Christian Churches of God
The Fall of Jerusalem to Babylon
(Edition 1.5 20071110-20071215)
The dating and significance of the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon has a specific part to play in prophecy and in the Calendar.
The Fall of Jerusalem to Babylon
After the Northern Tribes were taken into captivity by the Assyrians there was relative quiet, and Egypt, under the Nubian kings, had not responded to requests for assistance in Palestine. However, in 701 BCE an Egyptian force entered Palestine and fought the Assyrians under Sennacharib (704-681) in Palestine, on the side of the king of Judah. The result was inconclusive, and Assyria and Egypt kept a buffer of small states between them for 30 years (Baines, Malek, Atlas of Ancient Egypt, Time Life, 1991, Andromeda Oxford, pp. 50ff.)
In 674, the Assyrian king Esarhaddon attempted to conquer Egypt. He was defeated at the frontier post at Sile. He renewed the attack in 671 and was successful. Memphis was taken and the whole country was forced to pay tribute. Pharaoh Tarhaqa fled south and regrouped and retook Memphis within two years. Esahaddon died on the way to Egypt for a counter-attack.
His son Assurbanipal (669-627) sent a campaign which established Assyrian domination in Egypt by using the ruler of Sais in Egypt, Necho I (672-664), who had styled himself king and his son Psamtik (later Psammeticus I). The reality of Egypt was that there were often sub-rulers in the kingdom and often these have been used to extend the dynasties.
In 664 Tantamani succeeded Tarhaqa (also Tarhaka) and immediately mounted a campaign throughout Egypt against Necho I, who appears to have died in the fighting. He does not even mention the Assyrians in his account of his campaign in the Delta.
At some date between 663 and 657, Assurbanipal led a campaign of reprisal in person and plundered all Egypt, while Tantamani fled to Nubia.
The Assyrians were then faced with a rebellion in Babylon, and Psammeticus I was able to establish Egyptian independence before 653.
Psammeticus I (Wahibre) founded the 26th dynasty. The 25th dynasty had ruled Nubia and all Egypt until 664, when Taharqa was succeeded by Tantamani (664-657 and possibly later in Nubia). The rule of Psammeticus I is given as 664-610 BCE (following on from Necho I (672-664).
Between 664 and 653, Psammeticus I eliminated all the other local rulers in Lower Egypt, and in 656 he had his daughter Nicotrice adopted by Shepenwepet II as the next divine adoratrice in Thebes, which then bypassed Amenerdis II. This replaced the dating in Thebes, which until the previous year had gone by the reign of Tantamani (ibid.). When in her seventies, Nicotrice adopted the daughter of Psammeticus II. ‘Ankhnesneferibre took office in 586 and was still alive in 525BCE. Thus these two women served in office as royal representatives at Thebes for some 130 years.
This Pharaoh, Psammeticus I, was the first to use Greek and Carian mercenaries, which then set a pattern for over 300 years. Most nations after this used Greek mercenaries. The Greeks settled in Egypt and their history is often important as a source of information, being more profuse than Egyptian sources.
By his centralisation of administration Psammeticus was able to make a continuation of the 25th dynasty in the 26th and Egypt prospered and became wealthy. They made a policy of supporting the opponents of the dominant power in Asia. They supported Lydia and later Babylon against Assyria until 620 and the decline of Assyria. Egypt then changed their allegiance to Assyria and they supported the enemies of Babylon until Persia had become the main power. Necho II (610-595), Psammeticus II (595-590/89) and Apries (Hophra) (589-570) all built on the operations of Psammeticus I and went on the attack.
Herodotus records Psammeticus I as occupying Syria for 29 years as follows:
Psammetichus ruled Egypt for fifty-four years, during twenty-nine of which he pressed the siege of Azotus without intermission, till finally he took the place. Azotus is a great town in Syria. Of all the cities that we know, none ever stood so long a siege (Histories, II, 157).
Egypt, under this Pharaoh, was able to control all of Palestine and into Syria with impunity of action for 29 years.
Judah was first subjected to Egypt under Pharaoh Necho II. Necho II, probably following the initiatives of Psammeticus I, campaigned in Syria from 610–605 BCE.
