[b-hebrew] Yom in Biblical and Rabbinic Texts

Read, James C K0434995 at kingston.ac.uk
Thu Oct 27 17:41:56 EDT 2005


I agree that Daniel's prophecy is definitely talking about years.
But I hazard that while the original meaning of the word was seven, 
that many hearing this construct 'seventy sevens' out of context 
would have more readily understood 70 weeks. 
When talking about time 'seven' had the primary meaning of 'week'. 
A week being seven days and the seventh day being the 'shabath' 
etymologically linked to the number 7 which comes from the verb 
'to rest' as you already know.

An English example may be 'fortnight' which is shortened form of 
'fourteen nights' or more simpy put 'two weeks'. If I spoke about 
a 'fortnight of plagues' and historical sources showed that the 
period I was referring to was of 14 years, you would naturally conclude
that I was talking about a 14 year period and making poetic use of 
the word 'fortnight' which fits the context poetically as 14 nights 
could be metaphorically indicative of 14 dark periods. However, under 
no circumstances would you ever propose that 'fortnight' actually meant 
'14 years' in a context other than a poetic usage.  

-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org on behalf of Harold R. Holmyard III
Sent: Thu 10/27/2005 9:59 PM
To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org; =@lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Yom in Biblical and Rabbinic Texts
 
Dear James,

>Exactly! But when we ask a hebrew, what will they immediately think
>these 'sevens' are?

HH: I think they would assume years. There are 
years counted by sevens elsewhere in Scripture, 
so it did not seem that unique to me:

Gen. 29:27 Finish this daughter's bridal week; 
then we will give you the younger one also, in 
return for another seven years of work."

HH: This is literally, "Finish this seven, and we 
will give . . . ." The word "seven" is the same 
word used in Dan 9:24-27, where many important 
historical events probably would not be thought 
to occur in a matter of days. Also, when Daniel 
began his prayer, he was concerned about the 
seventy years of judgment that were ending:

Dan. 9:2 in the first year of his reign, I, 
Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according 
to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the 
prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would 
last seventy years.
Dan. 9:3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded 
with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and 
in sackcloth and ashes.

HH: The angel who answered his prayer spoke about seventy "sevens":

Dan. 9:21 while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, 
the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to 
me in swift flight about the time of the evening 
sacrifice.
Dan. 9:22 He instructed me and said to me, 
"Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and 
understanding.
Dan. 9:23 As soon as you began to pray, an answer 
was given, which I have come to tell you, for you 
are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the 
message and understand the vision:
Dan. 9:24 ¶  "Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for 
your people and your holy city to finish 
transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for 
wickedness, to bring in everlasting 
righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and 
to anoint the most holy.

HH: Since the seventy years of past judgment seem 
to be the take-off point for this prophecy about 
the future, the seventy "sevens" probably also 
refer to years, and Daniel would probably have 
realized that. The angel was giving information 
that seemed to carry to the end of the age (v. 
24).

					Yours,
					Harold Holmyard


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