Desolation of Jerusalem

by Alwayshere 240 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Jeffro
    It is impossible to provide a list regnal list for the Neo-Babylonian period because the data is too contradictory. My recent attempt as posted on this subject indicates that for at least kings there were too many variables. Other problems are the missing seven years for Nebuchadnezzer and the twenty year gap between current efforts and biblical chronology so it is as I have said a 'dog's breakfast'

    Using the scientific method and logic, it is possible to identify and discount aberrant information. Instead, you choose to rely on a few aberrant details to deny all of the variables. Your most recent 'attempt' was simply quoting some watchtower publications in a poorly worded, long winded, unstructured paragraph, and was not an accurate and complete tabulation, which is what you said you would provide, even though you already considered that such a thing was 'impossible', and despite the fact that I have already provided an accurate tabulation that reconciles all of the data.

  • undercover
    The dictionary gives several meanings for the word celebrate: to make known publicly or proclaim; to sound the praises of, extol.

    okie dokie then...who, outside of yourself, sounds the praises of these WT scholars? So that I may research them to maybe celebrate them as well, could you tell me who they know, as in make known publicly or proclaim?

  • Jeffro
    Celebrated WT scholars also rely on the complete picture but with regard to Josephus there remain many problems in trying to resolve conflicting data and these issues are discussed in the fifth Dissertation on Chronology. However, Joephus' chronology is also based on Ten periods, the seventh of which discusses solely the seventy years which Josephus interprets only as aexile, servitude and desolation running from the Fall to the Return.

    I have resolved all of the relevant 'conflicting' data. Josephus only refers to the 70 years in the same context as Ezra does, and the specific enumerated intervals indicated by Josephus proves that the 70 years was a period under Babylonian rule, not the entire period of the exile between the destruction of Jerusalem and their return. Additionally, your view ignores several years of the exile (starting from '617' by your interpretation), which is something that Josephus would not have done.

    Egyptian chronology is also a 'dog's breakfast' because it fails to account for the forty years of desolation foretold for Egypt by Ezekiel.

    An easy statement to make, but as previously stated, for the Egyptian data to have the exact same error as the independant Babylonian data is impossible. You deny that the 70 years of Tyre referred to a literal period (because it contradicts your view of the 70 years), yet you dogmatically assert that the 40 years of Egypt had to be an exact period in your attempt to debunk professional historians.

    Your attempt to sweep away the problematic 27 years for the Babylonians is well understood becuase you cannot afford to accept 607 and 1914 so you simply choose to ignore historical and exegetical reality. Our interpreation of matters nicely harmonizes all of the scriptural data including Ezekiel 40:1 with our theology and chronology of the seventy years, conforms with the testimony of Josephus and with secular evidence.

    I don't have to 'sweep them away'. They were never identified because they don't exist. Just like the Society's claim that evolutionary links disappear from the fossil record in all the important places, so too with all of the evidence that is meant to support these alleged 20 years that the Society has created, and the additional 7 years that you imagine are unaccounted for.

    The 182.5 year periofd of Josephus is twenty years too short but we have never claimed to base our chronology on Josephus as his overall scheme differs from all others but his discussion of the seventy years as a distinct seventh period certainly does.

    It is your scheme that "differs from all others", with absolutely no support from any professional historians. I have reconciled the relevant data of Josephus.

  • Jeffro
    Celebrated WT scholars have determined that Samaria fell in 740 BCE and not 721 BCE as dated by other scholars so you are about twenty years out. You need to do some further fine-tuning to your chronology. Your date for the Cyrus' first year is 538/537 BCE and not 539 BCE as you allege.

    The WT 'scholars' have no support from the professional community, and there is little (no) reason to assume that a date is wrong because the Society says it is (the magic) 20 years out. a Christian correctly indicated 182 years from 721 to 539, which you unwisely decided to attack. 182.5 years would reasonably count into 538BC which ratifies what a Christian said.

  • Kaput
    Any constructed chronology for the Neo-Babylonian period is fraught with problems because of numerous gaps and conflicting data when one compares it to carefully crafted biblical chronology by celebrated WT scholars.
    Just because celebrated WT scholars and scholar does not use or agree with all of Josephus' chronology does not mean that we cannot use part or some of it. THIS is how things are carefully crafted!

  • ellderwho
    It appears that I have already provided a king's list which accurately presents Neo-Babylonian chronology as 'dog's breakfast'. No, I am not Rolf Furuli but simply a quiet, humble scholar defending our beautiful chronology from the assaults of apostates.

    C'mon Neil, "it appears" appears to whom? "Accurately presents" Neil, what are you thinking? You have'nt shown a thing. Why not, because you cannot. In the back corner of you mind you know this to be true: you have exhanged the truth for the lie.

  • AlanF

    scholar pretendus said:

    : Welcome back!

    Oh? According to some persons, I haven't been gone.

    : Where have you been hiding for so long?

    Did you miss me, sweetie? I thought so!

    Actually, I've been holed up watching Soprano episodes and various other American Mafia flicks. A good deal more entertaining than dealing with moronic JW defenders, let me tell you!

    : Looking desperately for additional evidence to support the Jonsson nonsense? Have we beyond 18 lines of evidence or are we still stuck on so-called 14 lines of evicence?

    I think that 14+ lines of evidence is quite sufficient for thinking persons to conclude that the Watchtower's nonsense regarding biblical chronology is precisely that.

    : Celebrated WT scholars

    Yes, indeed. Celebrated for gross incompetence and scholastic dishonesty, among knowledgeable people -- which does not include the very Jehovah's Witness fanatics who celebrate lying and incompetence performed in the name of their unbiblical God. As one commentator said, some 36 years ago:

    A long acquaintance with the literature of the Witnesses leads one to the conclusion that they live in the intellectual ‘twilight zone.’ That is, most of their members, even their leaders, are not well educated and not very intelligent. Whenever their literature strays onto the fields of philosophy, academic theology, science or any severe mental discipline their ideas at best mirror popular misconceptions, at worst they are completely nonsensical. [Alan Rogerson, Millions Now Living Will Never Die: A Study of Jehovah’s Witnesses, p. 116, Constable, London, 1969]

    The recent article on how the Watchtower Society has lied to its constituency about blood, published in the Autumn 2005 (Vol. 47, No. 4) Journal of Church and State, shows how even with respect to such a life-related issue as the efficacy of blood transfusions, the Watchtower Society has done all in its power to deceive people about the facts. And of course, I showed many years ago that this Society grossly lied about much of the material in its 1985 "Creation book". Others have done the same with other Watchtower publications, such as the Trinity brochure. When such an institution demonstrably lies about medical, religious and scientific facts, how can anyone trust its claimed connection with the God of the Bible and its claimed "spirit-direction" by that God? Obviously, it is worthy only of contempt by honest-hearted ones.

