Seventy Years in Biblical Prophecy
The purpose of this post is to address all the occurrences of seventy year prophecies that are in the Bible. Rather than rewrite what has already been researched on these prophecies, I will make hyperlinks to the discussion of each of these (with the exception of Isa 23:15-17) in the book, The Gentile Times Reconsidered
. (Referred to from here on as GTR
Using these links, the reader may read the extensive research that can be found there, to whatever extent he or she wishes, and at his or her own leisure.
Also of concern in this post is whether any of these prophecies overlap. (For which, see poster ctron's
thread on overlapping seventy year prophecies here
The sub-titles below will address the following Bible passages and topics in this order:
1. Isaiah 23:15-17
1. Isaiah 23:15-17 (Concerning Tyre)
2. Jeremiah 25:10-12 & Jeremiah 29:10 (Concerning Babylon)
3. 2 Chronicles 36:20-23 & Daniel 9:1-2 (Where the writers cite Jeremiah)
4. Zechariah 1:7-12 & Zechariah 7:1-5 (Concerning the restored Jews)
5. How Jeremiah and Zechariah Overlap
6. Additional Points of Interest (Related research and links)
Isaiah 23 is "an oracle about Tyre." (Isa 23:1) A good part of the prophecy describes how Tyre was the center of trade in the Middle East. (Isa 23:2) But a calamity from God was about to befall Tyre. (Isa 23:8, 9) "At that time" (when Tyre is dealt with by Yahweh) "Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years." (Isa 23:15)
Describing what historically befell Tyre, Constable's Notes
God’s agent in the destruction of Tyre was first Assyria, then Babylonia, and finally Greece. Tiglath-pileser of Assyria set up a military governor in Tyre in 738 B.C., and his successors imposed escalating restraints on the city because it stubbornly resisted foreign control. Alexander the Great finally wiped the city into the sea in 332 B.C. leaving it uninhabitable. Here Isaiah pointed to Assyria as the power God would use to cut back the influence of Tyre. Tyre came under attack at least five times from Isaiah’s day until its end. It’s invaders were Sennacherib (705-701 B.C.), Esarhaddon (679-671 B.C.), Nebuchadnezzar (585-573 B.C.), Artaxerxes III Ochus (343 B.C.), and Alexander (332 B.C.). Assyria had already done to the Chaldeans what the prophet foretold it would do to Tyre. Sargon II attacked Babylon in 710 B.C., and Sennacherib destroyed it in 689 B.C.
There is a relationship between this prophecy about Tyre in Isaiah 23 and the prophecies in Jeremiah and Zechariah. Writing about this on a StackExchange thread, a writer says:
God through his prophet Jeremiah, includes Tyre among the nations that will be singled out to drink the wine of His rage. He says: “These nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years."
22 "And all the kings of Tyre, all the kings of Sidon and the kings of the coastlands which are beyond the sea; 27 “You shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Drink, be drunk, vomit, fall and rise no more because of the sword which I will send among you.”’ (Jeremiah 25:22, 27 NASB)
Following the destruction of the mainland city by the Babylonians, the island-city of Tyre will be forgotten. True to the prophecy, for the duration of "one king", the Babylonian Empire, the island-city of Tyre will not be an important financial and commercial power.
The prophecy of Jeremiah says:
8 “Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Because you have not obeyed My words, 9 behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will send to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land and against its inhabitants and against all these nations round about; and I will utterly destroy them and make them a horror and a hissing, and an everlasting desolation. 10 Moreover, I will take from them the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp. 11 This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
12 ‘Then it will be when seventy years are completed I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation,’ declares the Lord, ‘for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans; and I will make it an everlasting desolation. 13 I will bring upon that land all My words which I have pronounced against it, all that is written in this book which Jeremiah has prophesied against all the nations."
14 "For many nations and great kings will make slaves of them, even them; and I will recompense them according to their deeds and according to the work of their hands.)’”15 For thus the Lord, the God of Israel, says to me, “Take this cup of the wine of wrath from My hand and cause all the nations to whom I send you to drink it. 16 They will drink and stagger and go mad because of the sword that I will send among them.”17 Then I took the cup from the Lord’s hand and made all the nations to whom the Lord sent me drink it:" (Jeremiah 25:8-17 NASB)
Tyre , comes out from under Babylonian domination, and becomes a satrapy of the Medo-Persian Empire under, the King "Cyrus the Great." Cyrus is a tolerant ruler and allows Tyre to pursue her former activities to become a world commercial center, and compares her to a prostitute: "Then she will go back to her harlot’s wages and will play the harlot with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth." (Isaiah 25:17b)
15b At the end of seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the harlot: 16 Take your harp, walk about the city, O forgotten harlot; Pluck the strings skillfully, sing many songs, That you may be remembered. 17 It will come about at the end of seventy years that the Lord will visit Tyre. Then she will go back to her harlot’s wages and will play the harlot with all the kingdoms [a]on the face of the earth. (Isaiah 23:15b-17 NASB)
Will Tyre succeed? Yes, Zechariah 9:3 says:
3 "For Tyre built herself a fortress And piled up silver like dust, And gold like the mire of the streets. (Zechariah 9:3 NASB)
Why does God allow Tyre to succeed? The prophecy of Isaiah says: "her harlot’s wages will be set apart to the Lord". God maneuvers matters so that it is used for the purpose of the will of the LORD-GOD.
