Revisiting the Seventy-Weeks Prophecy–Part Two (Resources & Notes)

[Note:  The New International Version of the Bible departs from the Authorized Version by replacing the phrase “seventy weeks” with the phrase “seventy sevens,” and footnoting the word “sevens” with “weeks,” which gives the appearance of equivalent meanings.  But they do not mean the same thing in respect to usage because the word “weeks” has a direct application to the calendar, whereas “sevens” is indefinite and undefined (Dan. 9:24).

The Hebrew transliteration for “week” is šābȗᵃʿ, and the transliteration of the feminine plural form is šābu’ôt, which in usage means “weeks”—as found in the Authorized Version.  But in Daniel 9:24-27 the transliteration of the masculine plural form šābu‘îm is used, which in usage also means “weeks.”

Some translate šābu‘îm as “sevens” in an attempt to make it equivalent to the word heptad in regard to usage, which is assumed to mean a grouping of sevens that must be defined by context.  The problem with this approach is that it can lead to interpretations from various contexts such as Artaxerxes’ decree, the day-for-a-year principle, Rabbinic tradition, and the historical perspectives of Jeremiah and Daniel.

So is the seventy-weeks prophecy actually seventy weeks?

The number “seven” in Hebrew is šebaʿ, which is the root for the word šābȗᵃʿ, which is understood by usage to mean “week,” and the feminine plural is šābu’ôt, which is understood by usage to mean “weeks,” and we find it used in regard to the Feast of Weeks.  These are consecutive weeks leading to a count of 50 days, which is where we get the term “Pentecost.”

The Hebrew number “seven”(šebaʿ), which is the root for “week” (šābȗᵃʿ), is also the root for the masculine plural form for “weeks,” which is šābu‘îm, and we have an example of its use in Daniel 9:25 where we have šābu‘îm šib’āh, which is reasonably translated in regard to usage as “seven weeks.”  We also have the word šābȗᵃʿ, which is the singular form used for an actual “week,” which is also used in the seventy-weeks prophecy, the implication being that the literal “week” is the context for the prophecy  (Dan. 9:27).

Therefore, because šābu‘îm is understood to be the masculine plural form for “week” (šābȗᵃʿ), we can say that šābu‘îm can designate the plural of quantity as noted by some scholars, which means that the “seventy-weeks prophecy” represents a period of seventy consecutive weeks.  (Markings on transliterations may not be exact because of changes in the font when publishing.]  

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