    : have carefully examined all of the evidence

    But have rejected everything that disagrees with their pre-conceived notions, in favor of false Watchtower claims dating to Nelson Barbour's misguided "chronology" of 1875, for the simple reason that to accept it would amount to rejecting the Watchtower religion, which would result in their ejection from the cult at great personal cost. In 1994, I had a one-on-one discussion with a Watchtower scholar, the late John Albu, who was perhaps the most competent of recent defenders of Watchtower chronology. He was the man who wrote much of the appendix to chapter 14 in the 1981 book "Let Your Kingdom Come", which was the first really technical treatise on the subject ever published in Watchtower literature. In response to my pointed remarks concerning the fact that Jeremiah 25:12 clearly proves that the 70 years ended in 539, not 537 B.C., Albu could only say, "Wait on Jehovah!" Well, of course, no new information has come forth to validate his weak response. Indeed, only more information confirming standard secular chronology has come forth.

    : and have determined under the guidance of Holy Spirit

    LOL! The same Holy Spirit that guided the appointment of the homosexual pedophile Leo Greenlees to a directorship of the Society in the 1960s, and to the Governing Body in 1971? The very same Holy Spirit that directed that the homosexual Ewart Chitty be appointed to the Governing Body in the early 1970s? The same Spirit that directed that Greenlees be appointed as a Special Pioneer after he was forced out of Bethel in 1984, after the spirit-directed Governing Body found him repentant? That Holy Spirit appears to have an odd sense of propriety.

    I think that thinking people, Christian or not, must conclude that any organization that condemns homosexuality and pedophilia, yet appoints homosexuals and pedophiles to its highest ranks -- especially while claiming that such appointments are made, not by men, but by the direction of God -- is at best grossly hypocritical and stupid, and at worst criminal.

    Proof that 537 B.C. Is Not the Date of the Jews' Return to Judah

    : that the date for the Return was 537BCE as most scholars attest.

    What scholars? On the contrary, as I've shown by actual quotations, most modern scholars think that 538 was when the Jews returned to Babylon. The fact that you cannot post a single modern reference for your "scholarly attestation" proves that you're fibbing.

    As a result of research for this post, I found strong proof that the Society's claim that the Jews returned to Judah in 537 is wrong, and that instead, they returned in 538 B.C., just as most modern scholars agree. It hinges on one unchallenged historical fact, one statement by Josephus, and Ezra chapter 3: (1) Cyrus' 1st year is known to be 538/37; (2) Josephus states that the foundations of the temple were begun by the repatriated Jews in Cyrus' second year; (3) Ezra 3 states that these foundations were laid in the second month of the second year of Cyrus. Read the following and weep, scholar pretendus.

    Number (1) is something we all agree on. Indeed, the Watchtower Society explicitly states that Cyrus' first year was 538 and his accession year was 539 B.C. (Insight, Vol. 1, p. 453).

    Number (2) also easy to prove: In Against Apion I,21 Josephus says concerning the temple that "in the second year of the reign of Cyrus the foundations were laid".

    Number (3) is easily established by reading Ezra 3:8-10, which I quote below.

    Here are the details:

    Cyrus' accession year was 539/38 B.C., counting Nisan to Adar, or about March/April to February/March; his first year was 538/37 and his second year was 537/36. Now, the Society agrees with Ezra 3:1 that the Jews were back in Judah by Tishri (about September/October) of 537 B.C. But Ezra 3:8-10 states, concerning the laying of the foundation of the temple by the repatriated Jews:

    And in the second year of their coming to the house of the [true] God at Jerusalem, in the second month, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jehozadak and the rest of their brothers, the priests and the Levites, and all those who had come out of the captivity to Jerusalem started; . . . When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of Jehovah, then the priests in official clothing, with the trumpets, . . . stood up to praise Jehovah.

    This "second month" of "the second year" of the Jews' coming back to Jerusalem was the month Iyyar, and according to Josephus this was in the second year of Cyrus, namely, some time between Nisan of 537 and Adar of 536. Since the Jewish numbering of months corresponded to that of the Babylonians, the temple foundation was begun to be laid in Iyyar of 537 B.C.

    How does this prove when the Jews returned to Judah? Ezra 3:1 says: "When the seventh month arrived the sons of Israel were in their cities." Now, by the time of Ezra, the seventh month was actually the beginning of the secular year, even though months were still numbered from Nisan, which was the beginning of the religious year. In view of this, what does Ezra 3:8 mean, namely, what year-long period corresponds to the phrase "in the second year of their coming to the house of the [true] God at Jerusalem"?

    The key is to note the expression in Ezra 3:1 that when "the seventh month arrived the sons of Israel were in their cities." Therefore, the Jews had already returned some time before the seventh month, and the year in which that occurred was the first year "of their coming to the house of the [true] God at Jerusalem." Then the second year of their return obviously began in Tishri of the year about which Ezra 3:1 says that the Jews "were in their cities."

    Now, if as the Society claims, Ezra 3:1 says that the Jews "were in their cities" in Tishri of 537 B.C., then the "second month" Iyyar was in 536 B.C. But this contradicts what we already know from Ezra 3:8-10 and Josephus, because Iyyar of 536 occurs in Cyrus' 3rd year of reign.

    Juggling the definition of "year" does not help the situation.

    On the other hand, if we accept that the Jews returned by Tishri of 538 B.C., then all is well with the chronology. "The second year" corresponds to Tishri of 538 to Elul of 537, and "the second month" occurs in Iyyar of 537, as required by the unchallenged history that puts the 2nd year of Cyrus in 538/37 B.C., with Iyyar in April/May of 537.

