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THE SEVENTY WEEKS. This is the chapter of Daniel which has occasioned most controversy. It was appealed to by Tertullian and the early Fathers as a demonstration of the correctness of our Lord's claims to Messiahship. It is now received by critical commentators that to our Lord this prophecy cannot refer. Many treatises have been written on the "seventy weeks" of Daniel, and none of them have entirely cleared up the difficulties; indeed, it may be doubted whether all together they have illuminated the subject very much.
Daniel 9:1, Daniel 9:2
In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; in the first year of his reign, I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord same to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. The version of the Septuagint goes on the assumption that the critics are correct in their belief that the author of Daniel imagined a Median Empire between the Babylonian and the Persian.
"(1) In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes, of the seed of the Medes who," that is, the Medes—the LXX. seems to have read malkoo instead of homlak—"reigned over the kingdom of the Chaldeans.
(2) In the first year of his reign, I Daniel understood by the books the number of the years when the ordinance (πρόσταγμα) about the land was (revealed) to Jeremiah the prophet to accomplish seventy years to the fulfilment of the reproach of Jerusalem."
Theodotion is closer to the Massoretic, only he does not seem to have read the hophal of "reign," but the kal. Further, Theodotion omits the second statement of the year of Darius, with which, both in the LXX. and in the Massoretic, the second verse begins. We have in Tertullian a few verses from this chapter in the Old Latin Version, called sometimes the Vetus. It coincides exactly with neither of the Greek Versions, nor with the Massoretic, but is in closer relationship with Theodotion. The Peshitta in the first agrees in the main with the Massoretic texf, but renders the second verse thus: "In the first year of his reign, I Daniel understood in the book the number of years; I saw what was the ordinance of the number which Jeremiah the prophet had said concerning the completion of the desolation of Jerusalem—seventy years." Theodotion, the Vetus, the Peshitta, and also Jerome, neglect the fact that הָמְלַד (hom'lak) is hophal, and translate as if the word were kal. This neglect is due to the difficulty of understanding the semi-satrapial position occupied by Gobryas. He had regal powers given him to appoint satraps in the divisions of the province of Babylonia. Not improbably, further, be could fulfil certain sacred functions which customarily only a king could fulfil. This is the only case where the hophal of this verb occurs. Such a unique use of a verb must imply unique circumstances; such unique circumstances existed in the position of Gobryas in Babylon. Only a contemporary would have indicated this singular state of matters by the use of an out-of-the way portion of a verb without further explanation. It is singular that critics will not give the obvious meaning to the persistent indications that the author of this book gives, that he regards Darius, not as an independent sovereign, but as in some sort a vassal of a higher power, on whom he is dependent. Of the seed of the Medes. This statement naturally implies that while Darius was of Median descent, he was naturalized into some ether race. In the first year of his reign. This phrase has the appearance of representing the original beginning of the narrative. Probably there were originally two recensions of this narrative, one of them beginning with the first verse, the other with some modification of the second verse which has been still further modified till it has reached its present form. The year indicated corresponds to b.c. 538, the year of the capture of Babylon, therefore sixty-eight years from the time that Daniel was carried captive. The period, then, which had been foretold by Jeremiah during which the Jews were to be captive and Jerusalem desolate, was drawing to a close. According to the critical assumption, that this date is to be reckoned from the captivity of Jehoiachin, there were yet ten years to run, and if it reckoned from the capture of Jerusalem during the reign of Zedekiah, there were twenty years. There is a certain dramatic suitability, if no more, in Daniel studying the prophecies of Jeremiah, with always growing eagerness as the time approached when God had promised release. I Daniel understood by books. The critical school have assumed that this phrase "books" applies, and must apply, to the canon; therefore it is concluded that this book was written after the formation of the canon, and therefore very late. Unfortunately for the assumption brought forward, aephareem is by no means invariably used collectively for the books of the Bible, but K'thubim, e.g. Talmud Babli Shabbath (Mishna), p. 115a, was also used. Many of the cases where sephareem appears it is used distributively, not collectively; e.g. Talmud Babli Megillah (Mishna), p. 8b. From the fact that the same word was used for the third division of the canon, and for the books of the canon as a whole, there was liable to be a difficulty, and hence confusion. Traces of this we find in the prologue to the Greek Version of Ecclesiasticus. Thus in the first sentence the translator speaks of "the Law, the Prophets, and the others (τῶν ἄλλων)," as if τῶν βιβλίων were mentally supplied before νόμου. While sepher is used for any individual book of Scripture, and sephareem used for a group of these books, as the Books of Moses, it is not used for the Bible as a whole, just as in English we never call the Bible "the books," but not unfrequently "the Scriptures; "on the other hand, we speak of "the Books of Moses," never of the "Scriptures of Moses." If sephareem does not mean the canon, what does it mean? We know from Jeremiah 29:1 that Jeremiah sent to the exiles a "letter," and in that letter (verse 10) it is said, "For thus saith the Lord, After seventy years be accomplished for Babylon, I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you in causing you to return to this place." It is true that this letter is called sepher in Jeremiah, but in 2 Kings 19:14 and Isaiah 37:14 we have sephareem the plural, used for a single letter. This is proved by the fact that in Isaiah all the suffixes referring to it are singular; in Kings one is in the plural by attraction, but the other is singular as in Isaiah. The correct rendering of the passage, then, is, "I Daniel understood by the letter the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet." It is clear that the reference in this verse is to Jeremiah's letter, for we have the use of יחוה, Jahve (Jehovah), which out of this chapter does not appear in this book; we have in this verse מַלִּאת, which we have in Jeremiah 29:10; it is vocalized as infinitive piel in Daniel, and infinitive kal in Jeremiah, but there is probably some error in Daniel. Another peculiarity which connects this passage with the "letter" of Jeremiah is the form the prophet's name assumes. In the rest of his prephecy it is usually called יִרְמְיָהוּ (Yir'myahoo); in the section of which the 'letter forms part, as in this verse in Daniel, he is called יִרְמְיָה (Yir'myah). It is thus clear that Daniel had in his mind Jeremiah's "letter;" hence it is far-fetched to imagine that he claims acquaintance with all the books of the Hebrew canon, in order to know the contents of a letter. Even a falsarius of the most ignorant sort would scarcely fail to avoid the blunder attributed to the author of Daniel by critics. How do the critics harmonize their explanation of this verse with their theory that the canon closed in b.c. 105, while Daniel was written in the year b.c. 1687 It would be as impossible for an author to speak of the canon in terms which denote it being long fixed, sixty years before it was actually collected, as four hundred years. The impossible has no degrees. That he would accomplish seventy years. That seventy years would fulfil the period of desolation to Jerusalem. It is to be noted that the word translated here "accomplish" occurs in Jeremiah's letter in regard to this very period (Jeremiah 29:10). The word for "desolations" is connected by Furst with "drought;" it is also connected with the word for "a sword." The date at which the vision related in the chapter was given was, as we have seen, shortly after the fall of Babylon. The period set by God, if we date from Daniel's own captivity, was rapidly nearing its conclusion. As yet Cyrus had given no sign that he was about to treat the Jews differently from the other nations. The King of Ansan had declared himself—whether from faith or policy we cannot tell—a fervent worshipper of Merodach and the other gods of Babylon: would he not be prone to pursue the policy of the kings of Babylon, whose successor he claimed to be? He had certainly ordered the return to the various cities of the images of those gods which had been brought to Babylon by Nabunahid, but there was no word of the return of the captives of Zion. Would Jehovah be true to his promise or not? Like believers in every age, Daniel takes refuge in prayer.
And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes. The Septuagint Version here is slavishly close; it renders אֶתְּנָא (‛ettena) in accordance with its more common meaning, ἔδωακ, and the idiomatic phrase, "to seek prayer and supplication," is rendered εὑρεῖν προσευχήν. The true rendering is, as Professor Bevan points out," to set to prayer." Theodotion is nearly as slavish; only he omits "ashes," and has "fastings." The Peshitta is close, but does not follow the change of construction in the last clause. Jerome seems to have read, "my God." The cessation of the temple-worship, with its sacrifices, was naturally fitted to bring prayer as a mode of worship into a prominence it bad not before. Yet we find prayers made while the first temple was yet standing, as the prayer of Hezekiah (2 Kings 19:15), of Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:6). The comparison more naturally stands with the prayers of Ezra and Nehemiah, as the subject of their supplication is similar to that of the prayer before us.
And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and maid, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments. The versions do not call for remark. The first clause is somewhat of a repetition of the end of the previous verse, and may thus be the indication of there having been two recensions; at the same time, the Oriental style allows greater repetition and redundancy than in Western countries would be permitted. There is a reference here to Deuteronomy 7:9, from which the latter clause is quoted verbatim. It is also quoted with equal exactness in Nehemiah 1:5. The chapter in Deuteronomy exhibits God's love for Israel, and hence, as that love is his plea, Daniel appeals to it. We note the evidence of careful acquaintance with preceding Scripture.
We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments. While otherwise close, neither of the Greek versions retains the change of construction before the last clause, which is exhibited in the English versions. The Peshitta fails in this way ale, but uses participles all through. This verso has a strong resemblance to Nehemiah 1:6, Nehemiah 1:7, only in Nehemiah there is more elaboration and all the signs of a later development. There is a climax here from simple sin to rebellion; at the same time, this heaping up of terms so nearly synonymous is more liturgic than literary; these words may have been used in the synagogue service in Babylon.
Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy Name to our kings, our princes, and oar fathers, and to all the people of the land. The Septuagint, while agreeing in the main with the Massoretic, translates "to all the people of the land" as "to every nation on the earth." Theodotion is more accurate, but the Peshitta maintains the ambiguity. Daniel continues his confession of sin. Not only will they not keep God's commands, but when God sent prophets, men of their brethren, to speak to them with human voice, they would not hearken. The designation of the ordinary inhabitants, the common people, as עַם־הָאָרֶץ (‛am ha‛aretz) is a usage that became more pronounced in later days, when all not educated as rabbin were called ‛am ha‛aretz. The resemblance is striking between this passage and Nehemiah 9:30-32. It is, perhaps, impossible to settle on merely critical grounds which is the more primitive form. There is much in both passages that would suggest a third form, the independent source of both. Not unlikely the source was some liturgic prayer. As the shorter, the passage before us may be nearer this original source.
Daniel 9:7, Daniel 9:8
O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them. because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee. O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. The versions are all very close to the Massoretic text. The most important variation is Theodotion's repetition of the first clause of Daniel 9:7 at the beginning of Daniel 9:8. Neither of the English versions brings out the contrast in the Hebrew of the second clause of Daniel 9:7; it is "man," not "men," of Judah. This contrast is observed by Theodotion and Jerome, but not by the LXX. or the Peshitta. These two verses have a strong resemblance to Bar. 1:15, 16, "And ye shall say, To our God belongeth righteousness, but unto us the confusion of faces, as it is come to pass this day to man of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to our kings, and to our princes, and to our priests, and to our prophets, and to our fathers." This confession is introduced into the text of Baruch as a quotation. The captives on the river Lud send money to Jerusalem for offerings and sacrifices, and with the money send certain advices. As the circumstances in which the Baruch version purports to be written do not so naturally suit the words used, we can, we think, have no difficulty in recognizing that it is not the primitive recension. The words have the look of a liturgic prayer. The relationship between the present passage and Jeremiah is close; "confusion of face" occurs in Jeremiah 7:19 as well as Ezra 9:7. The most marked case is the collocation, "man of Judah, and inbabitants of Jerusalem." This phrase is frequent in Jeremiah; e.g Jeremiah 4:4; Jeremiah 11:2; Jeremiah 17:25. There is also a resemblance to Ezekiel in the phrase, "their trespass that they have trespassed against thee;" e.g. Ezekiel 15:8; Ezekiel 20:27. The language thus is in strict dramatic suitability to one who has just been studying the prophets of the Captivity. To our kings, to our princes. This could not be used naturally after the date of Daniel. To him who remembered kings and princes in Judah and Jerusalem, this language is natural. In the age of Epiphanes it would be absurd and meaningless. The phrase is used in the liturgic prayer in Nehemiah, because there is a narrative of the history of the people. When we compare the Psalter of Solomon, we find the only King of Israel is God: yet Alexander Jannseus, who was not long dead when that Psalter was written, had assumed the crown; and his sons had competed for the possession of it.
Daniel 9:9, Daniel 9:10
To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him; neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. The Septuagint renders the last clause, "The Law which thou gavest before Moses, and us by thy servants the prophets." There is a change here which has the appearance of marking an interpolation. The prayer ceases, and an explanatory narrative begins. In content it resembles the parallel passage in Bar. 1; but is much briefer, and therefore more likely to be the older. "Forgivenesses" occurs only here and Nehemiah 9:17 in a prayer that otherwise seems borrowed from that before us.
Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy Law. even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the Law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him. The versions do not present any points worthy of special consideration. The prayer is resumed during the greater part of this verse. The reference here is to Leviticus 26:14 and Deuteronomy 28:15, the probability being more in favour of the latter, from the reference to the "oath." The last clause is a lapse again into the narrative style. In the parallel passage in Baruch it is narrative throughout. This clause may easily have been a gloss added by a scribe and inserted in the text by a copyist. There may, however, simply be an error in the prenominal suffix.
And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us. and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem. The LXX. differs somewhat, "And he hath confirmed against us (ἔστησεν ἡμῖν) his words (προστάγματα), such as he spake against us, and against our judges, such great evils as thou didst adjudge us (ἔκρινας ἡμῖν), to bring upon us." The rest is farily in accordance with the Massoretic. It is clear that in the text before the LXX. translator the word was shephaṭtanoo instead of shephaṭoonoo, that is to say, ת(tau) instead of ו(vav). These letters in earlier scripts were liable to be confounded. The meaning assigned to shaphat in this reading is unusual; but this is rather in favour of it being the true reading; and the return to the second person, while awkward, also has weight. Theodotion and the Peshitta do not call for remark. The use of the word "judges" for rulers generally ought to be noted. If we take the Massoretic reading, there may be a reminiscence of 2 Kings 23:22. Among the Carthaginians the principal magistrates bore the title suffetes, equivalent to shopheteen. Under the whole heaven hath not been done as bath been done upon Jerusalem. Such language is to be regarded in any case as the exaggeration of grief; but it would have something like a justification twice in the history of Jerusalem, and only twice—after the capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and after its capture by Titus. No one has maintained that the origin of Daniel is so late as the latter event; hence we are thrown back upon the former. With the fact before him that temples had been plundered everywhere, and desecrated, and cities sacked, the writer could not have regarded the case of Jerusalem, and its temple, in the days of Epiphanes, as unique under all heaven. After the capture of Jerusalem by. Nebuchadnezzar, the temple was left in rums and the city deserted. Such measure, so far as we know, was not meted out by Nebuchadnezzar to any other city. Only rarely had even the Ninevite monarchs taken such terrible vengeance on rebellious subjects.
