History Addict's Sunday School Lessons Series

Daniel Chapter 9: Daniel's Prophecy of the Seventy-Seven Weeks

(Please note: These are not all my original notes, some are my annotations and references from a variety of sources, listed at the bottom of the page)

Dan. 9:1       In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom

Dan. 9:2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.

Dan. 9:3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.

Dan. 9:4       I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed:

                                    O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands,

Dan. 9:5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.

Dan. 9:6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

Dan. 9:7                                  Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shamethe men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you.

Dan. 9:8 O LORD, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you.

Dan. 9:9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him;

Dan. 9:10 we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.

Dan. 9:11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you.

                                    Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you.

Dan. 9:12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem.

Dan. 9:13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth.

Dan. 9:14 The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.

Dan. 9:15                                Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong.

Dan. 9:16 O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.

Dan. 9:17                                Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary.

Dan. 9:18 Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.

Dan. 9:19 O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.

Dan. 9:20     While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the LORD my God for his holy hill

Dan. 9:21 while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice.

Dan. 9:22 He instructed me and said to me, Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding.

Dan. 9:23 As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the message and understand the vision:

Dan. 9:24     Seventysevens are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.

Dan. 9:25     Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven sevens, and sixty-two sevens. It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.

Dan. 9:26 After the sixty-two sevens, the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.

Dan. 9:27 He will confirm a covenant with many for oneseven. In the middle of theseven he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.



