Click here for links to other Daniel pages.


Interpretation: to teach Jews that until Israel's Divine punishment is finally resolved in the distant future, relief can only be found in the God's unmerited favor


  1. Time Frame (1)

A certain identification of Darius the Mede has never been made. Here are three possibilities:

Ryrie dates Daniel's understanding of Jeremiah's prophecy to 538 BC (Ryrie Study Bible, NIV, Expanded Edition, page 1318).


  1. The Request (2-19)

Jeremiah prophesied that Judah would be a desolation for 70 years while under the influence of Babylon. At the end of that time, Babylon would be punished (Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10-14). The 70 year period is also mentioned in 2 Chronicles 36:21 and Zechariah 7:5.

Walvoord suggests two fulfillments of Jeremiah's prophecy. Neither results in an exactly 70-year period:

Walvoord suspects that 70 is a rounded number.


  1. Daniel's Attitude (3)

Seeing that the 70-year period had nearly expired, Daniel attempts to confess on behalf of the nation.

Daniel approached in great humility:


  1. Beneficiary's Identity (4)

  1. Covenant

The nation of Israel has an eternal, unconditional relationship with God through the covenants (e.g., Genesis 17:2, 7, 19). However, it the nation becomes disobedient to God, it would be temporarily disciplined (e.g., Deuteronomy 27-30, especially 30:1-10). But ultimately the nation would be restored to the fullness of its eternal relationship. In times of disobedience, national confession of sins was necessary prior to a restoration (Leviticus 16:21; 1 Kings 8:33-26; Ezra 10:1; Nehemiah 9:2; Daniel 9:4, 20). A turning back to God was also required (1 Kings 8:33-26).


  1. Lovingkindness

". . . the concept of faithful lovingkindness (favor) involves (1) the covenant-based aid and salvation and (2) the stability which is achieved because the Lord cannot forsake His covenant without violating His deity (Kenneth W. Bowles, An Exposition of Psalm 89, page 33)." Through the Abrahamic, Palestinian, and Davidic Covenants, Daniel had been promised aid and deliverance if he is obedient to God. This may imply that he was of royal blood since the Davidic Covenant was made primarily with David and his dynasty. However, Daniel is not listed in the royal genealogies (e.g., Matthew 1; Luke 3). If not, Daniel, being a Jew, was certainly a prime party to the Palestinian Covenant.


  1. National Condition (5-9)

He admits wickedness, rebellion, disobedience, and unfaithfulness. He hopes that his confession will encourage God to again deal favorably with Israel.


  1. National Need (10-15)

Because of Israel's sins the nation fell under the curses of Deuteronomy 27:9-26; 28:15-68; 29:18-28. The curses included the Babylonian exile of which Daniel was a part.

Israel was so entrenched in its disobedience that, despite it sufferings, the nation had still not repented of its sins (verse 13)!


  1. Daniel's Petition (16-19)

  1. Merits (18)

"Righteousness is conformity to law, especially to the law, mind, and will of God, which is the norm of righteousness (Unger's Bible Dictionary, 1966 ed., page 1097)."

Because the nation of Israel had not turned back to God in obedience, Daniel could not demand the blessings under the Palestinian covenant (see the next two items below). He could only request that God remove His wrath as an act of unmerited favor (verse 18).

But in this matter, Daniel's timing was not God's timing. The nation was not transported to Millennial glory upon the conclusion of his prayer. Ultimately Israel never conforms to the law and will be restored only because of the Lord's unmerited favor (Ezekiel 20:42-44).


  1. Compassion (18)

God's compassion towards Israel is based on the Abrahamic covenant (2 Kings 13:23; Isaiah 54:10) and is dependent upon the nation's obedience (Deuteronomy 13:17; 30:2-3; Jeremiah 13:8-14) and repentance (Isaiah 55:7) though He longs to bestow it (Isaiah 30:18; Jeremiah 31:20). Israel will permanently receive God's compassion in the Millennium (Isaiah 49:10, 13; 60:10; Jeremiah 12:15; 30:18; 33:26; Ezekiel 39:25; Micah 7:19; Zechariah 10:6).