As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth. The LXX. renders "laws," διαθήκη, "covenant," which is applied to the "Law" (Hebrews 9:20, quoting from Exodus 24:8; Deuteronomy 29:1). Theodotion agrees in the main with the Massoretic text. The Peshitta differs only in joining the first clause of the next verse to this. Ewald makes the prenominal suffix at the end of the verse third person, not second. The very awkwardness of the construction is an evidence in favour of the received reading, "As it is written in the Law of Moses." The passages referred to are those denoted previously (Leviticus 26:1-46; Deuteronomy 28:1-68). All this evil is come upon us—the curses referred to there. Yet made we not our prayer before the Lord our God; literally, entreat the face. The face being the sign of favour, "entreated not the favour of the Lord" would be really what is meant; therefore not quite as Ewald renders, "appeased not Jahve." Understand thy truth. Hitzig thinks here the reference is to God's faithfulness, either in promises or in threats. Keil objects to this, contending that baamitheka with the preposition בֵ cannot mean "faithfulness," but" truth." This is a mistake; the preposition might alter the significance of the verb it follows, but not that of the noun it governs. The truth is that the word here is extended to its fullest meaning, "God's supreme reality." God's being God implies necessarily that every word he utters of promise or threatening is true; veracity and faithfulness are equally involved in Jehovah being God. At the same time, from the connection it is the evil—the judgments—he had threatened that bulk most largely in the prophet's mind.
Therefore hath the Lord watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the Lord our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice. The Greek versions agree with this, save that the LXX. has "Lord God" in the first case as well as the second. The Peshitta, when one remembers the different division of the verses, is also identical. There is an obvious resemblance here to Jeremiah 44:27, "Behold, I am watching over you for evil, and not for good." The verb shaqad is somewhat rare, occurring only twelve times in Scripture, and five of these times in Jeremiah. It is not always an evil watching; in Jeremiah 31:28 the two meanings are contrasted. Then follows an acknowledgment of the righteousness of God in so dealing with them Bar. 2:9 is really a version of this verse; the original Hebrew would be almost identical. There are few indications which, did this verse stand alone, would enable one to decide which is the more primitive.
And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly. The versions are in agreement with the Masoretic text. This verse also has many resemblances to Jeremiah 32:20, Jeremiah 32:21. Hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand In Jeremiah we have, "Hast brought forth thy people Israel with signs and with wonders and with a strong hand." In Jeremiah it is fuller, in Daniel we have only a condensed reference. Hast gotten thee renown, as at this day. This is an exact quotation from Jeremiah. The exactness is obscured in our Authorized Version, in which Jeremiah 32:20 is give)), "Hast made thee a name, as at this day:" the words rendered, "made thee a name," in Jeremiah, are precisely the same as these rendered above," gotten thee renown." The last clause is very much a repetition of the opening of verse 5, "we have sinned," missed the mark; "we have done wickedly," violently trangressed.
O lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, lilly holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us. The Septuagint rendering here is in close agreement with the Massoretic. The only point to be noted in regard to Theodotion is that he gives the late, and in this case inapplicable, meaning to "righteousness" of ἐλεημόσυνη, "almsgiving." The Peshitta, imagining a certain want of completeness in the last clause, inserted after "Jerusalem" "is scattered into all lands." The appeal is made to God's righteousness, because now the seventy years were nearing their end, and God's righteousness was involved in the time not being exceeded. "'Righteousness' here signifies the fair dealing (wohlverhalten) of God to his people in reference to the fulfilment of hie promises" (Behrmann). "Righteousness" is really righteousnesses, in the plural, the reference being to the many proofs God has given in the past of his benevolence (Keil). "Thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain," forms a further argument: "The mountain of thy holiness" (Psalms 2:6). A reproach to all that are about us. There is a striking resemblance here to Jeremiah: repeatedly in his prophecies are the Jews threatened that they will become a reproach (herpa). Especially is there a resemblance here to Jeremiah 29:18, the letter of Jeremiah, to which reference is made in the beginning of the chapter. This whole prayer is saturated with phrases borrowed from Jeremiah. The apocryphal Book of Baruch, which has expanded on tiffs prayer, has also drawn from Jeremiah.
Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake. The Septuagint differs here, "Now give ear, O Lord, to the prayer of thy servant, and to my supplications; for thy servant's sake lift up thy countenance upon thy holy mountain which is desolate, O Lord." The omission of the vav in taḥenoonayiv would occasion the LXX. rendering, "my supplications." They had read אדני before, עבדךָ. Certainly the Septuagint rendering gives better sense than the violent change to the third person from the second. Keil would escape the difficulty by translating, "because thou art the Lord"—a translation that is independent of Hebrew grammar. The conjunction would not naturally be lema‛an (לְמַעַן), but possibly ‛eqeb asher (עֶקֶב אֲשֶׁר). Further, the covenant name would certainly have been used in such a connection, and it would necessarily have been followed by "thou." As it stands, it really asserts that the desolations are on account of the Lord—an assertion which would not be germane to the tenor of the prayer. The reading of the LXX. is thus better here. Theodotion is closer to the Massoretic text, but instead of "O our God," reads, "O Lord our God," and avoids the change of person in the last clause by reading אדני as a vocative, and inserting σου. The Peshitta has, "our supplication," and avoids the awkward change of person by reading, "for thy Name's sake." Jerome gives a fairly accurate rendering of the Massoretic. only in the last clause he omits "Lord" and renders temet ipsum. The influence of the Psalter is to be seen in this verse. The first clause is a slightly altered and condensed version of Psalms 143:1. The verb that ought to open the second member is omitted. The word taḥooneem is not a very common one. Cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary has a close resemblance to Psalms 80:3, Psalms 80:7, Psalms 80:19. As they.had no temple sacrifices in Babylon, the captive Jews would have only the psalms of the sanctuary to keep the sense of worship alive in their hearts.
Daniel 9:18, Daniel 9:19
O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy Name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord. hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God; for thy city and thy people are called by thy Name. The version of the Seventy differs but little from the Massoretic; they read "hear me" instead of simply "hear." The translator also connects the "desolation "with the city, against grammar. The LXX. adds, "Be propitious to us (συ ἱλάτευσον)." The repetition of the vocative in the nineteenth verse is omitted, but "Zion" and "Israel" are inserted after "city" and "people" respectively. Theodotion is in yet closer agreement with the received text. The Peshitta is very close, but adds "ruin" to "desolation." The Vulgate affords no cause of remark. Our desolations. The word used here occurs in Lamentations. In the prophecies of Jeremiah a cognate word is used, differing from that before us only in vocalization (comp. Jeremiah 25:12, where it is applied to Babylon after the seventy years of Babylonian rule are ended). Which is called by thy Name. This phrase is used repeatedly in Jeremiah 7:1-34. of the temple. Present our supplications. The words used suggest the posture in presenting a petition—falling down before the person to whom it is addressed. It is one frequently used in Jeremiah, sometimes of persons (Jeremiah 38:26), of God (Jeremiah 42:9). Not on account of our righteousnesses. There is a marked advance in spiritual insight exhibited by this. The old position was reward according to righteousness, and mercy because of it. The Jews before the Captivity had very much the heathen idea of paying God by sacrifice for benefits received or asked; but the long cessation of sacrifice raised them above this. But for thy great mercies. This plea to God because in the past he has multiplied his mercies, is in the same elevated plane. We find a similar line in Nehemiah 9:1-38; only as an occasion of thanksgiving. It is remarked by Professor Fuller that the repetition of the word Adonai, and the short sentences, give a feeling of intensity to the prayer suitable to the circumstances. The words used are all echoes of Jeremiah; e.g. "forgive," "hearken," are used in connections that would suit Daniel's study of Jeremiah. It is impossible not to observe to how great an extent this prayer is coloured by Jeremiah.
Excursus on Baruch and Daniel.
Professor Ewald, in his 'History of Israel', and afterwards in his 'Prophets of Israel,' emphasizes the resemblance between the opening chapters of the apocryphal Book of Baruch and the ninth chapter of Daniel. After, in the first place, arbitrarily assigning Baruch to the Persian period, he assumes a tendency to rebel against the Persians—a thing of which we have no evidence. Certainly we have no proof against this, because we have no history of the period at all. He assumes that there was constant communication between the Jewish community in Jerusalem and that in Babylon during this period, which, though possible, is not certain. The further assumption, however, that the Babylonian Jewish community would take such a cumbrous device as the apocryphal Book of Baruch to convey their advice to the Jews of Jerusalem, to avoid rebellion, is a strange one for a man of Ewald's acuteness. By the introductory hypothesis in the Book of Baruch, the Jewish community of Babylon send a letter by Baruch to the remnant of the Jews in Jerusalem. If that were so, then it is in Jerusalem, not in Babylon, that this letter, or a copy of it, might be supposed to turn up. Therefore the falsarius is to be looked for among the Jews of Jerusalem, not among those of Babylon. In Jerusalem would, of necessity, the farce of finding this epistle be enacted. Altogether, there seems no support for the date or origin assigned by Ewald to this book. Of course, if we could have assumed the conclusion of Ewald in regard to the date of Baruch to be correct, it would have been of advantage in our further argument.
Ewald further assumes that the opening portion of Baruch has been the original from which the prayer in the ninth chapter of Daniel has been imitated. The resemblance cannot be denied, the question to be decided is—Which is the original and which the imitation? It is a general rule, and one of almost universal application, that the shorter form of a poetical composition—and the prayer in Daniel and in Baruch has that character—is the more original. Unquestionably, if we apply this test, the prayer in the Book of Baruch is later than the parallel prayer in Daniel 9:1-27. In Baruch the prayer occupies at least sixty verses, in Daniel only sixteen. We would not press the mere fact of brevity, did this stand alone as evidence for the priority of Daniel, as it is possible, but we think little more than barely possible, that the version in Daniel might be a summary of that in Baruch, though summaries are much rarer in poetic literature than expansions. The nature of the differences seem more naturally to be due to expansion than to summarizing.
Thus if we compare two closely parallel passages (Bar. 2:9-12 and Daniel 9:14, Daniel 9:15), we find the differences are all due to expansions in Baruch on changes that might appear to make the succession of thought easier. Of the latter, an example is" works which he has commanded us," compared with" works which he doeth." The former makes the transition to the thought of disobedience easier. It is possible this change may have been due to the translator misreading the Hebrew before him. The expansions are more obviously additions to the text—they have the invariable character of such things, additions to the words of a passage without being any real addition to the sense. Thus the last clause of Daniel 9:14, "For we obeyed not his voice," is expanded into "Yet we have not hearkened unto his voice to walk in the commandments of the Lord, which he hath set before us." After the first eight words, which may be regarded as exactly equivalent to the six in Daniel, the rest is mere expansion. Again, the last obtuse of Daniel 9:15, "we have sinned, we have done wickedly," is expanded into "O Lord our God, we have sinned, we have done ungodly, we have dealt unrighteously in all thine ordinances." Any one can see that here the differences are mere expansion, without any addition to the thought. We might carry our investigation further, and would only make our point clearer; but this would be mere loss of time. This expansion and paraphrasing prove the dependence of Baruch upon Daniel, and therefore the priority of the latter.
More important is the utter failure of the writer of Baruch to comprehend the condition of matters at the time he supposes himself writing. In Bar. 1:2 we are told that the Chaldeans "had taken Jerusalem, and burned it with fire." Jerusalem thereafter ceased to be inhabited, for Gedaliah stayed in Mizpah. Yet (Bar. 1:10) the Babylonian Jews say they have sent money "to buy you burnt offerings, and sin offerings," which it would be impossible to present before God as the temple was a mass of ruins. Jeremiah 41:5 cannot be quoted against this, because the Shechemites and Samaritians there mentioned are carrying an unbloody sacrifice, which might be offered to the Lord at the ruins; but there is no word of burnt offerings or sin offerings. And in harmony with this there is no stress laid in the prayer in Baruch, as there is in the prayer in Daniel, on the absoluteness of the desolation of Zion. On the supposition in the Book of Baruch, Jerusalem had still inhabitants, and there was still a high priest, a state of matters utterly at variance with that implied in the Book of Ezra. No such anachronism can be detected in Daniel; his whole prayer speaks consistently of the desolation of Jerusalem. We do but mention the fact that the high priest "Joachim, sen of Cheleias, sen of Salem" (Bar. 1:7) has no existence in the list of the priests we find in Chronicles and Nehemiah. In 1 Chronicles 6:15 we are told that Jehozadak "went into captivity," and we know that Joshua was his son. We shall lay no stress on the otherwise unheard-of return to the land of Judah of the vessels "which Sedecias, the son of Joaias, king of Judah had made" (Bar. 1:8), nor on the date in the first verse, "the fifth year in the seventh day of the mouth;" they are in perfect harmony with the general non-historical tone of the whole book. The Book of Daniel has nothing like them.
Another historical blunder must be noted—one that proves the dependence of Baruch on Daniel, and disproves the opposite view. The Babylonian Jews declare their intention (Bar. 1:12) to live "under the shadow of Nebuchodonosor King of Babylon, and under the shadow of Balthasar his son." This makes Belshazzar the son of Nebuchadnezzar, and his associate on the throne, in contradiction of history as we know it now. We know now that Belshazzar was not the son of Nebuchadnezzar, but of Nabunahid. He may have been the grandson of the great conqueror, but not his actual son. The statements in Daniel, while liable to be interpreted in the sense in which the author of Baruch has taken them, do not necessitate this sense, as we have shown above. In Daniel Belshazzar is never described as the son of Nebuchadnezzar in the same way as Darius is called the son of Ahasuerus. It is true Nebuchadnezzar is called his father, and he himself, according to the Massoretic text, speaks of him as his father; but this means no more, in the court language of Assyria, than that he was his predecessor and was famous. As there is no note of chronological succession in Daniel, Belshazzar's occupation of the throne as representative of his father Nabunahid might be any number of years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar, without contradicting anything in it. A writer acquainted with Daniel, and living long after the events, would naturally drop into the blunder of the writer of Baruch, and make Belshazzar the son of Nebuchadnezzar. On the other hand, it is difficult to imagine the writer of Daniel—if he were a novelist—having Baruch in his hand, and not introducing Belshazzar alongside of Nebuchadnezzar. The artistic possibilities of the situation would have been too great to be resisted. We then feel ourselves necessitated to place Baruch long posterior to Daniel.
It is difficult to settle the date of Baruch. The latter two chapters, which are certainly by a hand other than the first three, and probably later, have signs in them that make them late. Bar. 5. is an imitation of the Psalter of Solomon 11. The utter inability to comprehend the cessation of burnt offering and sin offering, implied in Bar. 1:10, shows that it was written before the destruction of the temple under Vespasian. It is scarcely possible that it could have been written after the desolation of the temple by Epiphanes. This definitely overthrows the theory of Kneueker, that Baruch was written in Rome after the capture of Jerusalem by Titus. One who had seen the desolation of Jerusalem under the Romans would not have been under the hallucination of the writer of Baruch, or imagined that burnt sacrifices could have been offered by a high priest in Jerusalem after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. Not unlikely the first three chapters were composed in the reign of the Lagid princes, and had for their object to reconcile the Jews to subjection to the foreign yoke. Israel certainly was still scattered among the countries. The huge Jewish communities in Egypt and Babylon, not to speak of the smaller communities scattered over every city round the basin of the Mediterranean, amply proved that. They were no longer an independent nation, they were always subject to some power, and that was a cause of humiliation. If we are right in our idea of the date of the Book of Baruch, and of the relation between it and the Book of Daniel, we have proved that Daniel must have existed long prior to the Maccabean struggle.