    Now, one might claim that Josephus' statement is wrong, but let's take a closer look at what he said in Against Apion I,21:

    This statement is both correct and in accordance with our books. For in the latter it is recorded that Nabuchodonosor in the eighteenth year of his reign devastated our temple, that for fifty years it ceased to exist, that in the second year of the reign of Cyrus the foundations were laid . . .

    So according to Josephus, the notion that the temple's foundations were laid in Cyrus' second year was "in accordance with our books". Since Josephus got much of what he wrote about Jewish history from the Old Testament, one must conclude either that Josephus claimed to see something that was not actually in the OT, or that "the books" he referred to were others that he considered reliable.

    What has the Society written about this problem over the years? Nothing. All that it has written are blanket statements that say that the temple foundations were begun in 536 B.C., based on Ezra 3:8. For example:

    In the second year of the return from exile (536 B.C.E.), the foundation of the temple was relaid in Jerusalem, but the rebuilt temple was not completed until the sixth year of the reign of Darius I (Persian). (Ezr 3:8-10) [Insight, Vol. 1, p. 463]

    At Jerusalem, the temple altar was erected in the seventh month (Ethanim, or Tishri, September-October), under the direction of Zerubbabel and High Priest Jeshua (Ezr 3:1, 2), and in the second year in the second month (Ziv, or Iyyar, April-May, of 536 B.C.E.), the actual construction of the temple began. (Ezr 3:8) [Insight, Vol. 2, p. 1232]

    So much for that wily Holy Spirit and its influence on the writings of those so-called "celebrated WT scholars". I suppose, scholar pretendus, you'll next argue that Josephus was wrong, but if you do, you'll have shot down a lot of the Society's and your own arguments.

    : Thus fulfilling the seventy years of foretold by Jeremiah, traced by Daniel, confirmed by Ezra and historically agreed upon by Josephus. The seventy years thus being a fixed period of seventy years of Exile, Servitude and Desolation.

    LOL! Your usual dishonest mode of operation here. Everything you've claimed has been disproved by any number of posters on this forum. Your recent ridiculous performance on the Touchstone forum does nothing but confirm this.

    Since the above arguments conclusively prove that the Jews returned to Judah in 538 rather than 537 B.C., the Watchtower Society's claims about its magical date of 607 B.C. for the destruction of Jerusalem and the beginning of Jeremiah's "seventy years" are disproved.

    On Jeremiah, or, Scholar Pretendus Promotes the McFadzen Hypothesis

    : The seventy years described in Jeremiah 25 refer to Judah specifically

    Really. Do quote the specific mentions of Judah in those passages and show clearly how these relate to the historical events under discussion here.

    No can do? Of course not! Because we all know that as soon as you actually quote a scripture rather than paraphrase it, all readers immediately can see your distortions. So, you're someone who misrepresents the Bible in the name of the God of the Bible!

    : but part of the oracle is also addressed to the nations beginning with Babylon in verse 12 to the remainder of that chapter.

    Whoa, what an admission! Your god, Rolf Furuli, seems to disagree with you.

    : The Jonsson hypothesis mistakenly combines verses 8-12

    I think you meant verses 8-11, as indicated by your later claims.

    You're grasping at sawdust, here, scholar pretendus. As usual.

    : in an endeavour to prove that the seventy years therein is one of domination of Babylon over Judah and the nations and involved servitude of Judah and the nations to Babylon. This is a big exegetical mistake. BIG MISTAKE.

    Wrong. The passage is extremely simple, the stupid rationalizations of Rolf Furuli notwithstanding (I'm sure that by now, even you realize that no scholars will go along with Furuli's ridiculous inventions of new Hebrew grammar here). It simply says that "these nations" -- meaning Israel and the nations around it, as shown by verses 8-11 -- "will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years". Anyone who has to serve someone else for 70 years is obviously dominated by that one for 70 years. Thus, Babylon is clearly stated to be in domination over Israel for 70 years. To claim different is to claim different from what the Bible clearly states -- but this is par for the course for Watchtower adherents.

    Furthermore, the NWT renders Jeremiah 25:12 thus: "And it must occur that when seventy years have been fulfilled I shall call to account aganst the king of Babylon . . ." Thus, any "calling to account" against the king of Babylon would occur after the 70 years had ended, or been "fulfilled". When was this "calling to account" done? Obviously, when the king of Babylon, Belshazzar, was dethroned and killed in 539 B.C. when Cyrus' armies conquered Babylon. To claim that such events occurred several years later is simply insane. Of course, JW defenders uniformly fail to deal with these problems.

    : What you fail to discern what celebrated WT scholars along with most leading commentators that the oracle is addressed to Judah alon from verse 8 to 11 and a new oracle begins from verse 12 which is addressed to Babylon.

    What you fail to acknowledge -- but obviously realize -- is that verses 8 to 11 alone are fatal to Watchtower claims, as shown above. That's why you must pretend that these verses don't apply to "these nations" that the verses explicitly mention. Verse 12 is simply a bit of icing on the cake.

    Furthermore, what "celebrated WT scholars" do or say is demonstrably irrelevent to the truth of anything at all. The original Hebrew had no paragraph, chapter or verse divisions. The latter two were added by various scholars long after the Bible text was agreed upon by Catholic scholars in the 4th century. Paragraph divisions are dictated by the understanding -- and therefore personal opinion -- of those who write Bible translations, so their practice is only a guide to their understanding and not necessarily a guide to the underlying meaning of the text. For example, the celebrated New Jerusalem Bible groups verses 8-13 together. So once again, scholar pretendus, you're using the publishing practices of a demonstrably inept and dishonest organization to try to prove your claims.

    : The brilliant and ever-so brilliant NWT indicates a paragraph division between verse 11 and 12 so verse 12 now introduces a new and separate context.

    The only significance of that division is the shaky opinion of the translator, Fred Franz.

