: . . . Norm brought up a lot of points. I would just like to take this one point for starters to show that the Bible does not support the things he wrote about the 2nd year of Neb and the 3 years that Daniel was in training in Babylon.
I will take this opportunity to say that you've completely ignored all of Norm's well-reasoned points, and simply disgorged a lot of the usual Watchtower misapplications of the Bible instead. You've deliberately misrepresented some of the positions of JW critics, whom you term "apostates", and entirely failed to note that most of what such critics have written is nothing more than a summary of the best of modern scholarship, both religious and secular. In other words, you impugn the intelligence and integrity of everyone in the world who disagrees with the sectarian claims of Jehovah's Witnesses.
You don't seem to understand how to debate a subject. When your opponent sets down an argument, the only way to honestly disprove it is to deal with each and every point he brings up. You must show specifically why each point you disagree with is wrong -- otherwise you have not disproved his points. Setting out an alternative overall view of a subject, while ignoring your opponent's points, proves only that you are a doctrinaire person uninterested in anything but spewing your views to the world. In particular, you will have proved that you're incapable of logical, reasoned discourse. That's par for the course in the world of Jehovah's Witnesses, where all thoughts are dictated "theocratically", but it doesn't cut it in the real world. So if you want to convince anyone besides people who are already braindead JWs of your views, you'll have to mend your ways.
: One argument used in an unsuccessful attempt to disprove 607, is the idea that Jehovah's Witnesses chronology makes the prophet Daniel too old to be realistic.
Actually that is the case, when one does not ignore clear biblical teaching by twisting texts to suit a sectarian agenda.
: At the start of his book Daniel tells us, "Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and proceeded to lay siege to it..."
Let's not leave out important pieces of the pie, eh? Daniel 1:1 says:
In the third year of the kingship of Jehoiakim the king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and proceeded to lay siege to it.
Let's examine this and the succeeding verses more closely. This will set the stage for the rest of my refutation of your foolishness.
In this formulaic phrase "in the third year" -- which is always the formula used to date an event in the Bible -- the date "third year of the kingship of Jehoiakim" is specified. Now of course, we know quite well what the Watchtower Society's views on this are, but we also know that these views are not dictated by biblical or historical necessity, but the necessity to maintain the all-important 1914 doctrine.
Claiming that Daniel did not use the standard dating formula in the standard way is like claiming that "1799" in the sentence, "in the year 1799 Napoleon became emperor of Europe" does not mean the usual "1799 A.D." but something altogether different. There is no precedent anywhere in the Bible for assigning a different meaning to the standard formula. The only reason the WTS does it is because the standard formula causes serious problems for its 1914 chronology.
Now, because Daniel was a high Babylonian official, he may well have used accession-year dating to date events. According to Edwin Thiele (The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, New Revised Edition, Kregel Publications, 1983, p. 183) Daniel also used Tishri year dating. Thus, "the third year of Jehoiakim" would refer to Jehoiakim's third regnal year in 606/5 B.C., with his accession year in 609/8 B.C. This cross-checks perfectly with the statement in Jeremiah 46:2 that Nebuchadnezzar defeated Pharaoh Necho at the battle of Carchemish in Jehoiakim's "fourth year" (between Nisan and Ab, likely in Sivan, about May/June 605; cf. Jack Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology, Hendrickson Publishers, 1998, p. 252-4), where it can be shown that Jeremiah used non-accession year and Tishri dating. In this system, the 4th year is identically equal to the 3rd year in Daniel's system.
Shortly after the battle of Carchemish in 605 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar began his conquest of the "Hatti-country" (Syria-Palestine). According to the tablet BM 21946, he "conquered all of Hamath" (a district in Syria) at that time. This must have taken place sometime between about Sivan and Elul (when he learned of his father Nabopolassar's death and returned to Babylon to secure the throne), or May/June and August/September. According to Josephus (Against Apion, 1.19.136-39; Antiquities 10.221-24), during this time of conquest Nebuchadnezzar took captives from the entire region, including Jews, Phoenicians, Syrians, and Egyptians. Josephus states:
Meanwhile, as it happened, his father Nabopolassar sickened and died in the city of Bayblon, 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. There he found the administration in the hands of the Chaldaeans and the throne reserved for him by their chief nobleman. Being now master of his father's entire realm, he gave orders to allot the captives, on their arrival, settlements in the most suitable districts of Babylonia. He then magnificently decorated the temple of Bel and the other temples with the spoils of war.