Daniel 9:20, Daniel 9:21
And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God; yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. All the versions are practically in agreement with the Massoretic text, save that none of them gives the hophal meaning, "caused to fly swiftly;" the nearest approach being in the Septuagint, in which we have τάχει φερόμενος. All, however, derive the word from יָעַף, "to fly;" another etymology is possible from יָעַף. As to the meaning of this word, there is a difference of opinion, Gesenius holding that it means "wearied out"—a meaning unsuited to the subject or to the context, though in accordance with the use of the word elsewhere. Meinbold would connect this word with the preceding clause, and refer it to Daniel, "when I was faint." The main difficulty is the succeeding word. Furst suggests that it means "shining in splendour"—a meaning perfectly suited to the circumstances, but for which there seems little justification in etymology from cognate tongues. Furst suggests a transposal from יָפַע. Winer gives it, "celeriter ivit, cucurrit." This view is taken by Hitzig, yon Lengerke, and Havernick. Verse 20 is largely an expansion of the first clause of verse 21. Whiles I was speaking, and praying. (comp. Genesis 24:15, "And it came to pass, before he had done speaking"). This shows the rapidity of the Divine answer to prayer; even before we ask, "our Father knows what things we have need of." The man Gabriel. The name Gabriel, as mentioned above, means "Hero of God;" and tile word here translated "man" is the ordinary word for "man," 'ish. It may be remarked that in Scripture angels are always "men;" never, as in modern art and poetry, "women." Whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning. This really means "whom I had seen previously in vision," the reference being to Daniel 8:16. Being caused to fly swiftly. As above mentioned, there is considerable difficulty in deciding which meaning is to be taken as the correct. Kliefoth's and Meinhold's view would be the simplest, if there were any certainty that יעף means "faintness." Touched me about the time of the evening oblation. Daniel is so absorbed in his devotions that not till Gabriel touched him did he recognize the presence of an an gel-visitant. The time of the evening offering does not imply that those offerings were made in Babylon, but simply that, through the half-century that had intervened since the capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar the sacred hour had been kept in remembrance, not impossibly as being one consecrated to prayer. Daniel had been using this season to make known his request and petition to God. "Oblation," minhah, the bloodless meat offering (Le Daniel 2:1, Daniel 2:4, Daniel 2:14).
And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. The LXX. and Peshitta render the first clause, "And he approached and talked with me." It is difficult to understand how that reading could have arisen from the Massoretic text, or how, on the other hand, the Massoretic text could have arisen from that behind the Septuagint. The rendering of the Septuagint in the last clause is better than that in our Authorized Version, and is in accordance with our Revised, "to make thee skilful of understanding." Theodotion agrees with the Massoretic. Although Daniel was highly endowed, and although he had before him the inspired words of Jeremiah, he had need of yet higher endowments to understand the secrets of the Divine plan. He knew that if he reckoned seventy years from the time when he himself had been carried captive, then the period was drawing to a close: but the sins of the people were still there. It might be that God would restrain the fulfilment of his promise; the more so that, if the prophecy of Jeremiah were reckoned from the fall of Jerusalem, twenty years would yet have to run. Daniel is concerned about the sins of his people, knowing that, unless they were removed, renewed punishment would befall them.
At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. The version of the LXX. differs somewhat from this, "In the beginning of thy prayer a commandment came from the Lord, and I came to show thee, because thou art merciful, and do thou understand (διανοήθητι) the command." The other versions do not present much worthy of remark. At the beginning of thy supplications. This affords a reason why it was while Daniel "was yet speaking," that Gabriel came to him; the moment the desire was strong enough to shape itself in words, the answer was on the way. The commandment came forth. The word translated "commandment" is the very common Hebrew word, דָבָר (dabar), "a word," "a thing," "a matter," in which sense it occurs in the penultimate clause of this verse. And I am come to show thee. The angel Gabriel is the messenger sent forth to interpret to Daniel the ways of God with his people. The angel Gabriel is sent to give Daniel an explanatory oracle or word that he may be comforted concerning his people. The reason of this is, "for thou art greatly beloved." This phrase has caused considerable difference of opinion. The LXX. renders, ἐλεεινὸς; Theodotion, ἀνὴρ ἐπιθυμιῶν; the Peshitta, regee; Jerome, vir desideriorum; Hitzig's rendering is "darling" (liebling); Ewald, "dearly beloved one." Ḥemoodōth means "desires," "loves;" hence may either be understood subjectively or objectively; in this case, most probably the latter, "a man, the object of love." Therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. The reader will have observed that the last clause is omitted from the LXX. There is a false succession here. Daniel is first commanded "to understand the matter," and then "to consider the vision." Another rendering of the Massoretic avoids this by neglecting the ethnach, and connecting בִין with the preceding clause, gives, "thou art greatly beloved and understanding in the matter."
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. The LXX. here differs from the above, "Seventy weeks are determined (ἐκρίθησαν) upon thy people and the city Zion, to make an end of sin, to make unrighteousnesses rare (σπανίσαι), and to wipe out the unrighteous-nesses, and to understand the vision, and to give (appoint) (δοθῆναι) everlasting righteousness, and to end the visions and the prophet, and to rejoice the holy of holies." There seem here to be some instances of doublet: τὰς ἀδικίας σπανίσαι and ἀπαλεῖψαι τὰς ἀδιλίας are different renderings of לְחָתֵם (leḥathaym ḥaṭṭaoth), or as it is in the Q'ri, leahthaym hattath (לְחָתֵם חַטָּאוח). Neither of these seems to be the original of the Greek. Schleusner suggests to read σφραγίσαι. Against this is the fact that Paulus Tellensis renders lemaz‛or, "to bring to nothing" (Jeremiah 10:24, Peshitta). How Wolf can say the LXX. confirms the Massoretic K'thib, is difficult to see. The author of the first rendering of this phrase seems to have read חתת (ḥathath) instead of ḥatham; the other translator must have read maḥah (מָחָה). The phrase, διανοηθῆναι, "to understand the vision," seems a doublet of the clause, "to seal up the vision." There seems to have been in one of the manuscripts used by the LXX. translator a transposition of words; for one of them must have read לְחֻתַן (lehoothan) instead of לְחָבִיא, since he renders δοθῆναι. This is an impossible change, but the mistaking of להחם for להתן is perfectly easy to imagine, if להתם had been written in place of להביא, and it transferred to the place in the Massoretic text occupied by להיי, then we can easily understand להבין. In the last clause the LXX. translator must have read שמח instead of משח, a clearly inferior reading. The impression conveyed to one is that the translators were able to put no intelligible meaning on the passage, and rendered the words successively as nearly as they could without attempting to make them sense. We must admit, however, that the phenomena that cause this impression may be due to corruption of the text. Theodotion renders, "Seventy weeks are determined (συνετμήθησαν) upon thy people and on the holy city, to seal sins and wipe away unrighteousness, and to atone for sin, and to bring the everlasting righteousness, and to seal the vision and the prophet, and to anoint the holy of holies." Theodotion, it will be seen, as the LXX; has "prophet" instead of "prophecy," which certainly is more verbally accurate than our version; he omits "to finish transgression," having instead, "to seal sins." The Peshitta has followed the K'thib and renders, "finish transgressions," and instead of "prophecy" has the "prophets." The text of the Vetus, as preserved to us by Tertullian, is, "Seventy weeks are shortened (breviatae) upon thy people, and upon the holy city, until sin shall grow old, and iniquities be marked (signentur), and righteousnesses rise up, and eternal righteousness be brought in, and that the vision and the prophet should be marked (signetur), and the holy of holies (sanctus sanctorum) be anointed." Jerome renders, "Seventy weeks are shortened (abbreviate sunt) upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to end falsehood (prevarieatio), to end sin, to wipe out iniquity, to bring in the everlasting righteousness, to fulfil the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the holy of holies (sanctus sanctorum)." The Hebrew here is peculiar; the word for "weeks" is in the masculine, which is unexampled elsewhere in the plural. The singular masculine is found, e.g Genesis 29:27; there is no case of feminine singular. Mr. Galloway would read שָׁבֻעִים שָׁבֻעִים, and would render, "by weeks it is determined." There seems little evidence for this reading; against a few late manuscripts is the consensus of versions. "Determined" is also a word that occurs only Lore; it is Aramaic, but not common even in that language. It means "to cut off." It may thus refer to these weeks being "cut off" from time generally; hence "determined." It is singular, and its nominative is plural. "To finish" also causes difficulty; so translated, it implies that the word should be written כָלָה; but it is written כָּלָא, which means "to restrain," "to enclose," "to separate off" (Furst). Hence if we translate as it stands, it should be "restrain transgression." "To make an end of" in also "cause transgression to cease" This in a rendering of the Massoretic Q'ri; if the K'thib had been taken, the translation should rather have been "to seal." "Sins:" this word is plural in the K'thib, but singular in the Q'ri. A large number of manuscripts write the word plural; the Greek versions give the plural; the Pe-shista and Vulgate, Aquila and Paulus Tellensis, singular. "The prophecy," it is clearly an it stands "the prophet." Jerome is the only one of the versions that takes the word in the sense in which it is taken in our versions. Professor Bevan renders it "prophet" (so Hitzig and Hengstenberg). One is tempted to adopt the reading of Michaelis הזיי חנביא, "the vision of the prophet," which has some manuscript authority. The overwhelming mass of evidence is in favour of the present consonantal text. Seventy weeks. "Week," while generally a week of days (Daniel 10:2), was occasionally week of years, as Genesis 29:27, "fulfil the week of this," i.e. the seven years of service. Among the later Jews this became a recognized mode of reckoning, as in the Book of Jubilees, each jubilee in divided into successive weeks. From what follows it is necessary that the weeks here are sevens of years. "Are determined," as already indicated, means "cut off," not "shortened," which does not seem to be the meaning of the word in any case. "Upon thy people and upon thy holy city." Daniel has been praying long and earnestly for his people; so there would be no inability to see what was meant by "his city and his people." "To finish transgression" is equivalent to "to restrain transgression." Transgression is apt to become bold and imperious; it is a great deal when it is even somewhat "restrained." It is to be noted that, as Daniel's prayer was greatly confession of the sins of the people and prayer for forgiveness, the promises here are largely moral; but still the Messianic period even was not to be expected to be one in which there will be no sin—it is to be restrained. "To make an end of sins"—though "to seal sins" seems the better reading diplomatically it is the K'thib, and that of some of the versions. It is difficult to give the phrase an intelligible meaning. Moreover, the occurrence of חתם so immediately after is against it. Something may be said for מחה, which occurs in a similar connection with תמם that this does in Lamentations 4:22. This is the reading of one of the translators in the LXX; ἀπαλεῖψαι—the spirit of lawlessness would be restrained and the past iniquities and their guilt wiped away. "To make reconciliation"—"to make an atonement." The verb used is the technical word, "the offering of an atoning sacrifice." In this sense it occurs some fifty times in Leviticus. This might apply to the renewal of sacrificial offerings in the temple after the fifty years' cessation during the Babylonian captivity, or to the renewal after the shorter cessation under the oppression inflicted on the Jews under Epiphanes. The next clause implies a wider application and a loftier sacrifice. Professor Bevan is right in maintaining that, despite the accents, this clause is to be connected with the next. To bring in everlasting righteousness. This is more than merely the termination of the suit of God against his people (Isaiah 27:9). The phrase occurs in Psalms 119:142, and is applied to the righteousness of God. These two, "atonement for sin" and "the everlasting righteousness," are found in Christ—his atoning death and the righteousness which he brings into the world. It is true that when Daniel heard these words spoken by Gabriel he might not put any very distinct meaning on them—in that he was but like other prophets; the prophets did not know the meaning of their own prophecies. To seal up the vision and prophecy; more correctly, to seal vision and prophet—to set to them the seal of fulfilment (von Lengerke, Hitzig, Bevan). This does not refer to Jeremiah, because his prophecy referred merely to the return from Babylon, and this refers to a period which is to continue long after that. Jeremiah's prophecy was about to be verified. This new prophecy required four hundred and ninety years ere it received its verification. Some event to happen nearly half a millennium after Daniel is to prove the prophecy God has given him to be true. And to anoint the Most Holy. This phrase, קָדָשִׁים קֹרֶשׁ (qodesh qodasheem), is used some forty times in Scripture, but almost always of things, as the altar and the innermost sanctuary. Hengstenberg ('Christ.,' 3:119) points out that the phrase for "sanctuary" is "קֹדֶשׁ הַקּ, with the article. He appeals to 1 Chronicles 23:13 as a case where, without the article, the phrase applies to an individual, וַוִּבַּ דֵל אַחֲרֹן לְהִקְדִישׁוֹ קיי קיי (vayibbadayl Aḥeron leheqdeesho qodesh qadasheem), "And he separated Aaron to sanctify him as a holy of holies." This seems almost the necessary translation, despite the versions; for the prenominal suffix must be the object, and "holy of holies" must be in apposition to it. The act of anointing as a sign of consecration, though applied to the tabernacle (Exodus 30:26; Exodus 40:9), to the altar (Exodus 40:10), the laver (Exodus 40:11), is never applied to the holy of holies. It is applied most frequently to persons; as to Aaron (Exodus 40:13), to Saul (1 Samuel 10:1), to David (1 Samuel 16:3). The words of Gabriel thus point forward to a time when all iniquity shall be restrained, sin atoned for, and a priest anointed.