Herodotus says he at first spent some time in the construction of the canal between the Nile and the Red Sea, but lost 120,000 men. He gave up on the canal, which ran from above Bubastis near Patumus (termed the Arabian town, being on the Arabian side of the Egyptian plain) and followed the chain of hills as far as Memphis and, skirting the hills, runs east west on to the Red Sea. It is four days journey in length and was later completed by Darius the Persian (ibid., II, 158).
Herodotus then says that immediately he stopped the construction he built a fleet of Triremes, both for service in the Mediterranean and in the Red Sea. The canal was no doubt to enable a concentration of force, as it was necessary. The dry docks in the Red Sea were still visible when Herodotus went there (ibid., II, 159).
The fleets were used to support his miliary operations by land. He occupied Syria and defeated the Syrians in a pitched battle at Magdolus, after which he made himself master of Cadytis, a large city of Syria.
He also ordered the circumnavigation of Africa (termed Libya) and other journeys. Some ships reached South-East Asia and Melanesia (cf. Herodotus, Hist., IV, 42).
In the 31st year of Josiah (641/640-610) king of Judah (i.e. in 610 BCE), Necho II entered Palestine and attacked the king of Assyria. This year of 610 BCE was a Sabbath year. The Book of the Law had been found in the Temple in the 18th year of Josiah, and the Temple was cleansed and the Passover kept. However, Judah was condemned by their actions (2Chr. 34:8-33). The people kept the Sabbath of the Passover from Josiah’s 18th year to his 31st year (611/10), and the Temple was cleansed. At the end of winter of 610/9, probably well before the New Year, Pharaoh Necho moved through Judah to go to Syria to engage in operations there. On the way, Josiah opposed him. Necho killed Josiah at Megiddo (2Kgs. 23:29-30; 2Chr. 35:20-26) and continued on to Syria. Josiah was buried at Jerusalem and Jehoahaz was made king in his stead. After three months he was taken captive to Riblah in Hamath. He was placed in bands, and tribute was levied on Judah of 100 talents of silver and a talent of gold each year. Pharaoh Necho made Eliakim, son of Josiah, king in his stead. He renamed him Jehoiakim and then returned to Egypt in 609 with Jehoahaz a captive, where he died.
Herodotus gives the impression that the canal work was undertaken first before the campaigns north; however, the Cimmerians and the Scythians had entered Asia Minor and decimated the Assyrian Empire, assisting the Babylonians. Necho had to hurry north to assist the Assyrians who were concentrated on Harran. Some historians hold this move to have been in the winter/spring period of early 609 rather than 610. However, the sequence does not fully support this view. In 609 BCE King Nabopolassar of Babylon captured Kumukh which cut off the Egyptian army that Necho had based at Carchemish. Necho responded the following year by retaking Kumukh after a four-month siege, and executed the Babylonian garrison. Nabopolassar brought forth another army, which he encamped at Qurumati on the Euphrates. The Babylonian army under the crown prince suffered a severe setback in 606 BCE. Narbopolassar allegedly returned to Babylon in January, through bad health, and he died 16 August 605 BCE.
Jehoiakim was 25 years old when he began to reign and he reigned 11 years in Jerusalem (2Kgs. 23:36).
In 605 BCE the Babylonians were victorious at the battle of Carchemish in Syria, forcing the withdrawal of the opposing Egyptian and allied forces and establishing Babylonian supremacy.
Herodotus says of Necho II’s son and heir:
Psammis [Psammeticus II] reigned only six years. He attacked Ethiopia, and died almost directly afterwards. Apries, his son, succeeded him upon the throne, who, excepting Psammetichus, his great-grandfather, was the most prosperous of all the kings that ever ruled over Egypt. The length of his reign was twenty-five years, and in the course of it he marched an army to attack Sidon, and fought a battle with the king of Tyre by sea. When at length the time came that was fated to bring him woe, an occasion arose which I shall describe more fully in my Libyan history, only touching it very briefly here. An army despatched by Apries to attack Cyrene, having met with a terrible reverse, the Egyptians laid the blame on him, imagining that he had, of malice prepense, sent the troops into the jaws of destruction. They believed he had wished a vast number of them to be slain in order that he himself might reign with more security over the rest of the Egyptians. Indignant therefore at this usage, the soldiers who returned and the friends of the slain broke instantly into revolt (ibid., II, 161).
In the reign of Jehoiakim Nebuchadnezzar came against Assyria, Egypt, Syria and then Jerusalem. He left Babylon in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim (Dan. 1:1).