rRvSa ydDm orRzIm vwrwVvAjSa_NR;b vwDyrdVl t#AjAa tAnVvI;b Dan. 9:1

:My;dVcA;k twkVlAm lAo JK$AlVmDh

MyrDpV;sA;b yItOnyI;b laYyn;d ynSa w$kVlDmVl tAjAa tAnVvI;b Dan. 9:2

ay$IbΊnAh hDyImry_lRa hwhy_rAbd hDyDh rRvSa MyGnDvAh rApVsIm

:h`DnDv MyIoVbIv MʁAlDvwry twbrDjVl twa;lAmVl

hD;lIpV;t v;qAbVl My$IhlTa`Dh ynOdSa_lRa yGnDp_tRa hDnV;tRaw Dan. 9:3

:rRp`Eaw qAcw MwxV;b MyInwnSjAtw

aDnDa h#rVmOaw h;dwVtRaw yAhlTa hDwhyAl hDlVl`ApVtRa`Dw Dan. 9:4

wyDbShOaVl dRs$RjAh`Vw tyrV;bAh rEmOv a$rwnAhw  lwdΊgAh lEaDh ynOdSa

:wy`DtOwVxIm yrVmOvVlw

rwsw wndrDmw [wnVoAvrIh] wnVoAvrIhw wnyIwDow wnaDfDj Dan. 9:5

:Ky`RfDpVvI;mImw KRtOwVxI;mIm

ЊwrV;b;d rRvSa My$IayIb׊nAh KydDbSo_lRa ЊwnVoAmDv alw Dan. 9:6

:Xr`DaDh MAo_lD;k lRaw wnyEtObSaw wnyrDc wnyEkDlVm_lRa $KVmIvV;b

hRzAh MwyA;k MyInDpAh tRvO;b wnDlw h$qdVxAh ynOdSa KVl Dan. 9:7

MyIbOrV;qAh lEarVcy_lDkVlw M$AlDvwry yEbVvwyVlw hdwhy vyIaVl

rRvSa MDlSoAmV;b M$Dv MD;tVj;dIh rRvSa twxrSa`Dh_lDkV;b My#IqOjrDhw


wnyEtObSaAlw wnyrDcVl wnyEkDlVmIl MyYnDpAh tRvO;b wnDl hGwhy Dan. 9:8

:JK`Dl wnaDfDj rRvSa

:w;b wndrDm yI;k twjIlV;sAhw MyImSjrDh wny$EhlTa yDnOda`Al Dan. 9:9

wyDtOrwtV;b tRkRlDl wnyEhlTa hDwhy lwqV;b wnVo$AmDv alw Dan. 9:10

:My`IayIb׊nAh wydDbSo dAyV;b wnyYnDpVl NAtn rRvSa

yI;tVlIbVl rwsw K$Rtrw;t_tRa ЊwrVb`Do l#EarVcy_lDkw Dan. 9:11

hDbwtV;k rRvSa h#DoUbVvAhw hDlDaDh wny%ElDo JKA;tI;tw KRlOqV;b AowmVv

:wl wnaDfDj yI;k My$IhlTa`Dh_dRb`Ro hRvOm trwtV;b

lAow wny#ElDo rR;b;d_rRvSa [wrDb;d] wyrDb;d_tRa MqΥyw Dan. 9:12

rRvSa hDlOdg hDor wnyElDo ayIbDhVl wnw$fDpVv rRvSa ЊwnyEfVpOv

:M`DlDvwryI;b hDtVcRon rRvSaA;k My$AmDvAh_lD;k tAjA;t h#DtVcRon_al

tazAh hDorDh_lD;k tEa h$RvOm trwtV;b bwtD;k rRvSaA;k Dan. 9:13

bwvDl wny#EhlTa hDwhy yEnVp_tRa wny%I;lIj_alw wnyElDo hDaD;b

:K`R;tImSaA;b lyI;kVcAhVlw wnYnOwSo`Em

qy;dAx_y`I;k wnyElDo DhRayIbyw h$DorDh_lAo hwhy dOqVvyw Dan. 9:14

:wlOqV;b wnVoAmDv alw h$DcDo rRvSa wyDcSo`Am_lD;k_lAo wny#EhlTa hDwhy

%KV;mAo_t`Ra DtaExwh rRvSa wny#EhlTa yDnOdSa hD;tAow Dan. 9:15

wnaDfDj hRzAh MwyA;k MEv KVl_cAo`A;tw h$qzSj dDyV;b MyrVxIm XrRaEm


Kry`IoEm $KVtDmSjw KVpAa aDn_bDv`Dy KRtOqdIx_lDkV;k yGnOdSa Dan. 9:16

MʪAlDvwry wny$EtObSa twnOwSoAbw ЊwnyEaDfSjAb yI;k KRvdq_rAh MʁAlDvwry

:wny`EtObyIbVs_lDkVl hDprRjVl KV;mAow

K;dVbAo tA;lIpV;t_lRa wny#EhlTa oAmVv hD;tAow Dan. 9:17

:y`DnOdSa NAoAmVl MEmDvAh KVv;dVqIm_lAo KyYnDp rEaDhw wyYnwnSjA;t_lRaw

KyGnyEo [jqVp] hDjVqIp ~oDmSvw KnzDa yAhlTa hEfAh Dan. 9:18

al yI;k DhyRlDo KVmIv arVqn_rRvSa ryIoDhw wny$EtOmVmOv hEarw

yI;k KyYnDpVl ЊwnyдnwnSjA;t MyIlyIpAm wnVjnSa wny#EtOqdIx_lAo

:My`I;brDh KyRmSjr_lAo

hEcSow hDbyIvq`Ah yDnOdSa hDj$DlVs yDnOdSa hDoDmVv yDnOdSa Dan. 9:19

KryIo_lAo a$rVqn KVmIv_y`I;k y$AhlTa KnSo`AmVl rAjAaV;t_lAa


y$ItaDfAj h;dwVtImw l$E;lApVtImw rE;bdVm yInSa dwow Dan. 9:20

lAo y$AhlTa hDwhy ynVpIl y#ItΊnIjV;t lyIpAmw lEarVcy yI;mAo taAfAjw

:y`DhlTa vdOq_rAh

rRvSa l&EayrVbŊg vyIaDhw hD;lIpV;tA;b rE;bdVm yInSa dwow Dan. 9:21

tEoV;k y$AlEa AoEgOn P$DoyI;b PDoUm hD;lIjV;tA;b NwzDjRb yItyIar


yItaDxy hD;tAo layn;d rAmayw yI;mIo rE;bdyw NRbDyw Dan. 9:22

:h`DnyIb KVlyI;kVcAhVl

yI;k dyYgAhVl yItaD;b ynSaw r#Dbd aDxy KynwnSjA;t tA;lIjVtI;b Dan. 9:23

:h`RarA;mA;b NEbDhw r$Db;dA;b NyIbw hD;tDa twdwmSj

K#Rvdq ryIo_lAow KV;mAo_l`Ao JKA;tVjn My%IoVbIv MyIoUbDv Dan. 9:24

rEpAkVlw [taDfAj] twaDfAj [MEtDh][Vl][w] MO;tVjAlw oAv%RpAh aE;lAkVl

vdOq AjOvVmIlw ay$Ibnw NwzDj MO;tVjAlw MyImDlOo qdRx ayIbDhVlw N$OwDo


twnVbIlw byIvDhVl r#Dbd aDxOm_NIm l%E;kVcAtw odEtw Dan. 9:25

MyIvIv MyIoUbDvw hDoVbIv MyIoUbDv dyYgn AjyIvDm_dAo MAlDvwry

:My`I;tIoDh qwxVbw Xw$rDjw bwjr hDtnVbnw bwvD;t MyGnVvw

NyEaw AjyIvDm trD;ky MyYnVvw MyIvIv MyIoUbDvAh yrSjAaw Dan. 9:26

dAow PRf$RvAb wxIqw aD;bAh dyIgn MAo tyIjVvy vd%O;qAhw ryIoDhw wl

:twmEmOv tRxrTjn h$DmDjVlIm Xq

Aow%bDvAh yIxSjw dDjRa AowbDv MyI;brDl tyrV;b ryI;bgIhw Dan. 9:27

hDlD;k_dAow M$EmOvVm MyIxw;qIv PAnV;k lAow h#DjnImw jAbRz tyI;bVvy

p :M`EmOv_lAo JKA;tI;t h$DxrTjRnw


9:1-3 Daniel searches the Scriptures