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. The version of the LXX. is widely different from this, "And thou shalt know and shalt understand and shalt discover that the commandments are determined, and thou shalt build Jerusalem a city of the Lord." The change in the first clause is due to a doublet reading—tishmah being also read as well as tishkayl, which may have become confluent in the Hebrew text before the Septuagint translator wrote. Instead of minmotza, he must have read v'timtza, deriving this, not from יָצָא (yatza), "to go forth," but from מָצָא (matza), "to find"—a reading that is opposed by the fact that many manuscripts write the word plerum, מוצָא. Dabar must have been in the plural, and some such word as neherotzeem must have been supplied instead of hasheeb. The fact, however, that the same change occurs in Theodotion might render it at least possible that this was the word in the text, but Paulus Tellensis must have had a different reading, "Thou shalt find the precepts for answering;" a marginal reading adds, "and for the understanding the weeks." In the next clause, וּבָנִיתָ (oovaneetha) instead of לִבְנוֹת (libenoth), and instead of עַד (‛adh) עִר (‛eer), must have been read, and "Messiah the Prince" has been par, phrased into Κυρίῳ. The last clause may be regarded as omitted. Not impossibly this may have resulted from the end of the one verse being so like the beginning of the next. Theodotion's rendering is much more in agreement with the received text, "And thou shalt know and understand, from the going forth of the word to determine and build Jerusalem, until the anointed leader, is seven weeks and sixty-two weeks, and he shall return, and the broad places and the wall shall be built, and the times shall be distressful." As above remarked, harootz is read instead of hasheeb. The Peshitta differs considerably from the received text, "Thou shalt know and understand from the decreeing of the word to restore and build Jerusalem, to the coming of the anointed king, is seven weeks and sixty-two weeks, to restore and build Jerusalem, its wall, and its palaces, at the end of the time." The rendering of the Vetus, as preserved to us in Tertuliian, runs thus, "And thou shalt know and perceive and understand from the going forth of the speech (sermo) for the restoring and rebuilding of Jerusalem, even to Christ the Leader, are sixty-two weeks and a half; and he shall return and build in joy, and the wall (convollationem), and times shall be renewed." Jerome's rendering is," Know and understand from the going forth of the word that Jerusalem should be again built, even to Christ the Leader, shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks, and the squares shall be again built and the walls in hard times." What cannot fail to impress one is the confusion that exists as to the original text. Of necessity conjectural emendations have been resorted to, with not much advantage. The most plausible is the suggestion of Professor Bevan to read lehosheeh, "to repeople," instead of lehasheeb, "to restore;" but there is no sign in the versions of such a reading being accepted. On the whole, a reading not far removed from the received has probability in its favour. Going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem. To what does this refer? Hengstenberg ('Christology,' 3:128) says, "There can be no doubt that motza dabar signifies the issue of the decree." This view has the advantage that in Daniel 9:23 we have the same combination, יצא דבר (yatza dabar), "a command went forth." The probability is always in favour of holding a word not to change its meaning in contiguous verses, unless there is some indication that a change has taken place. Other commentators assume as strongly that the word must be the word of the Lord to Jeremiah; hence Bevan renders dabar, "promise," without so much as a hint that there can be any doubt in the matter. Behrmaun takes the לְ, the sign of the infinitive, as being equivalent to ut, and that hence this is a case of indirect speech—a usage gravely to be suspected, as certainly unexampled elsewhere in Biblical Hebrew. He refers to Ewald's 'Grammar,' but at his reference Ewald says that yKi is the sign of the semi-oblique narrative used in Hebrew. In a note Ewald refers to לאמר as introducing speeches; but that is not in point here. If dabar had meant "promise" or "prophecy" here, it would have been followed with the words in which the prophecy was announced. If, on the other hand, dabar is taken as" a decree," the infinitive is natural. The question, then, arises, "Whose decree is it that is here referred to?" Daniel was hoping for a decree being issued by Cyrus; of this he would naturally think, but what he thought is not to be taken as necessarily true. The prophets did not always know the meaning of their own prophecies. We must examine the record, and see what decree suits best with the words of our text. Many commentators think the reference here is to a Divine decree (Hengstenberg, Wolf. etc.). The difficulty of this view is that there is in appearance a definite starting-point given for the period named to begin. Now, a decree of God has no visible time-relation. This view, when maintained by those who hold that the prophecy of Jeremiah is referred to, may have some justification, only that a prophecy is never regarded as a decree, rendering certain its fulfilment. It must be, then, a human decree. The decree of Cyrus did not involve any rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem. The altar was set up—that was all; the temple, even, was not built. The terms of the decree of Cyrus, as we have it in Ezra 1:2, are, "The Lord God of heaven … hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem." This clearly is not the decree intended. When Darius Hystaspis founded his permission to build the temple on the decree of Cyrus, there was no word of permitting them to rebuild the city walls. When, in the seventh year of Arta-xerxes, Ezra and his companions left Babylon and came to Jerusalem, still, though there was no command given to build again the walls of Jerusalem, there is more nearly implied a restoration of Jerusalem as a city. We may, then, start from b.c. 458. To Nehemiah, in the twentieth year of the reign of Artaxerxes, was there a positive command given to build the wall of Jerusalem. This date brings us to b.c. 445. Starting from the first date, the end of the 490 years is a.d. 32, and the end of the 69 weeks is a.d. 25. If, again, we start from the latter of these dates, the termination of the 490 years is a.d. 45, and of the 483 years a.d. 38. No one can fail to be struck with the fact that these dates are very near the most sacred date of all history—that of the crucifixion of our Lord. We know there is considerable diversity of opinion as to the date at which that event occurred. But, further, we are not to expect that prophecy shall have the accuracy we have in astronomical ephemerides. We admit there are great difficulties. We admit, further, that seven weeks mark, with wonderful precision, the time which elapsed from the capture of Jerusalem to the accession of Cyrus to the throne of Babylon. The interval was really fifty years. We do not know the occurrences that marked the relation of the Jewish people to their Persian masters during the century and more which elapsed between this twentieth year of Artaxerxes and the overthrow of the Persian Empire by Alexander the Great. The city walls and internal buildings of Jerusalem may have taken fifty years to erect—we simply cannot tell. It is, at all events, a singular thing that the date of our Lord's crucifixion so nearly coincides with the termination of the 483 years. What is the result of starting from the date at which the prophecy was given? Assuming that the writer lived in the reign of Epiphanes, and meant to indicate the date of some event near his own period by the end of the 490 or the 483 years, let us see what follows. If we take the Massoretic date of the prophecy, it was given in the year of the accession of Nebuchadnezzar, or the next year—his first year, according to Babylonian chronology, that is to say, b.c. 606 or b.c. 605. Subtract 483 from either of these, and we have the utterly inconspicuous years b.c. 122 and b.c. 123, that is to say, twelve or thirteen years after the death of Simon the Maccabee. If three years and a half are added, to reach the middle of the week, we have b.c. 119, an equally inconspicuous year. Professor Bevan, however, follows Ewald, and begins with the destruction of Jerusalem. That the statement contradicts the text, which dates "from the going forth of a promise to people and build again Jerusalem," according to Professor Bevan's own translation, not from the destruction of Jerusalem, is looked upon evidently as of no importance. Of course, the refuge is the ignorance of the author of Darnel, notwithstanding that Jeremiah (Jeremiah 25:1) dates his first prophecy "the fourth year of Jehoiakim," and his letter (Jeremiah 29:2), after the captivity of Jeconiah, and immediately after. Moreover, something more than ignorance is needed to explain the author of Daniel confounding the going forth of a prophecy to rebuild Jerusalem with the destruction of it. If we take the date of the destruction of Jerusalem, b.c. 588, and add 483 years, we reach b.c. 105—a year conspicuous only for the death of John Hyrcanus. This is so obvious, that many devices have been tried to square matters. Ewald drops out seventy years. Professor Bevan justly characterizes this device as fantastic. Hitzig would make the first seven years run parallel with the first seven weeks of the sixty-two. Professor Bevan rejects this as "highly artificial, and scarcely reconcilable with the text." So, again, in company with Graf and Cornill, he takes refuge in the author's ignorance. If, again, we take b.c. 164, the date the critics wish to make the terminus ad quem, which is chosen because it is the year of the purification of the temple; if four hundred and eighty-three years are added to that date, we have b.c. 647—a date that falls within the reign of Manasseh. As, however, the point of time is the anointing of a holy one, and there is reference also to an anointed prince in this verse, a more plausible date would be b.c. 153, the year when Jonathan the brother of Judas the Maccabee assumed the high priesthood (1 Macc. 10:21); to this add 483, and 636 is the result—a date during Josiah's reign. Of course, the refuge is the ignorance of our author; he didn't know any better. The difficulty is to understand, if he was so ignorant as to what was so comparatively near his own time, how he was so well informed as to Babylonian affairs. The critics cannot make the author of Daniel at once exceptionally ignorant and exceptionally well-informed. If, however, we take Mr. Galloway's reading of the LXX. Version of this verse, we have "seven and seventy weeks" or five hundred and thirty-nine years. If we reckon these years from the decree of Cyrus, b.c. 538, we reach a.d. 2. Messiah the Prince; "the anointed prince." Both priests and kings were anointed, as a sign of consecration to their office. Very rarely are priests referred to as "anointed," and never without a distinct statement that they are priests, whereas "the Lord's anointed" always applies to kings. Priests are sometimes called "rulers," נְגִיד (negeed), but only in relation to the temple. Never is princedom and the anointing combined in regard to priest. These ideas are connected in regard to Solomon (1 Chronicles 29:22). We do not deny that this title would apply to the later Maccabeans, like Alexander Jannseus, who was at once high priest and king. We also note, however, that it applies to our Lord, who claimed to be anointed "to preach good tidings" (Luke 4:18). The street shall be built again. Rehob, "street," is really "broad place." Instead of the heaps of confused rubbish, the city was once more to be laid off in orderly streets and squares, so that Zechariah's prophecy might be fulfilled (Zechariah 8:5), "The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing." And the wall, even in troublous times. This was certainly fulfilled in the days of Nehemiah; one has only to read the Book of Nehemiah to see that. The word harootz, translated "wall," is of somewhat doubtful significance. It means (Isaiah 10:22) "a determination." In Job 41:22 (30) it is translated "a threshing-wain," whereas in Proverbs 3:14 it means "fine gold." Furst would make it mean here "a marked-off quarter of a city." Gesenius makes it mean here "a ditch "—a view that Winer also holds. Cornill says most interpreters explain harootz, from the Targumic, as "ditches." It would seem that a bettor rendering would be "a palisade;" the ruling idea of all meanings, save the last, as pointed out by Winer, is "sharpness." "A ditch" or "a wall" conveys no suggestion of sharpness, but "a palisade" does. Not impossibly, before the wall was erected, the city was protected by "a palisade," and would certainly be set up in troublous times. It is to be observed that the events referred to in these two last clauses have no distinct temporal relation to the weeks. We might surmise that it referred to the time during which the city was being rebuilt—street and palisade—but we are destitute of informatiou which might enable us either to confirm or contradict that view. This period may be during the Maccabean struggle; we cannot tell.
And after three score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself; and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. The version of the LXX. is nearly unintelligible as it stands, though the genesis of each separate clause from a text akin to the Massoretic can be easily understood, "And after seven and seventy and sixty-two, the anointing shall be taken away, and shall not be, and the kingdom of the heathen shall destroy the city and the sanctuary with the Messiah, and his end shall come with wrath, and it shall be warred with war till the time of the end." The first clause has strayed from the end of the preceding verse, and שִׁבְעִים (shibeeem), "seventy," is confused with שִׁבֻעִים (shibooeem), "weeks." It is a possible thing that the Kabbalistic use of numbers had something to do with this number, for if these numbers are expressed in letters, and the letters taken as initials, we have the initials of this sentence סלעמיתּ בבל זמן עד, "The time until the overthrow of Babylon." They must have read משחה instead of מָשִיחַ. It is difficult to understand how "the people of the prince that shall come" could be read, "the kingdom of the Gentiles." save by supposing a somewhat arbitrary paraphrase. The last clause has probably assumed the present shape through the insertion of some part of the verb לחם, and the omission of the end of the verse. Theodotion's rendering is in closer agreement with the Massoretic text, yet is wide from it too, "After the sixty-two weeks anointing shall be utterly destroyed, and judgment is not in it (or 'him,' αὐτῷ), and he (it) shall destroy the city and the sanctuary with the leader that cometh; they shall be cut off with a flood, even until the end of the war, having been arranged by disappearances in order." The introduction of κρίμα is difficult to explain, except as an explanatory addition from Isaiah 53:8. Still more difficult is it to understand the genesis of the last clause. The Peshitta, though considerably closer to the Massoretic in the beginning of the verse, is as far apart in the last clause, "And after the sixty-two weeks, the anointed shall he killed, and there was not to him, and the city of the holy shall be destroyed with the king that cometh and his end is with a flood, even until the end of the war of the fragments of destruction." The Vetus, as represented by the quotation in Tertullian, is not so close to the LXX. as it usually is, "And after the sixty-two weeks, even the anointing shall be destroyed, and shall not be, and with the coming leader he shall destroy the holy city, and thus shall be destroyed in the end of the war, because he shall be destroyed even to death." This version agrees neither with the LXX. nor with Theodotion. Jerome translates into an eminently Christian sense, "And after sixty-two weeks Christ shall be slain, and his people who will deny him will not be. And his people with a leader about to come, will destroy the city and sanctuary, its end wasting, and after the end of the war desolation determined." And after three score and two weeks shall the Messiah be cut off. The period of sixty-two weeks must begin after the seven weeks have ended, as the completed period to Messiah the prince is seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. The Messiah: the word has no article, and, therefore, it is argued, it ought to be rendered "an anointed one;" but the use of the article is not so rigid. It is omitted in poetic and semi-poetic passages: eg. the first word in the Hebrew Bible is anarthreus, although we are obliged to translate it with the article. Further, the Messiah the Prince has already been mentioned, and, therefore, comes somewhat into the region of proper names, as Amos 7:12, "the sanctuary of king," instead of "the king;" so 1 Kings 21:13, "curse God and king." We take "Messiah" here as equivalent to "the Messiah" above mentioned. Who is it that is here referred to? The common critical position assuming, without reason assigned, that "anointed" without any subject may refer to a priest, asserts that the reference here is to Onias III. The account of his murder is given in 2 Macc. 4:39. He had succeeded his father, Simon If; as high priest, b.c. 198. In connection with his high-priesthood is the legendary story told (2 Macc. 3.) of the attempt of Heliodorus to spoil the temple. On the accession of Epiphanes, Jason, the brother of Onias, endeavoured to undermine him with the king, and succeeded: Onias, displaced, in favour of Jason, retired to Antioch. Three years after Jason, in turn, was superseded by Menelaus, who, according to 2 Maccabees, was a Benjamite. Onias rebuked Menelaus for selling some of the sacred vessels; Menelaus bribed Andronieus to put Onias to death, which he did, alluring him from the sanctuary of Daphne, in which he had taken refuge. Josephus gives a different account of matters ('Ant.,' 12.5), "About this time, Onias having died, he (Epiphanes) gives the high-priesthood to his brother Jesus, for the son whom Onias left was only a child. This Jesus, who was brother of Onias, was deprived of the high-priesthood. The king, being angry with him, gave it to his youngest brother Onias." Josephus adds, "These two brothers changed their names—Jesus became Jason, and Onias Menelaus. After a little, Onias (Menelaus) was expelled from Jerusalem, and retired to Antiochus and abjured his religion." In 1 Macccabees there is no reference to the death of Onias at all. Certainly the First Book of Maccabees does not take up this part of the history, but if this Onias was murdered, and his murder so affected Jewish feeling, that it became a date of superlative interest in Jewish history—the writer would at least have referred to it. The whole story, as told in 2 Maccabees, has a doubtful look. Even if we disregard the Heliodorus legend altogether, and the suspicion of the whole history which it engenders, we have Menelaus, a man who, according to 2 Maccabees, is a Benjamite, intruded into an office for which only Aaronites were eligible, without a hint that the writer thought it an additional element in the guilt of the usurper. Josephus mentions it as a point against Alcimus, that he was not of the high-priestly family ('Ant.,' 11.9. 5), yet Alcimus was a descendant of Aaron (l Macc. 7:13). We have, further, a zealous Jew retiring to Antioch, and, when in danger, betaking himself for safety to the heathen sanctuary of Daphne. We know the orgies that consecrated the groves of Daphne. These would make Daphne the last place in which a Jewish high priest would seek refuge; if his very presence in the sanctuary would not be held by the Greeks as polluting it. Titus, even though we had not the express evidence of Josephus against it, the narrative is self-condemned. The whole story is baseless, and, whether true or false, did not affect Jewish imagination in the way assumed by critics. Had the story been that, while high priest, he was allured from the sacred precincts of the temple at Jerusalem and been murdered, then the legend, even if untrue, might well have affected the Jews deeply. But a high priest who had surrendered his office and retired into a heathen city was a less sacred person, and his allurement from a heathen sanctuary and his murder was a less heinous crime. The whole notion that Onias III. can be thought of here is an absurdity that would have been scouted at once by these critics, had any necessity of argument required it. The origin of this legend of the murder of Onias IIl. is to be sought in the murder or execution of Onias Menelaus by order of Antiochus Eupator (Jos; 'Ant.,' 12.9. 5; 2 Macc. 13:5). Is the anointed one Seleucus Philopator? Bleek, von Lengerke, Maurer, and Ewald hold this view. Seleucus is alleged to have been murdered by Helio-dorus: this rests on the sole authority of Appian, in a narrative in which there is evidence of confusion. Even if it be granted, it is difficult to imagine a heathen prince called "Messiah." Certainly Cyrus is called so in the Second Isaiah, but this is because of the work he is to do for Israel. There seems a necessity to maintain that it was some one who was to be the anointed prince of the Jewish people, who should thus be cut off. But not for himself. Great difference of opinion exists as to the precise meaning of this phrase. The meaning expressed by the Authorized Version would have required at least in normal Hebrew, not ואין לוֹ (v'ayin lo), but וְלאֹ לוֹ (velo'lo). The Revised Version is preferable, "and shall have nothing." It may mean "he shall not be," but that is not so natural. The Revised, however, is vague, and one is inclined to seek for an explanation in a parallel passage in Daniel 11:45, וְאֵין עפּוזִרִ לוֹ, "And there was no helper to him." It is no sufficient answer to say, as does Professor Bevan, that Daniel 11:45 applies to Epiphanes, and this does not. The same statement might be made of two different persons. It seems to be a more condensed expression of what we find in Isaiah 63:3, "Of the people there was none with me." Behrmann's translation is indefensible, "No one remains to him, i.e. follows him;" he gives no particular reference. This view assumes Onias III. to be the Messiah. He was, according to Josephus, on his death succeeded by first one and then the other of his two brothers, because his son was too young for the office. The further assumption has to be made that, in the opinion of the pious, they were not successors of Onias. The pious of that time have left no record of their opinions. And the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The word translated "prince" is rarely to be rendered" king." The only cases are these of Solomon (1 Chronicles 29:22) and Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:5). The former was anointed, נגיד, while his father was still living; the latter occurs in a poetical passage. Priests are sometimes called" princes," or "rulers," but that is simply in regard to the house of God and the sacerdotal arrangements. If the verse stood by itself, there would seem little possible difficulty in regard to accepting the old Jewish interpretation which made "the prince" Titus, who was left to carry on the siege of Jerusalem while his father was in Rome, busied with the duties incumbent on the occupant of the imperial throne. Certainly the Romans, the people of the prince, did destroy the city and the sanctuary in a more thorough way than any one since Nebuchadnezzar. And the end thereof shall be with a flood. It is difficult to decide the reference of "thereof" here. The reference grammatically seems to be restricted to "the people," as that is the nominative of the preceding verb. It may, however, without much grammatical strain, refer to the prince. In regard to prophecy, especially apocalyptic prophecy, grammar cannot be regarded as affording a final canon for interpretation. The main subject of the verse is the Messiah who shall be cut off. There might, therefore, be a reference to him, "his end" being the vengeance that came upon the people for deserting him. This is the interpretation of the Septuagint, "The kingdom of the heathen shall destroy the city and the sanctuary with the Messiah," identifying "prince" with "Messiah," and his end shall come with wrath." Theodotion refers to the city and the sanctuary, for he has, "They shall be cut off with a flood." The Peshitta refers to the king that cometh. The Vetus has finem belli. Jerome has finis eius vastitas, his reference being to the city. The idea of Hitzig, that the prenominal suffix refers to the campaign, seems the most natural one. Of course, Hitzig refers it to the campaign of Antiochus, but the interpretation does not necessitate that. With a flood; not a literal flood. This word does not elsewhere refer to a number of men, save in the eleventh chapter of this book; that chapter, however, is of doubtful authenticity. All that we draw from the use of shateph, "a flood," for "a multitude of men," and of shataph, "to overflow," "to overrun," is that, in the opinion of the author of the eleventh chapter, the phrase here means "a multitude of men." "Wrath," or "devastation," seems to be the best meaning of the word. The latter seems, on the whole, the more natural rendering here. If so, no one can fail to see how apt a description it gives of the state of Judaea, and especially of Jerusalem, after the war which was concluded by the capture of the city by Titus. And unto the end of the war desolations are determined. Rather it should be rendered, "until the end was the decree of desolations," viz. the end of this campaign above referred to, and until that end is reached, war, which is itself a decree of desolations, is determined. Taken thus, this clause explains that which has gone before. The text here, however, is evidently in such a corrupt state that no decision can be made with any feeling of confidence. The Septuagint appears to have read yillaḥaym instead of nehresheth, and has omitted the last word altogether. Theodotion has, "by order in disappearances," but one cannot tell what Hebrew words these represent. The Vetus, which usually stands closely related to the Septuagint, omits a number of words. The uncertainty of the text renders one chary of suggesting meanings.
