607 B.C.E.
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This article discusses a pivotal year in Watchtower Society teaching: The historical year of 607 B.C.E.

The year of 607 B.C.E. is crucial to their doctrine regarding Christ's presence and reign beginning in 1914, as discussed in the previous chapter. For those who are unfamiliar with the “607” teaching, here is a quick recap:

The Watchtower Society teaches that Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians in 607 B.C.E., commencing a period called the “Gentile Times” which ended in 1914 C.E., according to their understanding of dates and prophecy. At the end of the Gentile Times, in 1914, Jesus Christ invisibly returned and was given the throne to the Heavenly Kingdom. Upon His invisible return He sought out those on the Earth who were feeding proper “spiritual food” to the people, and found that the leadership of the Bible Students (the forerunners to the Jehovah's Witnesses) were the only ones doing so. Being they were the only group properly feeding people spiritually, Jesus Christ appointed the Watchtower Society as His Faithful and Discreet Slave; therefore they were chosen to be God's sole channel of communication with mankind in 1919 C.E. (after they had endured a period of testing). Since the Watchtower Society is this chosen channel, all members of the Jehovah's Witnesses are expected to adhere to the teachings and information that comes down through them, for this is how they show loyalty to God and His visible Organization on Earth.

Therefore, if the claimed events in 607 B.C.E. didn't happen, then 1914 C.E. is wrong, which makes the doctrine of the chosen channel wrong, which would mean the Watchtower Society is not the faithful and discreet slave. In short, the entirety of the Watchtower Society's core teaching balances on the date of 607 B.C.E.

The problem is, only the Watchtower Society teaches that Babylon took Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E. – all other sources, (historical and archaeological) peg this event as happening around 586/587 B.C.E.; which is about twenty years difference. Because so much of the Watchtower Society's teaching hangs on this date, and because so many others refute this teaching, it is important to address this issue.

 

THE WATCHTOWER SOCIETY'S EVIDENCE

NOTE: As mentioned here the Watchtower Society's literature uses the year designations of “B.C.E.” and “C.E.” instead of “B.C.” and “A.D.” Both types of designations are interchangeable, therefore this does not change the dates. Remember, when counting forward in “B.C.E.” years it is the same as counting “B.C.” years – you count backwards because B.C.E. is negative numbering on a time-line counting down to the year Christ was born. For example, if the year 7 B.C.E. is mentioned, the very next year would actually be 6 B.C.E., as shown (and remember: there is no “zero” year):

B.C.E. >>>>> (Christ's Birth) >>>>> C.E.

-10.. -9.. -8.. -7.. -6.. -5.. -4.. -3.. -2.. ( 1 ).. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5.. 6.. 7.. 8.. 9.. 10

The Watchtower Society provides their perception of biblical evidence regarding the 607 B.C.E. The primary component of their evidence centers around a prophetic seventy-year time period based on these words in Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 25:9-12

(9) here I am sending and I will take all the families of the north,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “even [sending] to Nebuchadrezzar* the king of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and against its inhabitants and against all these nations round about; and I will devote them to destruction and make them an object of astonishment and something to whistle at and places devastated to time indefinite. (10) And I will destroy out of them the sound of exultation and the sound of rejoicing, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the hand mill and the light of the lamp. (11) And all this land must become a devastated place, an object of astonishment, and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years.”’(12) “‘And it must occur that when seventy years have been fulfilled I shall call to account against the king of Babylon and against that nation,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘their error, even against the land of the Chal·de´ans, and I will make it desolate wastes to time indefinite.

* Our footnote: Nebuchadrezzar is also known as Nebuchadnezzar

The Watchtower Society teaches that this prophecy refers to the Jews' exile into Babylon. They teach that the Jews finished their period of exile in 537 B.C.E. explaining that, since this passage in Jeremiah states they would “have to serve the king of Babylon for seventy years,” it is logical to count backwards 70 years from 537 B.C.E. to arrive at the beginning date of the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem exile as being 607 B.C.E. Although they admit that Babylon actually fell in 539 B.C.E., which is two years short of the seventy, they teach that it took the exiles two years to return to their homeland, thus finishing the 70 year period of exile (Insight On the Scriptures, 1988, Vol.2, p.332).

One of the smaller problems with this teaching is the fact that, since the Jews' exile ended two years shy of the seventy, it cannot be said that they actually served the king of Babylon for seventy years. Therefore, this should mean that the actual servitude of the Jews lasted only 68 years, not the full seventy.

