Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
69 and not 70 years. According to their usual view, the annual fasting not having begun until 586, a year after their usual date for the temple's destruction, this would reduce the period to 69 years. Therefore this 69 years' period to which the P.B.I.'s usual chronology reduces this time cannot be the period that Jehovah gives as the time of their having fasted 70 years. The fact that they give various dates for Zedekiah's overthrow is subversive of their "sure" proof, supposedly taught by Zech. 7: 1-5—that from this overthrow until 518 B.C. were 70 years.
And these Editors refer with much assurance to what they claim is a correct translation of the Hebrew, of which they know next to nothing, as a proof of the correctness of their understanding of this section of Scripture! If they had an accurate grammatical knowledge of Hebrew and would use it honestly, Zech. 7: 1-5, accurately translated and interpreted as to its teaching on the termination of the 70 years' fasting for Nebuchadnezzar's destructiveness, would, from their standpoint, be about the last passage in the Bible that they would quote to prove their chronological theories on the time of his destructiveness. The A. V. and some other translations (because their translators held the same views as the P. B. I) have darkened the thought of this passage by translating the singular demonstrative pronoun Zeh (this) by the plural (these), as though it read eleh (these), and then making it limit the word for years, instead of making it a simple demonstrative. If it would limit the word for years, it would have to be plural, eleh, whereas it is singular, zeh. We offer the following, with bracketed comments, as an accurate literal rendering of Zech. 7: 2-5: "For Bethel had sent Sherezer and Regem-Melech and their men to entreat Jehovah's favor, and to speak to the priests who were at the house of Jehovah, and to the prophets, saying, Shall I, separated [alone, i.e., without waiting for others to join in renewing
the discontinued custom of fasting in the fifth month], weep in the fifth month, as I did [past tense, did, not the equivalent of the present perfect tense, have done. The past tense proves that the custom of fasting in the fifth month had for some years been discontinued] this [zeh, singular, this, not eleh, plural, these] so many years? And the word of Jehovah was to me, saying, Speak to all the people of the land and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned [the past tense used here in the Hebrew shows that the returned Israelites had some time in the past given up the custom of fasting in the fifth month; for if they had continued the custom until and including the year in which they made the inquiry, the equivalent of the present perfect tense or the present tense would have been used as denoting a custom still in vogue] in the fifth and in the seventh [month], and this [singular in the Hebrew; zeh, this, (not eleh, these), does not limit the Hebrew expression for "seventy years"; for if it did, it would have been plural, eleh, these] for seventy years, did ye fast for Me, Myself?" These verses completely refute the P.B.I. claim. They show that for some years before the inquiry was made in the fourth year of Darius, the returned Israelites had given up the custom of fasting for the destruction of the temple in the fifth month, and for the uncrowning of Zedekiah and the beginning of the desolation in the seventh month. (The P.B.I.'s claim that they mourned the obscure Gedaliah in the seventh month is a stupid evasion that will deceive no thoughtful person acquainted with the facts. What they mourned was the loss of their temple, kingdom and country). These verses, therefore, prove that already for a number of years before the fourth year of Darius the Israelites had ceased observing the annual fasts which they had kept for 70 years for the desolation of their temple, royalty and land in the fifth and seventh months. Bethel, fearing this was wrong, wished to know whether it, without waiting for the other Israelites to co-operate,
should renew the custom of fasting in the fifth month. Hence these verses prove that the 70 years began some years before 587 B.C., which the P.B.I. usually claim was the date of the destruction of Israel's temple and royalty, or some years before 588, which in the article under review they give as the date of that event. While the verses do not say just when the fasting began, in view of their showing that their 70 years' fastings had for years before 518 ceased to be kept, the only logical date for their start is 605 B.C.— on the events' first anniversaries—and for their end is 536 B.C.