Gabriel then brought further revelation (21; cf. 8:16) which is given careful and significant chronological setting in the first year of Darius (1). Daniel was engaged in spiritual exercises. He had been meditating on Jeremiahs prophecy that the desolation of Jerusalem (2) would last for seventy years (cf. Je. 25:11-12; 29:10). The prayer which followed was deeply influenced by the spirit of Je. 25. As elsewhere in Scripture, the motivation for Daniels earnest intercession is twofold: the need of the hour and Gods covenanted word of promise. While abstract logic might lead us to ask why he needed to pray when God had already given his promise, Daniel himself understood that God employs prayer as the means by which he is pleased to fulfill his word. Genuine repentance and intercession affected Daniel outwardly as well as inwardly (3). This was presumably a part of Daniels private devotions, but his actions were not in contradiction of the spirit of Mt. 6:16-18, which concerns our appearance in public and in any event has in view those who seek the reward of others praises rather than Gods approval.


9:1.   chronology. Assuming Darius the Medes reign coincides with that of Cyrus, his first year would be 539. Again, the timing is significant as a major change of empires is in process (see comment on 7:1).

            7:1 chronology. This vision takes place before the events of both chapters five and six. It is difficult to tell what the first year of Belshazzar was. It should not be equated with the first year of his father, Nabonidus (556), but more likely with the beginning of his coregency when Nabonidus set up his royal residency in Teima (552). It is unknown, however, whether Belshazzar was immediately made coregent. The Nabonidus Chronicle first notes Belshazzars coregency in Naboniduss seventh year (549), but the Chronicles for years four, five and half of six are not available. It is in Naboniduss sixth year, 550, that the empire succession takes shape as Cyrus defeats the Medes and the Medo-Persian empire is formed. As a tangential note of interest, a dream text of Nabonidus is preserved from his first year, in which it was foretold that Cyrus would conquer the Medes.


This probably takes place about 12 years after the dream in Daniel 8.


Xerxes (Greek, in Hebrew Ahasuerus) this is likely an ancient Achaemenid royal title, as multiple Xerxes references have been found which clearly refer to different kings

DariusMay be an ancient Persian/Iranian title, not a specific name

Babylonian Or Chaldean


9:2.   Jeremiahs prophecy. In 597 the prophet Jeremiah wrote a letter to the exiles (Jer 29) informing them that the length of the exile would be seventy years. This is most likely the subject of Daniels interest as he ponders whether the time might be right for the return.


9:2. 70 Years: There is some evidence that ancient civilizations believed that a 70-year period was the time decreed by their gods for the humiliation and ruin of a city that had brought their displeasure, the fixed term of divine indignation.  (2 Chron 36:21)


9:3.   fasting, sackcloth and ashes. In the Old Testament the religious use of fasting is often in connection with making a request before God. The principle is that the importance of the request causes an individual to be so concerned about his or her spiritual condition that physical necessities fade into the background. In this sense the act of fasting is designed as a process leading to purification and humbling oneself before God (Ps 69:10). The practice of putting dirt, dust or ashes on ones head was a typical sign of mourning throughout the Old Testament and into the New Testament period. It is a practice also known from Mesopotamia and Canaan. Many mourning rites originated as a means for the living to identify with the dead. It is easy to see how dust on the head and torn clothes would be symbolic representations of burial and decay. Sackcloth was made of goat or camel hair and was coarse and uncomfortable. In many cases the sackcloth was only a loin covering.



