GRAYSON ASSYRIAN AND BABYLONIAN CHRONICLES PDF
This invaluable collection of Mesopotamian texts of the type labeled “chronicles” is divided into two sections: studies and texts. Each study elucidates essential. Assyrian And Babylonian Chronicles has 2 ratings and 1 review. Klasko said: What can I say? I’m such a history geek! According to my understanding, Grays. Assyrian and Babylonian chronicles / by A. K. Grayson. Author. Grayson, Albert Kirk. Published. Locust Valley, N.Y.: J. J. Augustin, , c Physical.
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The Cambridge Ancient History. About Albert Kirk Grayson.
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Letters From Assyrian and Babylonian Scholars. This invaluable collection of Mesopotamian texts of the type labeled “chronicles” is divided into two sections: Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles. All but three of the chronicles are unprovenanced. This article has no associated abstract. The Cambridge Ancient History. Indexes, line drawings, and plates complete this volume. Document on land and tithes text and translation.
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Assyrian And Babylonian Chronicles
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Nabopolasser, Babylonian King
Nabopolassar was the first Babylonian king to gain power after he led his forces against the Assyrians. He ruled Babylon from 625 to 605 B.C., which is where he appears on the Bible Timeline Chart. Nabopolassar is credited with leading the final revolt against Assyria that would topple their empire. He was a general in the Babylonian army, and he commanded his forces against the Assyrian rulers.
His name means “favored of Nabu” or “chosen by Nabu”. Babylon and Assyria were established by a powerful tyrant from the land of Shinar named Nimrod. Since that time, the two kingdoms waged war against each other for control of plains of Shinar and the areas surrounding this territory. Eventually, the Assyrians would emerge victoriously and they placed all of the people within that region under their control. They would dominate the Chaldeans, the Medes and the people from Babylon.These Articles are Written by the Publishers of The Amazing Bible Timeline
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Many people suffered under Assyrian rule because of their unrelenting cruelty. The Assyrians were powerful warriors, and they were merciless to the people that they defeated in battle. Thousands of captives from cities and tribes would be transported to other regions never to see their homelands again.
The Assyrians would also torture their prisoners by cutting off their body parts and performing sacrifices on them in honor of their gods. They also murdered people for fun and sport, and they were known to kill the children of conquered kings right in front of their eyes. So the conquered peoples who lived under the Assyrians rule finally had enough of their oppressive ways and decided to fight back.
A historical artifact that was uncovered by archeologists contains an engraved inscription of Nabopolasser’s childhood. The inscription reveals that Nebopolasser came from a poor and unknown family. Before Naopolasser became a powerful general and king, he considered himself to be a worthless person. While he was a young man, he made it a point to honor the deities Nabu and Marduk. He also desired to repair the temples of these two gods and to find favor with them.
Nabopolassar had used many men from the area to help him with the restoration process of the temples. He also referred to himself as a military commander. This part of the inscription gives evidence that Nabopolassar was a well-known person within his community and that he had leadership ability. When the Assyrians conquered a territory, they usually placed their own leaders in the defeated area. The people that were not deported to other regions of the empire were allowed to continue with their lives as long as they paid tribute to Assyria and didn’t try to rebel.
Many conquered peoples still had armies, but they were not too quick to rebel against Assyria because they were too strong. Eventually, an Assyrian king named Assurbanipal had died, and his death caused a lot of infighting and confusion among the remaining Assyrian rulers. Nabopolassar and the other tribes in the area had joined forces and used this situation as an opportunity to rebel. Nabopolassar and his forces attacked the Assyrian governors in Babylon and then defeated an Assyrian army that was stationed near the city. This blow to the Assyrians gave the Babylonians the inspiration that they would need to overthrow the rest of the empire.
He took over in his accession year (626 to 625 BC) on November 16 ( 26th Araḫsamna ) 626 BC. The throne. In 625 BC Began his first year of reign. He called himself the son of a nobody .
Nabopolassar was a general of the Assyrian king Sin-šar-iškun , whom he betrayed. He formed an alliance with the Medes against the Assyrians , who ruled Babylon for 200 years. The alliance defeated the Assyrians, and Nabopolassar left in 609 BC. To destroy all legacies of the Assyrian reign.
At least three sons are known: Nabu-šum-lisir , Nabu-zer-ušabši and Nebuchadnezzar II , who was born as early as 620 BC. Was used as a military leader for his aging father and took over the throne after his death.
The son of Nabopolassar became king of Babylon in 604 B.C. as Assyria was on the decline died 561.His name, either in this spelling or in the more correct form, Nebuchadrezzar (from the original, "Nabu-kudurri-uṣur" = "Nebo, defend my boundary"), is found more than ninety times in the Old Testament.
Nebuchadnezzar's first notable act was the overthrow of the Egyptian army under Necho at the Euphrates in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (Jer. xlvi. 2). It is entirely reasonable to suppose that at the same time he descended upon Palestine and made Jehoiakim his subject (II Kings xxiv. 1). This campaign took place in 605. The next year Nebuchadnezzar became king of Babylon and he ruled for forty-three years, or until 561. Jehoiakim served him for three years, and then rebelled. He doubtless incited the neighboring tribes (ib. verse 2) to persecute Judah and bring its king to respect his oath. In 598 Nebuchadnezzar himself came westward, took Jehoiakim (II Chron. xxxvi. 6) and probably slew him, casting out his dead body unburied (Jer. xxii. 19, xxxvi. 30), and carried captive to Babylon 3,023 Jews (Jer. lii. 28). He placed Jehoiachin, the dead king's son, on the throne. Three months were sufficient to prove Jehoiachin's character (Ezek. xix. 5-9). He was taken with 10,000 of the best of the people of Jerusalem and carried to Babylon. His uncle Mattaniah, whose name was changed to Zedekiah, was put on the throne by Nebuchadnezzar in 597.
