607 and the new New World Translation


This page assumes a basic understanding of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ teachings about 607 BCE. For more information, see 607 for Beginners and Jehovah’s Witnesses and 1914.

With much anticipation among the Jehovah’s Witness community, and yet apparently still some surprise, October 2013 saw the release of a significant revision of their translation of the Bible, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.

Certain features that had previously been touted as superior to other translations are not present in the new revision. These include the New World Translation’s fairly ‘wooden’ use of ‘progressive actions’, for example, “proceeded to say” instead of “said”. Excessive literalism of some phrases has been paraphrased; for example, the expression “anyone urinating against a wall” (1 Samuel 25:34; 1 Kings 14:10; 21:21; 2 Kings 9:8) has been replaced with “male”, as found in most Bible translations. Similarly, the previous New World Translation’s fairly unique rendering at Jeremiah 5:8: “Horses seized with sexual heat, having [strong] testicles”, has become, “They are like eager, lustful horses,” which is also very similar to most other translations. Other examples of ‘cleaning up’ include the removal of “cock” (“rooster”) and “ass” (“donkey”).

Jeremiah

Chapter 25

Surprisingly, the revision does not make any substantial change to Jeremiah 25:11-12, which still clearly states that the 70 years were a period during which all the nations would serve Babylon, rather than a period of Jewish exile. Additionally, Jeremiah 25:12 still provides cross-references to Daniel 5:26, 30 for the judgement of Babylon’s king at the end of the 70 years.

There is, though, a change to the first half of Jeremiah 25:29 that highlights another problem with Jehovah’s Witnesses’ distorted chronology. It previously stated:

For, look! it is upon the city upon which my name is called that I am starting off in bringing calamity, and should YOU yourselves in any way go free of punishment?”’

The 2013 revision renders this as:

For look! if I am bringing calamity first on the city that bears my name, should you go unpunished?”’

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that this verse refers, purportedly eighteen years in advance, to the destruction of Jerusalem in 607 BCE, and that other nations impacted by Babylon would only suffer calamities after that.

The portion previously rendered as “that I am starting off in” and now rendered as “first”, are in both cases adverbial forms instead of a correct rendering of the Hebrew verb chalal (חָלַל, Strong’s H2490), meaning “to begin”.* Most Bible translations render the verb chalal at this verse as “begin”, “am beginning” or “have begun”. The context of the verse is consistent with a calamity that begins in Jerusalem in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (per Jeremiah 25:1) rather than at some later point. If first were the intended meaning, the correct Hebrew term would be ri’shown (רִאשׁוֹן, Strong’s H7223).
* The Hebrew word chalal can also mean to profane or to pierce, neither of which support a rendering of first.

A rendering that suggests that other nations would suffer calamity only after calamity struck Jerusalem is not consistent with the fact that Assyria was destroyed by Babylon not only more than twenty years prior to Jerusalem’s destruction, but also several years before Jehoiakim’s 4th year.

Chapter 29

There is also a notable difference in the new translation of Jeremiah 29:10. Previously, this verse stated:

“For this is what Jehovah has said, ‘In accord with the fulfilling of seventy years at Babylon I shall turn my attention to YOU people, and I will establish toward YOU my good word in bringing YOU back to this place.’

The ambiguous expression, “in accord with”, was originally used to allow some leeway for the 70 years to end only once the Jews had actually returned to Jerusalem in, allegedly, 537 BCE. However, the new revision renders the verse in a manner that is not consistent with their interpretation:

“For this is what Jehovah says, ‘When 70 years at Babylon are fulfilled, I will turn my attention to you, and I will make good my promise by bringing you back to this place.’”

Despite the context, the verse still incorrectly says “at Babylon”.* However, the revised rendering does quite clearly state that the Jews would only be released after the 70 years had ended (and certainly not that 70 years would end once they had already returned).
* Even in their own interpretation, Jews exiled in 607 BCE were not actually ‘at Babylon’ for 70 years, because they include the two 4-month journeys from Judea to Babylon and from Babylon back to Judea as part of the 70 years.

Even worse, their interpretation of the verse becomes entirely redundant. If the 70 years were really a period for which the Jews were at Babylon, and the Jews had already returned once that period had ended, there would be no point at all for Jehovah to “turn my attention to you, and … make good my promise by bringing you back to this place” because they would by then already be there.

