If we use secular and strict Biblical references, we know Babylon was said to be destroyed in 539 BCE and this marked the end of the 70 years exile. Thus counting backwards 70 years from that we get to 609 B.C. Thus based in this logic, we learn that the 70 years under Babylon began in 609 B.C, which seemingly means the Jewish Babylonian exile began 22 years before Jerusalem completely fell to Babylon in 587 B.C. But I have found some issues with this in scripture and suggest 598-528 as the true fullfillment....
According to secular historians on wikipedia:
”Jehoiakim was appointed king by Necho II, king of Egypt, in 609 B.C… Jehoiakim ruled originally as a vassal of the Egyptians, paying a heavy tribute. To raise the money he "taxed the land and exacted the silver and gold from the people of the land according to their assessments." However, after the Egyptians were defeated by the Babylonians at the battle of Carchemish in 605 BC, Nebuchadnezzar II besieged Jerusalem, and Jehoiakim changed allegiances to avoid the destruction of Jerusalem. He paid tribute from the treasury in Jerusalem, some temple artifacts, and handed over some of the royal family and nobility as hostages…
Jehoiakim continued for three years as a vassal to the Babylonians, until the failure of an invasion of Egypt in 601 BC undermined their control of the area. Jehoiakim switched allegiance back to the Egyptians…. King Jehoiakim refused to pay tribute in Nebuchadnezzar's fourth year, which led to another siege in Nebuchadnezzar's seventh year, culminating with the death of Jehoiakim and the exile to Babylonia of King Jehoachin (Jehoakim’s son). Jehoachin’s successor Zedekiah and others were exiled in Nebuchadnezzar's 18th year; a later deportation occurred in Nebuchadnezzar's 23rd year. The dates, numbers of deportations, and numbers of deportees given in the biblical accounts vary. These deportations are dated to 597 BCE for the first, with others dated at 587/586 BCE, and 582/581 BCE respectively.
The following table is based on Rainer Albertz's work on Israel in exile.(Alternative dates are possible.)
609–598 BCE: Reign of Jehoiakim. Began giving tribute to Nebuchadnezzar in 605 BCE. First deportation, purportedly including Daniel.
598/7 BCE: Reign of Jehoiachin (reigned 3 months). Siege and fall of Jerusalem.
Second deportation, 16 March 597/8
Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem in 597 BC, and managed to capture the city and king Jehoiachin,[along with all of the aristocracy of Jerusalem…. Then Nebuchadnezzar exiled 10,000 of the officers, and the craftsmen, and 7,000 soldiers. Then, he appointed Jehoiachin's uncle, Mattaniah as king of Judah. Later, Mattaniah changed his name to Zedekiah…
In July 587 BC, Zedekiah rebelled against Babylonia, making an alliance with Egypt, and Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem again, starving the people. Later, the Babylonian troops managed to get inside the walls and conquer the city, yet Zedekiah and some of his troops managed to escape to Jericho, where they fought against the Babylonians (called Chaldeans by the Bible), who captured Zedekiah and his sons and brought them in chains to Babylonia, where Zedekiah's children were executed in front of him. On the seventh of Av, Nebuzaradan, a Babylonian executioner, burned down Solomon's Temple, destroyed the walls of Jerusalem, and exiled the rest of the Jews to Babylonia. He appointed Gedalia as the administrator of the Jews that weren't exiled from Judah. Judah ceased to exist a year later, in 586 BC. Gedalia was later murdered in 582 BC. - Wikipedia (Jehoiakim, Jewish-Babylonian war, Babylonian captivity).
Another source known as “ancientpages” alternatively states:
“...the so-called ‘Babylonian Exile’ started with the deportation Jehoiachin (Jehoakim’s son), a king of Judah, who reigned only three months and ten days, from 609 to 598 B.C, along with his family… were also forced to relocate to the city of Babylon.
As part of his efforts to keep the region under his control… Nebuchadnezzar appointed Zedekiah as King of Judah in his place, who reigned from 597 to 586 BCE… Jerusalem fell in July 587 or 586 BC, and King Zedekiah was taken captive to Babylon after seeing his sons killed before him and then having his eyes plucked out” - Ancientpages
Beginning the Calculation
We see that regardless of whether Jehoachin began to reign in 609 B.C, or Jehoakim reigned (though I think the wiki article may be more reliable), we are given detail of a Babylonian oppression and the beginning of Jewish exile during the beginning of a newly enthroned Jewish king in 609 of whom gave into Babylon, which matches our calculations counting backwards 70 years from the fall of Babylon.
If this is the case, then the it’s possible to reason that the 70 exile does not begin with “Jerusalem’s destruction”, but possibly with the establishing of a king who gives into “Babylon’s oppression” upon Jerusalem and allows its people to be exiled (in part or in whole), no matter whether Jehoakim or Jehoachin was in charge.
If we calculate the 70 years from when Jerusalem fell to Babylon, counting forward 70 years from 587, we are lead to 517 BCE. However this is not the year stated by Jeremiah to be the end of the 70 years, for Babylon fell in 539 BCE, which is much earlier than 517 BCE.
“This is what Jehovah says: ““But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt,” declares Jehovah, “and will make it desolate forever…. When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.“ - Jeremiah 25:12, Jeremiah 29:10
If we read into account Ezekiel 40:1: “In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, in the start of the year, on the tenth [day] of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city had been struck down, on this very same day the hand of Jehovah proved to be upon me, so that he brought me to that place. . .”
