Much evidence is presented in 607 vs 587 BCE for the true date of Jerusalem's destruction: 587 BCE. This article will discuss the line of reasoning the WTS uses to arrive at the erroneous date: 607 BCE. Each of the following premises behind their calculation will be discussed:
Yes, this is correct. No disagreement here.
The WTS believes Jeremiah foretold an exile of 70 years:
This is what Jeremiah said regarding the 70 years:
The WTS assumes the years of devastation didn't begin until the exile, but Jeremiah speaks of Judah in a devastated condition prior to the exile:
Jeremiah said the 70 years were a period of serving the king of Babylon, not exile. How do we know an exile wasn't implied?
First, the prophecy applied not only to Judah, but to all the surrounding nations. They served Babylon 70 years from their own lands.
Second, Jeremiah encouraged the Jews to serve Babylon, so
So Jeremiah's prophecy never required an exile, only serving Babylon for 70 years.
So when did this servitude of 70 years end?
God called the king of Babylon to account when Cyrus and the Persian empire conquered Babylon on October 12-13, 539 BCE. For God to "call to account" meant the 70 years of servitude were over, with no king of Babylon left to be served by the nations. (Jeremiah 25:11) This would mean the servitude began no later than 609 BCE if a literal 70 years is counted back from 539 BCE. It should be mentioned that according to accepted secular chronology, 609 BCE is the year Babylon became the dominant empire after dealing the Assyrian empire its last crushing blow at the city of Harran.
To discourage those already exiled years before Jerusalem's destruction from listening to false prophets, Jeremiah wrote:
Even before Jerusalem's destruction false prophets like Hananiah recognized Babylon's yoke was already upon them. (Jeremiah 28:1-2) It seems evident that the 70 years of servitude were already in progress. This scripture does not indicate that the 70 years had to begin with an earlier exile. "In accord with the fulfilling of seventy years" simply means it was God's intent to bring back those now exiled, and any yet to be exiled should they remain disobedient, once the 70 ears of servitude had ended. There is no associating the duration of the 70 years with a period of exile as already examined above. Additionally it's argued that the Hebrew expression "le Babel" here translated "at Babylon" should be correctly translated "for Babylon" as in translations such as ASV, RV, NIV, RSV, NJB, etc… The mistranslation is a remnant from the King James Version. An argument that "at Babylon" is correct, and that the 70 years was one of exile, would put the Bible at conflict with itself.