The following diagram depicts Jehovah’s Witnesses’ view of the ‘70 years’, along with some of the scriptures that contradict their view:
70_years_JW

Daniel

Verses in the book of Daniel that relate to the 70 years are not changed in a way that affects the meaning of the verses, and the word “kingship” is still employed (and inconsistently interpreted) at Daniel 1:1 and Daniel 2:1.

The 2013 revision abandons the distinctive translation of the Hebrew noun chorbah as “devastations” at Daniel 9:2, instead rendering it as “desolation” as found in most other translations. Because Daniel 9:2 makes reference to “the word of Jeremiah” (at Jeremiah 29:10) regarding the 70 years, it is now even less plausible to make the claim that Daniel thought the 70 years would soon end, since their own rendering of Jeremiah 29:10 now more clearly states that the Jews would return to their homeland only after the 70 years had already ended.

2 Chronicles

There has been no substantial change to the reference to 70 years at 2 Chronicles 36:21. The rendering of the verse still incorrectly associates ‘paying off Sabbaths’ with “Jehovah’s word spoken by Jeremiah”, despite the fact that Jeremiah never mentioned paying off Sabbaths.

The separately rendered phrases, “until the land had paid off its sabbaths” and “All the days it lay desolate it kept sabbath” should actually be rendered as a single parenthetical statement, directly referencing Leviticus 26:34: “At that time the land will pay off its sabbaths all the days of its lying desolated”. Leviticus 25:8 identifies the period for paying off Sabbaths as 49 years, which is also the length of time from the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BCE until the Jews returned in 538 BCE.

Zechariah

There have been no substantial changes to the references to 70 years at Zechariah* 1:12 and 7:5.
* Although Zechariah actually refers to the 70-year period from the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BCE until Darius’ 4th year (518 BCE), Jehovah’s Witnesses believe these verses refer to the same period of 70 years as Jeremiah, Daniel and 2 Chronicles.

Colossians

The awkward rendering “kingdom of the Son of his love” at Colossians 1:13 has also been abandoned, in favour of “kingdom of his beloved Son”. The former rendering has previously been used by the Watch Tower Society to imply a separate kingdom to the one supposedly set up in 1914; however, there is no indication that their interpretation of the verse has changed.

Index

The entry for 70 in the Bible Words Index has been substantially reduced. Of the verses relevant to their interpretation of Babylon’s 70 years, only Daniel 9:2 is still listed. The section previously also included Jeremiah 25:11, Jeremiah 29:10 and Zechariah 7:5.

Charts

Appendix A6 provides charts for the reigns of kings of Judah and Israel. The charts provide essentially the same information about the reigns as other Watch Tower Society publications, such as Insight on the Scriptures. As such, they do not take into consideration various co-regencies (or rivalries), except where verses about reigns would otherwise be very obviously contradictory. For Judah, the following overlapping periods are not taken into account: Asa & Jehoshaphat (about 3 years), Jehoshaphat & Jehoram* (about 6 years; Insight speculates about a shorter co-regency), Jehoram & Ahaziah (about 2 years), Amaziah & Azariah (about 24 years), Azariah & Jotham (about 11 years), Jotham & Ahaz* (about 4 years), Ahaz & Hezekiah* (about 14 years), and Hezekiah & Manasseh (about 10 years). For Israel, the following overlapping periods are ignored: Ahab & Ahaziah (about a year), Ahab & Jehoram* (about 4 years), Jehoahaz & Jehoash (about 2 years), Jehoash & Jeroboam (about 12 years), Menahem & Pekah (rivalry, about 10 years), Pekahiah & Pekah (about 2 years).# There are also some discrepancies between the years given for the beginning of each reign and the corresponding durations provided, even where the years are not given as approximate.
* Indicates kings for whom the length of reign given in the Bible does not include the period of co-regency.
# Where “about” is used above, the period is the upper limit; the actual period of overlap may be some number of months less, but not a full year. For more information about how various overlapping reigns can be deduced from the Bible, see the Comments column for the relevant events in the timeline from 1048 BCE to 515 BCE (PDF). A simplified timeline (PDF) in a style similar to that appearing in the New World Translation is also available.