  1. Forgiveness (19)

God is the source of national forgiveness for Israel since the nation's sins (disobedience in Jeremiah 5:1, 7) were against Him (Deuteronomy 9:9). Forgiveness is distributed based on the stipulations of the covenants with Israel (Deuteronomy 29:20; Jeremiah 31:34; 33:1-26) and the Mosiac Law (Leviticus 4:20; Numbers 15:25-26). It follows repentance (2 Chronicles 7:14; Isaiah 55:7; Jeremiah 33) and confession (Daniel 9:4-19).



  1. The Answer (20-27)

  1. The Setting (20-23)

  1. Gabriel (21)

An angel appearing in the form of a man relayed God's answer to Daniel's prayer. This angel's name has been assigned various meanings:

Here is his activity as recorded by Scripture:


  1. The Evening Offering (21)

Each evening at sunset, an offering of lamb, flour, oil, and wine was presented by the priests at the temple (Exodus 29:38-42; Numbers 28:3-8). It is also mentioned in 1 Kings 18:26; 2 Chronicles 13:11; and Ezra 9:4. Of course the temple had been destroyed but Daniel continued to tell time using the offerings. It was at the time of the evening offering that he received the answer to his prayer.


  1. The Prophecy (24-27)


Decree to Restore (25a)

Messiah the Prince (25b)

Approximates the Church Age

Coming Prince Makes Covenant (27a)

Millennial Kingdom Begins (24c)

69 Weeks of 7 Years (25)

No one knows what happens after the first 7 weeks of the 69-week period.**


No one knows the length of this interval.

1 Week of 7 Years (27)

The Tribulation

1/2 Week

First Half of Tribulation

1/2 Week

Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21)

March 5, 444 BC

Artaxerxes' Decree (Nehemiah 2:1-8)

March 30, AD 33

Triumphal Entry (Luke 19:28-40)

  • Messiah cut off April 3, AD 33* (26a)

  • People of the Prince to come destroyed city & sanctuary on August 6, AD 70 (26b).

Temple desecrated in the middle of the Tribulation (27b).

Matthew 24:15-16 indicates that this event was in the future.

*Harold W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ: Part VI: Daniel's Seventy Weeks and New Testament Chronology, Bibliotheca Sacra, January-March 1975, page 64. **See "Seven Weeks," below.


Verse 24 is a summary of events to take place during the seventy weeks. Verses 25-27 speak of the seventy weeks in greater detail.


  1. Seventy Weeks (24)


  • Daniel uses 70 years in verse 2, 10 weeks of 7 years.

  • Daniel was considering the 70-year length of the exile (verse 2; see Jeremiah 25:11; 29:10) in which each exile year represented a 7-year cycle during which the Sabbatical year was not observed (2 Chronicles 36:21; Leviticus 26:34-35, 43).

  • Daniel 10:2-3 uses the word "day" to contrast with the previous use of "week" in Daniel 9. So, it is not a week of days.

  • It is impossible to fit the events of Daniel 9:24-27 into 490 weeks or day. Only years works. This is the best reason listed.*

  • The half-week required by Daniel 9:27b matches nicely with the 42 months of Revelation 11:2; 13:5 and the 1,260 days of Revelation 11:3; 12:6.

  • The half-week required by Daniel 9:27b matches nicely with the "time, times, and half a time" of Daniel 7:25. Since "times" is probably dual in number and since "time" is used of 1 year in Daniel 4:25, "time, times, and half a time" means 3.5 years. See also Daniel 12:7.

*It is easier to interpret this prophecy in the twenty-first century. We can read history books and discover how the prophecy of the first 69 weeks was fulfilled. Note that Daniel 12:4, 9 indicates that the prophecies of Daniel were sealed in his day. We can now understand some of them because we are Monday morning quarterbacks. Prophecy was unsealed in John's day (Revelation 22:10).

