The Shabuim of Dan 9:24-27 - Weeks, Sevens or Weeks of Years

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Used by permission: Pacific Adventist University


In Dan 9:24, the word shabuim has been variously translated as “weeks,” “sevens,” or “weeks of years,” various schools of interpretation generally preferring though rarely requiring one translation or the other for support. In terms of its root relationships and nominal pattern, it is clear that the singular word has the basic meaning of a unit of seven. On the other hand, it is never used in such a way that there is any doubt about what elements comprise the unit. This fact goes against the suggestion that shabuim should here be translated as “sevens.” In all previous instances in Biblical Hebrew, shabuim means a week of days. However, the distinctive use of the masculine plural form in Dan 9:24 suggests that a different nuance may be present here. The chiasmus between vss. 2 and 24 and the background of both verses in the cycle of annual sabbaths confirm that weeks of years are here in view. Suggestions are made as to how best to translate shabuim since the expression “of years” is not found in the original.

Biblical Studies, Biblical interpretation, Sabbatical years, Sabbath

Cole, H. R. (2014). The shabuim of Dan 9:24-27 - Weeks, sevens or weeks of years. Davaria, 2(1), 62-69. Retrieved from

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