Was Jerusalem Destroyed in 607BC, or 586BC? [and the 70 Years explained]

Jehovah’s Witnesses are adamant that Jerusalem was destroyed in 607BC [1], however, this contradicts both the Bible and archeological evidence. To accept 607BC as the date of Jerusalem’s destruction is to blatantly ignore thousands of credible scholars, historians, archeologists, and even the Bible.

The first date a Jehovah’s Witness will use to establish the date 607BC, is 539BC – the widely accepted date of the fall of Babylon among both secular and biblical scholars, including those of the organization of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Using this fixed date 539BC, they speculate that the Jews in captivity would have taken around two years to migrate back to Jerusalem and set up an altar, getting to the date 537BC. This new date, according to the witnesses, marks the end of their 70 years serving the kings of Babylon mentioned in the Bible at Jeremiah 25:11. This cannot be accurate because it is established that the new altar was set up in 535BC under Zerubabbel.

The organization claims that these 70 years started in 607BC and ended in 537BC, but there is no evidence to really back this up.

70 Years of Desolation vs. 70 Years of “Serving under the king of Babylon

And all this land will be reduced to ruins and will become an object of horror, and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon for 70 years.”

Jeremiah 25:11 – New World Translation

in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, discerned by the books the number of years mentioned in the word of Jehovah to Jeremiah the prophet to fulfill the desolation of Jerusalem, namely, 70 years.

Daniel 9:2 New World Translation

Both these scriptures talk about a prophecy of 70 years. But do you see the difference? The one from Jeremiah talks about serving the king of Babylon for 70 years, where the verse in Daniel talks about the desolation of Jerusalem for 70 years. We must be careful not to assume the start and end date of these two events are the same.

The serving under the king for 70 years, started in 605BC and ended in 535BC.

This serving under the king started after 605BC when the Babylonians defeated Pharaoh Necho’s army and king Jehoiakim sent some young nobles from Judah to serve the Babylonian King as a tribute to him. This marked the beginning of the 70 years serving the king of Babylon, which ended in 535/6BC. This date is confirmed because it is the same year when the altar was set up at Jerusalem under Zerubabbel. This was also the year they started to rebuild the Second Temple, but it would only be completed in 516BC.

The 70-year Desolation of Jerusalem started in 586BC and ended in 516BC

The Second Temple’s rebuilding was complete and ready for consecration/dedication in the spring of 516BC, around twenty years after their return from captivity.

If the Temple was restored in 516BC, and the temple was lying in desolation 70 years according to Daniel 9:2, then we get to the date of its destruction in 586BC.

Archeological evidence points to the year 605BC and the start of Nebuchadnezzars reign, and we know from 2 Kings 25:9 that Jerusalem was destroyed in his 19ths year, which brings us to the date of 586BC for the destruction of Jerusalem.


Jehovah’s Witnesses will say that to disagree with 607BC is to disagree with the Bible, a black and white fallacy that they are famous for. The Bible does not disagree with 586BC at all, in fact, all the related scriptures agree, as we have shown in this article.

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