Egypt was continually intriguing with southwestern Asia, and was now courting the friendship of Zedekiah. This became so noticeable that Judah's king made a journey to Babylon in the fourth year of his reign (Jer. li. 59), probably to assure Nebuchadnezzar of his loyalty to him. But by the ninth year of his reign Zedekiah became so friendly with the Egyptians that he made a league with them and thereupon rebelled against the King of Babylon. With due despatch Nebuchadnezzar and his army left for the Westland. He placed his base of action at Riblah in the north, and went southward and laid siege to Jerusalem. By some message the Egyptians learned of the siege and hastily marched to the relief of the beleaguered ally. The Babylonians raised the siege (Jer. xxxvii. 3-5) long enough to repulse the Egyptian arms, and came back and settled about Jerusalem. At the end of eighteen months (586) the wall yielded. Zedekiah and his retinue fled by night, but were overtaken in the plains of the Jordan. The king and his sons were brought before Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah the sons were slain, and the king's eyes bored out and he was carried in chains to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar caused Jerusalem to be destroyed, and the sacred vessels of the Temple to be carried to Babylon. He placed Gedaliah in authority over the Jews who remained in the land. In the twenty-third year of his reign Nebuchadnezzar's captain of the guard carried away 745 Jews, who had been gathered from those scattered through the land. Nebuchadnezzar entered Egypt also (Jer. xlvi. 13-26 Ezek. xxix. 2-20), according to his own inscriptions about 567, and dealt a severe blow to its supremacy and power.
The representations in the Book of Daniel of Nebuchadnezzar's greatness are doubtless correct and there is reason for believing that he was the great builder and glorifier of his capital. He was succeeded by his son Evil-merodach.
Nebuchadnezzar, the "wicked one" ("ha-rasha'" Meg. 11a Ḥag. 13b Pes. 118a), was a son—or descendant?—of the Queen of Sheba by her marriage with Solomon ("Alphabet Ben Sira," ed. Venice, 21b comp. Brüll's "Jahrb." ix. 9), and a son-in-law of Sennacherib (Targ. to Isa. x. 32 Lam. R., Introduction, 23, says "a grandson"), with whom he took part in the expedition of the Assyrians against Hezekiah, being one of the few who were not destroyed by the angels before Jerusalem (Sanh. 95b). He came to the throne in the fourth year of King Jehoiakim of Judah, whom he subjugated and, seven years later, killed after that king had rebelled. Nebuchadnezzar did not on this occasion go to Jerusalem, but received the Great Sanhedrin of Jerusalem at Daphne, a suburb of Antioch, informing that body that it was not his intention to destroy the Temple, but that the rebellious Jehoiakim must be delivered to him, which in fact was done (Seder 'Olam R. xxv. Midr. 'Eser Galuyyot, ed. Grünhut, "Sefer ha-Liḳḳuṭim," iii. Lev. R. xix. comp. Jehoiakim in Rabbinical Literature).
According to Josephus ("Ant." x. 6, § 3), the King of Judah voluntarily received Nebuchadnezzar and his army in the city but Nebuchadnezzar treacherously broke the compact between them, and massacred the king together with the strongest and most beautiful inhabitants of Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar then carried away into captivity 5,000 Judeans and 7,000 of the other tribes, including all the nobles and scholars of the city (Josephus, l.c. Seder 'Olam R. l.c. Midr. 'Eser Galuyyot, l.c.).
When he celebrated his triumph in Babylon and told his subjects how he had made Jehoiachin king in the place of his rebellious father Jehoiakim, they reminded him of the proverb: "A poor dog has no good progeny." Nebuchadnezzar then returned to Daphne, where he received the Great Sanhedrin and told it that he desired to take King Jehoiachin to Babylon. When it delivered the king to him, Jehoiachin was cast into prison for life (Lev. R. xix. 6 comp. Seder 'Olam R. l.c. Yer. Sheḳ. vi. 49a and Jehoiachin in Rabbinical Literature). The King of Babylon again showed how little sacred an oath was to him for, although he had pledged his word that he would not harm the city, he carried captive to Babylon a large number of the inhabitants (Josephus, l.c. x. 7, § 1) together with the Ark of the Covenant (Seder 'Olam R. l.c.). Although a voice from heaven uttered for eighteen years these words in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, "O wicked servant go and destroy the house of your master, since his children no longer obey him," yet the king was afraid to obey the command, remembering the defeat which Sennacherib had suffered in a similar attempt. Nebuchadnezzar asked the advice of different oracles, all of which warned him not to undertake the expedition against Jerusalem (Lam. R. l.c.). Furthermore the Ammonitesand the Moabites, Israel's "wicked neighbors," gave inducements to Nebuchadnezzar to come by saying that the Prophets announced Judah's downfall. They allayed the king's fear lest God might send the same fate upon him that He had upon Sennacherib, by saying that God had now abandoned Israel, and that there were left among the people no pious ones able to turn away God's anger (Sanh. 96b). Nebuchadnezzar decided on his expedition against Jerusalem only after God showed him how He had bound the hands of Michael, Israel's guardian angel (Midr. Ekah Zuṭa, p. 70) and even then Nebuchadnezzar did not lead the expedition himself, but gave it into the hands of Nebuzar-adan (Pesiḳ. R. 26 [ed. Friedmann, p. 130b] Sanh. 96b, above comp. Eccl. R. on Eccl. x. 7, to the effect that Nebuchadnezzar, seated on a horse which was led by Michael, entered the Holy of Holies.