A Jehovah's Witness may argue:
But the prophecy does mention a devastation that was also supposed to last for 70 years. Since it took the Jews two years to return to Jerusalem after their release, that makes the full seventy years of devastation.

The Rebuttal:
The fact is, the prophecy does NOT state that the period of devastation was supposed to last for seventy years, it only states that a period of servitude was to last for seventy years – read Jeremiah 25:11 again (underline and emphasis ours):

And all this land must become a devastated place, an object of astonishment, and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

This is only the tip of the iceberg.

It is a known fact that, several years before the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar set up a Jew named Zedekiah (a.k.a. Mattaniah) to be his acting king in Jerusalem before this siege (2 Kings 24:17). Even the Watchtower Society acknowledges this fact in their book Insight On the Scriptures, 1988, Vol.2, p.352, topic “Mattaniah” and in The Watchtower, December 15, 2002, p.21. The Watchtower Society even refers to Zedekiah as a “vassal king under Nebuchadnezzar (Insight On the Scriptures, 1988, Vol.1, p.415).

Since a vassal is a servant, Zedekiah could not have been ruling as a sovereign king in Jerusalem because he was a vassal (servant) king under Nebuchadnezzar for a period of eleven years before Babylon took Jerusalem (2 Kings 24:18). Essentially, this means Jerusalem had already been in servitude to the king of Babylon for over a decade before its siege and fall at Babylon's hand. Furthermore, Babylon had already taken a large number of Jews into Exile before installing Zedekiah as king; Scripture states Babylon took everyone from Jerusalem except for the lowest class citizens (2 Kings 24:11-17). In short, Jerusalem had become a low class city which ruled by a vassal king who was beholden to Babylon. This means that the years of Jewish servitude actually began at least eleven years before the destruction of Jerusalem due to their vassalage and the exile of all their higher class citizens. Even the Watchtower Society points out that then-king Jehoiachin surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar in 617 B.C.E.” (Insight On the Scriptures, 1988, Vol. 1, p.1267), further supporting Jerusalem's servitude several years before 607 B.C.E. (Though this Watchtower Society information makes it seem like only ten years, it still points to a servitude happening for several years before 607 B.C.E.)

Since the Watchtower Society claims that the destruction of Jerusalem happened in 607 B.C.E., and the Bible states that vassal king Zedekiah ruled for eleven years before the taking of Jerusalem, then the servitude to Babylon would have actually had to have started in 618 B.C.E. Essentially, this messes up their doctrine's time line, making the end of the “Gentile Times” happen in 1903 C.E. instead of 1914 C.E.

And this is assuming that the Watchtower Society is correct in using 607 B.C.E. as the starting year.

HISTORICAL / ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE

We cannot deny the fact that there is a lot of archaeological evidence pointing to the time of 586/587 B.C.E. as the actual date that Jerusalem fell, in contrast to the Watchtower Society's claimed date of 607 B.C.E. Some of this evidence includes Ptolemy's Canon, the Nabonidus Chronicle, certain ancient historians, and the Hillah Stele (pronounced Hill'-uh Stee'-luh).

The Hillah Stele, also known asNabon. #8was discovered in the late 1800's in the area of Hillah, a place located southeast of Babylon. This archaeological find contains irrefutable evidence against the Watchtower Society's teaching of the 607 B.C.E. date.

 

THE HILLAH STELE

NOTE: Regarding kingly rulership, a king's reign is sometimes counted with the “ascension year,” and sometimes counted by only the “regnal years.” An ascension year is the year in which a king receives the throne and usually isn't a full calendar year (for example, if he took the throne in August of that year) A regnal year, on the other hand, includes only entire calendar years. Therefore, if you received the throne in June 2009 and reigned until December 31 2011, you will have reigned for 3 years if counting the ascension year, or only two years if counting solely the regnal years. Because of this difference in counting, some of the following information rounds the dates to within a year.

