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The Seventy Weeks
In the first year of Darius the Median, Daniel, by a diligent study of the prophecies of Jeremiah as to the number of years during which Jerusalem must lie desolate (Daniel 9:1, Daniel 9:2), was led to pour forth a penitential prayer, in which he acknowledges the justice of the divine chastisement which hung over Israel on account of their sins, and entreats the mercy of God in behalf of his people (vv. 3-19). In consequence of this prayer, the angel Gabriel (Daniel 9:20-23) must pass over his people and the holy city before the consummation of the kingdom of God.
Daniel 9:1 and Daniel 9:2 mention the occasion on which the penitential prayer (vv. 3-19) was offered, and the divine revelation following thereupon regarding the time and the course of the oppression of the people of God by the world-power till the completion of God's plan of salvation.
Regarding Darius, the son of Ahasverosch, of the race of the Medes, see under Daniel 6:1. In the word המלך the Hophal is to be noticed: rex constitutus, factus est . It shows that Darius did not become king over the Chaldean kingdom by virtue of a hereditary right to it, nor that he gained the kingdom by means of conquest, but that he received it ( קבּל , Daniel 6:1) from the conqueror of Babylon, Cyrus, the general of the army. The first year of the reign of Darius the Mede over the Chaldean kingdom is the year 538 b.c., since Babylon was taken by the Medes and Persians under Cyrus in the year 539-538 b.c. According to Ptolemy, Cyrus the Persian reigned nine years after Nabonadius. But the death of Cyrus, as is acknowledged, occurred in the year 529 b.c. From the nine years of the reign of Cyrus, according to our exposition, two years are to be deducted for Darius the Mede, so that the reign of Cyrus by himself over the kingdom which he founded begins in the year 536, in which year the seventy years of the Babylonish exile of the Jews were completed; cf. The exposition under Daniel 1:1 with the chronological survey in the Com. on the Books of the Kings.
The statement as to the time, Daniel 9:1, is again repeated in the beginning of Daniel 9:2, on account of the relative sentence coming between, so as to connect that which follows with it. We translate (in Daniel 9:2), with Hgstb., Maur., Hitzig, “I marked, or gave heed, in the Scriptures to the number of the years,” so that מספּר ( number) forms the object to בּינתי ( I understood); cf. Proverbs 7:7. Neither the placing of בּספרים ( by books) first nor the Atnach under this word controvert this view; for the object is placed after “by books” because a further definition is annexed to it; and the separation of the object from the verb by the Atnach is justified by this consideration, that the passage contains two statements, viz., that Daniel studied the Scriptures, and that his study was directed to the number of the years, etc. בּספרים , with the definite article, does not denote a collection of known sacred writings in which the writings of Jeremiah were included, so that, seeing the collection of the prophets cannot be thought of without the Pentateuch, by this word we are to understand (with Bleek, Gesenius, v. Leng., Hitzig) the recognised collection of the O.T. writings, the Law and the Prophets. For הסּפרים , τὰ βιβλιά , is not synonymous with הכּתוּבים , αἱ γραφαί , but denotes only writings in the plural, but does not say that these writings formed already a recognised collection; so that from this expression nothing can be concluded regarding the formation of the O.T. canon. As little can בּספרים refer, with Häv. and Kran., to the letter of Jeremiah to the exiles (Jer 29), for this reason, that not in Jer 29, but in Jeremiah 25:11., the seventy years of the desolation of the land of Judah, and implic. of Jerusalem, are mentioned. The plur. ספרים also can be understood of a single letter, only if the context demands or makes appropriate this narrower application of the word, as e.g., 2 Kings 19:14. But here this is not the case, since Jeremiah in two separate prophecies speaks of the seventy years, and not in the letter of Jer. 29, but only in Jer. 25, has he spoken of the seventy years' desolation of the land. In בּספרים lies nothing further than that writings existed, among which were to be found the prophecies of Jeremiah; and the article, the writings, is used, because in the following passage something definite is said of these writings.
In these writings Daniel considered the number of the years of which Jeremiah had prophesied. אשׁר , as Daniel 8:26, with respect to which, relates not to השׁנים , but to השׁנים מספּר ( number of the years). It is no objection against this that the repetition of the words “seventy years” stands opposed to this connection (Klief.), for this repetition does not exist, since מספּר does not declare the number of the years. With למלּאת ( to fulfil) the contents of the word of Jehovah, as given by Jeremiah, are introduced. לחרבות does not stand for the accusative: to cause to be complete the desolation of Jerusalem (Hitzig), but ל signifies in respect of, with regard to. This expression does not lean on Jeremiah 29:10 (Kran.), but on Jeremiah 25:12 (“when seventy years are accomplished”). חרבות , properly, desolated places, ruins, here a desolated condition. Jerusalem did not certainly lie in ruins for seventy years; the word is not thus to be interpreted, but is chosen partly with regard to the existing state of Jerusalem, and partly with reference to the words of Jeremiah 25:9, Jeremiah 25:11. Yet the desolation began with the first taking of Jerusalem, and the deportation of Daniel and his companions and a part of the sacred vessels of the temple, in the fourth years of Jehoiakim (606 b.c.).
(Note: Thus also the seventy years of the Exile are reckoned in 2 Chronicles 36:21-23; Ezra 1:1. This Ewald also recognises ( Proph. iii. p. 430), but thinks that it is not an exact reckoning of the times, but rather, according to Zechariah 1:12 and Daniel 9:25, that the destruction of Jerusalem forms the date of the commencement of the desolation and of the seventy years. But Daniel 9:25 contains no expression, or even intimation, regarding the commencement of the Exile; and in the words of Zechariah 1:12, “against which Thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years,” there does not lie the idea that the seventy years prophesied of by Jeremiah came to an end in the second year of Darius Hystaspes. See under this passage.)
Consequently, in the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede over the kingdom of the Chaldeans the seventy years prophesied of by Jeremiah were now full, the period of the desolation of Jerusalem determined by God was almost expired. What was it that moved Daniel at this time to pour forth a penitential prayer in behalf of Jerusalem and the desolated sanctuary? Did he doubt the truth of the promise, that God, after seventy years of exile in Babylon, would visit His people and fulfil the good word He had spoken, that He would again bring back His people to Judea (Jeremiah 29:10)? Certainly not, since neither the matter of his prayer, nor the divine revelation which was vouchsafed to him in answer to his prayer, indicated any doubt on his part regarding the divine promise.
According to the opinion of Bleek and Ewald, it was Daniel's uncertainty regarding the termination of the seventy years which moved him to prayer Bleek ( Jahrbb.f. D. Theol. v. p. 71) thus expresses himself on the subject: “This prophecy of Jeremiah might be regarded as fulfilled in the overthrow of the Babylonian kingdom and the termination of the Exile, when the Jews obtained from Cyrus permission to return to their native land and to rebuild their city and temple, but yet not perfectly, so far as with the hope of the return of the people from exile there was united the expectation that they would then turn in truth to their God, and that Jehovah would fulfil all His good promises to them to make them partakers of the Messianic redemption (cf. Jeremiah 29:10., also other prophecies of Jeremiah and of other prophets regarding the return of the people from exile, such as Isa. 40ff.); but this result was not connected in such extent and fulness with the return of the people and the restoration of the state.” On the supposition of the absolute inspiration of the prophets, it appeared therefore appropriate “to regard Jeremiah's prophecy of the seventy years, after the expiry of which God will fulfil His good promises to His people, as stretching out into a later period beyond that to which the seventy years would extend, and on that account to inquire how it was to be properly interpreted.” Ewald ( Proph. iii. p. 421ff.) is of opinion that these seventy years of Jeremiah did not pass by without the fulfilment of his prophecy, that the ruins of Jerusalem would not continue for ever. Already forty-nine years after its destruction a new city of Jerusalem took the place of the old as the centre of the congregation of the true religion, but the stronger hopes regarding the Messianic consummation which connected itself herewith were neither then, nor in all the long times following, down to that moment in which our author (in the age of the Maccabees) lived and wrote, ever fulfilled. Then the faithful were everywhere again exposed to the severest sufferings, such as they had not experienced since the old days of the destruction of Jerusalem. Therefore the anxious question as to the duration of such persecution and the actual beginning of the Messianic time, which Daniel, on the ground of the mysterious intimation in Daniel 7:12, Daniel 7:25 and Daniel 8:13., regarding the period of the sufferings of the time of the end, sought here to solve, is agitated anew; for he shows how the number of the seventy years of Jeremiah, which had long ago become sacred, yet accorded with these late times without losing its original truth. Thus Ewald argues.
These two critics in their reasoning proceed on the dogmatic ground, which they regard as firmly established, that the book of Daniel is a product of the age of the Maccabees. All who oppose the genuineness of this book agree with them in the view that this chapter contains an attempt, clothed in the form of a divine revelation communicated to the prophet in answer to his prayer, to solve the mystery how Jeremiah's prophecy of the beginning of the Messianic salvation after the seventy years of exile is to be harmonized with the fact that this salvation, centuries after the fall of the Babylonish kingdom and the return of the Jews from the Babylonish exile, had not yet come, but that instead of it, under Antiochus Epiphanes, a time of the severest oppression had come. How does this opinion stand related to the matter of this chapter, leaving out of view all other grounds for the genuineness of the book of Daniel? Does the prayer of Daniel, or the divine revelation communicated to him by means of Gabriel regarding the seventy weeks, contain elements which attest its correctness or probability?
The prayer of Daniel goes forth in the earnest entreaty that the Lord would turn away His anger from the city Jerusalem and His holy mountain, and cause His face to shine on the desolation and on the city that was called by His name (Daniel 9:15-18). If this prayer is connected with the statement in Daniel 9:2, that Daniel was moved thereto by the consideration of the words of Jeremiah regarding the desolation of Jerusalem, we can understand by the ruins, for the removal of which Daniel prayed, only the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple which was brought about by the Chaldeans. Consequently the prayer indicates that the desolation of Jerusalem predicted by Jeremiah and accomplished by Nebuchadnezzar still continued, and that the city and the temple had not yet been rebuilt. This, therefore, must have been in the time of the Exile, and not in the time of Antiochus, who, it is true, desolated the sanctuary by putting an end to the worship of Jehovah and establishing the worship of idols, but did not lay in ruins either the temple or the city.
In his message (Daniel 9:24-27) the angel speaks only of the going forth of the word to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, and present the going forth of this word as the beginning of the seventy weeks of Daniel determined upon the people and the holy city within which Jerusalem must be built, and thus distinguishes the seventy weeks as distinctly as possible from Jeremiah's seventy years during which Jerusalem and Judah should lie desolate. Thus is set aside the opinion that the author of this chapter sought to interpret the seventy years of Jeremiah by the seventy weeks; and it shows itself to be only the pure product of the dogmatic supposition, that this book does not contain prophecies of the prophet Daniel living in the time of the Exile, but only apocalyptic dreams of a Maccabean Jew.
(Note: The supposition that the seventy weeks, Daniel 9:24, are an interpretation of the seventy years of Jeremiah, is the basis on which Hitzig rests the assertion that the passage does not well adjust itself to the standpoint of the pretended Daniel, but is in harmony with the time of the Maccabees. The other arguments which Hitzig and others bring forth against this chapter as the production of Daniel, consist partly in vain historical or dogmatic assertions, such as that there are doubts regarding the existence of Darius of Media, - partly in misinterpretations, such as that Daniel wholly distinguishes himself, Daniel 9:6, Daniel 9:10, from the prophets, and presents himself as a reader of their writings (Hitz.), - opinions which are no better founded than the conclusions of Berth., v. Leng., and Staeh., drawn from the mention of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Daniel 9:7, and of the holy city, Daniel 9:24, that Jerusalem was then still inhabited and the temple still standing. To this it is added, that the prayer of Daniel is an imitation of the prayers of Ezra 9:1-15 and Neh 9, or, as Ewald thinks, an extract from the prayer of Baruch (Bar. 1 and 2).)
Moreover, it is certainly true that in the Exile the expectation that the perfection and glory of the kingdom of God by the Messiah would appear along with the liberation of the Jews from Babylon was founded on the predictions of the earlier prophets, but that Daniel shared this expectation the book presents no trace whatever. Jeremiah also, neither in Jer. 25 nor in Jer. 29, where he speaks of the seventy years of the domination of Babylon, announces that the Messianic salvation would begin immediately with the downfall of the Babylonian kingdom. In Jer. 25 he treats only of the judgment, first over Judah, and then over Babylon and all the kingdoms around; and in Jer. 29 he speaks, it is true, of the fulfilling of the good word of the return of the Jews to their fatherland when seventy years shall be fulfilled for Babylon (Daniel 9:10), and of the counsel of Jehovah, which is formed not for the destruction but for the salvation of His people, of the restoration of the gracious relation between Jehovah and His people, and the gathering together and the bringing back of the prisoners from among all nations whither they had been scattered (Daniel 9:11-14), but he says not a word to lead to the idea that all this would take place immediately after these seventy years.
Now if Daniel, in the first year of Darius the Mede, i.e., in the sixty-ninth year of the Exile, prayed thus earnestly for the restoration of Jerusalem and the sanctuary, he must have been led to do so from a contemplation of the then existing state of things. The political aspect of the world-kingdom could scarcely have furnished to him such a motive. The circumstance that Darius did not immediately after the fall of Babylon grant permission to the Jews to return to their fatherland and rebuild Jerusalem and the temple, could not make him doubt the certainty of the fulfilment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah regarding the duration of the Exile, since the prophecy of Isaiah, Isaiah 44:28, that Coresch (Cyrus) should build Jerusalem and lay the foundation of the temple was beyond question known to him, and Darius had in a certain sense reached the sovereignty over the Chaldean kingdom, and was of such an age (Daniel 6:1) that now his reign must be near its end, and Cyrus would soon mount his throne as his successor. That which moved Daniel to prayer was rather the religious condition of his own people, among whom the chastisement of the Exile had not produced the expected fruits of repentance; so that, though he did not doubt regarding the speedy liberation of his people from Babylonish exile, he might still hope for the early fulfilment of the deliverance prophesied of after the destruction of Babylon and the return of the Jews to Canaan. This appears from the contents of the prayer. From the beginning to the close it is pervaded by sorrow on account of the great sinfulness of the people, among whom also there were no signs of repentance. The prayer for the turning away of the divine wrath Daniel grounds solely on the mercy of God, and upon that which the Lord had already done for His people by virtue of His covenant faithfulness, the צדקות ( righteousness) of the Lord, not the “righteousness” of the people. This confession of sin, and this entreaty for mercy, show that the people, as a whole, were not yet in that spiritual condition in which they might expect the fulfilment of that promise of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 29:12.): “Ye shall seek me and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart; and I will be found of you, and will turn away your captivity,” etc.
With this view of the contents of the prayer corresponds the divine answer which Gabriel brings to the prophet, the substance of which is to this effect, that till the accomplishment of God's plan of salvation in behalf of His people, yet seventy weeks are appointed, and that during this time great and severe tribulations would fall upon the people and the city.
Daniel's prayer. This prayer has been judged very severely by modern critics. According to Berth., v. Leng., Hitzig, Staeh., and Ewald, its matter and its whole design are constructed according to older patterns, in particular according to the prayers of Neh 9 and Ezra 9:1-15, since Daniel 9:4 is borrowed from Nehemiah 1:5; Nehemiah 9:32; Daniel 9:8 from Nehemiah 9:34; Daniel 9:14 from Nehemiah 9:33; Daniel 9:15 from Nehemiah 1:10; Nehemiah 9:10; and, finally, Daniel 9:7, Daniel 9:8 from Ezra 9:7. But if we consider this dependence more closely, we shall, it is true, find the expression הפנים בּשׁת ( confusion of faces, Ezra 9:7, Ezra 9:8) in Ezra 9:7, but we also find it in 2 Chronicles 32:21; Jeremiah 7:19, and also in Psalms 44:16; סלחות ( forgivenesses, Daniel 9:9) we find in Nehemiah 9:17, but also in Psalms 130:4; and על תּתּך ( is poured upon, spoken of the anger of God, Daniel 9:11) is found not only in 2 Chronicles 12:7; 2 Chronicles 34:21, 2 Chronicles 34:25, but also Jeremiah 42:18; Jeremiah 44:6, and Nahum 1:6. We have only to examine the other parallel common thoughts and words adduced in order at once to perceive that, without exception, they all have their roots in the Pentateuch, and afford not the slightest proof of the dependence of this chapter on Neh 9.
The thought, “great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy,” etc., which is found in Daniel 9:4 and in Nehemiah 1:5, has its roots in Deuteronomy 7:21 and Daniel 9:9, cf. Exodus 20:6; Exodus 34:7, and in the form found in Nehemiah 9:32, in Deuteronomy 10:17; the expression (Daniel 9:15), “Thou hast brought Thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand,” has its origin in Deuteronomy 7:8; Deuteronomy 9:26, etc. But in those verses where single thoughts or words of this prayer so accord with Neh 9 or Ezra 9:1-15 as to show a dependence, a closer comparison will prove, not that Daniel borrows from Ezra or Nehemiah, but that they borrow from Daniel. This is put beyond a doubt by placing together the phrases: “our kings, our princes, our fathers” (Daniel 9:5, Daniel 9:8), compared with these: “our kings, our princes, our priests, and our fathers” (Nehemiah 9:34, Nehemiah 9:32), and “our kings and our priests” (Ezra 9:7). For here the naming of the “priests” along with the “kings and princes” is just as characteristic of the age of Ezra and Nehemiah as the omission of the “priests” is of the time of the Exile, in which, in consequence of the cessation of worship, the office of the priest was suspended. This circumstance tends to refute the argument of Stähelin ( Einl. p. 349), that since the prayers in Chron., Ezra, and Nehem. greatly resemble each other, and probably proceed from one author, it is more likely that the author of Daniel 9 depended on the most recent historical writings, than that Daniel 9 was always before the eyes of the author of Chron. - a supposition the probability of which is not manifest.
If, without any preconceived opinion that this book is a product of the times of the Maccabees, the contents and the course of thought found in the prayer, Daniel 9, are compared with the prayers in Ezra 9:1-15 and Neh 9, we will not easily suppose it possible that Daniel depends on Ezra and Nehemiah. The prayer of Ezra 9:6-15 is a confession of the sins of the congregation from the days of the fathers down to the time of Ezra, in which Ezra scarcely ventures to raise his countenance to God, because as a member of the congregation he is borne down by the thought of their guilt; and therefore he does not pray for pardon, because his design is only “to show to the congregation how greatly they had gone astray, and to induce them on their part to do all to atone for their guilt, and to turn away the anger of God” (Bertheau).
The prayer, Neh 9:6-37, is, after the manner of Ps 105 and 106, an extended offering of praise for all the good which the Lord had manifested toward His people, notwithstanding that they had continually hardened their necks and revolted from His from the time of the call of Abraham down to the time of the exile, expressing itself in the confession, “God is righteous, but we are guilty,” never rising to a prayer for deliverance from bondage, under which the people even then languished.
The prayer of Daniel 9, on the contrary, by its contents and form, not only creates the impression “of a fresh production adapted to the occasion,” and also of great depth of thought and of earnest power in prayer, but it presents itself specially as the prayer of a man, a prophet, standing in a near relation to God, so that we perceive that the suppliant probably utters the confession of sin and of guilt in the name of the congregation in which he is included; but in the prayer for the turning away of God's anger his special relation to the Lord is seen, and is pleaded as a reason for his being heard, in the words, “Hear the prayer of Thy servant and his supplication (Daniel 9:17); O my God, incline Thine ear” (Daniel 9:18).
Since the desolation of the holy land and the exile of the people was a well-deserved punishment for their sins, and a removal of the punishment could not be hoped for without genuine humiliation under the righteous judgment of God, Daniel begins with a confession of the great transgression of the people, and of the righteousness of the divine dealings with them, that on the ground of this confession he might entreat of the divine compassion the fulfilment of the promised restoration of Jerusalem and Israel. He prays to Jehovah אלהי , my God. If we wish our prayers to be heard, then God, to whom we pray, must become our God. To אתודּה ( I made confession) M. Geier applies Augustine's beautiful remark on Psalms 29:1-11: ”Confession gemina est, aut peccati aut laudis. Quando nobis male est in tribulationibus, confiteamur peccata nostra; quando nobis bene est in exultatione justitiae, confiteamur laudem Deo: sine confessione tamen non simus.” The address, “ Thou great and dreadful God, who keepest the covenant,” etc., points in its first part to the mighty acts of God in destroying His enemies (cf. Deuteronomy 7:21), and in the second part to the faithfulness of God toward those that fear Him in fulfilling His promises (cf. Deuteronomy 7:9). While the greatness and the terribleness of God, which Israel had now experienced, wrought repentance and sorrow, the reference to the covenant faithfulness of God served to awaken and strengthen their confidence in the help of the Almighty.
God is righteous and faithful, but Israel is unrighteous and faithless. The confession of the great guilt of Israel in Daniel 9:5 connects itself with the praise of God. This guilt Daniel confesses in the strongest words. חטא , to make a false step, designates sin as an erring from the right; עוה , to be perverse, as unrighteousness; רשׁע , to do wrong, as a passionate rebellion against God. To these three words, which Solomon (1 Kings 8:47) had already used as an exhaustive expression of a consciousness of sin and guilt, and the Psalmist (Psalms 106:6) had repeated as the confession of the people in exile, Daniel yet further adds the expression מרדנוּ , we have rebelled against God, and סור , are departed, fallen away from His commandments; this latter word being in the inf. absol., thereby denotes that the action is presented with emphasis.
The guilt becomes the greater from the fact that God failed not to warn them, and that Israel would not hear the words of the prophets, who in His name spoke to high and low, - to kings and princes, i.e., the heads of tribes and families, and to the great men of the kingdom and to the fathers, i.e., to their ancestors, in this connection with the exclusion of kings and chiefs of the people, who are specially named, as Jeremiah 44:17, cf. Nehemiah 9:32, Nehemiah 9:34; not perhaps the elders, heads of families (Cocceius, J. D. Michaelis, and others), or merely teachers (Ewald). To illustrate the meaning, there is added the expression “the whole people of the land,” not merely the common people, so that no one might regard himself as exempted. Compare כּל־עמך , Nehemiah 9:32. This expression, comprehending all, is omitted when the thought is repeated in Daniel 9:8.
