And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. (ASV)
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Apologists sometimes claim that Jeremiah successfully propesied that the period known as the "Babylonian Exile" would last for 70 years. Critics will point out that the Exile lasted for 48 years, not 70. The true situation is a little more complicated.
The Exile did indeed last from 586 to 538 BC, a total of 48 years. However, Jeremiah says that "these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years". The ruling elite of the kindgom of Judah were taken into exile in Babylon in 605 BC, long before the bulk of the population. This gives a period of partial "exile" of 67 years: close enough for a later editor to inflate to a round 70 years.
Apologists may object to the implication that what might otherwise be a more-or-less successful prophecy "must have been added later", but we can be quite certain that the Book of Jeremiah has been tampered with: because multiple editions of Jeremiah exist. --Robert Stevens 11:05, 27 Jul 2006 (CDT)