Daniel 9:7 or 69 weeks until the Messiah?

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nwink

Puritan Board Sophomore
Daniel 9 - 7 or 69 weeks until the Messiah?

Daniel 9:25 (ESV) "Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time."

Daniel 9:25 (NKJV) "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times."

The difference between these two versions appears that the ESV is saying the annointed prince will come SEVEN weeks after the word to restore and build Jerusalem, and then the restoring/building of Jerusalem will take 62 weeks. The NKJV appears to say that Messiah the Prince will come 69 weeks after the command to restore/build Jerusalem.

This very much affects the interpretation of this passage. If the ESV rendering is true, I'm not sure timing-wise how this passage could be referring to Jesus. Could someone with a knowledge of the original language help us out with this passage?
 
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psycheives

Puritan Board Freshman
Hebrew reads:
And then you know and you understand, from the issuing of the decree to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem until the anointed one (Messiah) the ruler [comes, arrives], [there will be] seven sevens and sixty-two sevens it will return and it will be built street and trench but in troubled times.

The Hebrew has no period until the end of verse. The ESV inserts a period after 7 weeks that is not there in the Hebrew. The NKJV inserts a semicolon after weeks, and here is none. Context would decide which is a more accurate place to break the sentence. I prefer the NKJV split. I've heard others complain about the ESV's OT translation so I wonder if this might be one of those places people disagree with.

This might help you a little: daniel 9:25 know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build jerusalem unto the messiah the prince shall be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks the street shall be built again and the wall even i
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I'd say the ESV rendering at Dan.9:25 is an abomination (that causes desolation). And it's not a very accurate rendering, either.

Commentator EJ Young is still the most sensible interpreter of this passage, and the whole book (along with Calvin).
 

One Little Nail

Puritan Board Sophomore
Well the ESV definitely waters down a clear Messianic Prophesy,an anointed one, a prince?
Albert Barnes is OK on Daniel, he takes the Protestant Historicist approach you know the original Westminster Confession view.
 

nwink

Puritan Board Sophomore
I'd say the ESV rendering at Dan.9:25 is an abomination (that causes desolation). And it's not a very accurate rendering, either.

Bruce, how should that specific phrase in verse 25 about the 7 weeks and 62 weeks be rendered, per the original language?

I have heard some argue that the 7 weeks and 62 weeks should not be combined for the following contextual/biblical reasons: (1) verse 26 refers to "the sixty-two weeks" as a specific time period, which may lend weight to the view that the 62 and 7 are supposed to be separate time periods rather than combined, (2) is there anywhere else in Scripture where a whole number like 69 weeks is split into 7 and 62 to designate the combined total, and why would this number be split into 7 and 62? Why not designate 69 weeks specifically as a combined unit, like the 42 months of Revelation?, (3) would there be any significance to the first 7 weeks of the 69 weeks, if verse 26 designates that after "the sixty two weeks" the Messiah is cut off?

For what it's worth, the 1611 version of the KJV renders Daniel 9:25 as follows: "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 seuen weekes; and threescore and two weekes, the street shall be built againe, and the wall, euen in troublous times."

Part of the reason why these questions also interest me is the fact that no Gospel writer alludes to Daniel 9 as a Messianic prophecy fulfilled by Christ. And in Justin Martyr's dialogues with Trypho, he doesn't mention this as a prophecy proving Jesus is the Messiah either.

Thanks for the help!
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Well, who am I to challenge a committee of PhDs...? For the record, my comment was slightly "tongue-in-cheek," but I still don't think the passage is well treated by the ESV.

I think the traditional phrasing, with better punctuation of the KJV (revised) and many other translations, is superior. The two time periods (seven and sixty-two weeks) should go together as combining to take up the time until Messiah Prince (Jesus Christ) comes, in what we now identify as his first advent--life, ministry, and death.

Following EJ Young, I do think that the two periods (seven and sixty-two weeks) have their own individual significance. I don't think that this passage makes any effort to explicate the dual and divided significance of each period. That explication is left for other revelation, in particular the sacred history of the return from exile. But I do think that the two periods generally follow each other, and all seventy weeks are referred to the time between Cyrus' decree and Jesus cross-work, with the possible exception of the "last half" of week seventy (which I tend to think is dropped off the count as irrelevant, at least to Daniel's interests).