Thus to God belongeth righteousness, but to the sinful people only shame. הצדקה לך does not mean: Thine was the righteous cause (Hitzig). The interpolation of the was is arbitrary, and צדקה predicated of God is not righteous cause, but righteousness as a perfection which is manifested in His operations on the earth, or specially in His dealings toward Israel. הפנים בּשׁת , shame which reflects itself in the countenance, not because of disgraceful circumstances, Ezra 9:7 (Kranichfeld), but in the consciousness of well-deserved suffering. הזּה כּיום does not mean: at this time, to-day, now (Häv., v. Leng., and others); the interpretation of כ in the sense of circa stands opposed to the definite הזּה . In the formula הזּה כּיום the כ has always the meaning of a comparison; also in Jeremiah 44:6, Jeremiah 44:22-23; 1 Samuel 22:8, and everywhere the expression has this meaning: as it happened this day, as experience has now shown or shows. See under Deuteronomy 2:30. Here it relates merely to הף/ ot yl בּשׁת לנוּ ( to us shame, etc.), not also the first part of the verse. The לנוּ is particularized by the words, “the men of Judah” ( אישׁ collectively, since the plur. אישׁים in this connection cannot be used; it occurs only three times in the O.T.), “and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” Both together are the citizens of the kingdom of Judah. ישׂראל , the whole of the rest of Israel, the members of the kingdom of the ten tribes. To both of these the further definition relates: “those that are near, and those that are far off, etc.” With m' אשׁר בּמעלם ( because of their trespass which,” etc.), cf. Leviticus 26:40.
In this verse Daniel repeats the thoughts of Daniel 9:7 in order to place the sin and shame of the people opposite to the divine compassion, and then to pass from confession of sin to supplication for the sin-forgiving grace of the covenant-keeping God.
Compassion and forgiveness are with the Lord our God; and these we need, for we have rebelled against Him. This thought is expanded in Daniel 9:10-14. The rebellion against God, the refusing to hear the voice of the Lord through the prophets, the transgression of His law, of which all Israel of the twelve tribes were guilty, has brought the punishment on the whole people which the law of Moses threatened against transgressors.
ותּתּך with ו consec.: therefore has the curse poured itself out, and the oath, i.e., the curse strengthened with an oath. נתך , to pour forth, of storms of rain and hail (Exodus 9:33), but especially of the destroying fire-rain of the divine wrath, cf. Nahum 1:6 with Genesis 19:24, and Jeremiah 7:20; Jeremiah 42:18; Jeremiah 44:6. האלה is used, Deuteronomy 29:18., of the threatenings against the transgressors of the law in Leviticus 26:14., Deuteronomy 28:15., to which Daniel here makes reference. To strengthen the expression, he has added השּׁבעה ( and the oath) to האלה , after Numbers 5:21; cf. also Nehemiah 10:30.
In this verse the Kethiv דּבריו , in harmony with the ancient versions, is to be maintained, and the Keri only as an explanation inferred from the thought of a definite curse. “Our judges” is an expression comprehending the chiefs of the people, kings and princes, as in Ps. 20:10; Psalms 148:11.
The thought of Daniel 9:11 is again taken up once more to declare that God, by virtue of His righteousness, must carry out against the people the threatening contained in His law. את before כּל־הרעה is not, with Kranichfeld, to be explained from the construction of the passive כּתוּב with the accusative, for it does not depend on כּתוּב no , but serves to introduce the subject absolutely stated: as concerns all this evil, thus it has come upon us, as Ezekiel 44:3; Jeremiah 45:4; cf. Ewald's Lehrb. §277 d. Regarding את־פּני חלּינוּ ( we entreated the face, etc.), cf. Zechariah 7:2; Zechariah 8:21. להשׂכּיל בּאמתּך is not to be translated: to comprehend Thy faithfulness (Hitzig), for the construction with ב does not agree with this, and then אמת does not mean faithfulness ( Treue), but truth ( Warheit). The truth of God is His plan of salvation revealed in His word, according to which the sinner can only attain to happiness and salvation by turning to God and obeying His commands.
Because Israel did not do this, therefore the Lord watched upon the evil, i.e., continually thought thereon - an idea very frequently found in Jeremiah; cf. Jeremiah 1:12; Jeremiah 31:28; Jeremiah 44:27. צדּיק with על following, righteous on the ground of all His works - a testimony from experience; cf. Nehemiah 9:33 (Kranichfeld).
After this confession, there now follows the prayer for the turning away of the wrath (Daniel 9:15 and Daniel 9:16) of God, and for the manifestation of His grace toward His suppliant people (Daniel 9:17-19).
This prayer Daniel founds on the great fact of the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, by which the Lord made for Himself a name among the nations. Jerome has here rightly remarked, not exhausting the thought however: ”memor est antiqui beneficii, ut ad similem Dei clementiam provocet.” For Daniel does not view the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt merely as a good deed, but as an act of salvation by which God fulfilled His promise He had given to the patriarchs, ratified the covenant He made with Abraham, and by the miracles accompanying the exodus of the tribes of Israel from the land of Egypt, glorified His name before all nations (cf. Isa. 63:32, 13), so that Moses could appeal to this glorious revelation of God among the heathen as an argument, in his prayer for pardon to Israel, to mitigate the anger of God which burned against the apostasy and the rebellion of the people, and to turn away the threatened destruction, Exodus 32:11., Numbers 14:13. Jeremiah, and also Isaiah, in like manner ground their prayer for mercy to Israel on the name of the Lord, Jeremiah 32:20., Isaiah 63:11-15. Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:10 and Nehemiah 9:10) in this agrees with Jeremiah and Daniel. הזּה כּיום , in the same connection in Jer 50, does not mean, then, at that time, but, as this day still: (hast gotten Thee) a name as Thou hast it still. In order to rest the prayer alone on the honour of the Lord, on the honour of His name, Daniel again repeats the confession, we have sinned, we have done wickedly; cf. Daniel 9:5.
The prayer for the turning away of God's anger follows, and is introduced by a repetition of the address, “O Lord,” and by a brief condensation of the motive developed in Daniel 9:15, by the words כּכל־צדקתיך צדקות does not mean in a gracious manner, and צדק is not grace, but proofs of the divine righteousness. The meaning of the words כּכל־צדקתיך is not: as all proofs of Thy righteousness have hitherto been always intimately connected with a return of Thy grace, so may it also now be (Kran.); but, according to all the proofs of Thy righteousness, i.e., to all that Thou hitherto, by virtue of Thy covenant faithfulness, hast done for Israel. צדקות means the great deeds done by the Lord for His people, among which the signs and wonders accompanying their exodus from Egypt take the first place, so far as therein Jehovah gave proof of the righteousness of His covenant promise. According to these, may God also now turn away His anger from His city of Jerusalem! The words in apposition, “Thy holy mountain,” refer especially to the temple mountain, or Mount Zion, as the centre of the kingdom of God. The prayer is enforced not only by כּל־צדקריך , but also by the plea that Jerusalem is the city of God ( Thy city). Compare Psalms 79:4 and Psalms 44:14.
In this verse the prayer is repeated in more earnest words. With פּניך האר ( cause Thy face to shine) compare Psalms 80:4 and Numbers 6:25. אדני למען , because Thou art Lord, is stronger than למענך . As the Lord κατ ̓ἐχοχήν , God cannot let the desolation of His sanctuary continue without doing injury to His honour; cf. Isaiah 48:11.
The argument by which the prayer is urged, derived from a reference to the desolations, is strengthened by the words in apposition: and the city over which Thy name is named; i.e., not which is named after Thy name, by which the meaning of this form of expression is enfeebled. The name of God is the revelation of His being. It is named over Jerusalem in so far as Jehovah gloriously revealed Himself in it; He has raised it, by choosing it as the place of His throne in Israel, to the glory of a city of God; cf. Psalms 48:2., and regarding this form of expression, the remarks under Deuteronomy 28:10.
The expression: and laying down my supplication before God (cf. Daniel 9:20), is derived from the custom of falling down before God in prayer, and is often met with in Jeremiah; cf. Jeremiah 38:26; Jeremiah 42:9, and Jeremiah 36:7. The Kethiv פּקחה (Daniel 9:18, open) is to be preferred to the Keri פּקח , because it is conformed to the imperative forms in Daniel 9:19, and is in accordance with the energy of the prayer. This energy shows itself in the number of words used in Daniel 9:18 and Daniel 9:19. Chr. B. Mich., under Daniel 9:19, has well remarked: ”Fervorem precantis cognoscere licet cum ex anaphora, seu terna et mysterii plena nominis Adonai repetitione, tum ex eo, quod singulis hisce imperativis He paragogicum ad intensiorem adfectum significandum superaddidit, tum ex congerie illa verborum: Audi, Condona, Attende, reliqua.”
The granting of the prayer. - While Daniel was yet engaged in prayer ( הר ק על , on account of the holy mountain, i.e., for it, see under Daniel 9:16), an answer was already communicated to him; for the angel Gabriel came to him, and brought to him an explanation of the seventy years of Jeremiah, i.e., not as to their expiry, but what would happen after their completion for the city and the people of God. האישׁ , the man Gabriel, refers, by the use of the definite article, back to Daniel 8:15, where Gabriel appeared to him in the form of a man. This is expressly observed in the relative clause, “whom I saw,” etc. Regarding בּתּחלּה ( at the first, Daniel 9:21) see under Daniel 8:1. The differently interpreted words, מעף בּיעף , belong, from their position, to the relative clause, or specially to ראיתי ( I had seen), not to נגע , since no ground can be perceived for the placing of the adverbial idea before the verb. The translation of מעף בּיעף by τάχει φερόμενος (lxx), πετόμενος (Theodot.), cito volans (Vulg.), from which the church fathers concluded that the angels were winged, notwithstanding the fact that rabbis, as e.g., Jos. Jacchiades, and modern interpreters (Häv., v. Leng., Hitz.) maintain it, is without any foundation in the words, and was probably derived by the old translators from a confounding of יעף with עוּף יעף means only wearied, to become tired, to weary oneself by exertion, in certain places, as e.g., Jeremiah 2:24, by a long journey or course, but nowhere to run or to flee. יעף , weariness - wearied in weariness, i.e., very wearied or tired. According to this interpretation, which the words alone admit of, the expression is applicable, not to the angel, whom as an unearthly being, we cannot speak of as being wearied, although, with Kranichfeld, one may think of the way from the dwelling-place of God, removed far from His sinful people, to this earth as very long. On the contrary, the words perfectly agree with the condition of Daniel described in Daniel 8:17., 27, and Daniel mentions this circumstance, because Gabriel, at his former coming to him, not only helped to strengthen him, but also gave him understanding of the vision, which was to him hidden in darkness, so that his appearing again at once awakened joyful hope. אלי נגע , not he touched me, but he reached me, came forward to me. For this meaning of נגע cf. 2 Samuel 5:8; Jonah 3:6. “About the time of the evening sacrifice.” מנחה , properly meat-offering, here comprehending the sacrifice, as is often its meaning in the later Scriptures; cf. Malachi 1:13; Malachi 2:13; Malachi 3:4. The time of the evening oblation was the time of evening prayer for the congregation.
ויּבן , he gave understanding, insight, as Daniel 8:16. The words point back to Daniel 9:2. First of all Gabriel speaks of the design and the circumstances of his coming. עתּה יצאתי , now, viz., in consequence of thy morning prayer, I am come, sc. from the throne of God. להשׂכּילך בינה , to instruct thee in knowledge. This is more particularly declared in Daniel 9:23. At the beginning of Daniel's prayer a word, i.e., a communication from God, came forth, which he brought. דּבר , not a commandment, or the divine commandment to Gabriel to go to Daniel, but a word of God, and particularly the word which he announced to Daniel, Daniel 9:24-27. The sentence, “for thou art a man greatly beloved” ( חמוּדות חמוּדות אישׁ , Daniel 10:11, Daniel 10:19, vir desideriorum, desideratissimus ), does not contain the reason for Gabriel's coming in haste, but for the principal thought of the verse, the going forth of the word of God immediately at the beginning of Daniel's prayer. המּראה stands not for revelation, but is the vision, the appearance of the angel by whom the word of God was communicated to the prophet. מראה is accordingly not the contents of the word spoken, but the form for its communication to Daniel. To both - the word and the form of its revelation - Daniel must give heed. This revelation was, moreover, not communicated to him in a vision, but while in the state of natural consciousness.
Seventy weeks are determined. - שׁבעים from שׁבוּע , properly, the time divided into sevenths, signifies commonly the period of seven days, the week, as Genesis 29:27. (in the sing.), and Daniel 10:2-3, in the plur., which is usually in the form שׁבעות ; cf. Deuteronomy 16:9., Exodus 34:22, etc. In the form שׁבעים there thus lies no intimation that it is not common weeks that are meant. As little does it lie in the numeral being placed after it, for it also sometimes is found before it, where, as here, the noun as the weightier idea must be emphasized, and that not by later authors merely, but also in Genesis 32:15., 1 Kings 8:63; cf. Gesen. Lehrgeb. p. 698. What period of time is here denoted by שׁבעים can be determined neither from the word itself and its form, nor from the comparison with ימים שׁבעים , Daniel 10:2-3, since ימים is in these verses added to שׁבעים , not for the purpose of designating these as day-weeks, but simply as full weeks (three weeks long). The reasons for the opinion that common (i.e., seven-day) weeks are not intended, lie partly in the contents of Daniel 9:25, Daniel 9:27, which undoubtedly teach that that which came to pass in the sixty-two weeks and in the one week could not take place in common weeks, partly in the reference of the seventy שׁבעים to the seventy years of Jeremiah, Daniel 9:2. According to a prophecy of Jeremiah - so e.g., Hitzig reasons - Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years, and now, in the sixty-ninth year, the city and the temple are as yet lying waste (Daniel 9:17.), and as yet nowhere are there symptoms of any change. Then, in answer to his supplication, Daniel received the answer, seventy שׁבעים must pass before the full working out of the deliverance. “If the deliverance was not yet in seventy years, then still less was it in seventy weeks. With seventy times seven months we are also still inside of seventy years, and we are directed therefore to year-weeks, so that each week shall consist of seven years. The special account of the contents of the weeks can be adjusted with the year-weeks alone; and the half-week, Daniel 9:27, particularly appears to be identical in actual time with these three and a half times (years), Daniel 7:25.” This latter element is by others much more definitely affirmed. Thus e.g., Kranichfeld says that Daniel had no doubt about the definite extent of the expression שׁבוּע , but gave an altogether unambiguous interpretation of it when he combined the last half-week essentially with the known and definite three and a half years of the time of the end. But - we must, on the contrary, ask - where does Daniel speak of the three and a half years of the time of the end? He does not use the word year in any of the passages that fall to be here considered, but only עדּן or מועד , time, definite time. That by this word common years are to be understood, is indeed taken for granted by many interpreters, but a satisfactory proof of such a meaning has not been adduced. Moreover, in favour of year-weeks (periods of seven years) it has been argued that such an interpretation was very natural, since they hold so prominent a place in the law of Moses; and the Exile had brought them anew very distinctly into remembrance, inasmuch as the seventy years' desolation of the land was viewed as a punishment for the interrupted festival of the sabbatical years: 2 Chronicles 36:21 (Hgstb., Kran., and others). But since these periods of seven years, as Hengstenberg himself confesses, are not called in the law שׁבעים or שׁבעות , therefore, from the repeated designation of the seventh year as that of the great Sabbath merely (Leviticus 25:2, Leviticus 25:4-5; Leviticus 26:34-35, Leviticus 26:43; 2 Chronicles 36:21), the idea of year-weeks in no way follows. The law makes mention not only of the Sabbath-year, but also of periods of seven times seven years, after the expiry of which a year of jubilee was always to be celebrated (Leviticus 25:8.). These, as well as the Sabbath-years, might be called שׁבעים . Thus the idea of year-weeks has no exegetical foundation. Hofmann and Kliefoth are in the right when they remark that שׁבעים does not necessarily mean year-weeks, but an intentionally indefinite designation of a period of time measured by the number seven, whose chronological duration must be determined on other grounds. The ἁπ . λεγ . חתך means in Chald. to cut off, to cut up into pieces, then to decide, to determine closely, e.g., Targ. Esther 4:5; cf. Buxtorf, Lex. talm., and Levy, Chald. Wörterb. s.v. The meaning for נחתּך , abbreviatae sunt ( Vulg. for ἐκολοβώθησαν , Matthew 24:22), which Wieseler has brought forward, is not proved, and it is unsuitable, because if one cuts off a piece from a whole, the whole is diminished on account of the piece cut off, but not the piece itself. For the explanation of the sing. נחתּך we need neither the supposition that a definite noun, as עת ( time), was before the prophet's mind (Hgstb.), nor the appeal to the inexact manner of writing of the later authors (Ewald). The sing. is simply explained by this, that שׁבעים שׁבעים is conceived of as the absolute idea, and then is taken up by the passive verb impersonal, to mark that the seventy sevenths are to be viewed as a whole, as a continued period of seventy seven times following each other.
Upon thy people and upon thy holy city. In the על there does not lie the conception of that which is burdensome, or that this period would be a time of suffering like the seventy years of exile (v. Lengerke). The word only indicates that such a period of time was determined upon the people. The people and the city of Daniel are called the people and the city of God, because Daniel has just represented them before God as His (Hävernick, v. Lengerke, Kliefoth). But Jerusalem, even when in ruins, is called the holy city by virtue of its past and its future history; cf. Daniel 9:20. This predicate does not point, as Wieseler and Hitzig have rightly acknowledged, to a time when the temple stood, as Stähelin and v. Lengerke suppose. Only this lies in it, Kliefoth has justly added, - not, however, in the predicate of holiness, but rather in the whole expression, - that the people and city of God shall not remain in the state of desolation in which they then were, but shall at some time be again restored, and shall continue during the time mentioned. One must not, however, at once conclude that this promise of continuance referred only to the people of the Jews and their earthly Jerusalem. Certainly it refers first to Israel after the flesh, and to the geographical Jerusalem, because these were then the people and the city of God; but these ideas are not exhausted in this reference, but at the same time embrace the New Testament church and the church of God on earth.
The following infinitive clauses present the object for which the seventy weeks are determined, i.e., they intimate what shall happen till, or with the expiry of, the time determined. Although ל before the infinitive does not mean till or during, yet it is also not correct to say that ל can point out only the issue which the period of time finally reaches, only its result. Whether that which is stated in the infinitive clauses shall for the first time take place after the expiry of, or at the end of the time named, or shall develope itself gradually in the course of it, and only be completed at the end of it, cannot be concluded from the final ל , but only from the material contents of the final clauses. The six statements are divided by Maurer, Hitzig, Kranichfeld, and others into three passages of two members each, thus: After the expiry of seventy weeks, there shall (1) be completed the measure of sin; (2) the sin shall be covered and righteousness brought in; (3) the prophecy shall be fulfilled, and the temple, which was desecrated by Antiochus, shall be again consecrated. The masoretes seem, however, to have already conceived of this threefold division by placing the Atnach under עלמים צדק (the fourth clause); but it rests on a false construction of the individual members especially of the first two passages. Rather we have two three-membered sentences before us. This appears evident from the arrangement of the six statements; i.e., that the first three statements treat of the taking away of sin, and thus of the negative side of the deliverance; the three last treat of the bringing in of everlasting righteousness with its consequences, and thus of the positive deliverance, and in such a manner that in both classes the three members stand in reciprocal relation to each other: the fourth statement corresponds to the first, the fifth to the second, the sixth to the third - the second and the fifth present even the same verb חתם .
In the first and second statements the reading is doubtful. Instead of לחתּם ( Keth.), to seal, the Keri has להתם , to end (R. תּמם , to complete). In לכלּא a double reading is combined, for the vowel-points do not belong to the Keth., which rather has לכלא , since כּלא is nowhere found in the Piel, but to the Keri, for the Masoretes hold כלא to be of the same meaning as כלה , to be ended. Thus the ancient translators interpreted it: lxx, τὰς ἀδικίας σπανίσαι ; Theod., συντελεσθῆναι , al. συντελέσαι ; Aquil., συντελέσαι τὴν ἀθεσίαν ; Vulg., ut consummetur praevaricatio . Bertholdt, Rosenmüller, Gesenius, Winer, Ewald, Hitzig, Maurer, have followed them in supposing a passing of ה into . א But since כּלה occurs frequently in Daniel, always with ה htiw (cf. v. 27; Daniel 11:36; Daniel 12:7), and generally the roots with ה take the form of those with א much seldomer than the reverse, on these grounds the reading לכלא thus deserves the preference, apart from the consideration that almost all the Keris are valueless emendations of the Masoretes; and the parallel להתם , decidedly erroneous, is obviously derived from Daniel 8:23. Thus the Keri does not give in the two passages a suitable meaning. The explanation: to finish the transgression and to make full the measure of sin, does not accord with what follows: to pardon the iniquity; and the thought that the Jews would fill up the measure of their transgression in the seventy year-weeks, and that as a punishment they would pass through a period of suffering from Antiochus and afterwards be pardoned, is untenable, because the punishment by Antiochus for their sins brought to their full measure is arbitrarily interpolated; but without this interpolation the pardon of the sins stands in contradiction to the filling up of their measure. Besides, this explanation is further opposed by the fact, that in the first two statements there must be a different subject from that which is in the third. For to fill up the measure of sin is the work of God. Accordingly the Kethiv alone is to be adopted as correct, and the first passage to be translated thus: to shut up the transgression. כּלא means to hold back, to hold in, to arrest, to hold in prison, to shut in or shut up; hence כּלא , a prison, jail. To arrest the wickedness or shut it up does not mean to pardon it, but to hem it in, to hinder it so that it can no longer spread about (Hofm.); cf. Zechariah 5:8 and Revelation 20:3.
In the second passage, “ to seal up sin,” the חטּאות are the several proofs of the transgression. חתם , to seal, does not denote the finishing or ending of the sins (Theodrt. and others). Like the Arab. chtm, it may occur in the sense of “to end,” and this meaning may have originated from the circumstance that one is wont at the end of a letter or document to affix the impress of a seal; yet this meaning is nowhere found in Hebr.: see under Exodus 28:12. The figure of the sealing stands here in connection with the shutting up in prison. Cf. Daniel 6:18, the king for greater security sealed up the den into which Daniel was cast. Thus also God seals the hand of man that it cannot move, Job 37:7, and the stars that they cannot give light, Job 9:7. But in this figure to seal is not = to take away, according to which Hgstb. and many others explain it thus: the sins are here described as sealed, because they are altogether removed out of the sight of God, altogether set aside; for “that which is shut up and sealed is not merely taken away, entirely set aside, but guarded, held under lock and seal” (Kliefoth). Hence more correctly Hofmann and Kliefoth say, “If the sins are sealed, they are on the one side laid under custody, so that they cannot any more be active or increase, but that they may thus be guarded and held, so that they can no longer be pardoned and blotted out;” cf. Revelation 20:3.
