In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. (ASV)
Possibly based on a misreading of other OT texts. C.f. e.g. 2 Kings 24. Especially note:
1 During Jehoiakim's reign, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon invaded the land, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years. But then he changed his mind and rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. 2 The LORD sent Babylonian, Aramean, Moabite and Ammonite raiders against him. He sent them to destroy Judah, in accordance with the word of the LORD proclaimed by his servants the prophets.
A quick reading of these two verses might give the impression that the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem happened in the third year of Jehoiakim's reign.
--FreezBee 03:32, 28 Jan 2006 (CST)
More detail from 2 Kings:
2 Kings 23:36 Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: and his mother`s name was Zebidah the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah. 2 Kings 24:1 In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years: then he turned and rebelled against him. 2 Kings 24:2 And Jehovah sent against him bands of the Chaldeans, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of Jehovah, which he spake by his servants the prophets. ... 2 Kings 24:6 So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers; and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.
So the text implies that Jehoiakim reigned a total of 11 years, 8 prior to Nebuchadnezzar, and three as a vassal, dying shortly after he rebelled. Unless one wants to argue that Jehoiakim's rebellion lasted 8 years before he was killed, which seems to be a strech that the text doesn't say. So it appears that Daniel 1:1 is based on misreading of 2Kng24:1
As for the bands, does anyone know if "Chaldeans, and Syrians" is the same as "Babylonian, Aramean"? If those aren't synonyms, then here is another contradiction.
605 BC and Jeremiah 24
- Jehovah showed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs set before the temple of Jehovah, after that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the craftsmen and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon.
The king carried away here is Jeconiah (Jehoiakin), not Jehoiakim, so it's not an 605 BC event.
--FreezBee 11:40, 8 Nov 2006 (CST)
609BC: After a brief 3-month reign beginning in the month of Tammuz (June 25-July 23), Egypt's Necho II deported Jehoahaz (Shallum) to Egypt where he died (cf. 2 Kings 23:31-34; 2 Chronicles 36).
609-598 BC: Necho II appointed Jehoahaz's younger brother Jehoiakim as his tax-collector puppet king in September/October of 609BC (Jehoiakim began to reign late in the year 609BC, but the first year of a king's reign was reckoned by the Hebrews according to very specific calendar systems rather than from the day he aquired the throne for the sake of consistency and long term accuracy (see below). The practice of Israelite religion was allowed by Necho II as evidenced by his name (Jehoiakim: "YHWH raises up," changed from Eliakim, "God raises up"). He was condemned as evil by the prophets because while enforcing the extraction of heavy tribute for Necho II (1 Ki 23:31f.), he also enjoyed an opulent lifestyle (covetousness/theft) at the expense of the poor, and for murder, oppression, and violence (Jer 22:13-30). Not one to tolerate criticism, he persecuted the prophets for their condemnations, and tried to stop Jeremiah repeatedly, destroying his first book (Jer 36; cf. two seals belonging to Berachyahu (Baruch) ben Neryahu (son of Neriah), Jeremiah's personal scribe who wrote part of the Bible (Jer 36:4) have been found).
608BC: According to the Babylonian Chronicle, Nabopolassar conducted a campaign in Uratu going north on the Tigris.
607BC: Nebuchadnezzar is recorded commanding part of the Babylonian army in the Babylonian Chronicles.
605BC: Battle of Carchemish: Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon defeats Necho II of Egypt and claims control over Syria/Palestine; he comes against Jerusalem in Jehoiakim's third year (Dan 1:1; Tishri system; cf. Thiele op cit). Jehoiakim, by force, changed his allegience from Egypt to Babylon (2 Ki 24:1-7). The first deportation to Babylon transpired at this time, during which numerous hostages were carried from Judea into Babylon including the prophet Daniel. The several thousand mostly upper class Judeans were compared to "good figs" which comprised a remnant and a future hope, as opposed to the "bad figs" who were left behind (Jer 24:29). God, said Jeremiah, was sparing them from the destruction to come.
605BC: Fourth year of Jehoiakim (Tishri system); Babylonian overlordship in Judea.
602BC: Seeing the inability of Babylon to crush Egypt, Jehoiakim rebelled.
598BC (December): Jehoiakim dies in Jerusalem as Nebuchadnezzar was en route to crush it. He died just before Nebuchadnezzar arrived.
Before the work of Edwin R. Thiele of the University of Chicago, Hebrew chronology was considered a hopeless tangle of contradictions, but not since (cf. Thiele, Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings). His exhaustively documented analysis demonstrated that the years of the reigns of Biblical kings were not always counted from the day they ascended to the throne as we would do today, but primarily in accordance a variety of very specific calendar systems which were employed to facilitate greater accuracy and consistency over long periods of time. Which specific system was used varied according to when, where, and by whom the calculation was being done. For our purposes, in Judah, Tishri years were calculated; this system is reflected in Kings and Daniel (cf. for example Nisan years were used in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and in Babylonian records). In this system the first year of a king's reign was always calculated from the beginning of Tishri after their accession (there are other systems which were utilized during in the Bible during its long history as well). Note also the dates for this particular period are firmly fixed by an eclipse recorded during Nabonassar's reign (in Babylon) on April 22, 621BC, the year Nebuchadnezzar came to the throne. Hebrew chronology for this period is fixed by various documentable contacts between Babylon and the Hebrews. Hebrew chronological systems were both logical, and in Kenneth Kitchen's words, "impeccably accurate."
These facts of history and chronology are well known and extremely well documented. It is obvious to informed observers that there is no contradiction (or really even the hint of one) between Daniel 1:1 and documentable events from secular history (see Thiele, Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings; Kenneth Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (2003) for more detailed information). If it is necessary to say so, the identities of which the contributor to the Pro section above was uncertain of are the Babylonian-Chaldean Empire and Syria-Aramea. -B. D. G. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Note: this section was written after the neutral comment which follows.
Reply Re. 605 BC:
Pro should refer to Thiele of the University of Chicago on this point: "605 -3rd year of Jehoiakim- Nebuchadnezzar at Jerusalem -Daniel 1:1" (Thiele, Edwin R., The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, page 183; cf. also pp. 182 on the date of his reign, and p. 186. Jehoiachin of Judah (r. 598-597)was taken into captivity in the 8th year of Nebuchadnezzar according to 2 Kings 24:12; Thiele dates this event accordingly to 597 BC. These dates are not generally disputed. The "good figs" would include all captives removed from Judah before its final destruction by Babylon.
Edit this section to note miscellaneous facts.
Chaldean is roughly a synonym to Babylonian, but I believe refers to the race of people; whereas Babylonian is any kingdom based on the city of Babylon. Syrian is a synonym to Aramean as well, although may be a later term, though I'm not sure of this.
However, the dates are still a contradiction.