Copy of Personal Letter.
Reconciliation of Historical dates from 500bc to 70ad including an interpretation of Daniel's Seventy Weeks.
After some three and a half years I am writing again with more of my study material. It Is not that I expect you to welcome it with open anns. but rather that you ought to he acquainted with It, on the principle of 2Kings 7.9.
I have just re-read your reply to me of 29th January 1995 and you mention my "still wrestling with Bible problems". But that wrestling does often produce results; though the problems are not In the Bible, unless Imported Into It, but are In human traditions and Ideas which challenge It. The main Item enclosed Is to be read In conjunction with the chart I sent you In 1995. I could have Informed you then that I had had a few years of doubt as to whether the Sabbatic Year began In Ethanim or In Ablb. and that the chart was done to satisfy myself (and others) ---- which It has done. . So I do not accept your claim In your last letter that --- "The text of Leviticus 25 agrees perfectly with this assumption", viz. that It began In the Autumn.
The only possible hint of an Autumn start that I can see Is that It does not say "reaping and sowing" but "sowing and reaping". However, the position Is made unmistakably clear In verse 22, "ye shall sow In the eighth year" (i.e. In the Autumn after the close of the Yobel, being midterm of a new Ist year). "and eat of the produce of the old store until the ninth year (= 2nd year) produce come In". If the Shemlttah began In Ethanim It would be impossible to sow In an eighth year If it was also a Yobel; they would have to sow In the ninth year, and If this was so the Instruction would need to be held as defective in not covering such a complication. But Scripture Is not defective: it Is human reasoning that creates such problems.
I do not expect you to be persuaded by arguments of mine, nor by my opinions (which I seldom offer). I do not expect, your agreement even when I present my findings; though I do expect you to carefully check them frcm Scripture. Thus they will become your findings, not mine. If I have made a mistake I certainly wish to be corrected, but that can only be done from God's 'Word, which has authority, not by the opinions of men however many or however erudite they may be.
If and when I quote others It Is only to disclaim personal originality for what Is presented. Their views add no authority, since they and I must establish the truth from the statements In the Bible In respect of that which I assert Is the plain Biblical outline on the Shemittah/Yobel relationship, others before me have understood and believed what is written. Included among such was Van Lennep, C.R.Conder and that author writing of, "the undoubted fact that the Jewish Sabbatical year was conterminous, not with the solar, but --- the ecclesiastical year" The Coming Prince p.72.
For many years I was attracted to this work of Robert Anderson; In fact I find acceptable his treatment of Gobryas on pp.VII to IX, and his placing of Herod's death In 3bc with the nativity In 4bc, but his errors are numerous. I reject his notion of "prophetic years". On p.235 he warns, "The servitude must not be confounded with the captivity", yet he confuses the 70 years Desolation with the 70 years Indignation, at the end of which was given "the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem. There is no record In Scripture of this connand being given, which Is why Otis Sellers placed it In the yet future. Yet, the command was given, and Is alluded to In 1Esdras 4:47, 63, also 5:6.
"According to the canon of Ptolemy, the accuracy of which has been fully established". claims Anderson on p.232, "the reign of Nebuchadnezzar - dates from 604bc. But that canon has been shown to be inaccurate In two places. The first year of that king can be demonstrated to have been 495bc a fact that you too can verify if so disposed. A certain contributor to This I Believe once stated that. "to correct the balance it needs to be said that all the Greek historians are unreliable"; but they have been allowed an undeserved validity by persons unacquainted with Astronomy relying upon Ptolemy, who himself was not versed in history and was led astray by the historians.
The belief that holds sway Is that a Persian king named Xerxes reigned for a number of years, which are in dispute, followd by a usurper named Artabanus who 1s supposed to have murdered him, and then by his alleged son, Longimanus, who had an undisputed 41 years reign. A military carmander in trouble named Themistocles fled to Persia and contacted the ruling monarch, who was named Xerxes by Clitachus, Dinon, Ephorus and Heraclides; but he was Artaxerxes Longimanus according to Charon and Thucydldes. It is hardly surprising that A.T.Olmstead. In his "History of the Persian Empire", states, little is known about the last years of Xerxes' life" ? But if Longimanus was known as Xerxes In his early years before using the title Artaxerxes, then six historians are no longer in conflict and only the Artabanus question remains. It enables the 108/9 years to be accounted for which are In excess of those established by Bible Chronology.
In common with most others Anderson accepts unquestioningly the traditional assumption that Daniel's 62 heptads can be added to the 7 heptads to make a period of 483 years, and that the 70 sevens began with that first seven. Gabriel clearly could have added the 7 and 62 had that been possible; and though the phrase "Know therefore and discern" implles a relationship, the point of contact is not stated. As far as I know only CHW ever challenged the tradition when he proposed that the 70 and the 62 began at the same point in time.
