In the Dead Sea Scrolls, the translation of Daniel 9:25 in 11Q13 (Melchizedek scroll) seems to separate the seven and sixty two weeks.

Here is the translation of verse 25:

until an anointed prince, there shall be seven weeks.

This appears to indicate that the Anointed One would appear after Seven Weeks passes which is 49 years.

Is there any validity into to treating the Seven and Sixty Two weeks as separate time periods?

  • 1
    Could you provide the text of the particular DSS translation you are reading for 11Q13?
    – user2910
    May 11, 2017 at 17:07
  • There is about half a century between the enthronement of Darius II (9:1; 11:1-4) and the birth of Darius III (11:1-4).
    – Lucian
    Jul 30, 2019 at 21:42

4 Answers 4


While it has been a convention of English versions — particularly versions produced by Christian translators — to render Daniel 9 as depicting two time periods of sixty-nine weeks and one week, there is no legitimate reason for this in the underlying Hebrew text.

J.J. Collins, A Commentary on the Book of Daniel, 355-356:

there will be seven weeks: The MT places an atnaḫ between the seven weeks and the sixty-two weeks.

An atnaḫ is a Hebrew punctuation mark that denotes a 'strong break' within a sentence. As defined in the Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar (ed. C.H. van der Merwe), 45:

[ʾatnāḥ] Indicates the main pause in a verse. ... It divides the verse into two and has the approximate force of a semi-colon.

Collins continues:

Theodotion, however, reads "seven and sixty-two weeks," so that sixty-nine weeks would elapse before the coming of the anointed prince. This understanding of the passage was followed by Jerome, and became a mainstay of the messianic interpretation, as it allowed the identification of the anointed one of v 25 to with the one in v 26. There can be no doubt that the MT punctuation is correct. There is no other reason for dividing the period into seven and sixty-two. The MT understanding of the passage is well attested in early Christianity before Jerome [e.g. Hippolytus, Clement], as well as in Jewish tradition [Seder ʿOlam Rabbah].

In other words, the Hebrew text explicitly divides the seventy weeks into three periods. Separating the seven weeks and the sixty-two weeks is the only valid reading of the text.

Collins (Ibid., 346) conveys the force of the break by translating it as a period:

You shall know and understand that from the going forth of the word to restore and build Jerusalem until there is an anointed ruler will be seven weeks. For sixty-two weeks it will be built again with square and moat, but in distressful times.

Other English translations which similarly use a period or semi-colon include the ESV, the JPS Tanakh, and the NRSV. It may be implied by the ERV, which uses a colon.


The major versions which treat the seven weeks and the sixty-two weeks as one period separated into two parts are the KJV, Douay Rheims, RVmargin, ASV, NKJV, NASV, NIV, JB, NJB. It should be noted that among these the original KJV of 1611 represented the atnach of the Masoretic Text by a semicolon and understood a new independent clause as following 'seventy weeks'. This punctuation was changed in 1785 to a comma followed by a colon after the sixty-two weeks, thus indicating that the two time periods were to be understood as one. Here is the 16ll version:

Know therefore and vnderstand, that from the going foorth of the commandement to restore and to build Ierusalem, vnto the Messiah the Prince, shall be seuen weekes; and threescore and two weekes, the street shall be built againe, and the wall, euen in troublous times.

Here is the 1785 version:

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

The question which this version raises is: Where is there an indication of a colon after threescore and two weeks in the Masoretic Text? The same goes for the punctuation of these other versions: Where is there an indication of an independent clause or sentence beginning after the sixty-two weeks?

  • Some references or links needed here, I think, in order to substantiate the argument.
    – Nigel J
    May 3, 2018 at 11:39
  • @Nigel.--The various translations and their punctuations are accessible at studylight.org and Bible.Hub.com, the Catholic translations JB and NJB being excluded. May 3, 2018 at 13:19
  • Hi Clifford, welcome to BH.SE, and thanks for your answer! (Are you this user as well? If so, consider merging your accounts.)
    – user22655
    May 3, 2018 at 20:41

The Idea in Brief

The verse dichotomy in Dan 9:25 is not to be read in parallel (i.e., the first part of the verse is modified by the second half of the verse), but are instead to be read linearly (i.e., the phrases separated by the atnaḫ disjunctive accent are both underscored for emphasis). This linear approach to understanding Masoretic verse dichotomy is one of two ways to interpret verse dichotomy; the other (and the more common in Hebrew Scripture) is the parallel approach, where the first part of the verse is modified by the second half of the verse.