Apparently the circumstances and occasion of the question were the following: Shortly after the Israelites were by their adversaries compelled to cease from building the temple after its foundation was laid, a religious decline set in (Hag. 1: 2-11), accompanied, among other things, by their ceasing to fast for the four crucial events connected with Jerusalem's overthrow in the days of Zedekiah (Zech. 8: 19). When the religious revival set in connected with their commencing to build the temple anew (Hag. 1: 1214), there were many things in their conduct that called for reformation; and after the more important had received reformatory attention, about two years after their commencing again the building of the temple, the question of the propriety of fasting on those four anniversaries, particularly on that of the temple's destruction, as a pious service, began to be agitated at Bethel. Hence the incident of Zech. 7: 1-5. But, as stated above, the wording of these verses unanswerably proves that for years before Darius' fourth year the people had put aside the custom of observing these four annual fasts for their calamities at the hand of Nebuchadnezzar in Zedekiah's days. Hence the passage completely refutes the P.B.I.'s use of it and proves that the 70 annual fasts had been completed years in the past, and that therefore years before 588 or 587 B.C., Zedekiah has been uncrowned.
We desire to call attention to the juggling tactics of these Editors on the date for Zedekiah's overthrow. Usually, as before stated, they give this date as 587; several times they have given it as 586; in the article under review they give it as 588. All three of these dates and others also are given for this event by nominal-church and secular historians whose uncertainty and untrustworthiness on these chronological questions are by this diversity very manifest, proving our Pastor right when he affirms that secular chronology before 536 B.C. is uncertain. At ordinary times it suits the P.B.I.'s purposes to use 587 B.C. At others their purposes make it preferable to use 586. And in the case of the article under review it suits their desires to use 588. All this goes to prove their uncertainty and unreliability on the subject. In the opening paragraph of the article that we are reviewing they speak of Zedekiah's overthrow as occurring "approximately 51 years before" the return in 536 B.C. Why did they there use the word "approximately"? Because over and over again they have on the one hand stated that this period was just 51 years and on the other hand that it ended in 536; but in this article their argument makes it necessary for them to go back 70 years from Nov. 518; hence they must light on 588! Accordingly, the word "approximately," to hide the contradiction between the two dates thus given. Slippery, indeed, are these Jambresites! Like the great Serpent, Azazel, their inspirer, they are equal to wriggling around any proposition as it suits their changing necessities! We use the words "juggling" and "wriggling" advisedly. Having seen so many examples of such juggling and wriggling on their part, is it strange that we consider these Editors lacking in the honesty indispensable in servants of Jehovah!
In the July 15 Herald the P.B.I. Editors publish another letter from J. A.D., some of whose chronological views we answered above. Only briefly will we
answer the new points he brings up. To palm off the P.B.I. idea that the 70 years of desolation were not observed for the seventy Jubilees, but for all the Sabbatic years, he puts a new and to him entirely peculiar and original definition"accepting as a substitute"—on the word ratzah, translated "enjoyed" in 2 Chro. 36: 21: "the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths." On his (no other's) definition—"accept as a substitute"—we would say: Neither the quotation that he makes from the notes of the Cambridge Bible, nor any Hebrew dictionary that we have consulted, nor any Biblical reference that he gives, nor any other use of the word contains such a thought. The word always contains the thought of an activity in which there is an actual or figurative delight, pleasure, satisfaction, favorableness or graciousness. Whenever it is translated "accept" in the Bible it means "graciously or satisfactorily to receive," as is evident in the case of every passage that he cites, e.g., Lev. 1: 4; Lev. 26: 41, 43, etc. It never means to accept as a substitute. Hence his "linguistic" proof based on his assumed knowledge of Hebrew, of which he is as profoundly ignorant as the P.B.I. Editors, that the 70 years of desolation of the land were by the land accepted as a substitute for all of Israel's seventh year and fiftieth year Sabbaths, is an unqualified misstatement without any foundation whatsoever in the Hebrew. We suggest that the brethren turn to the bottom of the first col. of p. 1189 (vol. 2) of the Englishman's Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance, where every passage in which ratzah occurs is cited in English, and our statement can be verified. Please, also, consult the following Hebrew dictionaries on the subject: Brown's, Robinson's, Tregelles' and Dietrich's Gesenius, pp. 953, col. 1; 993, col. 2; 778, col. 1; 818, col. 1, respectively; additional to these four, which are considered the best Hebrew dictionaries, please see the following Hebrew dictionaries: Davies, p. 603, col. 1, Davidson, p. 690, col. 2, and Strong, p. 110, word 7521. Please see, also, Young's Concordance, p. 10, under
"accept" No. 5. When will these Jambresites cease pretending reliable knowledge of Hebrew and Greek? Can they not see that thereby they are all the more manifesting their folly? They are surely giving all the opportunity to see their folly! The expression, "to fulfill" 70 years (2 Chro. 36: 22) proves that all the Sabbaths that were of the kind referred to were fully kept. Therefore, there were 70 of them, and these must have been the Jubilee Sabbaths alone, and not the seventh year Sabbaths.
