The prophecies of Daniel. Mysteries explained and dating demonstrated: the seventy sevens or weeks, the four kingdoms and kings, etc.

THE PROPHECIES OF DANIEL
Mysteries explained and dating demonstrated
The seventy sevens or weeks, the four kingdoms and kings, etc

(Page 1 of 2)
Note: all dates, if not specified, are B.C.E.
Front page: Daniel and Revelation (with website search function)
You may email the author, and learn more about him here
Note: all emphases are mine.


INTRODUCTION:

"Porphyry [3rd century Neoplatonist philosopher] wrote his 20th book against the prophecy of Daniel, denying that it was written by the individual to whom it is ascribed in its title, but rather by some person living in Judea at the time of Antiochus Epiphanes; he further alleged that Daniel did not prophesy the future so much as he related the past, and lastly whatever he spoke of up until the time of Antiochus contained genuine history, whereas anything he may have conjectured beyond that point was false inasmuch as he would have not foreknown the future."
(St. Jerome, Commentary on Daniel, 407 C.E.)
"The book ['Daniel'] must therefore have been written during the persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes and before his death, even before the success of the Maccabaean [Hasmonean] revolt; that is to say between 167 and 164."
(The New Jerusalem Bible, Introduction to Daniel)
"The Book of Daniel presents a collection of popular stories about Daniel, a loyal Jew, and the record of visions granted to him, with the Babylonian Exile of the 6th century BCE as their background. The book, however, was written in a later time of national crisis—when the Jews were suffering severe persecution under Antiochus IV Epiphanes (reigned 175–164/163 BCE) ..."
Encyclopædia Britannica
"The Book of Daniel was written during the persecutions of Israel by the Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes."
Jewish encyclopedia: DANIEL, BOOK OF

Tradition calls for the book of Daniel to have been written as a whole around 537-530. That makes the prophecies of the book very accurate (up to 168-164 that is!). However, there is no mention in the Jewish (or others) literature to indicate an extraordinary prophet and high ranking official named Daniel/Belteshazzar (or/and stories about him) was known before the Hasmonean period (from 164).
The earliest copy of the book of Daniel is dated around 125-100 and its first indisputable reference occurs in the book of 1Maccabees, written about 100:
2:59-60 "Hannaniah, Azariah, and Mishael believed and were saved from the flame. Daniel because of his innocence was delivered from the mouth of the lions."
and
1:54 "Now the fifteenth day of the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and fifth year [early December 168] they set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of Juda on every side;"
The Sibylline Oracles, book III also contains a vague reference to 'Daniel' ("ten horns", line 494) but the book in question was likely compiled after 26 B.C.E.

Why?
a) The enslavement of Rhodes is "predicted" after a long time of freedom & prosperity (lines 556-562): Cassius conquered it in 42 B.C.E. Before that, Rhodes was independant & wealthy for centuries (from 5th cent. B.C.E.).
b) Rome is "predicted" to rule over Egypt (lines 55-58b): that happened in 30 B.C.E. Then the Kingdom of God is to come (but did not!):
lines 55-58b "But when Rome shall o'er Egypt also rule
Governing always, then shall there appear
The greatest kingdom of the immortal King
["the immortal God, the mighty King" (line 67)]
Over men. ..."

c) The full destruction of Tralles by an earthquake is "predicted" (lines 576-578): that happened in 26 B.C.E.
But the two strongest pieces of evidence for a late dating come from:
- the O.T. apocryphal book 'Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach', written in Hebrew around 200-180. In chapters 44-51, it comments on the "famous men" as "our ancestors ... counselors in their prudence, or seers of all things in prophecy ... each illustrious in his day. Some of them have left behind a name and men recount their praiseworthy deeds". Among them, "Joseph" (Daniel's equivalent at the Pharaoh's court) is named, as also two of the major prophets ("Jeremiah" and "Ezekiel"), but NOT the most phenomenal (by far!), Daniel. Even "the twelve [minor] prophets" are mentioned!
- Daniel 9:2 "[around 538]... I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem."
A (failed) prophecy of Jeremiah (Jer25:9b-14,29:10-14) is (wrongly) understood by Daniel as referring to the ending of Jerusalem desolation which happened well after Daniel's lifetime (Jeremiah had Babylonia devastation instead: Jer25:12 NIV ""... when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt," declares the LORD, "and will make it desolate forever""). It looks our author modified an old prophecy in order to make it fit history (and his own agenda!), with the benefit of hindsight! (more details & quotes later on this page)

Notes:
a) "Danel" in Ezekiel 14:14,20 (associated here with patriarch Noah) is not considered referring to Daniel according to many scholars but to a honored Danel featured in Ugaritic literature, Ras Shamra poems of the fourteenth century B.C.E.
b) There is no proof that the book of Daniel was included in the original Septuagint (LXX):
"Behind the legends lies the probability that at least the Torah (the five books of Moses) was translated into Greek c. 250 B.C. for the use of the Greek speaking Jews of Alexandria.
The rest of the O.T. and some noncanonical books were also included in the LXX before the dawning of the Christian era, through it is difficult to be certain when."
(The NIV Study Bible)
c) Greek words are used to name three (among six) musical instruments (Da3:5,7,10,15), which were said to be used to worship Nebuchadnezzar. These three are the harp, sackbut, and psalter, and actually originated in Mesopotamia (consequently Aramaic names were available!). It has been argued these Greek words are plausible in a 6th century B.C.E. writing, but certainly would be more likely to appear in a much later redaction (into the Hellenist era!). And why would an Aramaic speaking person use Greek names for musical instruments emanating from Mesopotamia?
d) It has been argued that the Aramaic and Hebrew of 'Daniel' are close to the ones written in the 6th/5th century B.C.E. But a later author would use ancient forms of these two languages in order not to betray a late composition!
Furthermore K.A. Kitchen concluded:
"What, then, shall we say of the Aramaic of Daniel? It is, in itself, as long and generally agreed, integrally a part of that Imperial Aramaic which gathered impetus from at least the seventh century BC and was in full use until c. 300 BC ... there is nothing to decide the date of composition of the Aramaic of Daniel on the grounds of Aramaic anywhere between the late sixth and the second century BC. Some points hint at an early (especially pre-300), not late, date—but in large part could be argued to be survivals till the second century BC ... The date of the book of Daniel, in short, cannot be decided upon linguistic grounds alone."
The Aramaic of Daniel, K. A. Kitchen
And S.R. Driver wrote: "The verdict of the language of Daniel is thus clear... the Hebrew supports... a date after the conquest of Palestine by Alexander the Great (332 BC)"
The Hebrew of Daniel - W.J. Martin

The book of Daniel shows how much Hellenized a form of (heretical?) Judaism had become, another sure indication about the late writing.
As example, the God of Daniel is "the Prince of princes" (Da8:25) and "the God of gods" (11:36). The existence of other (good) gods is fully acknowledged:
Da11:37-38a NIV "He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown of his fathers ..."
One of these gods is described making his own decisions:
NIV 10:20-11:1 "No one support me against them except Michael, your prince [even archangel Michael seems to act on his own!]. And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him"
This god also associates himself with important mortal and is not all powerful:
NIV 10:13 "But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia."
The demigod is described very physically (and with material wealth!):
10:5 "I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz [an earthly place known for its gold (also mentioned in Jeremiah 10:9). But how could Daniel identify the provenance of this gold just by seeing it?]!
10:6 His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude."
10:10a "Suddenly, a hand [the one of the demigod] touched me,"
Later, this "certain man" is seen levitating above the Tigris river (12:6-7), called "my lord" by Daniel (12:8). Also, this demigod does not consider the Jews as his people (10:14 "... your people ...") and not even God as his God, just Daniel's God!
NIV 10:12 "Then he [the demigod] continued, "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, ...""

The book of Daniel can be divided in two main parts, which are very different in content:

a) Chapters 1 to 6, written mostly in Aramaic: it follows the alleged long career in Babylon (up to within the early Persian era) of a righteous Jew called Daniel, through legendary tales and unrealistic stories. Here, Daniel's claim to fame is to interpret dreams for the king Nebuchadnezzar (as Joseph interpreting the Pharaoh's dream: Ge41:1-32). Only one vision is sent to Daniel, but it is not described: "Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven."(2:19).
The moral of this part seems to be that one can remain a Jew, be very successful in a foreign court (as Joseph in Ge41:39-57) and stay healthy on Jewish food & customs. And the hope is given the series of world empires hold on Judea will come to an end (the dream of the large statue: see later).
Here, Daniel is referred to by the third person and God himself (and NOT Michael) delivers and rescues:
"... Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, ..." (3:28)
"He [God] delivers and rescues, Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions." (6:27)

b) Chapters 7 to 12, written mostly in Hebrew: starting back from the Chaldean kings (Belshazzar), Daniel himself is the recipient of described visions about future events (happening beyond Daniel's lifetime) leading to "an end to sacrifice and offering" (9:37) and preceding the inauguration of a new eternal kingdom at "the time of the end" (12:4). Repeatedly, Daniel is given explanations, some by angel Gabriel ("the man" "caused to fly swiftly" 9:21) and others by the demigod.
From chapter 7 to the end (except for 7:1 & 10:1), Daniel refers to himself constantly as "I" or "I, Daniel" (64 times!) and "me" (29 times). The transition between the third person (Daniel, he, his) and the first (I, me, my) appears at the beginning of chapter 7:
"In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts. Daniel spoke, saying, "I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea." (7:1-2)
Also, Michael (and NOT God) is the rescuer:
"At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; ... And at that time your people shall be delivered, ..." (12:1)

From these observations and others, some critical scholars concluded that the book parts have different authors, with unlike perspective and time of writing:
John J. Collins Daniel (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993) p. 38.
"The Hebrew–Aramaic text of Daniel evolved through several stages:
1. The individual tales of Chaps. 2–6 were originally separate ...
2. There was probably an initial collection of 3:31–6:29, which allowed the development of two textual traditions in these chapters.
3. The Aramaic tales were collected, with the introductory chap.1, in the Hellenistic period.
4. Daniel 7 was composed in Aramaic early in the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes, before the desecration of the temple. Chapters 1–7 may have circulated briefly as an Aramaic book.
5. Between 167 and 164 B.C.E. the Hebrew chapters 8–12 were added, and chap.1 was translated to provide a Hebrew frame for the Aramaic chapters. ..."
In agreement with most of these conclusions, I'll give some rational & historical explanations on the prophetic parts of the book.