    : Proof that verses 8-11 refer to Judah alone is made clear when one reads the very first sentence at the beginning of the chapter whereupon the word of Jehovah concerning all of the people of Judah...Verse 2- Jeremiah spoke concerning all the people of Judah and concerning all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Verse 4- Jehovah sent to all his servants the prophets. The rest of the discourse contains the plural YOU from verses 4-7 repeated in verse 8 which opens the 70 year section from 8-11. In verse 9, Nebuchadenesser is brought to this land and its people which proves absolutely that verses 1 -11 forma a composite oracle addressed to Judah.

    This shows how poor in reasoning a fanatical JW can be when defending his supposed beliefs. By scholar pretendus' logic, Jeremiah 25:15-38 must refer only to Judah, even though the passages explicitly refer to "all the nations to whom I am sending you" and to "Pharaoh the king of Egypt and his princes and all his people" and "all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land the Philistines and Ashkelon and Gaza and Ekron and the remnant of Ashdod; Edom and Moab and the sons of Ammon; and all the kings of Tyre and all the kings of Sidon . . ." and so forth (vss. 15-26). But because the passages explicitly prove that Jeremiah 25 includes references to the fate, not only of Judah but to the many nations around Judah -- "all the nations to whom I am sending you" (vs. 15) -- at the hands of the Babylonians, logically the expression at verse 9 -- "all these nations round about" -- must refer to all of the nations around Judah, and the expression at verse 11 -- "all this land must become a devastated place, an object of astonishment, and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years" -- must refer to Judah and the nations around it.

    Thus, scholar pretendus, your claims are proved false.

    Let's consider in turn each of the passages that scholar pretendus pretends supports his claims:

    The very first sentence reads (Jer. 25:1): "The word that occurred to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the some of Josiah, the king of Judah, that is, the first year of Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon;"

    Note that the passage does not state that it speaks only of the people of Judah, but that the "word that occurred to Jeremiah" concerns "all the people of Judah". Thus, the passage is extremely general in its inclusions, quite in contrast with scholar pretendus' claims.

    : Jeremiah 25 with the more specific verse 8-11 most clearly describe the fate and punishment of Judah

    You're wrong on several counts. While the verses certainly include Judah, in view of verses 15-38 the passages that explicitly include "all this land" and "these nations" and "all these nations round about" obviously include nations other than Judah -- specifically, those nations surrounding Judah. The language is completely unambiguous -- it is speaking about various nations around and including, but not limited, to Judah. How anyone can read these passages and conclude otherwise is a measure of how strongly a cult mindset can distort a person's reasoning.

    : which clearly was a period of exile to Babylon

    This is a false conclusion based on a variety of misrepresentations of the scriptures, as shown above.

    : where they would serve the king of Babylon leaving behind their land- Judah completely desolated which Jeremiah poetically describes.

    Various historical documents prove that Judah was never completely without inhabitants, as shown by several posters on this board during the past several years. You've never refuted this proof. Therefore, one must conclude that various passages that suggest "complete desolation, without any inhabitants" are meant to be understood as the Bible's usual literary hyperbole. Jesus did not literally mean for Christians to hate their parents.

    On Josephus

    : Josephus confirms our interpretation of the seventy years as I have described as a period from the Fall to the Return.

    Wrong. Josephus makes inconsistent claims about the 70 years, so he is obviously confused. He is confused about many other historical events as well, but seems particularly confused by the events around the 18 year period between Nebuchadnezzar's first and last seizures of Jerusalem.

    For example, in Antiquities IX,9,7 Josephus describes some of the events shortly after Jerusalem's destruction and up through "the fifth year after the destruction of Jerusalem, which was the twenty-third of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar", and then in Antiquities X,10,1, states the following:

    But now Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, took some of the most noble of the Jews that were children, and the kinsmen of Zedekiah their kings . . . and delivered them into the hands of tutors, and to the improvement to be made by them. . . Now among these there were four of the family of Zedekiah, of most excellent dispositions, the one of whom was called Daniel, . . . and the king of Babylon changed their names, and commanded that they should make use of other names. Daniel he called Baltasar . . . (The Works of Josephus, New Updated Edition, Translated by William Whiston, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts, 1987, 1993 printing, p. 278)

    Of course, Bible readers recognize here the events described in the book of Daniel, chapter one. The problem for Josephus is that Dan. 1:1-3 clearly indicates that the events described took place during the reign of Jehoiakim, not Zedekiah. Since Jehoiakim reigned between about 10 and 18 years before Zedekiah, Josephus is obviously wrong in placing the deportation and education of Daniel in Zedekiah's reign. It's clear that Josephus was here paraphrasing the book of Daniel, and he got the timing of some of the events wrong.

    As another example, in Against Apion we can see how Josephus confused various events that occurred near the beginning of Nebuchadnezzar's reign with events that occurred some 18 years later. Note this passage from Against Apion, I,19 (The Loeb Classical Library, Josephus: The Life Against Apion, English translation by H. St. J. Thackeray, Harvard Univ. Press, 1926, 1993 printing, p. 215-17), where Josephus says he gets his information from Berossus:

    In his narrative of the actions of this monarch he relates how he sent his son Nabuchodonosor with a large army to Egypt and to our country, on hearing that these people had revolted, and how he defeated them all, burnt the temple at Jerusalem, dislodged and transported our entire population to Babylon, with the result that the city lay desolate for seventy years until the time of Cyrus, king of Persia. He adds that the Babylonian monarch conquered Egypt, Syria, Phoenicia, and Arabia, his exploits surpassing those of all previous kings of Chaldea and Babylon. But I will quote Berosus's own words, which are as follows:

    The main point of this is that Josephus mistakenly placed the burning of the temple and the deportation of the entire population of Jews to Babylon in the reign of Nabopolassar, whereas the Bible clearly places these events some 18 years later in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar.

    How could Josephus confuse events like this? It's difficult to say with surety, but first consider that Josephus' above summary of events is not even consistent with what he actually quotes from Berossus immediately after making the above statement (ibid, p. 217):

    "His father Nabopalassar, hearing of the defection of the satrap in charge of Egypt, Coele-Syria, and Phoenicia, and being himself unequal to the fatigues of a campaign, committed part of his army to his son Nabuchodonosor, still in the the prime of life, and sent him against the rebel. Nabuchodonosor engaged and defeated the latter in a pitched battle and replaced the district under Babylonian rule. Meanwhile, as it happened, his father Nabopalassar sickened and died in the city of Babylon, after a reign of twenty-one years. Being informed ere long of his father's death, Nabuchodonosor settled the affairs of Egypt and the other countries. The prisoners -- Jews, Phoenicians, Syrians, and those of Egyptian nationality -- were consigned to some of his friends, with orders to conduct them to Babylonia, along with the heavy troops and the rest of the spoils; while he himself, with a small escort, pushed across the desert to Babylon. . ."

