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Bible Studies/The seventy weeks of Daniel

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QUESTION: Dear Jim,
I have a question about the seventy weeks of Daniel (9:24-27).
I took this passage from Collins commentary (25):
"From the going forth of the word to restore and build Jerusalem
until there is an anointed leader will be seven weeks. For sixty two weeks it will be built again with square and moat but in distressful times."
Is the sixty two weeks (420 years) in this case the duration of the rebuilding or will the rebuilding take place after the end of this period? If it is the duration, is that an abnormally long period for the rebuilding project?
Regards,
Hashem

ANSWER: First, if you get involved in archaeology, you will find there are no abnormally long building (or rebuilding) projects.  All construction has ongoing elements, if only for maintenance.  And most structures are improved or reworked throughout their occupation.  And, some projects can be demonstrated to have been started, abandoned, restarted, etc. several times.  This is often a sign of social turmoil.
  Also, I think you are reading these "weeks" as seven year periods.  The Hebrew term can be used for either seven days or seven years.  I believe the text is describing a period of 10 jubilees -- 490 years.
  I would read the 62 weeks as beginning with the initiation the rebuilding program, however long it takes.  I don't thing it requires the rebuilding project to take a full, or exact 62 weeks.  The 62 weeks describes the length of time until the next phase begins.
I hope this is helpful.
Jim Miller

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for the reply.
Let's say there are points A and B.
At point A the rebuilding starts. When point A finishes, point b (the cutting off of the anointed one (v.26)takes place. The temple is completed somewhere between point A and B. IS that corret?

Answer
Verse 24 specifies various things which will happen some time in the 70 weeks.  One is to anoint the Most Holy.  Verse 26 states that the Sanctuary will be destroyed after the 62 weeks, and in the middle of the last week sacrifice and offering will be stopped, so the Sanctuary must be restored and functional by this time.  So, yes, by the end of the 62 weeks there should be a functional Sanctuary.
I hope this is helpful,
Jim Miller

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Biblical Studies -- including Ancient Near East, Intertestamental Literature and early Christian literature.

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