The third statement is, “ to make reconciliation for iniquity.” כּפּר is terminus techn ., to pardon, to blot out by means of a sin-offering, i.e., to forgive.
These three passages thus treat of the setting aside of sin and its blotting out; but they neither form a climax nor a mere συναθροισμός , a multiplying of synonymous expressions for the pardoning of sins, ut tota peccatorum humani generis colluvies eo melius comprehenderetur (M. Geier). Against the idea of a climax it is justly objected, that in that case the strongest designation of sin, הפּשׁע , which designates sin as a falling away from God, a rebelling against Him, should stand last, whereas it occurs in the first sentence. Against the idea of a συναθροισμός it is objected, that the words “to shut up” and “to seal” are not synonymous with “to make reconciliation for,” i.e., “to forgive.” The three expressions, it is true, all treat alike of the setting aside of sin, but in different ways. The first presents the general thought, that the falling away shall be shut up, the progress and the spreading of the sin shall be prevented. The other two expressions define more closely how the source whence arises the apostasy shall be shut up, the going forth and the continued operation of the sin prevented. This happens in one way with unbelievers, and in a different way with believers. The sins of unbelievers are sealed, are guarded securely under a seal, so that they may no more spread about and increase, nor any longer be active and operative; but the sins of believers are forgiven through a reconciliation. The former idea is stated in the second member, and the latter in the third, as Hofmann and Kliefoth have rightly remarked.
There follows the second group of three statements, which treat of the positive unfolding of salvation accompanying the taking away and the setting aside of sin. The first expression of this group, or the fourth in the whole number, is “ to bring in everlasting righteousness.” After the entire setting aside of sin must come a righteousness which shall never cease. That צדק does not mean “happiness of the olden time” (Bertholdt, Rösch), nor “innocence of the former better times” (J. D. Michaelis), but “righteousness,” requires at present no further proof. Righteousness comes from heaven as the gift of God (Ps. 85:11-14; Isaiah 51:5-8), rises as a sun upon them that fear God (Mal. 3:20), and is here called everlasting, corresponding to the eternity of the Messianic kingdom (cf. Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:18, Daniel 7:27). צדק comprehends the internal and the external righteousness of the new heavens and the new earth, 2 Peter 3:13. This fourth expression forms the positive supplement of the first: in the place of the absolutely removed transgression is the perfected righteousness.
In the fifth passage, to seal up the vision and prophecy, the word חתם , used in the second passage of sin, is here used of righteousness. The figure of sealing is regarded by many interpreters in the sense of confirming, and that by filling up, with reference to the custom of impressing a seal on a writing for the confirmation of its contents; and in illustration these references are given: 1 Kings 21:8, and Jeremiah 32:10-11, Jeremiah 32:44 (Hävernick, v. Lengerke, Ewald, Hitzig, and others). But for this figurative use of the word to seal, no proof-passages are adduced from the O.T. Add to this that the word cannot be used here in a different sense from that in which it is used in the second passage. The sealing of the prophecy corresponds to the sealing of the transgression, and must be similarly understood. The prophecy is sealed when it is laid under a seal, so that it can no longer actively show itself.
The interpretation of the object ונביא חזון is also disputed. Berth., Ros., Bleek, Ewald, Hitzig, Wieseler, refer it to the prophecy of the seventy weeks (Jer 25 and 29), mentioned in Daniel 9:2. But against this view stands the fact of the absence of the article; for if by חזון that prophecy is intended, an intimation of this would have been expected at least by the definite article, and here particularly would have been altogether indispensable. It is also condemned by the word נביא added, which shows that both words are used in comprehensive generality for all existing prophecies and prophets. Not only the prophecy, but the prophet who gives it, i.e., not merely the prophecy, but also the calling of the prophet, must be sealed. Prophecies and prophets are sealed, when by the full realization of all prophecies prophecy ceases, no prophets any more appear. The extinction of prophecy in consequence of its fulfilment is not, however (with Hengstenberg), to be sought in the time of the manifestation of Christ in the flesh; for then only the prophecy of the Old Covenant reached its end (cf. Matthew 11:13; Luke 22:37; John 1:46), and its place is occupied by the prophecy of the N.T., the fulfilling of which is still in the future, and which will not come to an end and terminate ( καταργηθήσεται , 1 Corinthians 13:8) till the kingdom of God is perfected in glory at the termination of the present course of the world's history, at the same time with the full conclusive fulfilment of the O.T. prophecy; cf. Acts 3:21. This fifth member stands over against the second, as the fourth does over against the first. “When the sins are sealed, the prophecy is also sealed, for prophecy is needed in the war against sin; when sin is thus so placed that it can no longer operate, then prophecy also may come to a state of rest; when sin comes to an end in its place, prophecy can come to an end also by its fulfilment, there being no place for it after the setting aside of sin. And when the apostasy is shut up, so that it can no more spread about, then righteousness will be brought, that it may possess the earth, now freed from sin, shut up in its own place” (Kliefoth).
The sixth and last clause, to anoint a most holy, is very differently interpreted. Those interpreters who seek the fulfilment of this word of revelation in the time following nearest the close of the Exile, or in the time of the Maccabees, refer this clause either to the consecration of the altar of burnt-offering (Wieseler), which was restored by Zerubbabel and Joshua (Ezra 3:2.), or to the consecration of the temple of Zerubbabel (J. D. Michaelis, Jahn, Steudel), or to the consecration of the altar of burnt-offering which was desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes, 1 Macc. 4:54 (Hitzig, Kranichfeld, and others). But none of these interpretations can be justified. It is opposed by the actual fact, that neither in the consecration of Zerubbabel's temple, nor at the re-consecration of the altar of burnt-offering desecrated by Antiochus, is mention made of any anointing. According to the definite, uniform tradition of the Jews, the holy anointing oil did not exist during the time of the second temple. Only the Mosaic sanctuary of the tabernacle, with its altars and vessels, were consecrated by anointing. Exodus 30:22., 40:1-16; Leviticus 8:10. There is no mention of anointing even at the consecration of Solomon's temple, 1 Kings 8 and 2 Chron 5-7, because that temple only raised the tabernacle to a fixed dwelling, and the ark of the covenant as the throne of God, which was the most holy furniture thereof, was brought from the tabernacle to the temple. Even the altar of burnt-offering of the new temple (Ezekiel 43:20, Ezekiel 43:26) was not consecrated by anointing, but only by the offering of blood. Then the special fact of the consecration of the altar of burnt-offering, or of the temple, does not accord with the general expressions of the other members of this verse, and was on the whole not so significant and important an event as that one might expect it to be noticed after the foregoing expressions. What Kranichfeld says in confirmation of this interpretation is very far-fetched and weak. He remarks, that “as in this verse the prophetic statements relate to a taking away and כּפּר of sins, in the place of which righteousness is restored, accordingly the anointing will also stand in relation to this sacred action of the כפר , which primarily and above all conducts to the significance of the altar of Israel, that, viz., which stood in the outer court.” But, even granting this to be correct, it proves nothing as to the anointing even of the altar of burnt-offering. For the preceding clauses speak not only of the כפר of transgression, but also of the taking away (closing and sealing) of the apostasy and of sin, and thus of a setting aside of sin, which did not take place by means of a sacrifice. The fullest expiation also for the sins of Israel which the O.T. knew, viz., that on the great day of atonement, was not made on the altar of burnt-offering, but by the sprinkling of the blood of the offering on the ark of the covenant in the holy of holies, and on the altar of incense in the most holy place. If משׁח is to be explained later the כּפּר , then by “holy of holies” we would have to understand not “primarily” the altar of burnt-offering, but above all the holy vessels of the inner sanctuary, because here it is not an atonement needing to be repeated that is spoken of, but one that avails for ever.
In addition to this, there is the verbal argument that the words קדשׁים קדשׁ are not used of a single holy vessel which alone could be thought of. Not only the altar of burnt-offering is so named, Exodus 29:37; Exodus 40:10, but also the altar of incense, Exodus 30:10, and the two altars with all the vessels of the sanctuary, the ark of the covenant, shew-bread, candlesticks, basins, and the other vessels belonging thereto, Exodus 30:29, also the holy material for incense, Exodus 30:36, the shew-bread, Leviticus 24:9, the meat-offering, Leviticus 2:3, Leviticus 2:10; Leviticus 6:10; Leviticus 10:12, the flesh of the sin-offering and of the expiatory sacrifice, Leviticus 6:10, Leviticus 6:18; Leviticus 10:17; Leviticus 7:1, Leviticus 7:6; Leviticus 14:13; Numbers 18:9, and that which was sanctified to the Lord, Leviticus 27:28. Finally, the whole surroundings of the hill on which the temple stood, Ezekiel 43:12, and the whole new temple, Ezekiel 45:3, is named a “most holy;” and according to 1 Chronicles 23:13, Aaron and his sons are sanctified as קדשׁים קדשׁ .
Thus there is no good ground for referring this expression to the consecration of the altar of burnt-offering. Such a reference is wholly excluded by the fact that the consecration of Zerubbabel's temple and altar, as well as of that which was desecrated by Antiochus, was a work of man, while the anointing of a “most holy” in the verse before us must be regarded as a divine act, because the three preceding expressions beyond controversy announce divine actions. Every anointing, indeed, of persons or of things was performed by men, but it becomes a work of God when it is performed with the divinely ordained holy anointing oil by priests or prophets according to God's command, and then it is the means and the symbol of the endowment of equipment with the Spirit of God. When Saul was anointed by Samuel, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, 1 Samuel 10:9. The same thing was denoted by the anointing of David, 1 Samuel 16:13. The anointing also of the tabernacle and its vessels served the same object, consecrating them as the place and the means of carrying on the gracious operations of the Spirit of God. As an evidence of this, the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle after it was set up and consecrated. At the dedication of the sanctuary after the Exile, under Zerubbabel and in the Maccabean age, the anointing was wanting, and there was no entrance into it also of the glory of the Lord. Therefore these consecrations cannot be designated as anointings and as the works of God, and the angel cannot mean these works of men by the “anointing of a most holy.”
Much older, more general, and also nearer the truth, is the explanation which refers these words to the anointing of the Messiah, an explanation which is established by various arguments. The translation of the lxx, καὶ εὐφράναι ἅγιον ἁγίων , and of Theod., τοῦ χρῖσαι ἅγιον ἁγίων , the meaning of which is controverted, is generally understood by the church Fathers as referring to the Messiah. Theodoret sets it forth as undoubtedly correct, and as accepted even by the Jews; and the old Syriac translator has introduced into the text the words, “till the Messiah, the Most Holy.”
(Note: Eusebius, Demonstr. Ev. viii. 2, p. 387, ed. Colon., opposes the opinion that the translation of Aquila, καὶ ἀλεῖψαι ἡγιασμένον ἡγιασμένων , may be understood of the Jewish high priest. Cf. Raymundis Martini, Pugio fidei, p. 285, ed. Carpz., and Edzard ad Abodah Sara, p. 246f., for evidences of the diffusion of this interpretation among the Jews.)
But this interpretation is set aside by the absence of the article. Without taking into view 1 Chronicles 23:13, the words קדשׁים קדשׁ are nowhere used of persons, but only of things. This meaning lies at the foundation of the passage in the book of Chronicles referred to, “that he should sanctify a קדשׁים קדשׁ קד , anoint him (Aaron) to be a most holy thing.” Following Hävernick, therefore, Hengstenberg (2nd ed. of his Christol. iii. p. 54) seeks to make this meaning applicable also for the Messianic interpretation, for he thinks that Christ is here designated as a most holy thing. But neither in the fact that the high priest bore on his brow the inscription ליהוה קדשׁ , nor in the declaration regarding Jehovah, “He shall be למקדּשׁ ,” Isaiah 8:14, cf. Ezekiel 11:16, is there any ground for the conclusion that the Messiah could simply be designated as a most holy thing. In Luke 1:35 Christ is spoken of by the simple neuter ἅγιον , but not by the word “object;” and the passages in which Jesus is described as ὁ ἅγιος , Acts 3:14; Acts 4:30; 1 John 2:20; Revelation 3:7, prove nothing whatever as to this use of קדשׁ of Christ. Nothing to the purpose also can be gathered from the connection of the sentence. If in what follows the person of the Messiah comes forward to view, it cannot be thence concluded that He must also be mentioned in this verse.
Much more satisfactory is the thought, that in the words “to anoint a קדשׁים קדשׁ ” the reference is to the anointing of a new sanctuary, temple, or most holy place. The absence of the article forbids us, indeed, from thinking of the most holy place of the earthly temple which was rebuilt by Zerubbabel, since the most holy place of the tabernacle as well as of the temple is constantly called הקדשׁים קדשׁ . But it is not this definite holy of holies that is intended, but a new holy of holies which should be in the place of the holy of holies of the tabernacle and the temple of Solomon. Now, since the new temple of the future seen by Ezekiel, with all its surroundings, is called (Ezekiel 45:3) קדשׁים קדשׁ , Hofmann ( de 70 Jahre, p. 65) thinks that the holy of holies is the whole temple, and its anointing with oil a figure of the sanctification of the church by the Holy Ghost, but that this shall not be in the conspicuousness in which it is here represented till the time of the end, when the perfected church shall possess the conspicuousness of a visible sanctuary. But, on the contrary, Kliefoth (p. 307) has with perfect justice replied, that “the most holy, and the temple, so far as it has a most holy place, is not the place of the congregation where it comes to God and is with God, but, on the contrary, is the place where God is present for the congregation, and manifests Himself to it.” The words under examination say nothing of the people and the congregation which God will gather around the place of His gracious presence, but of the objective place where God seeks to dwell among His people and reveal Himself to them. The anointing is the act by which the place is consecrated to be a holy place of the gracious presence and revelation of God. If thus the anointing of a most holy is here announced, then by it there is given the promise, not of the renewal of the place already existing from of old, but of the appointment of a new place of God's gracious presence among His people, a new sanctuary. This, as Kliefoth further justly observes, apart from the connection, might refer to the work of redemption perfected by the coming of Christ, which has indeed created in him a new place of the gracious presence of God, a new way of God's dwelling among men. But since this statement is closely connected with those going before, and they speak of the perfect setting aside of transgression and of sin, of the appearance of everlasting righteousness, and the shutting up of all prophecy by its fulfilment, thus of things for which the work of redemption completed by the first appearance of Christ has, it is true, laid the everlasting foundation, but which first reach their completion in the full carrying through of this work of salvation in the return of the Lord by the final judgment, and the establishment of the kingdom of glory under the new heavens and on the new earth, - since this is the case, we must refer this sixth statement also to that time of the consummation, and understand it of the establishment of the new holy of holies which was shown to the holy seer on Patmos as ἡ σκηνὴ τοῦ Θεοῦ μετὰ τῶν ἀνθρώπων , in which God will dwell with them, and they shall become His people, and He shall be their God with them (Revelation 21:1-3). In this holy city there will be no temple, for the Lord, the Almighty God, and the Lamb is its temple, and the glory of God will lighten it (Revelation 21:22). Into it nothing shall enter that defileth or worketh abomination (Revelation 21:27), for sin shall then be closed and sealed up; there shall righteousness dwell (2 Peter 3:13), and prophecy shall cease (1 Corinthians 13:8) by its fulfilment.
From the contents of these six statements it thus appears that the termination of the seventy weeks coincides with the end of the present course of the world. But Daniel 9:24 says nothing as to the commencement of this period. Nor can this be determined, as many interpreters think, from the relation in which the revelation of the seventy weeks stands to the prayer of Daniel, occasioned by Jeremiah's prophecy of the seventy years of the desolation of Jerusalem. If Daniel, in the sixty-ninth year of the desolation, made supplication to the Lord for mercy in behalf of Jerusalem and Israel, and on the occasion of this prayer God caused Gabriel to lay open to him that seventy weeks were determined upon the city and the people of God, it by no means thence follows that seventy year-weeks must be substituted in place of the seventy years prophesied of, that both commence simultaneously, and thus that the seventy years of the Exile shall be prolonged to a period of oppression for Israel lasting for seventy year-weeks. Such a supposition is warranted neither by the contents of the prophecy of Jeremiah, nor by the message of the angel to Daniel. Jeremiah, it is true, prophesied not merely of seventy years of the desolation of Jerusalem and Judah, but also of the judgment upon Babylon after the expiry of these years, and the collecting together and bringing back of Israel from all the countries whither they were scattered into their own land (Jeremiah 25:10-12; Jeremiah 29:10-14); but in his supplication Daniel had in his eye only the desolation of the land of Jeremiah's prophecy, and prayed for the turning away of the divine anger from Jerusalem, and for the pardon of Israel's sins. Now if the words of the angel had been, “not seventy years, but seventy year-weeks, are determined over Israel,” this would have been no answer to Daniel's supplication, at least no comforting answer, to bring which to him the angel was commanded to go forth in haste. Then the angel announces in Daniel 9:24 much more than the return of Israel from the Exile to their own land. But this is decided by the contents of the following verses, in which the space of seventy weeks is divided into three periods, and at the same time the commencement of the period is determined in a way which excludes its connection with the beginning of the seventy years of the Exile.
The detailed statement of the 70 שׁבעים in 7 + 62 + 1 (Daniel 9:25, Daniel 9:26, Daniel 9:27), with the fuller description of that which was to happen in the course of these three periods of time, incontrovertibly shows that these three verses are a further explication of the contents of Daniel 9:24. This explication is introduced by the words: “Know therefore, and understand,” which do not announce a new prophecy, as Wieseler and Hofmann suppose, but only point to the importance of the further opening up of the contents of Daniel 9:24, since ותשׂכּל ( and thou wilt understand) stands in distinct relation to בינה להשׂכּלך ( to give thee skill and understanding, Daniel 9:22). The two parts of Daniel 9:25 contain the statements regarding the first two portions of the whole period, the seven and the sixty-two שׁבעים , and are rightly separated by the Masoretes by placing the Atnach under שׁבעה . The first statement is: “ from the going forth of the command to restore and to build Jerusalem unto a Messiah (Gesalbten) , a prince, shall be seven weeks.” דּבר מצא ( from the going forth of the commandment) formally corresponds, indeed, to דּבר יצא ( the commandment came forth), Daniel 9:23, emphatically expressing a decision on the part of God, but the two expressions are not actually to be identified; for the commandment, Daniel 9:23, is the divine revelation communicated in Daniel 9:24-27, which the angel brings to Daniel; the commandment in Daniel 9:25 is, on the contrary, more fully determined by the words, “ to restore and to build, etc. להשׁיב is not to be joined adverbially with ולבנות so as to form one idea: to build again; for, though שׁוּב may be thus used adverbially in Kal, yet the Hiphil השׁיב is not so used. השׁיב means to lead back, to bring again, then to restore; cf. for this last meaning Isaiah 1:26, Psalms 80:4, Psalms 80:8,20. The object to להשׁיב follows immediately after the word ולבנות , namely, Jerusalem. The supplementing of עם , people (Wieseler, Kliefoth, and others), is arbitrary, and is not warranted by Jeremiah 29:10. To bring back, to restore a city, means to raise it to its former state; denotes the restitutio , but not necessarily the full restitutio in integrum (against Hengstenberg). Here לבנות is added, as in the second half of the verse to תּשׁוּב , yet not so as to make one idea with it, restoring to build, or building to restore, i.e., to build up again to the old extent. בּנה as distinguished from השׁיב denotes the building after restoring, and includes the constant preservation in good building condition, as well as the carrying forward of the edifice beyond its former state.
But if we ask when this commandment went forth, in order that we may thereby determine the beginning of the seven weeks, and, since they form the first period of the seventy, at the same time determine the beginning of the seventy weeks, the words and the context only supply this much, that by the “commandment” is meant neither the word of God which is mentioned in Daniel 9:23, because it says nothing about the restoration of Jerusalem, but speaks only of the whole message of the angel. Nor yet is it the word of God which is mentioned in Daniel 9:2, the prophecies given in Jer 25 and 29, as Hitzig, Kranichfeld, and others suppose. For although from these prophecies it conclusively follows, that after the expiry of the seventy years with the return of Israel into their own land, Jerusalem shall again be built up, yet they do not speak of that which shall happen after the seventy years, but only of that which shall happen within that period, namely, that Jerusalem shall for so long a time lie desolate, as Daniel 9:2 expressly affirms. The prophecy of the seventy years' duration of the desolation of Jerusalem (Daniel 9:2) cannot possibly be regarded as the commandment (in Daniel 9:25) to restore Jerusalem (Kliefoth). As little can we, with Hitzig, think on Jer 30 and 31, because this prophecy contains nothing whatever of a period of time, and in this verse before us there is no reference to this prophecy. The restoration of Israel and of Jerusalem has indeed been prophesied of in general, not merely by Jeremiah, but also long before him by Isaiah (Daniel 40-56). With as much justice may we think on Isa 40ff. as on Jer 30 and 31; but all such references are excluded by this fact, that the angel names the commandment for the restoration of Jerusalem as the terminus a quo for the seventy weeks, and thus could mean only a word of God whose going forth was somewhere determined, or could be determined, just as the appearance of the נגיד משׁיח is named as the termination of the seven weeks. Accordingly “the going forth of the commandment to restore,” etc., must be a factum coming into visibility, the time of which could without difficulty be known - a word from God regarding the restoration of Jerusalem which went forth by means of a man at a definite time, and received an observable historical execution.
