Two Separate and Related 70 Years of Exile
Daniel's Deportation in 545 BC & The Fall of Jerusalem in 526 BC
Daniel Taken in 3rd Year of Jehoiakim-545 BC Daniel 1:1-7
The following proposed dated events, related to Daniel and the start of the Babylonian Exile, are in disagreement with every current Bible Chronology known to this Author. There is massive confusion in the dating of Biblical events and the Reigns of Jewish and foreign Kings during this period of history. The main part of this confusion goes from the Start of Solomon's Temple in 965 BC until the start of Daniel's 70 Weeks Prophecy in 455 BC. I only used the text of Scripture and the 364-Day calendar consistent with Scripture to calculate these results. I remind the reader that the basic assumption, with all of this Bible Timeline research, is that 1445 BC is the year of the Exodus and the starting point for measuring the numbered years according to the text in Scripture. The Anchor year of the Exodus is used to date all Biblical events from Creation until the Crucifixion of Jesus.
We will begin with the deportation of Daniel and other important "Sons of Judah" as described in Daniel 1:1-7. I calculate that Daniel was taken three-and-a-half years into the Reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah. I estimate that Daniel was about 14 years old when he was taken around Friday January 4 - Tevet 15, 545 BC. This would be the same Date From Creation (DFC) date Joseph would have been taken into slavery in Egypt in 1897 BC at the age of 17. (See 5 Year + 1 Day Rule Web Page for explanation of DFC dates.) If these dates are accurate, this would also mean that Joseph and Daniel would have birthdays on Tuesday January 1 -Tevet 12 using DFC dating. According to Jeremiah 25:1-3, Jeremiah's vision regarding these events happens "in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah (which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to all the people of Judah and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying: 3 From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, even to this day, this is the twenty-third year in which the word of the Lord has come to me; and I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking, but you have not listened." This date is consistent with a start date for King Josiah of Judah on Wednesday March 26 - Nisan 8 in 581 BC using DFC dates. In order to better understand the time of the Exile and the events of the life of Daniel, it is necessary to get a handle on the dates of the Babylonian and Persian Kings in a chronological order. It is helpful at this point to refer to an important event that happens about 9 years later in another part of the Land of the Bible.
King Cyrus I revolts against Astayges of Media in Unison with Persia-550 BC
In order to understand the events of the Babylonia Exile described in Scripture, it is necessary to sort out who ruled and when in the Persian and Babylonian Empires. History is very insistent that someone named Cyrus fought an important battle in the year 550 BC. This Author raises a question that does not have a simple answer. Which Cyrus fought a battle at this time and where was it? Most historians who circle this historic wagon say that it is Cyrus the Great and it is the battle for Babylon. Scripture paints a very different picture by assuming that there may be no Gap of about 50 years in the Babylonian data as is often assumed by some highly esteemed Bible Chronologies. At the present time, with the information I have available, this is the historical scenario I have pieced together to sort out the confusion about this period of ancient Persian and Babylonian history. While my dates do not agree with current Bible Chronology at this point in time, prior to 455 BC, the order of events detailed in this research is consistent with the numbers given in Scripture. The problem we have is that there is a Cyrus I and a Cyrus II who is called Cyrus the Great. The "Great" title really seems to mostly apply to Cyrus II. Each Cyrus has a son named Cambyses making a Cambyses I and II. Only Cyrus II is mentioned in Scripture and Cambyses is not ever mentioned.
According to my calculations, Cyrus I of Persia revolts against Astayges of Media and unites Media and Persia in 550 BC. Cyrus I marries the daughter of the defeated King Astayges named Mandane. They have a son named Cambyses I who fathers Cyrus II who is the Cyrus of Scripture. Cyrus II has two daughters, Artystone and Atossa who would marry Darius the Great. This marriage would forever unite the Kingdoms of Media and Persia. Darius the Great, also known as King Ahasuerus in Scripture, would be appointed to power over most of the Persian realm by Cyrus II in October of 488 BC. Artystone was said to be "the favorite" of Darius the Great and may have been the mother of his younger son Darius (Daniel 9:1). Darius the son of Ahasuerus would take the reigns as King of Babylon in 474 BC about a year after his older brother Artaxerxes was given the rest of the Kingdom by his father Darius the Great-King of Persia. Darius the Great is also known as Xerxes (Greek name) and Hystapses. Darius the Great (King Ahasuerus) marries Esther in the seventh year of his reign according to Esther 2:15-18. History is very clear that the wedding with Esther occurs in 481 BC. As we will see, there are two Kings of Persia named Cyrus, two Kings named Cambyses, and two Kings named Darius who are descendents of Media. This maze will become clearer by cleaning up some loose ends with Cyrus II and the other Medo-Persian Kings of Persia mentioned in Scripture.