J.A.D., who in the article that we above briefly reviewed gave 587 B.C. as the date of Zedekiah's uncrowning, in the article on which we are now commenting gives 588 as the date! Marvelous how events occurring thousands of years ago change their dates with the changing theory—needs of Jambresites!! And he gives authorities for his 588 date! He could also give others equally "authoritative" for 589, 587, 586, and even other dates. He thus gives more evidence proving our Pastor right in rejecting the secular chronology as uncertain prior to 536 B.C.
As an example of one's having, figuratively speaking, burning lye in his mouth, and not knowing how to eject it, J.A.D.'s efforts to rid himself of the clear teaching of Lev. 26: 31-35, 43, and 2 Chro. 36: 20-22 as proofs that Israel was outside of Palestine during the 70 years, is the most striking illustration that we have ever seen. If it were not for the pity of it, we would be unable to restrain our laughter at his mental contortions. Any unprejudiced person reading what he says under the heading "Desolate without them" would spontaneously think of a dishonest lawyer trying to befuddle a jury on transparently damaging evidence against his client. Only a dishonest lawyer, a Jesuit, a Jannesite or a Jambresite would be guilty of such brazen, deceitful handling of facts and clear Biblical statements
His efforts to make the 70 years' stretch over to
Darius' times, 519 B.C., by the thought that the expression, "until the reign of the kingdom of Persia," is a composite one, covering the period from Cyrus' time in 536 to Darius' time, in 519, is another piece of Jambresian folly. The Lord Himself answers this (2 Chro. 36: 20-23) by telling us that the Babylonian monarchs held the Israelites, who were taken in the time o f Zedekiah's overthrow, in captivity until the reign of the kingdom of Persia; and since the Babylonian monarchs did not rule after 537, and since the Israelites were by Cyrus, in 537, freed from the captivity in which the Babylonian monarchs held them, the beginning of the Persian reign was not a composite one, running over 17 years. The expression evidently refers to the commencement of Persia's rulership over Babylon. The passage shows that at Cyrus' returning Israel to Palestine in 537 the 70 years' desolation were finished; therefore they began in 607 B.C. The passage directly says that the Israelites led into captivity with Zedekiah, were taken to Babylon and made servants to the Babylonian monarchs, to fulfill the 70 years predicted by Jeremiah, which God Himself here calls the 70 Sabbatic years—the Jubilees—and that when these 70 years were fulfilled the Lord through Cyrus effected their return. The following is a summary of these verses: (1) The captives taken with Zedekiah were in Babylon, subject to the Babylonian kings until Persia took the kingdom from Babylon; (2) these Israelites taken with Zedekiah were kept in Babylon under Babylonian kings to fulfill Jeremiah's prophecy respecting the land being desolate 70 years (Jer. 25:11); (3) they were kept out of their land until the 70 Sabbaths were fulfilled (Lev. 26: 3135, 43; Zech. 7: 5, 14); (4) and Cyrus at the end of the 70 years effected their resettlement in Palestine, in fulfilment of Jeremiah's prophecy respecting the termination of the 70 years' desolation (Jer. 25: 11; 29: 10 "for Babylon," not "at Babylon"). No fair use of this passage will deny these propositions as being taught by it.
In closing this line of thought we remark that we have by the Lord's grace refuted every argument that the P.B.I. has used to overthrow the Scriptural chronology which we received from the Lord through that wise and faithful Servant. Surely, throughout this controversy the Lord has fulfilled in us the promise: "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that riseth against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of Me" (Is. 54: 17). Praise be to our God, through our Lord Jesus Christ! As long as we abide faithful to the Lord, He will protect us from the snare of the fowler and the noisesome pestilence. Beautifully is our security described in Ps. 91.