Notes:
A) The Catholic Old Testament has chapters 13 & 14 added to the end of 'Daniel'. These chapters, written in Greek, are tales featuring Daniel as a boy (Susanna and the elders) and an elder (Bel and the Dragon). And Daniel is thrown again in the lions' pit! These additions, plus two insertions (the Psalm of Azariah & the Canticle of the three youths) would prove that a biblical text can be added on fairly easily.
B) Discrepancies (interpolations or bad story telling?) start to appear as early as the first two chapters:
a) Arioch, the commander of the king's guard, in charge of putting to death all the wise men of Babylon (2:12,14) according to the king's decree (2:12), talks to Daniel but does not arrest him (2:14,16) when, earlier, at verse 2:13, men are sent to look for Daniel (but Arioch does not know it!) in order to execute him as one of the wise men (see also 2:18b)!
b) Daniel visits the king rather casually (2:16) (and yet is not arrested!), but one day later, he needs Arioch in order to be introduced (as only "a man from the exiles of Judas"!) to Nebuchadnezzar (2:26)!
c) Arioch is not aware Daniel had easy access to the king (2:16) & with whom he met already (1:18-19; 2:16)!

DANIEL PART 1:

1:1 to 6:28a ("So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius")
Except:
1:21 (probable out-of-place insertion likely written in order to drop the name of Cyrus, otherwise unmentioned in Part 1)
2:35b (unexplained imagery) NIV "... But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth."
The explanation should chronologically appear right after Da2:45b but does not.
2:44 (see later on)

Written 323-301 B.C.E. (early Hellenist era, during Perdiccas' regency or Antigonus' attempt to be sole ruler of the empire, as demonstrated later).
The author (let's call him Daniel-1), in sharp contrast with the one of part 2 (let's call this one Daniel-2), has no concern for the temple of Jerusalem. Also he is not aware to whom Babylon (with its acting king Belshazzar) fell. Certainly Darius the Mede is not a historical king (not found outside of 'Daniel' in ancient records, including the Nabonidus' chronicle).

Note: the army of Cyrus the Great, king of Persia (and a Persian by birth) overwhelmed Babylon in 539 B.C.E. Cyrus conquered the Medes eleven years earlier (550) when the Babylonian empire, unconquered yet, was under the rule of Nabonidus (and his son Belshazzar), an usurper not (closely) related to Nebuchadnezzar.
Remarks:
a) About Belchazzar:
'Daniel' indicates that Nebuchadnezzar was the father of Belshazzar (Da5:2,11,13,18,22).
However, according to an inscription found in the city of Ur (The Nabonidus cylinder):
"As for me, Nabonidus, king of Babylon, save me from sinning against your great godhead and grant me as a present a life long of days, and as for Belshazzar, the eldest son -my offspring- instill reverence for your great godhead in his heart ..."
Belshazzar is the son of Nabonidus.

Notes:
a) From the The verse account of Nabonidus:
"when the third year was about to begin- he [Nabonidus] entrusted the army to his oldest son, his first born, the troops in the country he ordered under his command. He let everything go, entrusted the kingship to him."
b) Let's note the apocryphal book of Baruch has Belshazzar as the son of Nebuchadnezzar, when the later is still in the early years of his reign:
Baruch 1:11-12 "and pray for the life of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and for the life of Belshazzar his son, that their days on earth may be like the days of heaven. And the Lord will give us strength, and he will give light to our eyes, and we shall live under the protection of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and under the protection of Belshazzar his son, and we shall serve them many days and find favor in their sight."
This book, as 'Daniel', is supposed to have been written by a contemporary of Nebuchadnezzar, but many critical scholars think it was composed much later on. Did "Baruch" get the erroneous "info" from Daniel-1 (and did not know any better)? Or was it vice versa? Or, in Jewish circles then, was the true father of Belshazzar unknown (and therefore assumed to be his main predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar)?
c) Could Daniel declare (to Belshazzar himself!) that Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar are father & son (twice within the same speech, 5:18-28), knowing the true father was Nabonidus? Especially when considering that during the co-reign of Belshazzar, Nabonidus was alive and the official king of Babylon (and Belshazzar & Nabonidus were in good terms!). That would not be tactful and rather dangerous!

b) About Nebuchadnezzar:
Da2:1a NIV "In the second year of his reign [604/603 B.C.E. (Nebuchadnezzar became king in September of 605)], Nebuchadnezzar had dreams ..."
which Daniel describes (!) and then interprets. The presence of Daniel in Babylon is explained as:
Da1:1-2a NIV "In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah,
[Jehoiakim started to rule in Jerusalem in 610/609 B.C.E. "the third year" would be within 608-606]
` Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand [and some Jews, including Daniel (1:3-6), are then deported to Babylon], ..."
But outside of 'Daniel', there is no record of a siege of Jerusalem around that time, not even in '2Kings', which reports of NO siege during that period:
2Ki24:1 NIV "During Jehoiakim's reign, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon invaded the land, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years. But then he changed his mind and rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar."
It is agreed Nebuchadnezzar went to Palestine in late 605/early 604 in order to collect tributes. He returned there on his way to Egypt, but his army got defeated by the Egyptians (601). Consequently, it would make sense Jehoiakim was a vassal to the Babylonians from 604 to 601 and rebelled afterwards.
And in '2Chronicles', Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem not earlier than after eleven years of Jehoiakim's rule [in late 599]:
2Ch36:5-8 "Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. ... Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against him, and bound him in bronze fetters to carry him off to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar also carried off some of the articles from the house of the LORD to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon. ... Then Jehoiachin his son reigned in his place [but ruled for only 3 months & 10 days]."
Furthermore, from 609 up to 605, the army of Necho II had reclaimed the whole Levant for Egypt, with the Judean king as a vassal to the Egyptians. Necho was finally defeated at the battle of Carchemish (on the Euphrates river) in the spring of 605 and retreated all the way back to his homeland.
The first besieging of Jerusalem by the Babylonians & Nebuchadnezzar occurred in the seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, according to the Babylonian chronicle, as corroborated in '2King':
2Ki24:1-17 NIV "At that time the officers of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon advanced on Jerusalem and laid siege to it, and Nebuchadnezzar himself came up to the city while his officers were besieging it. Jehoiachin king of Judah,[the son of Jehoiakim] his mother, his attendants, his nobles and his officials all surrendered to him ...
... in the eighth year of the reign of the king of Babylon
[notice the one year (minor) discrepancy] he took Jehoiachin prisoner ...
Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin captive to Babylon ... and the leading men of the land ..."

Notes:
A) There are minor conflicts between 2Ki24:1-15 and 2Ch36:5-10a:
a) After 11 years of reign, Jehoiakim dies in Jerusalem (2Ki24:6a) but, in 2Ch36:6, he is brought to Babylon instead!
b) In 2Ki24:11, Nebuchadnezzar is present when Jehoiachin is taken captive in 598; but in 2Ch36:10, he is not!
B) In the past, virtually all historical knowledge about Nebuchadnezzar was obtained from the Bible and Josephus' works, but the tablets of the Babylonian chronicle, discovered in 1956 C.E., now provides accurate information about the first 11 years of his reign.

c) About Darius the Mede:
Gobryas of Xenophon's Cyropaedia (identified here as an Assyrian) was the conqueror of Babylon and its first governor, at the head of Cyrus' army. Another source suggests this Gobryas was a composite of Ugbaru, who died after a few weeks on the job, and Gubaru, his successor (see the Nabonidus' chronicle). But in:
Da5:30-31 NIV "That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain
and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two."
as proposed by some, could a satrap or governor of Babylon be Darius the Mede?
But according to:
Da6:1-2 NIV "It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, ..."
Da6:6-9 NIV "O King Darius, live forever! The royal administrator, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agree that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into the lions' den ..."
[what about Cyrus? According to the decree, anyone praying for Cyrus would become food for the lions!]
Da6:12b NIV "... The king [Darius] answered, "The decree stands -- in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.""
Da6:15 NIV "Then the men went as a group to the king [Darius] and said to him, "Remember, O king, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed."
Da6:25-26 NIV "Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language throughout the land:
"May you prosper greatly!
I issue a decree [in fact revoking in part the first one] that in every part of my kingdom, ..."
Darius the Mede is an absolute monarch, a supreme king with no overlord.
But then, from where would Daniel-1 get a Mede king conquering Babylon?
Likely from a (failed) prophecy:
Jeremiah 51:11 "Sharpen the arrows, take up the shields! The Lord has stirred up the kings of the Medes, because his purpose is to destroy Babylon. The Lord will take vengeance, vengeance for his temple."

