International Standard Bible EncyclopediaSeventy Weeks
The "seventy weeks" of the prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 have long been a subject of controversy in the critical schools. The conflicting views may be seen very fully in Dr. Driver's Daniel, 94;, 143;, and Dr. Pusey's Daniel the Prophet, lectionaries II, III, IV. On both sides it is agreed that the "weeks" in this prophecy are to be interpreted as "weeks of years," i.e. the 70 weeks represent 490 years. This period, commencing with "the going forth of the commandments to restore and build Jerus" (Daniel 9:25), is divided into three parts, 7 weeks (49 years), 62 weeks (434 years), and one week (7 years). The 69 weeks extend to the appearance of "an anointed one (Hebrew "Messiah"), the prince" (Daniel 9:25), who, after the 62 weeks, shall be "cut off" (Daniel 9:26), apparently in the "midst" of the 70th week (Daniel 9:27). On the traditional view (see Pusey), the 69 weeks (483 years) mark the interval from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem till the appearance of Christ; and if, with Pusey, the decree in question be taken to be that of the 7th year of Artaxerxes (457-56 B.C.; the mission of Ezra; compare Ezra 7:8;), confirmed and extended in the 20th year of the same king (mission of Nehemiah; compare Nehemiah 2:1;), the 483 years run out about 27-28 A.D., when our Lord's public ministry began. On the other hand, the view which supposes that the Book of Daniel belongs wholly to the Maccabean age, and does not here contain genuine prediction, is under the necessity of making the 490 years terminate with the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes (171-164 B.C.), and this, it is admitted, cannot be done. To give time the violent expedient is adopted of dating the commencement of the 70 weeks from the prophecy of Jeremiah of the 70 years' captivity, or of the rebuilding of Jerusalem (606 or 587 B.C.), i.e. before the captivity had begun. Even this, as Dr. Driver admits (p. 146), leaves us in 171 B.C., some 67 years short of the duration of the 62 weeks, and a huge blunder of the writer of Daniel has to be assumed. The divergent reckonings are legion, and are mutually contradictory (see table in Pusey, p. 217). To invalidate the older view Dr. Driver avails himself of the altered renderings of Daniel 9:25 and 27 in the English Revised Version. It is to be noted, however, that the American Standard Revised Version does not follow the English Revised Version in these changes. Thus, whereas the English Revised Version reads in 9:25, "Unto the anointed one; the prince, shall be seven weeks: and threescore and two weeks, it shall be built again," and accordingly takes "the anointed one" of 9:26 to be a distinct person, the American Standard Revised Version (as also the English Revised Version margin) reads, as in the King James Version, "shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks." Again, where the English Revised Version reads in Daniel 9:27 "For the half of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease," the American Standard Revised Version (and the English Revised Version margin) has as formerly, "In the midst of the week he shall cause" etc. (conversely, in 9:25 the American Revised Version margin gives the English Revised Version rendering). The question cannot be discussed here, but it is believed that the traditional interpretation may yet claim acceptance from those who do not accept the postulates of the newer critical writers.
Fragment xvi. On the Seventy Weeks of Daniel. ...
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