At Daphne, from which place Nebuchadnezzar followed the operations before the walls of Jerusalem, he received the Sanhedrin of Jerusalem with great honors, asking the members to read and explain to him the Torah. Sitting on seats of honor, they began their explanations. When, however, they came to the section on the dispensation from vows (Num. xxx. 2 et seq.), the king cried out in anger: "I believe it was you who released King Zedekiah from his oath to me." He then commanded that the scholars leave their seats and sit on the ground (Lam. R. ii. 10 Ned. 65a comp. Zedekiah in Rabbinical Literature "Chronicles of Jerahmeel," x. 10: "the great Sanhedrin . . . who were slain by Nebuchadnezzar"). Zedekiah, the captive king, was also brought to Daphne, where Nebuchadnezzar took him to task, saying that, according to divine and human law, Zedekiah had merited death, since he had sworn falsely by the name of God, and had rebelled against his suzerain (Pesiḳ. R. l.c. [ed. Friedmann, p. 131a]).
Nebuchadnezzar was most merciless toward the conquered people. By his command the exiles on their way to Babylon were not allowed to stop even for a moment, as the king feared that they would pray during the respite granted them and that God would be willing to help them as soon as they repented (Lam. R. to v. 6 Pesiḳ. R. 28 [ed. Friedmann, p. 135a]). Nebuchadnezzar did not feel safe until the exiles reached the Euphrates, the boundary-line of Babylon. Then he made a great feast on board his ship, while the princes of Judah lay chained and naked by the river. In order to increase their misery he had rolls of the Torah torn and made into sacks, which, filled with sand, he gave to the captive princes to carry (Pesiḳ. R. l.c. [ed. Friedmann, p. 135a] Midr. Teh. cxxxvii. comp. Buber's remark ad loc. and Lam. R. v. 13).
On this occasion Nebuchadnezzar ordered the singers of the Temple to add their music to his feast but they preferred to bite off their fingers, or even to be killed, rather than to play their sacred music in honor of the Babylonian idols (Pesiḳ. R. 31 [ed. Friedmann, p. 144a], 28 [136a] comp. Moses, Children of). He heartlessly drove the captives before him, entirely without clothing, until the inhabitants of Bari induced him to clothe them (Pesiḳ. R. l.c. [ed. Friedmann, p. 135b]). But even after the heavily burdened Jews finally reached Babylonia they had no rest from the tyrant, who massacred thousands of youths whose beauty had inflamed the passion of the Babylonian women—a passion which did not subside until the corpses were stamped upon and mutilated (Sanh. 92b comp. Ezekiel in Rabbinical Literature). Nebuchadnezzar carried to Babylon, together with the Jews, cedar-trees which he had taken from Lebanon (Lam. R. i. 4), and millstones which he made the captive youths bear (l.c. v. 13). Even the Jews who had sought refuge from the Babylonians in Ammon and Moab or in Egypt did not escape Nebuchadnezzar, who, on conquering Egypt, carried all the Jews in that country, including Baruch and Jeremiah, to Babylonia (Midr. 'Eser Galuyyot, ed. Grünhut, l.c. iii. 14 Seder 'Olam R. xxvi.). Nebuchadnezzar was equally victorious in his expedition against Tyre, whose king, Hiram, his stepfather, he dethroned and put to a painful death (Lev. R. xviii. 2 Yalḳ., Ezek. 367).
Nebuchadnezzar, moreover, not only was a cosmocrat, ruling all the earth (Meg. 11a et passim), but he subdued the world of animals also, his charger being a lion, on whose neck a snake hung quietly (Shab. 150a, above). His godlessness was commensurate with his power he was given, among other vices, to pederasty, which he, as with the other kings, also tried to commit with the pious Zedekiah, but was prevented by a miracle from doing so (Shab. 149b see also Jerome on Hab. ii. 16). He was so greatly feared that as long as he was alive no one dared laugh and when he went down to hell the inmates trembled, asking themselves whether he would rule them also (Shab. l.c.). In his arrogance he considered himself to be a god, and spoke of making a cloud in order to enthrone himself like God on high (Mek., Beshallaḥ, Shirah, 6 [ed. Weiss, p. 47a, b]) but a heavenly voice cried to him: "O thou miscreant, son of a miscreant, and grandson of the miscreant Nimrod! Man lives seventy years, or at most eighty (Ps. xc. 10). The distance from the earth to heaven measures 500 years the thickness of heaven measures as much and not less the distance from one heaven to the other" (Pes. 94a, below Ḥag. 13a et passim).
The lot of the Jews was naturally a very sad one during Nebuchadnezzar's reign and even Daniel, as well as his three friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, who were pages at court, were often in peril of their lives. This was especially the case when the king tried to force the three pages to worship the idol at Durah, and they, upon their refusal to do so, were thrown into the fiery furnace. However, the miracle performed in their behalf (comp. Azariah in Rabbinical Literature Ezekiel in Rabbinical Literature) induced Nebuchadnezzar to join in praising God and he was so carried away by his songs that had he continued he would have surpassed David, but an angel forced him to desist (Sanh. 92b). Yet this did not prevent him from massacring all the 600,000 Jews who had obeyed his command and worshipedthe idol, and whom he reproached for not having followed the example of the three pious men and trusted in God (Pirḳe R. El. xxxiii.).
He finally received his well-merited punishment for God changed him into an animal, as far as his appearance, intellect, and language were concerned. He appeared to the people with his upper half as an ox and the lower half as a lion, and as such he killed many villains. Through Daniel's prayers the seven years of punishment decreed for Nebuchadnezzar were changed to seven months and after the king had lamented his sins for forty days, had lived in the caves for another period of forty days, and had herded for the same length of time with the beasts of the forest, God took mercy upon him and allowed him to return to his throne. He repented and did penance for the next seven years, subsisting, on the advice of Daniel, on vegetable food. The affairs of the government he gave into the hands of seven judges, who held office for one year each. At the expiration of this period he wished to make Daniel one of his heirs but the latter refused with the words: "Far be it from me to exchange the heritage of my fathers for that of one uncircumcised" ("The Chronicles of Jerahmeel," ed. Gaster, lxvi. 1-2 see also the passage quoted in the introduction, p. 106).