Nebuchadnezzar suffered a reverse at the hands of the Assyrians and Egyptians in 606, which was the third year of Jehoiakim, from Abib 606 to Adar 605. The Egyptians remained encamped on the west bank of the Euphrates. In early 605 BCE Nebuchadnezzar brilliantly defeated the Egyptians at Carchemish.
Jeremiah says he defeated the Egyptians under Necho at Carchemish in the fourth year of Jehoiakim; thus the battle was fought in the New Year or early spring (comparing Daniel to Jeremiah) of 605 BCE. The Babylonians had left for Carchemish before the New Year of Abib, and so Daniel records they left in the third year of Jehoiakim, and Jeremiah says they came against Jerusalem in the fourth year (see also Encyc. Britannica article on Battle of Carchemish). http://www.britannica.com/eb/topic-95348/Battle-of-Carchemish
Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Egyptians and pursued them into Palestine to their border, but did not besiege Jerusalem (2Kgs. 24:1). This was in the fourth year (Jer. 25:1; 46:2) which was still the first year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, 605/604 BCE. He reigned conjointly from the spring, and alone from the first week of September 605 BCE. Jerusalem capitulated to him and accepted him as victor (Interp. Dictionary of the Bible, art. ‘Nebuchadrezzzar’, Vol. 3, p. 530). He made Jehoiakim his servant. And in the following three years he made campaigns to collect tribute and crush resistance such as he did at Ashkelon. In 601 he was virtually defeated by the Egyptians and withdrew, and under Hophra the Egyptians reconquered Gaza. This was at the end of the three years when Jehoiakim was loyal. In 601 BCE he rebelled. Thus the Babylonians arrived in the fourth year. Jehoiakim was loyal for the fifth, sixth and seventh years, and then rebelled for the eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh years of his reign until he died.
God sent against him the Chaldeans, bands of Syrians, bands of Moabites and bands of Ammonites to weaken Judah in order to have them removed (2Kgs. 24:1-4).
Jehoiakim died in his eleventh year. His son Jehoiachin reigned in his place for three months when he was 18 years of age. The Babylonians came against Jerusalem and laid siege to it in this year, which was 598 BCE. The Interpreter’s Dictionary states that it was in the year 599 BCE that Nebuchadnezzar brought his newly strengthened army against Syria and the allies of Egypt, and in 598 he attacked Judah (ibid.).
In 2Kings 24:12 we are told that Nebuchadnezzar took him in the eighth year of his reign. Bullinger assumes the text refers to Jehoiachin and tries to explain that as being from when he was entrusted with regal authority by his father Jehoiakim in the fourth year of his reign. The eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign was from 605 BCE to 598 BCE. To reach 597 we would have to assume an early civil New Year and count from his sole rule after his father death on August 16, 605. He was appointed king within three weeks in the first week of September 605, as he had to return from pursuing the Egyptians into Palestine from Hamath. The Babylonian month of Teshritu did not commence that early. The text is referring to Nebuchadnezzar and not to Jehoiachin’s reign, which as stated was three months.
Jehoiachin’s reign thus commenced in 598 BCE, and his captivity commenced in that same year. On 15/16 March 597 BCE the city was captured and that was before the New Year. Jehoiachin’s captivity was thus in the year 598/7 BCE, and the second year of his captivity began shortly thereafter.
The Temple is argued to have fallen in 597 BCE but the Bible timings, on thorough examination, actually do not support that theory. They had to pay heavy tribute. Jehoiachin is recorded as coming out to Nebuchadnezzar and he and his family and all the notables were taken into captivity. God had said they were to go, and Jeremiah had told them that in no uncertain terms from the days of Josiah.
The items of gold and precious metals in the Temple were taken back to Babylon at this time.
From this year also, Egypt confined itself to its internal affairs and did not come out of Egypt again. Babylon took all that was Egypt’s from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates (2Kgs. 24:7-8).
Zedekiah was made king of Judah in 598/7 BCE after the capitulation of Jerusalem and the removal of Coniah or Jehoiachin before the New Year.
Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had deported most of the nobility and the remnant of the army of Judah to Babylon.
What was left was a small group under Zedekiah, likened by the prophets to rotten figs.
These were roughly split into two major groups, one pro-Babylonian and the other pro-Egyptian.
In the year 595/594 an insurrection occurred in Babylon.