From Scriptural, historical, pyramidal and reasonable standpoints, we have detailedly refuted the P.B.I.'s chronological errors on the Times of the Gentiles, the Jubilees and the Parallels. The P.B.I. Editors give as one of their reasons for repudiating our Pastor's chronology their claim that Ptolemy's Canon teaches that Nebuchadnezzar began to reign in successorship to his father as king of Babylon in 604 B.C. The truthfulness of that date for that event we have Scripturally disproved from many standpoints, showing, as our Pastor taught, that even an earlier date—607 B.C.—was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign as king of Babylon and was also the first year of his universal reign, in whose second year he had the dream of the metallic image (Dan. 2: 1). And now comes our dear Bro. Morton Edgar and offers a fact from Ptolemy's Canon that is in line with a point that we made above, to the effect that the Scriptures date Nebuchadnezzar's reign from two chronological standpoints: (1) as beginning with his reign in successorship of his father as king o f Babylon—626 B.C.; and (2) as beginning with his reign as king of the World— 607 B.C. While Bro. Edgar does not mention
this particular point, it is in line with the fact that he gives, in a letter written to a sister. We take pleasure in publishing pertinent parts of the letter, as follows:
"There is one strange point in connection with the 'Astronomical Canon of Ptolemy,' which list of kings is much venerated by the Herald. According to this list, Nabokolassar, said to be Nebuchadnezzar, began to reign in 604 B.C. (some copies say 605 B.C.). But the name of the king who comes before this is spelled practically the same: 'Nabopolassar.' There is a difference of only one letter between them, as you will see. 'Nabo-po-lassar' began to reign, according to Ptolemy's list, in 625 B.C., or, more probably, as some have it, in 626 B.C. Therefore the 19th year after the beginning of Nabo-po-lassar's reign is 606, or 607 B.C., the very date required for the beginning of the 'great seven Times of the Gentiles,' ending in Autumn, 1914 A.D. It is quite possible, and may even be probable, that Ptolemy, or some of his interpreters, has mixed up these two names, names of two men who are said to be father and son. Nabo-po-lassar, the father, is very likely mixed up with Nabo-ko-lassar, the son. It is just as likely as not that historians made a mistake here; and that both names are really the names of one king only, and not two. There is nothing improbable in this; for such mistakes are not by any means infrequent. For instance, it is through a mistake of this very kind that Ptolemy made another well-known mistake in his list of kings, namely, by mixing up the names of two kings called Xerxes, and Artaxerxes. Ptolemy's Canon makes a mistake of ten years in the reign of Xerxes, saying that he reigned for twenty-one years, whereas reliable history proves conclusively that Xerxes reigned for eleven years only. This is important to notice; for if Xerxes did reign twenty-one years, and not only eleven, then the twentieth year of his successor, that is, Artaxerxes, would then be ten years later than we understand it to be. And if Artaxerxes'
twentieth year is ten years later, then Daniel's prophecy of the seventy weeks, at the end of sixty-nine of which weeks Messiah was to come, would not have been fulfilled! But Ptolemy made a mistake here; and reliable history, quite apart from the Scriptural requirement, proves that Ptolemy was mistaken to the extent of ten years in the reign of Xerxes, and hence, also, of ten years in the reign of Artaxerxes.
"There are really more than one or even two mistakes of Ptolemy; for not only are his stated years for the reigns of two kings ten years wrong each, but the date for the death of the first, and the date for the accession of the second, are also, necessarily wrong. In other words, Ptolemy made a bad blunder in his history [rather in his chronological tables—Editor] of this period. If Ptolemy made a mistake of ten years during the fifth century B.C. (he himself lived during the second century A.D., or seven hundred years later), is it unreasonable to say that he made a mistake of twenty-one years in his history [chronological tables— Editor] of the seventh century B.C.? The Herald writers ask if it is reasonable to suppose that Ptolemy made such a mistake. Well, apparently it is reasonable so to suppose; for he is now abundantly proved to have made a blunder in his history [chronological tables—Editor] of the fifth century, when one would have expected that he should have been more reliable, seeing it was about two hundred years nearer to the A.D. date. But, as I say, it is not improbable that the interpreters of Ptolemy made this mistake, and not in this case Ptolemy himself. These later interpreters, as likely as not, have mixed up Nabo-po-lassar and Nabo-ko-lassar, just as many historians mixed up Xerxes and Artaxerxes. According to Ptolemy's astronomical list, or canon, of kings, Nabopolassar began his reign in 625, or 626, B.C.; and his nineteenth year of reign then lands in 606 or 607 B.C. 'Seven times' or 2520 years from this ended in 1914,
A.D., Autumn, which is correct. The Bible demands this, and the Bible will have my veneration and respect before any mere profane document, however supposedly accurate.
