Need a little help on 607 586/587....
I remember reading somewhere a quote from a WTS publication that more or less said that the Bible was wrong when it came to one of the regnal years or how many years a certain king had ruled. Something like that anyway(I've got to start copying and pasting or bookmarking or something). Somehow if you take the Society at it's word about 607 it creates a problem with the rulership length or starting rulership date of somebody and in one of their publications it actually says something about that time period having to be incorrect. I'm looking for that quote in the publication and I can't for the life of me remember where I saw this. Does this make any sense to anyone and can you point me in the right direction? Thanks.
From an essay by AlanF:
In order to avoid contradictions with its chronology the Society is forced to interpret certain scriptures as meaning something other than what they clearly say. This is illustrated by the Society's handling of Dan. 1:1 and Dan. 2:1. It says that Dan. 1:1 actually refers to Jehoiakim's 3rd year of vassalage to Nebuchadnezzar, not to his 3rd regnal year. Likewise, it says that the reference in Dan. 2:1 to Nebuchadnezzar's 2nd year actually means his 2nd year of reigning in a special capacity as the first ruler in the line of Gentile kings. This would have been his 20th regnal year. This is done because the Society's other interpretations require Daniel to have been deported to Babylon in Nebuchadnezzar's 7th year, but Dan. 2:1 refers to Daniel being in Babylon in Nebuchadnezzar's 2nd year. So the Society does not take the Bible at its word, but reinterprets clear statements so that its other interpretations are not contradicted. This is, in fact, the only reason that Dan. 1:1 and Dan. 2:1 are reinterpreted, as there is no evidence elsewhere in Daniel that this is justified, nor does the Society present such.
There is excellent reason for rejecting the Society's reinterpretation of the reference to Nebuchadnezzar's 2nd year in Dan. 2:1. This reinterpretation is based on the further interpretation that Nebuchadnezzar's dream recorded in Dan. 4, of the tree that was cut down, is a prophecy referring to the Gentile Times. But this dream occurred well after the events of Dan. 2 (at least, as implied in Dan. 2), so how could Daniel have meant Nebuchadnezzar's 2nd year as king in a special capacity when the prophecy announcing that special capacity had not yet been uttered? Also, Dan. 12:8, 9 recorded Daniel's lack of understanding: "Now as for me, I heard, but I could not understand.... And he went on to say: 'Go, Daniel, because the words are made secret and sealed up until the time of [the] end.' " The prophetic words were not understandable to Daniel, so how could he have called Nebuchadnezzar's 20th year his 2nd year if he did not understand the prophecy? It is clear that Daniel, in chapter 2, was recording the events in connection with Nebuchadnezzar's prophetic dream, events that contemporary readers would understand and could date for themselves, because they knew contemporary history. Daniel's reference to Nebuchadnezzar's 2nd year, if it was really his 20th year, would have been unintelligible to contemporary readers.
The Society's argument that the statement in Dan. 1:1 refers to Jehoiakim's 3rd year of his vassalage, rather than of his reign, and that his vassalage ended with his death in his 11th year (Insight, Vol. 1, p. 1269), which would have been Nebuchadnezzar's 7th regnal year, are further weakened by the following argument:
The Society's chronology requires that Jehoiakim's vassalage would have begun in his 8th regnal year, since 2 Kings 24:1 says he was a vassal for three years, and the Society says that his vassalage ended in his 11th year. But 2 Kings 23:34-37 indicates that Jehoiakim became a vassal to Egypt's Pharoah Necho, with no indication that he came out of that vassalage until Necho's defeat by Nebuchadnezzar at the battle of Carchemish. Therefore Jehoiakim would have been Pharoah Necho's vassal until his 8th year. However, Jer. 46:2 says that Nebuchadnezzar defeated Pharoah Necho at the battle of Carchemish in the 4th year of Jehoiakim, after which Jehoiakim must no longer have been a vassal of Egypt. Therefore the Society's interpretation of Dan. 1:1 must be in error.
Here is a website that has a number of articles on it and one series has the 607 subject, I can't seem to open it this morning, but if you go there you will see them. Most of the articles, on the site, were written by members of this board and I might add very well thought out and documented.
This helps a lot. I'll use that link(it's working for me) and do some research. Thanks again.