9:4-19 Prayer, a covenant work

Daniels praying was dominated by a sense of the character of God especially as that is revealed in his righteousness. The righteousness of God is his absolute integrity, his conformity to his own perfect glory. In his relationships with his people this takes the form of his faithfulness to his covenants with them. In that covenant relationship he has promised to be their God and to take them as his people; he has promised that they will enjoy blessing as they themselves respond to his covenant love in faithfulness, but judgment should they respond to him in unbelief, ingratitude and disobedience (cf. Dt. 27; 28). It is significant that the covenant name of God, Yahweh, used in the book only in this chapter, appears frequently printed in the NIV as LORD (v 2, 4, 10, 13, 14, 20; cf. Ex. 3:13-15).

            These principles underlie all of Gods dealings with his people in the OT and come to the surface in Daniels prayer. In his longsuffering with his disobedient people God had sent prophets to summon them back to covenant faithfulness (5-6). Their exile was the result of their indifference to his warning and a fulfillment of the covenant curse (7; cf. Dt. 28:58, 63-64; Je. 18:15-17). In a true spirit of repentance, Daniel, the most faithful of all Gods people, took to himself their guilt as though it were his own (we is repeated eight times in vs 5-10). In this respect his heart reflected the heart of God (cf. Is. 63:8a, 9a); they are his people (cf. v 20). The ultimate remedy awaited the time when Gods Son would take his peoples guilt as though it were his own (cf. Is. 53:4-6, 10-12; 2 Cor. 5:21). But the hope of forgiveness does not minimize the seriousness of their condition. Indeed Daniel ransacked the OT vocabulary as he described and confessed Judahs failure (sin, wrong, wickedness, rebellion, turning away, not listening, unfaithfulness, transgression, disobedience; 5-11) and its consequences (shame and scattering; v 7). Such judgment is the expression of Gods covenant righteousness in response to the sin of his people. He has kept his promise (7, 11-14).

            As he prayed over the plight of his people, Daniel did not ask God to abandon his righteousness. Paradoxically, it is the peoples only hope. As in the first exodus, for his own glory God revealed his covenant righteousness in mercy to the oppressed as well as judgment on the wicked (cf. Ex. 3:7-10, 20; 6:6). Encouraged by the divine promises through Jeremiah, Daniel appealed to God to defend his glorious Name which he had bound to the people and the city of Jerusalem (16). The goal of his intercession is the glory of Gods Name; its foundation is Gods covenanted word of promise concerning the restoration; its motivation is the knowledge of the righteous mercy revealed in Gods saving deeds in the past (15-19).


JEM: One of the sins of Israel was the way they kept returning to their idolatrous ways, even in the face of Gods obvious displeasure. Babylon was the very center of idolatry, and it has been suggested that this was the very reason the Israelites were sent there to burn their idolatrous ways out of their souls.

-       Could this be the reason that God has allowed this nation to prosper in monetary wealth beyond all measure?

-       God had warned the nation over and over again:

o      Isaiah preached with eloquence against their inequity;

o      Amos had flatly stated the Israelites were acting against Gods will;

o      Hosea had broken his heart over Gomer (Israel);

o      Habakkuk had struggled with the problem of national sin and Gods silence over it;

o      Jeremiah had wept over the nations sin;

o      Ezekiel had warned over signs and portents to a disastrous future.

-       Even through to the time of Daniel, though, the people refused to confess and repent

-       What a powerful prayer for our own time and our own nation:


God, we have sinned as a nation and as individuals, against your name and your commands. Look and see what has been done here by us, that brings shame and dishonor to you, and incites the heathens of other nations to mock and ridicule both you and those who are called by Your name. We are a "stiff necked and obstinate people," Lord, and grow further from your Word and rebel more strongly against you as a nation each day. Let your word and promise be fulfilled, Lord, that you will allow us and those other persons and nations who are against you to suffer, and to endure the pain and despair of being far from your protecting hand, until it burns out the rebellion in our hearts.


