Hasmonean Bible

Jonathan D. Safren yonsaf at beitberl.beitberl.ac.il
Tue Jun 22 02:03:10 EDT 1999

Again I must pardon my ignorance, for I don't really follow the research
in Daniel.
But how do you account for Dan. 1:1, which describes Nebuchadnezzar's
siege of Jerusalem "in the third year of Yehoyakim King of Judah", at
the end of which "the Lord gave into his hands Yehoyakim King of Judah
and some of the utensils of the House of God" (Dan. 1:2)?. This serves
as the exposition for the tale of the three young Judaean exiles which
follows immediately.
The third regnal year of Yehoyakim (assuming the accession year wasn't
counted) would have been 606/5 BCE, which is when Nebuchadnezzar
ascended the throne of Babylon, his resh sharrutishu, too early for him
to have made a campaign to the West. In any case, Dan. 1:1-2 contradicts
2 Ki.24:1-16.When one reads the pertinent chapters in Jeremiah, this
contradiction is even more evident.There was no exile of Judaeans in the
third year of Yehoyakim, at least not by Nebuchadnezzar, and the author
of Daniel seems to have gotit all wrong.
This, as I remember it, is one of the claims for the late date of
composition of Daniel, at a period when the events surrounfing the
destruction of the First Temple were too clearly remembered.
Also, don't forget the "prophecy" of Dan. 7-11, which describes in great
detail the fall of the Persian Empire to Alexander, the Diadochoi, the
days of the Ptolemids and the Seleucids, up to 167 BCE, after which the
author wanders off into fantasies.
One can always claim, of course, that Daniel is talking about an
entirely different set of circumstances, with no parallel at all to the
Persian and Hellenistic Periods, but this wouls appear a last-ditch
defense by those attempting at all costs to defend the belief in the
existence and inerrancy of Divine prophecy.

Jonathan D. Safren
Dept. of Biblical Studies
Beit Berl College
Beit Berl Post Office 44905

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