Note: some (desperate) apologists advanced the idea that Darius the Mede was actually another name for Cyrus the Great (founder of the Persian empire), or Ugbaru, or Gubaru, or Cyrus' uncle/or grandfather/or father/or son (Cambyse). Others claimed he was Darius Hystaspis, the fourth king of the Persian empire!

According to all these historical discrepancies, it is difficult to imagine that our author was very close to those kings, as Daniel is portrayed to be!

The four kingdoms in Daniel Part 1:

The dream of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (605-562 B.C.E.), "in the second year of his reign" (2:1):

2:31 NIV "You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue -- an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance.

2:32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze,

2:33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.

2:34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.

2:35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. ..."

The interpretation, allegedly from Daniel:

1. Neo-Babylonian empire of Nebuchadnezzar II

2:37 "You [Nebuchadnezzar], O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory;

2:38 and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all; you are this head of gold."

2. Lydian kingdom of Croesus

2:39a "But after you [Nebuchadnezzar] shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours;"
The Lydian kingdom rose to prominence after Nebuchadnezzar's times, when the Neo-Babylonian kingdom was declining. His king, Croesus, had the reputation to be the richest man on earth! The wealth of the Lydian kingdom was mostly based on conquest & looting, gold and trade. However, in area & population, the Lydian kingdom (occupying the western half of present day Asian Turkey) was much inferior to the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar (controlling the whole Levant & Mesopotamia, today's Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and part of S.E. Turkey). Croesus launched an offensive against the Persians but a series of strategic mistakes made him lost his kingdom.
How can this second kingdom, inferior to the Neo-Babylonian empire, be interpreted as the Persian empire?
The Medo-Persian empire was three to four times bigger in size and population than the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar. Not only it included the conquered kingdom of Babylon, but also Lydia (western part of Turkey), Egypt, Afghanistan, a large part of central Asia and the Medo-Persian homeland (today's Iran & eastern Turkey).
Also, the Persian empire (539-330) lasted longer than the Neo-Babylonian kingdom (626-539).

3. Persian empire

2:39b "then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth." [as known in these days, for a Jew]

4. Empire of Alexander the Great

2:40 NIV "Finally there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron - for iron breaks and smashes everything - and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. [Greece, Thrace and Persia]

2:41 Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided;
[as it was under Perdiccas the regent and then up to 301 B.C.E., following Alexander's death]
` yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay.

2:42 And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom
[still ONE kingdom then! And no mention of the upcoming Hellenist kingdoms yet!]
` shall be partly strong and partly fragile.

2:43 As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another,
[the generals of Alexander were fighting each other for power. Perdiccas was murdered in 312 and later Antigonus lost his bid (and life) for sole ruler at the battle of Ipsus in 301]
` just as iron does not mix with clay."

Notes:
a) The author used a lot more wording on this fourth kingdom than on all the other three put together, a sure indication about when this part was written! Also the meaning of Da2:34-35 (previously quoted) becomes clear: divine action was expected to break the fracturing (therefore fragile) empire of (recently deceased) Alexander, ending the rule of Gentile realms on Judea.
b) From this apologetic website: "All of the 19 Persian loan words found in Daniel [all of them in the first part!] have been shown to be of Old Persian and none of which were in use *later than 300 B.C.*."
However, with 323-301 as time of writing for Daniel-1, the aforementioned comment becomes irrelevant!

2:44 "And in the days of these kings
[which kings (plural)? There is only one kingdom (2:40,42) referred to as the last & fourth one. Consequently 2:44 appears to be a later addition: Daniel's main prophecy (extensively expounded in the second part) had to be mentioned early on! And what follows has no relation with Nebuchadnezzar's dream]
` the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people [only to the Jews]; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms,
[again which kingdoms? Only one is referred to as the last & fourth kingdom, which already did "crush and break all the others"!]
` and it shall stand forever."
[how would Daniel already know about it (the creation of a future eternal kingdom), well before it is first "revealed" to him in visions, some forty to fifty years later (7:14,18,27,etc.) after the reign of Nebuchadnezzar?]

Notes:
a) It is rather odd that "in the days of these kings" (only 6 words) is often interpreted as referring to (at least) 1900 years, when verses 2:37-43 (about 170 words) span over (only) a few centuries.
b) Da2:44 was likely added up at the same time than Da7:12: same confusing statement about kings (or ex-kings), who even if, as described before, they are successive (not parallel), would still be alive at the event of the Kingdom of God. The interpolator added up these verses (as an update!) probably when several "kings" existed then (such as Hasmonean, Roman (like Pompey, the first Roman conqueror of Jerusalem, 63 B.C.E.), Herodian, Egyptian or Parthian), with one of them thought to be the fourth one.

DANIEL PART 2 (part 2a = chapter 7, part 2b = chapters 8-12):

6:28b ("and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.") to 12:13; plus 1:21,2:35b; except latter additions 7:12, 8:13-14, 8:26 and 12:11-12 (as explained later).

Written in spring or summer of 167 B.C.E., months after the desecration of the temple (Chapter 7 was likely written about two years earlier: mid-169).
At that time, Antiochus IV & his army had left Judea and went north. And up to that point, resistance had been bloodily repressed (Josephus' Antiquities (published 93-94 C.E.), Book XII, Chapter V, Section 4b & Chapter VI, Section 2). The author (Daniel-2) was likely a priest, because of his great concern for the temple.

The four kings in Daniel Part 2:

7:17 "Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth."

Note: later on, I'll have a recapitulation showing clearly which one of the following four kings is mentioned (and where) in any of the vision/interpretation/explanation of Daniel Part 2.
Next: identification of the four beasts/kings:

1. Belshazzar (Neo Babylonian empire)

7:4 "The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man's heart was given to it."

Note: allegedly, Daniel had the vision about the four beasts during Belshazzar's reign:
Da7:1 "In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind. ..."

2. Cyrus the Great (Persian empire)

7:5 "And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs [Media, Lydia & Babylon] in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: 'Arise, devour much flesh!'"

Also related:

8:20 "The ram which you saw, having the two horns; they are the kings of Media and Persia."

11:2 "And now I will tell you the truth: Behold, three more kings will arise in Persia,
[Cambyses (530-522), Pseudo-Smerdis or Gaumata (522) & Darius I (522-486)]
` and the fourth shall be far richer than them all [Xerxes I (486-465)]; by his strength, through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece." [which he did!]

3. Alexander the Great (Greek/Macedonian empire)

7:6 "After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads [the Hellenist kingdoms to follow], and dominion was given to it."

Also related:

8:21 "And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king.
[Alexander the Great, the king of Macedonia, not Greece. However, since the Macedonians were Hellenized and propagated Greek culture, it is a honest mistake. Furthermore, Greece was already a very important part of the new empire before Alexander invaded Asia]

8:22 As for the broken horn and the four that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation [the Hellenist kingdoms. More information below], but not with its power."

Also related:

11:3 "Then a mighty king [Alexander the Great] shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.

11:4 And when he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken up and divided toward the four winds of heaven [allusion to the Hellenist kingdoms], but not among his posterity [no descendant of Alexander ruled anyone of these kingdoms] NIV nor will it have the power he exercised; because his empire will be uprooted and given to others [Alexander's generals: see later]."

4. Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Seleucid kingdom)

7:7 "After this [see 7:6 quoted earlier] I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.
[ten Seleucid kings preceding Antiochus IV, as will be explained later]
7:8 I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one
[as in 8:9, referring to Antiochus IV], coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns
[usurper or rightful pretendants to the Seleucid throne that Antiochus IV eventually occupied. Again, that will be shown later]
` were plucked out by the roots [before they had a chance to get settled]. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words."
[as in 7:11,20,25, again referring to Antiochus IV]

And evidently about the same king/beast/horn:

7:19 "Then I wished to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze, which devoured, broke in pieces, and trampled the residue with its feet;

7:20 and the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up, before which three fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows."

7:21 "I was watching; and the same horn [as I'll explain later on, refers to the same Antiochus IV] was making war against the saints [the Jews], and prevailing against them,
[allusion to Antiochus IV's first foray in Jerusalem. See this website and Da11:28]

7:22 until the Ancient of Days [God] came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High [God], and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.
[these "saints" (the Jews of Jerusalem in these days) seem to be alive when they come to possess the kingdom]

7:23 Thus he said: 'The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth [the Seleucid kingdom, one of the Hellenist kingdoms], which shall be different from all other kingdoms, And shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces."

