Jerusalem has fallen (Ezek 33:21-33:21)

“In the twelfth year

Of our exile,

In the tenth month,

On the fifth day

Of the month,

Someone

Who had escaped

From Jerusalem

Came to me.

He said.

‘The city has fallen.’”

Once again, there is an exact date, the 5th day of the 10th month in the 12th year of his captivity, probably January, 586 BCE. On that day, a man who had escaped from Jerusalem came to him, perhaps a month or two after the fall of Jerusalem. This time it was not Yahweh who came to Ezekiel, but this straggler. However, the news was not good, since he said that the city of Jerusalem had fallen.

King Nebuchadnezzar and Tyre (Ezek 29:17-29:18)

“In the twenty-seventh year,

In the first month,

On the first day

Of the month,

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

Made his army

Labor hard

Against Tyre.

Every head

Was made bald.

Every shoulder

Was rubbed bare.

Yet neither he

Nor his army

Got anything

From Tyre

To pay

For the labor

That he had expended.”

This appears to be one of the last oracles of Ezekiel. Once again, there is an exact date, the 1st day of the 1st month of the 27th year of King Zedekiah, making it 571 BCE, well after the captivity of Jerusalem. As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Yahweh explained how King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had made his army work very hard against Tyre. They were baldheaded and wore out their shoulders. However, neither he nor his army got anything out of Tyre to pay for all the energy that they had spent against it.

The Babylonians enter Jerusalem (Jer 52:12-52:12)

“In the fifth month,

On the tenth day

Of the month,

The nineteenth year

Of King Nebuchadnezzar,

King of Babylon,

Nebuzaradan,

The captain of the bodyguard,

A servant of the king of Babylon,

Entered Jerusalem.”

This is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 25, but not found in the earlier Jeremiah, chapter 39. Once again we have an exact date, during the 19th year of the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar, or 587 BCE. Thus the Judah kingdom lasted 134 years after the fall of Samaria. The king of Babylon did not come himself, but he sent the captain of his bodyguard, his servant Nebuzaradan, to be in charge of Jerusalem.

The breach in the city wall (Jer 52:7-52:7)

“Then a breach

Was made

In the city wall.

All the soldiers fled.

They went out

From the city

By night,

By the way of the gate

Between the two walls,

By the king’s garden,

While the Chaldeans

Were all around the city.

They went in the direction

Of the Arabah.”

There are a couple of problems with this section as regards the story earlier in chapter 39 of Jeremiah and the story in 2 Kings, chapter 25. The earlier Jeremiah story has an exact date here, while it is not explicitly mentioned here. In the Kings story, it said that the king also escaped with his troops, but he is not explicitly mentioned here, but may be presumed to be with his troops. However, all the stories have them escaping between the walls in the king’s gardens, as they were headed for the Arabah in the Jordan River valley.

The punishment for the people of Jerusalem (Jer 39:8-39:10)

“The Chaldeans burned

The king’s house

With the houses of the people.

They broke down

The walls of Jerusalem.

Then Nebuzaradan,

The captain of the guard,

Exiled to Babylon

The rest of the people

Who were left in the city.

This included

Those who had deserted to him,

As well as the people who remained.

Nebuzaradan,

The captain of the guard,

Left in the land of Judah

Some of the poor people

Who owned nothing.

He gave them vineyards.

He gave them fields

At the same time.”

Once again, this is similar to 2 Kings, chapter 25. However, here there is no mention of an exact date. The Chaldean fighters burned the palace of the king and other houses in Jerusalem. There is no mention about the burning of the Temple as in 2 Kings. They also broke down the walls of Jerusalem. The king of Babylon did not come himself, but he sent the captain of his bodyguard, Nebuzaradan, to take all the people as captives. This included those who had deserted to the Chaldeans as well as those left in the city. However, he gave the poor people the vineyards and fields. This might be a problem when the exiles return. Thus, the Judean kingdom lasted 134 years after the fall of the northern Israelite kingdom at Samaria.

The breach in the wall (Jer 39:2-39:2)

“In the eleventh year

Of King Zedekiah,

In the fourth month,

On the ninth day

Of the month,

A breach was made

In the city.”

After a little over a year and a half of the siege of Jerusalem, we have an exact date, the 4th month on the 9th day, in the 11th year of the reign of King Zedekiah, when there was a breach in the wall around Jerusalem. This would be in 587 BCE. You have to know what calendar they were using to know the exact date. In 2 Kings, chapter 25, there was a severe famine but there is no mention of that here. However, the date is the same.

The siege of Jerusalem (Jer 39:1-39:1)

“In the ninth year

Of King Zedekiah

Of Judah,

In the tenth month,

King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

With all his army

Came against Jerusalem.

He besieged it.”

Once again, there is an exact date, almost the same as in 2 Kings, chapter 25. It is rare that we have exact dating, but here it is very specific, not some vague “at that time.” In the 9th year of King Zedekiah, in the 10th month, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with his army to Jerusalem in order to besiege the city. King Zedekiah had probably began to plot with the Egyptians and rebelled against the king of Babylon.   This siege of Jerusalem probably began in 588 BCE. Like the preceding chapter, this is a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, since they are the latter part of chapter 45 and chapter 46, not chapter 39 as here.

During the time of King Jehoiakim (Jer 36:1-36:1)

“In the fourth year

Of King Jehoiakim,

The son of King Josiah,

Of Judah,

This word

Came to Jeremiah

From Yahweh.”

Once again, there is an exact date for this oracle of Yahweh to Jeremiah, the 4th year of King Jehoiakim, 605 BCE. King Eliakim, or King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE) as he was called, was the son of King Josiah (640-609 BCE). He took over for his brother King Jehoahaz or King Shallum, who just lasted a few months in 609 BCE. Like the preceding chapter, this is a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, chapter 43, not chapter 36 as here.

The oracle during the time of King Zedekiah (Jer 32:1-32:1)

“The word

That came to Jeremiah

From Yahweh

In the tenth year

Of King Zedekiah

Of Judah.

This was the eighteenth year

Of King Nebuchadnezzar.”

Once again, we have an exact date for this oracle of Yahweh to Jeremiah. It was the 10th year of the rule of King Zedekiah of Judah that began in 598 BCE, so that this would be 588 BCE. It also was the 18th year of the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon that had begun in 605 BCE, which would be in 587 BCE. Anyway, it is right around the time of the victory of Babylon over Jerusalem, with the subsequent captivity of Judah and Jerusalem. Like the preceding chapter, this is a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, chapter 39, not chapter 32 as here.

Travel to Egypt (Sir 0:27-0:36)

“When I came to Egypt

In the thirty-eighth year of the reign of Euergetes,

I stayed for some time.

I found an opportunity for no little instruction.

It seemed highly necessary

That I should myself

Devote some diligence,

Devote some labor to the translation of this book.

During that time,

I applied my skill

Day and night.

Thus I was able to complete this translation.

I was able to publish the book

For those living abroad

Who wished to gain learning.

That is those

Disposed to live according to the Law.”

Now we learn about this translator.   He states that he came to Egypt in the thirty-eighth year of the reign of Euergetes. This must mean the Egyptian King Ptolemy VIII, Euergetes. He ascended the throne in the year 170 BCE, together with his brother Philometor, but he soon became sole ruler from 146 to 117 BCE. Thus this translator must have gone to Egypt in 132 BCE, 38 years after 170 BCE. So now we have an exact date. He stayed there for some time. There he labored to translate this book, day and night. He finally completed his translations and published this book as an aid for anyone seeking to live according to the Law.