Adam Clarke and Daniel 9
The prophecy of 70 weeks
DANIEL'S 70 WEEK PROPHECY
ADAM CLARKE BIBLE COMMENTARY
Verse 24. Seventy weeks are determined:
This is the most important prophecy, and has given rise to a
variety of opinions relative to the proper mode of explanation;
but the chief difficulty, if not the only one, is to find out the
TIME from which these seventy weeks should be dated. What is here
said by the angel is not a direct answer to Daniel's prayer. He
pryed to know when the seventy weeks of the captivity are to end.
Gabriel shows him that a seventy weeks determined relative to a
redemption from another sort of captivity, which shall commence
with the going forth of an edict to restore and rebuild Jerusalem,
and shall terminate with the death of Messiah and the total
abolition of the Jewish sacrifices. In the four following verses
he enters into the particular of this most important
determination, and leaves them with Daniel for his comfort, who
has left them to the Church of God for the confirmation of its
faith, and a testimony to the truth of Divine revelation. They
contain the fullest confirmation of Christianity, and a complete
refutation of the Jewish cavils and blasphemies on this subject.
Of all the writers I have consulted on this most noble
prophecy, Dean Prideaux appears to me the most clear and
satisfactory. I shall therefore follow his method in my
explanation, and often borrow his words.
Seventy weeks are determined:
The Jews have "sabbatic" years, Lev. xxv. 8, by which their
years were divided into weeks of years, as in this important
prophecy, each week containing seven years. The seventy weeks
therefore here spoken of amount to four hundred and ninety
In verse 24 there are six events mentioned which should be
the consequences of the incarnation of our Lord:
I. To finish (lechalle, to restrain,) the transgression, which was
effected by the preaching of the Gospel, and pouring
out of the Holy ghost among men.
II. To make an end of sins; rather (ulehathem chataoh), "to make
an end of sin-offerings;" which our Lord did when he offered his
spotless soul and body on the cross once for all.
III To make reconciliation (ulechapper), "to make atonement or
expiation" for iniquity; which be did by the once offering up of
IV To bring in everlasting righteousness, (tsedek olamim), that
is, "the righteousness, or righteous ONE, of ages;" that person
who had been the object of the faith of mankind, and the subject
of the predictions of the prophets through all the ages of the
V To seal up (velachtom, "to finish or complete") the vision and
prophecy; that is, to put an end to the necessity of any farther
revelations, by completing the canon of Scripture, and fulfilling
the prophecies which related to his person, sacrifice, and the
glory that should follow.
VI And to anoint the Most Holy (kodesh kodashim, "the Holy of
holies.") (mashach), to anoint, (from which comes "mashiach," the
Messiah, the anointed one,) signifies in general, to consecrate
or appoint to some special office. Here it means the consecration
or appointment of our blessed Lord, the Holy One of Israel, to be
the Prophet, Priest, and King of mankind.
Verse 25. From the going forth of the commandment to restore and
to build Jerusalem. The foregoing events being all accomplished
by Jesus Christ, they of course determine the prophecy to him.
And if we reckon back four hundred and ninety years, we shall
find the time of the going forth of this command.
Most learned men agree that the death of Christ happened at
the Passover in the month Nisan, in the four thousand seven
hundred and forty-sixth year of the Julian period. Four hundred
and ninety years, reckoned back from the above year, leads us
directly to the month Nisan in the four thousand two hundred and
fifty-sixth year of the same period; the very month and year in
which Ezra had his commission from Artaxerxes Longimanus, king of
Persia, (see Ezra vii. 9,) to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. See
the commission in Ezra, chap. vii. 11-26, and Prideaux's
Connexions, vol. ii. p.380.
(A full in-depth study of when Christ was born and so when His
ministry began can be found on this Website - "Jesus was
born - 5 B.C." Hence Jesus died on the cross in 30 A.D. 40 years
later in 70 A.D. Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed by Titus
and the Roman armies - Keith Hunt)
The above seventy weeks, or four hundred and ninety years,
are divided, in verse 25, into three distinct periods, to each
of which particular events are assigned. The three periods are.
Seven weeks, that is, forty-nine years. Sixty-two weeks, that is,
four hundred thirty-four years. One week, that is, seven years.
To the first period of seven weeks the restoration and
repairing of Jerusalem are referred; and so long were Ezra and
Nehemiah employed in restoring the sacred constitutions and civil
establishments of the Jews, for this work lasted forty-nine years
after the commission was given by Artaxerxes.
