Understanding Daniel Chapter Nine
A Major Fulfilled Prophecy

By Rabbi Shlomo Nachman © January 18, 2015 (last update, April 28, 2023)

Understanding Daniel Chapter Nine

The prophecies in Daniel chapter nine are among those Christians often use to support Jesus as Messiah. Do they? Let's examine these verses with the help of Rashi, Judaism's foremost literal biblical commentator.

In this chapter Daniel, imprisoned in Babylon with other Jews, is seeking insight into the plight of his people. How had they gone from the glorious United Kingdom of Melech Shlomo (King Solomon) to such depths of despair? He studied the books of the prophets, including Jeremiah (9:1), but it still needed to be clarified. He enters into deep prayer, asking HaShem for understanding (9:3), and gives us a lesson on proper Hitbodedut. HaShem sends the messenger Gabriel to clarify these matters (9:21). Our context of these prophecies begins at 9:24 (although, as we will see, the topic was previously broached by Daniel):
Seventy weeks [of years] have been decreed upon your people and the City of your Sanctuary [i.e., Jerusalem] to terminate the transgression and to end sin, and to expiate iniquity, and to bring eternal righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the Holy of Holies.

Rashi explains:

Seventy weeks [of years] have been decreed: on Jerusalem from the day of the first destruction in the days of Zedekiah until it will be [destroyed] the second time.

The Roman armies of Titus destroyed the Second Temple in 70 CE. With this destruction, the main exile of the Jews that lasted until 1948 began. That this is Rashi's point is clear as he adds:

to terminate the transgression and to end sin: so that Israel should receive their complete retribution in the exile of Titus and his subjugation so that their transgressions and sins should end, and their iniquities should be expiated, to bring upon them eternal righteousness and to anoint the Holy of Holies: the Ark, the altars, and the holy vessels, which will be brought to them through king Messiah. The number of seven weeks is four hundred and ninety years. The Babylonian exile was seventy [years], and the Second Temple stood four hundred and twenty [years].

This prophecy has therefore been fulfilled with the destruction of the Temple through Titus' armies in 70 CE.

The Jews of the first century were divided into rival factions, movements, and competing sects. According to our rabbis, this infighting led to the Second Temple's destruction by God's decree. Today part of the nation of Israel has been restored, and Jews are hopeful that the Third Temple will soon rise. Still, we are again fighting with each other, denying that certain Jews are 'really' Jews based solely on sectarian factionalism. A disturbingly large percentage of Jews support the Globalism of the Great Reset to Paganism; most even support child sacrifice today, even many Orthodox leaders. How will we merit the reign of HaMashiach when we remain so divided?

Aside [from] the troubles caused by these external powers [i.e., the Romans], the Jews were also plagued internally by tumultuous politics and divided into many factions. This phenomenon ultimately led to the Temple's destruction and our nation's torturous exile. (Source: Chabad).

We continue with the prophecy:

9:25 And you shall know and understand that from the emergence of the word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem until the anointed king [shall be] seven weeks, and [in] sixty-two weeks it will return and be built street and moat, but in troubled times.


and you shall know and understand from the emergence of the word: From the emergence of this word, which emerged at the beginning of your supplications [8:14] to tell you, you shall know to understand [how] to restore and build Jerusalem.

until the anointed king: Time will be given from the day of the destruction until the coming of Cyrus, king of Persia, about whom the Holy One, blessed be He, said that he would return and build His city, and He called him His anointed [Hebrew: mashiach] and His king, as it says (Isaiah. 45:1): "So said the Lord to His anointed one, to Cyrus, etc." (verse 13): "He shall build My city and free My exiles, etc."

Seven weeks: Seven complete shemittah cycles they will be in exile before Cyrus comes, and there were yet three more years, but since they did not constitute a complete shemittah cycle, they were not counted. In the one year of Darius, in which Daniel was standing when this vision was said to him, seventy years from the conquest of Jehoiakim terminated. Deduct eighteen years from them, in which the conquest of Jehoiakim preceded the destruction of Jerusalem, leaving fifty-two years. This is what our Rabbis learned (Yoma 54a): "For fifty-two years, no one passed through Judea." They are the fifty-two years from the day of the destruction until they returned in the days of Cyrus. Hence, we have seven shemittah cycles and three years.

and in sixty-two weeks it will return and be built: i.e., the city with its streets.

and moat: They are the moats that they make around the wall to strengthen the city, which are called fosse in French, ditch or moat.