First, the 11Q13 (Melchizedek scroll) fragment from the Dead Sea Scrolls does not contain any clause or interpretation as noted by the OP. The fragment appears below, and the box in yellow is Line 18 of the fragment.

Please click on the image to enlarge.

enter image description here

SOURCE: The Dead Sea Scrolls Online - 11Q13, Plate 579, Frag 2, B-483340

The yellow box reads,

והמבשר הו[אה]משיח הרו[ח] כאשר אמר דנ[יאל עליו עד משיח נגיד שבועים שבעה ומבשר]

"And the messenger i[s] the anointed spir[it] as Dan[iel] said [about him Until an anointed, a prince, it is seven weeks. And the messenger of]

Everything written [in brackets] is supplied by any number of translators of the Dead Sea Scrolls to aid in understanding the apparent context. The words [in brackets] therefore do not appear in the original 11Q13 (Melchizedek scroll) fragment. No one can therefore declare with dogmatic certainty what were the original words/phrases missing from this particular fragment.

Syntactical Division of the Masoretic Text

The 19th Century Hebraist, Dr. William Wickes (1817-1903), described the function of the dichotomy of Hebrew verse in both the prose and the poetry books of the Hebrew Bible. His research helped to understand the dichotomy and structure of verses in Hebrew Scripture and his books contain hundreds of his Corrigenda ("corrections") of the cantillation of the Masoretic Text! He understood the Masoretic Text and built on the studies of the great Hebraist Seligmann Baer (1825-1897). In his books Wickes describes how the first part of any Hebrew verse was modified by the second part of the verse (and that the two respective parts were also subdivided in a similar way). He explained that there were logical divisions and syntactical divisions. The former (logical division) was logical, and so semicolons in English translations are helpful to understand the hierarchy of logic. However, the latter (syntactical division) was driven by the way the words came together (syntax), and so instead of semicolons, we might use underlines or bold or italics to provide the emphasis as we do in English. So the rules for dividing the verses would been driven by either reasons of logical or syntactical division.

Wickes writes about the little-understood syntactical division, and provides illustrations with the "|" sign indicating the atnaḫ disjunctive accent that splits the verse in half. He notes that syntactical divisions occur in various places of Scripture with no regard to the logical division of the verse...

VI. In cases of specification, we often find the proper logical or syntactical division—particularly the latter—neglected, and the main musical pause introduced between the details or particulars given. Distinctness of enunciation, and emphasis (where necessary), were thus secured. The pause was introduced where it seemed likely to be most effective. Thus the logical division is disregarded:

‘And Moses said, With our young and with our old will we go, | with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto Jehovah’ (Ex. 10:9).

‘I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt; I have slain with the sword your young men, and given your horses into captivity, | and I have made the stink of your camp to come up even into your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto Me, saith Jehovah’ (Amos 4:10) .

Syntactical clauses are treated in the same way, and subject, object, &c. are cut in two—or members that belong together, separated—by the dichotomy. (A logical pause may occur in the verse or not.)

‘In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem and Ham and Japheth the sons of Noah, | and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark’ (Gen. 7:13).

‘And Isaac was forty years old, when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, | the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife’ (25:20).

‘And every man, with whom was found blue and purple and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, | and rams’ skins dyed red, and sealskins, brought them’ (Ex. 35:23).

‘And ye shall offer a burnt-offering unto Jehovah, two young bullocks and one ram, | and seven he-lambs of the first year; they shall be unto you without blemish’ (Num. 28:19; comp. 11b).

‘And I will set a sign among them, and I will send such as escape of them unto the nations,—to Tarshish, Pul and Lud that draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, | to the isles afar off, that have not heard My fame, neither have seen My glory,—and they shall declare My glory among the nations’ (Is. 66:19).

Perhaps the most notable instances of this mode of division are the following:

‘And Jehovah said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil, | before the mercy-seat which is upon the ark, that he die not; for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy-seat’ (Lev. 16:2). [Specification with emphasis.]

‘And thou shalt say in thy heart, Who hath borne me these? seeing I was bereaved and barren, | an exile and outcast; and these, who hath brought them up? Behold, I was left alone; these, where were they?’ (Is. 49:21). [The grouping of the words, though forced, is not without effect.]

It is not often that this prominent division occurs, where only two objects are specified, or two particulars given:

‘The bread of his God, both of the most holy, | and of the holy, shall he eat’ (Lev. 21:22).

‘And the holy oblation | and the sanctuary of the house shall be in its midst’ (Ezek. 48:21b).

