to the 70 Weeks of Daniel
prophecy takes place in the ninth chapter of Daniel, being a response to
Daniel’s prayer from Heaven, regarding his people, city and temple.
This prophecy like Isaiah 53 is a focal point of the Jewish/ Christian
discussion on who is Messiah. This prophecy foretells the rebuilding of
Jerusalem and the Temple and their future destruction, following the
death of an anointed
one (Messiah). The Jewish interpretation varies as does the Christian.
Christian interpretation views this prophecy written 539-years before
Jesus, as a specific prophecy foretelling the time of Yeshua’s
(Jesus) rejection and death before his birth, followed by the
destruction of the rebuilt Temple in A.D. 70.
Jewish interpretation rejects Christian view, claiming the person noted
as anointed is not the messiah, but a Jewish leader, who is killed, but
not the Messiah, son of David.
to the 70 Weeks
To understand the
70 weeks of Daniel you first need to understand the background behind
these verses. This prophecy takes place, after the Persia led by
Cyrus the Great defeats Babylon in 539 B.C. How does Daniel, a Jew
end up in the Persian Kingdom, is the story behind the Seventy-Weeks
reason Daniel and his fellow Jews were in Babylon was the result of
God’s judgment against Judah. Daniel was a young man, a descendent of
the Judean royalty, when Babylon’s new king, Nebuchadnezzar
attacked Jerusalem in 605 B.C.
Judah, like Israel
in 722 B.C., the northern kingdom, turned away from the Lord, the God of
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and rejected His ways, choosing to worship the
gods and goddesses on the land. After repeated warnings, through the
prophets of God’s coming judgment, God sent the armies of Babylon
against Jerusalem three times. The first time in 605 B.C., when Daniel
was taken captive, then again in 597 and 587 B.C. In 587, the armies
of Babylon destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the Temple. Jerusalem
was a barren destroyed city, with the remaining Jews taken captive to
Babylon and those left, fleeing to Egypt, taking the prophet Jeremiah as
'And now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar
the king of Babylon, My servant; and the beasts of the field I have also
given him to serve him. 7 'So all nations shall serve him and his son
and his son's son, until the time of his land comes; and then many
nations and great kings shall make him serve them.
punished Judah, scattering them to the nations, as was promised in the
Torah (Deuteronomy 28:65-68), if they as a nation turned away from the
Lord God. God invoked his punishment on the nation for violating his
covenant. Daniel as a young Judean of the “house of David”, became a
hostage in Babylon.
Daniel in Babylon
In the land of Babylon, Daniel rose from a Babylonian hostage to prime
minister in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar’s Empire (605-562 B.C.), this
rise is detailed in Daniel chapters one to four (1-4). After
Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, the Babylonian kings, which followed him, forgot
about Daniel who was out of the limelight, until the Persian invasion
led by Cyrus the Persian (Daniel 5). The final Babylonian king,
Belshazar who reigned as co-regent with his father, had Daniel come
to the throne room to interpret the writing on the wall, it was on this
day Babylon fell to the Persian armies.
the Persian and Darius the Mede defeated Babylon and became
the successors to the Babylonian Kingdom in 539 B.C, beginning the
Persian Empire. Daniel was appointed to a position of authority in
the new Persian administration, leading to the event known as Daniel
in the Lions den (Daniel chapter 6). It is during this period, the
transition between the Babylonian and Persian kingdoms, Daniel knew the
time of his people, the Jewish people was at hand. The time of
restoration was near. Daniel knew according to Jeremiah, the Babylonian
captivity would last seventy-years (Jeremiah 25:12).
1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of
the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans- 2 in the
first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of
the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the
prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of
Daniel at this point in his life was about 81 years old, taken captive
in 605 B.C. at the approximate age of 14, Daniel was under Babylonian
control for 67 years, until the Persians/Median Kingdom succeeded them
in 539 B.C. Darius the Mede, the Persian ally, was appointed ruler of
prayed and interceded for his people, in Daniel 9:4-19, praying about
the city of Jerusalem, the Temple and the sins of Judah, which caused
them to suffer under Babylon for the seventy-years of captivity.
righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this
day-to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel,
those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have
driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed
understood the reason Babylon destroyed the Temple and the city of
Jerusalem in 586 B.C., it was God’s judgment for sin, against his
people. According to Daniel 9, the angel Gabriel sent from God’s
throne to answer Daniel’s prayer, establishing the future events for his
affirmed to Daniel the city of Jerusalem and the Temple would be
rebuilt, only to be destroyed again in the future, this occurred in A.D.
