Why Troubling Times Lasted 62 Weeks For Daniel

Continued from Part 5

Following these forty-nine years is a period of “troubled times” lasting sixty-two weeks or 434 years.  During these years many enemies will arise seeking to annihilate the Jewish people either physically or spiritually, or both, and to hinder Jerusalem from taking its rightful place as the spiritual center of the nation of Israel.  

At the instigation of the enemies of the Jews, the building of the Second Temple was halted for some time, but Jerusalem, which expresses physically the heartfelt spiritual yearnings of the Jewish people “shall be built again.”  As a result, the rebuilding of the Temple once more commenced in approximately 520 B.C.E. and was completed in 516 B.C.E.  Jerusalem is to be economically and physically strong, as indicated by “broad place and moat,” despite all adversaries.  “Broad place” refers to the main square of the city where the population assembled to conduct social, judicial, and business affairs and “moat” refers to the city’s defenses.  The length of the Second Temple period was 589 years.5

The year 516 B.C.E. ends the seventy years of captivity.  Although Jews had been returning to their homeland for approximately thirty years the people were not truly free until they were able to complete the rebuilding of the Temple; only then was it considered the end of the desolation of Jerusalem.

According to the text punctuation, the seven weeks of years and the sixty-two weeks of years are not meant to be added together into one combination of sixty-nine weeks.  As a result, we see that there are two different anointed ones spoken of in this passage.  This, as we shall see, is confirmed in verse 26, which describes what happens specifically during the sixty-two weeks of years.  It is alleged by some Christians that the Jews (alt. the rabbis) deliberately inserted the ’atnach in the accented Hebrew text of this verse after “seven weeks,” thereby dividing it from the “sixty-two weeks (434 years) as a deliberate effort to make it appear as if the text did not refer to the time of their so-called messiah’s coming.  The reason these Christians give for this alleged action was the Jewish rejection of Jesus and was used to obscure his advent as the Messiah.  The Christian argument is important to understand as it reveals the fallacy inherent in their exposition of the text and the truth of the Jewish understanding of the angel’s words.

But, what happens if one disregards the accent/punctuation and simply looks and the consonantal text of this passage?  The proof that the ’atnach is used properly in verse 25 is found in verse 26.  There it says that “after the sixty-two weeks an anointed one shall be cut off.”  What sixty-two weeks is the verse referring to in emphasizing the number by placing the definite article before it?  It must be the sixty-two weeks referred to in verse 25.  But, why does verse 26 specifically divide off these sixty-two weeks?  In so doing, it provides proof that the anointed one of verse 24 could not be the same person as that of verse 26 who was destined to live sometime after another sixty-two weeks (434 years) from the lifetime of the first anointed one.

Therefore, Christians are incorrect in alleging that only one anointed one is mentioned in the passage and they are also wrong in giving either anointed one the singular messianic identification as the long awaited Messiah.  Yes, there are disagreements among Jewish commentators as to who these two individuals are but on the basis of the textual evidence we can be certain that it does not refer to Jesus.

5 It should be noted that during this period, conventional historians list more than ten Medeo-Persian kings who ruled for 207 years, commencing in 539 B.C.E. and ending with Alexander’s conquest in 332 B.C.E.  These kings include Cyrus, Cambyses, Darius I, Xerxes I, Artaxerxes I, Darius II, Artaxerxes II, Artaxerxes III, Arses, and Darius III.  Artaxerxes is compounded from arta, “great,” and khsathra, “kingdom,” and is used like the Egyptian name “pharaoh” to describe the kings of Persia.  The Old Persian form of Xerxes’s name was “Khshayarsha,” a name very similar to that of Ahashverosh.  Biblical references to Persian kings are only concerned with those monarchs having an impact on the Jewish people.

© Gerald Sigal