‘For three transgressions of Damascus | and for four, I will not turn it away’ (Amos 1:3; comp. 6, 9, &c.).

The reader will note that the division of Dan 9:25 appears in perfect cantillation symmetry (see image below), which suggests that the splitting of the verse had less to do with the logical division of the verse and more to do with the syntactical division of the verse.

Please click on the image to enlarge

enter image description here

SOURCE: Hebrew Cantillations (Logos Bible Software)

The respective colored boxes (pink, red, purple, pink, green, and black) in the first half and second half of the verse are in perfect symmetry. Note: Geresh and Gereshayim represent the same disjunctive value.

What Is the Relation to Dan 9:25?

The verse of Dan 9:25 contains several appositions. In his treatise, Wickes makes special note as two why appositions in Hebrew Scripture were joined by a conjunction but were divided by the atnaḫ disjunctive accent. The following explanation helps to understand the "Seven Weeks" and the "Sixty Weeks" in Dan 9:25, since these phrases are appositions divided by the atnaḫ disjunctive accent.

Wickes notes (and his comments in brackets []) that...

  1. Two Nouns in apposition are generally kept together by the accentuation, as יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים, הַמֶּלֶךְ דָוִד, אֶת־חַוָּה אִשְׁתּוֹ (Gen. 4:1), &c. But where emphasis or distinctness of enunciation seems to require it, the dichotomy—and even the main dichotomy of the clause—may come between, e.g. הִנְנִי נֹתֵן לוֹ אֶת־בְּרִיתִי ׀ שָׁלוֹם (Num. 25:12); הִנְנִי מֵבִיא אֶת־עַבְדִּי ׀צֶמַח (Zech. 3:8); בְּיֶדְכֶםd|1אֶת־מוֹאָבd|2נָתַן יְהֹוָה אֶת־אֹֽיְבֵיכֶם (Judg. 3:28). And so the emphatic pronoun may be separated from the noun, וְעָבַד הַלֵּוִי ׀ הוּא (Num. 18:23). The cases, in which more than two nouns come in apposition, or instead of the noun we have a nominal expression consisting of several words, present no difficulty. The subdivision of such expressions will be according to the general rules for the dichotomy, see Gen. 23:16; Num. 16:2; 1 Ki. 11:36b; Amos 5:16.

  2. So two Nouns, in the same construction and joined by ו, are constantly kept together by the accentuation, as בַּיּוֹם וּבַלַּיְלָה (Gen. 1:18); עָפָר וָאֵפֶר (18:27); גָּדוֹל וְכָבֵד (50:10), &c. But for the reasons above given, they may be separated by the dichotomy, e. g. הָֽיְתָה תֹהוּ ׀ וָבֹהוּ (1:2); אֶרֶץ זָבַח חָלָב ׀ וּדְבָשׁ (Ex. 3:8); חֶרֶב לַיהֹוָה ׀ וּלְגִדְעוֹן (Judg. 7:20); לֹא־אוּכַל אָוֶן ׀ וַֽעֲצָרָה (Is. 1:13); וַיִּזְעַק זְעָקָה גְדוֹלָה ׀ וּמָרָה (Esth. 4:1); שֵׁשׁ־אַמּוֹת בָּאַמָּה ׀ וַטֹפַח (Ezek. 40:5). Examples, where several nouns come together, or where the nominal expression consists of several words (see remark above), are Deut. 29:7; Is. 27:1. 30:30; 37:12.

  3. The substantive may be qualified in various ways, either by another substantive in apposition, or by an adjective, relative or adverbial expression following. In these several cases (as we have seen with the apposition), the substantive may be separated from the qualifying expression by the main (or a minor) dichotomy. Somewhat more of weight generally attaches to the latter in consequence. Thus

(α) Substantive and adjective: וַיַּֽהֲפֹךְ יְהֹוָה רוּחַ־יָם ׀ חָזָק מְאֹד (Ex. 10:19); דָּוָהd|2אֲשֶׁר־יִשְׁכַּב אֶת־אִשָּׁהd|1וְאִישׁ (Lev. 20:18); וָאֶרְאֶה אֶת־אֲדֹנָי ישֵׁב עַל־בִּסֵּא ׀ רָם וְנִשָּׂא (Is. 6:1); וְאֵיךְ תָּשִׁיב אֶת־פְּנֵי פַחַת אַחַד עַבְדֵי אֲדנִי ׀ הַקְּטַנִּים (36:9). And so the demonstrative זֶה (אֵלֶּה) often stands outside the rest of the clause: לְיִרְאָה אֶת־הַשֵּׁם הַנִּכֵכָּד וְהַנּו̇רָא ׀ הַזֶּה (Deut. 28:58); יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ אֶת־הָאָרֶץ הַטּוֹבָה ׀ הַזֹּאת (9:6); סוּרוּ נָא מֵעַל אָֽהֳלֵי הָֽאֲנָשִׁים הָֽרְשָׁעִים ׀ הָאֵלֶּה (Num. 16:26).

