The Journey Continues – Yet more Discoveries
This fifth article in our series will continue on our “Journey of Discovery Through Time” started in the previous article using the signposts and environment information we have gleaned from the summaries of Bible Chapters from articles (2) and (3) in this series and the Questions for reflection in article (3).
As in the previous article, to ensure that the journey is easy to follow, the scriptures analysed and discussed will usually be quoted in full for easy reference, enabling repeated re-reading of the context and text to be possible. Of course, the reader is strongly encouraged to read these passages in the Bible directly if possible.
In this article we will examine the following individual passages of Key Scriptures (continued) and in the process make many more important discoveries. Please continue the journey with us:
- Jeremiah 25 – Multiple devastations of Jerusalem
- Jeremiah 28 – Yoke of Babylon harden by Jehovah
- Jeremiah 29 – 70-year limit on Babylonian domination
- Ezekiel 29 – 40 years of devastation for Egypt
- Jeremiah 38 – Destruction of Jerusalem avoidable up to its destruction, servitude was not
- Jeremiah 42 – Judah became desolate because of the Jews, not the Babylonians
Time Written: 18 years before Jerusalem’s Destruction by Nebuchadnezzar
Scripture: “17 And I proceeded to take the cup out of the hand of Jehovah and to make all the nations drink to whom Jehovah had sent me: 18 namely, Jerusalem and the cities of Judah and her kings, her princes, to make them a devastated place, an object of astonishment, something to whistle at and a malediction, just as at this day; 19 Pharʹaoh the king of Egypt and his servants and his princes and all his people; 20 and all the mixed company, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Phi·lisʹtines and Ashʹke·lon and Gaʹza and Ekʹron and the remnant of Ashʹdod; 21 Eʹdom and Moʹab and the sons of Amʹmon; 22 and all the kings of Tyre and all the kings of Siʹdon and the kings of the island that is in the region of the sea; 23 and Deʹdan and Teʹma and Buz and all those with hair clipped at the temples; 24 and all the kings of the Arabs and all the kings of the mixed company who are residing in the wilderness; 25 and all the kings of Zimʹri and all the kings of Eʹlam and all the kings of the Medes; 26 and all the kings of the north who are near and far away, one after the other, and all the [other] kingdoms of the earth that are on the surface of the ground; and the king of Sheʹshach himself will drink after them.”
Here Jeremiah “proceeded to take the cup out of the hand of Jehovah and make all the nations drink … namely, Jerusalem and the cities of Judah and her kings, her princes, to make them a devastated place[i], an object of astonishment[ii], something to whistle at[iii] and a malediction[iv], just as at this day;”[v] In v19-26 the surrounding nations would also have to drink this cup of devastation and finally the King of Sheshach (Babylon) would also drink this cup.
This means the devastation cannot be linked with the 70 years from verses 11 & 12 because it is linked with the other nations. “Pharaoh the king of Egypt, kings of Uz, of Philistines, of Edom, of Moab, of Ammon, Tyre, Sidon …”, etc. These other nations were also to be devastated, drinking the same cup. However, there is no time period mentioned here, and these nations all suffered from various lengths of periods of devastation, not 70 years which would have to logically be applied to them all if it applied to Judah and Jerusalem. Babylon herself did not start to suffer destruction until around 141 BCE and was still inhabited until the Muslim conquest in 650 CE, after which it became forgotten and hidden under the sands until the 18th century.
It is unclear whether the phrase “a devastated place… just as at this day” refers to the time of prophecy (4th Year Jehoiakim) or later, likely when he rewrote his prophecies after their burning by Jehoiakim in his 5th year (See also Jeremiah 36:9, 21-23, 27-32[vi]). Either way it appears Jerusalem was a devastated place by the 4th or 5th year of Jehoiakim, (1st or 2nd year of Nebuchadnezzar) likely as a result of the siege of Jerusalem in the 4th year of Jehoiakim. This is before Jerusalem’s devastation in Jehoiakim’s 11th year and during the brief reign of Jehoiachin that followed. This siege and devastation resulted in Jehoiakim’s death and Jehoiachin’s exile after 3 months of rule. Jerusalem had its final devastation in 11th year of Zedekiah. This lends weight to understanding Daniel 9:2 “for fulfilling the devastations of Jerusalem” as referring to more occasions than just the final destruction of Jerusalem in Year 11 of Zedekiah.
