9:25 commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem. The 490-year period begins with the commandment to rebuild the holy city. Some have taken this to be the decree of the emperor Cyrus, in about 536 B.C., recorded by Ezra. This is unlikely, because that commandment only decreed the rebuilding of the temple (Ezra 1:3). Evidently there was no formal commandment to rebuild the city itself until the time of Nehemiah, when a later Persian emperor, Artaxerxes, did make such a decree (Nehemiah 2:4-8). This was in about 446 B.C.
9:25 seven weeks. The 490-year period is divided into three components, 49 years, 434 years, and 7 years, respectively, in duration. The first was evidently to be occupied with the actual completion of the streets and walls of the city, in “troublous times,” as described in the books of Nehemiah and Malachi. Perhaps most significantly, the 49-year period did terminate with Malachi’s prophecy, which marked the close of Old Testament revelation.
9:25 threescore and two weeks. After the 49-year period was to be another period of 434 years before Messiah would come as Prince of Israel. This period between the two Testaments was marked by the fulfillment of some of Daniel’s other prophecies—the fall of Persia, the rise of Greece, then of the great Roman empire and, in Israel, the conflicts with Egypt and Syria and the wars of the Maccabees. In all, there would be 69 weeks, or 483 years, “unto the Messiah the prince.”