(β) Substantive and relative. Here it is not so much the separation of the relative clause from the substantive, to which attention has to be drawn (for in our own interpunction such separation is common enough), as the character of the dichotomy,—the main, where we look for a minor,—e. g. אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁבַּעd|1וּבָאתֶם וִירִשְׁתֶּם אֶת־הָאָרֶץd|2לְמַעַן תִּחְיוּן וּרְבִיתֶם יְהֹוָה לַֽאֲבֹתֵיכֶם (Deut. 8:1); לָלֶכֶתd|2מִפְּנֵי רָעָתָם אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ לְהַכְעִסֵנִי אֲשֶׁר לֹא יְדָעוּם הֵמָּה אַתֶּם וַֽאֲבֹתֵיכֶםd|1לְקַטֵּר לַֽעֲבֹד לֵאלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים (Jer. 44:3). For the relative, we may have the participle: אֵת לַהַט הַחֶרֶב ׀ הַמִּתְהַפֶּכֶת (Gen. 3:24); בְּאֵר לַחַי ׀ רֹאִי (24:62); וַֽעֲשִׂיתֶם צַלְמֵי עָפְלֵיכֶם וְצַלְמֵי עַכְבְּרֵיכֶם ׀ הַמַּשְׁחִיתִם אֶת־הָאָרֶץ (1 Sam. 6:5). Often the relative conjunction is understood: וַיִּעַר בְּיַעֲקֹב כְּאֵשׁ לֶהָבָה ׀ אָֽכְלָה סָבִיב (Lam. 2:3); גַּם־אַתְּ בְּדַם בְּרִתֵךְ שִׁלַּחְתִּי אֲסִירַיִךְ מִבּוֹר ׀ אֵין מַיִם בּוֹ (Zech. 9:11). Obs. Sometimes, for emphasis’ sake, the dichotomy appears in the middle of the relative clause, e. g. הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר חָזָה ׀ יְשַׁעְיָהוּ בֶּן־אָמוֹץ (Is. 2:1. The weight of the clause does not rest on הדבר, but on the contents of the same, a vision of Isaiah) אֹרַח (אשר) בְּרַגְלָיו ׀ לֹא יָבוֹא (41:3, בְּרַגְלָיו emphatic); הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר יָדַע ׀ כִּי אַנְשֵׁי־חַיִל שָׁם (2 Sam. 11:16, ‘the place where he knew’ &c.). Comp. Deut. 1:31, 39; 11:2, 7; 28:69; 33:1; Judg. 18:10b; 20:15b.


Daniel 9:25 is not divided by logical rules where the atnaḫ disjunctive accent splits the verse in two complementary halves, but is instead divided by syntactical rules. As noted in the citations by Wickes (above), the syntactical rules were more about placing CAPITAL WORDS (we might say) in the Hebrew text to provide "specification with emphasis" to the reader, whereas the logical division was more about separating the ideas and making them hierarchical. So if we translated Daniel 9:25 with visual MARKERS where the syntactical division is to provide "specification with emphasis," we might make the following translation below.

So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a word to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until an Anointed One the Prince there will be SEVEN WEEKS AND SIXTY-TWO WEEKS; it will be built again, with streets and moat, even in times of distress.

One post-script here is that Wickes's personal preference for this verse was not the syntactical, but rather logical division. He would have made the "So you are to know and discern" the anchor of the verse, and preferred that everything else following modify and amplify the phrase, "So you are to know and discern." In Wickes' scenario, the "seven weeks and sixty-two weeks" in this case may not have been divided by the atnaḫ disjunctive accent. Please click on the image below to view the source document online.

enter image description here


Wickes, William (1887). Two Treatises on the Accentuation of the Old Testament. Oxford: Clarendon Press, passim.


Even if you ignore the punctuation, the numbers are definitely separated into 7 and 62. Context is critical. All the following is quoted from Young's Literal Translation.

What started Daniel's conversation with Gabriel?