The Judeans were not to be the only nation who would suffer devastations. It is therefore not possible to link a period of 70 years to these devastations.
Fig 4.5 Multiple Devastations of Jerusalem
Main Discovery Number 5: Jerusalem suffered multiple devastations not just one. The devastations were not linked to a period of 70 years. Other nations would also be devastated including Babylon, but their periods were also not 70 years.
6. Jeremiah 28:1, 4, 12-14 – Yoke of Babylon hardened, changed from wood to iron, Servitude to continue
Time Written: 7 years before Jerusalem’s Destruction by Nebuchadnezzar
Scripture: “1Then it came about in that year, in the beginning of the kingdom of Zed·e·kiʹah the king of Judah, in the fourth year, in the fifth month,’,’4Hananiah (false prophet) for I shall break the yoke of the king of Babylon ‘‘12 Then the word of Jehovah occurred to Jeremiah, after Han·a·niʹah the prophet had broken the yoke bar from off the neck of Jeremiah the prophet, saying: 13 “Go, and you must say to Han·a·niʹah, ‘This is what Jehovah has said: “Yoke bars of wood you have broken, and instead of them you will have to make yoke bars of iron.” 14 For this is what Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, has said: “A yoke of iron I will put upon the neck of all these nations, to serve Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar the king of Babylon; and they must serve him. And even the wild beasts of the field I will give him.”’””
In Zedekiah’s 4th year, Judah (and surrounding nations) were under a wooden yoke (of servitude to Babylon). Now because of defiantly breaking the wooden yoke and contradicting Jeremiah’s prophecy from Jehovah about serving Babylon they were going to be under an iron yoke instead. Desolation was not mentioned. Referring to Nebuchadnezzar Jehovah said “14 …Even the wild beasts of the field I will give him”.
(Compare and contrast with Daniel 4:12, 24-26, 30-32, 37 and Daniel 5:18-23, where the wild beasts of the field would seek shade under the tree (of Nebuchadnezzar) whereas now Nebuchadnezzar himself was ”dwelling with the beasts of the field.”)
From the tense of the wording, it is clear that the serving was already in progress and could not be avoided. Even the false prophet Hananiah proclaimed that Jehovah would “break the yoke of the King of Babylon” thereby confirming the nation of Judah was under the domination of Babylon in the 4th Year of Zedekiah at the latest. The completeness of this servitude is emphasised by mentioning that even the beasts of the field would not be exempt. The Darby Translation reads “For thus saith Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel: I have put a yoke of iron upon the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him: and I have given him the beasts of the field also.” Young’s Literal Translation states “and they have served him and also the beast of the field I have given to him”.
Fig 4.6 Servitude to Babylonians
Main Discovery Number 6: Servitude in progress in 4th year of Zedekiah and was made harder (wooden yoke to iron yoke) because of rebellion against the servitude.
Time Written: 7 years before Jerusalem’s Destruction by Nebuchadnezzar
Scripture: “And these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the remainder of the older men of the exiled people and to the priests and to the prophets and to all the people, whom Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, 2 after Jec·o·niʹah the king and the lady and the court officials, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the craftsmen and the builders of bulwarks had gone forth from Jerusalem. 3 It was by the hand of El·aʹsah the son of Shaʹphan and Gem·a·riʹah the son of Hil·kiʹah, whom Zed·e·kiʹah the king of Judah sent to Babylon to Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar the king of Babylon, saying:
4 “This is what Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, has said to all the exiled people, whom I have caused to go into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, 5 ‘Build houses and inhabit [them], and plant gardens and eat their fruitage. 6 Take wives and become father to sons and to daughters; and take wives for YOUR own sons and give YOUR own daughters to husbands, that they may give birth to sons and to daughters; and become many there, and do not become few. 7 Also, seek the peace of the city to which I have caused YOU to go into exile, and pray in its behalf to Jehovah, for in its peace there will prove to be peace for YOU yourselves. 8 For this is what Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, has said: “Let not YOUR prophets who are in among YOU and YOUR practicers of divination deceive YOU, and do not YOU listen to their dreams that they are dreaming. 9 For ‘it is in falsehood that they are prophesying to YOU in my name. I have not sent them,’ is the utterance of Jehovah.”’”