Note: the author depicted Antiochus IV a lot more powerful than he was; and the Romans were understated & barely suggested in the book:
11:18 NIV "... a commander [or ruler]
[the Roman consul Lucius Scipio Asiaticus who (with the help of thirty thousand soldiers, many of them Romans!) defeated Antiochus III the Great, the father of Antiochus IV, at Magnesia (190) in Asia Minor. Earlier, another Roman consul Manius Acilius Glabrio defeated Antiochus at Thermopylae (191) in Greece]
will put an end to his insolence ..."
and 11:30.
If chapter 7 was written after Antiochus' first foray in Jerusalem (where/when the king massacred his opponents, but with little destruction) and before:
a) The Romans defeated the last king of Macedonia (168)
b) The Roman ambassador in Alexandria persuaded Antiochus to get out of Egypt (168) (11:30a)
the author could claim the Seleucid king would overcome Egypt and the rest of the known world.
Antiochus' kingdom, or rather empire, was huge and included the southern parts of today's Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia and Persia/Media. Here, in Judea, all eyes were on Antiochus, who was undefeated and had already overrun Egypt (the Romans were not in the picture yet and our author probably deliberately ignored them in order to avoid a confusing new element into his scenario).
Notes:
a) In the book of Daniel, 'Babylon' appears 17 times, 'Persia' 6 times, 'Egypt' 4 times and 'Greece' 3 times. Rome and the Roman(s) are never named.
b) Chapter 7 was written in Aramaic, while all the following ones were in Hebrew. That would confirm chapter 7 was composed before and independently of chapters 8 to 12. Let's also note chapter 7 does not describe the second foray (the worst one by far) in Jerusalem, but that will be done in the next chapters.
Certainly, Antiochus did not conquer "the whole earth"; but when Daniel chapter 7 was written, Antiochus looked unstoppable.
Since the whole earth, as a Jew of Jerusalem would know it in these days, did not go beyond the Balkans, the Black Sea, the desert of central Asia, the Indus river and the Sahara, Antiochus needed only to conquer little more than Macedonia & Greece, northern today's Turkey, Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia (and the Romans hardly existed then for Daniel-2!).
Let's also say that "the whole earth" in 2:39 means the largest extent of the Persian empire (the third kingdom), which, with the exceptions of Egypt, Galatia/Cappadocia and the territories east in central Asia (Bactria), was not much bigger that the Seleucid kingdom of Antiochus IV. And in 1Macc.1:3, written later than 'Daniel', we are told that Alexander the Great "advanced to the ends of the earth", even if he never set foot West of Greece and South & West of Egypt.

7:24 "The ten horns are ten kings
[1. Seleucus I Nicator (311-280)
2. Antiochus I Soter (280-261)
3. Antiochus II Theos (261-246)
4. Seleucus II Callinicus (246-226)
5. Seleucus III Ceraunus (226-223)
6. Antiochus III the Great (223-187)
7. Seleucus IV Philopator (187-175)
plus three rulers disposed of by Antiochus IV at the beginning of his reign (likely refer to Heliodorus, a young son of Seleucus IV and another son of Seleucus, the future Demetrius I, the rightful heir to the throne, left as a hostage in Rome).
Antiochus was known as an usurper]
` Who shall arise from this kingdom [Seleucid]. And another shall rise after them; He [Antiochus IV] shall be different from the first ones, And shall subdue three kings.
[Antiochus subdued many kings, most notable is Ptolemy VI. But it is most likely a reference to Heliodorus & the two sons of Seleucus IV, previously mentioned. These "three kings" are also in 7:8 & 7:20]

7:25 He shall speak pompous words ["pompous words", as in 7:8,11,20] against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints [the Jews of Jerusalem & Judea] of the Most High [God], And shall intend to change times and law.
[impose full Hellenization and end to Jewish animal sacrifice:
Josephus in Ant., XII, V, 4 "He [Antiochus IV] also compelled them [the Jews] to forsake the worship which they paid their own God, and to adore those whom he took to be gods; and made them build temples, and raise idol altars, in every city and village, and offer swine upon them every day. He also commanded them not to circumcise their sons."]
` Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time.
[this undefined time period extends to the end of Antiochus IV (see next verse). Later changed by some copyists to three and a half years]

7:26 But the court shall be seated [as in 7:9-10 quoted earlier], And they shall take away his dominion, To consume and destroy it forever.
[reference to Antiochus' end and the associated "end of time", happening together. This point is repeated again and again. Also mentioned in:
7:10b-11 "The court was seated, And the books were opened. I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame."]

7:27 Then the kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints [the righteous Jews] of the Most High [God]. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and obey Him."
[this is another sign that a new world order and an eternal kingdom of the "saints" were to follow immediately Antiochus' end]

Also related:

8:23 "And in the latter time of their kingdoms
[Hellenist kingdoms. See previous verses 8:21-22 quoted earlier]
` when the transgressors have reached their fullness, a king shall arise [Antiochus IV], having fierce features, who understands sinister schemes.

8:24 His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power [with the help of a foreign god (11:39)]; He shall destroy fearfully, And shall prosper and thrive; He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people."
[many Jews were killed during Antiochus IV's two forays in Jerusalem:
Josephus' Ant., XII, V, 4 "... on which account they every day underwent great misery, and bitter torments; for they were whipped with rods, and their bodies were torn to pieces, and were crucified while they were still alive and breathed: they also strangled those women and their sons whom they had circumcised, as the king had appointed, hanging their sons about their necks as they were upon the crosses. And if they were any sacred book of the law found, it was destroyed: and those with whom they were found, miserably perished also."]

Also related:

8:8 "Therefore the male goat grew very great [Alexander the Great. See 8:21-22 quoted earlier]; but when he became strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven.
[allusion to the Hellenist kingdoms resulting from the breaking up of Alexander's empire. After the fighting between the Diadochi (former generals of Alexander's army: Seleucus, Ptolemy, Antigonus, etc.), and for a time, four kingdoms stabilized under the Seleucid, Ptolemy, Antigonid and Attalid dynasties; these kingdoms were centered respectively on Syria/Mesopotamia, Egypt, Macedonia and Asia Minor]

8:9 And out of one of them
[the Seleucid kingdom, one of the four Hellenist kingdoms mentioned in the previous verse]
` came a little horn [as in 7:8, Antiochus IV] which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land [Judea].

8:10 And it grew up to the host of heaven [priests or righteous Jews]; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them.
[probably refers to some priests & prominent Jews]

8:11 He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host [God]; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary [the temple of Jerusalem] was cast down." (as it happened at the end of 168)

Also related (Daniel-2 gives again and again a gold mine of corroborated information about Antiochus IV, the last king described in the book. No wonder: this king was the despised and feared ruler when this part of the book was written):

11:20 "There shall arise in his place [Seleucus IV] one who imposes taxes on the glorious kingdom; [refer to Heliodorus, Seleucus IV finance minister who killed his boss in order to become king (for a very short time)]
` but within a few days he shall be destroyed, but not in anger or in battle.

11:21 And in his place shall arise a vile person [Antiochus IV, the usurper, in 175], to whom they will not give the honor of royalty; but he shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue.
["the usurper": compare with 7:24 quoted earlier. At first, Antiochus assumed power as the "regent" of the youngest son of Seleucus IV. Then Antiochus made himself the king (170) and the boy died later (168)]

11:22 With the force of a flood they shall be swept away from before him and be broken, and also the prince of the covenant.
[likely reference to the high priest Onias III (as also suggested by the NIV), of the Zadok line (this "dynasty" of high priests ruled since the time of king David), removed in 175/174 and murdered in 171/170]

11:23 And after the league is made with him he shall act deceitfully, for he shall come up and become strong with a small number of people.
[Josephus' Ant., XII, V, 4 "... he [Antiochus IV] took the city without any fighting, those of his own party opening the gates from him. And when he had gotten possession of the Jerusalem, and slew many of the opposite party; and when he had plundered it of a great deal of money, he returned to Antioch."]

11:24 He shall enter peaceably, even into the richest places of the province [as for Jerusalem in 170]; and he shall do what his fathers have not done, nor his forefathers: he shall disperse among them the plunder, spoil, and riches; and he shall devise his plans against the strongholds, [compare with 11:38 quoted later] but only for a time.

11:25 He shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the South [Ptolemy VI of Egypt] with a great army. And the king of the South shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army [Ptolemy laid claims on Palestine early on]; but he shall not stand, for they shall devise plans against him.

11:26 Yes, those who eat of the portion of his delicacies shall destroy him; his army shall be swept away [that's Ptolemy's army, in 170], and many shall fall down slain.

11:27 Both these kings' hearts [Antiochus IV and Ptolemy VI] shall be bent on evil, and they shall speak lies at the same table [Antiochus, as "the gardian", allowed Ptolemy VI to remain king]; but it shall not prosper, for the end will still be at the appointed time.
[the end will happen during these kings' times]

11:28 While returning to his land with great riches [the loot from Egypt], his heart shall be moved against the holy covenant;
[Antiochus' first foray in Jerusalem:
1Macc.1:21-23 "He arrogantly entered the sanctuary and took the golden altar, the lampstand for the light, and all its utensils. He took also the table for the bread of the Presence, the cups for drink offerings, the bowls, the golden censers, the curtain, the crowns, and the gold decoration on the front of the temple; he stripped it all off. He took the silver and the gold, and the costly vessels; he took also the hidden treasures that he found."]
` so he shall do damage and return to his own land. [Antioch, Syria]

11:29 At the appointed time he shall return and go toward the south [in 168]; but it shall not be like the former or the latter.