Now, with Calvin, Oecolampadius, Kleinert, Nägelsbach, Ebrard, and Kliefoth, we can think of nothing more appropriate than the edict of Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-11) which permitted the Jews to return, from which the termination of the Exile is constantly dated, and from the time off which this return, together with the building up of Jerusalem, began, and was carried forward, though slowly (Klief.). The prophecy of Isaiah 44:28, that God would by means of Cyrus speak to cause Jerusalem to be built, and the foundation of the temple to be laid, directs us to this edict. With reference to this prophecy, it is said in Ezra 6:14, “They builded according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of the king of Persia.” This is acknowledged even by Hengstenberg, who yet opposes this reference; for he remarks ( Christol. iii. p. 142), “If the statement were merely of the commencement of the building, then they would undoubtedly be justified who place the starting-point in the first year of Cyrus. Isaiah (Isaiah 45:13) commends Cyrus as the builder of the city; and all the sacred writings which relate to the period from the time of Cyrus to Nehemiah distinctly state the actual existence of a Jerusalem during this period.” But according to his explanation, the words of the angel do not announce the beginning of the building of the city, but much rather the beginning of its “completed restoration according to its ancient extent and its ancient glory.” But that this is not contained in the words ולבנות להשׁיב we have already remarked, to which is to be added, that the placing in opposition the commencement of the building and the commencement of its completed restoration is quite arbitrary and vain, since certainly the commencement of the restoration at the same time includes in it the commencement of the completed restoration. In favour of interpreting להשׁיב of the completed restoration, Hengstenberg remarks that “in the announcement the temple is named along with the city in Daniel 9:26 as well as in Daniel 9:27. That with the announcement of the building the temple is not named here, that mention is made only of the building of the streets of the city, presupposes the sanctuary as already built up at the commencement of the building which is here spoken of; and the existence of the temple again requires that a commencement of the rebuilding of the city had also been already made, since it is not probable that the angel should have omitted just that which was the weightiest matter, that for which Daniel was most grieved, and about which he had prayed (cf. Daniel 9:17, Daniel 9:20) with the greatest solicitude.” But the validity of this conclusion is not obvious. In Daniel 9:26 the naming of the temple along with the city is required by the facts of the case, and this verse treats of what shall happen after the sixty-two weeks. How, then, shall it be thence inferred that the temple should also be mentioned along with the city in Daniel 9:25, where the subject is that which forms the beginning of the seven or of the seventy weeks, and that, since this was not done, the temple must have been then already built? The non-mention of the temple in Daniel 9:24, as in Daniel 9:25, is fully and simply explained by this, that the word of the angel stands in definite relation to the prayer of Daniel, but that Daniel was moved by Jeremiah's prophecy of the seventy years' duration of the חרבות of Jerusalem to pray for the turning away of the divine wrath from the city. As Jeremiah, in the announcement of the seventy years' desolation of the land, did not specially mention the destruction of the temple, so also the angel, in the decree regarding the seventy weeks which are determined upon the people of Israel and the holy city, makes no special mention of the temple; as, however, in Jeremiah's prophecy regarding the desolation of the land, the destruction not only of Jerusalem, but also of the temple, is included, so also in the building of the holy city is included that of the temple, by which Jerusalem was made a holy city. Although thus the angel, in the passage before us, does not expressly speak of the building of the temple, but only of the holy city, we can maintain the reference of the דּבר מצא to the edict of Cyrus, which constituted an epoch in the history of Israel, and consider this edict as the beginning of the termination of the seven resp. seventy weeks.
The words נגיד משׁיח עד show the termination of the seven weeks. The words נגיד משׁיח are not to be translated an anointed prince (Bertholdt); for משׁיח cannot be an adjective to נגיד , because in Hebr. The adjective is always placed after the substantive, with few exceptions, which are inapplicable to this case; cf. Ewald's Lehrb. §293 b. Nor can משׁיח be a participle: till a prince is anointed (Steudel), but it is a noun, and נגיד is connected with it by apposition: an anointed one, who at the same time is a prince. According to the O.T., kings and priests, and only these, were anointed. Since, then, משׁיח is brought forward as the principal designation, we may not by נגיד think of a priest-prince, but only of a prince of the people, nor by משׁיח of a king, but only of a priest; and by נגיד משׁיח we must understand a person who first and specially is a priest, and in addition is a prince of the people, a king. The separation of the two words in Daniel 9:26, where נגיד is acknowledged as meaning a prince of the people, leads to the same conclusion. This priest-king can neither be Zerubbabel (according to many old interpreters), nor Ezra (Steudel), nor Onias III (Wieseler); for Zerubbabel the prince was not anointed, and the priest Ezra and the high priest Onias were not princes of the people. Nor can Cyrus be meant here, as Saad., Gaon., Bertholdt, v. Lengerke, Maurer, Ewald, Hitzig, Kranichfeld, and others think, by a reference to Isaiah 45:1; for, supposing it to be the case that Daniel had reason from Isaiah 45:1 to call Cyrus משׁיח - which is to be doubted, since from this epithet משׁיחו , His (Jehovah's) anointed, which Isaiah uses of Cyrus, it does not follow as of course that he should be named משׁיח - the title ought at least to have been משׁיח נגיד , the משׁיח being an adjective following נגיד , because there is no evident reason for the express precedence of the adjectival definition.
(Note: “It is an unjustifiable assertion that every heathen king may also bear the name משׁיח , anointed. In all the books of the O.T. There is but a single heathen king, Cyrus, who is named משׁיח (Isaiah 45:1), and he not simply as such, but because of the remarkable and altogether singular relation in which he stood to the church, because of the gifts with which God endowed him for her deliverance, ... and because of the typical relation in which he stood to the author of the higher deliverance, the Messiah. Cyrus could in a certain measure be regarded as a theocratic ruler, and as such he is described by Isaiah.” - Hengstenberg.)
The O.T. knows only One who shall be both priest and king in one person (Psalms 110:4; Zechariah 6:13), Christ, the Messias (John 4:25), whom, with Hävernick, Hengstenberg, Hofmann, Auberlen, Delitzsch, and Kliefoth, we here understand by the נגיד משׁיח , because in Him the two essential requisites of the theocratic king, the anointing and the appointment to be the נגיד of the people of God (cf. 1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Samuel 13:14; 1 Samuel 16:13; 1 Samuel 25:30; 2 Samuel 2:4; 2 Samuel 5:2.), are found in the most perfect manner. These requisites are here attributed to Him as predicates, and in such a manner that the being anointed goes before the being a prince, in order to make prominent the spiritual, priestly character of His royalty, and to designate Him, on the ground of the prophecies, Isaiah 61:1-3 and Isaiah 55:4, as the person by whom “the sure mercies of David” (Isaiah 55:3) shall be realized by the covenant people.
(Note: In the נגיד משׁיח it is natural to suppose there is a reference to the passages in Isaiah referred to; yet one must not, with Hofmann and Auberlen, hence conclude that Christ is as King of Israel named משׁיח , and as King of the heathen נגיד , for in the frequent use of the word נגיד of the king of Israel in the books of Samuel it is much more natural to regard it as the reference to David.)
The absence of the definite article is not to be explained by saying that משׁיח , somewhat as צמח , Zechariah 3:8; Zechariah 6:12, is used κατ ̓ἑχ . as a nomen propr. of the Messiah, the Anointed; for in this case נגיד ought to have the article, since in Hebrew we cannot say מלך דּוד , but only המּלך דּוד . Much rather the article is wanting, because it shall not be said: till the Messiah, who is prince, but only: till one comes who is anointed and at the same time prince, because He that is to come is not definitely designated as the expected Messiah, but must be made prominent by the predicates ascribed to Him only as a personage altogether singular.
Thus the first half of Daniel 9:25 states that the first seven of the seventy weeks begin with the edict (of Cyrus) permitting the return of Israel from exile and the restoration of Jerusalem, and extend from that time till the appearance of an anointed one who at the same time is prince, i.e., till Christ. With that view the supposition that שׁבעים are year-weeks, periods of seven years, is irreconcilable. Therefore most interpreters who understand Christ as the נגיד משׁיח , have referred the following number, and sixty-two weeks, to the first clause - ”from the going forth of the command ... seven weeks and sixty-two weeks.” Thus Theodotion: ἕως Χριστοῦ ἡγουμένου ἑβδομάδες ἑπτὰ καὶ ἑβδομάδες ἑξηκονταδύο ; and the Vulgate: usque ad Christum ducem hebdomades septem et hebdomades sexaginta duae erunt . The text of the lxx is here, however, completely in error, and is useless. This interpretation, in recent times, Hävernick, Hengstenberg, and Auberlen have sought to justify in different ways, but without having succeeded in invalidating the reasons which stand opposite to them. First of all the Atnach forbids this interpretation, for by it the seven שׁבעים are separated from the sixty-two. This circumstance, however, in and of itself decides nothing, since the Atnach does not always separate clauses, but frequently also shows only the point of rest within a clause; besides, it first was adopted by the Masoretes, and only shows the interpretation of these men, without at all furnishing any guarantee for its correctness. But yet this view is not to be overlooked, as Hgstb. himself acknowledges in the remark: “Here the separation of the two periods of time was of great consequence, in order to show that the seven and the sixty-two weeks are not a mere arbitrary dividing into two of one whole period, but that to each of these two periods its own characteristic mark belongs.” With this remark, Hävernick's assertion, that the dividing of the sixty-nine שׁבעים into seven and sixty-two is made only on account of the solemnity of the whole passage, is set aside as altogether vain, and the question as to the ground of the division presses itself on our earnest attention.
If this division must indicate that to each of the two periods its own distinctive characteristic belongs, an unprejudiced consideration of the words shows that the characteristic mark of the “seven weeks” lies in this, that this period extends from the going forth of the word to restore Jerusalem till the appearance of an Anointed one, a Prince, thus terminating with the appearance of this Prince, and that the characteristic mark for the “sixty-two weeks” consists in that which the words immediately connected therewith affirm, וגו ונבנתה תּשׁוּב , and thus that the “sixty-two weeks” belong indeed to the following clause. But according to Hengstenberg the words ought not to be so understood, but thus: “sixty-nine weeks must pass away, seven till the completed restoration of the city, sixty-two from that time till the Anointed, the Prince.” But it is clearly impossible to find this meaning in the words of the text, and it is quite superfluous to use any further words in proof of this.
(Note: Hengstenberg, as Kliefoth has remarked, has taken as the first terminus ad quem the words “to restore and to build Jerusalem,” till the rebuilding of Jerusalem, till its completed rebuilding, till that Jerusalem is again built; and then the further words, “unto the Messiah the Prince,” as the second terminus ad quem ; and, finally, he assigns the seven weeks to the first terminus ad quem , and the sixty-two weeks is the second; as if the text comprehended two clauses, and declared that from the going forth of the commandment till that Jerusalem was rebuilt are seven heptades, and from that time till a Messiah, a Prince, are sixty-two heptades.)
By the remark, “If the second designation of time is attributed to that which follows, then we cannot otherwise explain it than that during sixty-two weeks the streets will be restored and built up; but this presents a very inappropriate meaning,” - by this remark the interpretation in question is neither shown to be possible, nor is it made evident. For the meaning would be inappropriate only if by the building up of Jerusalem we were to understand merely the rebuilding of the city which was laid in ruins by the Chaldeans. If we attribute the expression “and sixty-two weeks” to the first half of the verse, then the division of the sixty-nine weeks into seven weeks and sixty-two weeks is unaccountable; for in Daniel 9:26 we must then read, “after sixty-nine weeks,” and not, as we find it in the text, “after sixty-two weeks.” The substitution, again [in Daniel 9:26], of only this second designation of time (sixty-two weeks) is also intelligible only if the sixty-two weeks in Daniel 9:25 belong to the second half of the verse, and are to be separated from the seven weeks. The bringing together of the seven and of the sixty-two week stands thus opposed to the context, and is maintained merely on the supposition that the שׁבעים are year-weeks, or periods of time consisting of seven years, in order that sixty-nine year-weeks, i.e., 483 years, might be gained for the time from the rebuilding of Jerusalem to Christ. But since there is in the word itself no foundation for attaching to it this meaning, we have no right to distort the language of the text according to it, but it is our duty to let this interpretation fall aside as untenable, in order that we may do justice to the words of the prophecy. The words here used demand that we connect the period “and sixty-two weeks” with the second half of the verse, “and during sixty-two weeks shall the street be built again,” etc. The “sixty-two weeks” are not united antithetically to the “seven weeks” by the copula, ו as Hofmann would have it, but are connected simply as following the seven; so that that which is named as the contents of the “sixty-two weeks” is to be interpreted as happening first after the appearance of the Maschiach Nagid, or, more distinctly, that the appearance of the Messias forming the terminus ad quem of the seven weeks, forms at the same time the terminus a quo of the sixty-two weeks. That event which brings the close of the sixty-two weeks is spoken of in Daniel 9:26 in the words משׁיח יכּרת , Messiah shall be cut off. The words “and sixty-two שׁבעים owt-ytx ” may be taken grammatically either as the absolute nominative or as the accusative of duration. The words ונבנתה תּשׁוּב refer undoubtedly to the expression ולבנות להשׁיב ( to restore and to build), according to which תּשׁוּב is not to be joined adverbially to ונבנתה (according to Hävernick, Hofmann, and Wieseler), but is to be rendered intransitively, corresponding to השׁיב : shall be restored, as Ezekiel 16:55; 1 Kings 13:6; 2 Kings 5:10, 2 Kings 5:14; Exodus 4:7. The subject to both verbs is not (Rosenmüller, Gesenius, v. Leng., Hgstb.) רחוב , but Jerusalem, as is manifest from the circumstance that the verbs refer to the restoration and the building of Jerusalem, and is placed beyond a doubt by this, that in Zechariah 8:5 רחוב is construed as masculine; and the opinion that it is generis faem . rests only on this passage before us. There is no substantial reason for interpreting (with Klief.) the verbs impersonally.
The words וחרוּץ רחוב are difficult, and many interpretations have been given of them. There can be no doubt that they contain together one definition, and that רחוב is to be taken as the adverbial accusative. רחוב means the street and the wide space before the gate of the temple. Accordingly, to חרוּץ have been given the meanings ditch, wall, aqueduct (Ges., Steud., Zünd., etc.), pond (Ewald), confined space (Hofmann), court (Hitzig); but all these meanings are only hit upon from the connection, as are also the renderings of the lxx εἰς πλάτος καὶ μῆκος , of Theod. πλατεῖα καὶ τεῖχος , and of the Vulg. platea et muri . חרץ means to cut, then to decide, to determine, to conclude irrevocably; hence חרוּץ , decision, judgment, Joel 3:14. This meaning is maintained by Häv., Hgstb., v. Leng., Wies., and Kran., and וחרוּץ is interpreted as a participle: “and it is determined.” This shall form a contrast to the words, “but in the oppression of the times” - and it is determined, namely, that Jerusalem shall be built in its streets, but the building shall be accomplished in troublous times. But although this interpretation be well founded as regards the words themselves, it does not harmonize with the connection. The words וחרוּץ רחוב plainly go together, as the old translators have interpreted them. Now רחוב does not mean properly street, but a wide, free space, as Ezra 10:9, the open place before the temple, and is applied to streets only in so far as they are free, unoccupied spaces in cities. חרוּץ , that which is cut off, limited, forms a contrast to this, not, however, as that we may interpret the words, as Hofm. does, in the sense of width, and space cut off, not capable of extension, or free space and limited quarter (Hitzig), an interpretation which is too far removed from the primary import of the two words. It is better to interpret them, with Kliefoth, as “wide space, and yet also limited,” according to which we have the meaning, “Jerusalem shall be built so that the city takes in a wide space, has wide, free places, but not, however, unlimited in width, but such that their compass is measured off, is fixed and bounded.”
The last words, העתּים וּבצוק , point to the circumstances under which the building proceeds: in the difficulty, the oppression of the times. The book of Nehemiah, 3:33; Nehemiah 4:1., Daniel 6:1., 9:36, 37, furnishes a historical exposition of them, although the words do not refer to the building of the walls and bulwarks of the earthly Jerusalem which was accomplished by Nehemiah, but are to be understood, according to Ps. 51:20, of the spiritual building of the City of God.
After the threescore and two weeks, i.e., in the seventieth שׁבוּע , shall the Messiah be cut off. - From the אחרי ( after) it does not with certainty follow that the “cutting off” of the Maschiach falls wholly in the beginning of the seventieth week, but only that the “cutting off” shall constitute the first great event of this week, and that those things which are mentioned in the remaining part of the verse shall then follow. The complete designation of the time of the “cutting off” can only be found from the whole contents of Daniel 9:26, Daniel 9:27. נכרת , from כּרּת , to hew down, to fell, to cut to pieces, signifies to be rooted up, destroyed, annihilated, and denotes generally a violent kind of death, though not always, but only the uprooting from among the living, or from the congregation, and is therefore the usual expression for the destruction of the ungodly - e.g., Psalms 37:9; Proverbs 2:22 - without particularly designating the manner in which this is done. From יכּרת it cannot thus be strictly proved that this part of the verse announces the putting to death of an anointed one, or of the Messiah. Of the word Maschiach three possible interpretations have been given: 1. That the Maschiach Nagid of Daniel 9:25, the Maschiach of Daniel 9:26, and the Nagid of Daniel 9:26, are three different persons; 2. that all the three expressions denote one and the same person; and 3. that the Maschiach Nagid of Daniel 9:25 and the Maschiach of Daniel 9:26 are the same person, and that the Nagid of Daniel 9:26 is another and a different person. The first of these has been maintained by J. D. Michaelis, Jahn. Ebrard understands by all the three expressions the Messiah, and supposes that he is styled fully Maschiach Nagid in Daniel 9:25 in order that His calling and His dignity ( משׁיח ), as well as His power and strength ( נגיד ), might be designated; in Daniel 9:26, משׁיח , the anointed, where mention is made of His sufferings and His rejection; in Daniel 9:26, נגיד , the prince, where reference is made to the judgment which He sends (by the Romans on apostate Jerusalem). But this view is refuted by the circumstance that הבּא ( that is to come) follows נגיד , whereby the prince is represented as first coming, as well as by the circumstance that הבּא נגיד , who destroys the city and the sanctuary, whose end shall be with a flood, consequently cannot be the Messiah, but is the enemy of the people and kingdom of God, who shall arise (Daniel 7:24-25) in the last time. But if in Daniel 9:26 the Nagid is different from the Maschiach, then both also appear to be different from the Maschiach Nagid of Daniel 9:25. The circumstance that in Daniel 9:26 משׁיח has neither the article nor the addition נגיד following it, appears to be in favour of this opinion. The absence of the one as well as the other denotes that משׁיח , after that which is said of Him, in consideration of the connection of the words, needs no more special description. If we observe that the destruction of the city and the sanctuary is so connected with the Maschiach that we must consider this as the immediate or first consequence of the cutting off of the Maschiach, and that the destruction shall be brought about by a Nagid, then by Maschiach we can understand neither a secular prince or king nor simply a high priest, but only an anointed one who stands in such a relation to the city and sanctuary, that with his being “cut off” the city and the sanctuary lose not only their protection and their protector, but the sanctuary also loses, at the same time, its character as the sanctuary, which the Maschiach had given to it. This is suitable to no Jewish high priest, but only to the Messias whom Jehovah anointed to be a Priest-King after the order of Melchizedek, and placed as Lord over Zion, His holy hill. We agree therefore with Hävernick, Hengstenberg, Auberlen, and Kliefoth, who regard the Maschiach of this verse as identical with the Maschiach Nagid of Daniel 9:25, as Christ, who in the fullest sense of the word is the Anointed; and we hope to establish this view more fully in the following exposition of the historical reference of this word of the angel.
But by this explanation of the משׁיח we are not authorized to regard the word יכּרת as necessarily pointing to the death of the Messias, the crucifixion of Christ, since יכּרת , as above shown, does not necessarily denote a violent death. The right interpretation of this word depends on the explanation of the words לו ואין which follow - words which are very differently interpreted by critics. The supposition is grammatically inadmissible that לו אין איננּוּ (Michaelis, Hitzig), although the lxx in the Codex Chisianus have translated them by καὶ οὐκ ἔσται ; and in general all those interpretations which identify אין with לא , as e.g., et non sibi , and not for himself (Vitringa, Rosenmüller, Hävernick, and others). For אין is never interchanged with לא , but is so distinguished from it that לא , non, is negation purely, while אין , “it is not,” denies the existence of the thing; cf. Hengstenberg's Christol. iii. p. 81f., where all the passages which Gesenius refers to as exemplifying this exchange are examined and rightly explained, proving that אין is never used in the sense of לא . Still less is לו to be taken in the sense of לו (<) אשׁר , “there shall not then be one who (belongs) to him;” for although the pronomen relat. may be wanting in short sentences, yet that can be only in such as contain a subject to which it can refer. But in the אין no subject is contained, but only the non-existence is declared; it cannot be said: no one is, or nothing is. In all passages where it is thus rightly translated a participle follows, in which the personal or actual subject is contained, of which the non-existence is predicated. לו (<) אין without anything following is elliptical, and the subject which is not, which will not be, is to be learned from the context or from the matter itself. The missing subject here cannot be משׁיח , because לו points back to משׁיח ; nor can it be עם , people (Vulg., Grotius), or a descendant (Wieseler), or a follower (Auberlen), because all these words are destitute of any support from the context, and are brought forward arbitrarily. Since that which “is not to Him” is not named, we must thus read the expression in its undefined universality: it is not to Him, viz., that which He must have, to be the Maschiach. We are not by this to think merely of dominion, people, sanctuary, but generally of the place which He as Maschiach has had, or should have, among His people and in the sanctuary, but, by His being “cut off,” is lost. This interpretation is of great importance in guiding to a correct rendering of יכּרת ; for it shows that יכּרת does not denote the putting to death, or cutting off of existence, but only the annihilation of His place as Maschiach among His people and in His kingdom. For if after His “cutting off” He has not what He should have, it is clear that annihilation does not apply to Him personally, but only that He has lost His place and function as the Maschiach.
(Note: Kranichfeld quite appropriately compares the strong expression יכּרת with “the equally strong יבלּא ( shall wear out) in Daniel 7:25, spoken of that which shall befall the saints on the part of the enemy of God in the last great war. As by this latter expression destruction in the sense of complete annihilation cannot be meant, since the saints personally exist after the catastrophe (cf. Daniel 9:27, Daniel 9:22, Daniel 9:18), so also by this expression here ( יכּרת ) we are not to understand annihilation.”)
In consequence of the cutting off of the משׁיח destruction falls upon the city and the sanctuary. This proceeds from the people of the prince who comes. ישׁחית , to destroy, to ruin, is used, it is true, of the desolating of countries, but predicated of a city and sanctuary it means to overthrow; cf. e.g., Genesis 19:13., where it is used of the destruction of Sodom; and even in the case of countries the השׁחית consists in the destruction of men and cattle; cf. Jeremiah 36:29.
