Hi AddaGirl. One of my favorite topics, the 70 years. I'm going to just try this with you since you have definite views of the 70 years. Perhaps you can just comment on this in light of your two views of the 70 years.
1. For all the interpretations we might have of the Bible's view of when the 70 years takes place, it seems quite strange to me that few inquire of Josephus. After all, he is a secular reference that not only gives us traditional Jewish history but Biblical commentary as well. Thus I would think it would be interesting, if indeed, your above two views of the 70 years is a more accurate one than that of the WTS, just how Josephus might have commented on the 70 years, from a Jewish historical point of view, if, in fact, he actually mentions the 70 years. Thus this is where I'd have a question/problem with just limiting yourself to these two references and not including Josephus' own references to this. Thus I'd be interested in hearing where you'd place Josephus' own reference to the 70 years in the context of the two 70-year references you present.
IN the first year of the reign of Cyrus1 which was the seventieth from the day that our people were removed out of their own land into Babylon, God commiserated the captivity and calamity of these poor people, according as he had foretold to them by Jeremiah the prophet, before the destruction of the city, that after they had served Nebuchadnezzar and his posterity, and after they had undergone that servitude seventy years, he would restore them again to the land of their fathers, and they should build their temple, and enjoy their ancient prosperity.
In other words, per Josephus, the 70 years of "servitude" are 70 years served by the "poor people" who were last to be "removed out of their own land", meaning the last deportees. Now this is harmonized with a previous statement by Josephus where he specifically relates an invasion by Nebuchadnezzar in year 23 whereupon he goes into Egypt and then deports the Jews there in that year to Babylon...
"...the twenty-third of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, he made an expedition against Celesyria; and when he had possessed himself of it, he made war against the Ammonites and Moabites; and when he had brought all these nations under subjection, he fell upon Egypt, in order to overthrow it; and he slew the king that then reigned (16) and set up another; and he took those Jews that were there captives, and led them away to Babylon. And such was the end of the nation of the Hebrews, as it hath been delivered down to us, it having twice gone beyond Euphrates; for the people of the ten tribes were carried out of Samaria by the Assyrians, in the days of king Hoshea; after which the people of the two tribes that remained after Jerusalem was taken [were carried away] by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon and Chaldea. Now as to Shalmanezer, he removed the Israelites out of their country, and placed therein the nation of the Cutheans, who had formerly belonged to the inner parts of Persia and Media, but were then called Samaritans, by taking the name of the country to which they were removed; but the king of Babylon, who brought out the two tribes, (17) placed no other nation in their country, by which means all Judea and Jerusalem, and the temple, continued to be a desert for seventy years.
In other words, Jewish traditional history is under the impression that the 70 years of servitude began with the last deportation of the few Jews who had run down to Egypt. Thus when the last Jews were removed out of the land, that is when the land fulfilled its 70 years of sabbath rest:
2 Chronicles 36: 20 Furthermore, he carried off those remaining from the sword captive to Babylon, and they came to be servants to him and his sons until the royalty of Persia began to reign; 21 to fulfill Jehovah’s word by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had paid off its sabbaths. All the days of lying desolated it kept sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.
What is pertinent here that I see, is harmony between Josephus and the Bible. That's because if the last people to be removed out of the land occurred at the time of the last deportation, year 23 of Nebuchadnezzar, then the land could actually remain desolate with no people there for this 70-year period.
SO I ASK YOU: What would be your comment about Josephus' idea of the 70 years beginning with the last deportation and lasting until the 1st of Cyrus? Which to me, seems to reflect what the Bible says as well, that those who would serve Nebuchadnezzar and his sons for 70 years were those of the last deportation?
THANKS for your comments.
I do believe you can apply various 70-year references that might work loosely or even precisely in regard to the 70 years, but Josephus here mentions specifically JEREMIIAH'S PROPHECY of the seventy years. So for the Jews, their 70-year reference is quite specific. It begins with the last deportation and ends with the 1st of Cyrus. So I'm wondering why didn't you go with the traditional 70-year interpretation by Josephus instead of the two 70-year interpretations you have settled on? Also, HAD YOU KNOWN ABOUT THIS BEFORE? Is this something you never heard about and dismissed, or is this something you are hearing about for the first time now?
Thanks, again!!! Thanks for posting this topic too, it's one of my favorites and a key to a lot of JW chronology debate!