Home > Daniel's 70 Weeks > Leap years in Daniel’s Seventy Weeks

Leap years in Daniel’s Seventy Weeks

January 26, 2011

Recently in a discussion on the Return of Benjamin blog, Rabbi Mike responded to the interpretation of the 70 weeks prophecy outlined here, which proposes 49 leap years, having 13 months each, as units for the first section of 7 weeks. The Hebrew and Babylonian calendars were based on lunar months, and some years were 12 months, and others 13 months. In a previous comment, I noted that years of 13 months are quite literal. Rabbi Mike responded,

But extraordinarily novel. It is true that the Jewish calendar has a leap-year of 13 months, but this occurs approximately every 2-3 years (on a peculiar 19 year cycle). It would not occur only 49 times in a 490 year period; more like 180 times. So in the sense that your interpretation would actually fit any calendar connected to any Biblical culture at all, no, no it wouldn’t be “literal.”

This seems to misunderstand what I wrote. So, I want to clarify my position: weeks of leap years are invoked only for the first section of 7 weeks. That is, these 7 weeks are 49 leap years; each week is 19 years. Seven weeks in the first section span 133 years.

The units in the second section of the prophecy are different. The weeks are 7 years each. This includes all years; leap years as well as regular years. They are 62 sabbatical cycles. The period can also be understood as seven times where a time is 62 years, the age of Darius (who some scholars claim was Cyrus) when he became king of Babylon. “And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.” [Daniel 5:31]

The total period spanned by the first two sections of the 70 weeks prophecy is 567 years. Beginning with the decree of Cyrus in 538 BC, they end in 28 AD, early in the ministry of Jesus. In this manner, the 70 weeks prophecy confirms Jesus is the Messiah!