Based on this answer I was able to have some extra fun reading over Shabbat.

First, I would like to say, that I was amazed as to how much of the material I was allready familiar with, mostly from Rosh Hashana davening and other parts of the siddur and some midrashim in the Talmud.

One section of the book raised some questions in my mind, and I'm curious if anyone knows what these midrashim translate to. More particularly, what year would the 700 years finally refer to?

My question is really very simple and has nothing to do with Kabbalah or esoteric meanings of Midrash etc..

The important text is sections 130 to 139 found in this link.

The particular lines, which need to be read in context are:

Either let them return to Me, or the end shall be fulfilled, for thus have I sent unto them by the hand of My servants the prophets, that I will visit upon them the days of the Baalim when they did burn incense to them. And even as they did provoke Me to anger seven hundred years, so I will surely anger them and make them jealous with a foolish nation and a nation for which I set apart no kingdom, in that day when I cast lots for all the peoples. Because, even because....”

Said Rabbi Ishmael: I sat and did reckon the reckoning which was first given me, and I reckoned to Babylon seventy years, and to Media fifty and two years, and to Greece an hundred and eighty years, and for Edom I had not yet made reckoning till I arose in the same prayer and in the same affliction in which I had first fallen aforetime.

Said Rabbi Ishmael: I retorted word against word, and said, “And may not the end of this wicked kingdom be revealed?” I heard a voice going forth and saying, “My friend Ishmael, at the end of the fulfillment of seven hundred years, from the time of the building of {the} house [which was built by the authority] of the kings of Persia, all things shall come to an end and they shall finally cease from off all the face of the earth and that shall be the cleansing of iniquities. Even as they did forsake Me seven hundred years and did serve the Baalim, so I, even I, will forsake them and will cast them off into the hand of the cruel, seven hundred years. And there shall be for them no saviour, no priest, neither teacher, and no prophet and no king and no leader and no prince until they turn and return to Me in prayer and in supplications for mercy. And yet, if they seek My Face, I shall be found of them, and I shall bring them back to their land.”

[136] Said Rabbi Ishmael: I reckoned the reckoning: For Babylon seventy years and for Media fifty and two and for Greece and hundred and eighty and for Edom accordingly I found the years to the destruction of the second temple to complete seven hundred years. And I sought in books which Daniel had closed up and sealed, and I found written in them: “Seven hundred years were determined and decreed upon Thy people and upon Thy holy city and at their fulfillment shall the transgressors cease and the sinners shall come to an end and the iniquity of a small people shall be atoned and He that is righteous forever shall bring the Messiah who has remained hidden and sealed [from the sight] of all the prophets and he shall anoint the Holy of Holies.”

So my question is really very basic. What were the date ranges of the 700 years of sin, and what is the final date of R. Ishmael's 700 year reckoning?

  • 1
    I found the years to the destruction of the Second Temple to complete seven hundred years. - We have 70 CE - 700 years = 630 BCE = 540 BCE - 90 years, about a century before the decree of Cyrus, or two decades before the beginning of the Babylonian Captivity, seven decades prior; in other words, there are about seven centuries between the destruction of the two Temples; see also Rabbi Ishmael.
    – user18041
    Sep 28, 2018 at 5:37
  • @Lucian Please make that an answer.
    – avi
    Sep 28, 2018 at 7:53
  • This site allows its users to answer their own questions, as well as mark these answers as accepted.
    – user18041
    Sep 28, 2018 at 7:56


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