". . . in the light of Daniel's inquiry about the consummation of a literal seventy-year captivity in Babylon, it seems most reasonable that the seventy weeks are not symbolical but must be interpreted literally. As Wood observes [Leon Wood, A Commentary on Daniel, page. 247], the fact of Daniel's use of definite numbers--seven, sixty-two, and one--makes it difficult to think of symbolical indefinite periods of time. Hence in the light of the context the literal interpretations make the most sense. . . . In this passage the term refers to units of seven years and thus Daniel is speaking of seventy of these units of seven years or a total of 490 years. The reasons for these conclusions are as follows:

"First, in the context Daniel had been thinking in terms of years as well as multiples (ten times seven) of years (Daniel 9:1-2).

"Second, Daniel had been considering Jeremiah 25:11 and 29:10 regarding the seventy-year captivity. The captivity was a result of violating the sabbatical year, which was to have been observed after every six years (2 Chronicles 6:21; compare Leviticus 26:34-35, 43). Each year of captivity represented one seven-year cycle in which the seventh of Sabbath year had not been disclosed. Thus it is clear that the context refers to years, not days. Daniel then saw another 490 years into Israel's future. . . .

"Third, the only other usage of <yubv [in English, "weeks"] by Daniel is in 10:2, 3 where the phrase <ymy <yubv hvlv is literally 'three units of seven days' or twenty-one days. This has reference to Daniel's mourning for three weeks since the word <ymy [in English, "days"] is included. The very fact that Daniel adds <ymy indicates that he did not want his readers to think of the unit of seven the same way it was used in chapter nine. Everyone would have realized that Daniel would not have fasted twenty-one years, but the fact that he inserted <ymy 'days' in 10:2, 3 when it was not necessary would seem to indicate that he would have used <ymy in 9:24-27 if there he meant 490 'days.'

"Fourth, it is impossible to fit the events described in 9:24-27, regardless of the terminus a quo, into 490 days or weeks. Only that number of years is viable.

"Fifth, in 9:27 the covenant that will be confirmed for one 'unit of seven' (uWbv) will be broken in the middle of that unit of seven. If one accepts the uWbv "as a unit of seven years, this would mean that the covenant will be broken at the three and one-half year point and the last three and one-half years will be a time of trouble and desolation. This fits well with the trouble described by the temporal note, 'time, times, and half a time' in Daniel 7:25 and 12:7 as well as in Revelation 12:14 (Harold W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ: Part VI: Daniel's Seventy Weeks and New Testament Chronology, Bibliotheca Sacra, January-March 1975, pages 49-50)."

For other correspondences to this period of time see "Time, Times, and Half a Time" at Daniel 7:25. The Jews used 30-day months (Rev. 11:12; 13:5=Rev. 12:6; 11:3) and inserted a month occasionally to correct their calender (John F. Walvoord, Daniel the Key to Prophetic Revelation, page 228).


  1. Make Atonement for Iniquity (24)

The reference most likely is to the death of Christ that established the New Covenant. It is the basis of forgiveness of sins and gives a continual desire to turn to God (Ezekiel 16:60-63; 1 Corinthians 11:25). There is also a reference to the exile as an atonement for the nation's iniquity (Isaiah 27:8-9).


  1. Everlasting Righteousness (24)

Eternal righteousness is an attribute of God (Psalm 111:3; 119:142; Isaiah 51:6, 8) that will be revealed and established upon earth with the institution of the Millennial Kingdom (Isaiah 56:1; Jeremiah 23:5-6).


  1. To Seal Up Vision and Prophecy (24)

There are similar or related expressions in Daniel 8:26; 12:4, 9. In each case the expressions indicate that the revelation so sealed should be kept safe since the fulfillment is in the distant future when the information will be especially useful. Revelation 22:10 releases the custodians from this requirement since the fulfillment is near. Daniel 9:24 probably indicates that prophetic revelation is to be kept safe prior to the unsealing of Revelation. After that period safety will no longer be a requirement since this prophecy will have been fulfilled.


  1. To Anoint the Most Holy Place (24)

The holy of holies of the temple is probably in view here (e.g., 2 Chronicles 29:7). At the end of the 70 weeks a temple will be anointed showing that it has been set apart for the use of God (Exodus 30:26; 40:9-11; Leviticus 8:10-11; Numbers 7:1). This is the millennial temple of Ezekiel 40-48.