Daniel 1:1-3 describes what happened to Jerusalem at this time, in language remarkably parallel to Josephus' account:
In the third year of the kingship of Jehoiakim the king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and proceeded to lay siege to it. 2 In time Jehovah gave into his hand Jehoiakim the king of Judah and a part of the utensils of the house of the [true] God, so that he brought them to the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and the utensils he brought to the treasure-house of his god. 3 Then the king said to Ashpenaz his chief court official to bring some of the sons of Israel and of the royal offspring and of the nobles . . .
2 Chronicles 36:6, 7 describes the same event, namely, the subjugation of Jehoiakim:
6 Against him Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon came up that he might bind him with two fetters of copper to carry him off to Babylon. 7 And some of the utensils of the house of Jehovah Nebuchadnezzar brought to Babylon and then put them in his palace in Babylon.
In view of the above biblical and secular information, it is clear that in the summer of 605 B.C., after Nebuchadnezzar soundly defeated the Egyptians at the battle of Carchemish, he conquered further territory in Syria-Palestine and had prisoners and booty taken back to Babylon. This occurred in the 3rd/4th year of Jehoiakim, depending on what dating system is used. This was also Nebuchadnezzar's accession year, which corresponds to Tishri, 606 through Elul, 605 B.C. (Nebuchadnezzar took the throne on Elul 1 (September 7), 605).
Obviously, some of the Jewish captives that Josephus mentions must have been Daniel and his companions, in view of Daniel 1:6, which says of these captives that "there happened to be among them some of the sons of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah."
Now, Daniel 2:1 describes some rather bizarre events that happened with regard to Nebuchadnezzar: "in the second year of the kingship of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams" and eventually decided to kill all the "wise men" of Babylon because they could not interpret the dream, except that Daniel was conjured up, interpreted the dream to Nebuchadnezzar, and saved the day. In view of the above, that 2nd year of kingship would have been Tishri, 604 through Elul, 603 B.C. Note that the elapsed time from the taking of the Jewish captives through the end of Nebuchadnezzar's 2nd year would have been about two years and three months.
Now that the stage is set, let's proceed.
: " the king said to Ashpenaz his chief court official to bring some of the sons of Israel and of the royal offspring and of the nobles, children in whom there was no defect at all". Daniel is among these ones. The King takes them so he can have them "stand in the palace of the king", but will first "teach them the writing and the tongue of the Chaldeans."
So far so good, but it must be pointed out that Daniel 1 contains very little information about the time frame of the things that happened with Daniel and his companions during the period described. When the various events took place must be inferred, and inferences are always based on assumptions.
: Presumably, the Hebrew children did not speak the Chaldean language, or know what the King wanted them to do in his palace. They were to be trained. The "king appointed a daily allowance from the delicacies of the king and from his drinking wine, even to nourish them for three years, that at the end of these they might stand before the king."
: So they would be trained for "three years" before being allowed before the King. "And at the end of the days that the king had said to bring them in [that is, the three years], the principal court official also proceeded to bring them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king began to speak with them, and out of them all no one was found like Daniel" and his companions. -- Daniel chapter 1
So far so good, but you immediately introduce a problem that has been solved, i.e., what exactly do these "three years" mean?
They could mean a full three years, or they could mean a period of time that transpires during three calendar years. The latter sort of reckoning is common in the Bible, with perhaps the most striking example being Jesus' death and resurrection. According to a number of New Testament passages, Jesus said that he would be dead for three days and three nights, that after three days he would be raised up, that he would rise three days after being killed (cf. Matthew 12:40; 27:63; Mark 8:31). Yet the Bible describes Jesus' actual death and resurrection as taking place between Friday afternoon and the next Sunday morning -- a period of a bit more than two nights and one day, but one of only about 40 hours. Obviously, the more inclusive statements really mean "a portion of each of three days." (Insight, Vol. 1, p 593) Another example is the period of the siege of Samaria, stated at 2 kings 18:9-10 to have lasted from the seventh to the ninth year of Hoshea; yet the siege is said to have lasted for "three years". Other examples can be found in Edwin Thiele's Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings (op. cit., p. 52, ftn. 12).
So there is no necessity that the "three years" alloted for the training of Daniel and his companions was a full three years, but could have been just a portion of each of three years. And in view of the fact, as I pointed out above, that the elapsed time from the taking of the Jewish captives through the end of Nebuchadnezzar's 2nd year would have been about two years and three months, there is no problem: The training of the young Jews would have occurred during Nebuchadnezzar's accession, 1st and 2nd regnal years.
