WHAT ARE DANIEL’S SEVENTY “WEEKS”?
Daniel’s famous prophecy in Daniel 9:24–27 is structured according to seven “weeks.” But as is often the case in biblical prophecy, symbolism is at work here in this chronological indicator. But what does these “weeks” symbolize?
The seventy weeks represent a period of seventy times seven years, or 490 years. We may justify the notion of a “weeks of years” on the following evidence.
First, in the context preceding Daniel 9:24–27, the original seventy years of Jeremiah’s prophecy is in Daniel’s mind: “in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years” (Dan 9:2). Years are contextually suggested, then, by this prior reference which is crucial to the historical context. Seventy years was on Daniel’s mind.