    So in his quotation from Berossus, we find no mention of the burning of the temple, but we do find mention of the taking of captives to Babylon. Likely, Josephus confused the taking of captives in the above description with the taking of captives 18 years later when Jerusalem was destroyed.

    We now know, from contemporary Babylonian accounts and various other historical sources, that what actually happened was as follows (cf. Handbook of Biblical Chronology, Jack Finegan, Hendrickson Publishers, 1998, pp. 252-261): In 612 B.C. the first king of the Neo-Babylon period, Nabopolassar, and his allies, conquered the Assyrian capital of Nineveh, and then in 610 B.C. drove the last pocket of Assyrian resistance under Assyrian king Ashur-uballit II out of the city of Haran. In 609, Ashur-uballit, along with Pharoah Necho II, attempted to recapture Haran, but they were defeated by the Babylonians. This was when King Josiah tried to oppose the Egyptians at Megiddo but was killed. Jehoahaz then became king of Judah, but Pharaoh Necho soon removed him and installed Jehoiakim as king. Several years later in 606/605, Egypt successfully attacked a Babylonian garrison in the region, and so in 605 Nabopolassar sent his son Nebuchanezzar to battle the Egyptians. Nebuchadnezzar decisively defeated the Egyptians at the battle of Carchemish, and then conquered the whole region of Syria-Palestine, including Judah, at which time Daniel and his companions were deported to Babylon according to Daniel 1:1. Nebuchadnezzar then learned that his father had died, so he went back to Babylon and ascended the throne. By about 601/600 B.C., Jehoiakim had rebelled against Babylon, and so in 597 B.C., Babylon again seized Jerusalem and took many captives and much treasure. Apparently during the seige, Jehoiakim died and was replaced by Jehoiachin, who was captured when the city finally fell and then deported to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar then installed Zedekiah as king of Judah. Eight years later, in 589 B.C., Zedekiah rebelled, and in 587 Jerusalem was conquered and Zedekiah taken captive to Babylon. There is some indication that Egypt attempted once again to attack the Babylonians but were defeated (cf. Jer. 37:3-7 and the material quoted from Josephus below).

    The main point of this is that Josephus mistakenly placed the burning of the temple and the deportation of the entire population of Jews to Babylon in the reign of Nabopolassar, whereas the Bible clearly places these events some 18 years later in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. How could Josephus confuse events like this?

    In view of the above brief historical description, it's clear that somewhat similar events occurred around the times of the first seizure of Jerusalem in 605 and its final destruction in 587. There was much political turmoil in the region. Egypt had gotten involved in fighting against Babylon several years before both critical events. The kings of Judah had rebelled against their masters and been involved in fighting against Babylon. Jerusalem was seized each time and captives taken. Since Josephus wrote about 700 years after the events in question, got a good deal of his historical information from the Old Testament and demonstrably misinterpreted some of what he extracted from it, it's obvious that Josephus' writings are to be taken with as large a grain of salt as are all other historical writings. Of course, when multiple, independent sources agree, there is much more reason for confidence in the description and timing of events.

    How does this relate to Josephus' statements that the Jews were in captivity for 70 years, and so forth? The Babylonians became dominant over the Middle East in 609 B.C. Because Babylon was conquered in 539 B.C., it dominated the region for exactly 70 years. Jerusalem was first captured and captives taken in 605 B.C., and some captives returned in 538 B.C., which amounts to 67 years -- close to 70. Jerusalem was destroyed and the temple burned in 587 B.C., and Josephus puts the laying of the temple foundation in the 2nd year of Cyrus, which corresponds to about 537 B.C. -- a period of precisely 50 years and consistent with his last statement about this period in Against Apion I, 21.

    In view of the above, it is clear that, in his earlier written histories, Josephus was confused and wrongly conflated various periods of exile, servitude, captivity and devastation of Judah.

    As has been discussed, in his last history, Against Apion, Josephus stated that the desolation of the temple lasted 50 years -- precisely what secular history indicates. Let's take a look at his complete statement (Against Apion I,20; I,21; ibid, pp. 221-5):

    The assertions which were made above concerning the temple at Jerusalem, that it was burnt down by the Babylonian invaders and that its re-erection began on the succession of Cyrus to the throne of Asia, will be clearly proved by a further quotation from Berosus. His words in his third book are as follows:

    "After beginning the wall of which I have spoken, Nabuchodonosor fell sick and died, after a reign of forty-three years, and the realm passed to his son Evilmaraduch. This prince, whose government was arbitary and licentious, fell a victim to a plot, being assassinated by his sister's husband, Neriglisar, after a reign of two years. On his death Neriglisar, his murderer, succeeded to the throne and reigned four years. His son, Laborosoardoch, a mere boy, occupied it for nine months, when owing to the depraved disposition which he showed, a conspiracy was formed against him, and he was beaten to death by his friends. After his murder the conspirators held a meeting, and by common consent conferred the kingdom upon Nabonnedus, a Babylonian and one of their gang. In his reign the walls of Babylon abutting on the river were magnificently built with baked brick and bitumen. In the seventeenth year of his reign Cyrus advanced from Persia with a large army, and, after subjugating the rest of the kingdom, marched upon Babylonia. Apprised of his coming Nabonnedus led his army to meet him, fought and was defeated, whereupon he fled with a few followers and shut himself up in the town of Borshippa. Cyrus took Babylon, . . ."

    This statement is both correct and in accordance with our books. For in the latter it is recorded that Nabuchodonosor in the eighteenth year of his reign devastated our temple, that for fifty years it ceased to exist, that in the second year of the reign of Cyrus the foundations were laid, and lastly that in the second year of the reign of Darius it was completed. . .