In total, their chart extends the length of the reigns for the divided monarchy of Israel and Judah (after Solomon) by 68 years. It is no co-incidence that this discrepancy corresponds to the period from the supposed beginning of Jewish exile in 607 BCE until the actual end of Babylon’s 70 years in 539 BCE. The figures in their chronology are manipulated in order to apply the period of 390 years at Ezekiel 4:5 to the division of Judah and Israel until their date assigned for the fall of Jerusalem. However, when correctly accounting for the various co-regencies, the 390-year period actually runs from 929 BCE until the end of Babylon’s 70 years in 539 BCE. It makes much more sense that the 390 years to ‘carry their error’ would end only once their punishment had also ended. This is also consistent with the first ‘seven weeks’ (49 years) of Daniel’s ’70  weeks’, starting with the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BCE and ending with the return of the Jews in 538 BCE (Daniel 9:24), only after the people had ‘atoned for their error’ (Daniel 9:2-6). (The 40 years at Ezekiel 4:6 correspond to the period from Jeremiah beginning to prophesy in Josiah’s 13th  year in 627 BCE up until the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BCE.)
† See the timeline linked above. When the timeline was originally compiled, no consideration was given to Ezekiel’s ‘390 years’; however, the period aligns perfectly.

There were actually only 50 years from the destruction of Jersualem until the year they assign for the Jews’ return, and therefore only 48 years from the fall of Jerusalem until the actual end of Babylon’s 70 years. However, the Watch Tower Society extends the lengths of reign of Judean kings by 68 years. To make up the difference of the missing period of approximately 20 years when aligning the reigns of Judah with those of Israel, spurious periods are inserted prior to the reigns of Zechariah (10.5 years) and Hoshea (9.5 years).

Various scriptures indicate the years of reign of kings of Judah and Israel relative to one another. The following table shows these correlations, including the points at which the Watch Tower Society’s chronology cannot be reconciled with the scriptures. Alignment in the Watch Tower column is considered ‘correct’ if it can be interpreted as consistent with the scripture for that row, regardless of whether co-regencies are properly taken into account.

Several misalignments in the Watch Tower Society’s chart can be resolved by reducing the reign of Jeroboam (I) by one year, increasing Ahab’s reign by one year, and decreasing the reigns of Ahaziah (of Israel) and Athaliah by one year each. However, this would defeat the purpose for adjusting the reigns by 68 years, as Jeroboam’s reign would then start in the wrong year for ending the period of 390 years in 607 BCE.

For more information about the Watch Tower Society’s erroneous chronology throughout the Judean monarchy and the Neo-Babylonian period, see the JW timeline from 1118 BCE to 515 BCE (PDF).

Verse

Judah

Israel

Bible

Watch Tower

Name

Year

Length

Name

Year

Length

Year (BCE)

Alignment

Year (BCE)

Difference

Alignment

2 Samuel 5:4 David

1

40

1008

1077

69 years earlier
2 Samuel 2:10

?

Ish-bosheth

1

2

?

✓ starting point of Ish-bosheth’s reign not stated

?

✓ starting point of Ish-bosheth’s reign not stated
2 Samuel 2:11; 5:5

8

David

1

33

1001

1070

1 Kings 11:42 Solomon

1

40

969

1037

68 years earlier
1 Kings 12:20
1 Kings 14:20

1

Jeroboam

1

22

929

997

1 Kings 14:21 Rehoboam

17

1 Kings 15:1-2 Abijah (Abijam)

1

3

18

912

980

1 Kings 15:9-10 Asa

1

41

20

909

✓*

978


(but “counted from 977” per Insight)
1 Kings 15:25

2

Nadab

1

2

908

976^

✗ 1 year late
1 Kings 15:28,33

3

Baasha

1

24

907

975^

✗ 1 year late
1 Kings 16:8

26

Elah

1

2

884

952^

✗ 1 year late
1 Kings 16:15

27

Zimri

1

7 days

883

951^

✗ 1 year late
1 Kings 16:21

27

Omri/Tibni

1

883

✗ 1 year late
1 Kings 16:23

31

Omri

12

879

✓ includes rivalry with Tibni

947^

✗ 1 year late
1 Kings 16:29

38

Ahab

1

22

872

940^

✗ 1 year late
✗ 1 year too short
1 Kings 22:41-42 Jehoshaphat

1

25

4

871

✓ includes Jehoshaphat’s co-regency with Asa

937

66 years earlier
(✗ 936 per Insight)
1 Kings 22:51

17

Ahaziah

1

2

855

✓ co-regent with Ahab

920^

65 years earlier ✗ 1 year late
✗ 1 year too long
(✓ 919 per Insight)
2 Kings 3:1

18

Jehoram

1

12#

854

✓ 1st year of co-regency with Ahab

917^

63 years earlier ✗ Jehoram (son of Ahab) 3 years late
2 Kings 1:17 Jehoram (co-regent with Jehoshaphat)

