Project Genesis


Dates For Babylonian Captivity

Question: Recently I read your response to a question involving the Jewish captivity in Babylon, and the seventy year prophecy of Jeremiah the prophet.  The dates that you gave are important to me and I was wondering what resources you based them upon?

Answer: Thanks for your interest. The timeline was constructed based on the discussion in the Talmud in Tractate Megilla (pages 11b – 12a to be exact). The commentary of Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki—primary commentator on the Talmud. He lived from 1040-1105) clarifies and elucidates the Talmud’s discussion.

As I mention, I use 586 BCE as the “baseline” for the timeline—the destruction of the Holy Temple. This is based on the opinion of the vast majority of historians. The Talmud does not record absolute years (e. g. 586 BCE), but rather the years relative to the destruction of the Temple and the ascension of Nebuchadnezzar to the throne.

In addition, as I note, the normative historical approaches differ in a year here or there on various events from the dates recorded by the Talmud.

I hope this helps.

Rabbi Yoel Spotts

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