    Now let's do a little math on Josephus' quotation of Berossus and on his own comments, by counting up the years mentioned for each king's reign. If Nebuchadnezzar reigned 43 years and conquered Jerusalem in his 18th year, that leaves about 25 years from his burning of the temple in 587 B.C. to his death. in 562 B.C. Awel-Marduk is given 2 years of reign; Neriglissar is given 4 years; Labashi-Marduk is given 9 months, but contemporary Babylonian tablets indicate that 2-3 months is a better number, so let's allow 0 for our count; Nabonidus is given 17 years; in Cyrus' 2nd year the temple foundation was begun to be laid, let's allow 2 years from his accession year over Babylon to his 2nd year. Then we have 25 + 2 + 4 + 0 + 17 + 2 = 50 years!

    The point here is that -- far more importantly than the one statement in the text that the temple was destroyed for 50 years, which can be argued to be a copying error or something of that nature -- Josephus provides hard numbers that add up to that 50 year figure. Because the hard numbers cannot be argued to add up to 70 years, the statement in the text of 50 must be correct.

    As you are well aware, scholar pretendus, the above information cannot be refuted by the Watchtower Society itself or by Watchtower defenders such as yourself. That's why you ineluctably fail to do it.

    : His description of the period is that of exile-servitude-desolation

    Whatever he wrote, the man was demonstrably confused.

    : and he makes in total 5 references in his writings. The Jonsson hypothesis agree with this in GTR, 2004.p.298, ftn.29. There is nothing vague about these references.

    Perhaps I shouldn't have said "vague", but "confused and ambiguous". Combined with the above material, the quotations below show that there is confusion, ambiguity and even error in some of Josephus' statements. These things can only result in a vague impression by readers of what Josephus was really saying.

    Here we go (the quotations from Josephus are taken from The Loeb Classical Library editions of the works of Josephus):

    Antiquities X,7,3:

    After maintaining his alliance with the Babylonians for eight years, Sacchias broke his treaty with them and went over to the Egyptians, hoping to overthrow the Babylonians if he joined the other side. And, when the Babylonian king heard of this, he marched against him and, after ravaging his country and taking his fortresses, he came against the city of Jerusalem itself to besiege it. But, when the Egyptian king heard of the plight of his ally Sacchias, he raised a large force and came to Judaea to end the siege. Thereupon the Babylonian king left Jerusalem and went to meet the Egyptians and, encountering them in battle, defeated and put them to flight and drove them out of the whole of Syria. Now, when the Babylonian king withdrew from Jerusalem, the false prophets deceived Sacchias by saying that the Babylonian king would not make war on him again and that his countrymen, whom the king had removed from their own land to Babylonia, should come back with all the vessels of the temple, of which the king had despoiled it. But Jeremiah came forward and prophesied the truth, which was the contrary of this, namely that they were doing the king a wrong and deceiving him, and that no good would come to them from the Egyptians, but that, when the Babylonian king had defeated them, he would lead an army against Jerusalem and besiege it and destroy the people by famine, carry off the survivors into captivity, plunder their possessions and, after carrying off the wealth in the temple, burn this itself and raze the city, "and we shall be slaves to him and his descendents for seventy years. At that time, by overthrowing the Babylonians, the Persians and Medes will free us from servitude to them, and, when we have been sent back by them to this land, we shall once more build the temple and restore Jerusalem." [d]

    The translator of this, Ralph Marcus, in footnote [d], comments on Josephus' apparent quotation as follows:

    [d] The Medes and Persians are not mentioned in the prophecy of Jeremiah; this detail is probably based on 2 Chron. xxxvi. 20, ". . . and they were servants to him [Nebuchadnezzar] and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia" (LXX "the Medes").

    Clearly then, Josephus' mention of the 70 years was taken directly from some version of what became the Masoretic text of the Old Testament, since the part about the 70 years corresponds with that text and differs from the LXX text. Specifically, Josephus included bits from Jeremiah 25 and 27, and 2 Chronicles 36.

    Since Josephus was demonstrably borrowing from the very OT text that we are here discussing, his "quotation" of it is of no use in interpreting it. My above comments about his overall confusion on the events of Jerusalem's last decades prove that Josephus was confused because he did not know whether the period was one of captivity, exile, servitude to Babylon, desolation of the land, desolation of the temple, or any combination thereof.

    In this case, for example, Josephus mentions "slaves" and "servitude". He does not connect these words with notions of desolation of the land or the temple.

    Antiquities X,9,7:

    The king of Babylonia, when he carried off the two tribes, did not settle any nation in their place, and for this reason all of Judaea and Jerusalem and the temple remained deserted for seventy years.

    This is rather vague because Josephus does not seem to distinguish between the land and the temple. As we discussed above, according to you, scholar pretendus, his comments prove that the temple was desolated for 70 years, and according to you, other of this comments prove that the land was deserted for 70 years. But the temple and the land were desolated at the same time (or at least, within a couple of months of each other), yet the Bible is clear that it was in the 2nd year of the Jews' return that the temple's desolation was finally reversed. So according to the Bible itself, the periods of desolation of the land and the temple cannot be the same, but Josephus here equates them. That's vague and confused, if you ask me.

    Antiquities XI,1,1:

    In the first year of Cyrus's reign -- this was the seventieth year from the time when our people were fated to migrate from their own land to Babylon -- God took pity on the captive state and misfortune of those unhappy men and, as He had foretold to them through the prophet Jeremiah before the city was demolished, that, after they should have served Nebuchadnezzar and his descendants and endured this servitude for seventy years, He would again restore them to the land of their fathers and they should build the temple and enjoy their ancient prosperity, so did He grant it them. . .

    Here Josephus seems to equate the period of exile with the period of captivity and with the period of servitude. But in view of Josephus' evident confusion about the events around the end of the reign of Nabopolassar -- as shown above, he put some of the events around Jerusalem's final destruction in that time frame -- how can we know what he had in mind? He does not give enough specifics for anyone to know for certain which starting point he had in mind here. Was it during Nabopolassar's reign? Or a couple of decades later in Nebuchadnezzar's?

    Antiquities XX,10,2:

    After a period of seventy years of captivity under the Babylonians, Cyrus, king of the Persians, freed the Jews from Babylon and permitted them to return to their own land and to rebuild the temple.