70, under the Romans. Gabriel linked Jerusalem’s future destruction to
the death of an “Anointed one”, who would be “Cut off”. Gabriel
established a timeline of events, during this period, leading to
Jerusalem’s future destruction.
from the Seventy weeks
words in Daniel 9:24-27, Gabriel’s response to Daniel’s prayer, has
caused many questions for both Christian and Jewish interpreters.
Jewish and Christian interpreters do not agree with each other in their
respective camps on each point. The important questions raised here are
Is Daniel 9,
referring to the Messiah (Son of David)?
Messiah, who is Daniel referring to?
Why was the
Temple and Jerusalem destroyed again in A.D. 70?
English Translation of Daniel’s
New King James Version
JPS Version Tanakh
JPS 1917 Version
Judaica Press Tanakh
24 "Seventy weeks are determined
For your people and for your holy city, To finish the
transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation
for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up
vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.
24 “Seventy weeks” have been
decreed for your people and your holy city until the measure of
transgression is filled and that of sin complete, until iniquity
is expiated, and eternal righteousness ushered in; and prophetic
vision ratified” and the Holy of Holies anointed.
24 Seventy weeks are decreed
upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the
transgression, and to make an end of sin, and to forgive
iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal
vision and prophet, and to anoint the most holy place.
24. Seventy weeks [of years]
have been decreed upon your people and upon the city of your
Sanctuary to terminate the transgression and to end sin, and to
expiate iniquity, and to bring eternal righteousness, and to
seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the Holy of Holies.
25 "Know therefore and
understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore
and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be
seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built
again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times
25 You must know and understand:
From the issuance of the word to restore and rebuild Jerusalem
until the [time of the] anointed leader is seven weeks; and for
sixty-two weeks it will be rebuilt, square and moat, but in a
time of distress.
25 Know therefore and discern,
that from the going forth of the word to restore and to build
Jerusalem unto one anointed, a prince, shall be seven weeks; and
for threescore and two weeks, it shall be built again, with
broad place and moat, but in troublous times.
25. And you shall know and
understand that from the emergence of the word to restore and to
rebuild Jerusalem until the anointed king [shall be] seven
weeks, and [in] sixty-two weeks it will return and be built
street and moat, but in troubled times.
26 "And after the sixty-two
weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the
people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and
the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the
end of the war desolations are determined.
26And after those sixty-two
weeks, the anointed one will disappear and vanish. The army of
a leader who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary,
but its end will come through a flood. Desolation is decreed
until the end of war.
And after the threescore and two
weeks shall an anointed one be cut off, and be no more; and the
people of a prince that shall come shall destroy the city and
the sanctuary; but his end shall be with a flood; and unto the
end of the war desolations are determined.
26. And after the sixty-two
weeks, the anointed one will be cut off, and he will be no more,
and the people of the coming monarch will destroy the city and
the Sanctuary, and his end will come about by inundation, and
until the end of the war, it will be cut off into desolation.
27 Then he shall confirm a
covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing
of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the
consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the
27 During one week he will make
a firm covenant with many. For half a week he will put a stop
to the sacrifice and the meal offering. At the corner [of the
altar] will be an appalling abomination until the decreed
destruction will be poured down upon the appalling thing.”
27 And he shall make a firm
covenant with many for one week; and for half of the week he
shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease; and upon
the wing of detestable things shall be that which causeth
appalment; and that until the extermination wholly determined be
poured out upon that which causeth appalment.'
27. And he will strengthen a
covenant for the princes for one week, and half the week he will
abolish sacrifice and meal- offering, and on high, among
abominations, will be the dumb one, and until destruction and
extermination befall the dumb one.
Jewish Translation comments on
the Seventy Weeks
1 Jewish Publication Society
interpretation varies depending on whether the interpretation is
orthodox, conservative or reform. The orthodox interpreters accept a
literal reading and interpretation of scripture, while conservatives
look at scripture from a “Critical” perspective. These two ways of
view scripture are demonstrated by the two different views below on the
Seventy Weeks of Daniel.
Jewish Publication Society, reflecting a conservative and reform
view of scripture, agrees the period of 70 Weeks, is years (490 years)
but the anointed ones, in the Hebrew “Mashiah” Messiah in verse 25 is
views as either Zerubabel or the High-priest Joshua
(Zechariah 6:9-15). These men lived about 520 B.C., about 19 years
after this prophecy. The “anointed one” cut off is seen as the
high-priest Onians III who died in 171 B.C., No comment is made on the
destruction of the Temple with takes place in A.D. 70.
Jewish Publication Society, study Bible sees the complete fulfillment of
this event in the Maccabean Era. Their note also indicates they
view the book of Daniel as changed or edited by later writers, “Shortly
after the final editing”.
2. Rashi (Orthodox)
also sees the Seventy Weeks as a 490-year period like the Jewish
Publication Societies’ Jewish Study Bible note indicates.