"Then we have the explicit declaration of Daniel, the inspired prophet of the Lord, who says: 'I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolation of Jerusalem.' (Dan. 9: 2.) The Herald brethren, like the higher critics, say that Daniel was all wrong! It was not, they say, seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem, but fifty-one years only! 'Daniel in the critics' den again! And Moses, the man of God, said: 'And your cities (Jerusalem, the city of the land) shall lie waste, … then shall the land enjoy her Sabbaths, while ye be in your enemies' land, etc.' And Jeremiah says that when Jerusalem was destroyed at the dethronement of Zedekiah, Judah's last king, then the land (and Jerusalem, the great city) would lie desolate for seventy years to fulfill her sabbaths of rest. All these Scriptures are very plain, and all go to show that Bro. Russell's interpretation of this feature of God's plan of the Ages was correct, and that such writers as the writers of the Herald are quite misleading. It was in 1904, or ten years before 1914, that views similar to those expressed by the Herald, first came forth. So their views are by no means new, but have been seen, and refuted, long ago. And Bro. Russell himself was one of those who pointedly refuted the wrong views now so boldly brought forward by the Herald, as if they were expressing something startling, and most unexpected new facts. There is nothing new about them; and they are certainly not facts.
"Have you ever noticed that Nebuchadnezzar is sometimes also called Nebuchadrezzar? Just as Nabokolassar may also have been known as Nabopolassar. Note the spelling in, say, Ezekiel, and contrast
it with that in Daniel. But Jeremiah spells this name both ways. Why this peculiar change of a letter? Needless to say, the testimony of the Great Pyramid, the Lord's 'stone witness' in which Bro. Russell still declared his implicit faith in his last notice of this monument, in his new preface to Volume III just about a month before his death—is quite against the new (?) chronological views of the Herald. But of course the Herald writers have no use for the Pyramid's testimony now. They have thrown that aside, just as Brother Henninges of Australia [the chief leader of the 1908-1911 sifting—Editor] did before them, and under somewhat similar circumstances. The Great Pyramid substantiates the views held by Bro. Russell beyond all doubt."
So far the quotation from Bro. Edgar's letter. His suggestion that one and the same person is meant by the two names spelled so nearly alike in Ptolemy's Canon and that these are variant names for Nebuchadnezzar, seems reasonable. We may add to this suggestion the following: the reason that two names are given in the Canon for one person at the two different dates probably is that that one person had these two different names given him because on these two given dates he entered into widely different capacities as a ruler—on the first date he became king of Babylon, and on the second date he became king of the World. In ancient times it was a frequent custom to give a person different names at various times in his life to commemorate special events in his career. Hence we hear of persons variously named at different times like Abram and Abraham, Sarai and Sarah, Jacob and Israel, Joseph and Zaphnath-paaneah, Gideon and Zerubbabel, Jehoiachin and Coniah, Daniel and Belteshazzar, Hananiah and Shadrach, Mishael and Meshach, Azariah and Abed-nego, Jesus and Christ, Simon and Peter, Saul and Paul, etc., etc. Of the particular man under consideration, we know that he had many
variations in his name, e.g., Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadrezzar, Nabouchodonosor, Nabouchodonosoros, Neboudrosoros, Naukookodrosoros, Nebukuduriutsur, Nabukudrachara, Nabiuvkuduurriusuur and Nabokhodrossor. Therefore it should not surprise us that he was also called Nabo-po-lassar and Nabo-ko-lassar in the Canon. His becoming king of Babylon would warrant his receiving the first name, and his changing from the king of Babylon to the king of the World would be the most natural occasion for giving him the second name; and Ptolemy could also in a most natural manner have given him double mention in the Canon at the appropriate dates to mark the two phases of his royalty. So viewed, Ptolemy's Canon would be in harmony with the Biblical Chronology which gives Nebuchadnezzar's reign as beginning at the two above-mentioned dates, thus timing two features of his royalty, one beginning in the 1st, the other in the 19th year of his reign.
