Archaeological Backgrounds of the Exilic and Postexilic Era Part I: The Archaeological Background of Daniel -- By: Edwin M. Yamauchi

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 137:545 (Jan 1980)
Article: Archaeological Backgrounds of the Exilic and Postexilic Era Part I: The Archaeological Background of Daniel
Author: Edwin M. Yamauchi


Archaeological Backgrounds of the Exilic and Postexilic Era
Part I:
The Archaeological Background of Daniel

Edwin M. Yamauchi

[Edwin M. Yamauchi, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, History Department, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.]

[Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of four articles delivered by the author as the W. H. Griffith Thomas Memorial Lectures at Dallas Theological Seminary, November 6–9, 1979.]

Two recent articles by Bruce K. Waltke and by Gleason L. Archer, Jr. have appeared in this journal, emphasizing the importance of the Book of Daniel.1 In two earlier works this author has discussed some of the archaeological, linguistic, and historical data bearing on the Book of Daniel especially as they relate to the date of its composition and its authenticity as a prophecy.2

Conservative scholars are aware that some serious problems face the traditional view of Daniel as a prophetic work. An important attempt to confront some of these major issues has been contributed by distinguished British scholars—D. J. Wiseman, T. C. Mitchell, R. Joyce, W J. Martin, and K. A. Kitchen.3 This article is a discussion of some of these historical problems in the light of extra-biblical data.

Historical Problems

Nebuchadnezzar

The apparent contradiction between the third year of Jehoiakim (Dan 1:1) and the fourth year of Jehoiakim (Jer 46:2) for the date of Nebuchadnezzar’s initial attack can be readily explained by the use of different calendars (Nisan and Tishri), and of different regnal systems.4 Though Hartman and Di Lella list in their bibliography,5 the monograph by Wiseman and others which addresses this problem,6 their commentary still asserts: “Whatever the case, Nebuchadnezzar did not besiege Jerusalem in 606 B.C., as Dan 1:1 would have us believe, for…he did not

become king of Babylon till the following year.”7 Millard points out the possible solution:

However, on the accession year system and with an autumnal New Year, his [Jehoiakim’s] first year would run from September 608 to September 607, his second 607–6, his third September 606-October 605. This last would just accommodate the sta...

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