  1. A Decree (25)


Step 1

Step 2

Determining the Length of a Prophetic-Year

All of the following periods are the same:

  • 1/2 week (Daniel 9:27)

  • time, times, 1/2 time (Daniel 7:25; Revelation 12:14)

  • 1,260 days (Revelation 11:3; 12:6)

  • 42 months (Revelation 13:5)

Finding the Beginning and End of the First 69 Weeks of 7 Prophetic Years

69 weeks x 7 years/week x 360 days/prophetic-year = 173,880 days

The Decree to Restore Occurred March 5, 444 BC*

The Triumphal Entry of the Lord Jesus Christ (Messiah the Prince) Occurred March 30, AD 33**

1260 days 42 months/3.5 years = 30 days/month (360 days/year)***

444 BC to AD 33 = 476 normal-years

476 normal-years x 365.242 days/normal-year = 173,855 days

March 5 to March 30 = 25 days

173,855 days + 25 days = 173,880 days

*Per Harold W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ: Part VI: Daniel's Seventy Weeks and New Testament Chronology, Bibliotheca Sacra, January-March 1975, pages 64-65. **Ibid., page 65. ***"The Jews used 30 day months . . . and inserted a month occasionally to correct their calendar (John F. Walvoord, Daniel the Key to Prophetic Revelation, page 228)." Most all systems that utilize a week equal to seven years discover that the end of the 69 week period is during the life of Christ (e.g., Gleason Archer, Modern Rationalism and the Book of Daniel, Bibliotheca Sacra, pages 145-146 & Robert C. Newman, Daniel’s Seventy Weeks And The Old Testament Sabbath-Year Cycle, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, pages 233-234).

"There are at least four decrees concerning the rebuilding of Jerusalem recorded in Scripture: (1) the decree of Cyrus to rebuild the temple (2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4; 6:1-5); (2) The decree of Darius confirming the decree of Cyrus (Ezra 6:6-12); (3) the decree of Artaxerxes (Ezra 7:11-26); (4) the decree of Artaxerxes given to Nehemiah authorizing the rebuilding of the city (Nehemiah 2:1-8). . . . The precise wording of the three decrees as recorded in 2 Chronicles 36 and in Ezra seem to deal only with the temple, and the rebuilding of the city was not fulfilled until the time of Nehemiah where the decree recorded in Nehemiah 2:1-8 clearly refers to the city as a whole (John F. Walvoord, Daniel, the Key to Prophetic Revelation, page 225)."

Competitive interpretations have the problem of not being literal or causing the periods to expire when nothing significant happens. Artaxerxes' decree of Nehemiah 2:1-8 can be dated as early as March 5, 444 BC allowing the first 69 weeks of years to expire as early as March 30, AD 33. This later date corresponds with Christ's triumphal entry as recorded in Luke 19:28-40. See Harold W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ; Part VI: Daniel's Seventy Weeks and New Testament Chronology, Bibliotheca Sacra, January-March 1975, pages 56-59, 62-64.


  1. Messiah (25-26)

This term meaning 'the anointed one" is used of the kings of Israel (1 Samuel 24:5-10), the High Priest (Leviticus 4:3, 5, 16), King Cyrus of Persia (Isaiah 45:1), the Messiah who will establish the eternal kingdom (Psalm 2:2; 1 Samuel 2:10), and the patriarchs (Psalm 105:8-15). It is the latter meaning that is used here.


  1. Seven Weeks (25)

Daniel gives no explanation of what happens at the end of or during the first seven weeks. Walvoord speculates that it took 49 years to remove the debris in Jerusalem and restore the city after it was taken by the Babylonians (John F. Walvoord, Daniel, the Key to Prophetic Revelation, page 227).


  1. Cut Off (26)

To be "cut off" means to be killed (Genesis 9:11; Exodus 31:14; Jeremiah 11:19; Obadiah 9), to be destroyed (Psalm 37:38), or to be separated from Israel (Exodus 12:15, 19; 30:33, 38; Leviticus 7:19-27; 17:4, 9, 14; 18:29; 19:8; 20:17-18; 22:3; 23:29; Numbers 9:13; 15:31; 19:13, 20-22).