Apart from the above, how can Ptolemy on the beginning of Nebuchadnezzar's and Cyrus' reign over Babylon be harmonized with the Bible's chronology for this period? We reply, they cannot as they both stand be harmonized on this subject, because Ptolemy's Canon allows only 66 years for this period, while the Bible allows 89 years for it, 19 years of Nebuchadnezzar's reign passing before the desolation began and 70 years of desolation before Israel's return in Cyrus' first year. Ptolemy's Canon for this period gives the length of the involved kings' reigns, as follows:
Nabokalassar (the Bible Nebuchadnezzar) ...........43
Nabonidus (father and for a time co-king with
the Bible's and the tablets' Belshazzar) ...........17
Several ways have been suggested to harmonize these chronologies. One of them is advocated by Adam
Rutherford, who claims that Ptolemy's Canon omits three kings from its list, one called Belsumiskun, whom he identifies with the Bible Evil-Merodach, for whom he claims an 18 years' reign, according to Josephus' Antiquities, Book 10, Chap. 11, Section 2; but Josephus Against Apion, Book 1, Section 20, assigns only two years to his reign, which discrepancy introduces uncertainty. Moreover Evil-Merodach is usually identified with Ilvoradamus, which Josephus does in both places cited above, by showing that he was succeeded by the same person as Ptolemy's Canon gives as Ilvoradamus' successor. The fact that the latter's reign in the former citation through a corruption of the text is given as 40 years suggests that the 18 years assigned to the former's reign might also be a corruption of the text. In the latter citation the two reigns are given as 2 and 4 years and this agrees with Ptolemy's Canon. Again, Adam Rutherford assigns a reign of 9 months to one Laborosoarchod, whom Ptolemy does not list in his Canon. And, finally, he assigns a reign of 1 year and 9 months to Darius, the Mede, who according to the Bible reigned at least into a second year (Dan. 9: 1; 11: 1), before Cyrus took the royalty over Babylon (see Studies, Vol. II, 368-371). Again, by adding a year to Ilvoradamus' reign as given in the Canon, Adam Rutherford accounts for the 70 years of the desolation and thus puts the Canon into harmony with the Bible. But we suggest a simpler way to harmonize the Canon with the Bible. Accepting the thought that Ilvoradamus of the Canon is Evil-Merodach of the Bible, we think that originally the Canon assigned him a reign of 22 years expressed in Greek by the two numeral letters, Kappa (k) and Beta (b), i.e., 20 and 2, and that as often has happened in transcription the Kappa was anciently omitted and thus is lacking in all present MSS. of the Canon. And the same thing seemingly has happened in the second citation from Josephus given above. A similar mistake in the Canon,
substituting Kappa (20) for Iota (10) gave Xerxes a reign of 21 years instead of 11 years, as required by correct history. According to 2 Kings 24: 8; 25: 27-30; Jer. 52: 31-34, Evil- Merodach reigned many more than two years. Thus viewed, the following table will exhibit an harmonizing of the Bible and the Canon:
Nebuchadnezzar (reign after the desolation)........25
Evil-Merodach (Ilvoradamus of the Canon) .........22
Nerikassolassar (not mentioned in the Bible) ........4
Laborosoarchod (not mentioned in the Bible
nor in the Canon)..............................................¾
Nabonidus of the Canon (father and for a
time co-king with Belshazzar)..........................17
Darius' and Cyrus' reigns until Israel and
Zerubbabel reach Palestine, thus ending
the 70 years' desolation ..................................1¼
The P.B.I. has appealed to Ptolemy's Canon in favor of its 51 years for the desolation, but it, as the figures above show, falls 3 years short of their 51 years. Our view harmonizes the Canon and secular history with the Bible and that in a thoroughly natural way, and shows that secular history does not contradict the 70 years' absence of Israel from Palestine in Babylon. The P.B.I. Editors are thus demonstrated as errorists of the first water on chronology, for there is not the slightest ground left, either Biblical or secular, upon which they can stand.
