The Bible – Old Testament
1 It was the first year that Darius, son of Ahasuerus, of the race of the Medes, reigned over the kingdom of the Chaldeans;
2 in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, tried to understand in the Scriptures the counting of the years of which the LORD spoke to the prophet Jeremiah: that for the ruins of Jerusalem seventy years must be fulfilled.
I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.
I prayed to the LORD, my God, and confessed, “Ah, Lord, great and awesome God, you who keep your merciful covenant toward those who love you and observe your commandments!
We have sinned, been wicked and done evil; we have rebelled and departed from your commandments and your laws.
We have not obeyed your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers, and all the people of the land.
Justice, O Lord, is on your side; we are shamefaced even to this day: the men of Judah, the residents of Jerusalem, and all Israel, near and far, in all the countries to which you have scattered them because of their treachery toward you.
O LORD, we are shamefaced, like our kings, our princes, and our fathers, for having sinned against you.
But yours, O Lord, our God, are compassion and forgiveness! Yet we rebelled against you
and paid no heed to your command, O LORD, our God, to live by the law you gave us through your servants the prophets.
Because all Israel transgressed your law and went astray, not heeding your voice, the sworn malediction, recorded in the law of Moses, the servant of God, was poured out over us for our sins.
You carried out the threats you spoke against us and against those who governed us, by bringing upon us in Jerusalem the greatest calamity that has ever occurred under heaven.
3 As it is written in the law of Moses, this calamity came full upon us. As we did not appease the LORD, our God, by turning back from our wickedness and recognizing his constancy,
so the LORD kept watch over the calamity and brought it upon us. You, O LORD, our God, are just in all that you have done, for we did not listen to your voice.
“Now, O Lord, our God, who led your people out of the land of Egypt with a strong hand, and made a name for yourself even to this day, we have sinned, we are guilty.
O Lord, in keeping with all your just deeds, let your anger and your wrath be turned away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain. On account of our sins and the crimes of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become the reproach of all our neighbors.
Hear, therefore, O God, the prayer and petition of your servant; and for your own sake, O Lord, let your face shine upon your desolate sanctuary.
Give ear, O my God, and listen; open your eyes and see our ruins and the city which bears your name. When we present our petition before you, we rely not on our just deeds, but on your great mercy.
O Lord, hear! O Lord, pardon! O Lord, be attentive and act without delay, for your own sake, O my God, because this city and your people bear your name!”
I was still occupied with my prayer, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, presenting my petition to the LORD, my God, on behalf of his holy mountain –
4 I was still occupied with this prayer, when Gabriel, the one whom I had seen before in vision, came to me in rapid flight at the time of the evening sacrifice.
He instructed me in these words: “Daniel, I have now come to give you understanding.
When you began your petition, an answer was given which I have come to announce, because you are beloved. Therefore, mark the answer and understand the vision.
5 “Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and for your holy city: Then transgression will stop and sin will end, guilt will be expiated, Everlasting justice will be introduced, vision and prophecy ratified, and a most holy will be anointed.
6 Know and understand this: From the utterance of the word that Jerusalem was to be rebuilt Until one who is anointed and a leader, there shall be seven weeks. During sixty-two weeks it shall be rebuilt, With streets and trenches, in time of affliction.
7 After the sixty-two weeks an anointed shall be cut down when he does not possess the city; And the people of a leader who will come shall destroy the sanctuary. Then the end shall come like a torrent; until the end there shall be war, the desolation that is decreed.
8 For one week he shall make a firm compact with the many; Half the week he shall abolish sacrifice and oblation; On the temple wing shall be the horrible abomination until the ruin that is decreed is poured out upon the horror.”
1  Darius: see the note on ⇒ Daniel 6:1.
2  Seventy years: the prophet Jeremiah (⇒ Jeremiah 25:11; ⇒ 29:10) prophesied a Babylonian captivity of seventy years, a round number signifying the complete passing away of the existing generation. Jeremiah’s prophecy was fulfilled in the capture of Babylon by Cyrus and the subsequent return of the Jews to Palestine. However, the author of Daniel, living during the persecution of Antiochus, sees the conditions of the exile still existing; therefore, in his meditation he extends Jeremiah’s number to seventy weeks of years (⇒ Daniel 9:24), i.e., seven times seventy years, to characterize the Jewish victory over the Seleucids as the ultimate fulfillment of the prophecy.
4  At the time of the evening sacrifice: between three and four in the afternoon.
5  Seventy weeks: i.e., of years. Just as Jeremiah’s seventy years was an approximation (see note on ⇒ Daniel 9:2), the four hundred and ninety years here is not to be taken literally. Similarly, the distribution of the “weeks” in the following verses indicates only relative proportions of the total figure. A most holy: an expression used almost always of an object, the altar or the temple, but once (⇒ 1 Chron 23:13) of Aaron the high priest. The author sees the definitive establishment of the kingdom of God, realized in the reconsecration of the temple after Antiochus’ desecration, or personified in the holy community (like the Son of Man of Daniel 7). The Fathers of the Church almost unanimously understood the reference to be to Christ, the final realization of the prophecy.
6  From the utterance . . . to be rebuilt: from the time of Jeremiah’s prophecy. One . . . anointed and a leader: either Cyrus, who was called the anointed of the Lord to end the exile (⇒ Isaiah 45:1), or the high priest Joshua who presided over the rebuilding of the altar of sacrifice after the exile (⇒ Ezra 3:2). Seven weeks: forty-nine years, an approximation of the time of the exile. During sixty-two weeks . . . rebuilt: a period of 434 years, roughly approximating the interval between the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the exile and the beginning of the Seleucid persecution.
7  An anointed: doubtless the high priest Onias III, murdered in 171 B.C., from which the author dates the beginning of the persecution. Onias was in exile when he was killed. A leader: Antiochus IV.
8  One week: the final phase of the period in view, the time of Antiochus’ persecution; he is Antiochus himself. The many: the faithless Jews who allied themselves with the heathen; cf ⇒ 1 Macc 1:11-13. Half the week: three and a half years; see note on ⇒ 1 Macc 7:25. The temple was desecrated by Antiochus from 167 to 165 B.C. The temple wing: probably the main portal. The horrible abomination: see note on ⇒ Daniel 8:13. Perhaps an inscription was placed on the portal of the temple dedicating it to the Olympian Zeus. Our Lord referred to this passage in his own prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem (⇒ Matthew 24:15).