At the same time, O Lord, let your mercy and compassion for those people and nations who are called by your name cause you to raise them up again after a time. We ask that your promise of grace shine on this nation and people, so that the heathens and mockers may see your great power and majesty, and be moved in their own hearts towards your redeeming grace. We long to be near you, but we even more long to be made holy so that we are fully acceptable before you, O God, as to be set apart from you is the worst punishment we can imagine.


Your Word is true and righteous, your holiness is perfect, your might and power are infinite, and your goodness and compassion overwhelms us. Please accept our grief over our own sin, and set us on the path of truth and righteousness.



9:17-18.   desolation of city and sanctuary. The city of Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 and was little more than a desolate ruin. Fifty years had come and gone since the temple had been dismantled and razed.


Holy Mountain: Mount Moriah, or the Temple Mount


9:20-27 Another seventy

The time of the revelation was about the time of the evening sacrifice (21; i.e. midafternoon)a remarkable indication of Daniels cityofGodcentred approach to life, since he had now been absent from Jerusalem for about seventy years (cf. 6:10). Gabriel appeared with dramatic swiftness in response to his prayer, bringing a further divine communication which extended Daniels horizon beyond the seventy years of Jeremiahs prophecy to a period of seventy sevens (24). There is a further peak in the mountain ranges of Gods purposes on which he is now to focus.

            The enigmatic revelation which follows first outlines the divine programme, including six things to be accomplished within the period of seventy sevens ordained by God (24). The first sixtynine sevens lead to the coming of the Anointed One (25) and are divided into two unequal periods (seven sevens and sixtytwo sevens = sixtynine sevens). This division is one of the most enigmatic features of the whole book. Possibly the first sevens look towards the completion of the temple. Vs 26 and 27 may contain a miniature progressive parallelism: v 26 describing the final seven in panoramic terms while v 27 describes it in specific detail.

            Interpretations of this message vary enormously, and depend on the interpreters wider view of the fulfilment of prophecy. Critical scholarship, setting the writing of Daniel in the context of the second century BC, sees the period in view as intended to stretch from the sixth century to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes (the four hundred and ninety years being understood either in round terms, or literally and, perhaps, mistakenly). But from the perspective of the NT, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the Anointed One (25) is fulfilled in Jesus Christ whose coming brings atonement and the end of guilt (24). Some conservative interpreters have, in addition, employed various chronologies to show that the figure of four hundred and ninety is a chronologically exact prediction of the death of Christ. No agreement has been reached either about this or about the detailed interpretation of the final seven.

            If the Christological analysis is generally correct, the sixtynine sevens may represent the period beyond the restoration until the coming of Christ and the kingdom he inaugurates. While difficult, v 26, the Anointed One will be cut off (the verb is one also used of confirming a covenant) and will have nothing (see NIV mg.) is reminiscent of Is. 53:8 and an indication of absolute desolation (cf. Mt. 26:31; 27:46). V 27 could then be taken to refer to the ruler who will come (26), finding its fulfilment in Titus Vespasian, the defilement of the temple and the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 (cf. Mt. 24:3-25). Alternatively, v 27a could refer to Christ confirming the covenant of God for one seven, i.e. for all future ages (cf. 1 Cor. 11:25-26); vs 27b and 27c to the desecration of Jerusalem.

            For seventy years Daniel had longed for the restoration of the city and temple of God (16-19). Now that it was about to take place his attention was directed to a more distant and loftier peak in the history of redemption. Even a new temple in a rebuilt city made by human hands could be destroyed; Daniels eyes were therefore to be fixed on a final temple (cf. Jn. 2:19), on one that would be beyond all desecration (Rev. 21:22-27).


9:21.   Gabriel. See comment on 8:16: Gabriel. This is the first reference to the name of an angel in the Bible. The only other angel named in the Bible is Michael (see 10:13). In intertestamental literature (1 Enoch) Gabriel is in charge of Paradise. In the War Scroll from Qumran he is one of the archangels who surround the throne of God. He is the one who brings the message to Mary of the impending birth of Jesus (Luke 1:19). Angels not only delivered messages from deity, but they explained those messages and answered questions concerning them. Thus Gabriel is seen here as one who can interpret the vision. In the ancient worlds polytheistic context, the messengers of the gods were generally gods themselves (of lower rank). In Mesopotamia we find individuals such as Nuska and Kakka, while Hermes serves the function in Greek mythology. In a dream of Nabonidus a young man appears to offer an interpretation of a celestial omen that has been observed.