It will be recalled that above we gave the following rendering of Zech. 7: 2-5: "For Bethel had sent Sherezer and Regem-melech and their men to entreat Jehovah's favor, and to speak to the priests who were at the house of Jehovah, and to the prophets, saying, Shall I, separated, weep in the fifth month, as I did this so many years? And the word of Jehovah was to me, saying, Speak to all the people of the land and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in
the fifth and seventh month, and this for seventy years, did ye fast for Me, Myself?" It will be recalled that this translation was offered in refuting the use of this passage by the P.B.I. Editors to prove that the seventy years of this passage ended in 518 B.C., and therefore began in 588 B.C., when they claimed that Zedekiah was overthrown by Nebuchadnezzar. It seems that our translation of this passage has not pleased some of the P.B.I. supporters. These insist that the word Zeh, whose English equivalent, this, we have italicized in the translation above given, means these very frequently in the Hebrew. This we deny. Zeh is the Hebrew singular demonstrative pronoun for this, and Eleh is the Hebrew plural demonstrative pronoun for these. We are aware of the fact that some translators, usually where time or manner is indicated in the context by plural nouns, have rendered Zeh by the English plural demonstrative pronoun these or by the adverb now; but this is incorrect. The rule for singular and plural demonstratives is the same in the Hebrew as in the English and admits of no exceptions, i.e., singular demonstrative pronouns are used for and with singular nouns and plural demonstrative pronouns are used for and with plural nouns, and never otherwise.
The translators who have rendered Zeh by the words these and now, as though it limited plural nouns, or were an adverb referring to a noun of manner or time in the context, have done so more as accommodations to secure smoother English wordings, rather than as strictly literal translations. But for every such instance in the Hebrew, the singular pronoun this fits as the proper translation. When in connections indicating time or manner by plural nouns Zeh is translated by these or now, it is not used in the Hebrew to limit the nouns expressing time or manner, but is merely placed in the sentence to emphasize the thought, and the expression is to be understood as an abbreviation of language. This is expressly stated of such cases by
Hebrew Grammarians, e.g., by Mitchell's Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar, second edition, p. 416, end of note three. After citing to illustrate this use of Zeh in connection with nouns of time and manner Gen. 27: 36; 31: 38; Zech. 1: 12; 7: 3, 5 and job 19: 3, he cites Gen. 31: 41 (where Zeh is in the A. V. wrongly translated thus) and makes the following remarks "[Zeh is] separated from the number  in Gen. 31: 41; li-zeh [li, to me, stands between zeh and esrim, the word for 20] (abbreviated form for this, i.e., the present period of time, I have, i.e., 20 years are ended, etc.; the other examples [Gen. 27: 36; 31: 38; Zech. 1: 12; 7: 3, 5; Job 19: 3] are due to a similar abbreviation)." This explanation, of course, shows that grammatically Zeh does not limit the plural nouns in these sentences; but that an abbreviation of expression, i.e., an omission of words, has occurred, which, when given in full, shows that the word Zeh does not limit the plural noun, but is inserted into the sentence for the sake of emphasis. The connection in each case will show what must be supplied to give the full sense of the passage in question. We will quote all such passages in the A. V., adding in italics the words that the connection shows must be supplied to give the proper grammatical rendering:
He hath supplanted me—this he did two times.—Gen. 27: 36.
This I did: twenty years I have been with thee, etc.— Gen. 31: 38.
This I have as the time of my stay: I have been twenty years in thy house.—Gen. 31: 41.
For this is the case: two years hath the famine been in the land.—Gen. 45: 6.
Ye have tempted me—this have ye done ten times.— Num. 14: 22.
Thou hast smitten me—this thou hast done three times.—Num. 22: 28.
Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass—this thou hast done three times.—Num. 22: 32.
The ass … turned from me—this it did three times.— Num. 22: 33.
This is the case: forty years the Lord thy God hath been with thee.—Deut. 2: 7.
God led thee—this He did for forty years.—Deut. 8: 2.
Neither did thy foot swell—this was the case for forty years.—Deut. 8: 4.
The Lord hath kept me alive, as He said—this He hath done for forty-five years—Josh. 14: 10.
Thou has mocked me—this hast thou done three times.—Judges 16: 15.
Take … this that I give you—ten loaves.—1 Sam. 17: 17.
Which hath been with me—this has been the case for days, or this has been the case for years.—1 Sam. 29: 3.