11:30 NASB For ships of Kittim [Romans] NKJV shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved
[in Eleusis, a suburb of Alexandria, Gaius Popilius Laenas, the Roman ambassador, asked Antiochus to leave Egypt and surrender Cyprus. When Antiochus asked for time to ponder the ultimatum, Popilius drew a circle in the sand around Antiochus and asked him to give his decision before he stepped out. With the victorious Romans "at the back door" in Macedonia (they had just defeated its king, Perseus, June 22, 168), a humiliated Antiochus had to agree]
` and return in rage against the holy covenant, and do damage
[second foray into Jerusalem:
1Macc.1:30-32,39 "Then he attacked the city suddenly, in a great onslaught, and destroyed many of the people in Israel. He plundered the city and set fire to it, demolished its houses and its surrounding walls, took captive the women and children, and seized the cattle ... Her sanctuary was as desolate as a wilderness"]
` So he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. [apostate Jews]

11:31 And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress [the temple]; then they shall take away the daily [Jewish] sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation.
[compare with 8:11 quoted earlier and:
2Macc.6:4 "For the temple was filled with debauchery and reveling by the Gentiles, who dallied with prostitutes and had intercourse with women within the sacred precincts, and besides brought in things for sacrifice that were unfit."
Josephus' Ant., XIII, VIII, 2 "Antiochus Epiphanes, who, when he had taken the city, offered swine upon the altar, and sprinkled the temple with the broth of their flesh, in order to violate the laws of the Jews, and the religion they derived from their forefathers;"]

11:32 Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery [the Jews who lost their faith], NIV but the people who knows their God will firmly resist him.

11:33 And those of the people who understand
[refer to Mattathias, a priest, and his five sons, who started the rebellion]
` shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame,
[Josephus' Ant., XII, VI, 2 "They [Antiochus' soldiers] fought against them [the rebel Jews] on the Sabbath-day, and they burnt them as they were in the caves, without resistance ..."
2Macc.6:11 "Others who had assembled in the caves nearby, ... were all burned together, because their piety kept them from defending themselves, in view of their regard for that most holy day."]
` by captivity and plundering.
[as described in Josephus' Ant., XII, V, 4, quoted later]

11:34 Now when they fall,
[the Jews (in 167) who resisted did not want to fight during the Sabbath: as a result, they were massacred]
` they shall be aided with a little help [after the massacres, many other Jews joined Mattathias]; but many shall join with them by intrigue.
[the author did not give much of a chance to the resistance (even if he seems to know a lot about it). But, later on from 166, it was remarkably successful under Judas Maccabeus (one of the sons of Mattathias). Why? Because this part was written earlier (but after the massacres)]

11:35 And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time.
[these Jews killed by Antiochus' soldiers were supposed to be among the ones to resurrect later (12:2-3).
In '2Maccabees', it is interesting to notice, at that point of the narration (that is right after the burning of the pious Jews during the Sabbath), the author wrote:
"Now I urge those who read this book not to be depressed by such calamities, but to recognize that these punishments were designed not to destroy but to discipline our people." (2Macc.6:12)
and
"Therefore he [God] never withdraws his mercy from us. Although he disciplines us with calamities, he does not forsake his own people." (2Macc.6:16)
It seems Daniel-2 was in the same frame of mind when he wrote (soon after the Jews got massacred) in order to show God "does not forsake his own people" by calling for divine revenge, the resurrections ("not to destroy") and the new eternal order (Da12:1-3).

Note: '2Maccabees' was written 124-63 B.C.E. (some 60-110 years after 'Daniel' was published). With the benefit of hindsight, here the savior is Judas Maccabeus. This Judas started the Hasmonean dynasty (166-63), a period of revival & expansion of the Jewish faith.

11:36 Then the king
[NOT any antichrist but king Antiochus IV, victorious and totally in control. It is the same king as the one in 11:31-32, whose army took care of the opposition (11:32b-35). There is nothing in 11:33-35 to indicate there was a change]
` shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt
[2Macc.5:17 "Antiochus was elated in spirit", after looting the temple]
`
and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods,
[there are many mentions of the existence of other gods, with God seemingly isolated from any mortals]
` and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done.
[again the time of the end (God's wrath) is related with Antiochus' times, not thousands of years later!]

Note: the "end" of any destroyer of the temple of Jerusalem was "prophesied" (as a curse) in:
Ezra 6:12a "May God, ..., overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem."
So Daniel-2 had some biblical basis when he predicted Antiochus' punishment by divinely inflicted death.

Daniel Part 2b "Seventy 'Sevens'":

The "seventy 'sevens'" passage (9:24-27) is presented as a further explanation on a vision (8:1-12) already explained once (8:15-25):
- The vision (8:1-12): "In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me; to me, Daniel; .... I saw in the vision, and it so happened while I was looking, ... Then I lifted my eyes and saw, and there, standing beside the river, was a ram which had two horns, ..."

- The first explanation (8:15-25): "Then it happened, when I, Daniel, had seen the vision and was seeking the meaning, that suddenly there stood before me one having the appearance of a man. And I heard a man's voice between the banks of the Ulai, who called, and said, "Gabriel, make this man understand the vision."... And he [Gabriel] said, "Look, I am making known to you what shall happen in the latter time of the indignation; for at the appointed time the end shall be. The ram which you saw, having the two horns [in the vision (8:1-12)]"
But the explanation is not understood by Daniel:
8:27 "And I, Daniel, fainted and was sick for days; afterward I arose and went about the king's business. I was astonished by the vision, but no one understood it. ..."
Consequently, a second explanation is required!

- The second explanation (9:24-27) is introduced as follows:
9:20-23 " Now while I was ... presenting my supplication
[for the restoration of Jerusalem & its sanctuary (9:16-19), which Daniel understands would take a long time (9:2). Consequently, the second explanation is mostly about the city & its temple]
` ..., while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision [of Gabriel only!] at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. And he informed me, and talked with me [no vision here, just information and talk], and said, "O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand [and not to subject Daniel to another vision!]. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision [the one of Da8:1-12]:"
[what follows (the "seventy 'seven'") is teaching: "Know and understand this: ..." 9:25]

And as I explained earlier (and according to the NIV Study Bible footnotes), the vision (8:1-12 "... by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down ...") and the first explanation (8:15-25 "... A king shall arise, having fierce features, ... He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people. ...") are related to Antiochus' forays in Jerusalem.

The following quote is from the NIV Study Bible:

9:24 " Seventy 'sevens' ['weeks']
[according to the 'Encyclopedia of BIBLE DIFFICULTIES', Gleason L.Archer:
"the word for "week" is sabu [Hebrew in italics, approximate rendition only (the phonetic signs could not be reproduced)], which is derived from seba, the word for "seven". Its normal plural is feminine in form: s_buot. Only in this chapter of Daniel does it appears in the masculine plural sabuim ... it is strongly suggestive of the idea 'heptad' (a series or combination of seven), rather than a "week" in the sense of a series of seven days."
Let's notice that a lot more than seventy weeks elapsed between two events occurring during the "seventy 'sevens'":
1) Rebuilding of Jerusalem (9:25)
2) Its later destruction (9:26 "destroy the city and the sanctuary")
The last effort for reconstruction are described in 'Nehemiah' and occurred in "the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes [445]" (Ne2:1). The two devastations happened in 168 B.C.E. & 70 C.E.
Certainly Jerusalem was NOT destroyed again 490 days (or less) later, but suffered considerable damage 348 years afterwards.
Furthermore, according to Daniel 9:2
"[around 538]... I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem."
the "desolations" will last up to 516 (seventy years after its destruction by the Babylonians in 586), indicating the author considered Jerusalem restored and rebuilt by that date (which is the year of the reconsecration of the temple "in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius" according to Ezra 6:15).

Notes:
a)
The later observation means the author considered the temple (sanctuary) as Jerusalem. Part of Daniel's prayer (9:4-19) confirms that:
Da9:16-18a "O Lord, ... , let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; ... . Now therefore, our God, ... cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate
[as Jerusalem in 9:2, whose desolations end in 516 (as in 9:2), the same year the temple is reconsecrated (ending its own desolation)]
... open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name ..."
b) Daniel-2 had seventy years between 586 and 516, which prove he was using solar years (365 days) for counting and certainly not short "Jewish years" (354 days --which would have resulted in seventy-two years). Actually the Jewish calendar consisted of two short years followed by a long year (a short year with an added month) in order to get back in phase with solar years. That means, for any long duration, the number of "Jewish years" and solar years is the same. See more information here

In conclusion, "weeks" (as most often translated) cannot mean 'seven days durations' and consequently is highly suspect. Also, "weeks" (or "sevens") certainly does not read as "week of years" (seven years period), as it is sometimes translated (or often interpreted, as in the NIV Study Bible). 'Sabuim (שבע)' has no connotation with 'one year duration', but can be considered as derived from "seven". On the last point, I ask my readers to be patient: I will prove later that 'sabuim (שבע)' (as in Da9:24 "seventy seven" => Hebrew: שִׁבְעִ֜ים שָׁבֻעִ֨ים) means "literally sevens"(as per the NKJV alternative translation for "weeks") or "units of seven" (as per the NASB alternative translation for "weeks")]

9:24 "Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people [the Jews] and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end of sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.
[likely refer to God, as "to choose the LORD" (meant for apostate Jews)]

9:25 Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem

[during Cyrus first year as king over Babylon (whose territories included Palestine):
Ezra 1:1-2: "Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying,
Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah."