This event, the death of Christ brought about in part by Israel, must have happened between the 69th and 70th week, not during the 70th week, because the destruction of Jerusalem and the sanctuary by Titus happened 38 years, not 7 years, after the Messiah's death. A gap is absolutely necessary (John F. Walvoord, Daniel, the Key to Prophetic Revelation, pages 230-231).


  1. Its End . . . the End (26)

This probably refers to continuing war the church age. See Matthew 24:6-8.


  1. Firm Covenant (27)

This treaty signed by the antichrist may also be mentioned in Daniel 8:25.


  1. One Week (27)


  • All of the Messiah's work of verse 24 is yet to be completed.

  • The destruction of the city in verse 26 requires a gap. Otherwise the AD 70 event would happen after the end of the 70th week rather than before the 70th.

  • Matthew indicates the 7th week is yet in his future (Matthew 24:15-16).

*Kenneth L. Barker, Premillennialism in the Book of Daniel, Masters' Seminary Journal, Spring 1993, pages 39-40.

"Here the choice is clearly between literal fulfillment, which requires a futuristic interpretation with a gap between the sixty-ninth and seventieth week, or several other options that admittedly do not provide any clear fulfillment of verse 27.

"In opposition to the futuristic interpretation, at least four other views have been advanced: (1) the liberal view that the seventieth seven is fulfilled in events following the Maccabean persecution just as the preceding sixty-nine sevens were; (2) the view of Jewish scholars that the seventieth week is fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70; (3) the view that the seventieth week of Daniel is an indefinite period beginning with Christ but extending to the end, often held by amillenarians such as Young and Leupold; (4) that the seventieth seven is seven literal years beginning with the public ministry of Christ and ending about three and a half years after His death.

"Each of the four views which claim fulfillment largely in the past have their supporting arguments, sometimes presented at length. But they have one common failure, which is the Achilles' heel of their interpretation: none of them provides literal fulfillment of the prophecy. The first view, the Maccabean fulfillment, is built on the premise that Daniel is a forgery and prophecy is impossible. The second and third views explain away problems by spiritualization and have no specific chronology. The numerical system of the seventy sevens becomes merely symbolic. The fourth view, that of Philip Maure, finds literal fulfillment of the first sixty-nine and one-half sevens, but no fulfillment of the climax (John F. Walvoord, Daniel, the Key to Prophetic Revelation, page 232).


  1. Middle of the Week (27)

This expression is also used in Daniel 7:25 and 12:7. It is also used in Revelation 12:14 referring to the escape to the wilderness of the woman who gave birth to the male child. Earlier in Revelation 12:6 the same period of time is called 1260 days--3 1/2 years at 30 days per month. A 3 1/2 year period is also mentioned in conjunction with the period of time during which the nations will tread Jerusalem under foot (Revelation 11:2, 7; this seems to correspond to the wearing down of the saints in Daniel 7:25), the two witnesses who prophesy (Revelation 11:3), and the beast speaking arrogant words (Revelation 13:5; this seems to correspond to the words of the little horn in Daniel 7:8, 11, 20).

It should also be noted that the mid-point of the 70th week (commonly called the tribulation) of 7 year would divide the week into two portions of 3 1/2 years each. The 3 1/2 years end with the everlasting kingdom (Daniel 7:27) which corresponds best with the second half of the 70th week since the end of the first half ends with an abomination (Daniel 9:27) whereas in Daniel the 3 1/2 years ends with the Messianic kingdom.


  1. Put a Stop to Sacrifice and Grain Offering (27)

Walvoord believes this refers to how the little horn will change the observances and traditions of those who would normally worship God. See Daniel 7:25; 2 Thessalonians 2:4; and Revelation 13:15 (John F. Walvoord, Daniel, the Key to Prophetic Revelation, page 175). Others believe it has some connection with the "time, times, and half a time."


  1. Abominations (27)

"Abominations" is used of:

Matthew specifically cites Daniel and indicates this event was still future to him (Matthew 24:15-16).

HOME 2002, Ken Bowles, September 30, 2010, Edition

Advertising appearing in conjunction with this page is not endorsed.