The Hillah Stele establishes the kingly time-line because it records specific astronomical events which happened during the first years of the reign of Babylon's last ruling monarch, Nabonidus. The specified events include: The visibility of the planets Venus, Saturn and Jupiter after dusk while Mercury and Mars were not, along with the appearance of specific bright stars. Professor Hildegard Lewy* used this information to calculate the date of his reign and realized: “The only time within the given interval when this constellation occurred was the period of 3 days comprised between Simanu 2 and Simanu 6 of Nabunaid's [a.k.a. Nabonidus] first full year (May 31 - June 4, 555 B.C.E.), during which period, in fact, also the fixed stars enumerated by the king were visible in the evening sky.” This solidly establishes the time of Nabonidus's ascension year as being 556 B.C.E. This 556 B.C.E. ascension year is accepted by the Watchtower Society (Insight On the Scriptures, 1988, Vol.2 p.457 subheading “Nabonidus”).

*Hildegard Lewy received doctorate degrees in art history and Egyptology and taught Assyriology at the Hebrew Union College. She was also an expert in the Assyrian and Babylonian languages.

This stele goes on to confirm the reign of Nabonidus lasting for 17 years. When paired with other items of archaeological evidence, namely the Babylonian Chronicle, a.k.a. BM 21901, and the Harran inscription, a.k.a. Nabon. H1,B, confirmation is made regarding certain events during the kingly time-line of that period, specifically the time-line from Nabopolassar's 16th year to Nabonidus, a 54 year period which ended in the fall of Babylon in 539 B.C.E. (Nabopolassar was the ruler at the start of this time-line; his successor was Nebuchadnezzar).

Therefore, going backwards through the time line, since this stele establishes Nabonidus's ascension year as 556 B.C.E., then Nabopolassar would have his first year begin around 625/626 B.C.E. This means that Nebuchadnezzar's first regnal year was around 604/603 B.C.E., which means his 18th year – in which he took Jerusalem (Jeremiah 32:1-2) – would have to have been about 586/587 B.C.E., not the Watchtower's date of 607 B.C.E. And these dates are all in agreement with those of Berossus and Ptolemy's lists.

 

CHRONOLOGY

What's even more interesting is that, even though the Watchtower Society continually rejects the date of 587 B.C.E. for Jerusalem's fall, their own publications inadvertently give a chronology that actually supports the 587 B.C.E. date. Let us show you:

First, we can establish that the Watchtower Society agrees with historians that the fall of Babylon happened in 539 B.C.E. by reading the references in The Watchtower, December 15, 2008, p.22; Isaiah's Prophecy, Light For All Mankind II, 2001, p.335 para.2; and Insight On the Scriptures 1988, Vol.1 p.239, third paragraph.

And...the Watchtower Society has published information at different times which, when shown together, establishes a chronological time-line of the Babylonian kings. Since the Watchtower Society clearly agrees that the fall of Babylon happened in 539 B.C.E., we only need to look at the remainder of the Watchtower Society's chronology, counting backwards from Babylon's fall, to see that they've actually pointed to a date starting at 587 B.C.E. instead of their teaching of 607 B.C.E. In fact, the Watchtower Society itself has said (underline ours): It is well to understand that all Bible chronology dates for events prior to 539 B.C. must be figured backward from the Absolute date of 539 B.C. (The Watchtower, February 1, 1955, p.95).

Okay, so let's do this Starting from the end of Babylon and working backward (citations from the following references are given in the "appendix" section below this article) :

Babylon Fell in 539 B.C.E.
1. The Watchtower, January 1, 1965, p.30
2. The Watchtower, January 1, 2000, p.7, para.6
3. What does the Bible Really Teach?, 2005, pp.23-25, para. 13-17

Nabonidus, reigned for 17 years
(Reign must begin in 556 B.C.E. in order to stop at 539 B.C.E.)
1. The Watchtower, January 1, 1965, p.29
2. Insight On the Scriptures, 1988, Vol. 2, p.457
(Nabonidus' son, Belshazzar, was the co-regent: Daniel 5:7, 16, 29)

Labashi-Marduk, reigned for 1 year
(Would have to begin in 557 B.C.E. in order to stop at 556 B.C.E.)
1. The Watchtower, January 1, 1965, p.29 (actually mentioned as only 9 months, I rounded it up to a full year)

Neriglissar, reigned for 4 years
(Would have to begin in 561 B.C.E. in order to stop at 557 B.C.E.)
1. The Watchtower, January 1, 1965, p.29,
2. Insight On the Scriptures, 1988, Vol.1, p.453