Ezra 5:13 "However, in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, King Cyrus issued a decree to rebuild this house of God."
Ezra 6:3
Isaiah 44:28 "[God] says of Cyrus, `He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, "Let it be rebuilt," and of the temple, "Let its foundations be laid"'"
Isaiah 45:13 ""I have raised him [Cyrus] up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways; He shall build My city and let My exiles go free, not for price nor reward," says the LORD of hosts."

Note: the author of the aforementioned verses seems to know Jerusalem became inhabited again during Cyrus' reign (as in Ezra 2:1 "... they [the exiles during "the first year of Cyrus"] returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own town") but that only the foundations of the temple were rebuilt then (as in Ezra 3:10,4:4-5). The temple was finished in 516, therefore completing the reconstruction of Jerusalem, as understood in Da9:2,4-19 (previously quoted).
Furthermore, if Daniel-2 knew about the prophecy of Jeremiah (9:2), certainly he would know about the one in 'Isaiah' (with Cyrus "ordering" the rebuilding of the city also), allegedly written before Daniel's times!
Therefore, it seems Daniel-2 harmonized Ezra 1:2 with Isaiah 44:28, from the two biblical renditions of the same (alleged) decree.

In the O.T., among "decrees" enacted by Persian kings about the reconstruction of Jerusalem, Cyrus' proclamation/decree is by far the most mentioned and "the One" in Josephus' books (Ant., XI, I). The other so-called "decrees" are:
a) Artaxerxes (Ezra 4:4-24): This "letter" was about ordering all works in Jerusalem to stop:
"Now issue an order to these men to stop work, so that city will not be rebuilt ..."

Notes:
a) No Persian king called Artaxerxes is known to have ruled after Cyrus I and before Darius I. However this Artaxerxes, the successor of Xerxes (as indicated in Ezra 1:6-7), is likely the grandson of Darius I (and the same one as in c) and d)). It seems Ezra 4:6-23 was relocated from the end of chapter 6. Why? Likely in order to give the impression Darius' decree superseded the one of Artaxerxes, allowing the complete restoration by 516.
b) Persian kings' succession: Cyrus I (559-530), Cambyses (530-522), Pseudo-Smerdis (522), Darius I (522-486), Xerxes (486-465), Artaxerxes I (465-423), etc.

b) Darius I (520) (Ezra 6:1-12): This decree is presented as being just a reenactment of the (refound) Cyrus' decree. It is a letter addressed to Persian officials in Trans-Euphrates (the Levant).
c) Artaxerxes I (458) (Ezra 7:11-28): This "letter" to Ezra only does not decree any reconstruction, but freedom for Israelites to go to Jerusalem, Jewish animal sacrifices, gifts for the temple & its people and special rights for Ezra. This temple had been already rebuilt and consecrated in 516 (Ezra 6:15 "The temple was completed ... in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius."). Also, in the book of Ezra, there is no mention of any rebuilding (or repairs) in Jerusalem while Ezra (a priest & teacher of the law only -- 7:21) was there. As a matter of fact, Isaiah 44:28, Ezra 2:1, 7:8,9,13, 8:31,32 imply Jerusalem is existing then as a town.
d) Artaxerxes I (445) (Nehemiah 2:1-8): Not a decree, but the granting of a few requests asked by a (Jewish) high ranking courtesan (Nehemiah). That allows Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem in order to patch up the city walls and gates (which "have been burned with fire" Nehemiah 1:3). The only (material) contribution from the king is a supply of timber (through a royal "letter" issued to Nehemiah only). And the king is never said to have enacted a decree/proclamation/command (or even letters) to help Nehemiah in Jerusalem and protect him against any opposition (some coming from Persian officials! Ne4:1-2). The walls (repaired by the local Jews) allowed, as a consequence, for a large increase of population in Jerusalem and many houses to be built (Ne7:4,11:1-2).

Notes:
a) According to the sequence of events in Da9:25-26 (the decree first, then the restoration & rebuilding, achieved in 516, as per Da9:2), Artaxerxes I could not have issued "the" decree: it was too late, by 58 or 71 years!
One more thought against the hypothesis of the "seventy 'sabuim'"="seventy 'week of years'"=490 years: (a maximum of) 490 years would bring us only to (516 - 490 =) 26 B.C.E., not exactly the "messianic" era, nor 70 C.E.
b) In Da9:25 ("From the issuing of the decree [also translated as "going forth of the word"] to restore and rebuild Jerusalem"), the word usually translated as "decree" (Hebrew 'dabar') normally means "speech", "utterance", "word(s)" or "saying", that is a verbal command. And among the aforementioned "decrees", from 'Ezra' & 'Nehemiah', only one is spoken first (as a proclamation):
Ezra 1:1-2 "... the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying,
Thus says Cyrus king of Persia:"
Isaiah 44:28 "... he [Cyrus] will say of Jerusalem, "Let it be rebuilt,""
The others do not relate to any proclamation; they are just letters given/addressed to one or several individual(s).

Jeremiah 29:1-23 has been proposed by some scholars as being "the" decree. However:
a) Jeremiah, as a Jewish prophet who witnessed the last years of the Judean kingdom and the early part of the exile after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians (586), certainly was not in position to issue any decree.
b) The so-called "decree" in Jer29:1-23 is a "letter" sent by Jeremiah to the exiles in Mesopotamia. In it, the word "decree", "proclamation" or "order" never occurs.
c) The letter is about exhortations, curses and prophecies, none of them about any reconstruction of Jerusalem. In that direction, the closest we come is:
Jer29:10-11 NIV "This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place
[Cyrus I the Persian, after the conquest of Babylon (539), allowed these Jews to go back (Ezr1-2). But that was forty-seven years after Jerusalem destruction, not seventy years!]
` For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.""
and
Jer29:14 NIV ""I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.""

Notes:
a) In Jer25:8-14, the "seventy years" starts when:
Jer25:9b,11 NIV "... completely destroy them ["completely" does include Jerusalem in 586] and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin ... This whole country [Judea] will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years."
and ends:
Jer25:12-14 NIV ""... when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt," declares the LORD, "and will make it desolate forever [Babylon was not destroyed and remained a thriving metropolis!]. I will bring upon that land all the things I [God, allegedly!] have spoken against it, all that are written in this book and prophesied by Jeremiah against all the nations. They themselves will be enslaved [the Babylonians were not enslaved!] by many nations and great kings [only one nation (Persia-Media) and one king (Cyrus I) conquered the Babylonians!]; ...""
At least, that proves that the book of Jeremiah was written before the fall of Babylon! And now, we know about the problem of prophesying about events before they happen!
b) It is likely Jeremiah thought (wrongly) the fall of Babylon will resemble the one of Assyria & Nineveh (and be worse!). Nineveh, the capital city of Assyria, was conquered and fully destroyed by the Medes & the Babylonians in 612.
c) In Jer24:8-14, the seventy years clearly relate to the period between the devastation of Jerusalem in 586 and the (unmaterialized) desolation of Babylon. But how could Daniel understand (no prophesying here!) these 70 years in 'Jeremiah' as the elapsed time between the destruction of Jerusalem and, happening after Daniel's alleged times, the reconstruction of its temple? Possibly by combining & harmonizing Ezra6 (written around 428-398) with 2Chronicles36:20-21!
Please notice Daniel's error on reading the prophecy in 'Jeremiah' (24:8-14) will prove to be historically accurate! Another sure clue that 'Daniel' was not written during the lifetime of the presumed author!

Now let's go back to Daniel's "seventy 'sevens'".

9:25a Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One [or "an anointed one"], the ruler, comes,

