Did the 70 years begin with Assyria's defeat?

Yet another argument that many apostates use (which contradicts their other arguments), is that the 70 years began in 609 BCE (secular chronology) when Babylon defeated Assyria, and then ran until 70 years later in 539 BCE when Babylon was, in turn, defeated by Medo-Persia.

Assyrian Bull

Their scriptural support for this is which says, “and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Yes, this is an extension of the claims that Jerusalem was in mere servitude — not desolation — for 70 years. Please refer back to the chapter Ruins, Desolation, a Wasteland to see why that idea is wrong. However, here we will show from the Bible why the 70 years could not have begun with the defeat of Assyria in 609 BCE (secular chronology).

Consider the context of the above-quoted verse:

“The word that occurred to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, the king of Judah, that is, the first year of Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon”

Right away we see that this prophecy was made in the first year of Nebuchadnezzar. This would be the year 605 BCE in secular chronology. Now let's continue with the passage:

“Therefore this is what Jehovah of armies has said, ‘“For the reason that you did not obey my words, here I am sending and I will take all the families of the north,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “even sending to Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and against its inhabitants and against all these nations round about; and I will devote them to destruction and make them an object of astonishment and something to whistle at and places devastated to time indefinite. I will destroy out of them the sound of exultation and the sound of rejoicing, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the hand mill and the light of the lamp. And all this land must become a devastated place, an object of astonishment, and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years.”’

Yes — this is a prophecy of a future event. Yet according to the theory above, the 70 years had already begun. This prophecy proves that the beginning of the 70 years was yet future.

Now, this prophecy was given in 605 (that is, according to the secular chronology). It plainly says the nations will serve Babylon for 70 years starting during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. Yet, their claim is that the 70 years began 3 years earlier, in 609 – but that is before Nebuchadnezzar began his reign.

In addition, tells us when Jehovah will make the nations serve Babylon. It was written during the 4th year of Zedekiah, the last Judean King. Notice verse 14:

“For this is what Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, has said: A yoke of iron I will put upon the neck of all these nations, to serve Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon; and they must serve him. And even the wild beasts of the field I will give him.”

Yes, this is another future prophecy given during the rule of Zedekiah, about 7 years before the destruction of Jerusalem. It clearly says the yoke of iron is yet to be put upon the neck of the nations. The nations are yet to serve the King of Babylon.

So the 609 theory has a fatal problem. The Bible says the 70 years of the nations serving Babylon do not begin until after the days of Zedekiah. According to their secular chronology, this is about the year of 594BCE, but their 70 years of servitude was supposed to have begun years earlier in 609 BCE. Wait, there is more.

If the “yoke” bar of Babylonian servitude is put on immediately in the year of the last prophecy, then 70 years will bring us down to 524BCE — some 15 years after Babylon's rule has ended, and 15 years after the iron yoke has been removed. So it is not 70 years but only a mere 55 years.

On the other hand, if one accepts the Biblical 607-based chronology which places the above prophecy in 614 BCE, there is more than enough time for the “yoke” to be put on the nations for a full 70 years of servitude.

Who's your daddy?

If that wasn't conclusive enough, notice how the scriptures state that the nations would serve Nebuchadnezzar, as well as his Son, and his Grandson — but never once his father, something which would certainly be the case if the 70 years of servitude began in 609.

Jehovah says through Jeremiah, “I myself have made the earth, mankind and the beasts that are upon the surface of the earth by my great power and by my stretched-out arm; and I have given it to whom it has proved right in my eyes. And now I myself have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; ...all the nations must serve even him and his son and his grandson

So the 70 years of serving Babylon must begin during the rule of Nebuchadnezzar. It could not begin in 609 (secular chronology) since Nebuchadnezzar was not king at that time — his father was, and the scriptures don’t mention him. Interestingly, the 607-based Biblical chronology has no problem with this, since we say he began his rule around 625 BCE, not 605 BCE.

Is 609 even right?

The claim that Babylon only held supremacy over the nations after 609 BCE (secular chronology) is uncertain.

Assyria was actually defeated three years earlier in 612 BCE (secular chronology) with the destruction of it's capital city Nineveh. It was only the remnant of Assyria which fell in 609 BCE (secular chronology) when the last city of Harran was conquered.

Simply, Babylon had held supremacy over Assyria before 609 BCE (secular chronology), the nations had already been under Babylonian domination for some years.


According to the Bible, the nations came under the “yoke” of serving the King of Babylon after Zedekiah was removed by Nebuchadnezzar. To claim the servitude began in 609 BCE (secular chronology) with the defeat of Assyria, simply contradicts the Bible. It really began in 607 BCE, the same year as the destruction of Jerusalem, and ended 70 years later in 537 BCE when God's people returned home.