The book, "Gentile Times Reconsidered" by Carl Olaf Johnsson covers this topic nicely and is available at Amazon.com. You owe it to yourself to read this book, which started out as a detailed historical review, written by an active Witness in Europe and sent to the Governing Body. Needless to say, the "emperors" did not like being told that they had "no clothes on", so Carl ended up getting DF'd. So, he fleshed out his treatice into a complete book, and an excellent one it is.
Also of interest is this web site:
please also note that the British Museum, (the folks who financied the Babylonian archeological digs and who have the artifacts, place the date of the destruction of Jerusalem at ~587-586 BC. So do the Israelis. Guess they ought to know...
I would like to help you with your query but the your information is rather too vague. You must bear in mind that the Society has published an excellent presentation of the regnal years of the Hebrew kings for Judah and Israel which harmonizes nicely with biblical history. The date of 607 is also confirmed by an appropriate exegesis of Daniel 1:1 and 2:1 despite the nonsense posted by cynicus. Yes, please read Jonsonn's hypothesis in his Gentile Times but I think this will be nicely rebutted by a forthcoming work by Rolf Furuli who is a competent Semitic scholar.
scholar BA MA (Studies in Religion)
It seems that the question is quite obvious. ‘Why does the Society stick with 607 and where do they get support for this date?’
I have been very interested in any answer to this question that the watchtower might come up with. The one that was given in the Knowledge book is just another ‘believe this because we said’ answer, that once again shows their control over the R&F. I have asked on numerous occasions for a list of the regnal periods of the kings during that time. If the Hebrew Kings are in harmony with a 607 BCE date then why are all of the Babylonian King & Egyptian lists in harmony with a 587/586 BCE date for the destruction? I have been reading, and cross referencing all of the data (I don’t want to be seen as falling into Satan’s trap of just believing apostate literature), for the time period between Nebuchadnezar and Cyrus and would love to see the how these are found to support 607BCE without negating their usefulness for 537BCE.
The evidence to support 587/586 comes from Ptolemy’s king list (which was only added onto by Ptolemy and not started by him, some of the data was compiled contemporary to the events), the Uruk king list (which was contemporary), the house of Egibi (a mortgage company that secured loans during that time and recorded all documents by the year of the king), Josephus (admittedly not contemporary, but in ‘Against Apion I’ admits to 50 years of destruction), many Babylonian lunar eclipse documents (that are far more accurate than the Watchtower would like you to believe), and did I mention the Egyptian cross references that the Bible gives to us.
These are some good sites and ones that I would recommend. One point that has always puzzled me is the fact that the R&F are not told of this controversy, and despite their information control, it is a big controversy. They take great pride in pointing out when an Apostate writes some literature that is untrue about their organization. But when it comes to the 607 vs. 587 debate there is complete silence.
the R&F are not told of this controversy
I'm not a scholar by any stretch, so I've never looked into this controversy, it is all a little bit too academic for my tastes. All I really know is that the WT are the only ones saying 607. When I was a JW, I had no idea that the 607 date was even in question.
So the issue for me isn't which date is correct, it is, are you free as a JW to "independently think" that the date was not 607? I think the COJ case answers this question quite clearly.
You must bear in mind that the Society has published an excellent presentation of the regnal years of the Hebrew kings for Judah and Israel which harmonizes nicely with biblical history.
I'll start with that then. In what publications is this presented? I don't need it quoted but references to publication and chapter would be nice.
Thanks to everyone who responded. I do need to get the COJ book I guess, but I'm kinda like DantheMan, I'm not into academics that much. I need it layed out easy, neat and brief so any dummy(me) can understand it.
The presentation of the regnal years for the Divided Monarchy is found in the Aid to Bible Understanding, pp.34-7. You will notice that duration of this period is a shade over 390 years being the figure predicted in Ezekiel's prophecy at ch.4. Present day scholars do not accept this application and so their figures for that period are considerably less. This is a bit of a worry.
I agree with you that the method of chronology should be simple but that is not the case for a 586/587. You cannot beat the Society's calculation for simplicity, 607 is a trusted and historical date will nicely accords with the secular and biblical evidence.
scholar BA MA Studies in Religion