13.5.1. Weeks of Years

The word translated “weeks” simply means “sevens” and can be shown from the context to be seventy sevens of years:

Each year of [the Babylonian] captivity represented one seven-year cycle in which the seventh or Sabbath year had not been observed. Thus it is clear that the context refers to years, not days.1

The usage of the Hebrew word for “sevens” elsewhere in Daniel also argues that weeks of days are not meant here:

The Hebrew word shabua is found only in one other passage of the book (Dan. Dan. 10:2-3), where the prophet states that he mourned and fasted “three full weeks.” Now here it is perfectly obvious that the context demands “weeks” of days. . . And significantly, the Hebrew here reads literally “three sevens of days.” Now if in the ninth chapter, the writer intended us to understand that the “seventy sevens” are composed of days, why did he not use the same form of expression adopted in chapter ten?2

There are four good reasons for believing that the “seven” intended here is a period of seven years: (1) Daniel has just been concerned about years (Dan. Dan. 9:1-2). (2) It is impossible to fit the events of verses Dan. 9:24?Dan. 9:27 into 490 days or weeks. (3) In the only other place where Daniel uses the word week, he qualifies it by adding the word days (Dan. Dan. 10:2-3). (4) Finally, the fact that Dan. Dan. 9:27 speaks of a covenant being broken at the half-way point of the seventieth seven agrees well with Dan. Dan. 7:7, Dan. 7:12, Dan. 7:25; and Rev. Rev. 12:14+, which speak of three-and-one-half years as one-half of a week.3


1 Harold Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1977), 118.

2 J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958), 243.

3 King James Version Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1988), Dan. 9:24.