    The same ambiguity is shown here as discussed above.

    Against Apion I,19:

    Already discussed in detail above.

    : Apostates attempt to conceal these facts to a single reference in Against Apion which speaks of a period of fifty years.

    Actually this has been discussed online for many years among JWs and "apostates". I myself participated in similar discussions on AOL back around 1995, and brought out the same facts as I have in this post. The JWs all ignored the evidence, mostly refusing even to comment. Jonsson has certainly discussed these things in enough detail that anyone who wants to find out the full details can easily do so. His book, in fact, is where I learned enough to discuss them ten years ago.

    Indeed, it is the JW defenders who have attempted to conceal the facts. Not a single one I'm aware of has dealt with the fact that, as I showed above, Josephus' statement about "fifty years" is proved by simply adding up the numbers he gives in the text for various king's reigns. Just as you will ignore the facts. Just as one JW defender on AOL doggedly concentrated on textual criticism about whether "fifty" should have been "seven" or "seventy", but completely ignored the fact that the details provided in the text prove that "fifty" is correct.

    : Scholars have been perplexed over this but it would that it is simply a scribal error and of little consequence.

    Nonsense. The question of scribal error was long ago resolved. And you know very well that, in GTR, Jonsson gives a detailed discussion of this (cf. GTR4, p. 299, ftn. 30). And again as you know very well, you've utterly failed to discuss the actual details, instead preferring to hide behind vague claims.

    : The facts of the matter that the Jonsson hypothesis

    The fact of the matter is that the McFadzen hypothesis has no scholarly support whatsoever. Its only support is found in Watchtower publications.

    Once again, there is no such thing as a "Jonsson hypothesis". What Jonsson writes is a distillation of the best of modern scholarship. You can find pretty much the same material, in abbreviated form, in The Cambridge Ancient History. Your continued attempts to smear the whole of this scholarship by labeling it a mere "Jonsson hypothesis" are transparently obvious. One would think that you'd get tired of trying to lie in this manner to readers of this board. Every regular reader of these posts is on to you, Neil.

    : relies much on Berossus for its Neo-Babylonian chronology

    Another thorough distortion of modern scholarship. This body of scholarship relies on many independent sources, including Ptolemy, Berossus, various other ancient writers and historians, and most importantly, contemporary Babylonian documents, stelae, astronomical diaries, and so forth. The fact that all of these agree so well proves that their consensus is closest to the truth.

    Your dismissal of Berossus in this manner is similar to your dismissal of Ptolemy's Canon, but again, every regular reader here is on to your deceptions.

    : and Josephus is the only sourse for Berossus thus any attack on Josephus would threaten the instability of that very chronology.

    Nonsense. Jonsson, along with the scholars he relies on, knows very well that every ancient source must be taken with a large grain of salt. It is only cult members like JWs who think in the terms you speak of. The collapse of some of Berossus', or Josephus', or Ptolemy's, or anyone else's statements on narrow topics hardly invalidates the consensus of many other lines of evidence.

    : Not very smart, Alan!

    Since I haven't committed the folly that you think, it is you who are not very smart. Indeed, your scholastic dishonesty pegs you, as the Society likes to say, as "morally stupid". You and your masters pick and choose the facts you want to use to support whatever claim of the moment you've got. You pick some bits from Josephus and ignore others, even when it's obvious that the only criterion for selection is whether it agrees with preconceived Watchtower doctrine. You do the same with all other sources of information.

    End Game

    : Over many year I have studied, examined un much of the criticism of WT chronology form the Jonsson hypothesis and Adventist scholars also I have considered all of the journal articles from scholars relating to his Late Judean period.

    We've seen over the years that this is simply not so. Various posters have shown that you've not read many extremely important papers -- and you've been caught with your pants down. Furthermore, they've demonstrated that you often don't even understand what you read.

    : I have not found a single fact that disproves 607 BCE and our view of the seventy years.

    Coming from a fanatical JW, this is not a surprising statement. What it really means is that you're able to find ways to filter the facts from your consciousness such that the only bits of information that remain are those in favor of Watchtower tradition. And we all know how ready JWs are to change their "facts" upon command from the Society.

    I'll prove this easily: If the Society published a Watchtower article admitting that 607 was wrong and 587 was right, would you change your mind or not?

    I have no doubt that you won't answer this question, for reasons best described by George Orwell in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

    : That is why I can thoroughly and vigorously defend on this board or any other forum the biblical chronology of the celebrated WT scholars.

    LOL! You mean, pretend to defend. Only those with solid facts and an unswerving devotion to them can truly defend a position.

    : Your comments on Russell's and the early Bible Student's eschatology only serves to prove that God was slowly revealing such matters as described in Daniel 12:3-4.

    LOL! Russell and Rutherford allowed for no such slowness. Indeed, by the end of their careers, they claimed that almost all they taught was "divinely directed". Rutherford actually claimed to receive revelations directly from angels! And as we know very well, most of what these charlatans taught has already been relegated to the scrap heap of doctrine by their successors.

    : So, modern day Bible students walking in those earlier footsteps are proud of their sincere efforts to humbly understand and do the Divine Will.

    Even when those "earlier footsteps" have proved to be, not from God as those deceivers claimed, but from their own inventive minds?

    : By means of our methodology

    JWs have no methodology beyond, "this is what the Society says and so we believe it."

    : and biblical interpretation we know the date of significant biblical dates, scholars including apostates lack that clear and present certainty of matters

    Certainty without facts is worthless, and can be dangerous. You might be certain that you can fly, but try it and you'll find the facts right quick. You may be certain that pedophiles such as Leo Greenlees were appointed by that wily old Holy Spirit, but do you really think that a moral God would be behind such men? Or the men who appointed them?

    : and that is to their spiritual peril. Yes apostates and higher critics blaim the Bible over their division of 586/587 and yet the celebrated have no such dilemma,

    Of course not, because they deliberately ignore all facts that don't fit. I and other posters have often pointed out many facts that don't fit, and you, in typical JW-cult-member fashion, ignore them.

    : using that same very data we have properly determined precisely that the year was 607 BCE. You should hang your head in shame!

