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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Daniel 9

 

 

Verses 1-27


The Seventy Weeks

In the first year of Darius the Mede, Daniel, studying the prophetical books, finds that Jeremiah has predicted that the desolation of Jerusalem will last for seventy years (Daniel 9:1-2). He prays, confessing the great sin of Israel, and entreating God to have mercy on His people (Daniel 9:3-19), Thereupon the angel Gabriel explains to him (Daniel 9:20-24) that Jeremiah's seventy years are seventy 'weeks,' or 'sevens,' of years (=490 years), which are to be made up of (7+62+1) 'weeks.' The seven 'weeks' begin with 'the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem,' and end with 'the anointed one, the prince,' and the sixty-two 'weeks' include the building of the city in troublous times (Daniel 9:25). The events of the last 'week' are more minutely described. An anointed one is cut off, and a hostile prince destroys the city and the sanctuary (Daniel 9:26). He makes a covenant with many for the one 'week'; for the half of the 'week' he makes the sacrifice and oblation to cease, an 'abomination of desolation' appears, and finally the desolator comes to a sudden end (Daniel 9:27).

Interpretation. The interpretation of this chapter is not without difficulty on any view of the book. Its explanation of the 70 years (Jeremiah 25:11-12; Jeremiah 29:10) is of course an artificial one. Jeremiah meant that the dominion of Babylon over all the nations of Western Asia would last for 70 years from the fourth year of Jehoiakim (605 b.c.) (Jeremiah 25:1, Jeremiah 25:11), 70 years being a round number for two generations: cp. the 40 years of Ezekiel 4:6; Ezekiel 29:11, Ezekiel 29:13. In this chapter the meaning is extended so as to refer to the humiliation of Jerusalem under a long succession of heathen powers. There are two main interpretations to be considered. The first places the beginning of the last 'week' in the time of Christ, and starts in its reckoning of the 70 'weeks' from the mission of Ezra (458 b.c.) or that of Nehemiah (444 b.c.). But though the end of the 70 'weeks' is to be placed 490 instead of 70 years after Jeremiah's time, yet the beginning of this period ought to coincide more closely with the beginning of Jeremiah's 70 years. And apart from other difficulties this view fails to give any clear explanation of the different events of the last 'week' The death of Christ abolished the OT. sacrifices not merely for 'half a week' but for ever, while the destruction of Jerusalem (70 a.d.) was much more than seven years (one 'week') after the crucifixion. The second interpretation finds in the events of the last 'week' another picture of the last seven years of Antiochus Epiphanes, and in the first seven 'weeks' the time (49 years) between the captivity (586 b.c.) and the edict of Cyrus (538 b.c.). That the Jews already reckoned Jeremiah's 70 years from the date of the final captivity is shown by 2 Chronicles 36:20, 2 Chronicles 36:21. The difficulty of this view relates to the 62 'weeks.' The time from the edict of Cyrus (538 b.c.) to the beginning of the last seven years of Antiochus Epiphanes (171 b.c.) is only 367 years, which is less than 62 'weeks' (434 years) by 67 years. To this it may be replied either that the 62 'weeks' are merely a broken period, not to be reckoned exactly, or that the writer of Daniel was not in a position to know the precise length of this interval. Josephus and other writers make similar errors in the chronology of that time.

1. Darius] see on Daniel 5:31. Chaldeans] Here in the national sense.

2. Books] RV 'the books,' evidently referring to a collection of sacred writings. The Canon of the Prophets was not completed at the time assigned to Daniel.

4-19. The prayer of Daniel contains many expressions found elsewhere in the OT., which may be traced by the aid of a reference Bible.

21. Being caused to fly swiftly] RM 'being sore wearied.' For Gabriel see Daniel 8:16.

24. Seventy weeks] or, 'sevens'—490 years. The expressions that follow certainly form a true description of the results of the sacrifice of Christ, but their terms are general, and they contain nothing that is not included in the pictures of the Messianic salvation which all the prophets connected with the restoration of the Jews to God's favour: see Isaiah 4:3; Isaiah 32:16-17; Isaiah 45:17; Isaiah 60:21. To finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins] to bring Israel's time of guilt and punishment to an end. To bring in everlasting righteousness] to introduce a new era of obedience. To seal up the vision and prophecy] read, 'to seal' (ratify) 'vision and prophecy,' to fulfil the anticipations of all the prophetic books. To anoint the most Holy (RV 'holy')] to consecrate a most holy thing, an altar or a sanctuary.

25. The going forth of the commandment, etc.] Jeremiah's prophecy of restoration (Jeremiah 29:10-14; Jeremiah 31:38-40), viewed as delivered at the time of the captivity. The Messiah, the Prince] RV 'the anointed one, the prince.' Probably Cyrus, who is called God's anointed in Isaiah 45:1. Possibly Joshua the high priest, or Zerubbabel (Ezra 3:2; Haggai 2:20-23; Zechariah 3:1-10; Zechariah 6:9-15). Seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks] read, 'seven weeks; and for threescore and two weelss, etc. The 7 'weeks' refer to what precedes, the 62 'weeks' to what follows. The street.. times] RV 'it' (the city) 'shall be built again, with street and moat, even in troublous times' (the days of Ezra and Nehemiah).

26. After threescore, etc.] RV 'after the threescore,' etc. Messiah] RV 'the' (better, 'an') 'anointed one.' A different person from the 'anointed one' of Daniel 9:25 is evidently meant. The one appears at the end of 7, and the other at the end of 69 'weeks.' The reference is probably to the high priest Onias III, who was deposed by Antiochus in 175 b.c., and murdered by a rival in 171 b.c. (2 Maccabees 4:7-9, 2 Maccabees 4:23-27, 2 Maccabees 4:32-36), But not for himself] RV 'and shall have nothing,' an obscure phrase, meaning perhaps,' shall have no legitimate successor.' The prince that shall come] Antiochus Epiphanes. See on Daniel 8:11.

The end thereof] RV 'his end.' Unto the end of the war] RV 'Even unto the end' (see Daniel 8:17, Daniel 8:19) 'shall be war.'

27. Confirm the covenant] RV 'make a firm covenant.' There was a party among the Jews which supported the heathenising policy of Antiochus: see 1 Maccabees 1:11-15. One week] The last seven years of the reign of Antiochus (171-164 b.c.). In the midst (RV 'for the half) of the week] The same period of 3½ years elsewhere assigned to the profanations of Antiochus: see 1 Maccabees 7:25; 1 Maccabees 8:14; 1 Maccabees 1:27. Sacrifice and.. oblation] see on 1 Maccabees 8:11 and cp. 1 Maccabees 11:31; 1 Maccabees 12:11. For the overspreading of abominations, etc.] A slight change in the Heb. gives the clearer sense 'and in its place shall be the abomination that maketh desolate': see on 1 Maccabees 8:13, and cp. 1 Maccabees 11:31; 1 Maccabees 12:11. Desolate] RV 'desolator,' Antiochus.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/daniel-9.html. 1909.

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