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King Nebuchadnezzar II destroyed Jerusalem in 607 BCE.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/21/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 622 times Debate No: 78900
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This debate is about the date in which Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II destroyed ancient Jerusalem. Most secular scholars believe it was roughly 587 BCE while some Biblical scholars believe it was 607 BCE.

I do not think that any definitions are needed for this debate, as it is fairly straightforward. If you have any questions or concerns, please voice them in the comment section before accepting the debate.

Round 1 = Acceptance
Round 2 = Initial Argument(s)
Round 3 = Rebuttals(s)


I believe, you sir, are a filing cabinet ready to be used.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank Con for accepting this debate and I wish them the best of luck.

I believe that the Biblical evidence is far more convincing than the secular evidence when it comes to dating the fall of ancient Jerusalem. The Bible has been proven historically accurate in many ways, so I fail to see any reason to lack trust when it comes to the date 607 BCE. Meanwhile, the secular evidence for the 587 BCE date is very shaky at best. It fails to hold up to criticism, as you will see here.

What does the Bible say?
*all verses used are NIV renditions unless specifically specified*

the nations have invaded your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple, they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble.”
- Psalm 79:1

Ground Work:
I believe that it is key to start with the prophecy of Jeremiah:
“This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” (Jeremiah 25:1)

He later states in Jeremiah 29:10:
“For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.” (KJV)

We have to realize that the 70 years were a punishment for the people of Judah and Jerusalem. As I am sure we all know, these people were under the covenant to obey God. Consider Exodus 19:3-6:
“Moses went up to God, and the L
ORD called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel:‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. ‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”

When the people refused to be repentant, God declares that He will summon King Nebuchadnezzar. Consider Jeremiah 25:8-9:
“Therefore thus says the L
ORD of hosts, ‘Because you have not obeyed My words,behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,’ declares the
LORD, ‘and I will send to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land and against its inhabitants and against all these nations round about; and I will utterly destroy them and make them a horror and a hissing, and an everlasting desolation.”

As I am sure we know, the people of Judah and Jerusalem were not the only ones affected by the wrath of Babylon. However, let's look at how Jeremiah described the razing of Jerusalem and 70-year exile:
Lamentations 1:8: “Jerusalem has sinned greatly and so has become unclean. All who honored her despise her, for they have all seen her naked; she herself groans and turns away.”
Lamentations 3:42: “We have sinned and rebelled and you have not forgiven.”
Lamentations 4:6: “The punishment of my people is greater than that of Sodom, which was overthrown in a moment without a hand turned to help her.”

Even though God was punishing the people of Judah and Jerusalem, He declared in Jeremiah 29: 10 that “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.”

Beginning of the exile:
I feel it is important to look to the historian Ezra for a key piece of information:
“Those who had escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and to his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the L
ORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept sabbath until seventy years were complete.” (
2 Chronicles 36:20, 21)

I feel like in order to truly appreciate what is said in the above verse, we have to understand what is meant by a 'sabbath rests'. This is directly answered in Leviticus 25:1-5:

“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you come into the land which I shall give you, then the land shall have a sabbath to the LORD. ‘Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop, but during the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD; you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard.‘Your harvest’s aftergrowth you shall not reap, and your grapes of untrimmed vines you shall not gather; the land shall have a sabbatical year.”

We can perhaps conclude that one of the transgressions against God that was committed was the failure to observe all the Sabbath years described in the above verses. We can conclude this with more confidence in light of these verses:
Leviticus 26:32-35: “'I will make the land desolate so that your enemies who settle in it will be appalled over it. ‘You, however, I will scatter among the nations and will draw out a sword after you, as your land becomes desolate and your cities become waste.
‘Then the land will enjoy its sabbaths all the days of the desolation, while you are in your enemies’ land; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. ‘All the days of its desolation it will observe the rest which it did not observe on your sabbaths, while you were living on it.”

Leviticus 26:42, 43: “then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land. ‘For the land will be abandoned by them, and will make up for its sabbaths while it is made desolate without them. They, meanwhile, will be making amends for their iniquity, because they rejected My ordinances and their soul abhorred My statutes.”

So that begs the question, when did the land become unworked? King Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem twice, the first time did not commence the 70-year exile as we read in 2 Kings 24:8-17. It was a rebellion that created the second attack on Jerusalem. (2 Kings 24:20; 25:8-10) The city was razed and the people were captured by the Babylonians. We know that the remaining people fled to Egypt. (2 Kings 25:25, 26) So therefore, it was on the seventh Jewish month (October-ish) when the land began to experience 'sabbath rests'. This is confirmed in Jeremiah 44:1, 2.

End of the exile:
The prophet Daniel, who witnessed Babylon, said in Daniel 9:1, 2:
“In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.”

The historian Ezra stated:
“to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept sabbath until seventy years were complete.
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia—in order to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah—the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout his kingdom” (2 Chronicles 36:21, 22)

We know that the exile ended in the first year of Cyrus the king of Persia. We also know that it was in the fall of 537 BCE that the Jews returned to Jerusalem. (Ezra 1:1-5; 2:1; 3:1-5)

You do the math. 607 BCE + 70 years = 537 BCE

How accurate are secular records?*
*Subscripted numbers are in reference to the sources*

Since there is a clear difference between the Biblical and secular dates, let's examine the secular sources:

Source #1 - Berossus
His original work, the
Babyloniaca, which was written about 281 BCE, has been lost. Only fragments are preserved in the works of other historians. Let's examine one example of his work:

About the Assyrian King Sennacherib - “the reign of [his] brother”; and “after him his son [Esarhaddon ruled for] 8 years; and thereafter Sammuges [Shamash-shuma-ukin] 21 years.” (
Studies in Ancient Near Eastern World View and Society, p. 295)
The problem with this is that Babylonian historical documents written long before Berossus’ time say that Sennacherib followed his
father, Sargon II, not his brother, to the throne; Esarhaddon ruled for 12 years, not 8; and Shamash-shuma-ukin ruled for 20 years, not 21.1

Source #2 - The Canon of Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy compiled his list roughly 600 years after the Neo-Babylonian period ended.2 Even Christopher Walker of the British Museum says that Ptolemy’s canon was “an artificial scheme designed to provide astronomers with a consistent chronology” and was “not to provide historians with a precise record of the accession and death of kings.” (Mesopotamia and Iran in the Persian Period, p. 17-18)

When we compare the works of Ptolemy with the cuneiform record, we see that he omitted some of the kings.3

Source #3 - The Babylonian chronicles
Scholars have admitted that the chronicles are incomplete and that secondary sources must be used to get the full picture.4
In fact, the chronicles only provide an account of 35 of the 88 years associated with the Neo-Babylonian period.








GavinSucks forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Argument extended.


GavinSucks forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by SNP1 1 year ago
This looks interesting. Sadly, this is not a time period (or event) I am too familiar with.
Posted by Skepticalone 1 year ago
I agree with Envisage.
Posted by tstor 1 year ago
Feel free to accept!
Posted by Envisage 1 year ago
Interesting topic.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Lexus 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Full forfeiture aside from acceptance