The reason for two periods (again, following EJY) has to do with the extended nature of the return, the length of time "recovery" took, the rebuilding of the Temple, and the rebuilding of the walls. Seven weeks comprise the return/rebuilding/reconsecration phase, followed by the longer sixty-two weeks, which are the centuries that intervene until Christ's arrival. If, as the newer translation seems to mean to say, messiah prince comes immediately after the seven weeks, even the identity of this person is left up for grabs (as it were). Is he the Promised One? Or someone else?

My main problem with the translation offered in the ESV centers on the conceptual split in the middle of the v, where the Heb. "vav" (conjunction) is given the gloss "then." In other words, these translators take the first portion of the verse (after introductory counsel to Daniel/reader) and apply seven weeks to this space of time between "command" (to return/rebuild) and "Messiah Prince." Then they apply the other time variable (sixty-two weeks) to the following statement "it shall be built again," and the impression I take from the translation is that this is meant to be understood as both consecutive (to the previous time frame, culminating in Messiah Prince) and durative (how long Jerusalem--which could be a metaphor?--will remain).

I do think that the question of identifying the (anointed) prince impacts the decision of how to render the text, not in whole but in part. As well as how to identify "Jerusalem." What thoughts are behind these choices? I can conceive the "seven weeks" being thought of as a relatively short(er) time between the message of the angel to Daniel, and the coming of Christ. Which is then followed by a relatively long(er) period of a rebuilt Jerusalem--which might then be a metaphor for the church-reconstituted after the days of his flesh. Certainly, the church knows days of trial in all the past 2000 yrs.

The biggest drawback (to my way of thinking) of that interpretation has to do with the impending historical answer to Daniel's immediate concern. The decree is about to drop from the mouth of Cyrus. And I just don't see the Lord's reply to Daniel properly referred to the struggles of the church-age beyond Messiah's coming (first advent). Moreover, it appears that the subsequent history of the return to the Land is explicable in terms of the prophecy. Then there's the question of how to handle the seventieth week, which I understand to be explained in vv26-27. I read them as referring to Christ's ministry that culminates in his atoning work.

So, I'm reading the seventy-weeks as essentially three, consecutive-contiguous periods, that largely ends with Christ's first coming and death (and victorious aftermath). I don't think the periods are meant to be seen as overlapping (so that, for instance, the seven weeks actually encompasses the sixty-two). I don't think the seventieth week is referred to the end of time, which it certainly would be if the sixty-two weeks were the days of Jerusalem-that-is-above, in other words, the NT/eschatological church (unless it was again "overlapped" onto the other two periods).


As for the prophecy not being referred to in the Gospels to Jesus, I simply offer Mt.24:15 (and Mk.13:14) to the contrary. I believe Jesus' reference is so general, that he probably refers to all three such places in Daniel.

Why shouldn't Justin or some other ancient refer to it? (Perhaps some did, but we have none of their witness.) It could be the sheer obscurity of the passage. It could be that because Daniel was not classed among the Prophets (but the Writings), opponents would have found odd objections. The LXX of Daniel contains extraneous material; perhaps knowing that the Greek text was suspect, Justin wisely avoided appealing to it, if he could not be sure of the authoritative Hebrew.

By the time we are at the end of the fourth/beginning of the fifth Century, Jerome's commentary on Daniel (and he was a Hebrew scholar) firmly identifies the passage as Christological, giving many of the already varied chronological assessments of the weeks/years. Jerome is helpful, in that he refers to previous interpreters. So, for instance he refers to Clement of Alexandria (ca.A.D.150-ca.215), of the period immediately after Justin Martyr (d.A.D.165),
The learned scholar Clement, presbyter of the church at Alexandria, regards the number of years as a matter of slight consequence, (691) asserting that the seventy weeks of years were completed by the span of time from the reign of Cyrus, King of the Persians, to the reign of the Roman emperors, Vespasian and Titus; that is to say, the interval of four hundred and ninety years, with the addition in that same figure of the two thousand three hundred days of which we made earlier mention. He attempts to reckon in these seventy weeks the ages of the Persians, Macedonians, and Caesars, even though according to the most careful computation, the number of years from the first year of Cyrus, King of the Persians and Medes, when Darius also bore rule, up to the reign of Vespasian and the destruction of the Temple amounts to six hundred and thirty.

I hope the above is helpful in answering some of your interests.
 
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