10 “For this is what Jehovah has said, ‘In accord with the fulfilling of seventy years at Babylon I shall turn my attention to YOU people, and I will establish toward YOU my good word in bringing YOU back to this place.’
11 “‘For I myself well know the thoughts that I am thinking toward YOU,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘thoughts of peace, and not of calamity, to give YOU a future and a hope. 12 And YOU will certainly call me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to YOU.’
13 “‘And YOU will actually seek me and find [me], for YOU will search for me with all YOUR heart. 14 And I will let myself be found by YOU,’ is the utterance of Jehovah. ‘And I will gather YOUR body of captives and collect YOU together out of all the nations and out of all the places to which I have dispersed YOU,’ is the utterance of Jehovah. ‘And I will bring YOU back to the place from which I caused YOU to go into exile.’’”
In Zedekiah’s 4th year Jeremiah prophesies that Jehovah would turn attention to his people after 70 years for Babylon. It was foretold that Judah would “certainly call” Jehovah “and come and pray to” him. The prophecy was given to those just taken into exile in Babylon with Jehoiachin, 4 years earlier. Earlier in verses 4-6 he had told them to settle where they were in Babylon, build houses, plant gardens, eat the fruitage, and get married, implying they were going to be there a long time.
The question in the minds of the readers of Jeremiah’s message would be: How long would they be in exile in Babylon? Jeremiah then proceeded to tell them how long it would be for Babylon’s domination and rule. The account states, it would be 70 years. (“in accord with the fulfilling (completing) of 70 years”’)
From when would this period of 70 years start?
(a) At a future unknown date? Highly unlikely as that would do little to reassure his audience.
(b) From the beginning of their exile 4 years before[vii]? Without any other scriptures to assist our understanding, this is more likely than (a). This would give them an end date to look forward to and plan to.
(c) In context with the added context of Jeremiah 25[viii] where they were already previously warned they would have to serve the Babylonians for 70 years; the most likely starting year would be when they started to come under Babylonian domination as the World Power (instead of Egyptian\Assyrian). This was at the end of 31st and last year of Josiah, and during the short 3-month reign of Jehoahaz, some 16 years before. There is no dependency on the complete desolation of Jerusalem mentioned as a requirement for the 70 years to start, the reason being this time period had already started.
The wording “In accord with the fulfilling (or completing) of 70 years for [ix] Babylon I shall turn my attention to you people” would imply that this 70-year period had already started. (Please see the important endnote (ix) discussing the Hebrew text.)
If Jeremiah meant a future 70-year period, a clearer wording to his readers would have been: “You will be (future tense) at Babylon for 70 years and then I shall turn my attention to you people”. The use of the words “fulfilled” and “completed” usually implies that the event or action has already started unless otherwise stated, not in the future. Verses 16-21 emphasises this by saying that destruction would be upon those not yet in exile, because they would not listen. Destruction would also be on those already in exile in Babylon, who were saying that the servitude to Babylon and exile would not last long, contradicting Jeremiah as Jehovah’s prophet who had foretold 70 years.
Which makes more sense?[x] (i) “at” Babylon or (ii) “for” Babylon.[xi] Jeremiah 29:14 quoted above gives the answer when it says “collect YOU together out of all the nations and out of all the places to which I have dispersed YOU”. While some exiles were in Babylon, the majority were scattered about in the Babylonian Empire as per usual practice of conquering nations (so they could not get back together easily and rebel).
Additionally, if (i) at Babylon then there would be an unknown start date and an unknown end date. Working back, we have either 538 BCE or 537 BCE as start dates depending on when the Jews left Babylon, or also 538 BCE or 537 BCE depending on when the Jews arrived in Judah. The corresponding start dates would be 608 BCE or 607 BCE depending on the end date chosen[xii].