Cyrus II will be an important King to start the Restoration of Jerusalem about 33 years before the end of the Exile. Cyrus II has two sons named Cambyses II and Smerdis. It is reported that Cambyses II was quite smitten with his sister Artystone. Cyrus II may have had some influence in having Darius the Great take two daughters off his hands and avoid a royal scandal. Dating the Fall of Babylon and the start of the Reign of Cambyses II is extremely difficult unless it is recognized that Darius the Mead is also the Ahasuerus of Scripture that marries Esther in 481 BC. At the present time I conclude that Cyrus II captures Babylon in a bloodless battle in October of 488 BC. Most Bible historians say that Darius the Mede takes power in Babylon after the defeat of Belshazzar, the son of Babylonian King Nabonidus. This certainly seems to be the correct reading of Daniel 5:30. Immediately after defeating Babylon, Cyrus II maintains the title as King but appoints Darius the Mede (his Uncle) as Governor and the real person in charge of Babylon. Because of his youth, Cambyses II is still in training to be a King. In the first year of the Reign of Cyrus II he issues a decree "build Him a house at Jerusalem" according to Ezra 1:1-4.
About six years into his reign as King of Babylon, history says Cyrus the Great (Cyrus II) turned the Kingdom of Babylon over to his son Cambyses II. History says Cambyses II reigned until his death 7 years later in Egypt. This puts Cambyses in charge of Babylon for 7 years from about 482 BC until 475 BC. Darius the Mede, also known as Ahasuerus, would continue to reign from the other Persian Capital at Shusan while Cambyses II functioned as a lesser Persian King in Babylon. While the start date of Cambyses II is not critical to dating events in Scripture, the end date of his Reign in March of 475 BC is very important in getting an accurate Bible Chronology. Since Persia had two capital cities at this time, Babylon and Shusan the Citadel, we need to bring the Chronology of the Persian Kings in order to make sense of the events of the Exile and Daniel's 70 Weeks Prophecy. The following paragraphs should give some clarity to this most important and often confusing period of Biblical History.
In 475 BC King Ahasuerus would turn over the reigns of the Kingdom to his oldest son Artaxerxes. Darius, the son of Ahasuerus mentioned in Daniel 9:1, would become King of Babylon in 474 BC about 9 months after the death of Cambyses II in Egypt. History is somewhat insistent that Artaxerxes and Darius the son of Artaxerxes are brothers but by different mothers. Historians say that Cambyses II was mainly responsible for setting up the big winter festivals in Shusan even though his main focus was Babylon until he puts his sights on Egypt. In 484 BC there is a major 6 month celebration in Shusan. At the end of the 6 month celebration, hosted by King Ahasuerus, he deposes his Queen Vashti as explained in detail in Chapter 1 of Esther. Some historians think that Queen Vashti may have been the mother of Ataxerxes who begins his 51 year Reign in 475 BC. All 7 of the Princess of Persia were there at this feast at the Pinnacle of the Persian Empire's influence in the ancient world. Probably Cyrus II was there as he seemed to be content at this time to mostly rule from the background and delegate authority. This begins the 3 year search for a new Queen which is finalized in 481 BC when King Ahasuerus chooses Esther to be Queen according to Esther 2:16-18.
History is very clear about the year of 481 BC as the Wedding Feast of Queen Esther. The following year after the wedding, King Ahasuerus goes off to battle in an attempt to expand his realm into Greece. The invading Persian Army led by Xerxes I, the Greek name for King Ahasuerus (AKA Darius the Great, Hystapses), engages the Greeks at the Pass of Thermopylae in central Greece. The Spartan King Leonidas holds off the Persian Army for 3 days despite the fact that they are greatly outnumbered. The Spartan army is almost completely obliterated in one of history's greatest "last stands." After 2 days of fighting, a local resident named Ephialtes turned traitor and told the Persian troops about a path that would take them behind enemy lines. The Persian Army was eventually successful in taking Thermopylae but at great cost. By the time the Persian army got to Athens it was almost vacant. The Greek navy regrouped at Salamis and went on the offensive against the Persian Navy. The smaller Greek ships were more maneuverable and were outnumbered 3 to 1 in ships. The Persian Navy was all but completely destroyed. Xerxes returned to Persia in defeat but left his Army under the command of Mardonius. When Mardonius tried to complete the conquest of Greece, the Persian army was soundly defeated at the Battle of Plataea in the summer of 479 BC. This marked the end of Darius the Great's (AKA-Xerxes, Ahasuerus) designs to control Greece. Scripture is very clear that the Darius described in Daniel 9:1 is the son of King Ahasuerus, AKA Darius the Great, Hystapses or Xerxes I. This Darius was the lance-bearer of Cambyses II who dies in Egypt in March of 475 BC. This date is not in agreement with current Bible Chronology or secular history. This Darius, who is about 27 years old at the time of the death of Cambyses II, comes to power in 474 BC after killing Gaumata, a Magian, who tried to take the Throne in Babylon by claiming he was Smerdis, the brother of Cambyses II who was in Egypt. I mention this date as an aside to remind the reader that Daniel has his vision of the “70 Weeks” “in the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus” according to Daniel 9:1-27. This event is in the 71st year of Daniel’s captivity in Babylon. The year of the death of Cambyses II is the same year that Artaxerxes, also the son of Darius the Mead, comes to power. This is significant as we will see that the "month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes" in 455 BC is one of the most important dates in Bible Chronology as recorded in Nehemiah 2:1. This dated year is critical to the precise dating of Daniel’s 70 Weeks Prophecy.