The meaning of הבּא נגיד עם depends chiefly on the interpretation of the הבּא . This we cannot, with Ebrard, refer to עם . Naturally it is connected with נגיד , not only according to the order of the words, but in reality, since in the following verse (Daniel 9:27) the people are no longer spoken of, but only the actions and proceedings of the prince are described. הבּא does not mean qui succedit (Roesch, Maurer), but is frequently used by Daniel of a hostile coming; cf. Daniel 1:1; Daniel 11:10, Daniel 11:13, Daniel 11:15. But in this sense הבּא appears to be superfluous, since it is self-evident that the prince, if he will destroy Jerusalem, must come or draw near. One also must not say that הבּא designates the prince as one who was to come ( ἐρχόμενος ), since from the expression “coming days,” as meaning “future days,” it does not follow that a “coming prince” is a “future prince.” The הבּא with the article: “he who comes, or will come,” denotes much rather the נגיד (which is without the article) as such an one whose coming is known, of whom Daniel has heard that he will come to destroy the people of God. But in the earlier revelations Daniel heard of two princes who shall bring destruction on his people: in Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:24., of Antichrist; and in Daniel 8:9., 23ff., of Antiochus. To one of these the הבּא points. Which of the two is meant must be gathered from the connection, and this excludes the reference to Antiochus, and necessitates our thinking of the Antichrist.
In the following clause: “ and his end with the flood,” the suffix refers simply to the hostile Nagid, whose end is here emphatically placed over against his coming (Kran., Hofm., Kliefoth). Preconceived views as to the historical interpretation of the prophecy lie at the foundation of all other references. The Messianic interpreters, who find in the words a prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and thus understand by the Nagid Titus, cannot apply the suffix to Nagid. M. Geier, Hävernick, and others, therefore, refer it (the suffix) to the city and the sanctuary; but that is grammatically inadmissible, since העיר ( the city) is gen faem. Aub. and others refer it, therefore, merely to the sanctuary; but the separation of the city from the sanctuary is quite arbitrary. Vitringa, C. B. Michaelis, Hgstb., interpret the suffix as neuter, and refer it to ישׁחית ( shall destroy), or, more correctly, to the idea of destroying comprehended in it, for they understand שׁטף of a warlike overflowing flood: “and the end of it shall be (or: it shall end) in the flood.” On the other hand, v. Lengerke and Kliefoth have rightly objected to this view. “This reference of the suffix,” they say, “is inadmissibly harsh; the author must have written erroneously, since he suggested the reference of the suffix to עם or to נגיד . One cannot think of what is meant by the end of the destruction, since the destruction itself is the end; a flood may, it is true, be an emblem of a warlike invasion of a country, but it never signifies the warlike march, the expedition.” There thus remains nothing else than to apply the suffix to the Nagid, the prince. קץ can accordingly only denote the destruction of the prince. Hitzig's interpretation, that קצּו is the result of his coming, refutes itself.
In בּשׁטף the article is to be observed, by which alone such interpretations as “in an overflowing” (Ros., Roed., and others), ” vi quadam ineluctabili oppressus” (Steudel, Maurer), “ like an overflowing,” and the like, are proved to be verbally inadmissible. The article shows that a definite and well-known overflowing is meant. שׁטף , “overflowing,” may be the emblem of an army spreading itself over the land, as in Daniel 11:10, Daniel 11:22, Daniel 11:26; Isaiah 8:8, or the emblem of a judgment desolating or destroying a city, country, or people; cf. Psalms 32:6; Nahum 1:8; Proverbs 27:4; Psalms 90:5. The first of these interpretations would give this meaning: The prince shall find his end in his warlike expedition; and the article in בּשׁטף would refer back to הבּא . This interpretation is indeed quite possible, but not very probable, because שׁטף would then be the overflowing which was caused by the hostile prince or his coming, and the thought would be this, that he should perish in it. But this agrees neither with the following clause, that war should be to the end, nor with Daniel 7:21, Daniel 7:26, according to which the enemy of God holds the superiority till he is destroyed by the judgment of God. Accordingly, we agree with Wieseler, Hofmann, Kranichfeld, and Kliefoth in adopting the other interpretation of שׁטף , flood, as the figure of the desolating judgment of God, and explain the article as an allusion to the flood which overwhelmed Pharaoh and his host. Besides, the whole passage is, with Maurer and Klief., to be regarded as a relative clause, and to be connected with הבּא : the people of a prince who shall come and find his destruction in the flood.
This verse (Daniel 9:26) contains a third statement, which adds a new element to the preceding. Rosenmüller, Ewald, Hofm., and others connect these into one passage, thus: and to the end of the war a decree of desolations continues. But although קץ , grammatically considered, is the stat. constr., and might be connected with מלחמה ( war), yet this is opposed by the circumstance, that in the preceding sentence no mention is expressly made of war; and that if the war which consisted in the destruction of the city should be meant, then מלחמה ought to have the article. From these reasons we agree with the majority of interpreters in regarding מלחמה as the predicate of the passage: “and to the end is war;” but we cannot refer קץ , with Wieseler, to the end of the prince, or, with Häv. and Aub., to the end of the city, because קץ has neither a suffix nor an article. According to the just remark of Hitzig, קץ without any limitation is the end generally, the end of the period in progress, the seventy שׁבעים , and corresponds to סופא עד in Daniel 7:26, to the end of all things, Daniel 12:13 (Klief.). To the end war shall be = war shall continue during the whole of the last שׁבוּע .
The remaining words, שׁממות נחרצת , form an apposition to מלחמה , notwithstanding the objection by Kliefoth, that since desolations are a consequence of the war, the words cannot be regarded as in apposition. For we do not understand why in abbreviated statements the effect cannot be placed in the form of an apposition to the cause. The objection also overlooks the word נחרצת . If desolations are the effect of the war, yet not the decree of the desolations, which can go before the war or can be formed during the war. שׁממות denotes desolation not in an active, but in a passive sense: laid waste, desolated. נחרצת , that which is determined, the irrevocably decreed; therefore used of divine decrees, and that of decrees with reference to the infliction of punishment; cf. Daniel 9:27; Daniel 11:36; Isaiah 10:23; Isaiah 28:22. Ewald is quite in error when he says that it means “the decision regarding the fearful deeds, the divine decision as it embodies itself in the judgments (Daniel 7:11.) on the world on account of such fearful actions and desolations,” because שׁממות has not the active meaning. Auberlen weakens its force when he renders it “decreed desolations.” “That which is decreed of desolations” is also not a fixed, limited, measured degree of desolations (Hofm., Klief.); for in the word there does not lie so much the idea of limitation to a definite degree, as much rather the idea of the absolute decision, as the connection with כלה in Daniel 9:27, as well as in the two passages from Isaiah above referred to, shows. The thought is therefore this: “Till the end war will be, for desolations are irrevocably determined by God.” Since שׁממות has nothing qualifying it, we may not limit the “decree of desolations” to the laying waste of the city and the sanctuary, but under it there are to be included the desolations which the fall of the prince who destroys the city and the sanctuary shall bring along with it.
This verse contains four statements. - The first is: “ He shall confirm the covenant to many for one week.” Following the example of Theodotion, many (Hהv., Hgstb., Aub., v. Leng., Hitzig, Hofm.) regard אחד שׁבוּע אח as the subject: one week shall confirm the covenant to many. But this poetic mode of expression is only admissible where the subject treated of in the statement of the speaker comes after the action, and therefore does not agree with בּרית הגבּיר , where the confirming of the covenant is not the work of time, but the deed of a definite person. To this is to be added the circumstance that the definitions of time in this verse are connected with those in Daniel 9:25, and are analogous to them, and must therefore be alike interpreted in both passages. But if, notwithstanding these considerations, we make אחד שׁבוּע the subject, the question then presses itself upon us, Who effects the confirming of the covenant? Hävernick, Hengstenberg, and Auberlen regard the Messias as the subject, and understand by the confirming of the covenant, the confirming of the New Covenant by the death of Christ. Ewald, v. Lengerke, and others think of Antiochus and the many covenants which, according to 1 Macc. 1:12, he established between the apostate Jews and the heathen Greeks. Hitzig understands by the “covenant” the O.T. Covenant, and gives to הגבּיר the meaning to make grievous: The one week shall make the covenant grievous to many, for they shall have to bear oppression on account of their faith. On the other hand, Hofmann ( Schriftbew.) renders it: The one week shall confirm many in their fidelity to the faith. But none of these interpretations can be justified. The reasons which Hengstenberg adduces in support of his view that the Messias is the subject, are destitute of validity. The assertion that the Messias is the chief person spoken of in the whole of this passage, rests on the supposition, already proved to be untenable, that the prince who was to come (Daniel 9:26) was the instrument of the Anointed, and on the passages in Isaiah 53:11; Isaiah 42:6, which are not parallel to that under consideration. The connection much more indicates that Nagid is the subject to הגבּיר , since the prince who was to come is named last, and is also the subject in the suffix of קצּו ( his end), the last clause of Daniel 9:26 having only the significance of an explanatory subordinate clause. Also “the taking away of the daily sacrifice combines itself in a natural way with the destruction (Daniel 9:26) of the city and the temple brought about by the הבּא נגיד ;” - further, “he who here is represented as 'causing the sacrifice and oblation to cease' is obviously identical with him who changes (Daniel 7:25) the times and usages of worship (more correctly: times and law)” (Kran.). “The reference of הגבּיר to the ungodly leader of an army, is therefore according to the context and the parallel passages of this book which have been mentioned, as well as in harmony with the natural grammatical arrangement of the passage,” and it gives also a congruous sense, although by the Nagid Titus cannot naturally be understood. בּרית הגבּיר means to strengthen a covenant, i.e., to make a covenant strong (Hitzig has not established the rendering: to make grievous). “Covenant” does not necessarily mean the covenant of God (Old Testament or New Testament Covenant), since the assertion that this word occurs only in this book with reference to the covenant of God with Israel (Hgstb.) does not also prove that it must here have this meaning; and with expression בּרית הגבּיר with ל is analogous to בּרית כּרּת [ icere faedus ] with ל ; and the construction with ל signifies that as in the forming of a covenant, so in the confirming of a covenant, the two contracting parties are not viewed as standing on an equality, but he who concludes or who confirms the covenant prevails, and imposes or forces the covenant on the other party. The reference to the covenant of God with man is thus indeed suggested, yet it is not rendered necessary, but only points to a relation analogous to the concluding of a covenant emanating from God. לרבּים with the article signifies the many, i.e., the great mass of the people in contrast with the few, who remain faithful to God; cf. Matthew 24:12. Therefore the thought is this: That ungodly prince shall impose on the mass of the people a strong covenant that they should follow him and give themselves to him as their God.
While the first clause of this verse announces what shall happen during the whole of the last week, the second treats only of the half of this period. השׁבוּע חצי we cannot grammatically otherwise interpret than the definition of time mentioned immediately before, and thus, for reasons give above, cannot take it as the subject of the clause, but only as the accusative of the duration of time, consequently not in the sense of the ablative: in the midst of the week. The controversy whether חצי here means half, or midst, has no bearing on the matter, and acquires significance only if we interpret חצי , in opposition to the context, as synonymous with בּחצי , or with Klief., which is equally untenable and impossible in this context, regard השׁבוּע חצי as an absolute definition. חצי signifies only half, not midst. Only where the representation of an extent of space or period of time prevails can we render it, without a change of its meaning, by the word midst. In the half of the night is the same as in the middle of the night, at midnight, Exodus 12:29; in the half of the firmament, Joshua 10:13, is the same as in the middle of the space of the heavens across which the sun moves during day; in the half of the day of life is the same as in the middle of the period of life, Psalms 102:25. But during the half of the week is not the same as: in the middle of the week. And the objection, that if we here take חצי in the sense of half, then the heptad or cycle of seven would be divided into two halves (Klief.), and yet of only one of them was anything said, is without significance, because it would touch also the explanation “ and in the midst of the heptad,” since in this case of the first, before the middle of the expiring half of the week, nothing also is said of what shall be done in it. If Kliefoth answers this objection by saying that we must conceive of this from the connection, namely, that which brings the power of Antichrist to its height, then we shall be able also, in the verbally correct interpretation of השׁבוּע חצי , to conceive from the connection what shall happen in the remaining period of the שׁבוּע . Yet weaker is the further objection: “that which is mentioned as coming to pass השׁבוּע חצי , the causing of the offering of sacrifice to cease, is something which takes place not during a period of time, but at a terminus ” (Kliefoth); for since השׁבּית does not properly mean to remove, but to make to rest, to make quiet, it is thus not conceivable why we should not be able to say: The sacrifice shall be made to rest, or made still, during half a week.
In the verbally correct interpretation of השׁבוּע חצי , the supposition that the second half of the heptad is meant loses its support, for the terminus a quo of this half remains undefined if it cannot be determined from the subject itself. But this determination depends on whether the taking away of the sacrifice is to be regarded as the putting a complete termination to it, or only the causing of a temporary cessation to the service of sacrifice, which can be answered only by our first determining the question regarding the historical reference of this divine revelation. וּמנחה זבח , bloody and unbloody sacrifice, the two chief parts of the service of sacrifice, represent the whole of worship by sacrifice. The expression is more comprehensive than התּמיד , Daniel 8:11, the continuance in worship, the daily morning and evening sacrifice, the cessation of which does not necessarily involve the putting an end to the service of sacrifice.
The third clause of this verse, משׁמם שׁקּוּצים כּנף ועל , is difficult, and its interpretation has been disputed. The lxx have rendered it: καὶ ἐπὶ τὸ ἱερὸν βδέλυγμα τῶν ἐρημώσεων ἔσται . Theodotion has given the same rendering, only omitting ἔσται . The Vulgate has: et erit in templo abominatio desolationis . The church interpreters have explained the words in accordance with these translations, understanding by שׁקּוּצים כּנף the abomination of idols in the temple, or the temple desecrated by the abomination of idols. Hävernick explains the words of the extreme height of abomination, i.e., of the highest place that can be reached where the abominations would be committed, i.e., the temple as the highest point in Jerusalem; Hengstenberg, on the contrary, regards the “ wing of the abominations” as the pinnacle of the temple so desecrated by the abomination that it no longer deserved the name of a temple of the Lord, but the name of an idol-temple. Auberlen translates it “on account of the desolating summit of abominations,” and understands by it the summit of the abominations committed by Israel, which draws down the desolation, because it is the desolation itself, and which reached its acme in the desecration of the temple by the Zealots shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem. But no one of these interpretations is justified by the language here used, because כּנף does not signify summit, highest point. This word, it is true, is often used figuratively of the extremity or skirt of the upper garment or cloak (1 Samuel 15:27; 1 Samuel 24:5; Haggai 2:12), of the uttermost part, end, of the earth, Isaiah 24:16, and frequently in the plur. of the borders of the earth, in the rabbin. also of the lobes of the lungs, but demonstrably never of the summit as the highest point or peak of an object; and thus can mean neither the temple as the highest point in Jerusalem, nor the pinnacle of the temple desecrated by the abomination, nor the summit of the abomination committed by Israel. “It is used indeed,” as Bleek ( Jahrbb. v. p. 93) also remarks, “of the extreme point of an object, but only of that which is extended horizontally (for end, or extremity), but never of that which is extended perpendicularly (for peak).” The use of it in the latter sense cannot also be proved from the πτερύγιον τοῦ ἱεροῦ , Matthew 4:5; Luke 4:9. Here the genitive τοῦ ἱεροῦ , not τοῦ ναοῦ , shows that not the pinnacle, i.e., the summit of the temple itself, is meant, but a wing or adjoining building of the sanctuary; and if Suidas and Hesychius explain πτερύγιον by ἀκρωτήριον , this explanation is constructed only from the passages of the N.T. referred to, and is not confirmed by the Greek classics.
But though πτερύγιον may have the meaning of summit, yet this can by no means be proved to be the meaning of כּנף . Accordingly שׁקּוּצים כּנף cannot on verbal grounds be referred to the temple. This argument from the words used is not set aside by other arguments which Hengstenberg brings forward, neither by the remark that this explanation harmonizes well with the other parts of the prophecy, especially the removal of the sacrifice and the destruction of the temple, nor by the reference to the testimony of tradition and to the authority of the Lord. For, with reference to that remark, we have already shown in the explanation of the preceding verses that they do not refer to the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, and thus are not reconcilable with this interpretation of שׁקּוּצים כּנף . But the testimony of tradition for this interpretation in Josephus, De bello Jud. iv. 6. 3, that by the desecration of the temple on the part of the Zealots an old prophecy regarding the destruction of the temple was fulfilled, itself demonstrates (under the supposition that no other passage occur in the book of Daniel in which Josephus would be able to find the announcement of bloody abomination in the temple which proceeded even from the members of the covenant people) nothing further than that Josephus, with many of his contemporaries, found such a prophecy in this verse in the Alexandrine translation, but it does not warrant the correctness of this interpretation of the passage. This warrant would certainly be afforded by the words of our Lord regarding “the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place” (Matthew 24:15.; Mark 13:14), if it were decided that the Lord had this passage (Daniel 9:27) alone before His mind, and that He regarded the “abomination of desolation” as a sign announcing the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. But neither of these conditions is established. The expression βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως is found not only in Daniel 9:27 (where the lxx and Theod. have the plur. ἐρημώσεων ), but also in Daniel 11:31 ( βδ. ἐρημώσεως ) and Daniel 12:11 ( τὸ βδ. τῆς ἐρημώσεως ), and thus may refer to one of these passages. The possibility of this reference is not weakened by the objection, “that the prophecy Daniel 11 and Daniel 12:1-13 was generally regarded as fulfilled in the Maccabean times, and that the fulfilling of Daniel 9 was placed forward into the future in the time of Christ” (Hgstb.), because the Lord can have a deeper and more correct apprehension of the prophecies of Daniel than the Jewish writers of His time; because,moreover, the first historical fulfilling of Daniel 11 in the Maccabean times does not exclude a further and a fuller accomplishment in the future, and the rage of Antiochus Epiphanes against the Jewish temple and the worship of God can be a type of the assault of Antichrist against the sanctuary and the church of God in the time of the end. Still less from the words, “whoso readeth, let him understand” (Matthew 24:15), can it be proved that Christ had only Daniel 9:27, and not also Daniel 11:31 or Daniel 12:11, before His view. The remark that these words refer to בּדּבר בּין ( understand the matter), Daniel 9:23, and to ותשׂכּל ותדע ( know, and understand), does not avail for this purpose, because this reference is not certain, and בּין את־הדּבר dna ,n ( and he understood the thing) is used (Daniel 10:1) also of the prophecy in Daniel 10 and 11. But though it were beyond a doubt that Christ had, in the words quoted, only Daniel 9:27 before His view, yet would the reference of this prophecy to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans not be thereby proved, because in His discourse Christ spake not only of this destruction of the ancient Jerusalem, but generally of His παρουσία and the συντέλεια τοῦ αἰῶνος (Matthew 24:3), and referred the words of Daniel of the βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως to the παρουσία τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου .
On these grounds we must affirm that the reference of the words under consideration to the desecration of the temple before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans is untenable.
But also the reference of these words, as maintained by other interpreters, to the desecration of the temple by the βδέλυγμα ἐρημώσεως (1 Macc. 1:54), built on the altar of burnt-offering by Antiochus Epiphanes, is disproved on the verbal ground that כּנף cannot designate the surface of the altar. In favour of this view the משׁמם השּׁקּוּץ , Daniel 11:31 ( the abomination that maketh desolate), is principally relied on, in order to establish the connection of משׁמם with שׁקּוּצים ; but that passage is of a different character, and the difference of number between them opposes the connecting together of these two words. The singular משׁמם cannot be connected as an adjective with שׁקּוּצים . But the uniting of משׁמם with the noun כּנף gives no meaning, and besides has the parallels Daniel 11:31 and Daniel 12:11 against it. In this passage before us משׁמם can only be the subject; and the clause is neither to be connected with the preceding nor with the following, but is to be interpreted as containing an independent statement. Since in the preceding context mention is made of a Nagid who shall make desolate the city and the sanctuary, and shall take away the bloody and the unbloody sacrifice, it is natural to regard the משׁמם , desolater, as the Nagid, and to identify the two. The circumstance that it does not refer to it by the article ( המּשׁמם ) is no valid objection, because the article is in no way necessary, as משׁמם is a participle, and can be rendered as such: “on the wings of abomination he comes desolating.” כּנף על can, without ingenuity, be rendered in no other way than on wings. שׁקּוּצים signifies not acts of abomination, but objects of abomination, things causing abomination, and is constantly used of the heathen gods, idol-images, sacrifices to the gods, and other heathen abominations. The connection of שׁקּוּצים permits us, however, with Reichel, Ebrard, Kliefoth, and Kranichfeld, to think on nothing else than that wings ( כּנף ) are attributed to the שׁקּוּצים . The sing. כּנף does not oppose this, since it is often used collectively in a peculiar and figurative meaning; cf. e.g., כּנף בּעל , Proverbs 1:17, with כּנפים בּעל , Ecclesiastes 10:20, the winged, the bird; and הארץ dna ;drib כּנף ( from the uttermost part of the earth), Isaiah 24:16, is not different from הארץ כּנפות , Job 37:3; Job 38:13, just as אברה , wing, plumage, Psalms 91:4; Deuteronomy 32:11, is found for אברות ( wings), Psalms 68:14. But from such passages as Deuteronomy 32:11; Exodus 19:4, and Psalms 18:11, we perceive the sense in which wings are attributed to the שׁקּוּצים , the idolatrous objects.
(Note: The interpretation of J. D. Michaelis, which has been revived by Hofmann, needs no serious refutation. They hold that שׁקּוּצים כּנף signifies an idol-bird, and denotes the eagle of Jupiter of Zeus. Hofm. repeats this interpretation in his Schriftbew. ii. 2, p. 592, after he had abandoned it.)
In the first of these passages (Deuteronomy 32:11), wings, the wings of an eagle, are attributed to God, because He is the power which raises up Israel, and lifting it up, and carrying it throughout its history, guides it over the earth. In P. 18 wings are attributed to the wind, because the wind is contemplated as the power which carries out the will of God throughout the kingdom of nature. “Thus in this passage wings are attributed to the שׁקּוּצים , idol-objects, and to idolatry with its abominations, because that shall be the power which lifts upwards the destroyer and desolater, carries him, and moves with him over the earth to lay waste” (Klief.).
