there are 13 sets of lunar observations on the tablet and 15 planetary observations. These describe the position of the moon or planets in relation to certain stars or constellations.18 There are also eight time intervals between the risings and settings of the sun and the moon.18a
Because of the superior reliability of the lunar positions, researchers have carefully analyzed these 13 sets of lunar positions on VAT 4956. They analyzed the data with the aid of a computer program capable of showing the location of celestial bodies on a certain date in the past.19 What did their analysis reveal? While not all of these sets of lunar positions match the year 568/567 B.C.E., all 13 sets match calculated positions for 20 years earlier, for the year 588/587 B.C.E.
Clearly, much of the astronomical data in VAT 4956 fits the year 588 B.C.E. as the 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar II. This, therefore, supports the date of 607 B.C.E. for Jerusalem’s destruction—just as the Bible indicates.
▪ The tablet describes astronomical events that occurred in the 37th year of the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar II.
▪ Nebuchadnezzar II destroyed Jerusalem in his 18th regnal year.—Jeremiah 32:1.
If the 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar II was 568 B.C.E., then Jerusalem was destroyed in 587 B.C.E.
If his 37th year was 588 B.C.E., then Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 B.C.E., the date that is indicated by Bible chronology.
▪ VAT 4956 points more convincingly to 607 B.C.E.