When God created the earth He defined the weekly clock. He worked six days and rested the seventh. God named the seventh day the Sabbath. Every week since creation has followed the same pattern of six days for work followed by one day for rest.
God applied the same pattern to a week of seven years. He told the children of Israel to plant and to harvest their land for six years and then let the land rest the seventh year. He called the seventh year a Sabbath. It is also called a sabbatical. The week of seven years is called a sabbatical cycle.
A third time scale for the weekly pattern is 7,000 years. For almost 6,000 years the earth has been corrupted by sin. Then the earth will have a Sabbath rest for 1,000 years in the millennial reign.
Seven sabbaticals brought God’s people to the Jubilee to bring restoration to His people and to their land.
The children of Israel were not faithful to God. For 490+ years they refused to allow their land to rest during the Sabbaticals. For 70 land Sabbath years the land was not allowed its Sabbath rest. Because of their disobedience, God allowed the children of Israel to be taken captive to Babylon for 70 years. While they were in Babylon the land back in Canaan enjoyed its 70 Sabbath years of rest.
Leviticus 26 provides the sanctions that God would impose upon His nation for the years that Israel did not obey the specifications of a sabbatical year.
Then the land will enjoy its Sabbaths all the days of the desolation, while you are in your enemies’ land; then the land will rest and enjoy its Sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it will observe the rest which it did not observe on your Sabbaths, while you were living on it (Lev. 26:34-35).
For the land shall be abandoned by them, and shall l make up for its Sabbaths while it is made desolate without them.
They, meanwhile, shall be making amends for their iniquity, because they rejected My ordinances and their soul abhorred My statutes (Lev. 26:43).
The Hebrew Bible according to the Jewish canon ends with the book of Chronicles. The Judeans were exiled was to allow the land to enjoy its Sabbath rest – “until seventy years have gone by, it will keep Sabbath throughout the days of its desolation.” (2 Chr 36:21).
The verse implies that during the reign of the Israelite kings from David onwards (1,050 BC to 587 BC) the land of Israel had never enjoyed its sabbatical year as commanded by Moses in the book of Leviticus .
For about 490 years from David’s reign to the exile, the land was farmed continually until it was long overdue for a Sabbath rest, in fact up to 70 years.
Why did the Israelite kings refuse to obey the law of Sabbath rest for the land which is enjoined upon them every seven years?
It is purely economics. It is just not economical to let the land lie fallow for a period of one year when harvests can be gathered year in and year out. In short, they would suffer financially and materially. They did not keep the land Sabbaths so God arranged for the land to rest, while they were in Babylon.
So in 606 BC Babylon invades the land and takes captives and installs a vassal king in Jerusalem. Nineteen years (19 years) go past and Jeremiah tells the king people that Babylon is Gods tool and judgment and they are to repent.
Jer 37:1 And Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, became king in place of Coniah, whom Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, made king in the land of Judah.
Jer 37:1 Then the word of the Lord came to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, The Lord, the God of Israel, has said: This is what you are to say to the king of Judah who sent you to get directions from me:…. 8 And the Chaldeans will come back again and make war against this town and they will take it and put it on fire.
The king of Judah does not keep the agreement with Babylon and they rebel. Babylon comes back and burns the city and the temple to the ground on the 9th of Av 587 BC. The people are carried off to Babylon including Daniel and his friends.
1 Chronicles 36 v 20 And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon, where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: 21 To fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill the Seventy years. 2 Chronicles 36: 20-21 see also Jeremiah 25: 12 & Daniel 9:2 The land has a Sabbath rest as the people are taken into slavery.
Daniel studied the prophecy of Jeremiah and knew it was time. Jeremiah 29 v 10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.