Yet (ii) we have a clear end date from matching scripture to a secular date accepted by all, 539 BCE for the fall of Babylon and therefore a starting date of 609 BCE. As previously stated, secular history indicates that, this is the year by when Babylon gained supremacy over Assyria (the previous World Power) and became the new World Power.
(iii) The audience had recently been exiled (4 years previously), and if this passage is read without Jeremiah 25, would likely give a start for the 70 years from the start of their exile (with Jehoiachin), not 7 years later when Zedekiah caused the final destruction of Jerusalem. However, this understanding requires the finding of more than 10 years or so that would be missing from secular chronology to make this a 70-year exile (if including time to return to Judah, otherwise 68 years under Babylon).
(iv) A final option is that in the unlikely event that if 20 or 21 or 22 years are missing from secular chronology, then you could arrive at the destruction of Jerusalem in Zedekiah’s 11th year.
Which is the better fit? With option (ii) there is also no need to conjecture missing king(s) of Egypt, and missing king(s) of Babylon to fill a gap at least 20 years. Yet that is what is required to match a 607 BCE start date for the 68-year period of Exile from Jerusalem’s Destruction starting in Zedekiah’s 11th year.[xiii]
Young’s Literal Translation reads “For thus said Jehovah, Surely at the fullness of Babylon – seventy years – I inspect you, and have established towards you My good word to bring you back unto this place.” This makes it clear that the 70 years relates to Babylon, (and hence by implication it’s rule) not the physical place where the Jews would be in exile, nor for how long they would be exiled. We should also remember that not all Jews were taken into exile to Babylon itself. Rather the majority were scattered around the Babylonian empire as the record of their return shows as recorded in Ezra and Nehemiah.
Fig 4.7 – 70 Years for Babylon
Main Discovery Number 7: In Zedekiah’s 4th Year, exiled Jews were told the servitude they were already under would end after a total of 70 years servitude was completed.
Time Written: 1 year before & 16 Years after Jerusalem’s Destruction by Nebuchadnezzar
Scripture: “In the tenth year, in the tenth [month], on the twelfth [day] of the month, the word of Jehovah occurred to me, saying: 2 “Son of man, set your face against Pharʹaoh the king of Egypt and prophesy against him and against Egypt in its entirety’… ‘10 Therefore here I am against you and against your Nile canals, and I will make the land of Egypt devastated places, dryness, a desolated waste, from Migʹdol to Sy·eʹne and to the boundary of E·thi·oʹpi·a. 11 There will not pass through it the foot of earthling man, nor will the foot of domestic animal pass through it, and for forty years it will not be inhabited. 12 And I will make the land of Egypt a desolate waste in the midst of desolated lands; and its own cities will become a desolate waste in the very midst of devastated cities for forty years; and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them among the lands.”
13 “‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: “At the end of forty years I shall collect the Egyptians together out of the peoples among whom they will have been scattered, 14 and I will bring back the captive group of the Egyptians; and I will bring them back to the land of Pathʹros, to the land of their origin, and there they must become a lowly kingdom.’ …’ Now it came about in the twenty-seventh year, in the first [month], on the first [day] of the month, that the word of Jehovah occurred to me, saying: 18 “Son of man, Neb·u·chad·rezʹzar himself, the king of Babylon, made his military force perform a great service against Tyre. Every head was one made bald, and every shoulder was one rubbed bare. But as for wages, there proved to be none for him and his military force from Tyre for the service that he had performed against her.
19 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said, ‘Here I am giving to Neb·u·chad·rezʹzar the king of Babylon the land of Egypt, and he must carry off its wealth and make a big spoil of it and do a great deal of plundering of it; and it must become wages for his military force.’
20 “‘As his compensation for service that he did against her I have given him the land of Egypt, because they acted for me,’ is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah.”