Daniel 9:1

In the first year of Darius, son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, who hath been made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans,

in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, have understood by books the number of the years, in that a word of Jehovah hath been unto Jeremiah the prophet, concerning the fulfilling of the wastes of Jerusalem – seventy years;


Daniel was reading Jeremiah 25:9-13 where it says the same thing it says here - God sentenced the land of Judah to destruction for 70 years.

Afterward Daniel was moved to pray, and what does he pray about for 16 verses?

Daniel 9:3-19


and I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes.

And I pray to Jehovah my God, and confess, and say: ‘I beseech Thee, O Lord God, the great and the fearful, keeping the covenant and the kindness to those loving Him, and to those keeping His commands;

we have sinned, and done perversely, and done wickedly, and rebelled, to turn aside from Thy commands, and from Thy judgments:

and we have not hearkened unto Thy servants the prophets, who have spoken in Thy name unto our kings, our heads, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

‘To Thee, O Lord, is the righteousness, and to us the shame of face, as at this day, to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, who are near, and who are far off, in all the lands whither Thou hast driven them, in their trespass that they have trespassed against Thee.

‘O Lord, to us is shame of face, to our kings, to our heads, and to our fathers, in that we have sinned against Thee.

‘To the Lord our God are the mercies and the forgivenesses, for we have rebelled against Him,

and have not hearkened to the voice of Jehovah our God, to walk in His laws, that He hath set before us by the hand of His servants the prophets;

and all Israel have transgressed Thy law, to turn aside so as not to hearken to Thy voice; and poured on us in the execration, and the oath, that is written in the law of Moses, servant of God, because we have sinned against Him.

‘And He confirmeth His words that He hath spoken against us, and against our judges who have judged us, to bring in upon us great evil, in that it hath not been done under the whole heaven as it hath been done in Jerusalem,

as it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil hath come upon us, and we have not appeased the face of Jehovah our God to turn back from our iniquities, and to act wisely in Thy truth.

And Jehovah doth watch for the evil, and bringeth it upon us, for righteous is Jehovah our God concerning all His works that He hath done, and we have not hearkened to His voice.

And now, O Lord our God, who hast brought forth Thy people from the land of Egypt by a strong hand, and dost make for Thee a name as at this day, we have sinned, we have done wickedly.


Pay extra attention to this part:


‘O Lord, according to all Thy righteous acts, let turn back, I pray Thee, Thine anger and Thy fury from Thy city Jerusalem, Thy holy mount, for by our sins, and by the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Thy people are for a reproach to all our neighbours;

and now, hearken, O our God, unto the prayer of Thy servant, and unto his supplication, and cause Thy face to shine on Thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake.

‘Incline, O my God, Thine ear, and hear, open Thine eyes and see our desolations, and the city on which Thy name is called; for not for our righteous acts are we causing our supplications to fall before Thee, but for Thy mercies that are many.

O lord, hear, O Lord, forgive; O Lord, attend and do; do not delay, for Thine own sake, O my God, for Thy name is called on Thy city, and on Thy people.

Daniel started this chapter reading Jeremiah’s prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem and how long before the destruction would end. Daniel then prayed to God about the destruction of Jerusalem and begged him to bring the destruction to an end. And then what happened?

Daniel 9:20-24


And while I am speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin, and the sin of my people Israel, and causing my supplication to fall before Jehovah my God, for the holy mount of my God,

yea, while I am speaking in prayer, then that one Gabriel, whom I had seen in vision at the commencement, being caused to fly swiftly, is coming unto me at the time of the evening present.

And he giveth understanding, and speaketh with me, and saith, ‘O Daniel, now I have come forth to cause thee to consider understanding wisely;

at the commencement of thy supplications [again, what was Daniel praying about?] hath the word come forth, and I have come to declare it, for thou art greatly desired, and understand thou concerning the matter, and consider concerning the appearance.

‘Seventy weeks [sevens] are determined for thy people, and for thy holy city, to shut up the transgression, and to seal up sins, and to cover inquity, and to bring in everlasting judgment [ancient justice], and to seal up vision and prophet and to anoint the holy of holies.


Here is an excerpt from Gesenius Lexicon that shows the "everlasting judgment" should be "ancient justice". Notice he says it has to have this meaning - and then he says it can't have this meaning.

Gesenius showing "everlasting judgment" should be "ancient justice"

And that bring us to the verse you asked about - Daniel 9:25 (the edits are mine):


And thou dost know, and dost consider wisely, from the going forth of the word to restore and to build Jerusalem till Messiah the Leader [anointed prince] is seven weeks [sevens], and sixty and two weeks [sevens]: the broad place hath been built again, and the rampart, even in the distress of the times.


