This Prophecy, like all the rest of Daniel’s, consists of two parts, an introductory Prophecy and an explanation thereof; the whole I thus translate and interpret.
“Seventy weeks aref1 cut out upon thy people, and upon the holy city, to finish transgression, andf2 to make an end of sins, to expiate iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, to consummate the Vision andf3 the Prophet, and to anoint the most Holy.
“Know also and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to cause to return and to build Jerusalem, untof4 the Anointed the Prince, shall be seven weeks.
“ Yet threescore and two weeks shallf5 it return, and the street be built and the wall; but in troublesome times: and after the three- score and two weeks, the Anointed shall be cut off, andf5 it shall not be his; but the people of a Prince to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be.
Seventy weeks are cut out upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, to finish transgression, &c. Here, by putting a week for seven years, are reckoned 490 years from the time that the dispersed Jews should be re- incorporated into a people and a holy city, until the death and resurrection of Christ; whereby “transgression should be finished, and sins ended, iniquity be expiated, and everlasting righteousness brought in, and this Vision be accomplished and the Prophet consummated, that Prophet whom the Jews expected; and whereby the most Holy should be anointed, he who is therefore in the next words called the Anointed, that is, the Messiah, or the Christ. For by joining the accomplishment of the vision with the expiation of sins, the 490 years are ended with the death of Christ.
Now the dispersed Jews became a people and city when they first returned into a polity or body politic; and this was in the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, when Ezra returned with a body of Jews from captivity and revived the Jewish worship; and by the King’s commission created Magistrates in all the land, to judge and govern the people according to the laws of God and the King, Ezra 7:25. There were but two returns from captivity, Zerubbabel’s and Ezra’s; in Zerubbabel’s they had only commission to build the Temple, in Ezra’s they first became a polity or city by a government of their own. Now the years of this Artaxerxes began about two or three months after the summer solstice, and his seventh year fell in with the third year of the eightieth Olympiad; and the latter part thereof, wherein Ezra went up to Jerusalem, was in the year of the Julian Period 4257. Count the time from thence to the death of Christ, and you will find it just 490 years. If you count in Judaic years commencing in autumn, and date the reckoning from the first autumn after Ezra’s coming to Jerusalem, when he put the King’s decree in execution; the death of Christ will fall on the year of the Julian Period 4747, Anno Domini 34; and the weeks will be Judaic weeks, ending with sabbatical years; and this I take to be the truth: but if you had rather place the death of Christ in the year before, as is commonly done, you may take the year of Ezra’s journey into the reckoning.