Are you sure you're in the right place <smiling>? This was supposed to be Chronology 101 (aka Chronology for Dummies).
But, seriously --- you've obviously researched certain areas of this issue very thoroughly, but when I read your posts I keep noting that you appear to be unfamiliar with, or have overlooked, other aspects of the problem. IOW, it seems to me you're missing the forest for the trees.
Right now, though, I think your long series of questions has probably confused anyone who doesn't really care about all the ins and outs but who just wants to know one thing: is the WTS's date of 607 BCE correct or not?
For people who aren't really interested in history or chronology per se, the question isn't so much one of when Jerusalem WAS destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar as when it WASN'T. If it wasn't destroyed in 607 BCE, then the WTS's claim (that Jesus returned in 1914 and chose them to be his channel of truth) is bogus. For these people, it's more an investigation of the WTS and its claims than a deep fascination with the history of the Ancient Near East, beginning with the neo-Babylonian empire and extending through the period of the Persians.
For all those who want to stick with the K.I.S.S. approach (Keep it simple, sweetie!) ---
Pretend, for just a minute, that you're back in high school, suffering through a class on World History. The teacher has assigned everyone to work in teams to create a huge timeline. She has put up a long line of dates stretching from one end of the back wall to the other. Your team's mission is to prepare a strip of colored construction paper representing the neo-Babylonian empire. After you have made the strip the right length and labeled all the kings, your strip will be taped above the timeline at the right date. Other teams are working on strips for other civilizations.
The strip of paper represents the relative chronology of the neo-Babylonian empire. Your team may be successful in preparing a strip of just the right length with every king known and named. It may be 100% correct in all the details, depending on how well you do your research. But until the strip is taped down above the right date on the big timeline across the back wall, it is just a floating chronology. There aren't any dates on it at all. There are only names of kings separated by vertical lines representing the beginning and end of their reigns.
Once your team is finished with the strip, it can be taped to the timeline. But to do that, you have to have an anchor point.
In the first message of this thread, I suggested that we take the Watchtower's own date of 539 BCE as an anchor point. They emphasize in their literature that this is a date which is accepted by secular historians. I recently had an elder give me a packet of WT articles on chronology. One of the articles, "The Book of Truthful Historical Dates," from the 8/15/1968 WT has a long list of secular historians and Bible scholars who all accept 539 BCE as the date when Babylon fell to Persian forces.
If we take the Watchtower's own anchor date of 539 BCE, we know where to tape the right edge of our strip of paper. The neo-Babylonian empire ended in 539, when Babylon fell to the Persians. We stretch our strip of paper out carefully so there aren't any wrinkles and we tape down the whole thing.
But, wait! One anxious girl in the group (who has to get her A or die) starts obsessing. Did we make our strip of paper the right length? Do we have all the names of the kings, and are they in the right order? Our grade will depend on whether we used good sources for our information. "Relax," we tell her. We used information that came right from an organization which says it is God's own channel of truth.
What source did we use? We used WT literature. In the second message of this thread, I quoted from WT articles and books which give the names of the kings (and their successors, without any gaps) and the length of their reigns. This all comes right from the WT, but if we check the long list of references in "The Book of Truthful Historical Dates," we see that secular historians and Bible scholars agree .
So our strip of paper is just the right length, and we have attached it to the timeline on the wall at 539 BCE.
We should get an A, right? In fact, we should get 100% on our project.
But to our dismay the teacher fails us all! What?!
She tells us that her answer book (published by the WTBTS) gives check points for evaluating our projects. Her answer book says that the 19 th year of Nebuchadnezzar should fall right above the date of 607 BCE on the timeline. But on our strip of paper, the line for Nebuchadnezzar's 19 th year is placed above the date 586. So we are wrong, and we fail.
Something isn't right here! We used WT information for the strip of paper (the relative chronology) and we used WT information to anchor the strip to the right place on the timeline (539 BCE). How can the WT answer book say we are wrong?
Anyone who worked on the project knows that the answer book must be wrong. Jerusalem was NOT destroyed in 607 BCE. This is not Nebuchadnezzar's 19 th year (or 18 th year). Nebuchadnezzar isn't even the king yet!
But what about the rest of the class? They're sure the teacher and her answer book must be right. Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 BCE and we're all a bunch of rebellious independent thinkers and we're going to flunk, nyah, nyah, nyah! The teacher is a little nicer and says we just have to wait on the Publisher to explain the things we don't understand, but that we do have to take our seats and be quiet or we're going to be thrown out of the class.
Those with more than a cursory interest in history may want to delve deeper into questions of cuneiform sources, astronomical diaries, VAT4956, Ptolemy, Josephus, Xerses and Artaxerses, etc. It's true that scholars have wrestled with some thorny problems in the Persian period, in particular.
But if you start to do research and find yourself getting overwhelmed by the details, remember two things:
--- Using the WT's own date of 539 BCE and the WT's own list of kings and reigns, if you construct a timeline you will NEVER arrive at 607 BCE for the fall of Jerusalem.
--- Scholars disagree about many things, but not one scholar in the world agrees with the WTS's date of 607 BCE. Not one. Not the Assyriologists, not the secular historians, not the archaeologists, not the Christian Bible scholars, not the Jewish scholars and rabbis, not the college professors, not the museum curators. Search as you may, there is no scholarly support whatsoever for 607 BCE.
In the article "The Book of Truthful Historical Dates" (8/15/1968 WT) the WT has a very long list of scholars who support the pivotal date of 539 BCE. But what they never tell you, and what most Witnesses will never find out, is that those same scholars all agree on 586/587 for the fall of Jerusalem.