9:21.   swift flight. In Isaiah 6 the creatures called seraphim fly, and in Zechariah 5 there is a vision of women with wings who fly, but this is the only occasion when a being identified as an angel flies. Though other supernatural creatures (the ones listed earlier, as well as cherubim) are portrayed with wings, angels (messengers) are not, despite the artistic renditions of the past fifteen hundred years. In Mesopotamian art protective genies are portrayed with wings, as are a variety of demons. In intertestamental literature the earliest reference to flying angels is in 1 Enoch 61:1 (though cherubim and seraphim are by then included in the category). The Hebrew construction used is a complex one, and many commentators have concluded (with good cause) that the text expresses weariness (y}p) rather than flight (wp).


9:21.   time of the evening sacrifice. From the Israelite perspective the day ended about six oclock in the evening (rather than our midnight). As a result the evening sacrifice was offered late in the afternoon, between three and four oclock.


9:24.   seventy sevens. A period of seven years was the sabbatical year cycle (see especially Lev 26:3435 and the reference to it in 2 Chron 36:21). Seven sabbatical year cycles constituted a Jubilee cycle, at the end of which slaves were set free and land was returned to its proper owner (Lev 25). Seventy sabbatical cycles equal ten Jubilee cycles. The first Jubilee cycle is distinguished here (seven sevens in v. 25), and the last sabbatical cycle is distinguished (the seventieth week). It is clear, then, that these numbers are laden with theological significance that give them a schematic appearance. In Mesopotamia the numbers seven and seventy represent a full measure of time. Schematic usage of the term weeks can be seen in Jewish literature in the book of 1 Enoch (in the Apocalypse of Weeks), and the period of seventy weeks is also found at Qumran. The schematic use of time has been referred to as chronography, which is to be differentiated from chronology.


9:24.   seal up vision and prophecy. See comment on 12:4. Sealing concerns authentication. The authentication of Jeremiahs prophecy and Daniels vision will only be accomplished when the designated period of time passes.


9:24.   anoint the most holy. The consecration ceremony that involves anointing and purification of the Holy of Holies in Exodus 29 (especially vv. 3637) is sufficient background for understanding this statement. The desecration of the holy place requires its purification. Assyrian temple inscriptions also refer to the anointing of a temple that is to be repaired and restored by a future prince.


sevens Or weeks; also in verses 25 and 26

finish Or restrain

most holy Or Most Holy Place; or most holy One


9:25.   word to restore and rebuild. The NIV translates this as decree, but in its note indicates that it is a wordand this usually refers to a prophetic oracle, not a royal decree. In fact the same combination of verb and noun (word going out) has just been used in verse 23. This identification of the word is even more likely in light of the fact that Daniel is reflecting on the writing of Jeremiah, who proclaimed the prophetic oracle concerning return and restoration in his letter to the exiles (see comment on 9:2). Notice especially Jeremiah 29:10. The going forth of this word would then be dated to sometime between 597 and 594.


9:25-26.   anointed one. It is important to note that the noun here is indefinite, thus a messiah (an anointed one, as in the NIV note), rather than the Messiah. The prophetic literature had not yet adopted this term as a technical term for the ideal, future Davidic king (besides this chapter, the term is used only in the prophets in Is 45:1, referring to Cyrus, and Hab 3:13, in a generic way). Priests and kings were both anointed to their tasks in Israel. Some have maintained that the two references to anointed individuals require two different anointed individuals: one after the first cycle of forty-nine years (plausibly Cyrus, since he has already been given anointed status in the prophets, though leaders of the return such as Zerubbabel or Joshua would not be impossible); the second to be cut off before the last week. This view is favored by the Hebrew punctuation that suggests a period should be placed between the two numbers (as reflected in the RSV) rather than after the sixty-two sevens. It was forty-nine years between the fall of Jerusalem (586) and the decree of Cyrus (538).