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. The verse in the Septuagint corresponding to this is evidently mixed up with confluent readings and notes as to earlier verses, "And the covenant shall be strong upon many, and again he shall turn ('repent') ἐπιστρέψει), and it shall be built in breadth and length, and according to the end of times until the end of the war, and after seven and seventy times and sixty-two years until the end of the war; and the desolation shall be taken away in confirming (or 'when he shall confirm') the covenant to many weeks; and in the end of the week the sacrifice and the oblation shall be taken away, and upon the temple shall be the abomination of desolation until the end, and an end shall be given to the desolation." In this mass of confusion this much is clear—the clause, "the covenant shall be strong (δυναστεύσει) upon many," is a doublet of the clause, "when he shall confirm the covenant to many weeks." The clause, "and after seven and seventy times and sixty-two years," is a doublet of the beginning of the twenty-sixth verse; "Till the end of the war, and the desolation shall be taken away," is an alternative version of the last clause of the twenty-sixth verse. When those extraneous elements are got rid of, we have left a rendering of the twenty-seventh verse, which may afford us light as to the text. "The covenant shall be strong upon many" is a possible rendering of the Hebrew (see Psalms 12:5). The alternative reading, "when he shall confirm (ἐν τῷ κατισχῦσαι) the covenant during many weeks," implies the infinitive with the preposition בְ, and "weeks" in the plural, and one omitted—the latter is omitted, indeed, by both. "And in the end of the week"—reading קֵץ (qaytz) instead of חֲצִי (hatzee)—"sacrifice and offering shall be taken away, and upon the temple shall be the abomination of desolation"—reading קֹדֶשׁ (qodesh), "holy," instead of זֶבַח (kenaph), "wing," "outspreading," or it may be tendered "wing of temple"—"until the end, and an end be given to desolation"—reading תֻּתַּן (toottan), "is given," or "appointed," instead of תִּתַּךְ (tittak), "poured out." Theodotion is closer to the Massoretic, "And one week shall confirm (δυναμώσει) a covenant to many, and in the middle (ἡμίσει) of the week my sacrifice and offering shall be taken away"—reading זִבְחִי (zebeḥee) instead of זֶבַח (zebaḥ), and possibly minḥath, instead of minḥah—"and upon the temple (shall be) the abomination of desolations, and till (at) the end of the time an end is set (given) to the desolation." It will be observed that Theodotion agrees with the LXX. in reading קֹדֶשׁ (qodesh) instead of כֵּנַף (kenaph), and תֻּתַּן (toottan) instead of תִּתַּךְ (tittak)£ The Peshitta is closer still to the Massoretic, but the last verb the translator seems to have read as tanah, "shall rest." Tertullian, in his quotation from the Vetus, shows that in this verse it follows Theodotion, or rather the version which he made his basis. He, however, connects "half a week" with "one week." The Vulgate rendering is, "One week also shall confirm the covenant to many, and in the middle of the week sacrifice and offering shall cease"—reading יִשׁבַת: (yishbath)—"and in the temple shall be the abomination of desolation"—therefore reading with the Greek versions and the Vetus, קדֶשׁ instead of כָנָף—"and even to the consummation and end shall the desolation continue"—reading, therefore, תֵּשֵׁב instead of תִּתַּךְ, and omitting the preposition עַל (‛al), "upon"—the latter is not a probable reading. From this examination of the versions one thing is clear—we must accept, with all its difficulties, "confirms." Gratz would change one letter, and translate, "he shall cause many to transgress the covenant." The wilder supposition of Professor Bevan, which would change two letters, and translate, "the covenant shall be annulled for many," is equally out of court. The next point is kenaph, "expansion." Here the Greek and Latin versions, including that in Matthew 24:15, but excluding the doublet mixed up in the text of the Vatican and Alexandrian Codices, have read קֹדֶשׁ. The Peshitta and the author of the reading intruded into the Alexandrian Codex have read כְּנַף. (kenaph). However, these two are not agreed as to the interpretation. The Peshitta renders "wings," the Vatican and Alexandrian scribes render πτερύγιον, the word used (Matthew 4:5) for a pinnacle of the temple. There is, whichever is preferred, not the slightest justification for the suggestion of Kuenen that we should read כּנּוֹ instead of כְּנַף Professor Bevan thinks "this emendation is well-nigh certain." If that is so, any suggestion of any critic may be equally commended. We have practically four Greek versions here, two Syriae if we include Paulus Tellensis, two Latin, and not one of them gives the slightest hint that this "well-nigh certain" reading was in existence. The balance of evidence is decidedly in favour of קֹדֶשׁ fo ru (qodesh), especially so in the light of our Lord's words. Had the text with which his hearers were familiar contained the suggestive word כִּנַף, "wing," it was impossible, speaking as he did of the setting up of the Roman eagles in the temple, to have avoided remarking on the word used. Our Lord in this case must have had the Hebrew before him, as he does not render as the Greek versions do, ἐπὶ τὸ ἱερόν, but ἐν τόλῳ ἁγίῳ. We must thus hold קֹדֶשׁ to have been the original text. And he shall confirm the covenant with many. What is the subject of the verb here? Hengstenberg, Hitzig, and yon Lengerke make the one week the nominative of the verb. Professor Bevan objects that to represent a week making a covenant, or making it burdensome, is without analogy. Both Hitzig and Hengstenberg appeal to Ma 3:19; Isaiah 22:5; Job 3:3, where a "day" is represented as acting. Theodotion translates thus. The natural meaning, according to the Hebrew, if we do not pass beyond the clause before us for the subject of the verb, is בְּרִית, (bereeth), "covenant." Thus we ought naturally to render either—taking the hiphil in its causative sense—"a covenant," or "the covenant shall confirm;" i.e. secure "one week to many," or—and this is better, as supported by Psalms 12:5 (4), in the sense given to the hiphil of גָבַר (gabar)—"the covenant shall prevail for many during one week." This agrees with the first version we find in the Septuagint, The covenant—God's covenant with Israel, and this it must be here—"prevails with many;" his covenant to send a Messiah, a part of the eternal covenant with Israel, would prevail with the hearts of many of Israel during one week. If we reckon our Lord's ministry to have begun in the year a.d. 30, and the conversion of St. Paul a.d. 37, we have the interval required. After the conversion of St. Paul, the Gentiles more than the Jews were brought into the Church. Another theory is that it is the coming prince who is referred to. This is assumed by critics to be Antiochus; e.g. Ewald. Moses Stuart, who adopts this view, refers to the covenant made with Antiochus by many of the Jews. But bereeth thus absolute, is used not of alliances, but of the Divine covenant. The theory that the coming prince is Jason the brother of Onias does not suit with the idea of confirming the Divine covenant, so the interpreters that hold this view—e.g. Bevan—do not make "the prince" the subject of the verb. If bereeth is the Divine covenant, as by usage it is, then the prince whose people were to lay waste the temple and city cannot be he that confirms the covenant. We might take the last clause of verse 26 as in a parenthesis, and regard the subject of the verb "confirm" as the Messiah who was cut off. It seems, however, preferable to take the construction as we have done above, and make bereeth the subject of the verb. And in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease. In accordance with our interpretation of the previous clause, we would interpret this, "The covenant shall cause offering and oblation to cease." What covenant is this? The new Messianic covenant promised in Jeremiah 31:31. The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Jeremiah 8:8) quotes this passage as Messianic, and as proving that sacrifice and offering had ceased with Christ's sacrifice of himself. Interpreters of the critical school are reduced to considerable difficulties in their endeavours to square this passage with their preconceived notions Bevan admits that the natural subject of the verb yashbeeth is the "prince who shall come;" but having come to the conclusion that this coming prince is Jason, he could not be said to make sacrifice and offering cease. Professor Bevan is constrained to change the reading from hiphil into the kal. He has certainly the justification that the Septuagint and Theodotion both make the word passive. Ewald regards the coming prince as Epiphanes. If so, then he must be the subject all through. In that case we are obliged to contradict usage and maintain that the covenant confirmed refers to an alliance made with apostate Jews; but this, as we have said, contradicts the usage in regard to "covenant" in this absolute position. Further, we have, in the end of Jeremiah 31:26, the "end of the war" referred to. Yet, according to this interpretation, after the war is over the prince is making sacrifice and offering to cease. Ewald, recognizing the difficulties of his interpretation,declares, "As soon as the discourse touches upon the man and his projects, it is at once agitated with the profoundest disorder." The midst of the week. On the ordinary Christian interpretation, this applies to the crucifixion of our Lord, which took place, according to the received calculation, during the fourth year after his baptism by John, and the consequent opening of his ministry. Hitzig and many critical commentators see a reference in the half-week to the time, times, and half a time, and they identify that with the time during which Antiochus had set up the heathen altar in the temple. It is to be observed that this view has the support of 1 Macc. 1:54, which applies the next clause to Antiochus. If the traditional view is correct—that the prophecy published in the days of Cyrus applied to the coming Romans—then it was but natural that a writer in the clays of John Hyrcanus should be prone to interpret the prophecy of events in his own time. As we have already seen, the reference cannot be to Antiochus. The extreme popularity of Daniel by the time 1 Maccabees was written, probably about b.c. 100, is to be observed. For the overspreading of abominations, he shall make it desolate. This is rendered in the Revised Version, "And upon the wing of abominations shall come one that maketh desolate;" in the margin the rendering is, "upon the pinnacle of abominations." We have seen that the great balance of evidence was in favour of inserting קֹדֶשׁ, "holy place," instead of כָּנָף, "wing." Even if we take the Massoretic reading, and render it according either to the text or the margin, we have difficulties. We have no instance of a bird supporting itself by one wing. If כְּנָף. (konaph), "wing," is retained, the reference to the Roman eagles can scarcely be resisted. The word has several derivative meanings: "The edge" of the earth, as Isaiah 24:16; from this is derived the rendering in the Revised. In the present passage, Gesenius, Furst, and Wirier regard it as equivalent to πτερύγιον; but no such meaning is elsewhere found in Hebrew. "He shall make it desolate." In Hebrew, this is only one word, meshomaym, the participle. The word occurs twice in Ezra 9:1, Ezra 9:4, and there means "astonished," "stupefied." It is imitated in Daniel 11:31, but the preceding word, שִׁקּוּץ (shiqqootz), is in the singular, and agrees with meshomaym. Here we have the noun shiqqootzeem in the plural while the participle is in the singular. In Daniel 12:11 we have another variation, שִׁקוּץ שֹׁמֵם. The versions translate as if the word had been in the singular; hence we may doubt whether the noun was not originally singular, all the more that in the parallel passage (Daniel 11:31) we have the singular used. An accidental reduplication of the ,מ which begins מְשׁמֵם, would explain the present reading. Professor Bevan suggests that we read מֻשָׁמִים, the hophal participle plural from שׂוּם, "to sit;" but the evidence of the versions is decisive against this. The rendering of the clause would be thus, "and upon the temple the abomination of desolation." The usage of shiqqootz leads us to think of heathen idols, as 1 Kings 11:1, Chemosh, the abomination of Moab; Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon, 2 Kings 23:13; As-toreth, the abomination of the Zidonians. More important is Jeremiah 32:34, "They set their abominations in the house that is called by my name, to defile it." We have here the combination suggested by Professor Bevan. From the fact that Daniel seems to have been saturated with Jeremiah, his suggestion might have had weight; but the utter want of any hint in the versions that the reading was even doubtful, compels us to be against this view. There is no case where shiqqootz means "altar," but many where it means" idol." So the setting up of a heathen altar is not what would naturally be thought of in this connection. The traditional opinion, that this refers to the Roman eagle standards, which were in a sense "idols," and were regarded especially as such by the Jews, is certainly at least plausible on grammatical grounds, and may be regarded as certain from other reasons; e.g. its suitability to the meaning of the other verses. Even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured out upon the desolate. The Revised Version is very different here, "And even unto the consummation, and that determined, shall wrath be poured out upon the desolator." We have already seen that תִּתַּךְ (tittak)," poured out," must be abandoned, as not present in any of the versions. Most of them have read תֻּתַּן. We must, in the first instance, assume the nominative in the sentence to be the subject of the verb. In that case we should render in accordance with the rendering of the two Greek versions, "Until an end and a limit be set to the desolation." The reading of Jerome in the Vulgate, as we have seen, seems to have read תַּשֵׁב (tayshayb), "to dwell," "to remain," for he renders persecerabit; and must not have had the preposition עַל, (‛al), "upon," for he makes desolation the nominative of the verb. Jerome's interpretation points to the end of the world, and the reading we adopt points also to the same terminus ad quem, the more indefinitely. The end set to the desolation may be the end of time; but it may be some earlier period; but that is not revealed. The meaning of kalah is assumed to be "end," not "ruin," as asserted by many commentators. Where the word does mean "destruction," it is simply as an utter end of a person or nation—it is that person's or nation's destruction; but it never does mean" destruction "apart from this. In connection with this question, two passages in Isaiah have to be considered (Isaiah 10:23; Isaiah 28:23), where kalah and neheretzeth occur in connection. Our interpretation implies that we take עד as a conjunction, and not as a preposition. Professor Bevan would make it absolute, that when עד introduces a verbal clause, the verb takes the precedence of the subject, and would therefore point עֹד, not עַד; but in opposition to this dictum is 1 Samuel 2:15. The generality of the phenomenon is due to the normal structure of the Hebrew clause. An end shall be set some time to the desolation of Zion, although that end may coincide with 'the end of all things.