    LOL! I'm sure you'll have no trouble showing why Josephus is to be ignored, now that I've shown that his statement is fatal to the Society's claims about 537 B.C.

    : 1. There is no great scholarly debate over the Return for even Jonsson makes no quiblle over 537.

    Of course not. The debate was pretty well settled, quietly, some time ago. There's nothing more to discuss.

    : 2. Indeed Jeremiah mentions the nations and those along with Judah would also be dominated by Babylon but their respective servitudes are not detailed as with Judah.

    So what? You yourself pointed out that Jeremiah 25 was meant to concentrate on the Jews. But the fact that it mentions all of them together does not lessen the fact that Jer. 25:11 clearly states that all of "these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years." The only way that fits is for the collective servitude of "these nations" to have begun in 609 B.C., when Babylon became dominant over the Middle East, or for the period to be approximate. Your attempt to leave out this collective servitude is, well, typical of dishonest JW defenders.

    : 3. In respect of your facile interpretation of Jeremiah 25:12

    Facile? It agrees with that of many, if not most, scholars, even some from the 19th century, as I've pointed out on this board for years. But you already know that.

    : you do indeed have a choice for Jeremiah states quite clearly that only after the fulfillment of the seventy years, Babylon and its all would experience desolation.

    You're flat-out lying here. The text clearly states that when the 70 years will have been fulfilled, Jehovah would "call to account" (some translations have "punish" or something similar) against both the king of Babylon and also against "that nation". So it distinguishes between the king as a person and the nation over which he ruled. Since the first recorded punishment or calling to account against a king of Nebuchadnezzar's line occurred in 539, when king Belshazzar was killed, it's beyond argument that this part of the prophecy was fulfilled by that event. Do you honestly claim that the killing of Belshazzar was not a "calling to account" against Nebuchadenezzar's dynasty? Or the same with the conquering of Babylon? Therefore, both textually and historically, the part about Babylon experiencing desolation occurred separately from and later than the punishment upon the king himself and his city.

    This is further proved by the clear statement in Jer. 27:7 that "all the nations" would serve Nebuchadnezzar's dynasty until the point when "many nations and great kings must exploit him as a servant." Obviously, that exploitation began when the great king Cyrus conquered Babylon, killed its king and put Babylon to his own uses.

    And of course we have the old standby of 2 Chronicles 36:20, where the Jews are said to have become servants to Nebuchadnezzar's dynasty "until the royalty of Persia began to reign" in 539 B.C.

    Taking all the above into account, it is clear that the 70 years spoken of by Jer. 25:11, 12 ended in 539 B.C., when Cyrus conquered Babylon and killed its king.

    : That did not happen in 539 as it only fell to a new conqueror


    : also the Jews were still exiles in Babylon until two years after the event and the land remained desolate.

    Irrelevant, in view of the various clear biblical statements, along with solid secular history. All that means is that the JW view of bible chronology is wrong.

    : Daniel at that tiime statedat that time 539 or soon after that the seventy years had not then been fulfilled- Daniel 9:2.

    No, he said no such thing. Daniel 9:2 is an extremely unclear statement, and scholars down through the centuries have struggled with its meaning. Dan. 9:1, 2 says (NWT):

    In the first year of Darius . . ., who had been made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans; in the first year of his reigning I myself, Daniel, discerned by the books the number of the years concerning which the word of Jehovah had occurred to Jeremiah the prophet, for fulfilling the devastations of Jerusalem, [namely,] seventy years.

    While this can be read as consistent with the Watchtower's claims, it can also be understood differently: in other words, it is ambiguous. Another understanding is that Daniel, having seen that Babylon was conquered, hit the books and figured out that, now that the 70 years of servitude to Nebuchadnezzar's dynasty were over, all of the prophecies concerning that ending were about to be fulfilled. Daniel certainly would have known about the prophecies in Jeremiah 29 concerning restoration. Indeed, Dan. 9:3 onward uses essentially the same language as does Jer. 29:10-14.

    When ambiguous passages occur in a body of writing that is assumed to be self-consistent, unambiguous ones must be used to interpret them. And the above-mentioned passages I've discussed are completely unambiguous -- except to braindead cultists who exercise Orwellian doublethink to remain in the cult.

    : Therefore, the calling to account of Babylon was described as judgement of desolation which was fulfilled over the straits of times.

    Nonsense. Babylon continued on as a viable city for at least another 800 years after its fall in 539 B.C. -- long after the Jews themselves ceased to exist as a nation. You yourself pointed out that Jeremiah 25 was largely written for the Jews who were to be in exile, so if those exiles themselves in 539 B.C. had to understand that this prophecy was not fulfilled by the obvious -- the killing of Belshazzar and the conquering of Babylon -- but that they would never see the fulfillment, don't you think they would have seen the prophecy as useless? Really, as a complete lack of fulfillment?

    As usual, scholar pretendus, you've done an abysmal job of marshalling facts and arguments for your lost cause. I look forward to demolishing your next response.


  • toreador

    Wow Alan, how long did it take you to compose the above post. It was very interesting reading. Tor

  • AuldSoul


    I'll prove this easily: If the Society published a Watchtower article admitting that 607 was wrong and 587 was right, would you change your mind or not?

    I asked my mother this question. It clearly hurt her head. THIS is the key, when the Society changes its viewpoint, suddenly what was wrong becomes right and what was right becomes wrong. What was good becomes bad and what was bad becomes good.

    Reminds me of something I read once...

    Isaiah 5:20-23 — Woe to those who are saying that good is bad and bad is good, those who are putting darkness for light and light for darkness, those who are putting bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
    21 Woe to those wise in their own eyes and discreet even in front of their own faces!
    22 Woe to those who are mighty in drinking wine, and to the men with vital energy for mixing intoxicating liquor, 23 those who are pronouncing the wicked one righteous in consideration of a bribe, and who take away even the righteousness of the righteous one from him!
  • Jeffro

    Nice post AlanF.

    Unfortunately I have told 'scholar' most of those points over the last few months too, as have you and many other posters on this board, and nothing ever sinks in.

    The problem is that, like you say, 'scholar' will just continue to ignore the facts as he has always done, and he will just parrot the same meaningless 'blanket' responses that he always does.

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