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Thread: Date of Artaxerxes Decrees

  1. #16
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    Why so many say his 7th year was 457 BC?

    It is because the first set of commentators are counting from a Nisan New Year, and the second group are counting using a Tishri to Tishri system. When Artaxerxes accession year stretches to Tishri, (late September) his 1st full year comes six months later, making the date mentioned refer to the following Nisan instead.

    Yes, the Hebrew New Year began in Nisan (late March) like the Persian one did. (Exodus 12:2) No, the original Hebrew calendar did not have a ‘Rosh Hashanah’ New Year as our modern Jewish one does; nor was there a distinction between ‘civil’ and ‘ecclesiastical’ calendars as so often claimed when discussing this subject.

    However, when it came to a king’s reign, the kingdom of Judah used to offset its regnal years to Tishri in a manner similar to how we designate a ‘fiscal year.’ Advocates for the 457 BC date apply this method to Artaxerxes, reckoning his accession from when his father died until Tishri, 464 BC. His first full year would have been deemed by Jewish writers to have started then, through to Tishri 463 BC. (The books of Ezra and Nehemiah, were not written by Persian historians.) Hence Artaxerxes’ 7th year, they would have meant to be Tishri 458 to Tishri 457 BC.

    Here is an explanatory table:


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  2. #17
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    Re: Why so many say his 7th year was 457 BC?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyberseeker View Post
    It is because the first set of commentators are counting from a Nisan New Year, and the second group are counting using a Tishri to Tishri system. When Artaxerxes accession year stretches to Tishri, (late September) his 1st full year comes six months later, making the date mentioned refer to the following Nisan instead.

    Yes, the Hebrew New Year began in Nisan (late March) like the Persian one did. (Exodus 12:2) No, the original Hebrew calendar did not have a ‘Rosh Hashanah’ New Year as our modern Jewish one does; nor was there a distinction between ‘civil’ and ‘ecclesiastical’ calendars as so often claimed when discussing this subject.

    However, when it came to a king’s reign, the kingdom of Judah used to offset its regnal years to Tishri in a manner similar to how we designate a ‘fiscal year.’ Advocates for the 457 BC date apply this method to Artaxerxes, reckoning his accession from when his father died until Tishri, 464 BC. His first full year would have been deemed by Jewish writers to have started then, through to Tishri 463 BC. (The books of Ezra and Nehemiah, were not written by Persian historians.) Hence Artaxerxes’ 7th year, they would have meant to be Tishri 458 to Tishri 457 BC.

    Here is an explanatory table:


    Sorry but this doesn't cut it.
    If Ezra and Nehemiah (or the Editor was using Jewish reckoning then he wouldn't COMBINE it with Persian.
    So with Xerxes killed in 465 BC, then Artaxerexs taking the throne in that same year, the accession year is either only until Adar 464 or Elul 464 BC.
    So the 7th year IF it was according to Jewish reckoning by Elul - though there is NO reason shown for this, as the counting of the months were according to the start of Nisan - then 464 to 463 is the 1st year FOR BOTH methods of counting.
    Ezra's date however does NOT equate to 26th March 457 BC for an arrival as demonstrated in Ezra 6:15 & 6:19.
    Further assuming that this was correct for a moment. This would STILL mean that Ezra left Babylon in 458 BC and this would mean that Artaxerxes made his decree in 458 BC. 483 years from the leads to 26 AD.
    You see Ezra is seen to call the 1st month as Nisan. This means we have no reason to assume a different way of counting for the months or the years. He didn't leave in Tishri and arrive in Shevat. He left in Nisan and arrived in Av. So he left in 458 BC and arrived in 458 BC.
    With your view he left in 458 BC and arrived in 457 BC.
    The KEY sticking point though for you is that even if you are right, (and I don't have reason from the scriptures in view to think you are, nor from any other sources,)
    The decree by Artaxerxes is made BEFORE Ezra left. The latest you have him leaving is Tishri 458 so the decree was before that. This means the very latest date for the decree even with your suggestion is 458 BC, so 26 AD.
    However Ezra points to a 459 BC giving of the decree IF it was Artaxerxes Longiman, with a possible 460 BC, as Ezra leaves at the START of Artaxerxes' 7th year, NOT the middle of it.

  3. #18
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    Re: Why so many say his 7th year was 457 BC?

    I'm getting back to this soon. Hopefully, folk who believe Daniel's 70 weeks start from the reign of Artaxerxes will follow my thread. Its important because his reign provides a key reference to Messianic prophecy. Even a one year difference is important.

    In the meanwhile, here is a diagram of the Hebrew calendar. Abib is the first month but its name was changed to Nisan during the Babylonian captivity. If you want the diagram, just right click and save.

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  4. #19
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    Re: Why so many say his 7th year was 457 BC?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyberseeker View Post
    I'm getting back to this soon. Hopefully, folk who believe Daniel's 70 weeks start from the reign of Artaxerxes will follow my thread. Its important because his reign provides a key reference to Messianic prophecy. Even a one year difference is important.

