A Study of Daniel 9:24 - 27 Part I -- By: Charles H. Ray

Journal: Conservative Theological Journal
Volume: CTJ 05:15 (Aug 2001)
Article: A Study of Daniel 9:24 - 27 Part I
Author: Charles H. Ray

A Study of Daniel 9:24 - 27
Part I

Charles H. Ray

Associate Editor
Th. D. candidate, Tyndale Seminary

This article is the first of a four part series on Daniel 9:24–27.


Regardless of one’s theological persuasion, Daniel 9:24–27 is one of the most difficult passages to interpret. Challenges arise both in the area of linguistics and in theology, specifically eschatology. Some of the verbs are somewhat obscure, the chronological framework is not particularly easy to establish, and a dash of symbolism is thrown in the mix for good measure. The effort to unravel these four verses is worth it, however. Eschatological details are packed in them like sardines. A proper understanding of this highly scrutinized pericope will make end-time events less confusing. An overview of the passage reveals that v.24 summarizes all four verses, v.25 concerns the 69 “sevens,” and v.27 describes the 70th “seven.”1

In addition to being an amazing revelation, it is one of the most wonderful answers to prayer in Scripture. Daniel read in Jeremiah that the Jews’ captivity would last only 70 years, so “…it would be only natural for Daniel to inquire of God as to which of the three

deportations marked the beginning of the seventy years of exile”2 (605, 597, or 586 BC). Daniel asks the Lord about ending the exile, but His response looks to the future instead.3 That is not to say the answer had nothing to do with his petitions. For example, the first triad of phrases (v.24) addresses the wording of Dan. 9:5, and the last three his request of 9:7.4

The verses will be discussed one by one, yet their teachings will be brought together in the conclusion in Part IV.

Daniel 9:24

Enigmatic statements are discovered in the first two words of the passage. The phrase “seventy ‘sevens’” (shabua is a heptad, a group of seven of something)5 has generated numerous (and humorous) interpretations.

The liberal ...
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