It was against this background that Hananiah’s speech occurred, dated to the fourth year of Zedekiah (595/4). He declared that God had broken the yoke of the King of Babylon, and the exiles were to be returned and Jehoiachin restored.
Jeremiah 29 records the zeal of the false prophets in raising anti-Babylonian sentiment.
They were unsuccessful because of the actions by Jeremiah and the King. Jeremiah 27:22 gives an account of the actions of the smaller nations of the West.
According to the Babylonian Chronicle, Nebuchadnezzar assembled the army to march into Syria in December of 594. At the same time, Egypt was fomenting trouble in the Levant against Babylon. Perhaps also this was as a result of the death of Pharaoh Necho and the ascension of Psammeticus II ca. 594 (cf. Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, art. ‘Zedekiah’, vol. 4).
Zedekiah was approached by Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon to rebel against Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzar summoned Zedekiah to Babylon in his fourth year (Jer. 51). This appears to be directly related to the insurrections. Probably because of the summons of Jeremiah and Nebuchadnezzar, Zedekiah did not openly join the rebellion but vacillated between the two parties in Judah. Finally, the pressure became too great and he rebelled against the king of Babylon (2Kgs. 24:20).
Nebuchadnezzar had repulsed the Egyptians in 605 at the Battle of Carchemish in Syria, and in 601 the king of Babylon attacked Egypt, but was repulsed by Necho II (610-595). Necho also fitted out Triremes to control both the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. They attacked the coast of Asia Minor. He attempted to link the Nile and the Red Sea by canal, as mentioned above.
Psammeticus II (595-589) made a single foray into Asia with no apparent long-term effects. In 591 he made a campaign into Nubia, also using Carian and Ionian Greek mercenaries. The campaign ended 60 years of peaceful relations. The force reached Napata, but no conquest seems to have been intended (Baines & Malek, Atlas of Ancient Egypt, Time Life, p. 51). He died immediately after this campaign and thus 590 is the more correct date.
Apries or Hophra is listed as assuming the throne in 589 BCE but it was more probably 590. He is held to have immediately attacked Philistia. That is assumed to be the cause of Zedekiah’s open rebellion (Jer. 44:30). The campaign of Psammeticus II is not mentioned in the Bible, and it may well be that this campaign was headed by Hophra as commander of the army, and occurred in 590/89 under Hophra. Certainly by 589 Zedekiah has the assurance of support from Egypt.
The name [Hophra] occurs but once in the Bible (Jer. xliv. 30); in the other passages where this king is referred to (Jer. xxxvii. 5, 7, 11; Ezek. xxix. 2 et seq.) he is called "Pharaoh." He is to be identified with the 'Οάφρης of Manetho and the 'Απρίης of Herodotus and Diodorus. Hophra was the fourth king of the twenty-sixth dynasty, the son of Psammetichus II. and grandson of Necho. When Jerusalem was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar, Hophra marched to the assistance of the Jews, and the siege was interrupted for a short time (Jer. xxxvii. 5, 7, 11). According to Herodotus (ii. 161), Hophra also helped the Tyrians against Nebuchadnezzar, and had a certain degree of success. It is very likely that the words of Ezekiel xxix. 18 refer to this event. Jeremiah (xliv. 30) and Ezekiel (xxix. 2-xxxii.) predicted the fall of Hophra and Egypt through the Babylonians; but according to historical statements these predictions were not fulfilled. Hophra was dethroned by Amasis and strangled by the mob (Herodotus, ii. 169) (Jewish Encyclopedia).
There was a rebellion in Egypt that arose from the campaign by Hophra at the end of his reign. Herodotus deals with it in 2.162 and in the Libyan account, but there was never any attempt by the Babylonians to enter Egypt at the siege of Jerusalem in 589. They simply advanced towards Wadi El Arish and the Egyptians withdrew.
Hophra was killed by his successor Amasis long after Jerusalem was destroyed.
At the time of the rebellion and the problems with Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar marched to the West and set up his headquarters at Riblah on the Orontes River in Syria (2Kgs. 25:6, 20ff.). Zedekiah thus was forced to decide, and supported the pro-Egyptian party. Ezekiel records the indecision of Nebuchadnezzar (Ezek. 21:18ff.). He then made a decision to attack Judah and Zedekiah at Jerusalem. He sent the army but remained at Riblah (2Kgs. 25:6, 20ff.; cf. Jer. 38:17ff.).