: We can see there were clearly "three years" of training before Daniel went before the King. So what is the problem? The issue lies in the next chapter of Daniel, which starts by saying, "And in the second year of the kingship of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams", a dream which Daniel interpreted.
Zippo. The problem is gone.
: Now, if Daniel was in the court of Nebuchadnezzar in the "second year" of his Kingship to interpret the King's dream, then according to Jehovah's Witnesses chronology, Daniel would be in Babylon in 624 BCE. This means he must have been 101 years old when he served in the court of Darius. This is highly unlikely.
Without having to resort to ridiculously strained reinterpretations of verses like Daniel 1:1 and 2:1, standard chronology has no problem here.
: Does that make the 607 chronology unlikely? No, because that is not what Jehovah's Witnesses teach. As we have already seen, the Bible says Daniel was under training for "three years" before he went before the King. So, then, why does Daniel says "in the second year" of Nebuchadnezzar?
Because that's when the events occurred. Of course, now you're going to enter upon that really stupid reinterpretation that's like claiming that "1799" doesn't mean "1799".
: As we mentioned earlier, Daniel is speaking from the perspective of the Babylonian Kingship over the Jews. That is why he spoke of Jehoiakim's third year of Babylonian Kingship.
Since you never mentioned such a thing, it's obvious that you've culled this entire post from something larger, and forgotten to massage it into a coherent whole.
Nevertheless, there is no evidence whatsoever that Daniel was doing anything other than using the standard dating formula in verses 1:1 and 2:1.
Again we see that standard JW circular reasoning: "the Bible must mean something other than what it clearly says, because if it didn't, we'd have to change our beliefs."
: Similarly, Daniel is also talking about Nebuchadnezzar's Babylonian kingship over the Jews. This was the "second year" of Nebuchadnezzar being direct King over the Jewish people. Yes, it was the second year after the destruction of Jerusalem when the last Jewish King was removed from his throne.
Again no evidence beyond, "it must be so!"
: This must be correct, for the claim of the apostates is preposterous.
Actually we've already seen how preposterous your strained interpretations are, especially because all readers understand perfectly well their motivation.
: Daniel 2:13 states, "And the order itself went out, and the wise men were about to be killed; and they looked for Daniel and his companions, for them to be killed." Why was Daniel known as one of Babylon's "wise men"?
Very simple. The Bible explicitly states that, during the period of training, God miraculously gave great wisdom and knowledge to Daniel and his companions. You even quoted the relevant passages in Daniel 1:
3 Then the king said to Ashpenaz his chief court official to bring some of the sons of Israel and of the royal offspring and of the nobles, 4 children in whom there was no defect at all, but good in appearance and having insight into all wisdom and being acquainted with knowledge, and having discernment of what is known.
17 And as for these children, the four of them, to them the [true] God gave knowledge and insight in all writing and wisdom; and Daniel himself had understanding in all sorts of visions and dreams.
The fact that these young men are described as "children" or "youths" is irrelevant, in view of Daniel 1:17.
: Daniel 1:4: youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king's court.
: 17 As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams.
: 18 Then at the end of the days which the king had specified for presenting them, the commander of the officials presented them before Nebuchadnezzar.
: 19 The king talked with them, and out of them all not one was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king's personal service.
: 20 As for every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers who were in all his realm.
: Was he not a "child" who had only been in the city for a year and a few months,
No, Daniel was a young man who had been there for about two years and a few months, and had been given miraculous wisdom and knowledge.
: a boy who was still learning the Chaldean language? Did the account not say that he and his friends were "children"? ( Daniel 1:17) Yes! Then why do they suddenly become "wise men" and Daniel an "able-bodied man"? -- Daniel 2:25
They had already become "wise men" -- miraculously -- according to Daniel 1.
Furthermore, a careful study of Daniel 1 and 2 clearly indicates that it was Daniel's ability to miraculously interpret Nebuchadnezzar's dream that brought him to the attention of the king. Prior to that, he was just another of the many young Jewish captives who were being trained. Daniel 2 is quite clear that Nebuchadnezzar had no idea who Daniel was, because the account clearly says that the men sent out to kill all the wise men found Daniel and brought him in to the king. Had the king already known that Daniel was a "wise man" capable of doing miraculous deeds, he would have ordered that Daniel be brought before him.