2

1

851

✓ 1st year of sole reign 66 years earlier ✗ Jehoram (son of Ahab) 2 years early
2 Kings 8:16-17 Jehoram

1

8#

5

847

✓ 1st year of sole reign

913

✓ 1st year of sole reign
2 Kings 9:29 Ahaziah

1

1

11

840

✓*

906^

✓*
2 Kings 8:25-26
2 Chronicles 22:2

12

2 Kings 10:36 Jehu

1

28

905^

65 years earlier ✗ 1 year too long
(✓ 904 per Insight)
2 Kings 11:3 Athaliah

1

6

✗ 1 year too long
2 Kings 12:1 Jehoash

1

40

7

834

898

64 years earlier ✓*
2 Kings 13:1

23

Jehoahaz

1

17

813

✓*

876

63 years earlier
2 Kings 13:10

37

Jehoash

1

16#

798

✓ 1st year of co-regency with Jehoahaz

862^

64 years earlier
2 Kings 14:1-2 Amaziah

1

29

2

795

✓* 2nd year of sole reign

858

63 years earlier ✓ 2nd year of sole reign
2 Kings 14:21; 15:2 Uzziah (Azariah)

1

52

790

✓ 1st year of co-regency with Amaziah

829

39 years earlier
2 Kings 14:23 Amaziah

15

Jeroboam

1

41

781

844^

63 years earlier
2 Kings 14:17

Final

15 years after Jehoash

767

828

61 years earlier
2 Kings 15:1 Uzziah

1

27

✓ 1st year of sole reign

829

62 years earlier ✗ Uzziah 11 years early
2 Kings 15:8

38

Zechariah

1

6 months

753

‘803^
792^

39 years earlier, excluding spurious period ✗ spurious 10.5-year gap between Jeroboam & Zechariah
2 Kings 15:13

39

Shallum

1

1 month

752

791^

2 Kings 15:17 Menahem

1

10

✗ 1 year too long
(✓ 790 per Insight)
2 Kings 15:32 Jotham

1

16

Pekah

2

749

✓ 1st year of co-regency with Uzziah; 2nd year of Pekah’s rivaly with Menahem

777

28 years earlier
2 Kings 15:23 Uzziah

50

Pekahiah

1

2

742

✓*

780^

38 years earlier
2 Kings 15:27

52

Pekah

1

20

740

✓* 1st year of sole reign

778^

2 Kings 16:1-2 Ahaz

1

16#

17

734

✓ 1st year of rivalry with Jotham; 17th year of Pekah includes rivalry with Menahem and co-regency with Pekahiah

762

28 years earlier
(but “counted from 761” per Insight)
2 Kings 15:30 Jotham

20

Hoshea

1

9

731

✓* 20th year includes 4 year rivalry with Ahaz

‘758^
748^

17 years earlier, excluding spurious period ✗ spurious 9.5-year period between Pekah & Hoshea
2 Kings 18:1 Hezekiah

1

3

728

✓* 1st year of co-regency with Ahaz

746

28 years earlier
2 Kings 18:9

4

7

725

✓ 4th year of co-regency with Ahaz

742

27 years earlier ✗ 1 year late
2 Kings 18:10

6

9

723

✓ 6th year of co-regency with Ahaz

740

✗ 1 year late
2 Kings 17:11 Ahaz

12

✓ Hoshea’s 9th year
✓ Ahaz’ 12th year including rivalry with Jotham

751 (Ahaz)
748 (Hoshea)

28 years earlier
25 years earlier
✗ ‘1st’ year of Hoshea after spurious period
✗ Ahaz’ 12th year is 3 years earlier than Hoshea’s ‘1st
2 Kings 16:20
2 Kings 18:2
2 Chronicles 29:1
Hezekiah

1

29#

715

✓ 1st year of sole reign

746

31 years earlier ✗ 1 year too long
(✓ 745 per Insight)
2 Kings 21:1 Manasseh

1

55

696

✓ co-regent with Hezekiah

716

20 years earlier
2 Kings 21:19 Amon

1

2

641

661

2 Kings 22:1 Josiah

1

31

639

659

2 Kings 23:31 Jehoahaz

1

3 months

609

✓ started late 609

628

✓ started early 628
2 Kings 23:36 Eliakim
(Jehoiakim)