Evil-Merodach, reigned for 2 years
(Would have to begin 563 B.C.E. in order to stop at 561 B.C.E.)
1. The Watchtower, January 1, 1965, p.29,
2. Insight On the Scriptures,1988, Vol.1, p.773
3. Insight On the Scriptures, 1988, Vol.1, p.453

Nebuchadnezzar, reigned for 43 years
(Would have to begin in 606 B.C.E. to stop at 563 B.C.E.)
1. Insight On the Scriptures, 1988, Vol.2, p.480
(This Watchtower Society reference cites his 43 year reign as going from 624 B.C.E. - 582 B.C.E. to match with their 607 B.C.E. date, but as you can see, this doesn't match with the remaining chronology in this list)

Now, armed with this information, all we have to do is see when Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem. The Bible itself tell us this:

Nebuchadnezzar takes Jerusalem in his 19th year
Since his reign truly began in 606 B.C.E., counting by the numbers mentioned in the following Scriptures will bring us to the year 586/587 B.C.E.
1. 2 Kings 25:8-9
2. Jer. 52:12-14 (This counts his ascension year, making it 19 years)
3. Jer. 32:1-2 (This counts only regnal years, making it 18 years)

The Jeremiah citations refer to “Nebuchadrezzar,"”although it is the same king.

This list, straight from the Watchtower Society's own publications, shows that Nebuchadnezzar's reign would have started at 606 B.C.E. in order to end with Babylon's fall in 539 B.C.E., requiring that the taking of Jerusalem in his 18th/19th year would have happened around 586/587 B.C.E.

SEVENTY YEARS

Okay, so if Jerusalem was destroyed at around 587 B.C.E., and Babylon was destroyed in 539 B.C.E., what does this mean in regards to the seventy years of servitude as mentioned in Jeremiah? The Watchtower Society claims that the prophecy in Jeremiah 25 was directed only to the region of Judah (Insight On the Scriptures, 1988, Vol.1, p.463, Subheading “From 607 B.C.E. to Return From Exile”; Vol.1, p.1213, Subheading “Interpretation of Prophecy”, fourth paragraph). However, when looking at the prophecy in Jeremiah 25, we can see that this isn't an accurate claim. Here is the passage in Jeremiah again:

    (9) here I am sending and I will take all the families of the north,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “even [sending] to Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and against its inhabitants and against all these nations round about; and I will devote them to destruction and make them an object of astonishment and something to whistle at and places devastated to time indefinite. (10) And I will destroy out of them the sound of exultation and the sound of rejoicing, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the hand mill and the light of the lamp. (11) And all this land must become a devastated place, an object of astonishment, and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years.”’(12) “‘And it must occur that when seventy years have been fulfilled I shall call to account against the king of Babylon and against that nation,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘their error, even against the land of the Chal·de´ans, and I will make it desolate wastes to time indefinite.

To start with, it is important to know this: By the time this prophecy was uttered, Israel had been divided into twin kingdoms so that there was the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah, with Jerusalem being located in the southern kingdom of Judah. The Watchtower Society also agrees with this (Insight On the Scriptures, 1988, Vol.2, pp. 73-74, subheading “Jew(ess)” ).

Next, notice that Jeremiah 25:9 begins by stating that God is sending Nebuchadnezzar to take all the families of the north.This cannot be speaking of the families of Jerusalem in Judah because Judah was the southernmost of the twin kingdoms. Verse 9 continues on to reveal that Babylon will come up againstall these nations round about”. Again, this cannot be in relation to only Judah because the Scripture is speaking in the plural, indicating that multiple nations in the surrounding region are included in this prophecy. And then in Verse 11 it states “these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years”. In other words, nations other than Judah would be devastated, and nations other than Judah would be serving Babylon during a seventy year period. There is no other feasible way for this passage to be taken.

So, what exactly does this mean in regard to the seventy year time period?

To begin with, since it is agreed that Babylon fell to the Persians in 539 B.C.E., then it must the seventy years of serving Babylon would have to have ended in that year. Therefore, counting backward seventy years from 539 B.C.E., we see that the beginning of the seventy year period started in 609 B.C.E. According to the Watchtower Society's teaching, Babylon laid siege against Jerusalem in 609 B.C.E. and Jerusalem finally succumbed two years later, in 607 B.C.E. (Insight On the Scriptures, 1988, Vol. 1, p.463). However, as we've already seen, this is not accurate; in reality Jerusalem was taken twenty years later, at around 587 B.C.E. If this is true, then did anything happen in 609 B.C.E. to start this seventy year period?