    In the meanwhile, here is a diagram of the Hebrew calendar. Abib is the first month but its name was changed to Nisan during the Babylonian captivity. If you want the diagram, just right click and save.

    Useful calendar.
    One reason I reject most ideas for fulfillment is the requirement to fit to the EXACT year.
    The prophecy itself speaks of weeks, not years and not days.
    So we are using a different measure to God.

    However as there is more than 1 year difference with the supposed Artaxerxes decree and the supposed fulfillment, it means I have to reject it based upon its own criteria.

  5. #20
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    Re: Why so many say his 7th year was 457 BC?

    Does Scripture support the 457 BC date?

    The argument becomes stronger with more evidence from Nehemiah’s account of Artaxerxes’ 20th year. He says, “In the month of Kislev, in the twentieth year,” (Nehemiah 1:1) then he proceeds to mention the same ‘twentieth’ in the following Nisan. (Nehemiah 2:1-3) If the Persian calendar was being quoted, it would have switched to the 21st year but it didn’t. So, Artaxerxes’ reign was indeed being measured from Tishri to Tishri, the ‘Nisan’ mentioned in this case referring to 444 BC. Put another way, Persian records of the same event, if it was of any interest to them, would have read, ‘twenty-first’ year.

    Scholars from very different theological persuasions have noticed this calendar ‘anomaly.’ For example, Andrews University has been at the forefront of research done on double-dated Jewish papyri found on Elephantine Island that pointed to the same conclusion – Jewish dating in the middle Persian period was being measured from Tishri to Tishri.

    Andrews University had a ‘historicist’ approach to interpreting scripture and Dallas Theological Seminary was ‘futurist.’ However, Harold Hoehner of D.T.S. produced the same results in his book, ‘Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ’. One group preferred the 457 BC date to start counting Daniel 70 weeks, and the other preferred the 444 BC date, but in both cases their logic is built on the information provided by Nehemiah, as well as archaeological research.
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  6. #21
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    Re: Why so many say his 7th year was 457 BC?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyberseeker View Post
    Does Scripture support the 457 BC date?

    The argument becomes stronger with more evidence from Nehemiah’s account of Artaxerxes’ 20th year. He says, “In the month of Kislev, in the twentieth year,” (Nehemiah 1:1) then he proceeds to mention the same ‘twentieth’ in the following Nisan. (Nehemiah 2:1-3) If the Persian calendar was being quoted, it would have switched to the 21st year but it didn’t. So, Artaxerxes’ reign was indeed being measured from Tishri to Tishri, the ‘Nisan’ mentioned in this case referring to 444 BC. Put another way, Persian records of the same event, if it was of any interest to them, would have read, ‘twenty-first’ year.

    Scholars from very different theological persuasions have noticed this calendar ‘anomaly.’ For example, Andrews University has been at the forefront of research done on double-dated Jewish papyri found on Elephantine Island that pointed to the same conclusion – Jewish dating in the middle Persian period was being measured from Tishri to Tishri.

    Andrews University had a ‘historicist’ approach to interpreting scripture and Dallas Theological Seminary was ‘futurist.’ However, Harold Hoehner of D.T.S. produced the same results in his book, ‘Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ’. One group preferred the 457 BC date to start counting Daniel 70 weeks, and the other preferred the 444 BC date, but in both cases their logic is built on the information provided by Nehemiah, as well as archaeological research.
    This might support the view to a Tishri to Tishri counting, but it doesn't resolve the base problem that Ezra left in 458 BC and that the decree was given before that date.

    Further let's look at the claim:
    Neh 1:1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the citadel,
    Neh 1:2 that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem.

    Neh 2:1 In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence.

    There are two reasons this could be understood other than the Tishri to Tishri idea.
    1) Neh 8:2 So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month.
    Now here the clear counting of the seventh month is from Nisan. This matches what is stated in Ezra - this then is Tishri, and is the Feast of Trumpets.

    Neh 8:14 And they found it written in the Law that the LORD had commanded by Moses that the people of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month,
    The Feast of Booths.
    So clearly Nehemiah is counting the 1st month of the year as Nisan and NOT Tishri. So why would Nehemiah be counting the Kings reign from Tishri when he is working in the Persian court and counting the start of the year as Nisan.

    2) According to other sites we don't know the exact date Artaxerxes ascended but:
    Artaxerxes’ accession year is generally thought to be the year 284 of the Babylonian Nobonassar era (beginning in December, 465 B.C.), that is, the 4th year of Olympiad 78.

    If Nehemiah was following a count from the time of Artaxerxes accession in December then the 20th year in this case would be 446 - 445.
    Kislev then would be at the start of the 20th year (as it is November- December) and Nisan also within the same 20th year.

  7. #22
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    Is there another explanation for the Tishri Count?

    Applying Judah’s regnal year system is reasonable, but there has been an unnoticed matter that may provide an even better explanation. When a continuous count of Sabbatical years is made from the time Moses instituted the Hebrew calendar, (Exodus 12:2,17) a rare Jubilee year coincides with the date of Artaxerxes accession in 465/464 BC!