According to another version, Nebuchadnezzar really spent seven years among the animals, during which time his son Evil-merodach ruled as king (see, however, Josephus, l.c. x. 10, § 6) but when he returned he cast this son into prison for life. Therefore after Nebuchadnezzar had died and the nobles of the realm came to the son to swear fealty to him as their king, he did not dare listen to them until they brought the corpse of his father, so that he could convince himself that the latter really was dead (Lev. R. xviii. 12). Others say that Evilmerodach himself exhumed the body of his father, because the people believed that Nebuchadnezzar was not really dead—that he had simply disappeared as he had once before, and that they would be severely punished by him if at his return he found that they had invested another king. The body of the dead monarch was therefore dragged through the city so that the people might see it (Targ. Sheni, beginning Jerome on Isa. xiv. 19 see also "The Chronicles of Jerahmeel," lxvi. 6 a shorter version is given in Seder 'Olam R. xxviii.). This was the shameful end of Nebuchadnezzar, after a reign of forty years (Seder 'Olam R. l.c. 45 Pesiḳ. R., ed. Buber, xxvii. [ed. Friedmann, p. 168b, 40] Josephus, l.c. x. 11, §§ 1, 43).
That Nebuchadnezzar, in spite of all his wickedness, was chosen by God to rule over Israel and all the earth, was due, according to some, to the fact that he was a descendant of Merodach-baladan, to whom God granted, as a reward for a pious deed, that three of his descendants, namely, Nebuchadnezzar, his son Evil-merodach, and Belshazzar, should become world-rulers (Pesiḳ. R., ed. Buber, ii. 14a comp. Merodach-Baladan. According to another rabbinical legend, Nebuchadnezzar was the secretary of Baladan. The latter wrote a letter to Hezekiah (II Kings xx. 12) in Nebuchadnezzar's absence, who, on his return, was informed of its contents, which began as follows: "Greetings to the king Hezekiah, to the city of Jerusalem, and to the great God." "What!" exclaimed Nebuchadnezzar, "you call Him the great God, and yet you mention His name at the end, whereas it should be at the beginning!" Nebuchadnezzar then ran after the messenger, to take the letter and rewrite it. God, therefore, rewarded him with the rulership of the world and if the angel Gabriel had not kept Nebuchadnezzar from overtaking the messenger, his power would have become still greater, and the Jews would in consequence have suffered still more at his hands.
Assyria, weakened by internal strife and ineffectual rule, was unable to resist the Babylonians and the Medes, Γ] who united to sack the Assyrian capital of Nineveh in 612 BC. Δ] Following a prolonged siege at the Battle of Nineveh, Nabopolassar took control of the city. Ashur-uballit II was a member of the Assyrian royal family and a tartan (general) in the army. He became king after Sin-shar-ishkun, who may have been his brother, and who probably died during the fall of Nineveh.
The 1914 Chronology of Jehovah’s Witnesses
1. VAT 4956 – astronomical observations made during Nebuchadnezzar’ s 37th regnal year – 568/67 B. C. Hence, his first regnal year was spring 604 B. C., or, using Babylonian reckoning, 605/04 B. C., or, in Jewish civil calendar, it was 606/05 B. C., fall to fall.
2. BM n.4. 76-11 – Cambyses 7th regnal year 523/22 B.C. We shall see that Cyrus was enthroned 16 years earlier, 538/37 B. C.
3. Ptolemy’s Alamgest records 19 lunar eclipses. Two are here significant – April 21, 621 B. C., which was in the 5th year of Nabopolassar. Second was 11:00PM, July 16, 523 B. C., the 7th of Cambyses. Note the correlation between VAT 4956 and Almagest:
Eclipse: Nabopolassar’s first year = 626 B.C.
Nabopolassar’s last year = 605 B. C.
VAT 4956: 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar = 568 B. C.
First year of Nebuchadnezzar = 605 B. C.
4. Considerations: Since Cyrus took the throne in 538/37 B. C., the Jews could have settled in Jerusalem by 537/36 B.C. (2 Chronicles 36: 22-23, Ezra 1: 1-3: 6) . Hence, the 70 years, reckoning inclusively, would have begun in 606/05 B.C. fall to fall (Jewish calendar). This has been locked in as Nebuchadnezzar’s accession year.
C. Establishing a Ring List
1. Nabonidus Stele A – 1906 (Aid, p. 327).
2. Nabonidus Stele B – 1956 also called Harren Stele B.
King List: Nabopolassar 21 years
Nebuchadnezzar 43 years
Amel-Marduk 2 years
Neniglissar 4 years
On the basis of’ over 4,000 tablets:
Nabopolassar 21 yrs May 17, 626 – Aug 15, 605
Nebuchadnezzar 43 yrs Sept 7, 605 – Oct 8, 562
Amel-Marduk 2 yrs Oct 8, 562 – Aug 7, 560
Nergal-shar-usur 4 yrs Aug 13, 560 – Apr 16, 556
Labashi-Marduk 2 mos May 3, 556 – Jun 20, 556
Nabunaid 17 yrs May 25,556 – Oct 13, 539
Cyrus 9 yrs Oct 26, 539 – Aug 12, 530
Cambyses 8 yrs Aug 31, 530 – Apr 18, 522
Nabopolassar 21 yrs 626 – 605 5th yr – 621/620 Almagest
Nebuchadnezzar 43 yrs 605 – 562 37th yr – 568/567 VAT 4956
Evil-Merodach 2 yrs 562 – 560
Neriglissar 2 yrs 560 – 556
Labashi-Marduk 2 mos 556
Nabonidus 7 yrs 556 – 539
Cyrus 9 yrs 539 – 530
Cambyses 8 yrs 530 – 522 7th yr – 523/522 Almagest, BM n. 4. 78-11
F. Biblical Considerations:
1. Interpreting the 70 years – Two views:
A. Seventy years began in Nebuchadnezzar’s 19th regnal, year when he destroyed Jerusalem, removed Zedekiah, and took the populace captive. 2 Kings 24:18-25:21, 2 Chronicles 36: 11-21.