The cities of Lachish and Azecha in Judah had been attacked by the Babylonians, and Jeremiah 37:5 says that the advance of the Egyptian army forced the Babylonians to raise the siege and meet them. The order of Jeremiah 32, 33, 34, 35, and 39 shows clearly that the siege was commenced in the ninth year of Zedekiah in the Tenth month, on the Tenth day of the month.
The Egyptians did not leave Egypt, as the Bible says, and there is no record of any battle being fought with them, and Nebuchadnezzar did not leave Riblah much less go to Egypt. The Northern Army did not go into Egypt and conquer it until Cambyses occupied it in 525 BCE. (See the paper The Fall of Egypt (No. 36): The Prophecy of Pharaoh’s Broken Arms.)
It was sufficient for the Babylonians to march towards the Egyptians to get them to retire.
The Bible text indicates that as a result of the lifting of the siege the slaves were reclaimed. God told Jeremiah to go to Zedekiah and tell him that as a result of that activity they would be sent into captivity.
In the tenth year the Babylonians had resumed the siege, as we see in Jeremiah chapter 32, and Jeremiah was shut up in the Court of the Prison. He had been arrested when the Babylonians went to meet the Egyptians when they moved to aid Judah following the invasion of December, and the nobles and wealthy broke their oaths and reclaimed the slaves. Jeremiah was then arrested and was in prison and the Babylonians had returned without any battle with the Egyptians, and certainly before any serious length of time.
It is advanced by many historians that he sent the army directly to Jerusalem and the siege began in December 589 and that it was lifted for a while in order to deal with Egypt.
This is also based on a construction attributed to the Masoretic Text (MT) and perhaps is influenced by the fact that the Septuagint (LXX) used the date the tenth year of Zedekiah for the text in what is listed as Jeremiah 39:1, stating also that it was the 18th year of Nebuchadnezzar when Jeremiah had been shut up in the Court of the Prison. Thus the comments and statements in Jeremiah 39 cannot be the same data contained in 2Kings 25:1-2. The 18th year of Nebuchadnezzar can only be the tenth year of Zedekiah if we take his reign from the Babylonian cycle in September 606/5 BCE. Nebuchadnezzar’s 18th year was in 588/7 BCE, which was the eleventh year of Zedekiah. That is confirmed by the MT text in Jeremiah 32. The numbering of the texts in the LXX differs from the MT as it does elsewhere. The text concerns the field at Anathoth, and the difference in order in the MT disguises the timing. The text in the LXX clearly states the Babylonians were there and had raised a rampart against the walls of the city already. No rampart would have been allowed to remain over the departure and return, and its destruction would have been commenced immediately.
When Jeremiah had the direction regarding the field in Anathoth he was not yet imprisoned, but was arrested when he attempted to go there. However, it is clear that the LXX understands the two comments to be different events and not a repeat of the same event. After he was imprisoned then the relative at Anathoth was told to go to Jeremiah, and Jeremiah was told that by God. That event occurred in the tenth year of Zedekiah. Zedekiah reigned from Adar 598/7 and thus his tenth year was 589/8 and his eleventh year was 588/7.
Also, the army would have had to bypass the Egyptians. The Egyptians invaded the Philistines. The Pharaohs Psammeticus II and Hophra both encouraged Zedekiah. Egypt had caused a diversion that forced the encampment at Riblah and the march into Judah in 589. The Egyptian navy made the aid immediate and the advance came from the border not far to the south, and perhaps involved Gaza also. They retreated again quickly and no battle was recorded. So, the siege was resumed by the advancement of the tenth year of Zedekiah.
The differing dates of the tenth and twelfth months of Zedekiah’s ninth year for the siege in the MT and the Knox Vulgate may come from the two possibilities that the dates represent the commencement and the resumption of the siege, the second date being the resumption of the siege. The siege would have thus been resumed in Adar 589/8. The liberation and reclamation of the slaves should have occurred for the beginning of the Sabbath Year, and not at its end. However, it is possible.
The other alternative is that the Babylonians arrived in 589 before Tishri. The restoration occurred and the Babylonians left and returned in the Tenth month, Tebeth, as a result of the backsliding of Judah and the retreat of the Egyptians.
