Ezekiel 33:24, 27 refers to those in "devastated places." Is it true that these words were "written ten years prior to the destruction of Jerusalem," and does this indicate that "the devastations of Jerusalem" (Daniel 9:2) did not entail seventy years of complete desolation of the land, "without an inhabitant"?
At least one not-too-astute critic has stated that the words at Ezekiel 33:24, 27 were "written ten years prior to the destruction of Jerusalem," thus supporting his claim that Jerusalem was considered a devastated place at this time.
This claim is manifestly false. Going back only a few verses, Ezekiel 33:21 is clear as to what time period these words apply. He specifically refers to an "escaped one from Jerusalem" who notifies the exiles in Babylon that Jerusalem had been destroyed. For this reason, Jehovah could accurately refer to "the inhabitants of these devastated places." (See also Jeremiah 44:2, 6 which provides evidence that Judah "came to be a devastated place" only after its destruction, as related to those who fled to Egypt in 607 B.C.E.)
But does the phrase "inhabitants of . . . devastated places" imply that the "devastations of Jerusalem," referred to at Daniel 9:2, did not entail seventy years of complete desolation of the land, "without an inhabitant"?
No, for these very verses confirm that Jehovah's judgment against Judah was still in progress, and even those who tried to remain in the land (thinking it was an inheritance) would fall by the sword, thus fulfilling Jehovah's Word by Jeremiah that the land would lie desolate, "without an inhabitant" (see Jeremiah 9:11; 26:9; 32:43; 33:10-12; 34:22):
In fulfillment, 2 Kings 25:25, 26 reports that by the seventh month, "all the people, from small to great" fled to Egypt, leaving the land desolate, "without an inhabitant":
Thus, Jehovah's Witnesses recognize that the seventy years of the desolation of the land officially begun to be counted after the first of the seventh Jewish month in 607 B.C.E. (or September 21-22, 607 B.C.E. on the Gregorian calendar).
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