In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah,
Pharaoh Necho put Jehoiakim on the throne of Judah to succeed his brother, Jehoahaz. Jehoiakim and Jehoahaz were the sons of the godly king Josiah 2 Kgs 23:31-37). This began the seventy-year captivity because of Israel’s idolatry (1 Kgs 11:5; 12:28; 16:31; 18:19; 2 Kgs 21:3-5; 2 Chr 28:2-8). This is the beginning of the important prophetic time period — the times of the Gentiles. This period began in 605 B.C. and will extend until Jesus returns as the Messiah.
Luke 21:24, “And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
Critics point to a seeming conflict between this statement by Daniel regarding the third year of Jehoiakim’s reign and the statement by Jeremiah in which he says that the event occurred in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (Je 25:1; 46:2). They use this kind of argument to show that the book of Daniel is spurious in its historicity. However, Daniel used Babylonian calculation rather than Hebrew. It was customary in the Babylonian system to reckon the second year as the first year of a king’s reign and the first year as the year of his accession. Daniel spent most of his life in Babylon and was indoctrinated into the Babylonian culture as a captive. It was natural that Daniel used a Babylonian form of calculation.
Daniel himself studied the prophecies of Jeremiah (Da 9:2). He would not have contradicted Jeremiah because he studied it firsthand. He also writes independently from personal knowledge. Jeremiah uses the Hebrew form of reckoning but Daniel the Babylonian.
Another possible view is that, in Judah, Daniel used the old Jewish calendar year that began in the month Tishri (September/October). Jeremiah used the Babylonian calendar that began in the spring in the month Nisan (March/April). This would mean that Nebuchadnezzar conquered all of Syria and the territory south to the borders of Egypt in late spring or early summer of 605 B.C. Jeremiah 46:2 mentions that the Carchemish battle preceded Daniel’s captivity and occurred in Jehoiakim’s fourth year. The only period that resolves Daniel’s third year and Jeremiah’s fourth year was the six months between Nisan and Tishri, 605 B.C. The Hebrews maintained two calendars: 1) the religious calendar that began with Nisan in the spring and 2) a civil calendar that began with Tishri in the fall. An event occurring between Nisan and Tishri would date one year differently. Any event in this period could be attributed to either year.
A third view is that Daniel 1:1 was an earlier raid on Jerusalem not recorded elsewhere in Scripture. In the battle at Carchemish in May-June 605 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar met Pharaoh Necho and destroyed the Egyptian army in Jehoiakim’s fourth year (Je 46:2). Daniel 1:1 occurred before this battle. Nebuchadnezzar could not have avoided Carchemish to conquer Jerusalem first. In this case, the capture of Daniel would be about 606 B.C.
Pharaoh invaded Babylon, but Nebuchadnezzar defeated him at Carchemish. After Nebuchadnezzar’s defeat of the Egyptians at Carchemish, he moved south on his way to the Sinai to take Syria and eventually Jerusalem (an ally of Pharaoh). The Babylonian Chronicle gives the result of the Carchemish battle: “Nebuchadnezzar conquered the whole area of the Hatti-country.”
God made a covenant with Israel just before she crossed Jordan to enter the land (De 28-30). The conditions of this covenant included how God would deal with the obedience and disobedience of the nation Israel. Disobedience would bring discipline upon Israel (De 28:15-68). This included invasion of Gentile nations and the dispersion of Israel to Gentile countries (De 28:49-68). This discipline would not be lifted until Israel turned back to God and obeyed His commandments (De 30:1-10).
The Northern Kingdom of Israel had gone into the captivity of Assyria in 722 B.C. Now Judah went into captivity almost 100 years later. The reason for this delay was the leadership of godly kings during that period. Eventually, Jehoiakim, king of Judah, rebelled against the warning of Jeremiah. Judah went into idolatry (Je 7:30-31) and neglected the Sabbath Day and the sabbatical year (Je 34:12-22), so God sent Nebuchadnezzar as His instrument of discipline upon Judah.
The Bible is the veritable Word of God.
Clearly, Daniel’s account is genuine. Daniel’s account can be reconciled with accounts both outside the Bible and in other books of the Bible. Clearly, critics want to discredit the book of Daniel because of its many prophecies of absolute accuracy. Many of Daniel’s prophecies have already come true – prophecies of the kingdoms of Nebuchadnezzar, Persia, Greece, and Rome. That is why critics want to date Daniel after these historical events.
An attack on Daniel is an attack on the Word of God itself. Ezekiel classifies Daniel with Noah and Job (Ezek 14:14, 20; 28:3). Jesus places his stamp of approval on Daniel. He calls Daniel a “prophet.” If we reject Daniel as authentic, we reject the authenticity of the Lord Jesus.
Mt 24:15, “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place… ”
If the book of Daniel was written in 175-165 B.C. as the critics claim, why did it get into the Septuagint, which was completed in 285 B.C.? Why did Josephus, the Jewish historian, say that the struggle with Antiochus Epiphanies (175-165 B.C.) was prophesied by Daniel 408 years before? Josephus said that these things came to pass “according to the prophecy of Daniel, which was given 408 years before.” When Alexander the Great was told of Daniel’s prophecies and that he himself was prophesied in Scripture (Da 8:5-8), he spared the city of Jerusalem. Therefore, Daniel must have been written before 332 B.C.
Do you believe the Bible to be the veritable Word of God? Either you do, or you don’t. There is no middle ground on that question. Whoever denies the integrity of Daniel impeaches the credibility of Christ.