According to the Temple Calendar and the dates we have from the other sources, the Jubilees were 24 and 74 of the previous era. The Sabbath fell in the years 25, 32, 39, 46, 53, 60, 67, with the Jubilee in 74, and the previous Sabbaths in 75, 82, 89, 96, 3, 10, 17, with the Jubilee in 24. Zedekiah’s tenth year in 589 was a Sabbath year (see the timing sequence below).
From the Babylonian Chronicles, we know for a fact that the vernal equinox occurred in WeAdar or Adar 2, which was in March of 597, and the fall of Jerusalem was on 15/16 March. The captivity began from this date. The matter has been determined and was explained in detail in the paper The Meaning of Ezekiel’s Vision (No. 108), and especially in the footnotes (see also below).
“The fifth year of Jehoiachin’s captivity is established in the following manner. We know that Jerusalem fell and that Jehoiachin was taken prisoner on the second day of Adar or 15/16 March in the year 597 BCE (according to Encyclopedia Judaica; see also Interpreter’s Dict. (loc. cit)). As Adar is the last month of the year (and this year was WeAdar or Adar 2: see note at end of paper), his second year began one month later in Nisan or April 597 BCE at the beginning of the Sacred Year. The fifth year was therefore 594 BCE, which establishes the thirtieth year of the Sacred Calendar at 594 BCE. The Jubilee years therefore fell on the years 574 BCE and 524 BCE in that century and so on to 1 CE, and the conversion to the current eras placed the first Jubilee year of the current era at 27” (cf. the paper Meaning of Ezekiel’s Vision (No. 108)).
The decrees and documents we have preserved or found, such as that of Julius Caesar made at the beginning of 44 BCE, confirm this calendar cycle, as do the archaeological excavations. These are examined in the paper Distortion of God’s Calendar in Judah (No. 195B).
In the time of Nebuchadnezzar the equinox was much later than it is today, i.e. on 27 March, and it is the equinox that determines the turn of the year, and the year commences from the New Moon nearest to that date.
In 597 BCE:
“The New Moon fell on 12 March at 1500 hours Jerusalem LMT. The next New Moon fell on 11 April at 0733 hours. The equinox fell on 27 March at 1333 hours Jerusalem LMT.” (No.108 ibid.)
The reign of Zedekiah was thus from 598/7 in Adar to 588/7 BCE. The fall of the Temple and the Bible dating thus help us confirm and re-establish the Calendar for each restoration.
The text in 2Kings 19:29 is taken as a calendar determination of a Sabbath and Jubilee. The text says:
29 And this shall be a sign unto you, You will eat this year such things as grow of themselves, and in the second year that which springs of the same; and in the third year sow and reap and plant vineyards and eat the fruits thereof. 30 And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward and bear fruit upward 31 For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts shall do this.
This text does not conform to any other Bible reference in relation to the Calendar. The text of 2Kings 19:32-37 telescopes twenty years into a few verses. There are two distinct historical events involved, separated by twenty years. Sennacherib (705-681) did return to Assyria but he reigned for another twenty years. The Bible also mentions Tirhakah as Pharaoh of Egypt, when he was not Pharaoh at the time. His predecessor Shabaka was Pharaoh (Interp. Dict., vol, 4, ‘Sennacherib’, p. 271b refers).
The events in the text of chapter 19 are prophecy and relate to the remnant of Judah, and why it must remain in Zion and not be removed. It looks forward in prophecy and is a sign that is dealt with in Hezekiah’s Songs of the Degrees, which are contained in Psalm 126 especially at verses 5 and 6. That text also refers to the same sign given in Isaiah 37:30. That is a reference to Yahovah as the Messiah and that at the end of a Jubilee the Messiah would begin his ministry and take root and plant downwards, and from that event in the first year of the new Jubilee he would form his Church as the remnant that escapes out of Zion. Thus to that end, Sennacherib would not be permitted to deport Judah, as they would have been sent where he sent Israel – beyond the Araxes – and that was not in accordance with the Plan of God. They had to remain in the Middle East until the Messiah and the replacement of the Temple with the Church, which began in 28 CE after the imprisonment of John the Baptist. The text as prophecy thus again confirms the Calendar.
Hezekiah was given a further fifteen years from this time. The 14th year of Hezekiah was the year this all occurred and then he reigned a further fifteen years, making it twenty-nine years all told. We will examine this further in the paper dealing with Hezekiah and Isaiah.