Confession of sin.
I. THE DUTY OF CONFESSION. This implies, first, a recognition of guilt in our own consciousness; and second, an admission of it in the presence of God.
1. If we have sinned, it is wrong to ignore the fact or to forget it, till we have repented and have been forgiven. To do so will foster insincerity and self-deception, and will harden the heart in sin. We must first admit our guilt to ourselves.
2. If we have sinned, we are required to declare our guilt before God. The guilt must not be hidden in the secret darkness of our own consciousness. It must be confessed. Though we may confess our sins one to another, the supreme duty is to confess them to God, because
(1) we have sinned against him;
(2) he is our Judge;
(3) he is our Father;
(4) he only can deliver us from the consequences and power of sin.
II. THE TESTS OF SINCERE CONFESSION. NO duty is more often obeyed only in outward form, and yet there is no duty in which unreality and superficiality are more fatal.
1. One test of sincerity is the presence of real grief (Daniel 9:3). There may be a bald admission of guilt without any feeling of compunction. This is of no value.
2. Another test is the feeling of shame: "confusion of faces." There is a confession which glories in wickedness. True confession is self-humiliating (Genesis 3:7-10).
III. THE GROUNDS OF CONFESSION.
1. A consideration of our conduct in the light of the nature and character of God.
(1) We shall realize our guilt by comparison with God's righteousness, which is the standard of perfection. It is the daylight of God's presence which reveals the defects of our work.
(2) We shall be prompted to confess our sin to God when we see his greatness, which cannot endure sin; his faithfulness, which is true to his side of the covenant, though we are false to ours (Daniel 9:4); and his mercy, which pardons the penitent (Daniel 9:9).
2. A consideration of our conduct in the light of our obligations.
(1) We are subjects of the great King; therefore our sin is treason: "we have rebelled."
(2) We live under spiritual government, and are not left to our own inclination to shape our conduct; therefore our wickedness is the breach of law: we have "departed from God's precepts and judgments."
(3) We have been enlightened by Divine revelation. We cannot plead ignorance. Even the heathen have some light of conscience and nature (Romans 1:18-20). We have the clearer light of prophecy, and our guilt is that "We have not hearkened to God's servants the prophets"
IV. THE PERSONAL APPLICATION OF THE DUTY OF CONFESSION.
1. It is universal. Daniel includes men of all classes and in all situations. We cannot shake off our guilt by leaving the scenes of our sins. We carry this burden with us (verse 7). The rich and great are not exempt (verse 8).
2. It is personal. The prophet writes in the first person—"we." Confession must be individual.
(1) We should acknowledge and confess our special sins, our besetting sins, the sins which are particularly our own characteristic defects, the different kinds of sin, the separate acts of sin. Confession of general guilt is often vague, and does not associate itself closely with our experience.
(2) We should recognize the sinful condition of the heart of which these special sins are symptoms, and confess our sin as well as our sins (Psalms 51:5).
V. THE ENDS OF CONFESSION.
1. It is right on its own account, as an evidence of sincerity (1 John 1:8).
2. It is a necessary condition of forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
3. It is the first step towards a better life. As we admit the evil of the past we are more able to do better for the future (Psalms 51:7-10).
Prayer for pardon.
In its tone and character, the ends it seeks and the pleas it urges, this prayer of Daniel's may be regarded as a model prayer for the forgiveness of sins.
I. ITS CHARACTER. The very atmosphere of this prayer is purifying and inspiring. It is marked by several important characteristics.
1. Contrition. It follows a confession of sin (verses 5-8), and frankly admits that the present calamities are the merited consequences of sin (verse 16). Forgiveness is only possible after repentance (Acts 3:19) and confession (1 John 1:9).
2. Earnestness. This is the most striking feature of the prayer Its short passionate phrases, its repetitions, its direct practical aims, are proofs of reality and intensity of desire. We may expect that God will attend to our prayers in proportion to our earnestness in offering them. Reverent importunity is expected by God, and attains its end, as with Abraham (Genesis 18:23-33), Jacob (Genesis 32:26), Moses (Exodus 32:7-14), and in our Lord's parable of the importunate widow (Luke 18:1-7).
3. Faith. In his distress the prophet seeks his God, though it is against his God that the sin has been committed. Faith confesses that there is no help but in God. Faith persists in pleading with God, and relies on his mercy.
II. ITS OBJECT. The object of this prayer is the pardon of sin. All our greatest evil comes from sin, and can only be removed when our sin is forgiven. Forgiveness brings in its train all the best blessings.
1. The turning away of God's anger. (Verse 16.) The worst effect of our sin is seen in the changed relations between our souls and God. God is angry with us. The essence of forgiveness is not the remission of penalties, but the restoration of friendly relations between God and man. It is personal reconciliation rather than legal acquittal.
2. The awakening of God's sympathy. The prophet prays, "Incline thine ear and hear; open thine eyes." Forgiveness is not merely the negative cessation of God's anger. It is the positive restoration of his sympathy.
3. The practical help of God. "Cause thy face to shine;" "hearken and do;" "defer not," are earnest practical petitions. After the spiritual reconciliation, we may naturally ask for help in the external calamities which our sins have brought upon us. Forgiveness is the preface to active help.
III. ITS PLEAS. The prophet has no plea of merit. We can ask for nothing for our own righteousness. All our pleas must be found, as Daniel found his, in the character and actions of God.
1. God's righteousness. This is a plea,
(1) because it implies his faithfulness to his promises of pardon to the penitent (Leviticus 26:40-44); and
(2) because righteousness is more honoured by the forgiveness which destroys sin than by the anger which only punishes it (Isaiah 45:21).
2. God's honour. Jerusalem is "God's holy mountain;" the city is "called by his name." God is dishonoured in the humiliation of his people, and he is glorified in their restoration (Numbers 14:13-16).
3. God's mercy. (Verse 18.) All prayer depends on the free grace of God. Prayer for pardon rests on that grace which pities misery and overlooks offences—the grace which we call mercy. This plea is expressed by the Christian phrase, "for Christ's sake," because Christ is both the Revelation of God's mercy and the Sacrifice by which it becomes attainable.
We have here a lifting of the veil which commonly hides from our view the processes which connect our prayers with God's replies. The revelation thus made of the unseen world should confirm our faith in the necessity and power of prayer, and help us to understand in some way the manner in which God answers it.
I. GOD GIVES SOME BLESSINGS ONLY IN RESPONSE TO PRAYER. The blessing was given to Daniel immediately he prayed, but not till then. Probably if the prayer had been offered sooner, the response also would have been enjoyed sooner. There are many good things which we lose simply because we do not pray for them (James 4:2).
1. This is not contrary to the idea of the universality and unchangeable character of natural law.
(1) Because prayer itself is a factor among spiritual forces which ha,e influences upon the future; and
(2) because God must have at least no less freedom of action in arranging the forces of his universe than he has accorded to us, and so may act with special purposes as we also do, without breaking one of his laws.
2. This is not contrary to the wisdom and goodness of God. God knows what we need before we ask him (Matthew 6:8). Yet there may be things which it is wise and right for God to give after we have asked for them, but which it is not right or wise for him to ,.ire before we have prayed, because our recognition of the need of them and our trust to God for them, may be important conditions for the right reception of them (Matthew 7:7-11).
II. GOD ANSWERS PRAYER ACTIVELY AND PROMPTLY. Prayer is not merely a subjective act soothing and relieving the soul. Even the subjective influence of it depends on our faith in its real efficacy. We should not be comforted by prayer if we did not believe that God heard and answered it.
1. God hears prayer. Prayer is not only the breathing out of our souls. It is talking to a God who hears, attends, and sympathizes (Isaiah 41:17).
2. God acts in response to prayer. Gabriel is sent by God, and Daniel receives new light. We may find, especially in spiritual matters, that there is a real exertion of energy on God's side in response to prayer. He is not a passive hearer of prayer. His answers are not the mere echoes of sympathy. They carry active aid (Psalms 91:15).
3. God answers prayer promptly. Daniel prays, "Defer not." God does not defer. The answer is sent at the very beginning of the supplication," and Gabriel is "caused to fly swiftly." God is too powerful to need to delay, and too merciful to be willing to delay. If we do not receive the answers to our prayers quickly, it is not because God is slow, but because the time at which the blessing is to be given is one of the conditions of its utility. Still, the decree goes forth at once, and begins to be accomplished in due time (Habakkuk 2:3).
III. GOD'S RESPONSE TO PRAYER IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH HIS WILL AND PROVIDENTIAL ORDER.
1. The manner in which the answer is made does not imply any breach in the order of providence. The angel is sent to communicate knowledge to Daniel. This, according to Scripture, is the normal method of spiritual help (Hebrews 1:14).
2. The substance of the answer is in harmony with God's will and the order of his providence. Daniel prays for the restoration of his people. God answers the prayer by revealing the already settled purpose of this restoration. God often answers prayer in a different way from our expectation. Sometimes he opens our eyes to blessings already given, but not recognized (Genesis 21:19). Sometimes he changes our desires, and inclines our hearts to rest in his will by showing us that it is better than our will. The best prayer is that in which we seek to be reconciled to the will of God (Matthew 26:39).
I. THE ASSURANCE OF REDEMPTION.
1. It comes from God. We have sinned against God; yet it is he who purifies and renews us. God sends the calamities which are the chastisement of sin; but God also removes them, and restores his penitent people to his favour (Psalms 103:3, Psalms 103:4).
2. It was determined long before it was accomplished. From the Fall the restoration was determined (Genesis 3:15). Old Testament saints were comforted by the hope of it. All previous history prepared the way for it. Though "grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (John 1:17), they were not created at his advent. The gospel is not a revelation of new mercy, but a new revelation of God's eternal mercy (Psalms 136:1).
3. The time of its accomplishment was fixed beforehand. Though Christ did not come till long after sin had entered the world, he came at the most suitable time. He came when the world was prepared for his advent, and when men most needed him (Galatians 4:4).
II. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF REDEMPTION.
1. As regards the evil of the past.
(1) The old life of sin is completed and forsaken. The "old man is put off" (Colossians 3:9). "The transgression is finished."
(2) A check is put on the indwelling power of sin to prevent it from again rising up and ruling over our souls (1 John 3:6). An end is made to sins, and they are "sealed up" to prevent them from breaking out again. This is completely accomplished with "the spirits of just men made perfect." it begins with each Christian when his redemption begins. Though sin still lingers in the Christian, it no longer rules.
(3) The old sins are atoned for and forgiven. They are "covered." God will remember them no more (Isaiah 43:25). This is regarded as accomplished in the act of redemption only predicted to Daniel. Therefore we must understand that the forgiveness of sins depends on the accomplishment of the great work of Christ.
2. As regards the blessings of the future.
(1) "Everlasting righteousness" is brought in. The essence of redemption is not deliverance from misery, but restoration to righteousness. The first and chief aim of the work of Christ is not to secure peace in this life and happiness in the life to come, but to make us righteous (Romans 3:21, Romans 3:22). The new righteousness is different from primitive innocence, which rested on the unstable basis of ignorance (Genesis 3:5). This rests on the broad and solid foundation of intelligent principles accepted with love and confirmed by the indwelling Spirit of God (Jeremiah 31:33, Jeremiah 31:34). Therefore it is everlasting.
(2) The sources of confidence are no longer vague hopes of a future redemption, but the clear knowledge of the accomplished fact. Judaism lived upon prophecy, Christianity lives upon history.
(3) The shame and humiliation of sin is abolished; the desolation which it produced is done away with; the world is again joyous in the love of God; worship is glad and deep and real, and all life made sacred by its influence; the "most holy place is anointed" and reconsecrated.
HOMILIES BY H.T. ROBJOHNS
The nation's advocate at God's bar.
"Whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel … touched me" (Daniel 9:21). Our subject is the prayer of Daniel, and the following points will demand full and careful consideration.
I. THE MOMENT IN TIME. This was most critical; for:
1. The moment had been anticipated in prophecy. (Jeremiah 25:11, Jeremiah 25:12; Jeremiah 29:10-14.) How Daniel reckoned the seventy years, and how others did so, must be carefully observed. The deportation to Babylon extended over twenty years; hence different men took a different starting-date whence to reckon the seventy. Daniel reckons from the first siege, the date of his own going into captivity. Zechariah from the third siege,
(1) from the beginning of it, b.c. 590 (Zechariah 1:12);
(2) from its close, b.c. 588 (Zechariah 7:1, Zechariah 7:5). The prophets wrote each from his own standpoint, and there are no discrepancies, though the critical school tries to create them.
2. It was immediately after the fall of Babylon. (Verse 1.)
3. The Cyrus of prophecy was on the throne of Persia. Darius was only vicegerent in Babylon. In the very next year Cyrus issued his decree (Ezra 2:1, Ezra 2:2).
