Hi, John! I have some questions about discoveries. Tell me, please, if I am not right.
1. This tablet now in Germany – http://ferrelljenkins.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/evil-merodach-562-560-graciously-freed-jehoiachin/
2. This tablet now in London (from your PDF) – text from tablet: [In] the seventh year, the month of Kislev, the king of Babylonia mustered his forces and marched to Syria. He camped against the city of Judah (Jerusalem) and on the second day of the month of Adar he took the city and captured the king. He appointed a king of his own choice there, took its heavy tribute and brought them to Babylon.
3. All these tablets about the time of Jehoiachin (Jeconiah, Coniah)
4. English Bible has two passages about one event: 2 Kings 25:27-30; Jeremiah 52:31-34
And now my questions:
– Why in the Russian Bible do we have different names for Jehoiachin? In Russian it will be Иехония и Иоаким. Is this the same person?
– Why in these passages different days – “on the 27th day” and “on the 25th day”?
We have more than one name for Jehoachin for a couple of reasons. One is that the spelling of his name was different in Hebrew, Aramaic and Babylonian. Another is that those who copied the Hebrew Bible may not have faithfully copied his name. When manuscripts were copied, it was far more likely to make mistakes in numbers and in names than in normal words. Why? For example, let us consider translating the phrase “Will ate 5 cherries” The chances of a spelling error slipping through depends on the word. For example, if Will was changed to Bill, we would not notice this if we did not know the name of the person. If 5 was changed to 7, the context would not necessarily allow us to catch the error either. But if cherries was changed to clerries or cherriek, the copier would catch that error immediately and change it back to the original. For this reason, the names of Hebrew kings tend to have a fairly wide number of variations in the manuscripts, to the point that we are not even sure exactly what the original spelling of the name of the king was. Nebuchadnezzar is often Nebuchadrezzar. Jehoachin is often Jehoachin. He was also known as Jeconaih, but this may be because of a Hebrew versus an Aramaic pronunciation of his name. Apparently, some even shortened Jeconiah to Coniah. So Jehoachim is Jehoiachim is Jehaochin is Jehoiachim is Jeconiah is Coniah.
One more difficulty. There were two kings of Judah around the time of Nebuchadnezzar who had very similar names. They were Jehoiachin and Jehoiachim. You can see how these two might be confused. The years of reign for the two kings was (approximately) Jehoiachim 609-598 BC and Jehoiachin 598-597 BC. Jehoiachin took the throne when his father died. He was quite young at the time of the second invasion by Nebuchadnezzar in 597 BC. The younger king—Jehoiachin—was the one taken into captivity in Babylon. He is also the one that Evil-Merodach set free, and who was treated quite well by Nebuchadnezzar, based on biblical information and on the information you found which was discovered by the Ishtar Gate. The archaeological evidence supporting the biblical events of 597BC is quite strong. I am not very good at Cyrilic, but if I am not mistaken, the two words: Иехония и Иоаким might just possibly be Jeconiah and Jehoiakim. I am not sure. You might want to look carefully at the two passages and compare to an English version to make sure, because, remember, there were two kings with very similar names.
The other discrepancy (27th versus 25th) is also explained by my example above. The copying of numbers leads to copying errors more readily than words. This tendency is amplified because some of the letter Hebrews used for numbers were quite similar (they used a system somewhat like Roman numerals where a letter was used as a number). Because context does not readily correct a change (such as 25 to 27), there are quite a few manuscript errors in the Old Testament for numbers. When one manuscript says 500 and another says 550, we should not get too worried about that. Whether it was the 25th or the 27th day is not important to any biblical teaching or theological discussion. The reliability of our Greek New Testament is approximately 99%, but the reliability of the Old Testament is somewhat less. However, the majority of manuscript errors are things like 27th versus 25th, which are not significant at all to the meaning and interpretation of a scripture.