From the above seven weeks the second period of sixty-two
weeks, or four hundred and thirty-four years more, commences, at
the end of which the prophecy says, Messiah the Prince should
come, that is, seven weeks, or forty-nine years, should be
allowed for the restoration of the Jewish state; from which time
till the public entrance of the Messiah on the work of the
ministry should be sixty-two weeks, or four hundred and
thirty-four years, in all four hundred and eighty-three years.
From the coming of our Lord, the third period is to be dated,
viz., "He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week,"
that is, one of the covenant must take in the ministry of John the
Baptist with that of our Lord, comprehending the term of seven
years, during the whole of which he might be well said to confirm
or ratify the new covenant with mankind.
Our Lord says, "The law was UNTIL John" but from his first
public preaching the KINGDOM OF GOD, or Gospel dispensation,
These SEVEN YEARS, added to the FOUR HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-THREE, completes the FOUR HUNDRED AND NINETY years, or SEVENTY prophetic weeks; so that the whole of this prophecy, from the times and corresponding events, HAS BEEN FULFILLED TO THE VERY LETTER!
Some imagine that the half of the last seven years is to be
referred to the total destruction of the Jews by Titus, when the
daily sacrifice ever ceased to be offered; and that the
intermediate space of thirty-seven years,
(actually it would be 40 years - from our Lord's death in 30 A.D. to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. is 40 years - Keith Hunt)
from our Lord's death till the destruction of the city, is passed
over as being of no account in relation to the prophecy, and that
it was on this account that the last seven years are divided. But
Dean Prideaux thinks that the whole refers to our Lord's
preaching connected with that of the Baptist. "vachatsi," says
he, signifies in the half part of the week; that is, in the
latter three years and a half in which he exercised himself in
the public ministry, he caused, by the sacrifice of himself, all
other sacrifices and oblations to cease, which were instituted to
(The prophecy is indeed unbroken and the new covenant was
ratified by John the baptist and Jesus' ministry, a seven year
period. Some say it could be 3 and 1/2 years of Jesus bringing in the New Covenant, and the New Testament “church” towards the Jews, ratifying it for another 3 and 1/2 years before it went to the Gentiles. Either way the New Covenant was preached to the Jews for 7 years. - Keith Hunt)
In the latter parts of verse 26 and 27 we find the THIRD
PART of this great prophecy, which refers to what should be done
after the completion of these seventy weeks.
And the people of the prince that shall destroy the city and
the sanctuary. By the "prince" Titus, the son of Vespasian, is
plainly intended; and "the people of that prince" are no other
than the Romans, who, according to the prophecy, destroyed the
sanctuary, "hakkodesh," the holy place or temple, and, as a
flood, swept away all, till the total destruction of that
obstinate people finished the war.
(The phrase "the prince" could also be referring to the One
previously mentioned - the Messiah. The work of Titus and his
army being the work or intention of God the Messiah, to take
place as Jesus had alluded to in His Gospel ministry. He knew
what was to happen to the city of Jerusalem and its Temple,
hence He allowed it, for it was so to be. Not all was wiped away
like as a flood can do, for today we still have part of the
Temple outer wall remaining, it is today often called "the
Wailing Wall." An overflowing flood will invariably leaving
Some things standing though all around has been washed
away - Keith Hunt)
And for the overspreading of abominations shall make it
This clause is remarkably obscure. "kenaph shikkutsim
meshomem," "And upon the wing of abominations causing amazement."
This is a literal translation of the place; but still there is no
determinate sense. A Hebrew MS., written in the thirteenth
century, has preserved a very remarkable reading here, which
frees the place from all embarrassment. Instead of the above
reading, this valuable MS. has "ubeheychal yihyey shikkuts; that
is, "And in the temple (of the Lord) there shall be abomination."
That the above reading gives the true sense, there can be
little doubt, because it is countenanced by the most eminent
The Vulgate reads, "Et erit in templo abomination" "And in the
temple there shall be abomination."
Septuagint (LXX) (Clarke then gives the Greek - Keith Hunt) "And
upon the temple there shall be abomination of desolation."
The Arabic, "And upon the sanctuary there shall be the
abomination of ruin."
THERE WAS LITTLE DOUBT BY MANY OLD FUNDAMENTAL TEACHERS OF YESTERDAY, THAT THIS PROPHECY IN DANIEL 9 WAS TOTALLY TO DO WITH THE COMING OF THE MESSIAH, AND THE AFTERWARD DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM AND THE TEMPLE IN 70 A.D. THIS PROPHECY HAS BEEN COMPLETELY FULFILLED AND HAS NOTHING TO
DO WITH ANYTHING AT THE TIME OF THE END OF THIS AGE.
Entered on this Website March 2009