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"Seventy-Sevens Are Decreed"

A Canonical Approach to Daniel 9:24–27

Ron Haydon

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Journal of Theological Interpretation Supplements

"Seventy-Sevens Are Decreed"

A Canonical Approach to Daniel 9:24–27

Ron Haydon

Few passages in the Old Testament are as enigmatic as Daniel 9:24-27. It makes sense, therefore, that a myriad of interpretations surround these four verses. Expanding on Brevard Childs’s brief work on Daniel, Haydon responds to this question with a canonical approach to Dan 9:24-27: reading a text that is shaped to include future generations of faithful interpreters. The first part lays the groundwork for a canonical approach. Whereas most biblical scholars read Daniel 9 through the lens of historical- and composition-critical tools, Childs and his readers frame the chapter within the larger theological message of the book. The second section is an interpretation of 9:24-27 in its canonical context, doing exegetical and theological work in tandem.

 

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  • Table of Contents
Few passages in the Old Testament are as enigmatic as Daniel 9:24-27. It makes sense, therefore, that a myriad of interpretations surround these four verses. Expanding on Brevard Childs’s brief work on Daniel, Haydon responds to this question with a canonical approach to Dan 9:24-27: reading a text that is shaped to include future generations of faithful interpreters. The first part lays the groundwork for a canonical approach. Whereas most biblical scholars read Daniel 9 through the lens of historical- and composition-critical tools, Childs and his readers frame the chapter within the larger theological message of the book. The second section is an interpretation of 9:24-27 in its canonical context, doing exegetical and theological work in tandem.

Daniel 9:24-27 is, of course, an apocalyptic text leading the reader through the Antiochene crisis and beyond. The theology of the chapter, however, asks us to look back to the Law and the Prophets: Leviticus 25-26 and Jeremiah 25-29 are integral to Daniel 9. Traditions begun in the preceding corpora—rest, sin-debt, and kingdom (Lev 26:34-35; Jer 25:10-12, 29:10-14)—find their culmination in Dan 9:24-27. Haydon’s study brings these texts to bear on the “seventy sevens” in Daniel 9:24. After a careful study of the phrase’s background, we discover that the construction refers to more than a number or even a single event. This time-image points to a larger pattern of rulership wherein leaders rise and fall (vv. 25-26), while the Ancient of Days remains the true King. Ambiguity also plays a part: Daniel 9:24-27 lacks historical detail for a reason—namely, to create an interpretive space that a faith community can occupy. The final form of Dan 9:24-27 is a theological construct allowing multiple generations to live in expectation of God’s rule. A biblical theology of Daniel 9:24-27, moving into the New Testament and contemporary Christian reception, concludes Haydon’s study.

Acknowledgements

Abbreviations

Chapter 1. The Role of a Canonical Approach

1.1. Introduction

1.2. Literary Approaches to Daniel 9:24–27

1.3. Daniel 9:24–27 in Light of Qumran

1.4. Cultic Motifs as an Interpretive Method for Reading Daniel 9:24–27

1.5. Canonical-Intertextual and Inner-Biblical Readings of Daniel 9:24–27

Chapter 2. A Canonical Approach

2.1. Canonics: The Historical Reconstruction of Canon

2.2. A Non-Material Unity of Canon

2.3. Features of a Canonical Approach

2.4. Conclusion

Chapter 3. The "Law and the Prophets" in Daniel 9:3–19

3.1. Daniel 9:2—The Beginning of a Framework

3.2. Daniel 9:3–19

3.3. Daniel the "Servant" and the Outpouring of a Tradition

3.4. The Seams Between the Torah-Prophets and Daniel 9:3–19

3.5. The Deuteronomistic Editor as Main Interlocutor?

3.6. Conclusion to 9:3–19 and Transition in 9:20–23

Chapter 4. Daniel 9:24–27

4.1. The Seventy Sevens

4.2. Daniel 9:24–25: Introduction to the Kingdom Pattern

4.3. Daniel 9:26–27: The Conclusion to the Kingdom Pattern

4.4. Conclusion

Chapter 5. Ambiguity and Space

5.1. The Biblical Theological Dimension of Daniel 9:24–27

5.2. Daniel 9:24–27 in the Olivet Discourse

5.3. Daniel 9:24–27 and the Character of Two-Testament Scripture

5.4. Daniel 9:24–27 and the Rule of Faith

Chapter 6. Conclusion

6.1. Daniel 9:24–27 as Christian Scripture

6.2. Conclusion

Appendix. The Dual-Location of the Book of Daniel

Bibliography

Index of Authors

Index of Scripture

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