This prophecy was given in the 10th year of Jehoiachin’s exile (10th year of Zedekiah). While most commentators assume Nebuchadnezzar’s attack on Egypt after his 34th Year (in his 37th year according to a cuneiform tablet) is the desolation and exile mentioned in v10-12, the text does NOT demand this interpretation. Certainly, if Jerusalem was destroyed in 587 BCE as opposed to 607 BCE there are not sufficient years from Nebuchadnezzar’s 37th year to when Egypt makes an alliance in a small capacity with Nabonidus.[xiv]
However, Jeremiah 52:30 records Nebuchadnezzar as taking additional Jews into exile in his 23rd Year. These are best understood as those who fled to Egypt taking Jeremiah, and whose destruction was prophesied in Jeremiah 42-44 (as also mentioned by Josephus). Counting from Nebuchadnezzar’s 23rd Year (8th Year of Pharaoh Hophra who ruled 19 years), we come to the 13th year of Nabonidus according to secular chronology, when he returned to Babylon from Tema after 10 years in Tema. The next year (14th) Nabonidus made an alliance[xv] with General Amasis (in his 29th year), against the rise of the Persian Empire under Cyrus around this time.[xvi] This would make a fitting close to the 40 years of desolation as the Egyptians with the assistance of the Greeks started to regain a little political influence. It is also worthy of note that a General rather than a Pharaoh ruled Egypt for this period. General Amasis was proclaimed King or Pharaoh in his 41st Year (12 years later) possibly as a result of the political support from Nabonidus.
If we look at Jeremiah 25:11-13 we see Jehovah promises to “make the land of the Chaldeans a desolate wasteland for all time.” and does not specify when, although one could again wrongly assume this would take place immediately. This did not happen until after the 1st Century CE (AD), as Peter was in Babylon (1 Peter 5:13[xvii]). However, Babylon did become desolate ruins by the 4th Century CE, having never regained any importance. It has never been rebuilt despite some attempts including one during the 1980’s by the then ruler of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, which came to nothing.
There is therefore no obstacle in allowing the fulfilment of Ezekiel’s prophecy against Egypt to take place in a later century. Indeed, it came under complete Persian domination from the mid part of the reign of Cambyses II (son of Cyrus the Great) for more than 60 years.
Fig 4.8 Possible period of Egypt’s devastation
Main Discovery Number 8: Desolation of Egypt for 40 years has two possible fulfillments despite 48 year gap from Jerusalem’s destruction to Babylon’s fall to the Medes.
Time Written: 1 year before Jerusalem’s Destruction by Nebuchadnezzar
Scripture: “2 “This is what Jehovah has said, ‘The one continuing to dwell in this city is the one that will die by the sword, by the famine and by the pestilence. But the one going out to the Chal·deʹans is the one that will keep living and that will certainly come to have his soul as a spoil and alive.’ 3 This is what Jehovah has said, ‘Without fail this city will be given into the hand of the military force of the king of Babylon, and he will certainly capture it.’, ‘17 Jeremiah now said to Zed·e·kiʹah: “This is what Jehovah, the God of armies, the God of Israel, has said, ‘If you will without fail go out to the princes of the king of Babylon, your soul will also certainly keep living and this city itself will not be burned with fire, and you yourself and your household will certainly keep living. 18 But if you will not go out to the princes of the king of Babylon, this city must also be given into the hand of the Chal·deʹans, and they will actually burn it with fire, and you yourself will not escape out of their hand.’””
In Zedekiah’s 10th or 11th year (Nebuchadnezzar 18th or 19th [xviii]), near to the end of the siege of Jerusalem, Jeremiah told the people and Zedekiah if he surrendered, he would live, and Jerusalem would not be destroyed. It was emphasised twice, in this passage alone, in verses 2-3 and again in verses 17-18. “Go out to the Chaldeans and you will live, and the city will not be destroyed.”
The question has to be asked: If the prophecy of Jeremiah 25[xix] was for Jerusalem’s desolation why give prophecy 17 – 18 years in advance, especially when there was not a certainty it would happen until a year before it occurred. However, if the servitude to Babylon was different to the desolation then it would make sense. In fact, the scriptures make it clear (Darby: “if thou wilt freely go forth to the king of Babylon’s princes, then thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and thou shalt live and thy house (offspring)”) that it was rebellion against this servitude that brought on the siege and destruction of Jerusalem and the remaining cities of Judah.