Looking at the series of ancient clay tablets known as the Assyrian-Babylonian Chronicles (abbreviated as “ABC”), we find a permanent record of historical events which happened during the last 1,500 years before Christ. The Assyrian-Babylonian Chronicles are a major archeological find from the ancient Mesopotamian region, most of which are housed in the British Museum. This series of Chronicles agrees with other historical finds such as ancient Babylonian kings' lists and such. According to the text of ABC #3, also known as theFall of Nineveh Chronicle”, Nabopolassar (father of king Nebuchadnezzar) took Assyria in 609 B.C.E.; ABC #4 continues on to document further military campaigns of Nabopolassar which happened after his taking of Assyria.

Assyria was one of the northernmost nations in the region, therefore it fits the parameters of the prophecy mentioned in Jeremiah 25:9. Thus, Assyria was the first of the nations taken into servitude to Babylon, commencing the seventy-year period, followed by the others in quick succession.

Some Jehovah's Witnesses will argue: But the Scriptural passage at Jeremiah 29:10 states (underline ours):

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.”

Doesn't this show the prophecy is directed specifically towards Judah?

No, it does not. If you read that same verse in a Hebrew Interlinear text, you will see that the actual rendering of the verse reads “for Babylon”, not the Watchtower Society's reading of “at Babylon”. Here is the English rendition of the Interlinear verse, verbatim from the Scripture4All Foundation: (For Scholars: This source uses the Westminster Leningrad Codex and Concordant Hebrew English Sublinear):

that thus he-says Yahweh that to-bidding-of-me to-be-fulfilled-of for Babylon seventy year I-shall-visit you...

As you can see by the Interlinear text, the seventy-year period wasn't at Babylon, it was a seventy-year period for Babylon. In other words, this seventy-year period was a time-line for Babylon, not a time-line for Judah. Thus, since the time between Babylon's taking of Assyria up until the destruction of Babylon spanned exactly seventy years, there is no discrepancy in the prophecy. Bible versions which agree with the wording “for Babylon” include (but is not limited to): 2001 Translation – An American Version, American Standard Version, The Bible in Living English, Darby Translation, English Standard Version, Holman Christian Standard Bible, New American Bible, New American Standard Bible, New International Version, and the World English Bible.

DANIEL 9:2

But what about the Scripture at Daniel 9:2? It reads (underline ours):

...in the first year of his reigning I myself, Daniel, discerned by the books the number of the years concerning which the word of Jehovah had occurred to Jeremiah the prophet, for fulfilling the devastations of Jerusalem, [namely,] seventy years

Okay, so let's talk about this. First, note that this Scripture does not say “devastations of Jerusalem for seventy years”, no, it speaks of the devastation of Jerusalem, and then references it in relation to the seventy year time line that Babylon was given. In other words, the devastation of Jerusalem is fulfilled at the same time in which Babylon's seventy years is fulfilled. Nowhere does Daniel state that the seventy years began with Jerusalem's fall; as we've already seen, the seventy years began with the taking of Assyria. And, since we've already proven that Jerusalem wasn't taken until around 587 B.C.E., it is clear that the seventy years couldn't refer to Jerusalem since the time period ended in 539 B.C.E. – meaning that Jerusalem only experienced 48 years of exile. If you add on the previous 11 years of vassalage before this, you still have only 59 years of servitude.

Second,when Daniel wrote his words at 9:2 we know he was focusing more on the end of the time period because used a form of the Hebrew word “male (pronounced “mah-lay”) in relation to this seventy-year period – this can easily be verified by checking a Hebrew interlinear Bible. According to Strong's Hebrew Lexicon, the Hebrew word “male” is defined as follows (underline ours):

#4390: mâlê' mâlâ' (maw-lay', maw-law') A primitive root, to fill or (intransitively) be full of, in a wide application (literally and figuratively): - accomplish, confirm, + consecrate, be at an end, be expired, be fenced, fill, fulfil, (be, become, X draw, give in, go) fully (-ly, -ly set, tale), [over-] flow, fulness, furnish, gather (selves, together), presume, replenish, satisfy, set, space, take a [hand-] full, + have wholly.