B. This view also marks the end of the 70 years with the return of the Jews to Jerusalem. However, it marks the beginning in the 4th regnal year of Jehoiakim, corresponding to Nebuchadnezzar’s first regnal year., 605 B. C. C Daniel 1: 1-6, 2 Kings 24: 1) . This view also sees Jeremiah 25:12 as significant.
View A: 70 year period: 607 – 537 B. C.
Nebuchadnezzar’ s 19th year: 607 B. C.
Nebuchadnezzar’s 1st year: 626 B.C.
View B: 70 year period: 605 – 537 B.C. (incl)
Nebuchadnezzar’ s 19th year: 586 B. C.
Nebuchadnezzar’s 1st year: 605 B.C.
3. supporting evidence: BM 21946 records:
Nebuchadnezzar conquered “Hatti-land” Sept. 605 B.C.
4th regnal year (601/600) defeated by Egypt
6th regnal year (599/598) quelled rebelling Arabs
Next winter, 598/97, took Jehoiakin (2 Kings 24:14) as well as Ezekiel.
Notice – Nebuchadnezzar was not even king in 607!
BM 22047 says that Nabopolassar was king in 607, and that he led a military campaign against “the mountains of Za” in Assyria!
THE SEVENTY-YEAR PROPHECY
|B.C. Dates||B.C.E. Dates|
|*spring to spring |
|Nabopolassar’s first regnal year. Beginning of the Neo-Babylonian Empire.||spring to spring |
|Nebuchadnezzar’s first regnal year. Jehoiakim’s fourth regnal year. (BGF, p. 126*)|
|spring to spring |
|Astronomically fixed as Nabopolassar’s fifth regnal year based on the lunar eclipse recorded in The Almagest.||spring to spring |
|In his fourth regnal year, Nebuchadnezzar came up against Jerusalem and subjected Jehoiakim (BGF, pp. 132-134*). [The Bible makes no mention of this campaign, however. And Babylonian Chronicle B.M. 21946 says that during his fourth regnal year, Nebuchadnezzar led an unsuccessful military campaign against Egypt. It makes no mention of a successful campaign against Jerusalem as it certainly would have done had there been such a campaign.|
|spring to spring |
|Nabopolassar’s 19th regnal year. Babylonian campaign against the “mountains of Za” in Assyria. (Babylonian Chronicle B.M. 22047) No recorded Babylonian campaign against Judah. Nebuchadnezzar not yet king.||spring to spring |
|Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem. This was Jehoiakim’s 11th regnal year during which he died or was killed. Jehoiachin was taken captive to Babylon, and Zedekiah made king over Judah. Daniel and his companions were also taken captive to Babylon at this time. (BGF , pp. 134-137*) [Daniel, however, dates his own captivity to Jeohaikim’s third year, not his eleventh year — Dan. 1:1. In fact, if Daniel was taken captive in Jehoiakim’s eleventh regnal year, which corresponded to Nebuchadnezzar’s eighth year as king of Babylon, as the Watchtower Society’s leaders claim, then Daniel’s statement that he was a captive in Babylon during Nebuchadnezzar’s second regnal year is inaccurate — Dan. 2:1ff.]|
|**fall to fall |
Josephus says that in the Jewish historical records (which included the Old Testament scriptures as a primary source), “it is written that Nebuchadnezzar, in the nineteenth year of his reign, laid our temple desolate, and so it lay in that state of obscurity for fifty years [emphasis supplied] but that in the second year of the reign of Cyrus, its foundations were laid and it was finished again in the second year of Darius.” (Against Apion, Bk. 1. para. 21)
Jerusalem: Fall of a City—Rise of a Vision
This clay tablet, the Babylonian Chronicle for the years 605–594 BCE, records events from the twenty-first and final year of the Babylonian king Nabopolassar’s reign and the first twelve years of king Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. The text describes king Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion of Jerusalem, including his capture and exile of king Jehoiachin. The text reads:
“In the seventh year, the month of Kislev, the king of Babylon mustered his army and marched to Ḫatti-land (=the Levant). He encamped against the city of Judah and on the second day of Adar he took the city and captured the king. He appointed a king of his own choice there, received its heavy tribute and sent (them) to Babylon.”
Nebuchadnezzar invaded because king Jehoiachim (Jehoiachin’s father) had rebelled against him, refusing to send tribute (2 Kings 24:1). Jehoiachim, however, died shortly before or during the siege. He was replaced by his son Jehoiachin who, at the tender age of 18, found himself on the receiving end of Babylonian wrath.
Nebuchadnezzar deported Jehoiachin and other members of the royal family and some of the elites of Jerusalem—warriors, priests, artisans, and officials—into exile in Babylon (2 Kings 24:14–16), and placed Zedekiah (Jehoiachin’s uncle) on the throne instead (which indicates that not all of the elite was exiled). The tablet does not say what “heavy tribute” Nebuchadnezzar received, but 2 Kings 24:13 reports that he took all the gold, vessels, and treasures of the Jerusalem temple. The Babylonian Chronicle constitutes an extra-biblical witness to events reported by the biblical text and, in this instance, this evidence corroborates the basic version of events in the Bible. This agreement means that three things may be considered very likely to be historical. First, Jerusalem was invaded but not destroyed in 597 BCE. Second, a king of Jerusalem (Jehoiachin) was deported to exile in Babylon (see also Weidner's ration list). Third, Nebuchadnezzar replaced Jehoiachin with a king of his own choosing—the Bible gives the name Zedekiah.