"These 70 years" from 545 BC and the taking of Daniel until 475 BC are referenced in Zechariah 1:12 in the 2nd year of the Reign of Darius the son of Ahasuerus which occurs in 473 BC. "These 70 years" are often confused with the "70 years are completed" of Jeremiah 25:11-12 which start in 526 BC with the fall of Jerusalem and go until the 20th year of Artaxerxes in 455 BC. In 455 BC Nehemiah returns to begin rebuilding the Jerusalem Wall. Now that we hopefully have a less confusing view of the pieces of the puzzle of the Babylonian Exile, we will restart our journey with the fall of Jerusalem. Using the numbered years in Scripture will result in a clearer picture of the events in this presently confusing time in Biblical history. The "cherry on top of the icing on top of the cake" (A quote from Dr. Bruce Metzger) will be the very clear details of Daniel's 70 Weeks Prophecy and a unique portrait of God's Sovereignty in His precise control over Time.
Events After Daniel taken and Before the Fall of Jerusalem
Ezekiel 30 years old – 1st Vision of God Ezekiel 1:1-7
Friday June 20 – Tammuz 5, 533 BC
1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the River Chebar, that the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. 2 On the fifth day of the month, which was in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, 3 the word of the Lord came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the River Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was upon him there.”
Monday July 21 - Av 7, 526 BC (BR)
Ezekiel's 2nd Vision-Starts with Abominations in the Temple Ezekiel 8:1-11:25
Monday August 19 - Elul 5, 532 BC 6th Year of Jehoiachin's Captivity
8 "And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I sat in my house with the elders of Judah sitting before me, that the hand of the Lord God fell upon me there."
Ezekiel's 3rd Vision to the Elders of Israel Ezekiel 20:1-44
Thursday July 24 - Av 10, 531 BC 7th Year of Jehoiachin's Captivity
20 It came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the Lord, and sat before me. 2 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 3 “Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Have you come to inquire of Me? As I live,” says the Lord God, “I will not be inquired of by you.”
Jerusalem Burns Starting 70 years of Babylonian Exile-526 BC II Kings 25:8-9
Monday May 14 - Iyar 23, 524 BC (GH)
Monday July 21 - Av 7 in 526 BC
marks the start of the Burning of Jerusalem and Solomon's Temple by the Army of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar according to II Kings 25:8-9
. Three days later, the fire in the Temple begins to subside on Thursday July 24 - Av 10
according to Jeremiah 52:12-16
. Friday July 25 – Av 11 in 526 BC (BR)
marks the end of the Reigns of Kings in Israel and the destruction of Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple. It is important to note that this is about 60 years later
than almost every accepted source of Biblical Chronology. Most other Biblical Historians date the fall of Jerusalem around 586 BC
and use sources outside of Scripture
to set this date. For the most part, this date and the date of the Rebuilding of the Temple in 515 BC
have been seemingly unmovable in current Bible Chronology. The main cause of this mathematical error with Scripture
is the fact that Ussher starts Creation in 4004 BC
. This number is 97 years short of the 4096 years in Scripture from Creation in 4101 BC to the Birth of Jesus in 5 BC on a solar calendar.
I have already explained some of the results of this error in Bible Chronology in other parts of this web site. An entire book could easily be written dealing with this and the main other errors in Ussher's Chronology. In my opinion, any theory that dates the start of the Exile as significantly more than 70 years before 454 BC is inconsistent with dates and years given in Scripture
. The Gregorian date for the start of the Burning of the Temple in Jerusalem is Monday May 14 - Iyar 23, 524 BC (GH).
Many of the events during the Exile can be found on the chart describing events and dates during the Exile. It is estimated that on Thursday April 3 – Nisan 16 in 455 BC (BR),
Artaxerxes, King of Persia, lets Ezra go to Jerusalem according to Ezra 7:9
. On the Gregorian-Hebrew Calendar this date is Thursday October 30 - Heshvan 7, 454 BC (GH).
The rebuilding of the Jerusalem Wall begins on Thursday July 17 – Av 3 of 455 BC (BR)
. The Jerusalem Wall is completed 52 days later on Sunday September 8 – Elul 25 of 455 BC
according to Nehemiah 6:15
. On this same date 480 Years later, Sunday September 8 – Elul 25 in 26 AD, Jesus walks down to the River Jordon and is baptized "at about thirty years of age" according to Luke 3:23. Forty two days later, on October 20, Jesus celebrates his 30th birthday as he returns after "being tempted for forty days by the devil" (Luke 4:2) in the wilderness. The rebuilding of the Jerusalem Wall marks the end of the Babylonian Captivity, which is also known as The Exile. Note that the start of the Jerusalem Wall is 4 days before the 71st anniversary of the start of The Exile.