Rashi however, sees this verse as Messianic in nature, culminating in
day’s of Messiah. He however rejects the idea, that the person referred
to as Mashiyach (Messiah) in verses 25 and 26, is Yeshua (Jesus)
Rashi sees this person referred to as, anointed one or messiah as
Agrippa king of Judah (A.D. 27-93). The problem with Agrippa II is
he was not cut off before the city or the Temple were destroyed. In
fact, he helped the Romans and their general Titus conquer
Jerusalem. Agrippa rewarded for his efforts in helping Rome, lived
another 23 years after the fall of Jerusalem.
does see the events of the 27th verse referring to the
times of Messiah, but not Yeshua.
Jewish Study Bible Notes
Comments 2004 (Reform/Conservative)
[of years], that is 490 years, the true prediction of Jeremiah
according to this interpretation (see v.2 and n.). This
interpretation is based on reading a single word in Jer. 25.
11-12 in two different ways, as “shav’uim” (weeks) and “shiv’im”
(Seventy). Such close textual study and revocalization of texts
for interpretive purposes would characterize later rabbinic
interpretation. Holy of Holies anointed, finally
accomplish by Judas Maccabee in 164 BCE (1 Macc. 4.26-59),
shortly after the final editing of Daniel.
25-26 Anointed leader…anointed
one: The word anointed in vv. 25 and 26 is the Heb “mashiah”
(Messiah); thus these vv. Have given rise to much Christian
speculation. In the context of the other historical references,
however the anointed leader probably refers to either
Zerubabel or the high priest Joshua (Ezra 3.2; Hag. Ch 1; Zech.
6.9-15), while the anointed one is most likely the high
priest Onians III, killed in 171 BCE (2 Macc. 4.30-34). The
prince is Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
27. Half a week, the
three and half years of the Maccabean revolt that had transpired
to that time. See 7.25n.; cf. 8.14 Apallling abomination,
probably new altar stones placed upon the altar in the Temple,
upon which pagan sacrifices were offered (1Macc. 1.54;2 Macc.
Seventy weeks [of years] have been decreed on Jerusalem from the
day of the first destruction in the days of Zedekiah until it
will be [destroyed] the second time. to terminate the
transgression and to end sin so that Israel should receive their
complete retribution in the exile of Titus and his subjugation,
in order that their transgressions should terminate, their sins
should end, and their iniquities should be expiated, in order to
bring upon them eternal righteousness and to anoint upon them
(sic) the Holy of Holies: the Ark, the altars, and the holy
vessels, which they will bring to them through the king Messiah.
The number of seven weeks is four hundred and ninety years. The
Babylonian exile was seventy [years] and the Second Temple stood
four hundred and twenty [years].
9:25 And you shall
know and understand from the emergence of the word From the
emergence of this word, which emerged at the beginning of your
supplications to tell you, you shall know to understand [how] to
restore and build Jerusalem. until the anointed king Time will
be given from the day of the destruction until the coming of
Cyrus, king of Persia, about whom the Holy One, blessed be He,
said that he would return and build His city, and He called him
His anointed and His king, as it says (Isa. 45:1): “So said the
Lord to His anointed one, to Cyrus etc.” (verse 13): “He shall
build My city and free My exiles, etc.”
seven weeks Seven complete
shemittah cycles they will be in exile before Cyrus comes, and
there were yet three more years, but since they did not
constitute a complete shemittah cycle, they were not counted. In
the one year of Darius, in which Daniel was standing when this
vision was said to him, seventy years from the conquest of
Jehoiakim terminated. Deduct eighteen years from them, in which
the conquest of Jehoiakim preceded the destruction of Jerusalem,
leaving fifty-two years. This is what our Rabbis learned (Yoma
54a): “For fifty-two years no one passed through Judea.” They
are the fifty-two years from the day of the destruction until
they returned in the days of Cyrus. Hence, we have seven
shemittah cycles and three years.and in sixty-two weeks it will
return and be built i.e., the city with its streets.and moat
וְחָרוּץ. They are the
moats that they make around the wall to strengthen the city,
which are called fosse in French, ditch or moat.
but in troubled times But in
those times they will be troubled and distressed, for in the
subjugation of the kings of Persia and the heathens, they will
burden them with harsh bondage. Now although there are sixty-two
weeks and four years more that remain from the eighth week,
whose beginning, viz. the three years, was included in the
fifty-two years of the duration of the exile, those four years
were not counted here because here he counted only weeks, and
you find that from the beginning he started to count seventy
weeks, and at the end, when he delineated their times and their
judgments, he counted only sixty-nine, proving that one week was
divided, part of it here and part of it there; and he mentioned
only whole weeks. but in troubled times They will be troubled in
And after those weeks. the anointed one will be cut off
Agrippa, the king of Judea, who was ruling at the time of the
destruction, will be slain.and he will be no more Heb.
and he will not have. The meaning is that he will not be.the
anointed one Heb.