We are told that the 25th year of exile is the 14th year after the city was struck, this is telling us that the exile began before the fall of Jerusalem! For the “25”th year of exile, is “14” years after Jerusalem’s fall. Thus 25 years back in time from 573 BCE (which is the year we get by taking 14 from 587) is 598 BCE, which points to the FIRST siege of Jerusalem, Jehokim’s death/Jehoachim’s removal and the establishment of Jehoachim/Zedekiah, and NOT the destruction of Jerusalem, which happens later during the rule of Zedekiah in 587 BCE .
If the exile began in 598 the 70 year exile, then 70 years from here leads to 528 BCE, which would imply Babylon fell in 528 BCE and not 539 BCE....
However, the fall of Babylon is in secularism is said to be in 539BCE…If that date for Babyon’s fall is true, 598 to 539 BCE equals only 59 years. But this does not fulfill Yehovah’s prophecy for we are 11 years off of 70 (Jeremiah 25:12, Jeremiah 29:10)
However, if the secular date of Babylon’s end is correct, we "could" go the WT route and say it’s possible the date of Jerusalem’s fall may be incorrect secularly.... In this case, to keep the date of 539 BCE for Babylon’s fall, then Jerusalem’s fall would have to be moved by 11 years to make up for the loss to get to 539 BCE.
587 BCE minus 11 years is 598 BCE, which is the exact same year as the first siege of Jerusalem. The problem here is this would mean the destruction of Jerusalem happened during the first siege, not the second, leaving no reason for a second siege and destruction. In addition, that would place the king of Babylon’s 19th year of rule that year also... I
f we take away 18 years, leading to 616 BCE, this means the first year of his rule was that year, and that the 4th year of Jehoakim’s rule was also that year, meaning the first year of Jehoakim was in 619 BCE… which is all far beyond the dates established in the secular world for these rulers. Moving the year of Jerusalem’s fall causes us to move the years of everything else to maintain scriptural harmony. So either these are the real dates of the rulers and timeline, meaning all of secular history is far off on these events, or Babylon fell in later 528 BCE and not 539 BCE…
However, I have found that through secular sources, that it’s possible that this is still prophetically correct, being that Cyrus "set up the beginning” of Babylon’s fall in 539, but that it didn’t come into complete fruition until 11 years later, historical sources state:
Thus, in this scenario, we could say it is keeping with God’s promises he said Babylon would fall, and would never be rebuilt, perhaps the bringing of the famine was the “true” fall of Babylon, God expelling anyone who remained in the city after it was taken over, disrupting the repairs of its walls, and from then, it was truly never inhabited… (Isaiah 13:20)“Leick notes that on Oct. 29, 539 B.C., Babylon fell to Cyrus the Great, the legendary Persian leader. Nabonidus, the last king of independent Babylonia was taken to Iran to live out the rest of his life in exile. Cyrus claims that his troops faced no resistance when he took Babylon in an ancient inscription which is now in the British Museum and called the "Cyrus Cylinder." Cyrus claimed that "I went as harbinger of peace into Babylon," Cyrus claimed (translation by Irving Finkel) and that he "I founded my sovereign residence within the palace amid celebration and rejoicing."
If there was a warm welcome for the Persians it didn't last. In 528–526 B.C., Babylon and the area around it was hit by a famine that was brought about by the failure of barley crops, said Kristin Kleber, a lecturer at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, in a paper published in 2012 in the journal Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und vorderasiatische Archäologie. The workers "who rebuilt the city wall of Babylon in the years 528–526 B.C. must have felt as though they were in the antechamber of hell," writes Kleber, noting that ancient texts mention discontent among the Babylonians.
However Babylon would never be independent again. The next millennia would see the city fall under the sway of several different empires, including that of Alexander the Great (who died in Babylon in 323 B.C.), the Seleucids, the Parthians and even the Romans. In the end, it would be "buried under the sands" Leick writes, along with many other ancient Mesopotamian cities”. - Livescience
Alternatively, some other historians state:
“After conquering Babylon, circa 528 BCE the Persian king Cyrus "allowed the Hebrews in [Babylonian] captivity, now referred to as Jews, to return to Jerusalem” (Davis and others [Book 1] 130).” - Cora Agatucci
“The Fall of Babylon denotes the end of the Neo-Babylonian Empire after it was conquered by the Achaemenid Empire in 539 BCE. To the east, the Achaemenid Empire had been growing in strength. In 539 BCE, Cyrus the Great invaded Babylonia, turning it into a satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire. Likewise, when did the Babylonian Empire begin and end? Fall of Neo-Babylonia After Nebuchadnezzar II died, the empire began to fall apart once again. In 529 BC, the Persians conquered Babylon and made it part of the Persian Empire”. - Hercules Larrazabal
“After Nebuchadnezzar II died, the empire began to fall apart once again. In 529 BC, the Persians conquered Babylon and made it part of the Persian Empire”. - Inetresource
Thus in this case, the attack of Cyrus was not the fall of the Babylonian Empire, but of the initial attack upon city of Babylon only, the true fall of the Empire happened by 529 BCE, as it became part of the Persian Empire. Thus being its prophetic end which harmonises with scripture.
The 70 year period thus, attained purely through internal Biblical math, and backed up by secular sources, is 598-528 BCE.