1

11

608

628

2 Kings 24:8 Jehoiachin

1

3 months

598

618

2 Kings 24:18 Zedekiah
(Mattaniah)

1

11

597

617

* The calendar year for Judah for this event is one greater than the year given for Israel, but is consistent with Tishri-based dating for Judah and Nisan-based dating for Israel. Comparison of various verses (e.g. 2 Kings 18:1,9-10; 2 Kings 8:25-26; 10:36) confirms that Judah used Tishri-based dating and Israel used Nisan-based dating for reigns.
# The recorded length of this reign does not include the initial period of co-regency.
† This misalignment can only be reconciled if the dating systems for the reigns are arbitrarily changed.
‡ This 68-year discrepancy corresponds to the spurious period from 607 BCE until Babylon’s fall in 539 BCE, which makes up the remainder of Ezekiel’s ‘390 years’.
^ The Watch Tower Society gives the year for the start of this reign as approximate.
1 In light of 2 Kings 15:30, the Watch Tower Society claims that 2 Kings 17:1 refers to Hoshea ‘beginning’ to reign (in 748) ‘in some sense’ in Ahaz’ 12th year (even though they say Ahaz’ reign began in 762). Alternatively, some Bible commentaries suggest that Hoshea’s reign ‘became peaceful’ in Hoshea’s 9th year (Ahaz’ 12th year), even though that would be during Shalmaneser’s siege. However, Hoshea had actually reigned nine years by the time of Ahaz’ 12th year. Most translations, including the previous NWT, use “became” or “began” at this verse for Hoshea’s reign, but it does not appear in the original text. Young’s Literal Translation and Douay-Rheims have renderings consistent with 2 Kings 15:30. The rendering has been improved in the revised NWT, but their interpretation remains flawed and internally contradictory.

Scripture quotations, unless otherwise stated, are from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures Copyright ©2013 Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society.
Copyright ©2014–2016 Jeffro. All Rights Reserved.

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10 thoughts on “607 and the new New World Translation

  1. Does this mean anything to you?
    2520 yrs = 7 times Gentile Times
    work the above from the date from 520 bce start of the 2nd build temple
    This brings you to 2001
    If it does I have more to say
    Victor

    • ‘2520 years’ is a superstitious numerological contrivance that is not even soundly based in ‘scripture’, let alone having any basis in reality. More detail about the convoluted process of deriving that period is available here. Attempting to associate that spurious period with any modern event is just as stupid and pointless as the JWs’ attempt to associate the destruction of Jerusalem (using the wrong year) with 1914.

    • I should have added that Revelation 11:2 associates the time of ‘trampling’ by the ‘nations’ with the 42 months or 3½ times, not ‘2520 years’.

      Of course, this hasn’t stopped the ‘technique’ of apocalyptic sects: make up a number using spurious methods and add that number to the year of an arbitrary historical event to arrive at a year in the vicinity of the current date.

      There are no good reasons to associate anything in the book of Revelation with anything in the modern era. The 3½ times most likely refers to the period from the Jewish revolt in Jerusalem in 66 CE (during the reign of Emperor Nero, referred to in Revelation by the number 666) until Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 CE.

      It is also possible that the author of Revelation was simply insane.

  2. Why reply to me,i do not understand, you have no belief in any of these dates, or the writer.
    I however believe, and have faith in the Chronology being fulfilled in our present day, in it’s entirety, in the next few weeks.

    • Since you believe there will be some 'fulfilment' "in the next few weeks", this is very easy to test…

      Assuming, 'few' is less than 'several', I'll take it as no more than 4, at which point your 'prediction' will be marked as a failure. But feel free to be more specific about what you mean by “few”.

      P.S. “chronology” isn’t a proper noun and doesn’t need a capital letter.

    • Okay… you’re alleging that something will happen on 22 February 2015… so far, that’s not terribly remarkable.

      What specific action will happen on that day that will constitute incontrovertible proof of a ‘fulfilment’ of Romans 11:25?

      P.S. “day” isn’t a proper noun either.

      P.P.S. Nothing relevant happened on 22 February 2015.

  3. THANK YOU for your extensive research and explanations – especially the “607 for beginners.”
    I am still struggling to wrap my head around all of this, especially considering that I am not fond of history or geography. Be that as it may, I have session #2 of sitting down with the elders this weekend and your site has been of much assistance. Thanks again!

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