From this point on, Jerusalem's and Judah’s fate were firmly intertwined with that of Babylon. In hindsight, the state and the city had little more than a decade to stand.
- © The Trustees of the British Museum. Shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) licence.
The City Destroyed
Jerusalem’s destruction in 586 BCE was precipitated by the collapse of the Neo-Assyrian Empire and by the subsequent struggle for power between Egypt and the Neo-Babylonian Empire, both of which sought control over the southern Levant, including Judah. For the four decades between 626 BCE and 586 BCE, Judah and its leaders in Jerusalem were caught between these two powers. Judah’s loyalties vacillated as the fortunes of the Egyptians and the Babylonians waxed and waned. It was perhaps inevitable, or at least unsurprising, that Judah eventually found itself on the wrong side of history: the Babylonians were ultimately triumphant, and Judah’s destruction came about because its kings twice betrayed their oaths of loyalty to the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar II.
The first time this happened, the Babylonians besieged the city and deported its king, Jehoiachin, along with a number of other members of the court, including the priest Ezekiel. This was in 597 BCE. The Babylonians then replaced Jehoiachin with one of his relatives, Zedekiah, in the hope that he would prove a more pliable and more loyal ruler. Unfortunately for the city he also broke his oath of allegiance. This prompted another siege, beginning in 588 BCE and culminating in the fall of the city in 586 BCE. This time, the Babylonians were ruthless in their punishment. They killed or deported many of the city’s inhabitants, destroyed much of the city, and burned the Temple.
Much of the biblical literature reflects the trauma of this experience, as the people of Judah and their descendants tried to understand what had happened to them, both practically and theologically. In this section you can discover the words of lament with which Jerusalem’s inhabitants mourned their city, ancient depictions of the fate of these and other conquered peoples, and information about the life of deportees in Babylonia, as well as later artistic imaginings of these events and musical reactions to them.
The astute observer will note that a number of the artistic renderings of the destruction of Jerusalem in this collection elide the destruction of the city in 586 BCE by the Babylonians with its destruction in 70 CE by the Romans, at the end of the Jewish Revolt against Roman control. The revolt was initially very successful (from a Jewish point of view) and the Romans had to send a number of legions to quell the rebellion, which they did with brutal efficiency. One of the last fortified cities to fall was Jerusalem, and the Roman troops looted and burnt the city. Much of this is narrated in the Jewish War by Flavius Josephus. These two destructions have often been merged in the artistic tradition, with the second destruction understood in the light of the first.
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Solomon’s Temple was destroyed in 586 BCE, the date being verified by a lunar eclipse
There has been a vigorous debate among biblical scholars in recent decades about the year Nebuchadnezzar II destroyed the city of Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple. As archaeology has shed more light on the ancient kingdoms of Mesopotamia, in this case Babylon, some very distinguished scholars have written detailed treatises supporting the year 587 BCE, and a few have suggested the previous year 588 BCE for the destruction. However, since I believe that the chronological details in the Bible are the most accurate available to researchers today, I give more weight to the biblical text and chronology than to Assyrian chronology on which most secular academic Bible chronology is based. Thus, I do not find the arguments for the Temple being destroyed in 587 BCE or 588 BCE convincing.
Explained below are the reasons why I accept 586 BCE as the correct date for the destruction of Solomon’s Temple by Nebuchadnezzar.
The Bible, in two separate citations (2 Kings 25:8 and Jeremiah 52:12), records that Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem in his nineteenth regnal year, where it is assumed that the biblical scribes who recorded 2 Kings and Jeremiah used the accession year and regnal accounting system of Babylon for the start of the regnal counting for the Babylonian king (i.e., with regnal years beginning in the Babylonian month equivalent to the Hebrew month Nisan). [footnote 1]
Nebuchadnezzar inherited the throne of Babylon after the Battle of Carchemish, which most scholars agree happened in May/June 605 BCE. The year of the Battle of Carchemish can be located as occurring in 605 BCE by the lunar eclipse that occurred on April 22, 621 BCE, in the fifth year of Nabopolassar king of Babylon [the fifth year being specified in Ptolemy’s Alamgest V.14] . That eclipse means that the timeline of Nabopolassar’s reign is as follows:
November 626 BCE – Nabopolassar crowned king, accession year begins
Nisan (March/April) 625 BCE – Nabopolassar’s Year 1 begins
Nisan 624 BCE – Nabopolassar’s Year 2 begins
Nisan 623 BCE – Nabopolassar’s Year 3 begins
Nisan 622 BCE – Nabopolassar’s Year 4 begins
Nisan 621 BCE – Nabopolassar’s Year 5 begins
April 22, 621 BCE – lunar eclipse in 5th year of Nabopolassar
Nisan 620 BCE – Nabopolassar’s Year 6 begins
Nisan 619 BCE – Nabopolassar’s Year 7 begins
Nisan 618 BCE – Nabopolassar’s Year 8 begins
Nisan 617 BCE – Nabopolassar’s Year 9 begins
Nisan 616 BCE – Nabopolassar’s Year 10 begins
Nisan 615 BCE – Nabopolassar’s Year 11 begins
Nisan 614 BCE – Nabopolassar’s Year 12 begins
Nisan 613 BCE – Nabopolassar’s Year 13 begins
Nisan 612 BCE – Nabopolassar’s Year 14 begins
Nisan 611 BCE – Nabopolassar’s Year 15 begins
Nisan 610 BCE – Nabopolassar’s Year 16 begins
Nisan 609 BCE – Nabopolassar’s Year 17 begins
Nisan 608 BCE – Nabopolassar’s Year 18 begins
Nisan 607 BCE – Nabopolassar’s Year 19 begins
Nisan 606 BCE – Nabopolassar’s Year 20 begins
Nisan 605 BCE – Nabopolassar’s Year 21 begins
August 605 BCE – Nabopolassar dies in his twenty-first regnal year [BM 22047 (96-4-9, 152)]
September 605 BCE – Nebuchadnezzar crowned in Babylon, accession year begins
Upon the death of his father Nabopolassar, which most scholars agree happened in July/August 605 BCE, Nebuchadnezzar became king of Babylon. Biblical scribes considered his first regnal year as beginning in the first Nisan that followed the battle (the Nisan that occurred in March/April 604 BCE), and so his first nineteen regnal years align as follows:
* Josiah killed at Megiddo by Egyptians in summer 609 BCE, Jehoahaz becomes king
* Jehoahaz’s accession year begins July/August 609 BCE
