VAT 4956: Observations from Lines 1 & 2

Perhaps you are reading this in order to verify the claims of the November 1, 2011 Watchtower. If not, you may wonder, why is this important?

The astronomical diary VAT 4956 points to Nebuchadnezzar’s 37th regnal year. By knowing his 37th year, we can calculate back to his 18th year, the year he destroyed Jerusalem.

If Year 37 was 568 BC, Year 18 was 587 BC.

If Year 37 was 588 BC, Year 18 was 607 BC.

To reference a listing of Babylonian constellations see:


Based on the astronomical data of VAT 4956, Assyriologists Dr. Abraham J. Sachs and Hermann Hunger dated the tablet’s observations, which points to Nebuchadnezzar’s 37th regnal year, providing the following calendar at the end of their translation:


Month 1 of Year 37 is dated April 21/22, 568 BC. Note that -567 is the astronomical rendering for 568 BC and that the Babylonians reckoned their day from sunset to sunset. Therefore, the first day of the new year would start the evening of April 21st until the evening of the 22nd.

Note too that they date several months that appear on VAT 4956: Month 2, 3, 10, 11, 12, and the beginning of year 38. How can these scholars be so sure?

The dozens of observations of VAT 4956 act as a cosmic fingerprint of the ancient sky and such a combination of observations do not occur but once in millennia past and future. Only one year in recorded history fits the observations of VAT 4956, and that year is: 568 BC.

What follows are a couple of observations from VAT 4956 that demonstrate why. In this post, we will concentrate on lines 1 and 2. God willing, we will cover more observations in subsequent posts.

Line 1 reads:


The beginning of the Babylonian month was signaled by the appearance of first sliver of the new moon. As you can see in this screenprint, on April 22, 568 BC, the moon makes an appearance behind Taurus, that is the “Bull of Heaven”. If you note the illuminated fraction, you can clearly see a sliver.



Still on Month 1, Day 1 of Year 37, line 2 is as follows,


If you reference the link provided in the intro on Babylonian constellations, you will find that the Swallow was parts of what today we call Pisces and Pegasus. From the screenprint below, we find Saturn “in front of the Swallow”.


Note that Saturn takes 29.45 years to revolve about the Sun. Thus the planet moves very slowly across the night sky. Later on in VAT 4956, in Month 2 and in Month 12, we find the further observations of Saturn consistently in front of the Swallow. These observations of Saturn fit 568 BC as Year 37.

But where was Saturn in 588 BC? For the answer, see the following screenshot:


As you can see, in 588 BC, Saturn was nowhere near the Swallow, but could be found between Cancer, Gemini, and Canis Minor. Quickly, we see why anyone with a vested interest in ‘proving’ that Year 37 was 588 BC would be anxious to discount the planetary observations of VAT 4956. Time and time again, the planetary observations do not match 588 BC.

Stay tuned for further observations…or better yet, do the research for yourself. If you find any mistakes in the research, I can and will correct it.

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