9:25.   streets and a trench. Streets refers to the city squares and plazas that are the major features of city planning. This is where the public functions of the city take place, from government to merchant activities. Trench can only refer to the dry moat that was a common element of a citys defenses. The combination indicates that Jerusalem will again be a place of security and prosperity, providing all of the civic functions of a smoothly operating urban center.


decree Or word

the Anointed One Or an anointed one


9:26.   anointed one cut off. The most common identification of the cut off anointed one is Onias III, the high priest murdered by Antiochus Epiphanes in 171 (referred to in 11:22). Many find this an irresistible option because it initiated a seven-year period of persecution in Jerusalem that included the desecration of the temple in 167.


off and will have nothing Or off and will have no one; or off, but not for himself


9:27.   abomination of desolation. The consistent use of the noun translated desolation (shmm, see also 8:13) is quite intentional. The Syrian Baal Shamem (Lord of Heaven) was the deity whose worship was instituted in the temple on the altar of sacrifice by the Syrian citizens who were brought into Jerusalem by Antiochus and his military commander, Apollonius. Antiochus worshiped this deity as Olympian Zeus. This desecration perpetrated by Antiochus served as a prototype for all future desecrations. Even in the sixth century, however, this concept had precedent. In a work called The Verse Account of Nabonidus the priests of Marduk list the offenses of Nabonidus that purportedly led Marduk to dethrone him in favor of the Persian king Cyrus. Among the accusations are that he built an abomination, a work of unholiness (a statue of the god Nanna placed in the temple of Marduk), and ordered an end to the most important rituals.


seven Or week

him Or it

And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him Or And one who causes desolation will come upon the pinnacle of the abominable temple, until the end that is decreed is poured out on the desolated city


Abomination: frequently used by the Jews of that day as a synonym for pagan idols


The four views of 9:24-27:

1.     They are literal years extending through the reign of Antiocus IV Epiphanes. The sevens or weeks  are seven years each, for a total of 490 years (70 x 7). No adjusted beginning or end dates for this period really satisfy the requirements of the biblical text in view of known history.

2.     The seventy sevens are symbolic periods of time (seven being a perfect number) ending in the 1st cen. AD, before the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. To make this view work, each of these periods could not be exactly equal to each other varying time periods.

3.     They are symbolic periods of time ending at Christs second coming., and may be a prophetic view of upcoming church history (both OT and NT). This has the same problems as #2.

4.     They are literal years ending with Christs second coming. This view agrees with the first that the sevens are literal seven-year periods totaling 490 years. The remaining seven sevens (49 years) commence with the command to rebuild Jerusalem (either 458 or 445 BC) and terminate with the completion of the work 49 years later (c. 409 or 396 BC). The next sixty-two sevens (434 years) extend from the end of the first group of sevens to Christs first coming (either baptism in 26 AD or Palm Sunday in 32/33 AD). After His rejection by the Jews, the time of the Gentiles begins, which is not counted among the seventy-sevens. At the end of this present age, God will deal again specifically with the Jewish people, and the last seven years will occur, ending with Christs second coming. This last view is well supported by other scriptures (Dan 9:27; Rev. 11:2, 12:14. 13:5, for a few). It also fits in very well with the Jewish concept and custom of Jubilee.


IVP Hard Sayings


9:2427 A Prophecy of Christ?

            Was Daniels prophecy about the coming Anointed One, that is, the Messiah, accurate? Or has the text been wrongly interpreted and is there a Messiah who comes at the end of the first set of seven sevens, that is, at the end of 49 years, and another Messiah who comes at the end of the sixty-two sevens, that is, after another 434 years? If there are two Messiahs spoken of in this text, then the text has been doctored to make it seem that there was only one who came at the end of the sixty-nine weeks, or 483 years after the decree went forth to rebuild and restore Jerusalem. And in that case, it cannot be a prophecy about Jesus.


Originally the 1611 edition of the KJV of the Bible rendered it this way:


            Know therefore and vnderstand, that from the going foorth of the commandement to restore and to build Ierusalem, vnto the Messiah the Prince, shall be seuven weekes; and threescore and two weekes, the street shall be built againe, and the wall euen in troublous times. And after threescore and two weekes, shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himselfe, and the people of the Prince that shall come, shall destroy the citie, and the Sanctuarie, and the ende thereof shall be with a flood. (Dan 9:2526)


            The reason the 1611 edition put Messiah the Prince (Hebrew: masiah nagid) at the end of the seven sevens was because the Hebrew text has an athnach at the end of this clause, which sometimes indicates a break in the thought. But neither a comma nor an athnach is sufficient in and of itself to require the conclusion that Daniel intended a break in thought at this point and a radical separation of the seven sevens from the sixty-two sevens, thus making two appearances of Messiah, one at the end of 49 years and the other at the end of 434 years. Of course there is always the possibility that the sixth-century Jewish scholars, the Masoretes, who supplied the vowel points to the original consonantal text as well as the accents that serve as a form of punctuation at times, were in error. But if the Masoretic athnach be retained, it may serve not to indicate a principal division of the text, as the 1611 edition of the KJV took it (which translation was in vogue up until 1885), but to indicate that one was not to confuse or to absorb the seven sevens into the sixty-two sevens. The point is that a violent separation of the two periods with a projection of two Messiahs is out of harmony with the context. Therefore, we contend that only one Anointed One is being addressed in this passage.