(Note: Similarly, and independently of Kliefoth, Kranichfeld also explains the words: “The powerful heathen enemy of God is here conceived of as carried on ( על ) these wings of the idol-abomination, like as the God of the theocracy is borne on the wings of the clouds, and on cherubim, who are His servants; cf. Psalms 18:11; Psalms 104:3.”)
The last clause, וגו ועד־כּלה , is differently construed, according as the subject to תּתּך , which is wanting, or appears to be wanting, is sought to be supplied from the context. Against the supposition of Hävernick and Ebrard, who take תּתּך as impersonal: “it pours down,” it is rightly objected that this word is never so found, and can so much the less be so interpreted here, since in Daniel 9:11 it is preceded by a definite subject. Others supply a subject, such as anger (Berth.), or curse and oath from Daniel 9:11; the former is quite arbitrary, the latter is too far-fetched. Others, again (Hengstenberg, Maurer), take ונחרצה כלה ( the consummation and that determined) as the subject. This is correct according to the matter. We cannot, however, so justify the regarding of ועד as a conjunction: till that; for, though עד is so used, ועד is not; nor, once more, can we justify the taking of ונחרצה כלה as a whole as the subject (Hofmann), or of ונחרצה alone as the subject (v. Leng., Hitzig, Kliefoth), since ועד is not repeated before ונחרצה on account of the ו (with v. Leng.), nor is ונחרצה alone supplied (with Hitz.), nor is the ו before נחרצה to be regarded (with Klief.) as a sign of the conclusion. Where ו introduces the conclusion, as e.g., Daniel 8:14, it is there united with the verb, and thus the expression here should in that case be נחרצה ותּתּך . The relative interpretation of תּתּך is the only one which is verbally admissible, whereby the words, “and till the consummation and that determined,” are epexegetically connected to the foregoing clause: “and till the consummation and that determined which shall pour down upon the desolater.” The words ונחרצה כלה remind us of Isaiah 10:23 and Isaiah 28:22, and signify that which is completed = altogether and irrevocably concluded, i.e., substantially the inflexibly decreed judgment of destruction. The words have here this meaning, as is clear from the circumstance that נחרצה points back to שׁממות נחרצת (Daniel 9:26, desolations are determined), and כלה עד corresponds to קץ עד (Daniel 9:26). In Daniel 11:31 משׁמם is not in a similar manner to be identified with שׁמם , but has the active signification: “laying waste,” while שׁמם has the passive: “laid waste.” Both words refer to the Nagid, but with this difference, that this ungodly prince who comes as the desolater of the city and the sanctuary will on that account become desolate, that the destruction irrevocably decreed by God shall pour down upon him as a flood.
Let us now, after explaining the separate clauses, present briefly the substance of this divine revelation. We find that the Daniel 9:25-27 contain the following announcement: From the going forth of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the appearance of the Messias seven weeks shall pass away; after that, during threescore and two weeks the city shall be restored and built up amid the oppressions of the times; but after the sixty-two weeks the Messias shall be cut off, so that to Him nothing remains, and the city, together with the sanctuary, shall be destroyed by the people of a prince who shall come, who shall find his end in the flood; but the war shall continue to the end, since destruction is irrevocably decreed. That prince shall force a strong covenant for one week on the mass of the people, and during half a week shall take away the service of sacrifice, and, borne on the wings of idol-abominations, shall carry on a desolating rule, till the firmly decreed judgment shall pour itself upon him as one desolated. - According to this, the first seven weeks are determined merely according to their beginning and their end, and nothing further is said as to their contents than may be concluded from the definition of its terminus a quo , “to restore and to build Jerusalem,” namely, that the restoring and the building of this city shall proceed during the period of time indicated. The sixty-two weeks which follow these seven weeks, ending with the coming of the Messias, have the same contents, only with the more special definition, that the restoration and the building in the broad open place and in the limited place shall be carried on in oppressive times. Hence it is clear that this restoration and building cannot denote the rebuilding of the city which was destroyed by the Chaldeans, but refers to the preservation and extension of Jerusalem to the measure and compass determined by God in the Messianic time, or under the dominion of the Messias, since He shall come at the end of the seven weeks, and after the expiry of the sixty-two weeks connected therewith shall be cut off, so that nothing remains to Him.
The statements of the angel (Daniel 9:26, Daniel 9:27) regarding the one week, which, because of the connection, can only be the seventieth, or the last of the seventy, are more ample. The cutting off of the Messias forms the beginning of this week; then follows the destruction of the city and of the sanctuary by the people of the coming prince, who shall find his end in the flood, not immediately after his coming, but at the end of this week; for the war shall continue to the end, and the prince shall take away the service of sacrifice during half a week, till the desolation determined as a flood shall pour down upon him, and make the desolater desolated. If we compare with this the contents of Daniel 9:24, according to which seventy weeks are determined to restrain transgression, to make an end of sin and iniquity, partly by atonement and partly by shutting up, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to consecrate a new most holy, we shall find that the reciprocal statements are so related to each other, that Daniel 9:25-27 present what shall be done in the course of the seventy weeks, which are divided into three periods, but Daniel 9:24 what shall be the result of all these things. The seventieth week ends, according to Daniel 9:27, with the judgment on the destroyer of the city and the sanctuary of God; but with this judgment shall be the conclusion of the divine counsel of salvation, or the kingdom of God shall be consummated. This was revealed to the prophet in Daniel 7, and thus does not need to be here expressly repeated. If that which, according to Daniel 9:24, shall happen with the expiry of the seventy appointed weeks stood after Daniel 9:27, then would the connection of the judgment on the last enemy of God with the consummation of the kingdom of God appear here also distinctly to view. But it was not necessary after Daniel 7 to give express prominence to this connection here; and Gabriel here first mentions the positive aim and end of the divine plan of salvation with Israel, because he gives to the prophet a comforting answer to remove his deep distress on account of his own sins, and the sin and guilt of his people, and therein cannot conceal the severe affliction which the future would bring, because he will announce to him that by the sins of the people the working out of the deliverance designed by God for them shall not be frustrated, but that in spite of the great guilt of Israel the kingdom of God shall be perfected in glory, sin and iniquity blotted out, everlasting righteousness restored, the prophecy of the judgment and of salvation completed, and the sanctuary where God shall in truth dwell among His people erected. In order to establish this promise, so rich in comfort, and firmly to ratify it to Daniel he unveils to him (Daniel 9:25-27), in its great outlines, the progress of the development of the kingdom of God, first from the end of the Exile to the coming of the Messias; then from the appearance of Christ to the time far in the future, when Christ shall be cut off, so that nothing remains to Him; and finally, the time of the supremacy and of the victory of the destroyer of the church of God, the Antichrist, and the destruction of this enemy by the irrevocably determined final judgment. If, now, in this he says nothing particular regarding the first period of this development, regarding the time from the Exile to Christ, the reason is, that he had already said all that was necessary regarding the development of the world-kingdom, and its relation to the kingdom and people of God, in the preceding revelation in Daniel 8. It is the same angel Gabriel who (Daniel 8) comforted Daniel, and interpreted to him the vision of the second and third world-kingdom, and who here brings to him further revelations in answer to his prayer regarding the restoration of the holy city, which was lying in ruins, as is expressly remarked in Daniel 9:21. - Also regarding the second long period which passes from the appearance of the Messias to His annihilation ( Vernichtung), i.e., the destruction of His kingdom on the earth, little is apparently said, but in reality in the few words very much is said: that during this whole period the restoration and building shall proceed amid the oppressions of the times, namely, that the kingdom of God shall be built up to the extent determined by God in this long period, although amid severe persecution. this persecution shall during the last week mount up to the height of the cutting off of Christ and the destruction of His kingdom on the earth; but then with the extermination of the prince, the enemy of God, it shall reach its end.
But if, according to what has been said, this revelation presents the principal outlines of the development of the kingdom of God from the time of Daniel to its consummation at the end of this epoch of the world, the seventy שׁבעים which are appointed for it cannot be year-weeks, or cycles of seven years, but only symbolically defined periods of measured duration. This result of our exposition contradicts, however, the usual interpretations of this prophecy so completely, that in order to confirm our exposition, we must put thoroughly to the test the two classes of opposing interpretations - which, however, agree in this, that the definitions of time are to be understood chronologically, and that under the שׁבעים year - weeks are to be understood-and examine whether a chronological reckoning is in all respects tenable.
The first class of expositors who find the appearance of Christ in the flesh and His crucifixion, as well as the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, prophesied of in this passage, adduce in support of their view, partly the agreement of the chronological periods, partly the testimony of Christ, who referred Daniel 9:27 to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. How does it now stand with these two arguments?
The first Hengstenberg ( Christol. iii. 1, p. 137) introduces with the remark, “The predominant view in the synagogue and in the church has always been, that the seventy weeks, as well as the shorter periods into which the whole period is divided, are closely fixed and limited. The opposite supposition becomes very suspicious by this, that it is maintained only by such as come into conflict with the chronology by their hypotheses, or take no interest in chronological investigations.” He then seeks first to confute the arguments brought forward in favour of the supposition that the chronological definitions are only given in the lump ( in Bausch und Bogen), and then to present the positive arguments for the definiteness of the chronological statements. But he has in this identified the definiteness of the prophecy in general with its chronological definiteness, while there is between these two ideas a noticeable difference. Of the positive arguments adduced, the first is, that the seventy weeks stand in closer relation to the seventy years of Jeremiah, in so far as regards chronological definiteness, when the seventy years of Jeremiah are understood as strictly chronological and as chronologically fulfilled. But the force of this argument is neutralized by the fact, that in Jeremiah a chronologically described period, “years,” is in this prophecy, on the contrary, designated by a name the meaning of which is disputed, at all events is chronologically indefinite, since weeks, if seven-day periods are excluded by the contents off the prophecy, can as well signify Sabbath or jubilee periods, seven-year or seven times seven-years epochs. Still weaker is the second argument, that all the other designations of time with reference to the future in the book of Daniel are definite; for this is applicable only to the designations in Daniel 8:14 and Daniel 12:11-12, in which evening-mornings and days are named, but not to the passages Daniel 7:25; Daniel 12:7, and Daniel 4:13 (16), where the chronologically indefinite expression, time, times, occurs, which are arbitrarily identified with years.
There remains thus, for the determination of the time spoken of in this prophecy, only the argument from its fulfilment, which should give the decision for the chronological definiteness. But, on the contrary, there arises a grave doubt, from the circumstance that among the advocates of the so-called “church Messianic interpretation” the terminus a quo of the prophecy is disputed; for some of these interpreters take the edict of Cyrus (b.c. 536) as such, while, on the other hand, others take the edict which Artaxerxes issued on the return of Ezra to Jerusalem for the restoration of the service of God according to the law, in the seventeenth year of his reign, i.e., in the year b.c. 457, and others, again, among whom is Hengstenberg, take the journey of Nehemiah to Jerusalem with the permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, i.e., b.c. 445, or according to Hengstenberg, b.c. 455, as the terminus a quo of the seventy weeks - a difference of eighty-one years, which in chronological reckoning is very noticeable.
In our interpretation of Daniel 9:25, we have given our decided opinion that the וגו להשׁיב דּבר , from the going forth of which seventy years are to be reckoned, refers to the edict of Cyrus permitting the Jews to return to their fatherland, and the arguments in favour of that opinion are given above. Against this reference to the edict of Cyrus, Hävernick, Hengstenberg, and Auberlen have objected that in that edict there is nothing said of building up the city, and that under Cyrus, as well as under the succeeding kings, Cambyses, Darius Hystaspes, and Xerxes, nothing also is done for the building of the city. We find it still unbuilt in the times of Ezra and Nehemiah (Ezra 9:8; Ezra 10:13; Nehemiah 1:3; Nehemiah 2:3; 5:34; Nehemiah 4:1; Nehemiah 7:4). Although from the nature of the case the building of the temple supposes the existence also of houses in Jerusalem (cf. Haggai 1:4), yet there is not a single trace of any royal permission for the restoration of the people and the rebuilding of the city. Much rather this was expressly forbidden (Ezra 4:7-23) by the same Artaxerxes Longimanus (who at a later period gave the permission however), in consequence of the slanderous reports of the Samaritans. “There was granted to the Jews a religious, but not a political restoration.” For the first time in the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus the affairs of Israel took a favourable turn. In that year Artaxerxes granted to Ezra permission to go to Jerusalem, entrusting him with royal letters of great importance (Ezra 7:11-26, particularly Ezra 7:18, Ezra 7:25.); in his twentieth year he gave to Nehemiah express permission to rebuild the city (Neh 2). Following the example of the old chronologist Julius Africanus in Jerome and many others, Häv., Hgstb., Reinke, Reusch, and others regard the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, while Auberlen, with Valovius, Newton, M. Geier, Gaussen, Pusey, and others, regard the seventy years, as the terminus a quo of the seventy weeks. But that the arguments derived from the absence of any mention being made in the edict of Cyrus of the building of Jerusalem against the reference of וגו דּבר מצא to that edict are not very strong, at least are not decisive, is manifest from what Auberlen has advanced for the seventh and against the twentieth year. Proceeding from the proposition, correct in itself, that the time of Ezra and that of Nehemiah form one connected period of blessing for Israel, Auberlen thence shows that the edict relating to Nehemiah had only a secondary importance, as the sacred narrative itself indicates by the circumstance that it does not mention the edict at all (Nehemiah 2:7-8), while the royal letters to Ezra (Ezra 7) are given at large. Since it was the same king Artaxerxes who sent away Ezra as well as Nehemiah, his heart must have been favourably inclined toward Israel in his seventh year. “Then must the word for the restoration and building of Jerusalem have gone forth from God.” The consciousness of this is expressed by Ezra himself, when, after recording the royal edict (Ezra 7:27), he continues: “Blessed be Jehovah, the God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem; and hath extended mercy to me before the king and his counsellors, and before all the king's mighty princes.”
But, we must reply, wherein does the mercy extended to Ezra before the king consist? Is it in the permission to build up Jerusalem? Certainly not, but in the beautifying the house of Jehovah in Jerusalem. And to that alone the royal authority granted to Ezra (Ezra 7) refers. Of the building of the city there is not a word said. Only the means, as it appears, of restoring the temple-worship, which had fallen into great decay, and of re-establishing the law of God corresponding thereto, were granted to him in the long edict issued by the king.
(Note: Auberlen, it is true, remarks (p. 138): - ”The authority given to Ezra is so extensive that it essentially includes the rebuilding of the city. It refers certainly, for the most part [rather wholly,] to the service of the sanctuary; but not only must Ezra set up judges (Ezra 7:25), he is also expressly permitted by the king to expend as it seems good to him the rest of the silver and gold (Ezra 7:18). How he then understood the commission, Ezra himself says clearly and distinctly in his prayer of repentance: 'Our Lord hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof (of our God), and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.' The argument from this passage lies not merely in the גּדר ( encircling wall), but especially in this, 'to repair the desolations thereof.' This could not be the desolations of the temple, which had been long before this rebuilt, and therefore we may understand by it the desolations of Jerusalem.” But the strength of this argumentation rests merely on a verbally free rendering of the verse referred to (Ezra 9:9). The circumstance that Ezra speaks of the kings (in the plur.) of Persia, who showed favour to the Jews, indicates that he meant not merely that which Artaxerxes had done and would yet do in the future, but that he refers also to the manifestation of favour on the part of kings Cyrus, Darius Hystaspes, and Artaxerxes; thus also the expression, “to give us a wall,” cannot refer to the permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, which Artaxerxes some years later first granted to Nehemiah. Moreover, the expression, “to give us a גּדר in Judah and Jerusalem,” shows that by גּדר cannot be understood the fortified walls of Jerusalem; for גּדר never denotes the walls of a city or fortress as such, but always only the encompassing wall of a vineyard, which meaning is found in Micah 7:11; Ezekiel 13:5. גּדר is therefore to be understood here figuratively: encompassing wall in the sense of divine protection; and the meaning is not this: “that the place protected by the wall lies in Judah and Jerusalem; but in Judah and Jerusalem the Persian kings have given to the new congregation of the people a secure dwelling-place, because the power of the Persian kings secured to the Israelites who had returned from captivity the undisturbed and continued possession of their land” (Bertheau). The objection also, that חרבתיו cannot be the ruins of the temple, because it was already built, is set aside as soon as we express the infinitive להעמיד , as it is rightly done, by the praeterite, whereby this word refers to the completed building of the temple. Cf. with this Hengstenberg's extended refutation of this argument of Auberlen's ( Christol. iii. 1, p. 144).)
If the clause, “from the going forth of the commandment,” etc., cannot refer to the edict of Cyrus, because in it there is no express mention made of the rebuilding of Jerusalem, so also, for the same reason, it cannot refer to that which was issued by Artaxerxes in favour of Ezra. Auberlen's remark, however, is correct, when he says that the edict relating to Nehemiah is of secondary importance when compared with that relating to Ezra. Strictly speaking, there is no mention made of an edict relating to Nehemiah. Nehemiah, as cup-bearer of Artaxerxes, entreated of the king the favour of being sent to Judah, to the city of his fathers' sepulchres, that he might build it; and the king (the queen also sitting by him) granted him this request, and gave him letters to all the governors on this side the Euphrates, that they should permit him undisturbed to prosecute his journey, and to the overseers of the royal forests, that they should give him wood “for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city” (Nehemiah 2:4-8). However important this royal favour was in its consequences for Jerusalem, - for Nehemiah built the walls of the city, and thereby raised Jerusalem to a fortified city guarded against hostile assaults, - yet the royal favour for this undertaking was not such as to entitle it to be designated as ' מצא דצר וגו , a going forth of a commandment of God. But if, in favour of the reference of דּבר מצא to the edict of Ezra, Auberlen (p. 128ff.) attaches special importance to the circumstance that in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah are recorded two periods of post-exilian history, the first of which - namely, the time of Zerubbabel and of the high priest Joshua under Cyrus and Darius Hystaspes - we may designate the period of the building of the temple, the second - namely, the time of Ezra the priest, and Nehemiah the Tirshatha, under Artaxerxes Longimanus - we may designate the period of the restoration of the people and the building of the city, - the former the time of the religious, and the latter that of the political restoration; and, in seeking to establish this view, he interprets the first part of the book of Ezra as a whole in itself, and the second as a whole taken in combination with the book of Nehemiah; - if this is his position, then Hengstenberg has already ( Christol. iii. p. 149) shown the incorrectness of this division of the book of Ezra, and well remarks that the whole book of Ezra has the temple as its central-point, and views with reference to it the mission of Ezra as well as that of Zerubbabel and Joshua. There is certainly an inner connection of the mission of Ezra with that of Nehemiah, but it consists only in this, that Ezra's religious reformation was secured by Nehemiah's political reform. From the special design of the work of Ezra, to describe the restoration of the temple and of the service of God, we must also explain the circumstance that nothing is said in it of the building of the city of Jerusalem. Besides, this building, before Nehemiah's arrival in Judah, had not further advanced than to the re-erection of houses for the returned exiles who had settled in Jerusalem. Every attempt to restore the walls was hindered and frustrated by the enemies of Judah, so that the gates and the walls were yet lying burnt and in ruins on Nehemiah's arrival (Nehemiah 1:3; Nehemiah 2:3, Nehemiah 2:5). Therefore neither the absence of any mention in the decree of Cyrus of the building of the city, nor the fact that the rebuilding of the city walls was first effected by Nehemiah, forms a decisive argument against the reference of וגו דּבר מצא to this edict; and we must maintain this reference as the only correct one, because this edict only, but not that which gave permission to Ezra or that which gave authority to Nehemiah to build the city walls, formed an epoch marking a crisis in the development of the theocracy, as this is connected in the announcement of Gabriel with the going forth of the word to restore Jerusalem.
Not less doubtful is the matter of the definition of the terminus ad quem of the seventy שׁבעים , and of the chronological reckoning of the whole period. As for the terminus ad quem , a sharply defined factum must form the conclusion of the sixty-ninth week; for at this point the public appearance of Christ, His being anointed with the Holy Ghost, is named as the end of the prophecy. If this factum occurred, according to Luke 3:1, in the year of Rome 782, the twentieth year of Artaxerxes - i.e., the year 455 b.c., according to the usual chronology - would be the year 299 A.U.C.; if we add to that sixty-nine weeks = 483 years, then it gives the year 782 A.U.C. In the middle of this last week, beginning with the appearance of the Anointed, occurred His death, while the confirming of the covenant extends through the whole of it. With reference to the death of Christ, the prophecy and its fulfilment closely agree, since that event took place three and a half years after His baptism. But the terminus ad quem of the confirming of the covenant, as one more or less moveable, is capable of no definite chronological determination. It is sufficient to remark, that in the first years after the death of Christ the ἐκλογή of the Old Covenant people was gathered together, and then the message of Christ was brought also to the heathen, so that the prophet might rightly represent the salvation as both subjectively and objectively consummated at the end of the seventy weeks for the covenant people, of whom alone he speaks (Hgst. pp. 163f., 180). Thus also Auberlen, who, however, places the end of the seventy weeks in the factum of the stoning of Stephen, with which the Jews pressed, shook down, and made full to the overflowing the measure of their sins, already filled by the murder of the Messias; so that now the period of grace yet given to them after the work of Christ had come to an end, and the judgment fell upon Israel.