* Jehoahaz’s Year 1 begins in Tishri (September) 609 BCE
* Jehoahaz deposed by pharaoh Necho in 609 BCE after a three-month reign
* Jehoiakim appointed king by pharaoh Necho in late 609 BCE, accession year begins
* Jehoiakim becomes vassal of Egypt
* Jehoiakim’s Year 1 begins in Tishri 608 BCE
* Jehoiakim’s Year 2 begins in Tishri 607 BCE
* Jehoiakim’s Year 3 begins in Tishri 606 BCE
* Battle of Carchemish sometime between April and August 605 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s forces besiege Jerusalem between April and August in 605 BCE during his western campaign, capture Jehoiakim (and Daniel), takes vessels from Temple (Daniel 1:1-2),
* Jehoiakim becomes vassel of Babylon for three years (three New-Year Days) until 601 BCE
* Death of Nabopolassar in Babylon in August 605 BCE, Nebuchadnezzar II becomes king, crowned king in Babylon in September 605 BCE, accession year begins
* Jehoiakim’s Year 4 begins in Tishri (September) 605 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 1 begins in Nisan (March/April) 604 BCE
* Jeremiah the prophet receives word concerning the people of Jerusalem in the fourth regnal year of Jehoiakim and the first regnal year of Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 25:1)
* Jehoiakim’s Year 5 begins in Tishri 604 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 2 begins in Nisan 603 BCE
* Jehoiakim’s Year 6 begins in Tishri 603 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 3 begins in Nisan 602 BCE
* Jehoiakim’s Year 7 begins in Tishri 602 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 4 begins in Nisan 601 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion of Egypt fails, Jehoiakim becomes vassal of Egypt
* Jehoiakim’s Year 8 begins in Tishri 601 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 5 begins in Nisan 600 BCE
* Jehoiakim’s Year 9 begins in Tishri 600 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 6 begins in Nisan 599 BCE
* Jehoiakim’s Year 10 begins in Tishri 599 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 7 begins in Nisan 598 BCE
* 3,023 Jews exiled from Judah (Jeremiah 52:28), Jerusalem besieged in 598 BCE
* Jehoiakim’s Year 11 begins in Tishri (September), he dies in December 598 BCE
* Jehoiachin becomes king in December 598 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 8 begins in Nisan (March 21) 597 BCE
* Jehoiachin, his mother, his princes, and his servants go out to surrender to Nebuchadnezzar in late March 597 BCE (2 Kings 24:12,14-15)
* Jehoiachin deposed, Zedekiah made king and begins his accession year in late March 597 BCE
* Jehoiachin, Ezekiel, and 7,000 Jews deported after Passover 597 BCE [footnote 2]
* Zedekiah’s Year 1 begins in Tishri 597 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 1 in captivity begins Tishri 597 BCE [footnote 3]
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 9 begins in Nisan 596 BCE
* Zedekiah’s Year 2 begins in Tishri 596 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 2 in captivity begins Tishri 596 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 10 begins in Nisan 595 BCE
* Zedekiah’s Year 3 begins in Tishri 595 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 3 in captivity begins Tishri 595 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 11 begins in Nisan 594 BCE
* Zedekiah’s Year 4 begins in Tishri 594 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 4 in captivity begins Tishri 594 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 12 begins in Nisan 593 BCE
* Zedekiah’s Year 5 begins in Tishri 593 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 5 in captivity begins Tishri 593 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 13 begins in Nisan 592 BCE
* Zedekiah’s Year 6 begins in Tishri 592 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 6 in captivity begins Tishri 592 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 14 begins in Nisan 591 BCE
* Zedekiah’s Year 7 begins in Tishri 591 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 7 in captivity begins Tishri 591 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 15 begins in Nisan 590 BCE
* Zedekiah’s Year 8 begins in Tishri 590 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 8 in captivity begins Tishri 590 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 16 begins in Nisan 589 BCE
* Zedekiah’s Year 9 begins in Tishri 589 BCE (2 Kings 25:25)
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 9 in captivity begins Tishri 589 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar besieges Jerusalem in tenth month (Ezek. 24:1) in January 588 BCE (some scholars place the beginning of the siege in late December, 589 BCE)
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 17 begins in Nisan 588 BCE
* Zedekiah’s Year 10 begins in Tishri 588 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 10 in captivity begins Tishri 588 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 18 begins in Nisan 587 BCE
* 832 Jews exiled from Jerusalem (Jeremiah 52:29)
* Zedekiah’s Year 11 begins in Tishri 587 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 11 in captivity begins Tishri 587 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 19 begins in Nisan (March/April) 586 BCE
* SOLOMON’S TEMPLE DESTROYED in Ab (July/August) 586 BCE
* Zedekiah flees Jerusalem, reign ends, taken to Babylon (August) 586 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 12 in captivity begins Tishri 586 BCE
* Ezekiel learns of Temple destruction in (January) 585 BCE (Ezek. 33:21)
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 20 begins in Nisan (March/April) 585 BCE
* 1st Passover since Temple destroyed 585 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 13 in captivity begins Tishri 585 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 21 begins in Nisan 584 BCE
* 2nd Passover since Temple destroyed 584 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 14 in captivity begins Tishri 584 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 22 begins in Nisan 583 BCE
* 3rd Passover since Temple destroyed 583 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 15 in captivity begins Tishri 583 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 23 begins in Nisan 582 BCE
* 745 Jews exiled from Judah (Jeremiah 52:30)
* 4th Passover since Temple destroyed 582 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 16 in captivity begins Tishri 582 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 24 begins in Nisan 581 BCE
* 5th Passover since Temple destroyed 581 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 17 in captivity begins Tishri 581 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 25 begins in Nisan 580 BCE
* 6th Passover since Temple destroyed 580 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 18 in captivity begins Tishri 580 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 26 begins in Nisan 579 BCE
