Jerusalem in Bible Times—What Does Archaeology Reveal?

by TD 14 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • TD

    That was the title of an article appearing in The Watchtower of June 15th 1997

    On page 12, this article stated:

    "Visitors can see remains from this destruction that took place over 2,500 years ago. The Israelite Tower, the Burnt Room, and the Bullae House are names of popular archaeological sites preserved and open to the public. Archaeologists Jane M. Cahill and David Tarler summarize in the book Ancient Jerusalem Revealed: "The massive destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians is apparent not only in the thick layers of charred remains unearthed in structures such as the Burnt Room and the Bullae House, but also in the deep stone rubble from collapsed buildings found covering the eastern slope. The biblical descriptions of the city’s destruction . . . complement the archaeological evidence."

    Thus, the Bible’s picture of Jerusalem from David’s time down to its destruction in 607 B.C.E. has in many ways been verified by archaeological excavations made during the past 25 years."

    The article didn't directly state that Cahill and Tarler agreed with the 607 BC date, but the wording in the last sentence above made it very easy to draw the conclusion that they supported it.

    This was before Jehovah' at a time when discussions of this type were taking place on a site called H20. The internet was a lot newer then and JW leaders and writers did not seem to truly understand it's power yet.

    Both Jane Cahill and David Tarler were emailed immediately and asked if they agreed with this quote. Here are their responses:

    No, I have no idea what this guy is talking about. I have never heard of the Watchtower Society, I have never published anything suggesting that Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 BCE, and - as far as I know - Yigal never published anything like that either. I would respond that I know of no evidence supporting such a date. Hope that answers your query.

    Take care!

    Jane Cahill

    [email protected]

    I am not familiar with the article you cited - and I would appreciate receiving a copy of it - but I never said that the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E. I do not think that, today, archeologists could differentiate between 607 B.C.E. and 587 B.C.E. material cultural remains. Assuming that there are material remains from a 604 B.C.E. destruction at Tel Miqne/Ekron and from a 587 B.C.E. destruction at the City of David/Jerusalem, comprehensive analysis of these remains conceivably could yield chronological indicators for other sites, but even then, the archeological conclusions would derive from those assumed dates; the dates themselves would not derive from the archeology.

    David Tarler

  • changeling

    I hope you send them the article and they make a big, public stink.

    As for the date, while archeology cannot pin point it, historical records can and the date stands at 587BCE.

  • ssn587

    blagtant dishonesty from the society is anyone surprised!!!

  • Broken Promises
    Broken Promises

    You have to wonder about the writer of this article – is s/he a believer in the 607 date and thus blindly believes everything backs up this date, or do they know the truth behind the dating methods and are deliberately dishonest?

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    I love Jane Cahill's statement: I have never heard of the Watchtower Society

    So much for their shouts of praise being heard earthwide.

  • drew sagan
    drew sagan

    Another case of "proof by association" I suppose.

    Really like the wording on this one:

    "Bible’s picture of Jerusalem from David’s time down to its destruction in 607 B.C.E. has in many ways been verified"

    So they are actaully claiming this verifies a "picture of Jerusalem," not 607.

    During the entire time I was a JW I never once took notice that the 607 date was contested. Sure, it may have been mentioned at a meeting at some point, but the information was just rushed over like everything else. 607 was simply an accepted fact by all parties involved. Finding out that the date was contested served as a huge blow to my confidence in the Watchtower because I always believed their facts were backed up from outside sources.

  • mentallyfree31

    Not only is 607 contested, but the ENTIRE world of history agrees on 587/586. Watchtower stands alone in claiming a different date.


  • Earnest

    I do not get the impression that the writer(s) of the article are claiming that Cahill and Tarler support the date of 607 or are even implying such support. What they are talking about is the Bible's picture of Jerusalem during the period of the first temple until it's destruction by the Babylonians. I think it is almost second nature that whenever the Babylonian destruction is mentioned that 607 is thrown in no matter what the context is, simply because that is the only reason that this destruction of Jerusalem is of any significance to JWs.

    Quite clearly archaeology cannot pinpoint an event to an exact year using dating methods such as radiocarbon dating or dendrochronology. The best that dendrochronology (tree-ring dating) can do is establish the year that the tree was cut down and even then it is not fool-proof. What archaeology is good at is establishing the sequence of events as it is quite obvious that if a town is rebuilt (which happened countless times in Israel which is why cities like Megiddo and Jericho are on a mound) then the layers of ruins are in chronological order.

  • designs

    Its those clever guys in the Cut and Paste Department at Bethel....................

    Kind of like the LDS rewriting History in the Book of Mormon.

  • TD

    Not only are you way above average in reading comprehension Earnest, you're unusally kind and charitable as well

    --Same article, preceeding paragraph: (Emphasis mine)

    Jerusalem's Destruction in 607 B.C.E.

    "The Bible tells of Jerusalem's destruction in 607 B.C.E. in 2 Kings chapter 25, 2 Chronicles chapter 36, and Jeremiah chapter 39, reporting that Nebuchadnezzar's army put the city to the torch. Have recent excavations verified this historical account? According to Professor Yigal Shiloh, "the evidence [of the Babylonian destruction] in the Bible is complemented by the clear-cut archaeological evidence; the total destruction of the various structures, and a conflagration which consumed the various wooden parts of the houses." He further commented: "Traces of this destruction have been found in each of the excavations carried out in Jerusalem."

    At the time My wife's C.O. brother presented the article to me as secular agreement with the 607 date and the man is not stupid by any stretch of the imagination.

    To me, it seems like it would be very easy for a Witness to construe, "Verification of [the Bible's] historical accout" as inclusive of 607 when 607 is positively stated to be part of the Bible's historical account from the outset.

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