My own assumption has been the possibility that the end of the 62 with the appearing of Messiah, marked the starting point of the 70 sevens, When I say "has been" it is because it Is an assumption no longer but a demonstrable fact compatible with the Sabbatic/Jubilee system which atone establishes chronology with certainty.
Taking 27ad as a Jubilee year on the basis of Luke 4:18, then any previous jubilee will be a multiple of 49 years earlier. Seven jubilees, or 343 years, before was 317bc, five years prior to the start of the historically accepted Era of Seleucidae in 312 and 19 years after Darius Codomanus began reigning In 336, which Is correctly dated In the Royal Canon..
The I8th Jubilee tallied with the 17th/18th of Josiah, who reigned another 14 years before Jehoiakim's 3 years, when Nebuchadnezzar took Daniel and others to Babylon starting the 70 years .Servitude. This ended with the first year of Cyrus who reigned for 7 years. So from Josiah's 17th year to 317bc there were firstly 14+3+70+7+19 = 113 years, which with those years between Cyrus and Codomanus added will yield a total period divisible exactly by 49.
Ptolemy's Canon dates Cyrus's last year as 528bc, which leaves I92 years to 336bc; However, 192+113=305, which does not divide by 49. Now the Canon is structured on eclipse cycles of 54 years +30 days, and If It was out by one cycle the total would be 359 or 251, neither being divisible by 49. But if It was two cycles longer, say 109 years, then 305-109=196, which Is 4 times 49.! Hence It Is shown that the Canon includes some spurious reigns amounting to 109 years.
By subtracting from these 196 years the 113 It is found that 83 years are left for the Persian kings after Cyrus and before Codomanus. These are 6 solo years for Cambyses, 36 tor Dar.Hystaspis, leaving 41 years which can only be allocated to Artaxerxes Longimanus. The plain meaning of Danlel II.2. Is found to be acceptable without devious limits: the tour kings between Cyrus the Great and Alexander the Great with their first years were Cambyses 42l, Dar.Hystaspis 413, Longlmanus 377 and Codomanus 336, while Cyrus's 1st year was 426.
Frnm this last. date, ending the 70 years Servitude, thnt of Jehoiakim's 3rd year Is found t:o be 496bc, his 11th being 488. His successor, "Zedekiah, reigned until his 11th year In 477, which was the first year of a new sabbatic cycle and began the ten comprising the 70 years Desolation. On 9th Ab 477bc the tenple was burnt, like circumstances recurring in 70ad, 78 sevens or 546 years later.
There is no particular need for a Jewish tradition to be accommodated in a Bible chronology; but that of Rabbi Jose, concerning the two burnings of the Temple, just drops into place. Several chronologlsts have tried to add it to their schemes but succeed only in three of Its four features.
The Desolation ended at the year 408, with the completion of the restored temple in the 6fh year of Dar.Hystaspis. From that date to 27ad the duration was 408+27-1= 434 years, which Is 69 sevens unto Messiah the Prince !
So the earlier 7 heptads were not of years (Gabriel never said they were); they were in fact 7 sevens of months. The "going forth of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem" was given in the 2nd year of Darius to Zerubbabel In 412, the year when the 70 years of the Indignation ended and Zechariah and Haggal began prophesying.
Almost certainly Nehemiah's Artaxerxes was Darius Hystaspis, not Artgxerxes Longlmanus. The latter's 20th year, 358, would require Joachim to have been high priest for some 50 years to enable Eliashib to assume office and work on the wall with Nehemiah. If it be assumed that Jeshua died about 412, soon after the building of Jerusalem began, and that Jaddua preceded Onias who was High Priest In 331, then five high priests covered 80 years, averaging 16 years each.
The term of Eliashib could have been 395 to 380, which Is compatible with his being a young high priest fit to do manual work on the wall with Nehemiah In the 20th year of Dar.Hystaspls. No problem exists with the list of high priests in Neh.l2:10.. Jaddua was High Priest during the reigns of Codomanus and Alexander, consistent with Biblical Chronology: It Is only dependence on Ptoemy's Canon that demands a second Jaddua. Nehemiah itself would have been written about 350, not 400.
Nehemiah met Hanani In Kislev of the 20th year, being the winter of 395bc. He managed to keep his grief private for three months until Nisan of the king's 20th year 394. How he lost conposure then Is shown by Josephus in Ant. XI/v.6. He had conversed with Hebrew strangers from Jerusalem.
The enclosed commentary on "Bible Study or Theology ?" will explain my assertlveness which is evident In this letter. It may perhaps also throw light on our respective differences in viewpoint.
Sincerely yours in Christ Maurice Lloyd October 1998
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