The 70 Week/Years Prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 - Part One
This prophetic frame of Daniel 9:24-27 ought to be interepreted on a double manner. Both ways starting on the same point in History: The destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.
Both facets of the frame belong to two different visions of Daniel. First, the angel is commanded to make Daniel understand about the end of the exile in Babylon, whose 70 years of Jeremiah 25:11 are referred to as 70 weeks in that vision; being one week equal to one year. Historically, the exile lasted 70 years and not 490 years. (Dan. 9:23)
The second vision concerns with event that befall God’s People in the days to follow. (Dan. 10:14) The computation of the time on this second vision follows the method of days as years
The 70 week/years of the exile started officially in 586 BCE with the destruction of the Temple. I say officially because Jews were being exiled even before the final destructon. Verse 24 is read as a preface to the frame which starts properly with verse 25.
So, “From the utterance of the ‘word’ that Jerusalem was to be rebuilt until one who is anointed and a leader, there shall be 7 weeks.” Utterance of the word, not commandment or decree as KJV translates. The original in Hebrew brings “Davar” which means prophetic word and not decree or edit. And that prophetic word was uttered by Jeremiah according to chapters 30 and 31, and 33:7,8. And the text does not say after but from. From the utterance of the word.
Jerusalem is used as synonym for Israel, the People, the Community, the nation. It was to be rebuilt as we have from Jeremiah 31:4 and 33:7. And in a letter from Jeremiah to the exiles in Babylon, he explains when and where the rebuilding of Jerusalem should proceed: Right there and then. (Jer. 29:4-10)
“Until one who is anointed and a leader” according to the original and not as KJV brings: “Unto the Messiah, the Prince.” That’s quite another matter. So, until this anoint and leader, there will be 7 weeks or 49 years. From 586 BCE down through 49 years, we will be in 537 BCE when Cyrus, that anointed and leader, according to Isaiah 45:1-4, tried to effect the fulfilment of Jeremiah’s prophectic word. (Ezra 1:1-4) But 70 years must
be fulfilled according to Daniel 9:2, and in 537, we have only 49 years. How to account for the 21 years left?
It was familiar to Daniel that Judaism, symbolically, would apply protecting angels to various groups of human society or countries. Such angels would be represented not only as guardians of a country respectively, but also to guide them in wars according to Divine will.
So, Persia started the conquest of Babylon in 538 BCE. In 537, Cyrus prematurely, tried to force the fulfilment of the prophecy of Jeremiah by proclaiming the end of the exile. However, according to Jeremiah 29:10, “Only after 70 years have elapsed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill for you my promise to bring you back to this place.” So, the injunction that 70 years had to be fulfilled of Daniel 9:2 is solved by another vision that Daniel had in chapter 10.
The war between Persia and Babylon was not really over in 537 BCE. The fight continued until 516, as we can see by the words in Daniel 10:13. “The Prince or angel of the Kingdom of Persia stood in my way. (Here speaks the angel of Babylon) for 21 days/years until finally Michael (the angel of Israel) came to help me.” It was then that actually, the exile was over and the 70 years had been fulfilled. Remember that Michael had not come until the 70 years were over. Then, neither of the angels or princes of Persia and Babylon stood on each other’s way. Israel was finaly free to return. The first part of Daniel’s prophetic frame ends here.
The second part of that frame starts with Daniel 9:25, and at the same time of the first part: 586 BCE. The text does not say that the 62 weeks proceeds from the 7 weeks mentioned in the same verse. It simply says that “During 62 weeks it shall be rebuilt.” Let’s not forget that wht is to be rebuilt since the beginning of the exile is the nation of Israel, whose process the author extends to his time. “In times of afflction” because of
the captivity and difficulties to resettle the Land. Physically, Jerusalem, the city, or the walls, or the Temple, did not take so long to be rebuilt. In fact, the walls of Jerusalem took only 52 literal days, according to Nehemiah 6:15.
So, 62 weeks or 434 years will take us to 152 BCE when the High Priest Onias the Third was murdered. (II Mac. 4:30-38) The text says, “After 62 weeks an anointed shall be cut down when he does not possess the city.” The High Priest is an anointed; and how about the statement, “when he does not possess the city?”