In the first year of the reign of Darius, Daniel, who was evidently not only a man of prayer, but a diligent student of the prophetic writings, became conscious that the seventy years of judgment on Jerusalem foretold by Jeremiah were drawing to a close. He therefore set himself to seek the Lord by personal prayer and penitence on behalf of his people, making confession of their sin, and pleading their cause. He besought the Lord that the reproaches which had fallen on Jerusalem be put away, and, as men of vision had so often done, he based his plea on the honor of the Lord.
The language of this intercessory prayer reveals a man familiar with God in all the highest meaning of that word, and therefore keenly conscious of the sinfulness of the rebellion and failure of his own people.
During this intercession Gabriel came to him, declaring to him, first of all, that he was "greatly beloved," urging him to consider the matter, and understand the vision. He then made a revelation to him concerning the divine program. Seventy weeks were decreed on the people and the city. These were divided into three periods, the first of seven weeks, the second of sixty-two weeks, and the third of one week.
the Third Week after Epiphany