Main Discovery Number 9: Destruction of Jerusalem avoidable until the final day of the final siege in Zedekiah’s 11th year.
Time Written: 2 months after Jerusalem’s Destruction by Nebuchadnezzar
Scripture: “7Now it came about at the end of ten days that the word of Jehovah proceeded to occur to Jeremiah. 8 So he called for Jo·haʹnan the son of Ka·reʹah and for all the chiefs of the military forces who were with him and for all the people, from the smallest one even to the greatest one; 9 and he went on to say to them: “This is what Jehovah the God of Israel, to whom YOU sent me to cause your request for favor to fall before him, has said, 10 ‘If YOU will without fail keep dwelling in this land, I will also build YOU up and I shall not tear [YOU] down, and I will plant YOU and I shall not uproot [YOU]; for I shall certainly feel regret over the calamity that I have caused to YOU. 11 Do not be afraid because of the king of Babylon, of whom YOU are in fear.’
“‘Do not be afraid because of him,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘for I am with YOU, in order to save YOU and to deliver YOU out of his hand. 12 And I shall give to YOU mercies, and he will certainly have mercy upon YOU and return YOU to YOUR own soil.
13 “‘But if YOU are saying: “No; we are not going to dwell in this land!” in order to disobey the voice of Jehovah YOUR God, 14 saying: “No, but into the land of Egypt we shall enter, where we shall see no war and the sound of the horn we shall not hear and for bread we shall not go hungry; and there is where we shall dwell”; 15 even now therefore hear the word of Jehovah, O remnant of Judah. This is what Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, has said: “If YOU yourselves positively set YOUR faces to enter into Egypt and YOU actually enter in to reside there as aliens, 16 it must also occur that the very sword of which YOU are afraid will there catch up with YOU in the land of Egypt, and the very famine at which YOU are in a fright will there closely follow after YOU to Egypt; and there is where YOU will die. 17 And it will come about that all the men that have set their faces to enter into Egypt to reside there as aliens will be the ones to die by the sword, by the famine and by the pestilence; and they will not come to have a survivor or an escapee, because of the calamity that I am bringing in upon them.””
After the murder of Gedaliah in the 7th month of 11th year of Zedekiah, 2 months after the final destruction of Jerusalem[xx], the people were told to stay in Judah by Jeremiah. If they did so, no devastation or desolation would happen, unless they disobeyed and fled to Egypt. “If you will without fail keep dwelling in this land, I will also build you up and I shall not tear you down … Do not be afraid of the King of Babylon, of whom you are in fear.” So even at this stage, after Jerusalem’s destruction, total desolation of Judah was not inevitable.
Therefore, the desolation of Jerusalem and Judah could only be counted from the 7th month not the 5th month. The following chapter 43:1-13 show that in the event they disobeyed and fled to Egypt. They were devastated and desolated some 5 years later when Nebuchadnezzar attacked (in his 23rd year) fulfilling this prophecy and took more into Exile. (See Jeremiah 52:30 where 745 Jews were taken into exile.)
Main Discovery Number 10: Desolation and un-inhabitation of Judah avoidable by obeying Jeremiah and remaining in Judah. Total Desolation and un-inhabitation can only start in 7th month not 5th month.
In the sixth part of our series we will complete our “Journey of Discovery through Time” by examining Daniel 9, 2 Chronicles 36, Zechariah 1 & 7, Haggai 1& 2 and Isaiah 23. There are still a number of vital discoveries to be revealed. A brief review of the discoveries and highlights of our journey will be made in part 7, followed by vital conclusions that result from these discoveries in our Journey.
[i] Hebrew – Strong’s H2721: “chorbah” – properly = “drought, by implication: a desolation, decayed place, desolate, destruction, laid waste”.
[ii] Hebrew – Strong’s H8047: “shammah” – properly = “ruin, by implication: consternation, astonishment, desolate, waste”.
[iii] Hebrew – Strong’s H8322: “shereqah” – “a hissing, whistling (in derision)”.
[iv] Hebrew – Strong’s H7045: “qelalah” – “vilification, curse”.