I have not been called … unto the king—this has been the case for thirty days— Esth. 4: 11.
This have ye done: ten times have ye reproached me.— Job. 19: 3.
Thou didst have indignation—this was the case for seventy years.—Zech. 1: 12.
As I did this for so many years (Zech.—7: 3). There is no abbreviation of the Hebrew in this passage; for the expression, I did, occurs in the Hebrew. This verse, by using the expression, I did, proves that there are abbreviations in the other passages quoted here.
Ye fasted and mourned … and this ye did for seventy years.—Zech. 7: 5.
Except in Zech. 7: 3, in every one of the above cases, which include every passage where the singular demonstrative pronoun, Zeh, occurring in connection with plural nouns of time or manner, has been translated by these or those—plural demonstratives—it is evident that Gesenius was right when he said the expression is an abbreviated one, which when completed proves that the singular demonstrative pronoun this should be used
in the translation. These facts demonstrate that Zech. 7: 3, 5 disproves the P.B.I. contention that the seventy years of this passage were from 588 to 518 B.C.
In Lev. 11: 4, 9, 21, 29 and Deut. 14: 7, 9, 12 Zeh is rendered these, but strictly speaking it should not have been so rendered. There should be substituted for each translation of the word Zeh as these in the cited passages, the word this with the word flesh supplied after it, e.g., "This flesh shall ye not eat: the flesh of them, etc." and "This flesh shall ye eat: the flesh of them, etc."—Lev. 11: 4, 9.
The only other passage where Zeh has been rendered these is Judges 20: 17. Here again an abbreviated expression occurs which will be manifest from the following: "All this company were men of war." In this case, as in the cases cited in the preceding paragraph, a collective noun (hence a singular noun, implying a multiplicity of persons or things constituting the thing designated by the collective noun, like senate, army, congregation, crowd, nobility, etc.) may have been in the translators' minds; and following an English usage that permits a collective noun, when the thing thereby indicated is viewed distributively, to take a plural verb or pronoun, they may have rendered Zeh by the plural these to indicate such a thought as theirs. It would, however, have been better had they translated in every one of these cases, the word Zeh by this, supplying the collective noun needed by the context, as done above.
Some of those who have objected to our translation of Zeh in Zech. 7: 3, 5, claim that our thought on the subject is out of harmony with Drs. Strong and Young. This we deny, and on the contrary affirm that these objectors do not understand Drs. Strong and Young, who never define Zeh by the word these but by the word this or that, though they give, not as their own definitions, but as the translation of the A. V., the words these and those as translations of Zeh in the citations of the pertinent passages of the A. V. in
their concordances, and in the citation of the various translations of the A. V. in their dictionaries. This can be readily seen, e.g., Dr. Strong on pp. 1028-1030 gives all the occurrences of the word "these" in the A. V. Among them are 26 cases in which the word these is given for the Hebrew Zeh. Additionally, there is one case in which Zeh is rendered those. At the end of each of these quotations is found the numeral 2088, implying that the words these and those are the renderings of the Hebrew word that is numbered 2088 in his Hebrew Dictionary. Turning to No. 2088 in his Hebrew Dictionary, we find it to be Zeh. He defines it as the masculine demonstrative singular pronoun this or that. Then, following the colon and dash, he gives, not his definitions, but all the various translations of Zeh in the A. V. How do we know that all of the words following the colon and dash are not his definitions, but the translations of the A. V.? We answer that he himself tells us this on p. 5 of his Hebrew Dictionary under note 6 at the top of the third column, as on p. 5 of his Greek Dictionary under note 6 at the top of the third column he makes the identical statement with reference to the colon and dash which follow his definitions of the New Testament Greek words, and which precede their various A. V. translations. Our critics are, therefore, mistaken on the subject; and they are further proven not to understand Drs. Strong and Young on the subject. The proverb, "A little learning is a dangerous thing," is one that these critics might well consider before making their sharp criticisms, which flow in part out of the abundance of their ignorance of the Hebrew and of the proper handling of helps on the Hebrew and Greek languages.
We repeat our claim: Zeh never means these. It means this and does not limit the word for years in Zech. 7: 3, 5. It was correctly and literally rendered by us in these passages, while the renderings that the P.B.I. Editors offer are incorrect, are based on ignorance