            But what led Daniel to start talking about groups of sevens anyway? Daniel had been having devotions in the recent writings of Jeremiah (Dan 9:2) when he realized that Jeremiahs predicted seventy years of captivity in Babylon had almost expired. Thus it happened that while he was praying, confessing his sin and the sin of his people, God answered his inquiry as to what was going to happen in the future. There would be an additional seventy sevens for Daniels people and for the holy city in order to do six things: (1) to finish transgression, (2) to put an end to sin, (3) to atone for wickedness, (4) to bring in everlasting righteousness, (5) to seal up vision and prophecy and (6) to anoint the most holy [place?] (Dan 9:24). That would embrace everything from Daniels day up to the introduction of the eternal state. What an omnibus plan!

            But first the seventy sevens must take place. Now the Hebrew people were accustomed to reckoning time in terms of sevens, for the whole sabbatical cycle was laid out that way; accordingly, to equate the sevens with years was not a major problem for Jewish listeners. But these seventy sevens were divided up into three segments: (1) the first seven sevens were for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, which was consummated forty-nine years after the decree to rebuild the city was announced; (2) sixty-two additional sevens bring us to the time when Messiah the Prince will come; and (3) a remaining seven concludes the full seventy sevens as they were given to Daniel.

            While the first two segments appear to be continuous, making up the first sixty-nine (7 + 62 = 69), Daniel 9:26 describes a gap after the first sixty-nine sevens. In this gap, Messiah will be cut off, a reference to the death of Messiah around A.D. 30, and the city and sanctuary of Jerusalem will be destroyed, a prediction of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Given the forty-year spread between these two events, it is enough to indicate that the final seven in the seventy will not come in sequence with the other sixty-nine.

            When was this decree or word to restore and rebuild Jerusalem issued? This constituted the terminus a quo, or the beginning point for this prophecy. One of three points has been variously adopted by interpreters for this terminus a quo, with a slight edge going to the third one. First, the decree was the one Cyrus issued in 538/37 B.C. (Ezra 1:24; 6:35). Second, the decree was the one Artaxerxes announced in 458 B.C., when Ezra returned to Jerusalem (Ezra 7:1126). Third, it was the decree that the same Artaxerxes proclaimed in 445 B.C., when Nehemiah returned. Since it was Nehemiah who rebuilt the walls, while Cyruss decree focused on rebuilding the temple and Ezra focused on reestablishing proper services at the temple, 445 B.C. is favored as the terminus a quo.

            The terminus ad quem (ending point) of the first sixty-nine sevens is usually put during the life of the Messiah; some preferring his birth (5/4 B.C.), others the beginning of his ministry at his baptism (A.D. 26/27) and some his triumphal entry into Jerusalem (A.D. 30).

            So is this prophecy accurate in what it said about the coming Messiah, given in the sixth century B.C. to Daniel? Yes it was. It correctly said that Messiah the Prince would come and that he would die. Some have argued that it was possible to give the exact date for the announcement of Messiahs kingdom by supposing that a prophetic year consists of 360 days (instead of 365 days of the solar year). This is based on the fact that during Noahs flood, the 150 days equaled five months. There is no need, however, to make such an extrapolation. It is enough to know that there are some 483 years (69 x 7 = 483 years) from 445 B.C. to A.D. 3033, when Christ was crucified.



Daniel References:


Intervarsity Press Old Testament Commentary


Intervarsity Press New Bible Commentary


Intervarsity Press Hard Sayings of the Bible


Shepherds Notes: Daniel


Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries: Daniel, Joyce Baldwin

Daniel: An Expositional Commentary, James Montgomery Boice


Hermeneia: Daniel: A Commentary on the Book of Daniel, John Joseph Collins


The Preachers Commentary: Daniel, Sinclair Ferguson


The New American Commentary: Daniel, Stephen Miller


International Critical Commentary: A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Daniel, James Montgomery


Exploring the Book of Daniel: An Expository Commentary, John Phillips

SOLDIER Back to the main page...