[v] The Hebrew word translated “at this” is “haz.zeh”. See Strong’s 2088. “zeh”. Its meaning is “This”, “Here”. i.e. present time, not past. “haz” = “at”.
[vi] Jeremiah 36:1, 2, 9, 21-23, 27-32. In the 4th year of Jehoiakim, Jehovah told him to take a roll and write all the words of prophesy he had given him down to that time. In the 5th year these words were read aloud to all the people gathered at the temple. The princes and the king then had it read to them and as it was read it was burnt. Jeremiah was then commanded to take another roll and rewrite all the prophecies that had been burnt. He also added more prophecies.
[vii] This was the exile at the time of Jehoiachin, before Zedekiah was placed on the throne by Nebuchadnezzar.
597 BCE in secular chronology and 617 BCE in JW chronology.
[viii] Written 11 years before in 4th Year of Jehoiakim, 1st Year Nebuchadnezzar.
[ix] Hebrew word “lə” is more correctly translated “for” or “with regard to”. See https://biblehub.com/hebrewparse.htm and https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D7%9C%D6%BE . According to the Biblehub the use of the preposition “lə” means “with regard to”. According to Wiktionary, its use as a preposition to Babylon (lə·ḇā·ḇel) implies in order of usage (1). “To” – as destination, (2). “To, for” – indirect object indicating recipient, addressee, beneficiary, affected person, e.g. Gift “To” her, (3). “of” a possesor – not relevant, (4). “To, into” indicating result of change, (5). “for, opinion of” holder of viewpoint. The context clearly shows 70 years is the subject and Babylon the object, hence Babylon is not (1) a destination for the 70 years or (4), or (5), but rather (2) Babylon being the beneficiary of 70 years; of what? Jeremiah 25 said control, or servitude. Hebrew phrase is “lebabel” = le & babel. Hence “Le” = “for” or “with regard to”. Hence “for Babylon”. “At” or “in” would have the preposition “be” or “ba” and would be “bebabel”. See Jeremiah 29:10 Interlinear Bible. (http://bibleapps.com/int/jeremiah/29-10.htm)
[x] See Jeremiah 27:7 “And all the nations must serve even him and his son and his grandson until the time even of his own land comes, and many nations and great kings must exploit him as a servant.”
[xi] See footnote 37.
[xii] Ezra 3:1, 2 shows it was the 7th month by the time they arrived, but not the year. This could be 537 BCE, with the decree of Cyrus going out the previous year 538 BCE (his first year: 1st Regnal Year or 1st Year as King of Babylon after death of Darius the Mede)
[xiii] To insert 10 years into Babylonian chronology at this time is problematic because of the interlocking with other Nations such as Egypt, Elam, Medo-Persia. To insert 20 years is impossible. See a further Chronology Commentary in preparation highlighting these issues in more detail.
[xiv] There is also a potential period of 40 years starting with General Amasis ousting Pharaoh Hophra in the 35th year of Nebuchadnezzar until General Amasis is proclaimed King in his 41st year, (9th year of Cyrus as King of Babylon according to secular chronology.
[xv] According to Herodotus Book 1.77 “for he had made an alliance with Amasis king of Egypt before he made the alliance with the Lacedemonians), and to summon the Babylonians as well (for with these also an alliance had been concluded by him, Labynetos being at that time ruler of the Babylonians)”. However, no date or derived date can be obtained from this text.
[xvi] The exact year is not known. (See previous footnote). Wikipedia under heading of Amasis, gives 542 BCE as his 29th Year and Nabonidus 14th Year as the date for this alliance. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amasis_II. Note: Others give an earlier date of 547 BCE.
[xvii] 1 Peter 5:13 “She who is in Babylon, a chosen one like [YOU], sends YOU her greetings, and so does Mark my son.”
[xviii] Nebuchadnezzar’s years are given as Biblical numbering.
[xix] Written 17-18 years before in 4th Year of Jehoiakim, 1st Year Nebuchadnezzar.
[xx] In the 5th Month, 11th Year, of Zedekiah, 18th Regnal Year of Nebuchadnezzar.