This is purely an expression of a prince and a dignitary.and the
city and the Sanctuary lit. and the city and the Holy.and the
people of the coming monarch will destroy [The monarch who will
come] upon them. That is Titus and his armies. and his end will
come about by inundation And his end will be damnation and
destruction, for He will inundate the power of his kingdom
through the Messiah, and until the end of the wars of Gog the
city will exist.cut off into desolation a destruction of
And he will strengthen a covenant for the princes for one week
לָרַבִּים, for the
princes, like “and all the officers of (רַבֵּי)
the king,” in the Book of Jeremiah (39:13).will strengthen Titus
[will strengthen] a covenant with the princes of Israel.for one
week He will promise them the strengthening of a covenant and
peace for seven years, but within the seven years, he will
abrogate his covenant.he will abolish sacrifice and
meal-offering This is what he says in the first vision (8:26):
“and in tranquility he will destroy many.” Through a covenant of
tranquility, he will destroy them.and on high, among
abominations will be the dumb one This is a pejorative for pagan
deities. i.e., on a high place, among abominations and
disgusting things, he will place the dumb one, the pagan deity,
which is dumb like a silent stone. high Heb.
lit. wing, an expression of height, like the wing of a flying
bird.and until destruction and extermination befall the dumb one
and the ruling of the abomination will endure until the day that
the destruction and extermination decreed upon it [will] befall
it, in the days of the king Messiah.befall the dumb one Heb.
תִּתַּ, reach; and total
destruction will descend upon the image of the pagan deity and
upon its worshippers.
New King James Version
"Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your
holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of
sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in
everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy.
represents 490 years [ 70 x 7 years=490]
determined on Daniel’s people (your people = The Jews) and
Jerusalem (your city = Jerusalem)
490 years Seven events will take place
an end of sins
reconciliation for iniquity
Bring in everlasting righteousness
Anoint the Most Holy
"Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of
the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the
Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The
street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in
period begins with command to restore Jerusalem, including
(Street and wall vs. 25 in troublous times)
best fits the order of King
Artaxerxes who gave Nehemiah “Letters” allowing him
to rebuild the gates in 444 B.C. (Nehemiah 2:1-8)
period is divided into three parts.
weeks or 49 years
2. 62 weeks or 434 years
3. 1 week or 7 years___
70 Weeks or 490 years
command to “Build Jerusalem” until “ Messiah the Prince” (Mashiyach
Nagiyd) there is 483 years ( 7 + 62 =69) because 69
“Sevens” is equal to 483. Since the command to rebuild
Jerusalem, including the walls, was given in 444 B.C. the
date “Messiah” was “Cut off” (Vs. 26) is A.D. 33 (444 B.C.
– 483 years= 39 A.D. using a solar –calendar, the
Jewish-calendar was Lunar, so one year was equal to 360 days
not 365 days)
26 "And after the sixty-two
weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the
people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city
and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And
till the end of the war desolations are determined.
At the end of
the 62 “Sevens” in A.D. 33, the Messiah is “cut off”. This
Messiah or “anointed one” cut off is the “Servant” in
Isaiah 52:13-53:12, who dies for the sins of the world. At
his death, 69 of the 70 weeks is complete, that were
“Determined” on the Jewish people and Jerusalem.
death of Messiah, “The people” (The Romans) would destroy
the Temple and city of Jerusalem in A.D. 70
The people who
destroy Jerusalem (The Romans) are linked to a future
“Prince who is to come”
are determined until the end. There still remains one
7-year period (1 Week). Deuteronomy 28:63-68 warns about
the Desolations which befall the Jewish people after
Jerusalem is destroyed.
he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in
the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice
and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one
who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is
determined, Is poured out on the desolate."
The Jewish Temple was
destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70, this is the only
location where a Temple could be built. In the final week,
(7-years) the future, “Prince who is to come” (Vs. 26)
allows the Temple to be rebuilt. Jews are gathered from
world leader makes an agreement with many for 1 “Seven”,
allowing the Jewish Temple to be rebuilt.
After 3 ½
years, “Middle of the Week”, he breaks the agreement
stopping “Sacrifice and offering” at the new Temple.
prince who is to come” ) set up an image on the Temple, the
“Abomination of desolation”.
the Lord to judge the enemies of Israel, “The nations”, by
pouring out his wrath (the consummation) on the “Desolate”.
At the end of
this period (Week), Israel comes to know their Messiah, the
“Servant Messiah”, Yeshua rejected at first coming. (Isaiah