454 BC: The Seventy Weeks Artaxerxes Gives the "Word" There is an interesting, oft-overlooked significance to that word, and a wealth of meaning that connects both Testaments. But I need to first tackle some preliminaries. The first question is... Why this Decree? Wrong Question! There are several possible decrees. How can we settle on the one that would fit the wording of Daniel 9:25? Some have said that it needs to be an official decree, like Cyrus's. That is what a decree is, after all; an official, royal, public proclamation. Not a private, or semi-private permission like that of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah. But the problem is that Daniel 9:25 doesn't specifically refer to a decree at all. Instead of the usual word for decree - and one that is more or less semantically limited to that narrow definition - we have a very significant word instead - "word" (Hebrew, DVR)! This word, in the eighteen places in the Bible it is used in this particular form more often than not refer to communications that are not decrees. 1 Some interesting points of usage of DVR: Daniel 9is the only prophetic passage - or book - that uses the word. A third of all the uses (6 out of 18) are from Esther, one of them being the tipsy king's summon for Vashti to show herself for the amusement of his guests. On the other end of the scale, some of the references are to God, to His commandments. 2 Why this Commandment? A much better question. The main reason why this commandment of Artaxerxes (Neh. 2) fits is that the details fit. Daniel 9:25 speaks of rebuilding the city - not the temple - and the permission of Nehemiah deals with this as well, Neh. 2:5, 8. Ezra's edict as recorded in Ezra 1:1 - 4 makes no mention of building the city. So, to be concise: Ezra's edict makes no mention of rebuilding the city, just the temple. Gabriel in Dan. 9:25, by contrast, mentions only the city being rebuilt, not the temple. The two don't match. The permission by Artaxerxes Longimannus, Neh. 2, certainly does match. It matches precisely in detail. It matches perfectly in timing. Well, it didn't always seem to match perfectly in the timing - and it may not match in your study Bible notes (as I touched upon in a recent post) - but that was the fault of more recent historians 3 and certain Study Bible editors.