4. It was offered at the exact moment of evening sacrifice. (Verse 21.)
II. THE FOUNDATION OF THE PRAYER. The Word of God, as contained in "the Scriptures." We should read verse 2 thus: "I Daniel understood by the Scriptures the number of the years." The expression is, indeed, most remarkable, and has been laid hold of to impugn Daniel's authorship. This is said in substance: The expression shows that the Old Testament was, when the Book of Daniel was written, complete. It must then have been written after the close of the Old Testament canon; not then by Daniel, but by some one very much later. The author, whoever he was, has inadvertently betrayed himself. The answer would be best given by showing historically the gradual formation of the canon all the way down from Moses, and particularly that from his time even "the Scriptures" had an acknowledged existence. Enough for us here to note that Daniel's prayer was founded on the prophecy and promise of Daniel's God. Enough for practical purposes.
III. ITS SOLEMN AND DELIBERATE CHARACTER. Imagine vividly the crisis. The first great world-power had already gone down. How long the second and third might last, who could tell? Then would appear the fourth, during whose existence "one like a Son of man" would come "with the clouds of heaven." The deliverer from captivity (Cyrus) had already appeared—was on the throne of power.
1. Such a prayer could not be breathed amidst life's business. Retirement, leisure, deliberateness, solemnity, were all essential.
2. There had been preparation for it. "Fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes," i.e. the withdrawal of the spirit from the realm of the sensuous, the assumption of the mourner's garb, the sign of abasement and grief, viz. casting ashes on the head.
3. Daniel's mode of speaking implies deliberation and solemnity. "I set my face," etc. "Unto the Lord God," with perhaps the lattice open "toward Jerusalem."
IV. ITS CONTENTS. In a sense we would analyze it; but not so as to dissipate the aroma of its sweetly plaintive devotional spirit.
1. The invocation. (Verse 4.) In these words we trove:
(1) Some of the glorious attributes of God referred to. And:
(a) His majesty. All great in him.
(b) Fidelity to covenant. Whether the terms be written in the ordinances of heaven, the social constitution of man, the development of providence, the book of the Law, or the gospel of his Son. But "the covenant" specially.
(2) An answering feeling. Dread. Not the abjectness of fear, but the prostration of reverent love.
2. The confession. In it there are the following specialities: The iniquity of the nation is set forth:
(1) In its greatness. Terms that to us are almost synonymous in Daniel's Hebrew set forth the nation's sin as failure, perversity, disturbance, rebellion, departure from all that is holiest and best, disobedience to the one supreme voice.
(2) In its aggravations. The Law disregarded. Prophets unheeded. See the history (2 Chronicles 36:14-16). Divine judgments in vain.
(3) In its universality. The ten tribes "afar off," and the two "near."
(4) In its effects. The fulfilment of oath and curse-in the desolations of temple and city, Church and nation.
3. The vindication of God. (Verses 7, 8, 11-14.)
4. Complaint. The reproach of the people and the ruin of the sanctuary were the prophet's mighty griefs (verses 16, 17, 18). "Our desolations."
5. The petition.
(1) The plea. It is for:
(a) The cherishing of anger. (Verse 16.)
(b) The recognition of the desolation. (Verse 18.)
(c) The favouring smile of God. (Verse 17.)
(d) Pardon. (Verse 19.)
(e) Divine action. (Verse 19.)
(f) Instant and speedy relief. (Verse 19.)
(2) Its ground. Observe:
(a) Daniel has never forgotten for a moment the covenant relation of God. Note: "The Lord my God;" "The Lord our God;"
(b) Toward the close all the argument is fetched, not from what man is, but from what God is. "According to all thy righteousness;" "For the Lord's sake;" "The city which is called by thy name;" "For thy great mercies;" "For thine own sake;" "Thy city and thy people are called by thy name."
V. THE ANSWER.
2. Most marked.
3. By angelic envoy.
In conclusion, observe:
1. The noble unselfishness of the prayer. All intercessory.
2. Its consequent prevalence. Every word was answered. Next year out came the edict of Cyrus for the restoration.—R.
A section in time.
"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy holy city," etc. (Daniel 9:24). The inner connection between this brilliant prophecy and Daniel's prayer is to be carefully observed. At the end of seventy years of captivity he prayed for the averting of the Divine anger, etc. (see preceding homily, Daniel 4:5 (1)), The answer passed on to the next critical event in the developments of God—to the anointing of the Redeemer. It responded to the soul of Daniel's prayer, but weft far beyond it. Divine answers go far beyond "all that we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20, Ephesians 3:21). We had best here anticipate our homiletic line of march by indicating how we read the passage. Literally thus: "Hebdomads [sc. of days or years] seventy is cut off in regard to thy people and thy holy city, to close the defection, and to seal up sins, and to cover iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the holy of holies."
I. THE SECTION, i.e. of time, here said to be "cut off." But what section of time was cut off—seventy hebdomads of days or of years? It might be said of days, but then we think each day stands for a year. For our part we think the year-day theory very doubtful. We say, therefore, "seventy hebdomads of years;" and for the following reasons:
1. The Law had made hebdomads of years familiar. (Leviticus 25:1-4, Leviticus 25:8-10.)
2. The magnitude of the events required years. Seventy weeks of days would be only one year and four months—too short a time for the restoration of the city, the advent of Messiah, and the overthrow of the city and nation.
3. To the consolation of Daniel. What comfort for him, pining for the restoration, if all were to be in ruin again within a year or so!
II. ITS PREDICTION. In the substance and form of this prediction of "the seventy sevens" are several specialities.
1. The length of the section is mystically given. "Seventy sevens" is itself mystical. But when we ask—From what moment reckoned, to what moment? a haze of uncertainty envelops the whole subject. The date of Daniel's prayer is about b.c. 538. Four hundred and ninety years on leads to b.c. 48. We believe the four hundred and ninety years are not to be reckoned from the moment of Daniel's prayer; but why this haze and mystery? Because:
(1) Prophecy must not be too explicit. Explicit enough to lead to expectation of the event; but not so explicit as either to suggest its own fulfilment or contribute to its own defeat, Prophecy must not usurp the place of history. Man's moral relations must not be hopelessly entangled by premature and too sharply defined revelations.
(2) Mercy was to be contrasted strongly with judgment. Of desolation seventy years; of comfort and further probation, seventy times seven.
(3) The perfection of the cycle was to be suggested. By the use of sacred numbers. "Seven" has a place peculiar in Scripture, based possibly on facts yet undiscovered in the universe. It is suggestive of perfection. The following sevens form a remarkable accumulation: The prismatic colours; the notes of the octave; Shakespeare's "seven ages;" a man's "seven senses," though the vulgar make them five, the scientific more; the week of creation; our week of days; the week of years; the seven sevens, and then the jubilee year; the branches of the candlestick; at Jericho, trumpets, priests, and days of perambulation;
'purified seven times; seven times a day do I praise thee; at the bringing up the ark from the house of Obed-edom, they offered "seven bullocks and seven rams;' in the [New Testament, seven Churches, candlesticks, angels, stars, horns, eyes, lamps, spirits of God, trumpets, vials, and seals.
2. The length of the section is very exactly given, however.
(1) Exact enough to excite a general expectation of the Messiah. That Daniel's prophecy did so is notorious.
(2) But also with literal numerical exactness, From the arrival of Ezra to restore Jerusalem to a.d. 26,£ the year of the Lord's baptism is 483. 483 is equivalent to seven sevens, and sixty-two sevens. Another half-week of years brings us to the Crucifixion; and consider another three and a half years occupied by the confirmation of the covenant.
3. The section is regarded as one whole. Hence the singular verb with plural noun: "Seventy sevens is cut off."
4. And insulated. "Cut off." A distinct portion of history, like the antediluvian age, the era of Egyptian bondage, the forty years of the desert, the seventy of the Captivity.
5. In the prediction we can see God's fellowship with Daniel. In his prayer, Daniel recognized God's sympathy with Jerusalem; in the answer, God recognizes Daniel's. Daniel had said, "Thy city Jerusalem … thy holy mountain … thy people … thy city and thy people, called by thy name." God now says, "Upon thy people, and upon thy holy city." Thine as well as mine.
III. ITS CLOSE The majestic events which were to signalize Daniel 2:1. The termination of sin. By:
(1) The conclusion of the great rebellion. "To close the defection"—the great falling away of the race from God; to close it, not actually, but potentially. The history of rebellion draws near the finish; and the history of restoration begins.
(2) The limitation of sins. "To seal up sins," to incarcerate them, and to place on the door of the dungeon the king's seal. The breaking the power of sin; the limitation of the number of sins; their entire oblivion,—are all ideas which may well be included here.
(3) The covering of iniquity. "To cover iniquity." Note: In the Old Testament usage "cover" is used in one sense of God, in quite another of man, in relation to sin (see the use of כָּפַד in the Hebrew concordance).
(a) God "covers' sin by forgiving it.
(b) Man, by atoning for it.
Now, in this prophecy nothing is said of who "covers;" but history declares it to be Christ. But he is God-Man; and therefore "covers" in the double sense—atones and forgives. He acts as man and as God.
2. The advent of righteousness. "To bring in everlasting righteousness." Many Christians overlook this, are content with pardon, forget that the end of the gospel is righteousness in heart and life. Note, then:
(1) The fact that this great crisis was to be signalized by the advent of righteousness.
(2) The agent. Not named here; but the Christ.
(3) The mode.
(a) By Divine example.
(b) Elevated precept.
(c) Loving persuasion.
(d) Placing morals on a better foundation.
(e) Inaugurating a government of unprecedented character, viz. mediatorial.
(f) A grand act of self-sacrifice, which should awake for virtue the enthusiasm of mankind.
(h) The coming of the Holy Ghost.
(4) Its attribute. "Everlasting."
(a) The method of making men righteous, once introduced, should be unchangeable and perpetual.
(b) The righteousness itself should be one that no change could affect, and no physical dissolution impair or decay.
3. The close of prophecy. "To seal up vision and prophet." Four hundred and ninety years passing before the ending of sin, and the advent of righteousness shows the greatness of these events. The sin of all people and of all time was to be effectually dealt with. This was the aspiration of prophecy—prophecy fulfilled, might cease. (Explain from Oriental usage the significance of the sealing.) Christ's words illustrate, "The things concerning me have an end." When once vision and prophet are accomplished by the manifestation of the Sou of God, though prophecy still remains in some respects immensely important, the adoring gaze of the Church is fixed on the Life and Light of men.
4. The anointing of the Lord Jesus. "And to anoint the holy of holies." Outline of the argument for applying this phrase to the consecration of the Messiah.
(1) "Holy of holies" is an indefinite phrase. Therefore examine context and whole field of revelation to determine its application here.
(2) The grammatical gender is uncertain. May be masculine or neuter. But even if neuter, may apply to Christ (Luke 1:35). A certain grandeur of indefiniteness about the neuter.
(3) The name is appropriate to Jesus.
(4) The preceding clauses of this prophecy lead up naturally to the Messiah.
(5) The "Anointed" must be the same in Daniel 2:24, Daniel 2:25. "And to anoint the Most Holy … unto the Anointed, the Prince," etc.
(6) The chronology favours, demands this conclusion. The "sevens seventy" terminated with the advent of the Lord, and the confirmation of the Divinity of his mission.
(7) Scripture use of the word "anoint," and its application to the Redeemer. (Summarize Scripture teaching on literal anointing; its spiritual significance; and on Jesus as "the Messiah" of the Old Testament and "the Christ" of the New.) A very powerful appeal might well be made to both believer and unbeliever at the close on the following grounds: The great rebellion is broken; limitation has been put upon sin; atonement has been made; everlasting righteousness has been brought in; attention has been concentrated on the Light and Life of men; the Saviour-King has been anointed. Have we broken with the rebellion? Is limitation being put upon our sin? Have we accepted the atonement? Are we putting on the garment of righteousness? Is our gaze on the Life and Light? Is the Anointed our Saviour and King?—R.
Times as evidence.
"Know therefore and understand," etc.
I. THE STATE OF MIND DEMANDED FROM THE STUDENT OF PROPHECY,
1. A certain temper. "Know and understand." The angel anticipates difficulties of interpretation. A skilled and spiritual mind necessary. So also industry, pains, care. The worst temper would be the proud, self-sufficient, and dogmatic. Compare words of Jesus, "Whoso readeth, let him understand;" "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."
2. Spiritual insight. "The going forth of the word to restore." Whose?
(1) God's. To see a truth like this demands insight of a spiritual kind. The sovereign word of the Eternal King!
(2) But given through the edict of Cyrus.
II. THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE PASSAGE. We might study separately the prophecy, and then the fulfilment in history. But take them together—study the prophecy in the light of its historical development. But consider the kind of agreement we may expect between the prediction and the history. No greater than the circumstances admit of. Chronological exactness is only to be looked for when the event is defined and limited to some moment in time. But some events develop slowly; e.g. the restoration of a city, the confirmation of a covenant. If events are not defined, prophecy must be indefinite. We suggest the following outline for the preacher, to make all clear (for detail, see the histories, secular and sacred):
1. Before the time-section of four hundred and ninety years. Eighty years from the time of Daniel's prayer to "the restoration," the moment whence the four hundred and ninety are to be reckoned. Here the principal events are: Jerusalem a desolation; the first migration at the decree of Cyrus; the building of the temple only; interruption; Joshua and Zerubbabel; finished in eighteen years, b.c. 534-516. Then fifty-eight years, of which history is silent. The temple standing, but no wall; no city.
2. Commencement of the four hundred and ninety. The coming of Ezra, the restoration and rebuilding of the city. "From the going forth of the word to restore," etc.
3. The forty-nine years. "Hebdomads seven and," etc. These are made up thus: Ezra at work alone about twelve or thirteen years; first visit of Nehemiah about twelve years; Nehemiah's return to Persia, and second visit to the time of Joiada becoming high priest, about nineteen or twenty years. This accounts for forty-five out of the forty-nine. The other four may be reckoned to the death of Nehemiah, but the date of his death is lost.
4. The four hundred and thirty-four year's. "Hebdomads sixty and two? This period extends to the baptism of Jesus; i.e. to the public manifestation of "Messiah-Prince." This could be none other than the Redeemer. (Prove this in detail.)
5. The seven years. Three and a half to the Crucifixion; three and a half to establishment of Christianity and the Church.
III. THE ARGUMENT FROM CHRONOLOGY FOR THE DIVINITY OF THE GOSPEL.
1. Its place. Strange that both sceptic and Christian should object to this kind of evidence. The sceptic: "Faith cannot depend on chronology." The Christian: "Questions of events and times do not become the spiritually minded." But the evidences for revelation are not all of one kind, nor all for the same class of mind (see Hengstenberg's 'Christology,' vol. 3:199, Clark's edit.).
2. Its value. On this we had better quote Preiswerk: "We ought not, considering the uncertainty of ancient chronology, to lay much stress in calculating the exact year. For, though the calculation be very successful, yet so soon as another interpreter follows, another chronological system, what has been so laboriously reared up is apparently thrown down. But if we grant, from the outset, that ancient chronology is uncertain, and be content to point out a general coincidence of the historical with the prophetical time; if we show that possibly even a minute coincidence took place, and at least that no one can prove the contrary, we shall have done enough to prove the truth of the ancient prophecy, and our work cannot be overthrown by others."
3. Its availability; i.e. to ordinary readers of Scripture. Before Christ, the Jews knew about when to reckon from, and so when to expect Messiah. And now, though learned chronological arguments may not be within reach of the many, yet plain people may come to that simple knowledge of history which shall teach that prophecy has been fulfilled in Christ.—R.
Daniel 9:26, Daniel 9:27
The close of the Jewish economy.