By using the word “male”, he was referring to the finishing, or completion of a set time period. By choosing this particular word, Daniel reveals that he was writing in regard to the end of the seventy-year period, not its full duration, and that the end of Jerusalem's devastation would coincide with this.

A MATTER OF CONVENIENCE

The Watchtower Society teaches that all of the archaeological evidence pointing to the true year as being 586/587 is wrong. According to the Watchtower Society (underline ours):

If we follow the accurate timekeeping of Jehovah God as recorded in his Word, we see that the desolation of Judah ran from 607 to 537 B.C.E. and will thereby avoid making the mistake of the chronologers of Christendom who ignore the prophecy of the seventy years’ desolation and date Jerusalem’s destruction as occurring in 587 B.C.E. They limit the desolation of Jerusalem and the land of Judah to merely fifty years, accepting the unreliable calculations of pagan historians rather than the infallible Word of God. (The Watchtower, September 15, 1965, p.569)

Secular historians, relying on their interpretation of what are in some cases fragmentary tablets unearthed by archaeologists, have concluded that 464 B.C.E. was the first year of the kingship of Artaxerxes Longimanus and that 604 B.C.E. was the first year of the kingship of Nebuchadnezzar II. If that were true, the 20th year of Artaxerxes would begin in 445 B.C.E., and the date of Jerusalem’s desolation by the Babylonians (in Nebuchadnezzar’s 18th regnal year) would be 587 B.C.E. But if a Bible student uses those dates when calculating the fulfillment of prophecy, he will simply be confused. Jehovah’s Witnesses have been interested in the findings of archaeologists as these relate to the Bible. However, where the interpretation of these findings conflicts with clear statements in the Bible, we accept with confidence what the Holy Scriptures say, whether on matters related to chronology or any other topic. (The Watchtower, March 15, 1989, pp.21-22, para. 16-17)

What's interesting is that in these quotes the Watchtower Society implies that the Bible shows a time-line different from archaeological evidence. This is a wrong implication, because in truth the Bible never gives the numerical year of any event throughout its pages, and thus you really cannot set a numerical year solely by Scripture. For example, the Bible states “Now in those days a decree went forth from Caesar Augustus for all the inhabited earth to be registered; (this first registration took place when Quirinius was governor of Syria) (Luke 2:1-2), and it says “And in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib the king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and proceeded to seize them” (2 Kings 18:13). If you were to go solely by Scripture, you wouldn't have a clue as to which numerical year it was when Quirinius was governor of Syria, or which numerical year it was when king Hezekiah's fourteenth year was because the numerical year is not given. Scripture will give us the timing of an event, but never gives the numerical year. HOWEVER....all is not lost: Even though the Bible itself does not give the actual numerical year designations, many other ancient record keepers DID keep record of the numerical years of when things happened. Thousands of ancient businessmen, court officials, royal wise men, scribes, scientists, and historians all kept meticulous records of the daily happenings of the times. This is why we now have hundreds of thousands of ancient artifacts with which we can match numerical years with events; especially since numerous individual artifacts corroborate information from other individual artifacts.

It is due to these artifacts that we can know when anything happened at all. In fact, it is these very artifacts which the Watchtower Society itself relies on when establishing numerical years and events (The Watchtower, May 15, 1971, pp.315-316, full article; see also: Insight On the Scriptures, 1988, Vol.1, pp.147-156; The Watchtower, December 15, 2008, pp.21-22, full article; The Watchtower, February 1, 1955, pp.93-95 full article; etc.).

That being said, we find it very curious that, even though the Watchtower Society heavily relies on archaeological evidence to support their teaching that Babylon fell in 539 B.C.E., it also heavily denies archaeological evidence when it doesn't fit their teaching. For example, they will accept evidence based on the reliability of ancient historians such as Ptolemy, Diodorus and Eusebius when these agree with Watchtower teaching (All Scripture is Inspired of God and Beneficial, 1990, pp.281-282, para. 28), while at the same time discrediting the reliability of these very same historians when they don't agree with Watchtower doctrine (Insight On the Scriptures, 1988, Vol.1 pp.455-456 subheading Lunar Eclipses). Due to this penchant for picking and choosing when to rely on a piece of evidence, the Watchtower Society reveals its bias towards information that doesn't agree with them – which is not an unusual trend among some religious bodies.

If you are interested in reading a thorough and accurate examination of this Watchtower Society's 607 B.C.E. teaching please see the bookThe Gentile Times Reconsidered”, written by Carl Olof Jonsson.