    Once every 49 years the Hebrews inserted a 50th year and these Jubilees were an exception to the usual Nisan calendar. It started in Tishri and was announced on the Day of Atonement. (Leviticus 25:8-11) Thus, if a Jubilee had of been announced followed by a new king later in the same year, that king’s accession would have extended to the next Tishri.

    However, there is no precedent of this happening among the Judean or Samaritan kings, and the first example in the Bible is the Persian monarch under discussion here. The Jews seems to have measured Artaxerxes reign from Tishri to Tishri in keeping with the rare New Year in force when he took office. (For more information regarding the historical sequence and placement of Sabbatical years, please see my published book, ‘The Atonement Clock.’)

    So, we are left with three possibilities concerning the decree dates:


    1. Artaxerxes reign was being measured on the usual Nisan to Nisan calendar, and Nehemiah's “20th year” was a scribal error. The dates in question, therefore, were 458 BC and 445 BC.
    2. Jewish records of foreign monarchs followed Judah’s former Tishri to Tishri method of recording king’s reigns. The dates in question, therefore, were 457 BC and 444 BC.
    3. Artaxerxes reign began on a Jubilee, hence a Tishri to Tishri system uniquely applied to his reign. The dates in question, like the second option, were 457 BC and 444 BC.


    It is my opinion that the third one here is the correct option, and, having determined the year, the day can now be calculated. Artaxerxes’ decree was the first day of Nisan, and new moon of that year converts to our Julian date, 26th March 457 BC.
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  8. #23
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    Re: Is there another explanation for the Tishri Count?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyberseeker View Post
    Applying Judah’s regnal year system is reasonable, but there has been an unnoticed matter that may provide an even better explanation. When a continuous count of Sabbatical years is made from the time Moses instituted the Hebrew calendar, (Exodus 12:2,17) a rare Jubilee year coincides with the date of Artaxerxes accession in 465/464 BC!
    As I disagree that this is a Jubilee Year so we have a disagreement on this point.
    The Jubilee Calendar was reset by the 70 years of captivity to allow the Sabbaths which were not kept to be kept.
    This should put as a minimum the Sabbath Cycle to be operating from 516 / 515 BC which was when the Temple was finished according to Ezra 6.
    However what we also have is a 50 year cycle from 586 - the destruction of the Temple - to 536 BC - the return to Israel.
    This 586 to 516 is also 70 years.
    So counting 516 BC as Year 1 of a cycle then 509 is Year 7. 467 BC and 460 BC would be the end years of the Sabbath cycle. So 466 BC could be a Jubilee Year

    Once every 49 years the Hebrews inserted a 50th year and these Jubilees were an exception to the usual Nisan calendar. It started in Tishri and was announced on the Day of Atonement. (Leviticus 25:8-11) Thus, if a Jubilee had of been announced followed by a new king later in the same year, that king’s accession would have extended to the next Tishri.
    When else did this happen in scripture or in Jewish counting?

    However, there is no precedent of this happening among the Judean or Samaritan kings, and the first example in the Bible is the Persian monarch under discussion here. The Jews seems to have measured Artaxerxes reign from Tishri to Tishri in keeping with the rare New Year in force when he took office. (For more information regarding the historical sequence and placement of Sabbatical years, please see my published book, ‘The Atonement Clock.’)
    If no precedent then this means something claimed which hasn't been done. So it is a speculation to support an idea.

    So, we are left with three possibilities concerning the decree dates:
    1. Artaxerxes reign was being measured on the usual Nisan to Nisan calendar, and Nehemiah's “20th year” was a scribal error. The dates in question, therefore, were 458 BC and 445 BC.
    2. Jewish records of foreign monarchs followed Judah’s former Tishri to Tishri method of recording king’s reigns. The dates in question, therefore, were 457 BC and 444 BC.
    3. Artaxerxes reign began on a Jubilee, hence a Tishri to Tishri system uniquely applied to his reign. The dates in question, like the second option, were 457 BC and 444 BC.


    It is my opinion that the third one here is the correct option, and, having determined the year, the day can now be calculated. Artaxerxes’ decree was the first day of Nisan, and new moon of that year converts to our Julian date, 26th March 457 BC.
    This still makes the incorrect claim that the year Ezra left was the same year in which the decree is given.
    As Ezra left 1st Nisan, then the decree was given BEFORE the 1st Nisan.
    It also assumes that Ezra left DURING the reign of this Artaxerxes rather than the earlier one.

    However, as Artaxerxes Longiman accession was Kislev 465 BC so the 7th year would be 458 BC and this would push the decree back to 459 BC potentially.
    Your options 2 and 3 are identical, which means you are saying because it was a Jubilee so the Jews decided to apply Jewish counting to a Gentile monarch.
    However Tishri to Tishri still makes it 458 for Ezra leaving and 446 BC for Nehemiah to be told about the walls.

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