18 "Her gain and her harlot’s wages will be set apart to the Lord; it will not be stored up or hoarded, but her gain will become sufficient food and choice attire for those who dwell in the presence of the Lord." (Isaiah 23:18 NASB)
The people of Tyre assist the Israelites that return from their captivity in Babylon, by supplying them with cedar timbers for rebuilding the temple. They also resume trade with the city of Jerusalem. (Ezra 3:7; Nehemiah 13:16.)
Incidentally, and as an aside, there are numerous words, phrases and ideas in Isaiah 23 that also correspond to the description of Babylon the Great in Revelation 18. But that is beyond the scope of this post.
2. Jeremiah 25:10-12 & Jeremiah 29:10
The prophecy in Jeremiah 25:10-12 prominently features the kingdom of Babylon. But there are other nations, including the kingdom of Judah, who are directly affected by what the prophecy says will happen. The prophecy gives a seventy year span of time during which nations in the Levant, including the Jews, would have to serve the king of Babylon.
will take you to the main discussion in GTR
that describes how and when that was fulfilled. (Depending on how fast your internet connection is, this link may take a few seconds. It will load the PDF and then turn to the appropriate page.)
The prophecy in Jeremiah 29:10 also relates to the kingdom of Babylon and what will happen to it after its seventy year grant of dominance is finished. There is also an issue concerning whether the text should be translated as "for Babylon" or "at Babylon" that is addressed.
3. 2 Chronicles 36:20-23 & Daniel 9:1-2
will take you to that portion of GTR
where this is discussed.
2 Chronicles 36:20-23 and Daniel 9:1-2 are the two places in the Bible where the seventy years from the book of Jeremiah are cited as references. As you will see in the GTR
discussions of these verses, they are sometimes referenced by those supporting the WT's view of a 607 BCE destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon. GTR
addresses all these issues.
4. Zechariah 1:7-12 & Zechariah 7:1-5
will take you to the discussion of 2 Chronicles 36:20-23.
will take you to the discussion of Daniel 9:1-2.
will take you to additional discussion of these two passages in the appendix of the book.
Post # 19 in this thread is an example of how 2Ch 36:20-23 is used to support the 607 BCE destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. This is exactly how WT uses it also. Post # 21 has my reply to that argument which is basically how the issue is addressed in GTR
Both Zechariah 1:7-12 and Zechariah 7:1-5 refer to "these seventy years" in connection with what happened to the, by then, repatriated Jews in the days of the prophet Zechariah. Both of these passages give a date reference in connection with Persian king Darius Hystaspes (c. 522-486 BCE; Zech 1:1; 7:1), as well as referring to two fasts the restored Jews were holding to. (Zech 7:5) These reference points are enough clues to date what "these seventy years" are referring to.
5. How Jeremiah and Zechariah Overlap
will take you to the discussion of Zechariah 1:7-12 in GTR
will take you to the discussion of Zechariah 7:1-5.
And additional discussion of these verses occurs here
If you familiarized yourself with the sub-title above on Zechariah you will see that those two passages provide a sort-of backdoor approach to proving that Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians in 587 BCE.
With that understanding, it is possible now to lay out the overlap between the seventy years of Jeremiah and "these seventy years" referred to in Zechariah. The overlap would look something like this:
6. Additional Points of Interest
. . . . . . . . . . |<-----------------Overlap------------------>|
. . . . . . . . . . 587 BCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 539 BCE
609 BCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 539 BCE (70 years for Babylon - Jeremiah)
. . . . . . . . . . |<------------------------------------------------------------->|
. . . . . . . . . . 587 BCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 517 BCE ("these 70 years" - Zechariah)
. . . . . . . . . . |<------------------------------------------------>|
. . . . . . . . . . 587 BCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 538 BCE (Josephus' 50/49 years)
See the link to Against Apion and the footnote that corrects the 50 years to 49 in post # 205 in this thread.
Post # 36 in this thread has a year-by-year breakdown of the kings of Babylon starting from Nabonidus and going backwards to Nebuchadnezzar. See also "Additional Note # 1 below for a similar chart in GTR.
There is a really good chart in GTR
in the appendix that overlays the years of Babylonian rulers, the years of Judean kings, and secular years, all in one chart. It can be found starting here
. Discussion about the tables actually starts at page 345 in the book. The tables start on page 350.
Post # 205 in this thread shows where the Josephus Against Apion
citation is used in the OP of this thread.
Just for comparison, the first post in this thread posits this breakdown of the 390 & 40 days/years of Ezekiel chapter 4:
968 BCE . . .928 BCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 538 BCE
968 BCE = Solomon marries Egyptian princess, start of his apostasy
928 BCE = Jereboam sets up calf worship in 10 tribe kingdom
538 BCE = End of 390+40 years; Cyrus frees Jews
See post # 208 below for a link to Tadua's review of the 2021 Regional Convention video on Daniel. The review has some very useful chronological discussion and a chart presentation towards the bottom of the page.
As I find additional related points of interest I will include them here.