* 7th Passover since Temple destroyed 579 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 19 in captivity begins Tishri 579 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 27 begins in Nisan 578 BCE
* 8th Passover since Temple destroyed 578 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 20 in captivity begins Tishri 578 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 28 begins in Nisan 577 BCE
* 9th Passover since Temple destroyed 577 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 21 in captivity begins Tishri 577 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 29 begins in Nisan 576 BCE
* 10th Passover since Temple destroyed 576 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 22 in captivity begins Tishri 576 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 30 begins in Nisan 575 BCE
* 11th Passover since Temple destroyed 575 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 23 in captivity begins Tishri 575 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 31 begins in Nisan 574 BCE
* 12th Passover since Temple destroyed 574 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 24 in captivity begins Tishri 574 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 32 begins in Nisan 573 BCE
* 13th Passover since Temple destroyed 573 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 25 in captivity begins Tishri 573 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 33 begins in Nisan 572 BCE
* 14th Passover since Temple destroyed 572 BCE (Ezek. 40:1) [footnote 4]
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 26 in captivity begins Tishri 571 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 34 begins in Nisan 571 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 27 in captivity begins Tishri 571 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 35 begins in Nisan 570 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 28 in captivity begins Tishri 570 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 36 begins in Nisan 569 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 29 in captivity begins Tishri 569 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 37 begins in Nisan 568 BCE
* Lunar eclipse on July 4 in Nebuchadnezzar’s thirty-seventh year
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 30 in captivity begins Tishri 568 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 38 begins in Nisan 567 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 31 in captivity begins Tishri 567 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 39 begins in Nisan 566 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 32 in captivity begins Tishri 566 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 40 begins in Nisan 565 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 33 in captivity begins Tishri 565 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 41 begins in Nisan 564 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 34 in captivity begins Tishri 564 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 42 begins in Nisan 563 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 35 in captivity begins Tishri 563 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar’s Year 43 begins in Nisan 562 BCE
* Nebuchadnezzar dies 562 BCE
* Evil-Merodach’s Accession Year begins 562 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 36 in captivity begins Tishri 562 BCE
* Evil-Merodach’s Year 1 begins in Nisan 561 BCE
* Jehoiachin/Ezekiel’s Year 37 in captivity begins Tishri 561 BCE (2 Kings 25:27)
* Jubilee Year begins on 10th of Tishri in 561 BCE
* Evil-Merodach sets Jehoiachin free in twelfth month (February/March) of 560 BCE (Jer. 52:31), just before Passover in the Jubilee Year spanning 561-560 BCE, the time in Hebrew tradition when captives were to be set free.
* Evil-Merodach’s Year 2 begins in Nisan 560 BCE
In the scenario above, the seventh regnal year of Nebuchadnezzar would have spanned 598/597 BCE, aligning with the seventh year that D. J. Wiseman proposed [footnote 5], based on his reading of the Babylonian Chronicles, as the regnal year when Nebuchadnezzar began the siege of Jerusalem and captured Jehoiachin, his analysis based on secular Assyrian records alone. However, according to the biblical text, the surrender of Jehoiachin took place in the eighth regnal year of Nebuchadnezzar, occurring just after the Babylonian New Year in 597 BCE.
Apparently, the Babylonian scribe who recorded those events lumped all of the events (the siege and capture of Jerusalem ending with the surrender of the king) into the seventh regnal year of Nebuchadnezzar, although the sequence of events spanned the last days of his seventh regnal year and the first days of his eighth regnal year, both occurring in the year 597 BCE. The destruction of the Temple would have occurred twelve years later, in the month of Ab in the nineteenth regnal year of Nebuchadnezzar, which corresponds to the year 586 BCE (as shown in the tabulation of events in relation to their Gregorian years displayed in the listing above).
So, I don’t agree with the hypothesized 587 BCE or 588 BCE dates for the destruction of the Temple since the math doesn’t fit the biblical specifications in the biblical books of 2 Kings, Jeremiah, and Daniel, and it contradicts the astronomically verified date for the Battle of Carchemish using Babylonian regnal reckoning. I propose that the year 586 BCE is the correct year for the destruction of Solomon’s Temple by the Babylonians.
1. The same end result is obtained if Tishri is assumed instead of Nisan, with Tishri 605 BCE used for determining the first regnal year of Nebuchadnezzar.
2. The number of Jews exiled from Jerusalem and Judah needs more study to reconcile the numbers given in Jeremiah 52 and 2 Kings 24. The seemingly contradictory numbers are accurate, of course, but what they are telling us is yet to be completely understood.
3. Ezekiel apparently counted the years of captivity of Jehoiachin (and the Jewish nation) in the same way that regnal years had been counted in Judah, using the civil calendar that began in Tishri, and thus he began the numbering of the years in captivity with the first Tishri in Babylon, making Tishri 586 BCE mark the beginning of Year 1 in captivity (royal accounting).
4. Ezekiel apparently calculated the years since the destruction of the Temple using the sacred calendar, which began in Nisan, thus using the number of Passovers that could not be observed for numbering the years since the destruction (priestly accounting).
5. D. J. Wiseman, Chronicles of Chaldean Kings in the British Museum (London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1956).
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