"And after three score and two weeks," etc. (Daniel 9:26, Daniel 9:27). The angel passed from the restoration of the city to the coming of Messiah and the close of the Judaic dispensation. This is the manner of prophecy to seize on the great epochs in the history el the Divine dealings with man.
I. THE DEATH OF THE CHRIST.
1. It was to be violent. "Messiah was to be cut off." An ominous and portentous phrase to every Jewish mind. Ever used of the close of the career of the wicked (Exodus 31:14; Psalms 37:9; Proverbs 2:21, Proverbs 2:22). The phrase implies a supernatural agent too; so in this case (Acts 2:23).
2. Without cause. In Hebrew, literally, "There is nothing to him." The Septuagint gives the meaning doubtless: Καὶ κρίμα οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν αὐτῳ. "In him was no sin;" he "did no sin;" he "knew no sin." Pilate's verdict: "I find in him no fault at all."
II. THE DESTRUCTION OF THE JEWISH POLITY.
1. The instruments. "And the people of a prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary." That the prince is not the Christ is evident:
(1) Because of his designation—simply "a prince."
(2) He is to "come" clearly from without the Jewish state.
(3) His invasion was to be after the death of Messiah. So the context indicates. History shows that the prince was Titus.
2. The mode. "And its end with inundation, and to the end, war; decree of desolations." The foreign army should sweep everything before it. The war was to be exterminating. No intermission of calamity until no city was left on which calamity could fall.
3. The reason. Note the inner connection of the passage between the cutting off of Messiah and the fall of the city and polity—between Calvary and the coming of Titus (Luke 19:41-44). When Christ wept over the city, the nation in heart had rejected him. Formally, and in so many words, in the course of a few days they discarded their only Saviour. For that rejection, city and nation descended into the abyss. As it was at the end of the Jewish economy, so shall it be at the close of the Christian. The condemnation will not be sin, but rejection, or neglect of the sinner's Saviour (John 3:18).
III. THE CONFIRMATION OF THE COVENANT.
1. The Confirmer. The Lord Jesus. His august Personality has been prominent throughout. The actions described in verse 24 are his. In Isaiah 42:1-7, specially in Isaiah 42:6, Christ is described as Divine Covenant incarnate.
2. The covenant. Neither the old nor the new, but that one comprehensive covenant of salvation, of which they were transcripts.
3. Its confirmation was by the Redeemer's words of grace, miracles, and death; by the Pentecostal effusion; by the first preaching of the gospel, especially to the Jews.
4. The time. From the commencement of the Lord's ministry to about the time of the death of Stephen and the scattering of the Jewish Church—about seven years. By that time the nation rejected both the Messiah and that Spirit who came with Pentecostal power and grace. Then was the nation dead, waiting for the fire of the Divine judgments. The "hebdomads seventy" were ended. Henceforth the history in the Acts of the Apostles turns to the Gentiles.
5. With whom. "With many." But all showed the nation's sin.
IV. THE CESSATION OF SACRIFICE. "He shall cause the sacrifice," etc; that is, Christ the Lord.
1. In mercy. The sacrifices might cease:
(1) either literally;
(2) or, their object accomplished, they might become useless, and in time disappear. In the latter sense they were made to cease. No need of the finger of the type, when the glory of the Antitype filled the world. Herein mercy. He offered up sacrifice for the people's sins "once, when he offered up himself." "Once in the end of the world" he "put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."
2. In judgment. Not long was it ere in judgment they ceased literally.
3. In permanence. Ceasing, they cease for ever, and no power of man can ever restore what has been doomed by God. "The Word of our God stands for ever."
V. THE CONSUMMATION We read, "And upon the wing of abominations, a desolator; even until destruction, and that determined, shall be poured upon the desolate." The passage would be difficult before the events, intentionally so, but not so difficult after. The design was, perhaps, to throw out fragments of thought rather than give a continuous idea; to light up with lightning rather than with sunshine. After speaking of the cessation of sacrifice, attention is fixed on the temple, some high point of it, soaring portion, "wing." A "wing of abominations," the temple hateful on account of its corruptions. The temple must become detestable
(1) by corruption;
(2) from within, ere any desolator is allowed to touch it. Note the lesson well. But having become abominable, look! watch! behold the desolator, i.e. the Roman! But how long shall the Roman eagle look down upon the temple threateningly? "Until destruction, and that which is decreed, shall be passed upon the desolate." Daniel's prayer was offered in sight of a desolate Jerusalem; the vision opened by the angel ends with a desolation more appalling. "How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"—R.
HOMILIES BY J.D. DAVIES
The omnipotence of prayer.
The man of prayer exerts a greater influence over national affairs than even crowned heads. "Prayer moves the hand that moves the world." Daniel on his knees was a mightier man than Darius on his throne. Daniel was in the service of the King of kings; was admitted to the audience-chamber of the Most High; and received the announcements of the Divine will. Darius now mainly serves as a landmark on the course of time to indicate a date; Daniel is still the teacher and moulder of men.
I. TRUE PRAYER IS FOUNDED ON KNOWLEDGE OF GOD'S WILL. The reason why Daniel prayed so earnestly for this special blessing was that he knew from Jeremiah's prophecies God's purpose concerning Israel. This knowledge, instead of rendering prayer needless, made it more necessary. For God is no fatalist, He does not absolutely fix a date for certain events without good reason, nor is the fixture made regardless of other events. That date for the termination of Israel's bondage took into account, through the Divine presence, the temper and feeling prevalent among the Jews—took into account even this very prayer of Daniel. Speaking after the manner of men, Daniel's intercession was a foreseen link in the chain of events, and could not be spared. Daniel possibly did not realize the full extent of his responsibility; still, he felt that a turn in the tide of Israel's fortunes was due, that the Divine promise awaited fulfilment, and that much depended on earnest prayer. Hope liberates the tongue of prayer. If God has purposed to bless, we can plead with confident expectation.
II. PRAYER DERIVES ITS INSPIRATION FROM THE CHARACTER AND ATTRIBUTES OF GOD. It is very instructive to note how in this prayer Daniel fastens his eye upon God, contemplates his manifold perfections, and finds in them the fuel with which to feed the fires within his soul. He delights to think on God's greatness—his vast resources of good. He reposes with confidence on the unchanging faithfulness of him who had stooped to make a covenant with Israel. If the nation's sins depress his hopes, the mercy of God far more elates him. He is pleased to contemplate God's infinite righteousness; for that righteousness he can and will convey to his suppliant people. He extracts hope even from the inviolable justice of Jehovah, inasmuch as this attribute secures to men the fullest benefit of every gracious promise. He pleads that anger may be diverted from Jerusalem, "according to the righteousness" of God. Once and again Daniel urges his request "for the Lord's sake"—"for thine own sake, O my God." This is the inexhaustible well of human comfort, viz. that God is what he is. It does not hinder success in prayer that we are so needy and so unworthy. The highest good is accessible, because the Fountain is so vast and so unfailing.
III. PRAYER EMPTIES THE SUPPLIANT OF SELF. The more men pray the more they part with self-confidence, self-righteousness, self-importance, self-seeking. They lose themselves in God. Every form of sin that Daniel could find in his consciousness or in his memory was confessed, and confessed with genuine sorrow. He acknowledges personal and public sins in every variety of language. Positive wickedness, deafness to the Divine voice, neglect of plain commandments, disregard of special messengers, contempt of God's sovereign authority,—all is confessed in a spirit of candour and humility. The axe is laid to the utmost root of pride. His soul is mantled in just shame. There is a complete emptying of self—a needful preparation to be filled with God.
IV. PRAYER IDENTIFIES THE SUPPLIANT WITH OTHERS—'TIS A VICARIOUS ACT. In prayer we take the place of others, bear their burdens, and make intercession for them. Daniel here pleads for the whole nation. He regards as his own the sins of rulers, kings, priests, and judges. The whole nation is represented in his person. As upon a later occasion, the lives of passengers and crew in the Egyptian ship were saved for Paul's sake, so now the restoration of Israel was due instrumentally to the advocacy of Daniel. A self-righteous man would have repudiated the idea that he was as guilty as others; he would have plumed himself on his superior virtues. Not so Daniel. The sins of the nation he attaches to himself—felt himself, in a sense, responsible for the whole; and seeks Divine favour, not for himself individually, but for the commonwealth of Israel.
V. PRAYER, TO BE SUCCESSFUL, MUST CONSIST IN EARNEST PLEADING. Sensible that so much hung upon his successful suit, Daniel put his whole soul into it, and resolved that he would not fail for want of earnestness. He had risen to the height of the great emergency. He knew that the "set time to favour Zion was now come." Other hindrances were now removed. God waked to be gracious—waited for human prayer as the last link in the chain; and Daniel was chosen to complete the series of preparations. Every possible argument Daniel could conceive or elaborate he employs in his siege of the heavenly citadel. And God permitted this, not on his own account, but to elicit fervent desire and to develop heroic faith. If a man clearly sees the evil which follows from non-success, he will use the most fervid appeal. Or, if he discerns the magnitude of the boon which is in view, he will strain every nerve of his soul to obtain it. Languor in prayer is the offspring of ignorance. Earnestness is only sober wisdom.—D.
Prayer opens wider horizons of God's kingdom.
We have here a signal instance of the fact that God not only answers human prayer, but gives "more than we ask" or conceive. The thing which Daniel asked was small compared with what God bestowed. Compared with contemporary men, Daniel stood above them head and shoulders. Compared with God, he was but a pigmy.
I. PRAYER IS THE BEST PREPARATION FOR RECEIVING LARGER REVELATION. The exercise of real prayer develops humility, dependence, self-forgetfulness; and these states of mind are favourable to ingress of light. "The meek will God show his way;" "To that man will he look, who is of humble and contrite heart." Prayer brings the soul near to God; it lifts us up to heavenly elevations; it clears the eye from mist and darkness. The Apostle John was engaged in lonely worship, when the final revelation of Scripture was made to him. Our Lord was in the act of prayer when heaven came down to earth, and his whole Person was enwrapt in glory. The response to Daniel's prayer was immediate. He had not ceased to pray when the answer came. Swifter than the electric current came the oracle's response.
II. LARGER REVELATION COMES BY A PURE AND PERSONAL SPIRIT, We may fairly conclude that angels have larger knowledge of God's will than have we, because they are free from the darkness and the doubt which sin generates. If they are not counsellors in the heavenly court, they are heralds, ambassadors, couriers. What God wills should happen they know is wise and right and good. In their estimation it is an incomparable honour to be engaged on Divine errands. Swift as their natures will allow, they fly to convey instruction or help to men. It is consonant, no less with reason than with Scripture, that there are ranks and orders of intelligent beings with natures more ethereal than ours, .and that communication between us and them is possible. Every form of service is attributed to the angels. An angel ministered to our Saviour's bodily hunger. An angel strengthened him in the garden. An angel rolled the stone from his sepulchre. An angel released Peter from prison. Gabriel interpreted the vision to Daniel. Gabriel announced to Zacharias and to Mary the approaching advent of a Saviour.
III. LARGER REVELATION IS AN EVIDENCE OF GOD'S SPECIAL LOVE. The despatch of a special messenger from the court of heaven was in itself a signal token of God's favour. Not often in the history of our race had such a favour been shown. Further, Gabriel was well pleased to assure the man of prayer that, in heaven, he was "greatly beloved." Every act of devotion to God's cause had been graven on the memory of God. His character was an object of God's complacency. On account of God's great love for Daniel he gave him larger understanding, and disclosed to him the purposes and plans for man's redemption. God's intention was that Daniel should enlarge the area of his vision, and look with solicitude, not on Israel after the flesh, but on the true Israel of God. Yet all revelation is a mark of God's love to men. Because men are "greatly beloved" of God, therefore he has given them this complete canon of Scripture, therefore he gives them understanding to discern the meaning, therefore he leads them further into the truth.
IV. LARGER REVELATION IS FOUNDED UPON A TYPICAL PAST. The thoughtful love of God adapted this new revelation to the capacity and mood of Daniel's spirit. Daniel had been dwelling on the seventy years which Jeremiah had declared to be the full period of Israel's captivity. His hope was resting on the fact that the seventy years were accomplished, and that God was faithful to his word. Gabriel was charged to assure the prophet that restoration was nigh at hand, but that other epochs of "seventies" were opening. The desolation of Jerusalem in the past was a type of a sadder desolation yet to come. The visible reconciliation between God and Israel (implied in the restoration of the Jews) was a type of a more complete reconciliation when sin should be purged away. By identifying himself with the nation, and confessing its sins as his own, Daniel himself had become a type of that Deliverer who should "bear our sins" and "make intercession for the transgressors." Time is reckoned in weeks, to remind Israel of the perpetual obligation of the sabbath. After each cycle of desolation rest shall follow, until the world shall enter into the enjoyment of Jehovah's rest. The mind of Daniel is thus carried onward from the consummation he so much desired to a grander consummation still—the appearance of Israel's Messiah; and this vital truth is impressed upon his soul, that no triumph is real or enduring which is not the triumph of righteousness over sin.
V. LARGER REVELATION CENTRES IN THE PERSON AND WORK OF MESSIAH. If now and then God should lift us up to some spiritual height, and give us a wider vision of human destiny, we should be amused and saddened at the littleness of our petitions. Often do we pray and plead for some good, which seems to us a very consummation of blessing; but when we have gained it, we find that there are far larger possessions awaiting us. The desires of Daniel's soul were concentrated on Israel's return to Palestine; yet, at the best, this was only a temporal advantage. Change of place and resumption of worldly power would not in themselves secure nobleness of character or purification of soul. The best blessings of God can be enjoyed anywhere, and amid any outward conditions. But God is too wise and too beneficent to confine his gifts within the limits of human request. "His thoughts are not as our thoughts;" and from inferior restoration to outward privilege, as a starting-point, he leads our expectations onward to a nobler restoration of character and of life. The centre of the world's hope (whether the world so regards it or not) is Jesus the Messiah. Before Gabriel had satisfied Daniel with respect to Israel's earthly fortune, he poured into Daniel's ear what was uppermost in his own mind—the advent of the Son of God. The grandeur, the value, the triumphant issues of Messiah's work,—these were the tidings which he delighted to convey. The revelation which, in any age, man most needs is revelation respecting the removal of sin—knowledge how the great redemption can be accomplished. No tidings from heaven can ever be so joyous as these, viz. that sin shall meet with final destruction, and that reconciliation between God and man is made secure. Such a revelation embraces an enormous sweep of blessing, and comprises every possible interest of humanity. The possession of the earthly Canaan is a very short-lived benefit; the inheritance of heaven is an eternal good.
VI. THE LARGER REVELATION EMBRACES THE FINAL TRIUMPH OF RIGHTEOUSNESS; For the present the outlook of Israel is flecked with light and shade. Like an April day, our present experience is an alternation of blustering storm and bright sunshine. The defences of Jerusalem, Daniel was assured, would be rebuilt, but would be rebuilt amid harassing trouble. Messiah the Prince should in due time appear; but Messiah should be cut off. The city and the sanctuary should rise from the reproach of present ruin, but they would again be destroyed—desolation, like a flood, would sweep over them. Sacrifice should be restored in the temple, but sacrifice and oblation should again cease. These were but temporary arrangements to prepare the world for a real atonement. But the final upshot shall be the destruction of abomination. Upon the desolater there shall be desolation. "All that defileth" shall be exterminated. Death shall die. "Captivity shall be led captive;" "God shall be all in all."—D
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Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Daniel 9". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/