[Notes:
a) The NIV alternate translation for "the Anointed One" is "an anointed one". No "A" & "O" show in the text (because capital letters do not exist in Hebrew writings) and therefore are speculative. The same comments apply for "the Anointed One" in the next verse.
b) In this verse and the next one, other bibles translate:
- "ruler" by "prince"
The Hebrew 'nagiyd' is translated by "ruler", "prince", "captain" or "leader" in the KJV.
- "anointed one" by "Messiah", which is inaccurate and misleading
There are thirty-nine occurrences of "anointed one" (Hebrew: 'mashiyach') in the O.T. Those "anointed" can be priests (Lev4:3,5,16;6:22), kings Saul and David & his royal descendants (1Sa2:10,35;12:3,5;16:6;24:6,10;26:9,11,16,23 2Sa1:14,21;19:21;22:51;23:1 1Ch16:22 2Ch6:42 Ps2:2;18:50;20:6;28:8;84:9,38,51;105:15,132:10,17 La4:20) or king Cyrus of Persia (Isa45:1).
The LXX (Greek) ancient bible translates all the thirty-nine "anointed" with the same word "christos". But the KJV converts all occurrences of 'mashiyach' to "anointed", except for the two ones in 'Daniel' (rendered as "Messiah"), not the standard translation but rather a misleading interpretation (because "Messiah" evokes Jesus Christ, when "anointed" would not).
Remark: Christian writers started to postulate the 'anointed one' in Da9:25-26 is the Messiah not earlier than the very end of the second century (Clement of Alexandria, Stromata (Miscellanies), book I).
c) The Hebrew text places "nagiyd" before "mashiyach". Therefore this French translation (Bible de Semeur) might be more faithful to the Hebrew: "un chef ayant reçu l'onction", that is literally "a chief having received the anointment" or simply "an anointed chief [leader]". Now we are getting far from the KJV "the Messiah the Prince"!
Is the "anointed one" a messianic figure?
Hardly so, because 'Daniel' already specifies two entities, one ("Michael, the great prince" 12:1) to bring the "end", with the deliverance & the resurrections (12:1-3), the second ("one like a son of man" 7:13) to rule over the ensuing universal & eternal Kingdom on behalf of the "saints" (7:13-14,18,22). Therefore the two main functions of "The Messiah" have been already allocated, and none of these two entities is called "anointed one".
Notes:
a) In verses 10:13,21 & 12:1, heavenly Michael is called "prince", as also the "anointed one" in verse 9:25, but the Hebrew word is different: 'sar' in 10:13,21 & 12:1 and 'nagiyd' in 9:25 (this later word is used in 9:26 & 11:22 as well).
b) Da7:13-14 NIV "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven.
[suggestive of coming from earth, with the clouds being a mode of transportation to heaven]
` He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.
[this "son of man" is not yet acquainted with God and therefore would not be the pre-existent "Word" & "Son of God"!]
` He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed."
Then, who is the "anointed one"?
1st interpretation:
"an anointed one, the ruler" is Antiochus IV: in the next verse, the "people of the ruler" will ravage Jerusalem.
Why would the expression "anointed one" be used for an evil foreign king?
Let's note, in the Hebrew bible & an alleged prophecy, another Gentile king (this time a favorable one to the Jews) is also an "anointed":
Isaiah 45:1a "Thus says the LORD to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held ..."
Certainly, God did not anoint Cyrus with oil or water. Therefore
"anointed" here means "designated" at a time in the past, when a particular God's plan was allegedly formulated. And the same (general) context & meaning seem to be prevalent in Da9:25: this ruler (Antiochus IV) had been pre-assigned (& prophesied) to unleash monstrous abominations against the "saints" & God's temple, therefore compelling divine justice & the advent of the eternal Kingdom on earth (2:44;7:11-14,21-22,26-27;12:1-2,7b "and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered [as through Antiochus], all these things [the old world order] shall be finished.").
In other words, the author would have written "anointed one" to stress Antiochus as an integral element of the heaven-made plan (devised long ago).
Yes, I have to agree, this is a rather laborious & stretched explanation. And it is very doubtful Daniel-2 would have called "anointed" the diabolic Seleucid king, more so considering that, in the scriptures, only "good" leaders are said anointed (such as Jewish kings & priests and Cyrus the Great).
2nd interpretation:
"an anointed one, the prince" is Jason, the aforementioned ex-high priest (11:22 "the prince of the convenant" as Jason or his predecessor (and brother) Onias III).
Jason was the last one of the quasi-dynastic Zadokite succession of high priests (so "prince" can be justified, more so because Jason had considerable power & influence in Jerusalem -- 2Macc.4). Also, Jewish priests were anointed (with oil) at inauguration (Ex40:15, Lev8:12, Nu35:25).
Jason is described as being very much Hellenized (2Macc.4:7-17), but also is our author Daniel-2 ("Prince of Princes", the demigod, etc.). While Antiochus was in Egypt for the second time (168), Jason came back to Jerusalem:
2Macc.5:5-7a "When a false rumor arose that Antiochus was dead, Jason took no fewer than a thousand men and suddenly made an assault on the city. ... at last the city was being taken, Menelaus [a non-Zadokite Jew who "usurped" the high priesthood from Jason in 171] took refuge in the citadel. ... He did not, however, gain control of the government;"
Jason is my preferred option (more so because of the next verse: see later). That would explain the ambivalence in Da9:25-26: Daniel-2 might have considered him the legitimate high priest, but because of the atrocities Jason committed after he took Jerusalem:
2Macc.5:6: "But Jason kept relentlessly slaughtering his compatriots, not realizing that success at the cost of one's kindred is the greatest misfortune, but imagining that he was setting up trophies of victory over enemies and not over compatriots."
our author did not want to be too obvious.

9:25b there will be seven 'sevens' and sixty-two 'sevens'.
[total: sixty-nine 'sevens'. The "seven" is being God's number and the "sixty-two" was "justified" by 5:31 "Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two." The otherwise trivial and superfluous "at the age of sixty-two" was probably added by Daniel-2. Overall, the author tried to "sanctify" sixty-nine (7 + 62), which is far from being a divine number.

` It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.
[rebuilding of Jerusalem & its temple was slow, "cheap", in the mist of Gentiles hostility and under Persian rule. A small number of Jews repopulated Jerusalem from 539 ('Ezra'), the temple reconstruction was completed in 516 ('Ezra'). Later, the city walls were repaired around 445 ('Nehemiah'), allowing for a population increase. Even then, and according to the description in Ne3:1-32, Jerusalem occupied only the city of David & the temple mount, for an area of just a tenth of a square mile, a shadow of the pre-586 city which was three times larger. Remark: during the Persian era, Babylon covered some four square miles.

Note: the Hebrew word for "streets" is "r@chob" and means "plaza" or "square". And "trench" can also be translated by "moat" (but NOT by "wall(s)" as in some bibles), as in the NASB "... it will be built again, with plaza and moat ..."
Consequently "plaza" and "moat" would point to the temple rather than the city, which had walls around it, confirming that Daniel-2 was thinking of Jerusalem as mostly its temple]

9:26 And after the sixty-two 'sevens' [sixty-nine 'sevens' after the decree], the Anointed One [or "anointed one"]
[definitively Jason here, who had been anointed as high priest]

` will be cut off and will have nothing.
[Jason eventually lost his support because of his ruthlessness and fled:
2Macc.5:7b-8a "in the end he got only disgrace from his conspiracy, and fled again into the country of the Ammonites. Finally he met a miserable end. Accused before Aretas the ruler of the Arabs, fleeing from city to city, pursued by everyone, ..."

Notes:
a) The Hebrew word for "cut off" ('karath') has many meanings, including "separate(d)"/"banish(ed)", from:
Ge17:14 "And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant."
up to:
Mal2:11b-12a "... He has married the daughter of a foreign god. May the LORD cut off from the tents of Jacob the man who does this ..."
b) Jesus was not "cut off" (as beheaded) on the cross!
d) The French Bible Segond 21 translates "cut off" in Da9:26 by "excluded" (French: 'exclu').
c) Many critical scholars think Jason was not meant as the one being "cut off", but instead Onias III. But this Onias was killed in 171/170, three to two years before Antiochus IV started Greek animal sacrifices on the Temple mount ("the abomination of desolation"), rather than part of one year (from the end of the sixty-nine seven to the mist of the seventy seven).
d) Here is a comment from the NET Bible on the same verse (9:26):
"The expression "have nothing" is difficult. Presumably it refers to an absence of support or assistance for the "anointed one" at the time of his “cutting off.”"
With Jason, that makes a lot of sense. No more mystery!
e) The KJV (and some other bibles) has a very misleading translation for "and will have nothing". Again let's look at a comment from the NET Bible:
"The KJV rendering “but not for himself,” apparently suggesting a vicarious death [as a sacrifice for others], cannot be defended."
as obviously admitted (by default) here in the "Blue Letter Bible"]

` The people of the ruler
[Antiochus IV's army. The "ruler" ('nagiyd') is not the "Messiah" here!]

` will destroy the city and the sanctuary.
[according to Josephus' Ant., XII, V, 4: "He [Antiochus IV] left the temple bare ... pillaged the whole city, some of the inhabitants he slew, and some he carried captive ... burnt the finest buildings ... had overthrown the city walls [the city walls defined a city: no walls, no city] ..."
1Macc.1:30-31,39 "... he [Antiochus IV] fell suddenly upon the city, and smote it very sore, and destroyed much people of Israel. And when he had taken the spoils of the city, he set it on fire, and pulled down the houses and walls thereof on every side. ... Her sanctuary became desolate like a desert"
2Macc.5:12-14 "He [Antiochus IV] commanded his soldiers to cut down relentlessly everyone they met and to kill those who went into their houses. ... as many were sold into slavery as were killed."]

` The end will come like a flood [as in 11:22]: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.
[again, mention of "end" as in 9:27,11:27,40,45, related to the one of Antiochus IV]

9:27 He
[Antiochus IV, the "ruler" (or "prince"). The other one has been "cut off" with "nothing" earlier]

` will confirm a covenant
[adhesion to Hellenism and cult of a Greek god, Olympian Zeus (2Macc.6:2)
1Macc.1:41-43 "Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, and that all should give up their particular customs. All the Gentiles accepted the command of the king. Many even from Israel gladly adopted his religion; they sacrificed to idols and profaned the sabbath."
as also related in:
Da7:25b "... [Antiochus IV] shall intend to change times and law."]

` with many [ex-Jews and others] for one 'seven'.
[refers to the last 'seven' of the seventy 'sevens', the 'seven' not accounted for yet]

` In the middle of the 'seven', he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing [of the temple],
[the wording cannot be more precise and undoubtebly alludes to the event of 168. Let's note the resemblance with the vision passage 8:11 "... by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down."
Note: "middle" (Hebrew: 'chetsiy') can be translated by "midst" (as in KJV, Darby, YLT)]

` he will set up an abomination that causes desolation,
[Greek altar and animal sacrifices:
Josephus' Ant., XII, V, 4 "And when the king had built an idol altar upon God's altar, he slew swine upon it [early December 168, according to 1Macc.1:54&59] , and so offered a sacrifice neither according to the law, nor the Jewish religious worship in that country."]