In fact, it is obvious from the account that it was the miraculous dream interpretation described in Daniel 2 that first brought Daniel to the king's attention and gave him and his companions such a sterling reputation! Daniel 1 states:
17 And as for these children, the four of them, to them the [true] God gave knowledge and insight in all writing and wisdom; and Daniel himself had understanding in all sorts of visions and dreams. 18 And at the end of the days that the king had said to bring them in, the principal court official also proceeded to bring them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 And the king began to speak with them, and out of them all no one was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; and they continued to stand before the king. 20 And as regards every matter of wisdom [and] understanding that the king inquired about from them, he even got to find them ten times better than all the magic-practicing priests [and] the conjurers that were in all his royal realm.
So as usual, your Watchtower-based interpretation ignores what the Bible actually says.
: Furthermore, after Daniel successfully interpreted the King's dream, "the king made Daniel someone great, and many big gifts he gave to him, and he made him the ruler over all the jurisdictional district of Babylon and the chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon... Daniel was in the court of the king."
And why not? Since God gave Daniel such great, miraculous wisdom and knowledge, why would age be a factor?
: So the apostates would argue that Daniel, as one of the "children" still learning the local language, had only been in the city several months before he was regarded as, not a child, but as an able-bodied man and one of the wise men of Babylon.
You're ignoring the Bible's explicit statements again.
: Also, he became ruler over the entire City, and all of this happened before Daniel had even been brought in before the King for the first time at the end of his three-year basic training. Can we really take such an idea seriously?
That's what the Bible says. But we know that Jehovah's Witnesses don't really take the Bible seriously. Rather, they take what the Watchtower Society says seriously.
What your 'argument' boils down to is generally called "an argument from ignorance": "I can't conceive how this must be, so it isn't!"
: On the other hand, according to 607-based Biblical chronology, Daniel was taken into exile in 617 BCE, "in the seventh year" of King Nebuchadnezzar's Babylonian kingship, the year Jeremiah says the first exiles were taken. ( Jeremiah 52:28) Jeremiah does not mention any earlier exiles, so Daniel could not have been in Babylon in the second year, for that is too early.
Nonsense. The Bible doesn't mention a lot of things explicitly, but that doesn't mean they didn't happen. Besides, Daniel does explicitly mention captives being taken in Jehoiakim's 3rd/4th year, which is Nebuchadnezzar's accession year.
: This 607 interpretation also gives Daniel more than enough time to grow out of childhood and become known as an "able-bodied man" and a well-known wise-man.
It also ignores the obvious meaning of the accounts in Daniel 1 and 2.
: It also means Daniel's was not unrealistically old when he died. He probably lived from around 630 BCE to 535 BCE, making him under the age of 100 while he worked for King Darius. Such is entirely possible for a man living under the good conditions of the Royal court, and filled with Jehovah's spirit. As one brother says, "the argument that Daniel would have been too old has no merit whatsoever."
: Admittedly, Daniel certainly was very old when he died. That is probably why his book ends with the Angel telling him thus: "And as for you yourself, go toward the end; and you will rest, but you will stand up for your lot at the end of the days." -- Daniel 12:13 Something doesn’t add up
It certainly doesn't. While it's possible that Daniel would have been serving to such a ripe old age, it's more likely that he was 10-15 years younger than you allow. But all of that is speculation.
: If that wasn't proof enough that Daniel could not have interpreted the King's dream in his 2nd year of Kingship, consider the following dates which prove that Daniel definitely had not yet completed his training in the 2nd year of Nebuchadnezzar's kingship. If we believe the secular chronology, this is what we find:
: Aug/Sep 605 Neb ascends throne
: Feb 604 Daniel exiled, training begins
Wrong. See above.
: April 604 First regnal year begins
: April 603 > April 602 second year of Neb
: Feb 601 Daniel's third year of training ends
Wrong. You're mixing up Babylonian dating (accession year, Nisan-Nisan) with Daniel's dating (accession year, Tishri-Tishri). As I stated above, using Daniel's dating scheme, the 2nd year of Nebuchadnezzar would have been Tishri, 604 through Elul, 603 B.C. Again note that the elapsed time from the taking of the Jewish captives through the end of Nebuchadnezzar's 2nd year would have been about two years and three months.
It's painfully obvious that you don't even understand that there are several dating systems that one must keep track of. So there's really no point in going further with commenting on your foolishness. So I'm going to pull a "thirdwitless" style trick and ignore the rest of your post.