were conquered simultaneously (2 Kings 24:12, 25:1, 25:8).
    – user46876
    Aug 4, 2020 at 6:14
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    @Nigel J - Perhaps one of the Jehovah's Witnesses might tell us in their answer why it does matter. Aug 4, 2020 at 7:33
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    @Lucian That could be a good and helpful answer. Why on earth do you not post it as such and expand it - properly - with referenced quotations ? ? ?
    – Nigel J
    Aug 4, 2020 at 9:36
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    biblefriendlybooks.com/2016/07/…
    – 1982
    Aug 5, 2020 at 12:42
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    @curiousdannii Sorry, Don't know how else to message you. Shouldn't an ex-JW who has parted with them over this very issue after much research be considered to have a relevant answer. Especially when he has directly addressed the specific content provided by the JW organization in one of the comments. Feb 20, 2021 at 12:32

2 Answers 2

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This very 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?

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    Please do give a brief summary of what those pages say.
    – curiousdannii
    Feb 21, 2021 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(!) Feb 21, 2021 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. Feb 21, 2021 at 19:42
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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. Feb 21, 2021 at 23:43
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    Thanks for comment, and point taken. I did another check on VAT 4956 which took some time, but v surprisingly (& disappointingly for me) both 568 & 588 bc fitted the data perfectly. Viz, VAT 4956 tells us (in a very interesting manner) the month lengths for the last month of previous year (29 days), month 1 (30 days), month 2 (29 days), month 10 (29 days) and month 11 (30 days). As I said, v surprisingly these month lengths match exactly for both 568 & 588 BC. [Note leap years in bce era are where (year number - 1)/ 4 gives a whole integer answer.] Feb 22, 2021 at 14:36
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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.) Aug 5, 2020 at 22:14
  • Thanks, Andrews! I was just helping solve a puzzle that helps reveal biblical truth.
    – user50490
    Aug 5, 2020 at 22:20
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    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). Aug 6, 2020 at 8:33
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    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 Oct 18, 2020 at 12:02
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    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".) Oct 18, 2020 at 12:17

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