` until the end that is decreed is poured out on him."
[Antiochus' end, again]

The author thought this "abomination that causes desolation" (pagan swine sacrifices in the temple, among other things) would last up to Antiochus' end or death: he was wrong, reconsecration happened one year before that, at the end of 165. It was the result of the military success of the resistance leader Judas Maccabeus. Now, how can someone be so accurate in historical predictions up to 167, and totally wrong after that?

Note: let's compare the ending of the seventy 'sevens' passage:
9:26-27 NIV "The people of the ruler will destroy the city and the sanctuary... In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation ..."
with the ending of the "historical section", referring to the events from the third year of Cyrus (10:1) to Antiochus IV's last foray in Jerusalem (according to most scholars and the NIV Study Bible):
11:31 NIV "His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation."
Evidently, we are talking about the same events and ruler!

Now, since I claimed the seventy 'sevens' were meant to point at 167 B.C.E., the year of the unsuccessful resistance (as per parallel passage 11:31-35a) following the desecration of the temple in Nov/Dec 168, I have to demonstrate it, do I?
I never heard or read about the following numerical scheme. It's hard to believe that it has not been discovered (or is there a cover up?).
No tricks, no shortened, overlapped or removed years and "from the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem" (Da9:25 => Ezr1:1-2 + Isa44:28) as the starting point.
Here it goes. Pay attention to the bold numbers:

Note: first Year of Cyrus as king over Babylon: October 539 - October 538 B.C.E.

Legend:
Year B.C.E., Years from Cyrus' decree, Number of occurrences of the "7" (שבע) in the preceding years

539, 00, 538, 01, 537, 02, 536, 03, 535, 04, 534, 05, 533, 06, 532, 07, 01 531, 08, 530, 09,
529, 10, 528, 11, 527, 12, 526, 13, 525, 14, 524, 15, 523, 16, 522, 17, 02 521, 18, 520, 19,
519, 20, 518, 21, 517, 22, 516, 23, 515, 24, 514, 25, 513, 26, 512, 27, 03 511, 28, 510, 29,
509, 30, 508, 31, 507, 32, 506, 33, 505, 34, 504, 35, 503, 36, 502, 37, 04 501, 38, 500, 39,
499, 40, 498, 41, 497, 42, 496, 43, 495, 44, 494, 45, 493, 46, 492, 47, 05 491, 48, 490, 49,
489, 50, 488, 51, 487, 52, 486, 53, 485, 54, 484, 55, 483, 56, 482, 57, 06 481, 58, 480, 59,
479, 60, 478, 61, 477, 62, 476, 63, 475, 64, 474, 65, 473, 66, 472, 67, 07 471, 68, 470, 69,
469, 70, 08 468, 71, 09 467, 72, 10 466, 73, 11 465, 74, 12 464, 75, 13 463, 76, 14 462, 77, 16 461, 78, 17 460, 79, 18
459, 80, 458, 81, 457, 82, 456, 83, 455, 84, 454, 85, 453, 86, 452, 87, 19 451, 88, 450, 89,
449, 90, 448, 91, 447, 92, 446, 93, 445, 94, 444, 95, 443, 96, 442, 97, 20 441, 98, 440, 99,
439, 100, 438, 101, 437, 102, 436, 103, 435, 104, 434, 105, 433, 106, 432, 107, 21 431, 108, 430, 109,
429, 110, 428, 111, 427, 112, 426, 113, 425, 114, 424, 115, 423, 116, 422, 117, 22 421, 118, 420, 119,
419, 120, 418, 121, 417, 122, 416, 123, 415, 124, 414, 125, 413, 126, 412, 127, 23 411, 128, 410, 129,
409, 130, 408, 131, 407, 132, 406, 133, 405, 134, 404, 135, 403, 136, 402, 137, 24 401, 138, 400, 139,
399, 140, 398, 141, 397, 142, 396, 143, 395, 144, 394, 145, 393, 146, 392, 147, 25 391, 148, 390, 149,
389, 150, 388, 151, 387, 152, 386, 153, 385, 154, 384, 155, 383, 156, 382, 157, 26 381, 158, 380, 159,
379, 160, 378, 161, 377, 162, 376, 163, 375, 164, 374, 165, 373, 166, 372, 167, 27 371, 168, 370, 169,
369, 170, 28 368, 171, 29 367, 172, 30 366, 173, 31 365, 174, 32 364, 175, 33 363, 176, 34 362, 177, 36 361, 178, 37 360, 179, 38
359, 180, 358, 181, 357, 182, 356, 183, 355, 184, 354, 185, 353, 186, 352, 187, 39 351, 188, 350, 189
349, 190, 348, 191, 347, 192, 346, 193, 345, 194, 344, 195, 343, 196, 342, 197, 40 341, 198, 340, 199,
339, 200, 338, 201, 337, 202, 336, 203, 335, 204, 334, 205, 333, 206, 332, 207, 41 331, 208, 330, 209,
329, 210, 328, 211, 327, 212, 326, 213, 325, 214, 324, 215, 323, 216, 322, 217, 42 321, 218, 320, 219,
319, 220, 318, 221, 317, 222, 316, 223, 315, 224, 314, 225, 313, 226, 312, 227, 43 311, 228, 310, 229,
309, 230, 308, 231, 307, 232, 306, 233, 305, 234, 304, 235, 303, 236, 302, 237, 44 301, 238, 300, 239,
299, 240, 298, 241, 297, 242, 296, 243, 295, 244, 294, 245, 293, 246, 292, 247, 45 291, 248, 290, 249,
289, 250, 288, 251, 287, 252, 286, 253, 285, 254, 284, 255, 283, 256, 282, 257, 46 281, 258, 280, 259,
279, 260, 278, 261, 277, 262, 276, 263, 275, 264, 274, 265, 273, 266, 272, 267, 47 271, 268, 270, 269,
269, 270, 48 268, 271, 49 267, 272, 50 266, 273, 51 265, 274, 52 264, 275, 53 263, 276, 54 262, 277, 56 261, 278, 57 260, 279, 58
259, 280, 258, 281, 257, 282, 256, 283, 255, 284, 254, 285, 253, 286, 252, 287, 59 251, 288, 250, 289,
249, 290, 248, 291, 247, 292, 246, 293, 245, 294, 244, 295, 243, 296, 242, 297, 60 241, 298, 240, 299,
239, 300, 238, 301, 237, 302, 236, 303, 235, 304, 234, 305, 233, 306, 232, 307, 61 231, 308, 230, 309,
229, 310, 228, 311, 227, 312, 226, 313, 225, 314, 224, 315, 223, 316, 222, 317, 62 221, 318, 220, 319,
219, 320, 218, 321, 217, 322, 216, 323, 215, 324, 214, 325, 213, 326, 212, 327, 63 211, 328, 210, 329,
209, 330, 208, 331, 207, 332, 206, 333, 205, 334, 204, 335, 203, 336, 202, 337, 64 201, 338, 200, 339,
199, 340, 198, 341, 197, 342, 196, 343, 195, 344, 194, 345, 193, 346, 192, 347, 65 191, 348, 190, 349,
189, 350, 188, 351, 187, 352, 186, 353, 185, 354, 184, 355, 183, 356, 182, 357, 66 181, 358, 180, 359,
179, 360, 178, 361, 177, 362, 176, 363, 175, 364, 174, 365, 173, 366, 172, 367, 67 171, 368, 170, 369,
169, 370, 68 168, 371, 69 167, 372, 70

Here we are! The mystery is over.

The "Abomination & Desolation" of early December 168 B.C.E. would have occurred within the last "7" year of the 70 7's, assuming (the alleged) Cyrus' decree was believed issued days (late October to early November 539 B.C.E.) after the conquest of Babylon. The last "7" year (that is the 372th year --or year 372-- after Cyrus' decree) would end in 167 (Oct-Nov), giving a few months for the remaining Jews (the "saints") to do as described in 9:24 (and stay Jew), in order to get the rewards as explained in 7:14b,18,22,27;12:3.
A coincidence? I beg to differ. The author was very lucky to find a simple numerical scheme "evidencing" events of 168 and 167 as part of a God's plan.

According to the above meaning of the sixty-nine & seventy sevens, 1 & 2 Maccabees, Daniel Part 2 and Josephus' Antiquities, the sequence of events can be reconstructed as such, with approximate dates:
a) 170: first campaign in Egypt, followed by first foray in Jerusalem by Antiochus IV.
b) 169 or early 168: Daniel chapter 7 (Part 2a) is written then.
c) 168: second campaign in Egypt by Antiochus. Jason enters Jerusalem then.
d) 168, around November 10th: Jason is "cut off" and goes in exile.
e) 168, around November 20th: Antiochus and his army enter Jerusalem (second foray).
f) 168, around December 1st: a pagan altar is set up above the Jewish one (abomination of desolation).
g) Ten days later: pagan animal sacrifices are started on the new altar.
h) Late December 168 or early 167: Antiochus leaves Jerusalem with most of his army.
i) Massacres of Jews (which started when the Seleucid king entered Jerusalem) continue for a while after Antiochus left.
j) 167, late winter to summer: Daniel Part 2b is written then.

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