We will not urge against the precise accuracy of the fulfilment arrived at by this calculation, that the terminus a quo adopted by Hengstenberg, viz., The twentieth year of Artaxerxes, coincides with the 455th year b.c. only on the supposition that Xerxes reigned but eleven years, and that Artaxerxes came to the throne ten years earlier than the common reckoning, according to which Xerxes reigned twenty-one years, and that the correctness of this view is opposed by Hofm., Kleinert, Wieseler, and others, because the arguments for and against it are evenly balanced; but with Preiswerk, whose words Auberlen (p. 144) quotes with approbation, considering the uncertainty of ancient chronology on many points, we shall not lay much stress on calculating the exact year, but shall regard the approximate coincidence of the prophetical with the historical time as a sufficient proof that there may possibly have been an exact correspondence in the number of years, and that no one, at all events, can prove the contrary. But we must attach importance to this, that in this calculation a part of the communication of the angel is left wholly out of view. The angel announces not merely the cutting off of the Messias after seven and sixty-two weeks, but also the coming of the people of a prince who shall lay waste the city and the sanctuary, which all interpreters who understand משׁיח יכּרת of the death of Christ refer to the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple by the Romans; he also says that this war shall last till the end of the seventy weeks. The destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans followed the death of Christ, not after an interval of only three and a half years, but of thirty years. Accordingly, the seventy weeks must extend to the year 70 a.d., whereby the whole calculation is shown to be inaccurate. If we yet further remark, that the advocates of this exposition of the prophecy are in a position to give no sufficient reason for the dividing of the sixty-nine weeks into seven and sixty-two, and that their reference of the seven weeks to the time of the rebuilding of Jerusalem under Nehemiah, and of the sixty-two weeks to the period from the completion of this building to the appearance of Christ in the flesh, stands in open contradiction to the words of the text; finally, that the placing of the twentieth year of Artaxerxes as the terminus a quo of the reckoning of the דּבר מצא cannot be correct, - then may we also regard the much commended exact concord of the prophecy with the actual events of history derived from this interpretation of the verse as only an illusion, since from the “going forth of the word” to restore Jerusalem to the destruction of that city by Titus, not seventy weeks or 490 years elapsed, but, according as we date the going forth of this word in the year 536 or 455 b.c., 606 or 525 years, i.e., more than eighty-six, or at least seventy-five, year-weeks, passed. This great gulf, which thus shows itself in the calculation of the שׁבעים as year-weeks, between the prophecy and its chronological fulfilment, is not bridged over by the remark with which Auberlen (p. 141) has sought to justify his supposition that Ezra's return to Judah in the year 457 b.c. formed the terminus a quo of the seventy weeks, while yet the word of the angel announcing the restoration and the building up of Jerusalem first finds its actual accomplishment in the building of the city walls on Nehemiah's return - the remark, namely, that the external building up of the city had the same relation to the terminus a quo of Daniel's seventy year-weeks as the external destruction of Jerusalem to that of Jeremiah's seventy years. “The latter begin as early as the year 606 b.c., and therefore eighteen years before the destruction of Jerusalem, for at that time the kingdom of Judah ceased to exist as an independent theocracy; the former begin thirteen years before the rebuilding of the city, because then the re-establishment of the theocracy began.” We find a repetition of the same phenomenon at the end of the seventy weeks. “These extend to the year 33 a.d. From this date Israel was at an end, though the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans did not take place till the year 70 a.d.” For Jeremiah did not prophesy that the destruction of Jerusalem should last for seventy years, but only that the land of Judah would be desolate seventy years, and that for so long a time its inhabitants would serve the king of Babylon. The desolating of the land and Judah's subjugation to the king of Babylon did not begin with the destruction of Jerusalem, but with the first siege of the city by Nebuchadnezzar in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, i.e., in the year 606 b.c., and continued till the liberation of the Jews from Babylonian bondage by Cyrus in the first year of his reign, in the year 536 b.c., and thus after seventy years were fully accomplished. Jeremiah's chronologically definite prophecy is thus accurately fulfilled; but Daniel's prophecy of the seventy weeks is neither chronologically defined by years, nor has it been altogether so fulfilled as that the 70, 7, 52, and 1 week can be reckoned by year-weeks.
The New Testament also does not necessitate our seeking the end of the seventy weeks in the judgment the Romans were the means of executing against the ancient Jerusalem, which had rejected and crucified the Saviour. Nowhere in the N.T. is this prophecy, particularly the משׁיח יכּרת , referred to the crucifixion of our Lord; nor has Christ or the apostles interpreted these verses, 26, 27 of this chapter, of the desolation and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. However general the opinion may be that Christ, in speaking of His παρουσία , Matt 24; Mark 13:1, and Luke 21, in the words ὅταν ἴδητε τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως τὸ ῥηθὲν Δανιὴλ τοῦ προφήτου κ.τ.λ. (Matthew 24:15, cf. Mark 13:14), had before His eyes this prophecy (Daniel 9:26-27), yet that opinion is without foundation, and is not established by the arguments which Hävernick ( Daniel p. 383f.), Wieseler ( die 70 Wochen, p. 173ff.), Hengstenberg ( Beitr. i. p. 258f., and Christol. iii. 1, p. 113f.), and Auberlen ( Daniel p. 120f.) have brought forward for that purpose. We have already, in explaining the words שׁקּוּצים כּנף על , Daniel 9:27, shown that the βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως , found in the discourse of Christ, is not derived from Daniel 9:27, but from Daniel 11:31 or Daniel 12:11, where the lxx have rendered משׁמם שׁקּוּץ by τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως . For the further confirmation of the arguments in behalf of this view there presented, we wish to add the following considerations. The appeal to the fact that Josephus, in the words ( Antt. x. 11. 7) Δανιῆλος καὶ περὶ τὴς τῶν ̔Ρηωμαίων ἡγεμονίας ἀνέγραψε καὶ ὅτι ὑπ ̓αὐτῶν ἐρημωθήσεται , referred to the prophecy Daniel 9, and gave this interpretation not only as a private view of his own, but as (cf. De Bell. Jud. iv. 6. 3) παλαιὸς λόγος ἀνδρῶν , i.e., represented the view of his people, as commonly received, even by the Zealots, - this would form a valid proof that Daniel 9 was at that time commonly referred to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, only, however, if besides this no other prophecy of the book of Daniel could be apparently referred to the destruction of the Jewish state by the Romans. But this is not the case. Josephus and his contemporaries could find such a prophecy in that of the great enemy (Daniel 7:25) who would arise out of the fourth or Roman world-kingdom, and would persecute and destroy the saints of the Most High. What Josephus adduces as the contents of the παλαιὸς λόγος ἀνδρῶν , namely, τότε τῆν πόλιν ἁλώσεσθαι καὶ καταφλεγήσεσθαι τὰ ἅγια νόμῳ πολέμου , occurs neither in Daniel 9 nor in any other part of the book of Daniel, and was not so defined till after the historical fulfilment. Wieseler, indeed, thinks (p. 154) that the words τὴν πόλιν καταφλεγήσεσθαι κ.τ.λ. , perfectly correspond with the words of Daniel, ישׁחית והקּדשׁ והעיר , Daniel 9:26 ( shall destroy the city and the sanctuary, E. V.); but he also concedes that Josephus interpreted the kind of desolation, perhaps with reference to Daniel 11:33 (? 31), after the result, as a total desolation. It is thus granted that not only in Daniel 9, but also in Daniel 11, Daniel predicted a desolation of the city and the sanctuary which could be interpreted of their destruction by the Romans, and the opinion, that besides Daniel 9, no other part of Daniel can be found, is abandoned as incorrect. But the other circumstances which Josephus brings forward in the passage quoted, particularly that the Zealots by the desecration of the temple contributed to the fulfilling of that παλαιὸς λόγος , are much more distinctly contained in Daniel 11:31 than in Daniel 9:26, where we must first introduce this sense in the words (Daniel 9:27) כּ נף שׁקּוּצים משׁמם על ( on the wing of abominations one causing desolation). Similarly the other passages are constituted in which Josephus speaks of ancient prophecies which have been fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. No one specially points to Daniel 9.
But if the proof from Josephus could be made more valid than has yet been done, that the Jews of his time referred Daniel 9 to the overthrow of the Jewish commonwealth by the Romans, yet thereby it would not be proved that Christ also shared this Jewish opinion, and set it forth in His discourse, Matt 24, as an undoubted truth. In favour of this view it has indeed been argued, “that the ἐν τόπῳ ἁγίῳ fully corresponds to ἐπὶ τὸ ἱερὸν βδέλυγμα τῶν ἐρημώσεων ἔσται (lxx, Daniel 9:27):” Hengstenberg, Christol. p. 117. But it is still more inconsistent with the proof from the Alexandrian translation of the verses before us than it is with that from Josephus. In the form of the lxx text that has come down to us there are undoubtedly two different paraphrases or interpretations of the Hebrew text off Daniel 9:26, Daniel 9:27 penetrating each other, and therein the obscure words of Daniel (after Daniel 11:31 and Daniel 12:11) are so interpreted that they contain a reference to the desolation of the sanctuary by Antiochus.
(Note: That the Septuagint version (Daniel 11:31; Daniel 12:11; Daniel 9:24-27) is not in reality a translation, but rather an explanation of the passage as the lxx understood it, is manifest. “They regard,” as Klief. rightly judges, “ Daniel 9:24 and the first half of Daniel 9:25 as teaching that it was prophesied to Daniel that Israel would soon return from exile, that Daniel also would return, and Jerusalem be built. The rest they treat very freely. They take the second half of Daniel 9:25 out of its place, and insert it after the first clause of Daniel 9:27; they also take the closing words of Daniel 9:26 out of their place, and insert them after the second clause of Daniel 9:27. The passage thus arranged they then interpret of Antiochus Epiphanes. They add together call the numbers they find in the text (70 + 7 + 62 = 139), and understand by them years, the years of the Seleucidan aera, so that they descend to the second year of Antiochus Epiphanes. Then they interpret all the separate statements of the times and actions of Antiochus Epiphanes in a similar manner as do the modern interpreters. C. Wieseler, p. 200 .”)
The על כנף , incomprehensible to the translators, they interpreted after the חלּלוּ , Daniel 11:31, and derived from it the ἐπὶ τὸ ἱερὸν . But Christ derived the expression τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως as well as the ἐστὼς ἐν τόπῳ ἁγίῳ from Daniel 11:31, cf. with Daniel 12:11, but not from Daniel 9:27, where neither the original text, “on the wings of abomination shall the desolater come,” nor the lxx translation, ἐπὶ τὸ ἱερὸν βδέλυγμα τῶν ἐρημώσεων ἔσται - ”over the sanctuary shall the abomination of the desolations come,” leads to the idea of a “standing,” or a “being placed,” of the abomination of desolation. The standing ( ἐστώς ) without doubt supposes the placing, which corresponds to the ונתנוּ ( δώσουσι , lxx), and the ולתת ( ἑτοιμασθῇ δοθῆναι , lxx), and the ἐν τόπῳ ἁγίῳ points to המקדּשׁ , Daniel 11:31, since by the setting up of the abomination of desolation, the sanctuary, or the holy place of the temple, was indeed desecrated.
The prophecy in Daniel 11 treats, as is acknowledged, of the desolation of the sanctuary by Antiochus Epiphanes. If thus the Lord, in His discourse, had spoken of the βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρ. ἑστὼς ἐν τόπῳ ἁγίω | as a sign of the approaching destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, it would not remotely follow that He referred this prophecy (Daniel 9) to that catastrophe. Much more would He then, as Kliefoth (p. 412) has well remarked, “represent that which Antiochus Epiphanes did against Jerusalem as an historical type of that which the Romans would do.” He would only say, “As once was done to Jerusalem by Antiochus, according to the word of Daniel, so shall it again soon be done; and therefore, it ye see repeating themselves the events which occurred under Antiochus in the fulfilment of Daniel's word, then know ye that it is the time for light.” But regarding the meaning which Christ found in Daniel 9:26 and Daniel 9:27, not the least intimation would follow therefrom.
But in the discourse in question the Lord prophesied nothing whatever primarily or immediately of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, but treated in it, as we have already remarked, generally of His παρουσία and the συντέλεια τοῦ αἰῶνος , which He places only in connection with the destruction of the temple. The occasion of the discourse, as well as its contents, show this. After He had let the temple, never to enter it again, shortly before His last sufferings, while standing on the Mount of Olives, He announces to His disciples, who pointed to the temple, the entire destruction of that building; whereupon they say to Him, “Tell us πότε ταῦτα ἔσται καὶ τί τὸ σημεῖον τῆς σῆς παρουσίας καὶ συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος ?” for they believe that this destruction and His παρουσία take place together at the end of the world. This question the Lord replies to in a long discourse, in which He gives them the wished-for information regarding the sign ( σημεῖον , Matt 24:4-31), and regarding the time ( πότε ) of His παρουσία and the end of the world (Matthew 24:32). The information concerning the sign begins with a warning to take heed and beware of being deceived; for that false messiahs would appear, and wars and tumults of nations rising up one against another, and other plagues, would come (Matthew 24:4). All this would be only the beginning of the woes, i.e., of the affliction which then would come upon the confessors of His name; but the end would not come till the gospel was first preached in all the world as a testimony to all nations (Matthew 24:8). Then He speaks of the signs which immediately precede the end, namely, of the abomination of desolation in the holy place of which Daniel prophesied. With this a period of tribulation would commence such as never yet had been, so that if these days should not be shortened for the elect's sake, no one would be saved (Matthew 24:15). To this He adds, in conclusion, the description of His own παρουσία , which would immediately ( εὐθέως ) follow this great tribulation (Matthew 24:29). He connects with the description of His return (Matthew 24:32) a similitude, with which He answers the question concerning its time, and thus continues: “When ye see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, this γενεά shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:33, Matthew 24:34, Matthew 24:36).
From this brief sketch of the course of the thought it clearly appears that the Lord speaks expressly neither of the destruction of Jerusalem, nor yet of the time of that event. What is to be understood by βδέλυγμα τ. ἐρ He supposes to be known to the disciples from the book of Daniel, and only says to them that they must flee when they see this standing in the holy place, so that they may escape destruction (Matthew 24:15). Only in Luke is there distinct reference to the destruction of Jerusalem; for there we find, instead of the reference to the abomination of desolation, the words, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that its ἐρήμωσις is nigh” (Luke 21:20). According to the record of all the three evangelists, however, the Lord not only connects in the closest manner the tribulation commencing with the appearance of the βδέλυγμα τ. ἐρ , or with the siege of Jerusalem, with the last great tribulation which opens the way for His return, but He also expressly says, that immediately after the tribulation of those days (Matthew 24:29), or in those days of that tribulation (Mark 13:24), or then ( τότε , Luke 21:27), the Son of man shall come in the clouds in great power and glory. From this close connection of His visible παρουσία with the desolation of the holy place or the siege of Jerusalem, it does not, it is true, follow that “by the oppression of Jerusalem connected with the παρουσία , and placed immediately before it, the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans cannot possibly be meant;” much rather that the discourse is “of a desecration and an oppression by Antichrist which would come upon the τόπος ἅγιος and Jerusalem in the then future time, immediately before the return of the Lord, in the days of the θλῖπσις μεγάλη ” (Kliefoth). But just as little does it follow from that close connection - as the eschatological discourse, Matt 24, is understood by most interpreters - that the Lord Himself, as well as His disciples, regarded as contemporaneous the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans and His visible return in the last days, or saw as in prophetic perspective His παρουσία behind the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and thus, without regard to the sequence of time, spoke first of the one event and then of the other. The first conclusion is inadmissible for this reason, that the disciples had made inquiry regarding the time of the destruction of the temple then visibly before them. If the Lord, in His answer to this question, by making mention of the βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρ. ἑστὼς ἐν τόπῳ ἁγίω , had no thought of this temple, but only of the τόπος ἅγιος of the future, the temple of the Christian church, then by the use of words which the disciples could not otherwise understand than of the laying waste and the desolation of the earthly sanctuary He would have confirmed them in their error. The second conclusion is out of harmony with the whole course of thought in the discourse. Besides, both of them are decidedly opposed by this, that the Lord, after setting forth all the events which precede and open the way for His παρουσία and the end of the world, says to the disciples, “When ye see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:33), and solemnly adds, “This γενεά ,” i.e., the generation then living, “shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled” (Matthew 24:34). Since the πάντα ταῦτα in Matthew 24:33 comprehends all that goes before the παρουσία , all the events mentioned in Matthew 24:15-28, or rather in Matt 24:5-28, it must be taken also in the same sense in Matthew 24:34. If, therefore, the contemporaries of Jesus and His disciples - for we can understand nothing else by ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη - must live to see all these events, then must they have had a commencement before the destruction of Jerusalem, and though not perfectly, yet in the small beginnings, which like a germ comprehended in them the completion. Hence it is beyond a doubt that the Lord speaks of the judgment upon Jerusalem and the Jewish temple as the beginning of His παρουσία and of the συντέλεια τοῦ αἰῶνος , not merely as a pre-intimation of them, but as an actual commencement of His coming to judgment, which continues during the centuries of the spread of the gospel over the earth; and when the gospel shall be preached to all nations, then the season and the hour kept in His own power by the Father shall reach its completion in the ἐπιφανείᾳ τῆς παρουσίας αὐτοῦ (2 Thessalonians 2:8) to judge the world.
(Note: This view of the parousia of Christ has been controverted by Dr. A. Christiani in his Bemerkungen zur Auslegung der Apocalypse mit besonderer Rücksicht auf die chiliastische Frage (Riga 1868, p. 21), - only, however, thus, that notwithstanding the remark, “Since the words πάντα ταῦτα , Matthew 24:34, plainly refer back to Matthew 24:33, they cannot in the one place signify more than in the other,” he yet refers these words in Matthew 24:34 to the event of the destruction of Jerusalem, because the contemporaries of Jesus in reality lived to see it; thus giving to them, as they occur in Matthew 24:34, a much more limited sense than that which they have in Matthew 24:33.)
According to this view, Christ, in His discourse, interpreted the prophecy of Daniel, Daniel 11, of the abomination of desolation which should come, and had come, upon Jerusalem and Judah by Antiochus Epiphanes, as a type of the desolation of the sanctuary and of the people of God in the last time, wholly in the sense of the prophecy, which in Matthew 24:36 passes over from the typical enemy of the saints to the enemy of the people of God in the time of the end.
Thus the supposition that Christ referred Daniel 9:26 and Daniel 9:27 to the overthrow of Jerusalem by the Romans loses all support; and for the chronological reckoning of the seventy weeks of Daniel, no help is obtained from the New Testament.
We have now to take into consideration the second view regarding the historical reference of the seventy weeks prevailing in our time. The opponents of the genuineness of the book of Daniel generally are agreed in this (resting on the supposition that the prophecies of Daniel do not extend beyond the death of Antiochus Epiphanes), that the destruction of this enemy of the Jews (Ant. Ep.), or the purification of the temple occurring a few years earlier, forms the terminus ad quem of the seventy weeks, and that their duration is to be reckoned from the year 168 or 172 b.c. back either to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, or to the beginning of the Exile. Since now the seventy year-weeks or 490 years, reckoned from the year 168 or 172 b.c., would bring us to the year 658 or 662 b.c., i.e., fifty-two or fifty-six years before the commencement of the Exile, and the terminus a quo of Jeremiah's prophecy of seventy years, a date from which cannot be reckoned any commencing period, they have for this reason sought to shorten the seventy weeks. Hitzig, Ewald, Wieseler, and others suppose that the first seven year-weeks (= forty-nine years) are not to be taken into the reckoning along with the sixty-two weeks, and that only sixty-two weeks = 434 years are to be counted to the year 175 (Ewald), or 172 (Hitzig), as the beginning of the last week filled up by the assault of Antiochus against Judaism. But this reckoning also brings us to the year 609 or 606 b.c., the beginning of the Exile, or three years further back. To date the sixty-two year-weeks from the commencement of the Exile, agrees altogether too little with the announcement that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem during sixty-two weeks it shall be built, so that, of the most recent representatives of this view, no one any longer consents to hold the seventy years of the exile for a time of the restoring and the building of Jerusalem. Thus Hitzig and Ewald openly declare that the reckoning is not correct, that the pseudo-Daniel has erred, and has assumed ten weeks, i.e., seventy years, too many, either from ignorance of chronology, “or from a defect in thought, from an interpretation of a word of sacred Scripture, springing from certain conditions received as holy and necessary, but not otherwise demonstrable” (Ewald, p. 425). By this change of the sixty-two weeks = 434 years into fifty-two weeks or 364 years, they reach from the year 174 to 538 b.c., the year of the overthrow of Babylon by Cyrus, by whom the word “to restore Jerusalem” was promulgated. To this the seven weeks (= forty-nine years) are again added in order to reach the year 588 or 587 b.c., the year of the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, from which the year-weeks, shortened from seventy to sixty, are to be reckoned.
This hypothesis needs no serious refutation. For a reckoning which places the first 7 weeks = 49 years aside, and then shortens the 62 weeks by 10 in order afterwards again to bring in the 7 weeks, can make no pretence to the name of a “scientific explanation.” When Hitzig remarks (p. 170) “that the 7 weeks form the πρῶτον ψεῦδος in the (Daniel's) reckoning, which the author must bring in; the whole theory of the 70 year-weeks demands the earlier commencement in the year 606 b.c.” - we may, indeed, with greater accuracy say that the πρῶτον ψεῦδος of the modern interpretation, which needs such exegetical art and critical violence in order to change the 70 and the 62 weeks into 60 and 52, arises out of the dogmatic supposition that the 70 weeks must end with the consecration of the temple under Antiochus, or with the death of this enemy of God.
Among the opponents of the genuineness of the book this supposition is a dogmatic axiom, to the force of which the words of Scripture must yield. But this supposition is adopted also by interpreters such as Hofmann, Reichel ( die 70 Jahreswochen Daniel 9:24-27, in the Theol. Stud. u. Krit. 1858, p. 735ff.), Fries, and others, who recognise the genuineness of the book of Daniel, and hold the announcement of the angel in these verses to be a divine revelation. These interpreters have adopted this view for this reason, that in the description of the hostile prince who shall persecute Israel and desecrate the sanctuary, and then come to his end with terror (Daniel 9:26, Daniel 9:27), they believe that they recognise again the image of Antiochus Epiphanes, whose enmity against the people and the sanctuary of God is described, Daniel 8:9., 23f. It cannot, it is true, be denied that there is a certain degree of similarity between the two. If in Daniel 9:26, Daniel 9:27 it is said of the hostile prince that he shall destroy the city and the sanctuary, and put an end to the sacrifice and the meat-offering for half a week, then it is natural to think of the enemy of whom it is said: he “shall destroy the mighty and the holy people” (E. V. Daniel 8:24), “and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away” (Daniel 8:11), “and he shall take away the daily sacrifice” (Daniel 11:31), especially if, with Hofmann, we adopt the view ( Schriftbew. ii. 2, p. 592) that between the expressions “take away the daily sacrifice” ( התּמיד הסיר , remove ] הרים ), and “he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” ( וּמנחה זבח ישׁבית ), there “is no particular distinction.”
