WHY DO DANIEL 1:1 AND JEREMIAH 25:1 CONFLICT?
by Shawn Brasseaux
Why do these verses disagree?
- Jeremiah 25:1: “The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon;….”
- Daniel 1:1: “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.”
Jeremiah claims the “fourth year” whereas Daniel speaks of the “third year.” Is this a mistake? We can account for this discrepancy as follows: Daniel speaks of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar leaving Babylon to attack Jerusalem while Jeremiah marks the time Nebuchadnezzar actually invaded Jerusalem. That is, Nebuchadnezzar departed Babylon in Jehoiakim’s third year (Daniel’s perspective), and he fought against Jehoiakim in Jerusalem in Jehoiakim’s fourth year (Jeremiah’s perspective). What had Nebuchadnezzar been doing in the interim?
We turn to Jeremiah chapter 46 for the explanation: “ The word of the LORD which came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Gentiles;  Against Egypt, against the army of Pharaohnecho king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah.” Nebuchadnezzar (same as Nebuchadrezzar) attacked and defeated Pharaohnecho King of Egypt before moving on to conquer Jerusalem and vanquish Jehoiakim King of Judah.
The narrative now put forth in one succinct sentence: Nebuchadnezzar left Babylon in Jehoiakim’s third year, Nebuchadnezzar battled Pharaohnecho/Egypt at the beginning of Jehoiakim’s fourth year, and, later that year, Nebuchadnezzar fought with Jehoiakim. There is no contradiction or difficulty unless we are looking for mistakes.
By the way, it is highly significant that (Gentile) Nebuchadnezzar came against Jerusalem because of JEHOVAH God’s guidance and empowerment. Jerusalem had been an idolatrous city for centuries. Most of her kings had been wicked, and Jehoiakim was no exception. (Please see 2 Chronicles 36:1-21 and Jeremiah 25:1-7.) God Himself therefore brought Nebuchadnezzar into Jerusalem to punish and deport evil Jerusalem and Judah, carrying them off to Babylonian exile (exactly as Moses warned in Leviticus 26:27-39 several hundred years earlier).
Daniel chapter 1 bears this out: “ In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.  And the LORD gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his [that is, Nebuchadnezzar’s] hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.”
Also, the LORD said in Jeremiah 22:25 years later: “And I will give thee [King Coniah/Jehoiachin the son of Jehoiakim] into the hand of them that seek thy life, and into the hand of them whose face thou fearest, even into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans.”
Jeremiah 25:9 (the LORD speaking again): “Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.” (Your attention is drawn to see that Nebuchadnezzar is called God’s “servant.” He is exacting God’s will in punishing heathen Judah.)
Now, Jeremiah chapter 27: “ In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,  Thus saith the LORD to me; Make thee bonds and yokes, and put them upon thy neck,  And send them to the king of Edom, and to the king of Moab, and to the king of the Ammonites, and to the king of Tyrus, and to the king of Zidon, by the hand of the messengers which come to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah king of Judah;  And command them to say unto their masters, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Thus shall ye say unto your masters;  I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me.  And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him.” (Nebuchadnezzar is again called God’s “servant.”)
Lastly, Jeremiah 32:28: “Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give this city [Jerusalem] into the hand of the Chaldeans, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and he shall take it:….”