 

 

APPENDIX

 

Citations From the References

The Watchtower, Jan. 1 1965 p.29
Nabonidus, who had served as governor of Babylon and who had been Nebuchadnezzar’s favorite son-in-law, took the throne and had a fairly glorious reign until Babylon fell in 539 B.C.E.
The Watchtower, January 1, 2000 p.7 para.6
Sure enough, in 539 B.C.E., the prophetic declaration came true. Mighty Babylon fell, and God’s covenant people were soon able to return to their homeland.

 

Watchtower, Jan. 1 1965 p.29,
Evil-merodach reigned two years and was murdered by his brother-in-law Neriglissar, who reigned for four years, which time he spent mainly in building operations. His underage son Labashi-Marduk, a vicious boy, succeeded him, and was assassinated within nine months. Nabonidus, who had served as governor of Babylon and who had been Nebuchadnezzar’s favorite son-in-law, took the throne
Insight On the Scriptures, (1988) Vol. 2, p.457
Last supreme monarch of the Babylonian Empire; father of Belshazzar. On the basis of cuneiform texts he is believed to have ruled some 17 years (556-539 B.C.E.). He was given to literature, art, and religion.
( Some Watchtower literature states that it was actually Nabonidus's son, Belshazzar, who was ruling when Babylon fell in 539 BC ("Pay Attention to Daniel's Prophecy", pp.50-51, para.9), but either way, the Watchtower maintains that the Babylonian dynasty ended in 539 BC.)

 

Watchtower, Jan. 1 1965 p.29
Evil-merodach reigned two years and was murdered by his brother-in-law Neriglissar, who reigned for four years, which time he spent mainly in building operations. His underage son Labashi-Marduk, a vicious boy, succeeded him, and was assassinated within nine months.

 

Watchtower, Jan. 1 1965 p.29,
Evil-merodach reigned two years and was murdered by his brother-in-law Neriglissar, who reigned for four years, which time he spent mainly in building operations.
Insight On the Scriptures (1988) Vol.1 p.453 ( "Babylonian Chronology"),
For Neriglissar, considered to be the successor of Awil-Marduk, contract tablets are known dated to his fourth year.

Watchtower, Jan. 1 1965 p.29,
Amel-Marduk (Evil-merodach) as the oldest son succeeded Nebuchadnezzar to the throne in 581 B.C.E.
Insight On the Scriptures, Vol.1 p.773
(Evil-merodach) [from Babylonian, meaning “Worshiper of Marduk”]. The Babylonian king who succeeded Nebuchadnezzar to the throne in 581 B.C.E.
Insight On the Scriptures (1988) Vol.1 p.453

For Awil-Marduk (Evil-merodach, 2Ki 25:27, 28), tablets dated up to his second year of rule have been found.

2 Kings 25:8-9
(8) And in the fifth month on the seventh [day] of the month, that is to say, the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan the chief of the bodyguard, the servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. (9) And he proceeded to burn the house of Jehovah and the king’s house and all the houses of Jerusalem; and the house of every great man he burned with fire
Jer. 52:12-14 (This verse counts his ascension year, bringing it to 19 years)
(12) And in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month, that is, [in] the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadrezzar, the king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan the chief of the bodyguard, who was standing before the king of Babylon, came into Jerusalem. (13) And he proceeded to burn the house of Jehovah and the house of the king and all the houses of Jerusalem; and every great house he burned with fire. (14) And all the walls of Jerusalem, round about, all the military forces of the Chal‧de′ans that were with the chief of the bodyguard pulled down
Jer. 32:1-2 (This verse doesn't count the ascension year, making it 18 years)
(1) The word that occurred to Jeremiah from Jehovah in the tenth year of Zedekiah the king of Judah, that is, the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar. (2) And at that time the military forces of the king of Babylon were laying siege to Jerusalem; and as for Jeremiah the prophet, he happened to be under restraint in the Courtyard of the Guard that is in the house of the king of Judah;
The Jeremiah citations refer to "Nebuchadrezzar", although it is the same king.

 

Insight On the Scriptures, Vol.2, p.480
Second ruler of the Neo-Babylonian Empire; son of Nabopolassar and father of Awil-Marduk (Evil-merodach), who succeeded him to the throne. Nebuchadnezzar ruled as king for 43 years