There is such a strong tradition saying that this must refer to Jesus Christ that even Robert Young did not translate this literally in his literal translation. For instance, the word "Messiah" only shows up in these two verses (Daniel 9:25-26) and Psalms 2. (In King James, the word Messiah is only used in Daniel 9-25-26.) Everywhere else that Hebrew word (משיח) appears, Young translated that word into "anointed". He should have done that here too.

Also, there is no definite article - no "the" (in Hebrew, no ה) - in that phrase. It should just be "anointed leader" or "anointed prince", not "the anointed leader/prince".

In addition, Gabriel said the 7 sevens was "from the going forth of the word to restore and rebuild Jerusalem" to the anointed leader. Which word was Gabriel referring to? The same word that started this scenario.

Read Daniel 9:2 again:


in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, have understood by books the number of the years, in that a word of Jehovah hath been unto Jeremiah the prophet, concerning the fulfilling of the wastes of Jerusalem -- seventy years;


The same Hebrew word (דבר) is translated into "word" in verse 2 and 25.

There would be 70 years between when Jerusalem was destroyed and then rebuilt, but 7 sevens into it - or 49 years into it - an anointed leader would come on the scene. Who was that?

Isaiah 44:26-28, 45:1


Confirming the word of His servant, The counsel of His messengers it perfecteth, Who is saying of Jerusalem, She is inhabited, And of cities of Judah, They shall be built, and her wastes I raise up,

Who is saying to the deep, Be dry, and thy rivers I cause to dry up,

Who is saying of Cyrus, My shepherd, And all my delight He doth perfect, So as to say of Jerusalem, Thou art built, And of the temple, Thou art founded.

Thus said Jehovah, To His anointed, to Cyrus, Whose right hand I have laid hold on, To subdue nations before him, Yea, loins of kings I loose, To open before him two-leaved doors, Yea, gates are not shut:


Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians around 585 BC. Cyrus took power around 536 BC. That is a 49 year difference. And it was in the first year of his reign that he decreed the Jews could return to their land.

2Chronicles 36:22


And in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, at the completion of the word of Jehovah in the mouth of Jeremiah, hath Jehovah waked up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, and he causeth an intimation to pass over into all his kingdom, and also in writing, saying,

'Thus said Cyrus king of Persia, All kingdoms of the earth hath Jehovah, God of the heavens, given to me, and He hath laid a charge on me to build to Him a house in Jerusalem, that is in Judah; who is among you of all His people? Jehovah his God is with him, and he doth go up.'

Also Ezra 1:1-4:

And in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, at the completion of the word of Jehovah from the mouth of Jeremiah, hath Jehovah waked up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, and he causeth an intimation to pass over into all his kingdom, and also in writing, saying,

'Thus said Cyrus king of Persia, All kingdoms of the earth hath Jehovah, God of the heavens, given to me, and He hath laid a charge on me to build to Him a house in Jerusalem, that is in Judah;

who is among you of all His people? His God is with him, and he doth go up to Jerusalem, that is in Judah, and build the house of Jehovah, God of Israel -- He is God -- that is in Jerusalem.

'And every one who is left, of any of the places where he is a sojourner, assist him do the men of his place with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, along with a free-will offering for the house of God, that is in Jerusalem.'


After this period of 7 sevens (49 years), there would be another period of 62 sevens (434 years) in which the broad place (plaza) and the walls/moat would be rebuilt. Josephus says Pompey had a hard time filling in the moat to conquer Jerusalem and take the temple because of its immense size. Strabo says the moat was 60 feet deep and 250 feet wide. The city walls and the moat around the walls were huge. It would have taken some time to finish them, especially with all the political turmoil that nation had to deal with in that interval.

If this paragraph breaks the rules for this site we can take it out, but I realize a lot of people who read this might have a hard time agreeing with this because, like Gesenius, they have a very ingrained belief that this passage must refer to Jesus Christ. If you are one of those people (I was one of those people), consider all the places in the New Testament where Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, and Paul highlight a prophecy that Jesus Christ fulfilled. You can check out here for an incomplete list of those references. Those men expend a great deal of effort to prove that He fulfilled even small details like riding the donkey and identifying the city He was born in, but never - not once - do any of them ever point to how Daniel 9 applies to Jesus Christ. My answer does not say Jesus Christ is not the Messiah - the Anointed. My answer does say the anointed leader mentioned in Daniel 9 refers a different anointed person (Cyrus).

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