But in troubled times: But in those times they will be troubled and distressed, for in the subjugation of the kings of Persia and the heathens, they will burden them with harsh bondage. Now although there are sixty-two weeks and four years more that remain from the eighth week, whose beginning, viz. the three years, was included in the fifty-two years of the duration of the exile, those four years were not counted here because here he counted only weeks. You find that from the beginning he started to count seventy weeks, and at the end, when he delineated their times and their judgments, he counted only sixty-nine, proving that one week was divided, part of it here and part of it there; and he mentioned only whole weeks.

but in troubled times: They will be troubled in those times.

When these prophecies are interpreted according to the texts, as Rashi does here, without preconceived doctrinal accouterments, the interpretation is clear and harmonious with the other prophets he studied. This prophecy is not about Mashiach ben David nor the Nazarene.

9:26 And after the sixty-two weeks, the anointed one will be cut off, and he will be no more, and the people of the coming monarch will destroy the city and the Sanctuary, and his end will come about by inundation, and until the end of the war, it will be cut off into desolation.

So after these "weeks" were completed, Titus' attack occurred in 69 and 70 CE.

Rashi gives us added insight:

And after: those weeks.

The anointed one will be cut off: Agrippa, the king of Judea, who was ruling at the time of the destruction, will be slain.

The Hebrew term mashiach means "anointed." As David said concerning Saul, a less-than-righteous ruler:

II Samuel 26:9 And David said to Abishai, Destroy him [i.e., King Saul] not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD'S anointed [Hebrew: mashiach], and be guiltless?


and he will be no more: and he will not have. The meaning is that he will not be.

the anointed one: Hebrew: mashiach. This is purely an expression of a prince and a dignitary.

and the city and the Sanctuary: lit. and the city and the Holy.
[Note by me: what we usually call the Jerusalem Temple is in Hebrew, the Beit HaMikdash or "The House of the Holy"].

and the people of the coming monarch will destroy: [The monarch who will come] upon them. That is Titus and his [Roman] armies.

and his end will come about by inundation: And his end will be damnation and destruction, for He will inundate the power of his kingdom through the Messiah and until the end of the wars of Gog the city will exist.

cut off into desolation: a destruction of desolation.

Daniel thus learns that the Holy City and Beit HaMikdash or Holy Temple will be devastated (by Titus). The Temple would be destroyed, yet the City would live on even though desecrated by the Gentile powers. This tragedy occurred in 70 CE. From that time until 1948, the Holy City and the Temple Mount have been desolate and desecrated. While a few Jews always managed to live there, unbelievers desecrated the Holy Places nonstop, as the Sacred Mount still is - May the Temple be rebuilt in our generation after the coming of HaMashiach ben David!

9:27 And he will strengthen a covenant for the princes for one week, and half the week he will abolish sacrifice and meal-offering, and on high, among abominations, will be the dumb one, and until destruction and extermination befall the dumb one.

This is the verse Christians often use to foretell the coming of the anti-Christ, whom we call the Man Crueler than Haman. Once we understand this section of prophecy, however, it becomes clear that what is taught here has already occurred:


And he will strengthen a covenant for the princes for one week: "for the princes," like "and all the officers of the king," in the Book of Jeremiah (39:13).

will strengthen: Titus [will strengthen] a covenant with the princes of Israel.

for one week: He [i.e., Titus] will promise them the strengthening of a covenant and peace for seven years, but within the seven years, he will nullify his covenant.

he will abolish sacrifice and meal-offering: This is what he says in the first vision (8:26): "And in tranquility, he will destroy many." Through a covenant of tranquility, he will destroy them.

And on high, among abominations will be the dumb one: This is a pejorative for pagan deities. i.e., on a high place, among abominations and disgusting things, he will place the dumb one, the pagan deity, which is dumb like a silent stone.

high: literally "wing," an expression of height, like the wing of a flying bird.

and until destruction and extermination befall the dumb one: and the ruling of the abomination will endure until the day that the destruction and extermination decreed upon it [will] occur, in the days of the king Messiah.

befall the dumb one: Hebrew: "reach;" and total destruction will descend upon the image of the pagan deity and upon its worshippers.

So then, this is the true meaning of this prophecy

One day, may it be soon, HaMashiach will begin his reign, and Israel and the world will finally know shalom in all of its many meanings.

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