The Chronology of Jerusalem’s First Siege by Babylon
Daniel chapter 1 begins by speaking of a siege and seizure of goods from Jerusalem:
This was in Jehoiakim’s third year (as tributary king to Babylon), which third year started in the spring of 618 B.C.E. (Da 1:1) With Jehoiakim’s inglorious death, Jehoiachin, his son, ruled for a few months before surrendering. Early in 617 B.C.E., Jehoiachin and other “foremost men,” also young Daniel (2Ki 24:15), were taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar.
This may mean that the king died during the siege, which ultimately succeeded. There is no Biblical confirmation of Josephus’ report that Nebuchadnezzar killed Jehoiakim and had his body thrown outside Jerusalem’s walls without a burial.—Jer. 22:18, 19; 36:30.
To a Jew living in Babylon, Jehoiakim’s “third year” would have been the third year of that king’s vassal service to Babylon. Daniel wrote from that perspective. Jeremiah, however, wrote from the perspective of the Jews living right in Jerusalem. So he referred to Jehoiakim’s kingship as starting when Pharaoh Necho made him king.
15 Really, then, this alleged discrepancy only bolsters the evidence that Daniel wrote his book in Babylon while among Jewish exiles. But there is another gaping hole in this argument against the book of Daniel. Remember that the writer of Daniel clearly had the book of Jeremiah available and even referred to it. (Daniel 9:2) If the writer of Daniel were a clever forger, as the critics claim, would he risk contradicting so respected a source as Jeremiah—and in the very first verse of his book at that? Of course not!
Since Jehoiakim’s revolt against Babylon led to his downfall after about 11 years on the throne, the beginning of his three-year vassalage to Babylon must have begun toward the end of his eighth year of rule, or early in 620 B.C.E.