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Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary

Seventy Years

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Prophetic and apocalyptic figure pointing to time of Israel's Exile in Babylon and to the end of tribulation in Daniel's vision. Seventy years represented an even number of the normal human life span (Psalm 90:10 ). Isaiah 23:15 and the Babylonian Black Stone of Esarhaddon may indicate that seventy years was an expected time of punishment and desolation for a defeated city. Jeremiah predicted that Judah would serve Babylon 70 years ( Jeremiah 25:11; compare Jeremiah 29:10 ). 2 Chronicles 36:21 saw the completion of the 70 years in the coming of Cyrus (538 B.C.). This apparently sees the years as from the first deporting of Judeans into Babylon (about 605 B.C.) until Cyrus came. Zechariah seems to have seen the 70 years ending in his own day with the rebuilding of the Temple ( Zechariah 1:12 ). This would span the period from the destruction of the Temple (586 B.C.) to the dedication in 516 B.C. Some interpreters see in the Chronicler's references to Sabbaths an indication of a second meaning for seventy years, that is seventy sabbatical years (Leviticus 25:1-7; Leviticus 26:34-35 ) or 490 years. By this reckoning Israel had not kept the sabbatical year commandment since the period of the Judges, so God gave the land 70 consecutive sabbatical years during the Exile. See Sabbatical Year .

Daniel meditated on Jeremiah's prophecy (Daniel 9:2 ) and learned that 70 weeks of years were intended (Daniel 9:24 ). See Seventy Weeks .

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Seventy Years'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hbd/s/seventy-years.html. 1991.

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