(Note: We confine ourselves here to what Hofm. in his Schriftbew. has brought forward in favour of this view, without going into the points which he has stated in his die 70 Wochen, u. s. w. p. 97, but has omitted in the Schriftbew., and can with reference to that earlier argumentation only refer for its refutation to Kliefoth's Daniel, p. 417ff.)
But the predicate “ particular ” shows that Hofmann does not reject every distinction; and, indeed, there exists a not inconsiderable distinction; for, as we have already remarked, התּמיד denotes only that which is permanent in worship, as e.g., the daily morning and evening sacrifice; while, on the other hand, זבה וּמנחה denotes the whole series of sacrifices together. The making to cease of the bloody and the unbloody sacrifices expresses an altogether greater wickedness than the taking away of the daily sacrifice. This distinction is not set aside by a reference to the clause משׁמם שׁקּוּצים כּנף ועל (Daniel 9:27) compared with משׁמם השּׁקּוּץ ונתנוּ (Daniel 11:31). For the assertion that the article in משׁמם השּׁקּוּץ (Daniel 11:31, “ the abomination that maketh desolate”) denotes something of which Daniel had before this already heard, supplies no proof of this; but the article is simply to be accounted for from the placing over against one another of התּמיד and השּׁקּוּץ . Moreover the משׁמם השּׁקּוּץ is very different from the משׁמם שׁקּוּצים כּנף על . The being carried on the wings of idol-abominations is a much more comprehensive expression for the might and dominion of idol-abominations than the setting up of an idol-altar on Jehovah's altar of burnt-offering.
As little can we (with Hofm., p. 590) perceive in the הבּא , closely connecting itself with בּשׁטף וקצּו (Daniel 9:26), a reference to the divine judgment described in Daniel 8, because the reference to the enemy of God spoken of in Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:24 is as natural, yea, even more so, when we observe that the enemy of God in Daniel 7 is destroyed by a solemn judgment of God - a circumstance which harmonizes much more with קצּו בשּׁטף than with ישּׁבר יד בּאפס , which is said of the enemy described in Daniel 8. Add to this that the half-week during which the adversary shall (Daniel 9:27) carry on his work corresponds not to the 2300 evening-mornings (Daniel 8:13), but, as Delitzsch acknowledges, to the 3 1/2 times, Daniel 7:25 and Daniel 12:7, which 3 1/2 times, however, refer not to the period of persecution under Antiochus, but to that of Antichrist.
From all this it therefore follows, not that the prince who shall come, whose people shall destroy the city and the sanctuary, and who shall cause the sacrifice to cease, is Antiochus, who shall raise himself against the people of the saints, take away the “continuance” ( = daily sacrifice), and cast down the place of the sanctuary (Daniel 8:11), but only that this wickedness of Antiochus shall constitute a type for the abomination of desolation which the hostile prince mentioned in this prophecy shall set up, till, like Pharaoh, he find his overthrow in the flood, and the desolation which he causes shall pour itself upon him like a flood.
This interpretation of Daniel 9:26, Daniel 9:27 is not made doubtful also by referring to the words of 1 Macc. 1:54, ᾠκοδόμησαν βδέλυγμα ἐρημώσεως ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον , as an evidence that at that time Daniel 9:27 was regarded as a prophecy of the events then taking place (Hofm. Weiss. i. p. 309). For these words refer not to Daniel 9:27, where the lxx have βδέλυγμα ἐρημώσεων , but to Daniel 11:11, where the singular βδέλυγμα ἐρημώσεως stands with the verb καὶ δώσουσι (lxx for ונתנוּ ), to which the ᾠκοδομήσεται visibly refers.
If, therefore, the reference of Daniel 9:26, Daniel 9:27 to the period of Antiochus' persecution is exegetically untenable, then also, finally, it is completely disproved in the chronological reckoning of the 70 weeks. Proceeding from the right supposition, that after the 70 weeks, the fulfilling of all that was promised, the expiating and putting away of sin, and, along with that, the perfect working out of the divine plan of salvation for eternity, shall begin - thus, that in Daniel 9:24 the perfecting of the kingdom of God in glory is prophesied of, - Hofmann and his followers do not interpret the 7, 62, and 1 week which are mentioned in Daniel 9:25-27 as a division of the 70 weeks, but they misplace the first-mentioned 7 weeks at that end of the period consisting of 70 such weeks, and the following 62 + 1 in the time reaching from the beginning of the Chaldean supremacy in the year 605 to the death of Antiochus Epiphanes in the year 164, which makes 441 years = 63 year-weeks; according to which, not only the end of the 62 + 1 weeks does not coincide with the end of the 70 weeks, but also the 7 + 62 + 1 are to be regarded neither as identical with the 70 nor as following one another continuously in their order, - much more between the 63 and the 7 weeks a wide blank space, which before the coming of the end cannot be measured, must lie, which is not even properly covered up, much less filled up, by the remark that “the unfolding of the 70 proceeds backwards.” For by this reckoning 7 + 62 + 1 are not an unfolding of the 70, and are not equal to 70, but would be equal to 62 + 1 + some unknown intervening period + 7 weeks. This were an impossibility which the representatives of this interpretation of the angel's communication do not, it is true, accept, but seek to set aside, by explaining the 7 weeks as periods formed of 7 times 7, or jubilee-year periods, and, on the contrary, the 62 + 1 of seven-year times of Sabbath-periods.
This strange interpretation of the angel's words, according to which not only must the succession of the periods given in the text be transposed, the first 7 weeks being placed last, but also the word שׁבעים in the passages immediately following one another must first denote jubilee (49 year) periods, then also Sabbath-year (7 year) periods, is not made plain by saying that “the end of the 62 + 1 week is the judgment of wrath against the persecutor, thus only the remote making possible the salvation; but the end of the 70 weeks is, according to Daniel 9:24, the final salvation, and fulfilling of the prophecy and consecration of the Most Holy - thus the end of the 62 + 1 and of the 70 does not take place at the same time;” and - ”if the end of the two took place at the same time, what kind of miserable consolation would this be for Daniel, in answer to his prayer, to be told that Jerusalem within the 70 weeks would in troublous times again arise, thus only arise amid destitution!”' (Del. p. 284). For the prophecy would furnish but miserable consolation only in this case, if it consisted merely of the contents of Daniel 9:25, Daniel 9:26, and Daniel 9:27, - if it said nothing more than this, that Jerusalem should be built again within the 70 weeks in troublous times, and then finally would again be laid waste. But the other remark, that the judgment of wrath against the destroyer forms only the remote making possible of the salvation, and is separated from the final deliverance or the completion of salvation by a long intervening period, stands in contradiction to the prophecy in Daniel 7 and to the whole teaching of Scripture, according to which the destruction of the arch-enemy (Antichrist) and the setting up of the kingdom of glory are brought about by one act of judgment.
In the most recent discussion of this prophecy, Hofmann ( Schriftbew. ii. 2, p. 585ff., 2 Aufl.) has presented the following positive arguments for the interpretation and reckoning of the period of time in question. The message of the angel in Daniel 7:25-27 consists of three parts: (1) A statement of how many heptades shall be between the going forth of the command to rebuild Jerusalem and a Maschiach Nagid; (2) the mentioning of that which constitutes the contents of sixty-two of these periods; (3) the prediction of what shall happen with the close of the latter of these times. In the first of these parts, דּבר with the following infinitive, which denotes a human action, is to be taken in the sense of commandment, as that word of Cyrus prophesied of Isaiah 44:28, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem is to be interpreted as in this passage of Isaiah, or in Jeremiah's prophecy to the same import, and not as if afterwards a second rebuilding of Jerusalem amid the difficulty and oppression of the times is predicted; then will the sixty-two heptades remain separated from the seven, and not sixty-nine of these, but only seven, be reckoned between the going forth of the command to build Jerusalem again and the Maschiach Nagid, since in Daniel 9:26 mention is made not of that which is to be expected on the other side of the sixty-nine, but of the sixty-two times; finally, the contents of the seven times are sufficiently denoted by their commencement and their termination, and will remain without being confounded with the building up of Jerusalem in troublous times, afterwards described.
All these statements of Hofmann are correct, and they agree with our interpretation of these verses, but they contain no proof that the sixty-two weeks are to be placed after the seven, and that they are of a different extent from these. The proof for this is first presented in the conclusion derived from these statements (on the ground of the correct supposition that by Maschiach Nagid not Cyrus, but the Messias, is to be understood), that because the first of these passages ( Daniel 9:25) does not say of a part of these times what may be its contents, but much rather points out which part of them lies between the two events in the great future of Israel, and consequently separates them from one another, that on this account these events belong to the end of the present course of the world, in which Israel hoped, and obviously the seven times shall constitute the end of the period consisting of seven such times. This argument thus founds itself on the circumstance that the appearing of the Maschiach Nagid which concludes the seven weeks, and separates them from the sixty-two weeks which follow, is not to be understood of the appearance of Christ in the flesh, but of His return in glory for the completion of the kingdom which was hoped for in consequence of the restoration of Jerusalem, prophesied of by Isaiah (e.g., Isaiah 55:3-4) and Jeremiah (e.g., Jeremiah 30:9). But we could speak of these deductions as valid only if Isaiah and Jeremiah had prophesied only of the appearance of the Messias in glory, with the exclusion of His coming in the flesh. But since this is not the case - much rather, on the one side, Hofmann himself says the וגו להשׁיב דּבר may be taken for a prediction, as that Isaiah 44:28, of Cyrus - but Cyrus shall not build the Jerusalem of the millennial kingdom, but the Jerusalem with its temple which was destroyed by the Chaldeans - and, on the other hand, here first, if not alone, in the prophecies Jer. 25 and 29, by which Daniel was led to pray, Jeremiah has predicted the return of Israel from exile after the expiry of the seventy years as the beginning of the working out of the divine counsel of salvation towards Israel, - therefore Daniel also could not understand the וגו להשׁיב דּבר otherwise than of the restoration of Jerusalem after the seventy years of the Babylonish exile. The remark also, that nothing is said of the contents of the seven weeks, warrants us in no respect to seek their contents in the time of the millennial kingdom. The absence of any mention of the contents of the seven weeks is simply and sufficiently accounted for from the circumstance, as we have already shown, that Daniel had already given the needed information (Daniel 8) regarding this time, regarding the time from the end of the Exile to the appearance of Christ. Still less can the conclusion be drawn, from the circumstance that the building in the sixty-two weeks is designated as one falling in troublous times, that the restoration and the building of Jerusalem in the seven weeks shall be a building in glory. The ולבנות להשׁיב ( to restore and to build, Daniel 9:25) does not form a contrast to the העתּים וּבצוק ונבנתה תּשׁוּב (= E.V. shall be built again, and the wall even in troublous times, Daniel 9:25), but it is only more indefinite, for the circumstances of the building are not particularly stated. Finally, the circumstance also, that after the sixty-two heptades a new devastation of the holy city is placed in view, cannot influence us to escape from the idea of the second coming of Christ in the last time along with the building of Jerusalem during the seven heptades, since it was even revealed to the prophet that not merely would a cruel enemy of the saints of God (in Antiochus Epiphanes) arise out of the third world-kingdom, but also that a yet greater enemy would arise out of the fourth, an enemy who would perish in the burning fire (Daniel 7:12, Daniel 7:26.) in the judgment of the world immediately before the setting up of the kingdom of glory.
Thus neither the placing of the contents of the seven weeks in the eschatological future, nor yet the placing of these weeks at the beginning instead of at the end of the three periods of time which are distinguished in Daniel 9:25-27, is established by these arguments. This Fries ( Jahrb.f. deutsche Theol. iv. p. 254ff.) has observed, and rightly remarked, that the effort to interpret the events announced in Daniel 9:26. of the tyranny of Antiochus, and to make this epoch coincide with the close of the sixty-two year-weeks in the chronological reckoning, cannot but lead to the mistake of including the years of Babylon in the seventy year-weeks - a mistake which is met by three rocks, against which every attempt of this kind must be shattered. (1) There is the objection that it is impossible that the times of the destruction and the desolation of Jerusalem could be conceived of under the same character as the times of its restoration, and be represented from the same point of view; (2) the inexplicable inconsequence which immediately arises, if in the seventy year-weeks, including the last restoration of Israel, the Babylonish but not also the Romish exile were comprehended; (3) the scarcely credible supposition that the message of the angel sent to Daniel was to correct that earlier divine word which was given by Jeremiah, and to make known that not simply seventy years, but rather seventy year-weeks, are meant. Of this latter supposition we have already shown that it has not a single point of support in the text.
In order to avoid these three rocks, Fries advances the opinion that the three portions into which the seventy year-weeks are divided, are each by itself separately to be reckoned chronologically, and that they form a connected whole, not in a chronological, but in a historico-pragmatical sense, “as the whole of all the times of the positive continuance of the theocracy in the Holy Land lying between the liberation from Babylonish exile and the completion of the historical kingdom of Israel”; and, indeed, so that the seven year-weeks, Daniel 9:25, form the last part of the seventy year-weeks, or, what is the same, the jubilee-period of the millennial kingdom, and the sixty-two year-weeks, Daniel 9:26, represent the period of the restoration of Israel after its liberation from Babylon and before its overthrow by the Romans - reckoned according to the average of the points of commencement and termination, according to which, from the reckoning 536 (edict of Cyrus), 457 (return of Ezra), and 410 (termination by the restoration), we obtain for the epoch of the restoration the mean year 467 b.c.; and for the crisis of subjection to the Roman power A.U.C. 691 (the overthrow of Jerusalem by Pompey), 714 (the appointment of Herod as king of the Jews), and 759 (the first Roman procurator in Palestine), we obtain the mean year 721 A.U.C. = 33 b.c., and the difference of these mean numbers, 467 and 33, amounts exactly to 434 years = 62 year-weeks. The period described in v. 26 thus reaches from the beginnings of the subjection of Israel under the Roman world-kingdom to the expiry of the time of the diaspora of Israel, and the separate year-week, v. 27, comprehends the period of the final trial of the people of God, and reaches from the bringing back of Israel to the destruction of Antichrist (pp. 261-2;66).
Against this new attempt to solve the mystery of the seventy weeks, Hofmann, in Schriftbew. ii. 2, p. 594, raises the objection, “that in Daniel 9:26 a period must be described which belongs to the past, and in Daniel 9:27, on the contrary, another which belongs to the time of the end; this makes the indissoluble connection which exists between the contents of the two verses absolutely impossible.” In this he is perfectly right. The close connection between these two verses makes it certainly impossible to interpose an empty space of time between the cutting off of the Anointed, by which Fries understands the dispersion of Israel among the heathen in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and the coming of Antichrist, a space which would amount to 1800 years. But in opposition to this hypothesis we must also further remark, (1) that Fries had not justified the placing of the first portion of the seventy year-weeks (i.e., the seven weeks) at the end, - he has not removed the obstacles standing against this arbitrary supposition, for his interpretation of the words נגיד משׁיח עד , “till Messias the prince shall be,” is verbally impossible, since, if Nagid is a predicate, then the verb יהיה could not be wanting; (2) that the interpretation of the משׁיח יכּרת of the abolition of the old theocracy, and of the dispersion of the Jews abandoned by God among the heathen, needs no serious refutation, but with this interpretation the whole hypothesis stands or falls. Finally, (3) the supposition requires that the sixty-two weeks must be chronologically reckoned as year-weeks; the seven weeks, on the contrary, must be interpreted mystically as jubilee-periods, and the one week as a period of time of indefinite duration; a freak of arbitrariness exceeding all measure, which can on longer be spoken of as scripture interpretation.
Over against such arbitrary hypotheses, we can regard it as only an advance on the way toward a right understanding of this prophecy, that Hofmann (p. 594) closes his most recent investigations into this question with the following remarks: - ”On the contrary, I always find that the indefiniteness of the expression שׁבוּע , which denotes a period in some way divided into sevens, leaves room for the possibility of comprehending together the sixty-three and the seven weeks, in one period of seventy, as its beginning and its end .... What was the extent of the units of which the seventy times consist, the expression שׁבוּע did not inform Daniel: he could only conjecture it.” This facilitates the adoption of the symbolical interpretation of the numbers, which, after the example of Leyrer and Kliefoth, we regard as the only possible one, because it does not necessitate our changing the seventy years of the exile into years of the restoration oaf Jerusalem, and placing the even weeks, which the text presents as the first period of the seventy weeks, last.
The symbolical interpretation of the seventy שׁבעים and their divisions is supported by the following considerations: - (1) By the double circumstance, that on the one side all the explanations of them as year-weeks necessitate an explanation of the angel's message which is justified neither by the words nor by the succession of the statements, and do violence to the text, without obtaining a natural progress of thought, and on the other side all attempts to reckon these year-weeks chronologically show themselves to be insufficient and impossible. (2) The same conclusion is sustained by the choice of the word שׁבוּע for the definition of the whole epoch and its separate periods; for this word only denotes a space of time measured by sevens, but indicates nothing as to the duration of these sevens. Since Daniel in Daniel 8:14 and Daniel 12:11 uses a chronologically definite measure of time (evening-mornings, days), we must conclude from the choice of the expressions, seven, seven times (as in Daniel 7:25 and Daniel 12:7 of the like expression, times), which cannot be reckoned chronologically, that the period for the perfecting of the people and the kingdom of God was not to be chronologically defined, but only noted as a divinely appointed period measured by sevens. “They are sevens, of that there is no doubt; but the measure of the unit is not given:” thus Lämmert remarks ( Zur Revision der bibl. Zahlensymb. in den Jahrbb.f. D. Theol. ix. 1). He further says: “If the great difficulty of taking these numbers chronologically does not of itself urge to their symbolical interpretation, then we should be led to this by the disagreement existing between Gabriel's answer (Daniel 9:22) and Daniel's question (Daniel 9:2). To his human inquiries regarding the end of the Babylonish exile, Daniel receives not a human but a divine answer, in which the seventy years of Jeremiah are reckoned as sevens, and it is indicated that the full close of the history of redemption shall only be reached after a long succession of periods of development.”
By the definition of these periods according to a symbolical measure of time, the reckoning of the actual duration of the periods named is withdrawn beyond the reach of our human research, and the definition of the days and hours of the development of the kingdom of God down to its consummation is reserved for God, the Governor of the world and the Ruler of human history; yet by the announcement of the development in its principal stadia, according to a measure fixed by God, the strong consolation is afforded of knowing that the fortunes of His people are in His hands, and that no hostile power will rule over them one hour longer than God the Lord thinks fit to afford time and space, in regard to the enemy for his unfolding and ripening for the judgment, and in regard to the saints for the purifying and the confirmation of their faith for the eternal life in His kingdom according to His wisdom and righteousness.
The prophecy, in that it thus announces the times of the development of the future consummation of the kingdom of God and of this world according to a measure that is symbolical and not chronological, does not in the least degree lose its character as a revelation, but thereby first rightly proves its high origin as divine, and beyond the reach of human thought. For, as Leyrer (Herz.'s Realenc. xviii. p. 387) rightly remarks, “should not He who as Creator has ordained all things according to measure and number, also as Governor of the world set higher measures and bounds to the developments of history? which are to be taken at one time as identical with earthly measures of time, which indeed the eventus often first teaches (e.g., the seventy years of the Babylonish exile, Daniel 9:2), but at another time as symbolical, but yet so that the historical course holds and moves itself within the divinely measured sphere, as with the seventy weeks of Daniel, wherein, for the establishing of the faith of individuals and of the church, there lies the consolation, that all events even to the minutest, particularly also the times of war and of oppression, are graciously measured by God (Jeremiah 5:22; Job 38:11; Psalms 93:3.).”
(Note: Auberlen, notwithstanding that he interprets the seventy שׁבעים chronologically as year-weeks, does not yet altogether misapprehend the symbolical character of this definition of time, but rightly remarks (p. 133f.), “The history of redemption is governed by these sacred numbers; they are like the simple foundation of the building, the skeleton in its organism. These are not only outward indications of time, but also indications of nature and essence.” What he indeed says regarding the symbolical meaning of the seventy weeks and their divisions, depends on his erroneous interpretation of the prophecy of the appearance of Christ in the flesh, and is not consistent with itself.)
To give this consolation to the faithful is the object of this revelation, and that object it fully accomplishes. For the time and the hour of the consummation of the kingdom of God it belongs not to us to know. What the Lord said to His disciples (Acts 1:7) before His ascension, in answer to their question as to the time of the setting up of the kingdom of Israel - ”It belongs not to you to know χρόνους ἤ καιροὺς οὕς ὁ πατὴρ ἔθετο ἐν τῇ Ἰδίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ “that He says not only to the twelve apostles, but to the whole Christian world. That the reason for this answer is to be sought not merely in the existing condition of the disciples at the time He uttered it, but in this, that the time and the hour of the appearance of the Lord for the judgment of the world and the completion of His kingdom in glory are not to be announced beforehand to men, is clear from the circumstance that Christ in the eschatological discourse (Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32) declares generally, “Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” According to this, God, the Creator and Ruler of the world, has kept in His own power the determination of the time and the hour of the consummation of the world, so that we may not expect an announcement of it beforehand in the Scripture. What has been advanced in opposition to this view for the justifying of the chronological interpretation of Daniel's prophecy of seventy weeks, and similar prophecies (cf. e.g., Hengstb. Christol. iii. 1, p. 202ff.), cannot be regarded as valid proof. If Bengel, in Ordo Temporum , p. 259, 2nd ed., remarks with reference to Mark 13:32: “ Negatur praevia scientia, pro ipso duntaxat praesenti sermonis tempore, ante passionem et glorificationem Jesu. Non dixit, nemo sciet, sed: nemo scit. Ipse jam, jamque, sciturus erat: et quum scientiam diei et horae nactus fuit, ipsius erat, scientiam dare, cui vellet et quando vellet ,” - so no one can certainly dispute a priori the conclusion “ Ipse jam ,” etc., drawn from the correct statements preceding, but also every one will confess that the statement “ Ipsius erat ,” etc., cannot prove it to be a fact that Jesus, after His glorification, revealed to John in Patmos the time and the hour of His return for the final judgment. Bengel's attempt to interpret the prophetical numbers of the Apocalypse chronologically, and accordingly to reckon the year of the coming again of our Lord, has altogether failed, as all modern scientific interpreters have acknowledged. So also fails the attempt which has been made to conclude from what Christ has said regarding the day of His παρουσία , that the Scripture can have no chronologically defined prophecies, while yet Christ Himself prophesied His resurrection after three days.
The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Daniel 9". Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany