Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Daniel 9:25

So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.
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Adam Clarke Commentary

From the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem - The foregoing events being all accomplished by Jesus Christ, they of course determine the prophecy to him. And if we reckon back four hundred and ninety years, we shall find the time of the going forth of this command.

Most learned men agree that the death of Christ happened at the passover in the month Nisan, in the four thousand seven hundred and forty-sixth year of the Julian period. Four hundred and ninety years, reckoned back from the above year, leads us directly to the month Nisan in the four thousand two hundred and fifty-sixth year of the same period; the very month and year in which Ezra had his commission from Artaxerxes Longimanus, king of Persia, (see Ezra 7:9;), to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. See the commission in Ezra 7:11-26 (note), and Prideaux's Connexions, vol. 2 p. 380.

The above seventy weeks, or four hundred and ninety years, are divided, in Ezra 7:25, into three distinct periods, to each of which particular events are assigned. The three periods are: -

    I. Seven weeks, that is, forty-nine years.

II. Sixty-two weeks, that is, four hundred and thirty-four years.
    III. One week, that is, seven years.

To the first period of seven weeks the restoration and repairing of Jerusalem are referred; and so long were Ezra and Nehemiah employed in restoring the sacred constitutions and civil establishments of the Jews, for this work lasted forty-nine years after the commission was given by Artaxerxes.

From the above seven weeks the second period of sixty-two weeks, or four hundred and thirty-four years more, commences, at the end of which the prophecy says, Messiah the Prince should come, that is, seven weeks, or forty-nine years, should be allowed for the restoration of the Jewish state; from which time till the public entrance of the Messiah on the work of the ministry should be sixty-two weeks, or four hundred and thirty-four years, in all four hundred and eighty-three years.

From the coming of our Lord, the third period is to be dated, viz., "He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week," that is seven years, Daniel 9:27.

This confirmation of the covenant must take in the ministry of John the Baptist with that of our Lord, comprehending the term of seven years, during the whole of which he might be well said to confirm or ratify the new covenant with mankind. Our Lord says, "The law was until John;" but from his first public preaching the kingdom of God, or Gospel dispensation, commenced.

These seven years, added to the four hundred and eighty-three, complete the four hundred and ninety years, or seventy prophetic weeks; so that the whole of this prophecy, from the times and corresponding events, has been fulfilled to the very letter.

Some imagine that the half of the last seven years is to be referred to the total destruction of the Jews by Titus, when the daily sacrifice for ever ceased to be offered; and that the intermediate space of thirty-seven years, from our Lord's death till the destruction of the city, is passed over as being of no account in relation to the prophecy, and that it was on this account that the last seven years are divided. But Dean Prideaux thinks that the whole refers to our Lord's preaching connected with that of the Baptist. וחצי vachatsi, says he, signifies in the half part of the week; that is, in the latter three years and a half in which he exercised himself in the public ministry, he caused, by the sacrifice of himself, all other sacrifices and oblations to cease, which were instituted to signify his.

In the latter parts of Daniel 9:26; and Daniel 9:27; we find the Third Part of this great prophecy, which refers to what should be done after the completion of these seventy weeks.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Daniel 9:25". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Know, therefore, and understand - Hengstenberg renders this, “and thou wilt know and understand;” and supposes that the design of Gabriel is to awaken the attention and interest of Daniel by the assurance that, if he would give attention, he would understand the subject by the explanation which he was about to give. So also Theodotion renders it in the future tense. The Hebrew is in the future tense, and would probably convey the idea that he might, or would know and understand the matter. So Lengerke renders it, “Und so mogest du wissen,” etc. The object is doubtless to call the attention of Daniel to the subject, with the assurance that he might comprehend the great points of the communication which he was about to make respecting the seventy weeks. In the previous verse, the statement was a general one; in this, the angel states the time when the period of the seventy weeks was to commence, and then that the whole period was to be broken up or divided into three smaller portions or epochs, each evidently marking some important event, or constituting an important era. The first period of seven weeks was evidently to be characterized by something in which it would be different from what would follow, or it would reach to some important epoch, and then would follow a continuous period of sixty-two weeks, after which, during the remaining one week, to complete the whole number of seventy, the Messiah would come and would be cut off, and the series of desolations would commence which would result in the entire destruction of the city.

That from the going forth of the commandment - Hebrew, “of the word” - דבר dâbâr It is used, however, as in Daniel 9:23, in the sense of commandment or order. The expression “gone forth” (מצא môtsâ' ) would properly apply to the “issuing” of an order or decree. So in Daniel 9:23 - דבר יצא yâtsâ' dâbâr - “the commandment went forth.” The word properly means a going forth, and is applied to the rising sun, that goes forth from the east, Psalm 19:6 (7); then a “place” of going forth, as a gate, a fountain of waters, the east, etc., Ezekiel 42:11; Isaiah 41:18; Psalm 75:6 (7). The word here has undoubted reference to the promulgation of a decree or command, but there is nothing in the words to determine “by whom” the command was to be issued. So far as the “language” is concerned, it would apply equally well to a command issued by God, or by the Persian king, and nothing but the circumstances can determine which is referred to. Hengstenberg supposes that it is the former, and that the reference is to the Divine purpose, or the command issued from the “heavenly council” to rebuild Jerusalem. But the more natural and obvious meaning is, to understand it of the command‘ actually issued by the Persian monarch to restore and build the city of Jerusalem. This has been the interpretation given by the great body of expositors, and the reasons for it seem to be perfectly clear:

(a) This would be the interpretation affixed to it naturally, if there were no theory to support, or if it did not open a chronological difficulty not easy to settle.

(b) This is the only interpretation which can give anything like definiteness to the passage. Its purpose is to designate some fixed and certain period from which a reckoning could be made as to the time when the Messiah would come. But, so far as appears, there was no such definite and marked command on the part of God; no period which can be fixed upon when he gave commandment to restore and build Jerusalem; no exact and settled point from which one could reckon as to the period when the Messiah would come. It seems to me, therefore, to be clear, that the allusion is to some order to rebuild the city, and as this order could come only from one who had at that time jurisdiction over Jerusalem, and Judea, and who could command the resources necessary to rebuild the ruined city, that order must be one that would emanate from the reigning power; that is, in fact, the Persian power - for that was the power that had jurisdiction at the close of the seventy years‘ exile. But, as there were several orders or commands in regard to the restoration of the city and the temple, and as there has been much difficulty in ascertaining the exact chronology of the events of that remote period, it has not been easy to determine the precise order referred to, or to relieve the whole subject from perplexity and difficulty. Lengerke supposes that the reference here is the same as in Daniel 9:2, to the promise made to Jeremiah, and that this is the true point from which the reckoning is to be made. The exact edict referred to will be more properly considered at the close of the verse. All that is necessarily implied here is, that the time from which the reckoning is to be commenced is some command or order issued to restore and build Jerusalem.

To restore - Margin, “build again.” The Hebrew is, properly, “to cause to return” - להשׁיב lehâshı̂yb The word might be applied to the return of the captives to their own land, but it is evidently used here with reference to the city of Jerusalem, and the meaning must be, “to restore it to its former condition.” It was evidently the purpose to cause it to return, as it were, to its former spendour; to reinstate it in its former condition as a holy city - the city where the worship of God would be celebrated, and it is this purpose which is referred to here. The word, in Hiphil, is used in this sense of restoring to a former state, or to renew, in the following places: Psalm 80:3, “Turn us again - השׁיבנוּ hăshı̂ybēnû - and cause thy face to shine.” So Psalm 80:7, Psalm 80:19. Isaiah 1:26, “And I will “restore” thy judges as at the first,” etc. The meaning here would be met by the supposition that Jerusalem was to be put into its former condition.

And to build Jerusalem - It was then in ruins. The command, which is referred to here, must be one to build it up again - its houses, temple, walls; and the fair sense is, that some such order would be issued, and the reckoning of the seventy weeks must “begin” at the issuing of this command. The proper interpretation of the prophecy demands that “that” time shall be assumed in endeavoring to ascertain when the seventy weeks would terminate. In doing this, it is evidently required in all fairness that we should not take the time when the Messiah “did” appear - or the birth of the Lord Jesus, assuming that to be the “terminus ad quem ” - the point to which the seventy weeks were to extend - and then reckon “backward” for a space of four hundred and ninety years, to see whether we cannot find some event which by a possible construction would bear to be applied as the “terminus a quo,” the point from which we are to begin to reckon; but we are to ascertain when, in fact, the order was given to rebuild Jerusalem, and to make “that” the “terminus a quo ” - the starting point in the reckoning. The consideration of the fulfillment of this may with propriety be reserved to the close of the verse.

Unto the Messiah - The word Messiah occurs but four times in the common version of the Scriptures: Daniel 9:25-26: John 1:41; John 4:25. It is synonymous in meaning with the word “Christ,” the Anointed. See the notes at Matthew 1:1. Messiah is the Hebrew word; Christ the Greek. The Hebrew word (משׁיח mâshı̂yach ) occurs frequently in the Old Testament, and, with the exception of these two places in Daniel, it is uniformly translated “anointed,” and is applied to priests, to prophets, and to kings, as being originally set apart to their offices by solemn acts of anointing. So far as the “language” is concerned here, it might be applied to anyone who sustained these offices, and the proper application is to be determined from the connection. Our translators have introduced the article - “unto the Messiah.” This is wanting in the Hebrew, and should not have been introduced, as it gives a definiteness to the prophecy which the original language does not necessarily demand.

Our translators undoubtedly understood it as referring to him who is known as the Messiah, but this is not necessarily implied in the original. All that the language fairly conveys is, “until an anointed one.” Who “that” was to be is to be determined from other circumstances than the mere use of the language, and in the interpretation of the language it should not be assumed that the reference is to any particular individual. That some eminent personage is designated; some one who by way of eminence would be properly regarded as anointed of God; some one who would act so important a part as to characterize the age, or determine the epoch in which he should live; some one so prominent that he could be referred to as “anointed,” with no more definite appellation; some one who would be understood to be referred to by the mere use of this language, may be fairly concluded from the expression used - for the angel clearly meant to imply this, and to direct the mind forward to some one who would have such a prominence in the history of the world.

The object now is merely to ascertain the meaning of the “language.” All that is fairly implied is, that it refers to some one who would have such a prominence as anointed, or set apart to the office of prophet, priest, or king, that it could be understood that he was referred to by the use of this language. The reference is not to the anointed one, as of one who was already known or looked forward to as such - for then the article would have been used; but to some one who, when he appeared, would have such marked characteristics that there would be no difficulty in determining that he was the one intended. Hengstenberg well remarks, “We must, therefore, translate “an anointed one, a prince,” and assume that the prophet, in accordance with the uniform character of his prophecy, chose the more indefinite, instead of the more definite designation, and spoke only of AN anointed one, a prince, instead of the anointed one, the prince - κατ ̓ ἐξοχήν kat' exochēn - and left his hearers to draw a deeper knowledge respecting him, from the prevailing expectations, grounded on earlier prophecies of a future great King, from the remaining declarations of the context, and from the fulfillment, the coincidence of which with the prophecy must here be the more obvious, since an accurate date had been given.” - Christol. ii. 334,335.

The Vulgate renders this, Usque ad Christum ducem - “even to Christ the leader,” or ruler. The Syriac, “to the advent of Christ the king.” Theodotion, ἕως Χριστοῦ ἡγουμένου heōs Christou hēgoumenou - “Christ the leader,” or ruler. The question whether this refers to Christ will be more appropriately considered at the close of the verse. The inquiry will then occur, also, whether this refers to his birth, or to his appearance as the anointed one - his taking upon himself publicly the office. The language would apply to either, though it would perhaps more properly refer to the latter - to the time when he should appear as such - or should be anointed, crowned, or set apart to the office, and be fully instituted in it. It could not be demonstrated that either of these applications would be a departure from the fair interpretation of the words, and the application must be determined by some other circumstances, if any are expressed. What those are in the case will be considered at the close of the verse.

The Prince - נגיד nāgı̂yd This word properly means a leader, a prefect, a prince. It is a word of very general character, and might be applied to any leader or ruler. It is applied to an overseer, or, as we should say, a “secretary” of the treasury, 1 Chronicles 26:24; 2 Chronicles 31:12; an overseer of the temple, 1 Chronicles 9:11; 2 Chronicles 31:13; of the palace, 2 Chronicles 28:7; and of military affairs, 1 Chronicles 13:1; 2 Chronicles 32:21. It is also used absolutely to denote a prince of a people, any one of royal dignity, 1 Samuel 9:16; 1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Samuel 13:14. - Gesenius. So far as this word, therefore, is concerned, it would apply to any prince or leader, civil or military; any one of royal dignity, or who should distinguish himself, or make himself a leader in civil, ecclesiastical, or military affairs, or who should receive an appointment to any such station. It is a word which would be as applicable to the Messiah as to any other leader, but which has nothing in itself to make it necessary to apply it to him. All that can be fairly deduced from its use here is, that it would be some prominent leader; some one that would be known without anymore definite designation; someone on whom the mind would naturally rest, and someone to whom when he appeared it would be applied without hesitation and without difficulty. There can be no doubt that a Hebrew, in the circumstances of Daniel, and with the known views and expectations of the Hebrew people, would apply such a phrase to the Messiah.

Shall be seven weeks - See the notes at Daniel 9:24. The reason for dividing the whole period into seven weeks, sixty-two weeks, and one week, is not formally stated, and will be considered at the close of the verse. All that is necessary here in order to an explanation of the language, and of what is to be anticipated in the fulfillment, is this:

(a) That, according to the above interpretation Daniel 9:24, the period would be forty-nine years.

(b) That this was to be the “first” portion of the whole time, not time that would be properly taken out of any part of the whole period.

(c) That there was to be some event at the end of the forty-nine years which would designate a period, or a natural division of the time, or that the portion which was designated by the forty-nine years was to be distinctly characterized from the next period referred to as sixty-two weeks, and the next period as one week.

(d) No intimation is given in the words as to the nature of this period, or as to what would distinguish one portion from the others, and what that was to be is to be learned from subsequent explanations, or from the actual course of events. If one period was characterized by war, and another by peace; one in building the city and the walls, and the other by quiet prosperity; one by abundance, and the other by famine; one by sickness, and the other by health - all that is fairly implied by the words would be met. It is foretold only that there would be something that would designate these periods, and serve to distinguish the one from the other.

And threescore and two weeks - Sixty-two weeks; that is, as above explained Daniel 9:24, four hundred and thirty-four years. The fair meaning is, that there would be something which would characterize that long period, and serve to distinguish it from what preceded it. It is not indeed intimated what that would be, and the nature of the case seems to require that we should look to the events - to the facts in the course of the history to determine what that was. Whether it was peace, prosperity, quiet, order, or the prevalence of religion as contrasted with the former period, all that the words fairly imply would be fulfilled in either of them.

The street shall be built again - This is a general assertion or prediction, which does not seem to have any special reference to the “time” when it would be done. The fair interpretation of the expression does not require us to understand that it should be after the united period of the seven weeks and the sixty-two weeks, nor during either one of those periods; that is, the language is not such that we are necessarily required to affix it to any one period. It seems to be a general assurance designed to comfort Daniel with the promise that the walls and streets of Jerusalem, now desolate, would be built again, and that this would occur some time during this period. His mind was particularly anxious respecting the desolate condition of the city, and the declaration is here made that it would be restored. So far as the languages - the grammatical construction is concerned, it seems to me that this would be fulfilled if it were done either at the time of the going forth of the commandment, or during either of the periods designated, or even after these periods.

It is, however, most natural, in the connection, to understand it of the “first” period - the seven weeks, or the forty-nine years - since it is said that “the commandment would go forth to restore, and to build Jerusalem;” and since, as the whole subsequent period is divided into three portions, it may be presumed that the thing that would characterize the first portion, or what would first be done, would be to execute the commandment - that is, to restore and build the city. These considerations would lead us, therefore, to suppose that the thing which would characterize the first period - the forty-nine years - would be the rebuilding of the city; and “the time” - a time which, considering the extent and entireness of the ruins, the nature of the opposition that might be encountered, the difficulty of collecting enough from among the exiles to return and do it, the want of means, and the embarrassments which such an undertaking might be supposed to involve, cannot, probably, be regarded as too long.

The word rendered “street” - רחוב rechôb - means a “street,” so called from its “breadth,” and would properly, therefore, be applied to a wide street. Then it denotes a market-place, or a forum - the broad open place at the gates of Oriental cities where public trials were held, and things exposed for sale, 2 Chronicles 32:6. In Ezra 10:9, the word refers to the area or court before the temple: “And all the people sat in the street (ברחוב bı̂rechôb ) of the house of God,” etc. Compare Nehemiah 8:1, Nehemiah 8:3, Nehemiah 8:16. The reference in this place, therefore, may be to that area or court; or it may be to any place of concourse, or any thoroughfare. It is such language as would be naturally used to denote that the city would be restored to its former condition. The phrase “shall be built again” is, in the margin, “return and be builded.” This is in accordance with the Hebrew. That is, it would be restored to its former state; it would, as it were, come back and be built up again. Hengstenberg renders it “a street is restored and built.” The phrase properly implies that it would assume its former condition, the word “built” here being used in the sense of “made,” as we speak of “making a road.” Lengerke renders it, wird wieder hergestellt- “shall be again restored.” Theodotion renders it, ἐπιστρέψει epistrepsei - “it shall return,” understanding it as meaning that there would be a return, to wit, from the exile. But the more correct meaning undoubtedly is, that the street would return to its former state, and be rebuilt.

And the wall - Margin, “ditch.” Hengstenberg renders this, “and firmly is it determined;” maintaining that the word חרוּץ chârûts here means fixed, determined, resolved on, and that the idea is, the purpose that the city should be rebuilt was firmly resolved on in the Divine mind, and that the design of what is here said was to comfort and animate the returned Hebrews in their efforts to rebuild the city, in all the discouragements and troubles which would attend such an undertaking. The common interpretation, however, has been that it refers to a ditch, trench, or wall, that would be constructed at the time of the rebuilding of the city. So the Vulgate, “muri, walls.” So Theodotion, τεῖχος teichos - wall. The Syriac renders it, “Jerusalem, and the villages, and the streets.” Luther, Mauren, walls. Lengerke renders it, as Hengstenberg does, “and it is determined.” Maurer understands the two expressions, “street and wall,” to be equivalent to “within and without” - meaning that the city would be thoroughly and entirely rebuilt.

The Hebrew word חרוּץ chârûts means, properly, what is cut in, or dug out, from חרץ chârats - to cut in. The word is translated “sharp-pointed things” in Job 41:30; “gold, fine gold, choice gold,” in Psalm 68:13; Proverbs 3:14; Proverbs 8:10, Proverbs 8:19; Proverbs 16:16; Zechariah 9:3; a threshing instrument, Isaiah 28:27; Amos 1:3; sharp (referring to a threshing instrument), Isaiah 41:15; “wall,” Daniel 9:25; and “decision,” Joel 3:14. It does not elsewhere occur in the Scriptures. The notion of “gold” as connected with the word is probably derived from the fact of its being dug for, or eagerly sought by men. That idea is, of course, not applicable here. Gesenius supposes that it here means a “ditch or trench” of a fortified city. This seems to me to be the probable signification. At all events, this has the concurrence of the great body of interpreters; and this accords well with the connection. The word does not properly mean “wall,” and it is never elsewhere so used. It need not be said that it was common, if not universal, in wailed cities to make a deep ditch or trench around them to prevent the approach of an enemy, and such language would naturally be employed in speaking of the rebuilding of a city. Prof. Stuart renders it, “with broad spaces, and narrow limits.”

Even in troublous times - Margin, “strait of.” Hengstenberg, “in a time of distress.” Lengerke, Im Druck der Zeiten- in a pressure of times. Vulgate, In angustia temporum. Theodotion, in the Septuagint, renders it, “And these times shall be emptied out” (Thompson) - καὶ ἐκκενωθήσονται οἱ καιροί kai ekkenōthēsontai hoi kairoi The proper meaning of the Hebrew word (צוק tsôq ) is, distress, trouble, anguish; and the reference is, doubtless. to times that would be characterized by trouble, perplexity, and distress. The allusion is clearly to the rebuilding of the city, and the use of this language would lead us to anticipate that such an enterprise would meet with opposition or embarrasment; that there would be difficulty in accomplishing it; that the work would not be carried on easily, and that a considerable time would be necessary to finish it.

Having gone through with an investigation of the meaning of the words and phrases of this verse, we are now prepared to inquire more particularly what things are referred to, and whether the predictions have been fulfilled. The points which it is necessary to examine are the following: - To whom reference is made by the Messiah the Prince; the time designated by the going forth of the commandment - or the “terminus a quo;” the question whether the whole period extends to the “birth” of him here referred to as the Messiah the Prince, or to his assuming the office or appearing as such; the time embraced in the first seven weeks - and the fulfillment - or the question whether, from the time of the going forth of the commandment to the appearing of the Messiah, the period of the four hundred and ninety years can be fairly made out. These are evidently important points, and it need not be said that a great variety of opinions has prevailed in regard to them, and that they are attended with no little difficulty.

I. To whom reference is made as the Messiah the Prince. In the exposition of the meaning of the words, we have seen that there is nothing in the language itself to determine this. It is applicable to anyone who should be set apart as a ruler or prince, and might be applied to Cyrus, to any anointed king, or to him who is properly designated now as the Messiah - the Lord Jesus. Compare the notes at Isaiah 45:1. It is unnecessary to show that a great variety of opinions has been entertained, both among the Jewish rabbis and among Christian commentators, respecting the question to whom this refers. Among the Jews, Jarchi and Jacchiades supposed that it referred to Cyrus; Ben Gersom, and others, to Zerubbabel; Aben Ezra to Nehemiah; rabbi Azariah to Artaxerxes. Bertholdt, Lengerke, Maurer, and this class of expositors generally, suppose that the reference is to Cyrus, who is called the Messiah, or the “Anointed,” in Isaiah 45:1.

According to this interpretation, it is supposed that the reference is to the seventy years of Jeremiah, and that the meaning is, that “seven weeks,” or forty-nine years, would elapse from the desolation of the city until the time of Cyrus. See Maurer, in loc. Compare also Lengerke, pp. 444,445. As specimens of the views entertained by those who deny the reference of the passage to the Messiah, and of the difculties and absurdities of those views, we may notice those of Etchhorn and Bertholdt. Eichhorn maintains that the numbers referred to are round numbers, and that we are not to expect to be able to make out an exact conformity between those numbers and the events. The “commandment” mentioned in Daniel 9:25 he supposes refers to the order of Cyrus to restore and rebuild the city, which order was given, according to Usher, A.M. 3468. From this point of time must the “sevenweeks,” or the forty-nine years, be reckoned; but, according to his view, the reckoning must be “backward and forward;” that is, it is seven weeks, or forty-nine years, backward to Nebuchadnezzar, who is here called “Messiah the Prince,” who destroyed the temple and city, A.M. 3416 - or about fifty-two years before the going forth of the edict of Cyrus. From that time, the reckoning of the sixty-two weeks must be commenced.

But again, this is not to be computed literally from the time of Nebuchadnezzar; but since the Jews, in accordance with Jeremiah 25:11-12, reckoned seventy years, instead of the true time, the point from which the estimate is to begin is the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim, and this occurred, according to Usher, A.M. 3397. Reckoning from this point onward, the sixty-two weeks, or 434 years, would bring us to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes (A.M. 3829). At the end of the sixty-two weeks, in the first year of Antiochus Epiphanes, the high priest, Onias III (the Messiah of Daniel 9:26), was displaced - “cut off” - יכרת yı̂kârēth - and Jason was appointed in his place, and Menelaus the year after removed him. Titus Onias had properly no successor, etc. This absurd opinion Bertholdt (p. 605, following) attempts to set aside - a task which is very easily performed, and then proposes his own - a hypothesis not less absurd and improbable. According to his theory (p. 613, following), the seventy years have indeed a historical basis, and the time embraced in them extends from the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar to the death of Antiochus Epiphanes. It is divided into three periods:

(a) The seven first hebdomads extend from the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar to king, Cyrus, who gave the exiles permission to return to their land. This is the period during which Jerusalem must lie waste Daniel 9:2; and after the close of this, by the favor of Cyrus Daniel 9:25, the promise of Jeremiah (Daniel 9:25 - דבר dâbâr - “commandment”), that Jerusalem shall be rebuilt, goes forth.

(b) The following sixty-two weeks extend from the return of the exiles to the beginning of the troubles and persecutions under Antiochus. This is the period of the rebuilding of Jerusalem Daniel 9:25.

(c) The last period of one week extends from the time of the oppressions and wrongs commenced under Antiochus, to the death of Antiochus. See this view fully explained and illustrated in Bertholdt, “ut supra.” The great mass of Christian interpreters, however, have supposed that the reference is to the Messiah properly so called - the promised Saviour of the world - the Lord Jesus. In support of this opinion, the following considerations may be suggested, which seem to me to be conclusive:

(1) The language itself is such as is properly applicable to him, and such as would naturally suggest him. It is true, as we see in Isaiah 45:1, that the term Messiah may be applied to another, as it is there to Cyrus (see the note at the meaning of the word in that place, and in the exposition of this verse), but it is also true that if the term stands by itself, and with no explanation, it would naturally suggest him who, by way of eminence, is known as the Messiah. In Isaiah 45:1, it is expressly limited to Cyrus, and there can be no danger of mistake. Here there is no such limitation, and it is natural, therefore, to apply it in the sense in which among the Hebrews it would be obviously understood. Even Bertholdt admits the force of this. Thus (p. 563) he says: “That at the words נגיד משׁיח mâshı̂yach nāgı̂yd (Messiah the Prince) we should be led to think of the Messiah, Jesus, and at those, Daniel 9:26, לו ואין משׁיח יכרת yı̂kârēth mâshı̂yach ve'ēyn lô (shall be cut off but not for himself), of his crucifixion, though not absolutely necessary, is still very natural.”

(2) This would be the interpretation which would be given to the words by the Jews. They were so much accustomed to look forward to a great prince and deliverer, who would be by way of eminence the Anointed of the Lord, that, unless there was some special limitation or designation in the language, they would naturally apply it to the Messiah, properly so called. Compare Isaiah 9:6-7. Early in the history of the Jews, the nation had become accustomed to the expectation that such a deliverer would come, and its hopes were centerd on him. In all times of national trouble and calamity; in all their brightest visions of the future, they were accustomed to look to him as one who would deliver them from their troubles, and who would exalt their people to a pitch of glory and of honor, such as they had never known before. Unless, therefore, there was something in the connection which would demand a different interpretation, the language would be of course applied to the Messiah. But it cannot be pretended that there is anything in the connection that demands such a limitation, nor which forbids such an application.

(3) So far as the ancient versions throw any light on the subject, they show that this is the correct interpretation. So the Latin Vulgate, usque ad Christum ducem. So the Syriac, “unto Messiah, the most holy” - literally, “holy of holies.” So Theodotion - ἔως Χριστοῦ heōs Christou - where there can be little doubt that the Messiah was understood to be referred to. The same is found in the Arabic. The Codex Chisianus is in utter confusion on this whole passage, and nothing can be made of it.

(4) All the circumstances referred to in connection with him who is here called “Messiah the Prince” are such as to be properly applicable to the work which the Lord Jesus came to do, and not to Cyrus, or Antiochus, or any other leader or ruler. See the notes at Daniel 9:24. To no other one, according to the interpretation which the passage in that verse seems to demand, can the expressions there used be applied. In that exposition it was shown that the verse is designed to give a general view of what would be accomplished, or of what is expressed more in detail in the remaining verses of the vision, and that the language there used can be applied properly to the work which the Lord Jesus came to accomplish. Assuredly to no one else can the phrases “to restrain transgression,” “to seal up sins,” “to cover over iniquity,” “to bring in everlasting righteousness,” “to seal up the vision and prophecy,” and “to consecrate the most holy place,” be so well applied. The same is true of the language in the subsequent part of the prophecy, “Messiah shall be cut off,” “not for himself … shall confirm the covenant … cause the oblation to cease.” Any one may see the perplexities in which they are involved by adopting another interpretation, by consulting Bertholdt, or Lengerke on the passage.

(5) The expression used here (“prince” - נגיד nāgı̂yd - is applied to the Messiah beyond all question in Isaiah 4:4: “I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader - נגיד nāgı̂yd - and a commander to the people.”

(6) The perplexity attending any other interpretation is an additional proof of this point. In full illustration of this, it is necessary only to refer to the views of Bertholdt and Eichhorn as above exhibited. Whatever may be said about the difficulties on the supposition that it refers to the Lord Jesus - the true Messiah - no one can undertake to reconcile the applications which they have proposed with any belief of the inspiration of the passage. These considerations seem to me to make it clear that the prophecy had reference to the Messiah properly so called - the hope and the expectation of the Jewish people. There can be no doubt that Daniel would so understand it; there can be no doubt that it would be so applied by the Jews.

II. The next question is, From what point are we to reckon in computing the time when the Messiah would appear - the “terminus a quo?” It is important to fix this, for the whole question of the fulfillment depends on it, and “honesty” requires that it should be determined without reference to the time to which four hundred and ninety years would reach - or the “terminus ad quem.” It is clearly not proper to do as Prideaux does, to assume that it refers to the birth of Christ, and then to reckon backward to a time which may be made to mean the “going forth of the commandment.” The true method, undoubtedly, would be to fix on a time which would accord with the expression here, with no reference to the question of the fulfillment for in that way only can it be determined to be a true “prophecy,” and in that way only would it be of any use to Daniel, or to those who succeeded him. It need hardly be said, that a great variety of opinions have been maintained in regard to the time designated by the “going forth of the commandment.” Bertholdt (pp. 567,568) mentions no less than thirteen opinions which have been entertained on this point, and in such a variety of sentiment, it seems almost hopeless to be able to ascertain the truth with certainty. Now, in determining this, there are a few points which may be regarded as certain. They are such as these:

(a) That the commandment referred to is one that is issued by some prince or king having authority, and not the purpose of God. See the notes above on the first part of the verse.

(b) That the distinct command would be to “restore and build Jerusalem.” This is specified, and therefore would seem to be distinguished from a command to build the temple, or to restore that from its state of ruin. It is true that the one might appear to be implied in the other, and yet this does not necessarily follow. For various causes it might be permitted to the Jews to rebuild their temple, and there might be a royal ordinance commanding that, while there was no purpose to restore the city to its former power and splendor, and even while there might be strong objections to it. For the use of the Jews who still resided in Palestine, and for those who were about to return, it might be a matter of policy to permit them to rebuild their temple, and even to aid them in it, while yet it might be regarded as perilous to allow them to rebuild the city, and to place it in its former condition of strength and power.

It was a place easily fortified; it had cost the Babylonian monarch much time, and had occasioned him many losses, before he had been able to conquer and subdue it, and, even to Cyrus, it might be a matter of very questionable policy to allow it to be built and fortified again. Accordingly we find that, as a matter of fact, the permission to rebuild the temple, and the permission to rebuild the city, were quite different things, and were separately granted by different sovereigns, and that the work was executed by different persons. The former might, without impropriety, be regarded as the close of the captivity - or the end of the “seventy years” of Jeremiah - for a permission to rebuild the temple was, in fact, a permission to return to their own country, and an implied purpose to aid them in it, while a considerable interval might, and probably would elapse, before a distinct command was issued to restore and rebuild the city itself, and even then a long period might intervene before it would be completed.

Accordingly, in the edict published by Cyrus, the permission to rebuild the temple is the one that is carefully specified: “Thus saith Cyrus, king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to “build him an house” at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and “build the house of the Lord God of Israel” (he is the God), which is in Jerusalem,” Ezra 1:2-3. In this order there is nothing said of the restoration of the city, and that in fact occurred at a different time, and under the direction of different leaders. The first enterprise was to rebuild the temple; it was still a question whether it would be a matter of policy to allow the city to be rebuilt, and that was in fact accomplished at a different time. These considerations seem to make it certain that the edict referred to here was not what was issued by “Cyrus,” but must have been a subsequent decree bearing particularly on the rebuilding of the city itself. It is true that the command to rebuild the temple would imply that either there were persons residing amidst the ruins of Jerusalem, or in the land of Palestine, who were to worship there, and that there would be inhabitants in Jerusalem, probably those who would go from Babylon - for otherwise the temple would be of no service, but still this might be, and there be no permission to rebuild the city with any degree of its ancient strength and splendor, and none to surround it with walls - a very material thing in the structure of an ancient city.

(c) This interpretation is confirmed by the latter part of the verse: “the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” If the word rendered “wall” means “trench or ditch,” as I have supposed, still it was a trench or ditch which was designed as a “defense” of a city, or which was excavated for making a wall, for the purpose of fortifying a walled city in order to make it stronger, and the expression is one which would not be applied to the mere purpose of rebuilding the temple, nor would it be used except in a command to restore the city itself. We are, then, in the fair interpretation of the passage, required now to show that such a command went forth from the Persian king to “restore and rebuild” the city itself - that is, a permission to put it into such a condition of strength as it was before.

In order to see how this interpretation accords with the facts in the case, and to determine whether such a period can be found as shall properly correspond with this interpretation, and enable us to ascertain the point of time here referred to - the “terminus a quo ” - it is proper to inquire what are the facts which history has preserved. For this purpose, I looked at this point of the investigation into Jahn‘s “Hebrew Commonwealth,” (pp. 160-177), a work not written with any reference to the fulfillment of this prophecy, and which, indeed, in the portion relating to this period of the world, makes no allusion whatever to Daniel. The inquiry which it was necessary to settle was, whether under any of the Persian kings there was any order or command which would properly correspond with what we have ascertained to be the fair meaning of the passage. A very brief synopsis of the principal events recorded by Jahn as bearing on the restoration of the Jews to their own country, will be all that is needful to add to determine the question before us.

The kings of the Persian universal monarchy, according to Ptolemy, were ten, and the whole sum of their reign two hundred and seven years - from the time of Cyaxares II to the time of Alexander the Great. But Ptolemy‘s specific object being chronology, he omitted those who continued not on the throne a full year, and referred the months of their reign, partly to the preceding, and partly to the succeeding monarch. The whole number of sovereigns was in reality fourteen, as appears by the following table:

d b.c.YearsMonths


d 538Cyaxares II reigned

d 20


d 536Cyrus

d 70


d 529Cambyses

d 75


d 522Smerdis

d 07


d 521Darius Hystaspis

d 360


d 485Xerxes I

d 210


d 464Artaxerxes Longimanus

d 403


d 424Xerxes II

d 02


d 424Sogdianus

d 07


d 423Darius Nothus

d 190


d 404Artaxerxes Mnemon

d 460


d 358Darius Ochus

d 210


d 337Arses

d 02


d 335Darius Codomanus

d 04


d Under the reign of this last prince, 331 b.c., the kingdom was entirely subdued by Alexander the Great.

In respect to the question whether any order or command was issued pertaining to the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem that corresponds with the meaning of the prediction as above explained, the following facts will probably furnish all the knowledge which can be obtained:

(a) Cyaxares II Of course there was nothing in the time of Cyaxares II, the Darius of Daniel Daniel 6:1; Daniel 9:1, as it was under him that Babylon was conquered, and there was no movement toward a restoration of the Jews to their own land commenced by him, the first movement of that kind being under Cyrus.

(b) Cyrus. What was the nature of the order issued by him we have seen above. It was a command to build the temple, and was limited to that, and involved no reference to the city. The command, as we have seen above, did not extend to that, and there were probably good reasons why it was not contemplated that it should be rebuilt in its former strength, and fortified as it was before. The purpose to fortify the city, or to encompass it by a wall or ditch, or even to build it at all, could not have been brought within the order of Cyrus, as recorded in Ezra, and that is the only form of the order which we have. The language of Daniel, therefore, seems to have been chosen of design when he says that the command would be issued to rebuild the city, not the temple. At any rate, such is the language, and such was not the order of Cyrus.

(c) Cambyses. After the death of Cyrus the Samaritans wrote to Cambyses (called, by Ezra, Ahasuerus) against the Jews. We are not informed what effect this letter produced, but we can easily judge from the character of this degenerate son of Cyrus, as it is represented in history. He was a “thoughtless, gluttonous, furious warrior, who was considered as raving mad even by his own subjects.” - Jahn. He madly invaded Egypt, and on his return learned that Smerdis, his brother, had usurped the throne in his absence; and died of a wound received from the falling of his sword from its sheath, as he was mounting his horse. No order is mentioned during his reign pertaining to the rebuilding either of the city or the temple.

(d) Smerdis. He retained the throne about seven months. In the Bible the has the name of Artaxerxes. Compare, respecting him, Ctesias, x.; Justin, i. 9; Herod. iii. 61-67. “To this monarch the Samaritans again addressed themselves, complaining that the Jews were building (that is, fortifying) the city of Jerusalem, which they had never thought of doing; and in consequence of this false accusation, Smerdis issued a positive prohibition of their work.” - Jahn. Two things, therefore, may be remarked respecting this reign:

(1) the order or commandment referred to by Daniel could not have been issued during this reign, since there was an express “prohibition” against the work of building and fortifying the city; and

(2) this confirms what is said above about the improbability that any order would have been issued by Cyrus to rebuild and fortify the city itself.

It could not but have been foreseen that such an order would be likely to excite opposition from the Samaritans, and to cause internal dissensions and difficulties in Palestine, and it is not probable that the Persian govenment would allow the rebuilding of a city that would lead to such collisions.

(e) Darius Hystaspis. He reigned thirty-six years. He was a mild and benevolent ruler. “As Smerdis was a mere usurper, his prohibition of rebuilding the temple was of no authority.” - Jahn. In the second year of his reign, Haggai and Zechariah appeared, who plied the governor Zerubbabel, the high priest Joshua, and the whole people, with such powerful appeals to the Divine commands, that the building of the house of God was once more resumed. Upon this, Tatnai, the Persian governor on the west side of the Euphrates, came with his officers to call the Jews to an account, who referred him to the permission of Cyrus, and the Jews were suffered to proceed. The whole matter was, however, made known to Darius, and he caused search to be made among the archives of the state in reference to the alleged decree of Cyrus. The edict of Cyrus was found, which directed that a temple should be built at Jerusalem at the royal expense, and of much larger dimensions than the former. A copy of this was sent to Tatnai, and he was commanded to see that the work should be forwarded, and that the expenses should be defrayed from the royal treasury, and that the priests should be supplied with whatever was necessary to keep up the daily sacrifice. The work was, therefore, pressed on with renewed vigour, and in the sixth year of his reign the temple was completed and consecrated. The remainder of his reign was spent in unnecessary wars with Scythia, Thrace, India, and Greece. He suffered an overthrow at Marathon, and was preparing for a more energetic campaign in Greece when he died, and left his dominion and his wars to Xerxes. No order was issued during his reign for the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem. All his edicts pertain to the original grant of Cyrus - the permission to build the temple.

(f) Xerxes I. The career of Xerxes is well known. He was distinguished for gluttony, voluptuousness, and cruelty. He is celebrated for his invasion of Greece, for the check which he met at Thermopylae, and for the overthrow of his naval forces at Salamis by Themistocles. In the twenty-first year of his reign he was murdered by Artabanus, commander of his life-guard. He died in the year 464 b.c. According to Jalm, it is probable that “the Artaxerxes of Ezra, who is mentioned next after Darius Hystaspis, and the Ahasuerus of Esther, are names of Xerxes I.” If so, it was under him that the second caravan of Jews went to Judea, under the direction of Ezra Ezra 7:13-26. This decree, however, relates wholly to the temple - the “house of God.” There was no order for rebuilding the city, and there is no evidence that anything material was done in building the city, or the walls. Respecting this reign, John remarks, “The Hebrew colony in Judea seems never to have been in a very flourishing condition. The administration of justice was particularly defective, and neither civil nor religious institutions were firmly established. Accordingly, the king gave permission anew for all Hebrews to emigrate to Judea,” p. 172. Ezra made the journey with the caravan in three months; deposited the precious gifts in the temple, caused the Scriptures to be read and explained; commenced a moral reformation, but did nothing, so far as appears, in reconstructing the city - for his commission did not extend to that.

(g) Artaxerxes Longimanus. According to Jahn, he began to reign 464 b.c., and reigned forty years and three months. It was during his reign that Nehemiah lived, and that he acted as governor of Judea. The colony in Judea, says Jahn, which had been so flourishing in the time of Ezra, had greatly declined, in consequence of the fact that Syria and Phoenicia had been the rendezvous of the armies of Artaxerxes. “Nehemiah, the cup-bearer of Artaxerxes, learned the unhappy state of the Hebrews, b.c. 444, from a certain Jew named Hanani, who had come from Judea to Shushan with a caravan. Of the regulations introduced by Esra b.c. 478 there was little remaining, and, amid the confusions of war, the condition of the Jews continually grew worse. This information so affected Nehemiah that the king observed his melancholy, and inquiring its cause, he appointed him governor of Judea, “with full power to fortify Jerusalem,” and thus to secure it from the disasters to which unprotected places are always exposed in time of war.

Orders were sent to the royal officers west of the Euphrates to “assist in the fortification of the city,” and to furnish the requisite timber from the king‘s forest; probably on Mount Libanus, near the sources of the river Kadisha, as that was the place celebrated for its cedars. Thus commissioned, Nehemiah journeyed to Judea, accompanied by military officers and cavalry,” pp. 175,176. Jahn further adds, “as soon as Nehemiah, on his arrival in Palestine, had been acknowledged governor of Judea by the royal officers, he made known his preparations for fortifying Jerusalem to the elders who composed the Jewish council. All the heads of houses, and the high priest Eliashib, engaged zealously in the work. The chiefs of the Samaritans, Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem, endeavored to thwart their undertaking by insults, by malicious insinuations that it was a preparation for revolt, by plots, and by threats of a hostile attack. The Jews, notwithstanding, proceeded earnestly in their business, armed the laborers, protected them still further by a guard of armed citizens, and at length happily completed the walls of their city.”

We have reached a point, then, in the history of the kings of Persia, when there was a distinct order to restore and fortify Jerusalem, and when there was an express expedition undertaken to accomplish this result. In the history of these kings, as reported by Jahn, this is the first order that would seem to correspond with the language of Daniel - “the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem,” and the assertion that “the street should be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” It may be well, therefore, to pause here, and to look more distinctly at this order of Artaxerxes Longimanus, and inquire into its conformity with the language of Daniel. The circumstances, then, as stated in the book of Nehemiah, are these:

(a) Nehemiah learned from Hanani the state of his brethren in Judea, and the fact that the “walls of the city were broken down, and that the gates were burned with fire,” and that the people who were at Jerusalem were in a state of “great affliction and reproach,” and gave himself to weeping, and fasting, and prayer, on that account, Nehemiah 1:1-11.

(b) On coming into the presence of Artaxerxes, to perform the usual duty of presenting the wine to the king, the king saw the sadness and distress of Nehemiah, and inquired the cause, Nehemiah 2:1-2. This, Nehemiah Nehemiah 2:1 is careful to remark occurred in the twentieth year of his reign.

(c) He states distinctly, that it was because Jerusalem was still in ruins: “Why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers‘ sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?” Nehemiah 2:3.

(d) The request of Nehemiah, in accordance with the language in Daniel, was, that he might be permitted to go to Jerusalem and “rebuild the city:” “And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favor in thy sight, that thou wouldst send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers‘ sepulchres, that I may build it,” Nehemiah 2:5.

(e) The edict of Artaxerxes contemplated the same thing which is foretold by the angel to Daniel “And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king‘s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which pertained to the house, and for the wall of the city,” etc., Nehemiah 2:8.

(f) The work which Nehemiah did, under this edict, was what is supposed in the prediction in Daniel. His first work was to go forth by night to survey the state of the city: “And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, etc., and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire,” Nehemiah 2:13. His next work was to propose to rebuild these walls again: “Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach,” Nehemiah 2:17. The next work was to rebuild those walls, a full description of which we have in Nehemiah 3:1-32; 4:1-23. The city was thus fortified. It was built again according to the purpose of Nehemiah, and according to the decree of Artaxerxes. It took its place again as a fortified city, and the promised work of restoring and rebuilding it was; complete.

(g) The building of the city and the walls under Nehemiah occurred in just such circumstances as are predicted by Daniel. The angel says, “The wall shall be built again, even in troublous times.” Let anyone read the account of the rebuilding in Nehemiah - the description of the “troubles “which were produced by the opposition of Sanballat and those associated with him Nehemiah 4, and he will see the striking accuracy of this expression - an accuracy as entire as if it had been employed after the event in describing it, instead of having been used before in predicting it.

It may confirm this interpretation to make three remarks:

(1) After this decree of Artaxerxes there was no order issued by Persian kings pertaining to the restoration and rebuilding of the city. Neither Xerxes II, nor Sogdianus, nor Darius Nothus, nor Artaxerxes Mnemon, nor Darius Ochus, nor Arses, nor Darius Codomanus, issued any decree that corresponded at all with this prediction, or any that related to the rebuilding of Jerusalem. There was no occasion for any, for the work was done.

(2) asecond remark is, that, in the language of Hengstenberg, “Until the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, the new city of Jerusalem was an open, thinly inhabited village, exposed to all aggressions from its neighbors, sustaining the same relation to the former and the latter city as the huts erected after the burning of a city for the first protection front rain and wind do to those which are still uninjured, or which have been rebuilt.” - Christ. ii. 381. This is quite apparent from the remarks which have been already made respecting the state of the city. The want of any permission to rebuild the city and the walls; the fact that the permission to return extended only to a right-to rebuild the temple; the improbabilities above stated, that the rebuilding of the city in its strength would be allowed when they first returned, and the account which Nehemiah gives of the condition of Jerusalem at the time when he asked leave to go and “build” it, all tend to confirm this supposition. See Hengstenberg, as above, pp. 381-386.

(3) A third remark is, that a confirmation of this may be found in the book of Ecclesiasticus, showing how Nehemiah was regarded in respect to the rebuilding of the city: “And among the elect was Neemias, whose renown is great, who raised up for us the walls that were fallen, and set up the gates and the bars, and raised up our ruins again,” Sirach 49:13. On the other hand, Joshua and Zerubbabel are extolled only as rebuilders of the temple: “How shall we magnify Zorobabel? even he was as a signet on the right hand:” “so was Jesus the son of Josedec: who in their time builded “the house” and set up a “holy temple” to the Lord,” Sirach 49:11,12. These considerations make the case clear, it seems to me, that the time referred to - the “terminus a quo ” - according to the fair interpretation, was the twentieth year of Artaxerxes. To this we are conducted by the proper and necessary exposition of the language, and by the orders actually issued from the Persian court in regard to the temple and city.

If it should be objected - the only objection of importance that has been alleged against it - that this would not meet the inquiry of Daniel; that he was seeking for the time when the captivity would cease, and looking for its te

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Daniel 9:25". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Daniel 9:25

Even in troublous times.

The Wall Built in Troublous Times

Jerusalem was a type of the Church of God; and as the former was built “in troublous times,” so is the latter.

I. THIS IS TRUE OF INDIVIDUALS. This world is the house of discipline in which Christians are broken to the Divine service by severe management. There are seasons which in a peculiar sense are “troublous times.” And it is in such seasons more than any other that they grow in grace, and thus prepare to carry up the walls of the Heavenly Jerusalem, or to enlarge the Church triumphant. Their choicest experiences are obtained, and their selected graces are acquired, in times of trouble. Afflictions are the rod which chastises them to duty--the furnace in which the gold is purified from the dross.

II. THE WALLS OF JERUSALEM GENERALLY ARE BUILT UP IN TROUBLOUS TIMES. In such times the greatest advances have been made in the interests of the Church. Illustrate from the history of the Church from the time when the foundation was laid in the promise of the woman’s seed. To the civilised world at large these are troublous times. While the enemy are vapouring and raging; while, leagued against all morality and religion, they are bearing away the ancient landmarks of society; while the apostles of infidelity are fast proselyting the world, and a third part of men are gone after Baal--even in such times the walls of Jerusalem are rising. Things are likely to continue the same in our day. Let not troublous times stagger the faith of Christians. Let us not be terrified “as though some strange thing happened to us.” We have company enough in these matter. From the days of Adam all the saints have had to encounter similar trials. (E. D. Griffin, D.D.)

The Church Built up in Trouble

It was a feeble and a broken remnant which wound its weary way out of Babylon to rebuild the city d their fathers and the Temple of their God. Long captivity had wrought its sure work upon the people. They had been “mingled with the heathen, and learned their ways.” They were so slow to build the Temple that the threatening voices of Haggai and Zechariah hardly stirred them to the work by every entreaty and menace and judgment. With such mingled materials, the Tirshatha and the priest had a great work to do. Though the king’s edict was clear, and his favour undoubted, the Jews had many enemies, and they fierce, strong, unscrupulous. Slander, falsehood, and violence, open attacks and secret wiles, must all be repelled. Yet all difficulties were overcome. “The street was built again, and the wall,” though the times were troublous. The Temple of God did arise out of its ashes. Why was this result only to be attained through these difficulties? These are some of the reasons. By their being thus tried a provision was made by which, amongst, those who undertook his work, the true-hearted might be sifted from the false and hollow. For though at last the will of God must be done by all, by good and bad, the obedient and the disobedient, by saints and reprobates, by angels and devils; yet to do consciously and rejoicingly His will, this is the blessing only of the faithful. And not only were the good severed from the bad, by the difficulties with which they had to struggle, but in the several hearts of the faithful, this same work was being wrought.

A sifting was going on in their moral nature; a parting of the precious from the vile. And this trial of their faith drove them to God in their work. What is all this which we have traced out, but the universal law under which the Church of Christ is placed. From first to last this is its history. It is built up, but in troublous times. How plain is this feature in its earliest history! What was the earthly life of our blessed Master but a service under trial? With what tribulation and, suffering were the foundations of the Church laid. Since the apostles’ time this has been the law of the Church. They who at any time have done great things in it have been trained and exercised in manifold sufferings, inward and outward. Thus only can the Church be purged. Thus only can the work be done within God’s servants. The countersign of sanctified affliction should be on the Church; the patient waiting, the burnished arms, the earnest prayer, the united hearts, the untiring watchfulness, the deep humility, the prevailing intercessions, the unwearied labours, the godly jealousy, of those who hold fast to God amidst a self-choosing, and, therefore, a gainsaying generation. There is for each one of us, as separate members of Christ, the self-same voice. Here is the secret of our inmost life. To hold on amidst discouragements--to lift up to God, a face often wet by tears, and soiled by mourning--to know outward trials and inward--to be tempted, buffeted, yea, above all, betrayed! This is our life. Hardly, and after many a struggle, does the evil depart from us. The building goes on slowly--with arms in our hands--amidst reproaches--with watching unto prayer. Let us seek to know this for ourselves in very deed. (Bishop Samuel Wilberforce.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Daniel 9:25". The Biblical Illustrator. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Know, therefore, and understand,.... Take notice and observe, for the clearer understanding of these seventy weeks, and the events to be fulfilled in them, what will be further said concerning them, the beginning of them, their distinct periods, and what shall be accomplished in them:

that from the time of the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem; this commandment is the beginning of the seventy weeks or four hundred and ninety years, and from it they are to be reckoned; and which designs not the proclamation of Cyrus in the first year of his reign, which was only to rebuild the temple, and not the city of Jerusalem, Ezra 1:1, nor the decree of Darius Hystaspes, which also only regards the temple, and is only a confirmation of the decree of Cyrus, Ezra 6:1 and for the same reasons it cannot be the decree in the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes; which only confirmed what his predecessors had granted concerning the temple, and provision for sacrifices, and exemption of the priests from toll, tribute, or custom, Ezra 7:7, but has not a word of building the wall and streets of Jerusalem, as that has, which was made in the twentieth year of his reign; and seems therefore to be the commandment or decree here referred to, Nehemiah 2:1, and this is the general epoch of the seventy weeks, and where the first seven begin; though GussetiusF1Ebr. Comment. p. 177, 329. thinks that the word דבר does not signify any edict or decree, but a "thing"; and designs the thing itself, restoring and rebuilding Jerusalem; and that the following date is to be reckoned, not from any order to rebuild that city, but from the thing itself, from the moment when it first began to be rebuilt: and as singular is the notion of TirinusF2Chronolog. Sacr. p. 44. , who is of opinion that this is to be understood of the going out, or the end of the word; not whereby the holy city was ordered to be built, but when it was really built; and so begins the account from the dedication of the new city, in the twenty third year of Artaxerxes, Nehemiah 12:27. There are others who suppose that not any human word, decree, commandment, or order, is here meant, but a divine one; either the word of the Lord to Jeremiah, foretelling the seventy years' captivity of the Jews, and their deliverance from it; and reckon these four hundred and ninety years from the destruction of the first temple, to the destruction of the second temple, as Jarchi, Saadiah, Jacchiades, and others; but between these two destructions was a course of six hundred and fifty six or six hundred and fifty seven years: others take the beginning of the seventy weeks to be from the going forth of the commandment to the angel, at the beginning of Daniel's prayers, as Aben Ezra; and to end at the destruction of the second temple; but, for a like reason, this must be rejected as the other; since this space of time will outrun the seventy weeks near one hundred and twenty years: it is best therefore to interpret this of a royal edict, the order or commandment of a king of Persia to rebuild Jerusalem; and it seems correct to reckon the number given, either from the seventh, or rather from the twentieth, of Artaxerxes Longimanus before mentioned; and either these reckonings, as Bishop ChandlerF3Answer to the Grounds and Reasons, &c. p. 139. observes, are sufficient for our purpose, to show the completion of the prophecy in Christ:

"the commencement of the weeks (as he remarks) must be either from the seventh of Artaxerxes, which falls on 457 B.C. or from the twentieth of Artaxerxes; (add to 457 B.C., twenty six years after Christ, which is the number that four hundred and eighty three years, or sixty nine weeks, exceeds four hundred and fifty seven years); and you are brought to the beginning of John the Baptist's preaching up the advent of the Messiah; add seven years or one week to the former, and you come to the thirty third year of A.D. which was the year of Jesus Christ's death or else compute four hundred and ninety years, the whole seventy weeks, from the seventh of Artaxerxes, by subtracting four hundred and fifty seven years (the space of time between that year and the beginning of A.D.) from four hundred and ninety, and there remains thirty three, the year of our Lord's death. Let the twentieth of Artaxerxes be the date of the seventy weeks, which is 455 B.C. and reckon sixty nine weeks of Chaldean years; seventy Chaldee years being equal to sixty nine Julian; and so four hundred and seventy eight Julian years making four hundred and eighty three Chaldee years, and they end in the thirty third year after Christ, or the passover followingF4See these seventy weeks more largely considered, in a Treatise of mine, concerning the prophecies of the Old Testament respecting the Messiah, &c. p. 64-78. ';

the several particulars into which these seventy weeks are divided:

unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks; by whom is meant, not Cyrus, as Jarchi and Jacchiades; who, though called Messiah or anointed, Isaiah 44:28, cannot be intended; for this prince was to be cut off after seven, and sixty two weeks, or four hundred and eighty three years; whereas Cyrus died ages before this, and even died before the expiration of the seven weeks, or forty nine years; nor Joshua the high priest, or Zerubbabel, as Ben Gersom and others nor Nehemiah as Aben Ezra; nor Artaxerxes, which R. AzariahF5Meor Enayim, c. 41. fol. 134. 2. thinks probable; for to none of these will this character agree, which denotes some eminent person known by this name; nor the work ascribed to him, Daniel 9:24, nor can it be said of either of them that they were cut off, and much less at such a period as is here fixed: it is right to interpret it of the promised and expected Saviour, whom the Psalmist David had frequently spoken of under the name of the Messiah, and as a King and Prince; see Psalm 2:2 and who is David, the Prince Ezekiel before this had prophesied of, Ezekiel 34:24, and is the same with the Prince of peace in the famous prophecy of him in Isaiah 9:6. The Syriac version, though not a literal one, gives the true sense of the passage, rendering it,

"unto the coming of the King Messiah;'

unto which there were to be seven, and sixty two weeks, or sixty nine weeks, which make four hundred and eighty three years; and these being understood of eastern years, used by the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Persians, consisting of three hundred and sixty days, reckoning thirty days to a month, and twelve months to a year, there were just four hundred and eighty three of these from the twentieth year of Artaxerxes to the thirty third of the vulgar era of Christ, and the nineteenth of Tiberius Caesar, in which he suffered. Sir Isaac NewtonF6Observations on Daniel, p. 132, 133, 134. thinks the seven weeks unto Messiah, which he detaches from the sixty two, respects the second coming of Christ, when he shall come as a Prince, and destroy antichrist, and that it takes in the compass of a jubilee; but when it will begin and end he does not pretend to say; but the true reason of the sixty nine weeks being divided into seven, and sixty two, is on account of the particular and distinct events assigned to each period, as follows:

the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times; that is, within the space of seven weeks, or forty nine years, reckoning from the twentieth of Artaxerxes; when the Jews had a grant to rebuild their city and wall, and were furnished with materials for it; and which was done in very troublesome times; Nehemiah, and the Jews with him, met with much trouble from Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, while they were setting up the wall of the city, and filling the streets with ranges of houses, Nehemiah chapters four and five for which the space of seven weeks, or forty nine years, were cut out and appointed; and that this event belongs solely to this period is clear from the Messiah's coming being appropriated to the period of the sixty two weeks; which leaves this entirely where it is fixed.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on Daniel 9:25". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Know therefore and understand, [that] from s the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince [shall be] seven t weeks, and u threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

(s) That is, from the time that Cyrus gave them permission to depart.

(t) These weeks make forty-nine years, of which forty-six are referred to the time of the building of the temple, and three to the laying of the foundation.

(u) Counting from the sixth year of Darius, who gave the second commandment for the building of the temple are sixty-two weeks, which make 434 years, which comprehend the time from the building of the temple until the baptism of Christ.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Daniel 9:25". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

from the going forth of the commandment — namely the command from God, whence originated the command of the Persian king (Ezra 6:14). Auberlen remarks, there is but one Apocalypse in each Testament. Its purpose in each is to sum up all the preceding prophecies, previous to the “troublous times” of the Gentiles, in which there was to be no revelation. Daniel sums up all the previous Messianic prophecy, separating into its individual phases what the prophets had seen in one and the same perspective, the temporary deliverance from captivity and the antitypical final Messianic deliverance. The seventy weeks are separated (Daniel 9:25-27) into three unequal parts, seven, sixty-two, one. The seventieth is the consummation of the preceding ones, as the Sabbath of God succeeds the working days; an idea suggested by the division into weeks. In the sixty-nine weeks Jerusalem is restored, and so a place is prepared for Messiah wherein to accomplish His sabbatic work (Daniel 9:25, Daniel 9:26) of “confirming the covenant” (Daniel 9:27). The Messianic time is the Sabbath of Israel‘s history, in which it had the offer of all God‘s mercies, but in which it was cut off for a time by its rejection of them. As the seventy weeks end with seven years, or a week, so they begin with seven times seven, that is, seven weeks. As the seventieth week is separated from the rest as a period of revelation, so it may be with the seven weeks. The number seven is associated with revelation; for the seven spirits of God are the mediators of all His revelations (Revelation 1:4; Revelation 3:1; Revelation 4:5). Ten is the number of what is human; for example, the world power issues in ten heads and ten horns (Daniel 2:42; Daniel 7:7). Seventy is ten multiplied by seven, the human molded by the divine. The seventy years of exile symbolize the triumph of the world power over Israel. In the seven times seventy years the world number ten is likewise contained, that is, God‘s people is still under the power of the world (“troublous times”); but the number of the divine is multiplied by itself; seven times seven years, at the beginning a period of Old Testament revelation to God‘s people by Ezra, Nehemiah, and Malachi, whose labors extend over about half a century, or seven weeks, and whose writings are last in the canon; and in the end, seven years, the period of New Testament revelation in Messiah. The commencing seven weeks of years of Old Testament revelation are hurried over, in order that the chief stress might rest on the Messianic week. Yet the seven weeks of Old Testament revelation are marked by their separation from the sixty-two, to be above those sixty-two wherein there was to be none.

Messiah the PrinceHebrew, {Nagid}. Messiah is Jesus‘ title in respect to Israel (Psalm 2:2; Matthew 27:37, Matthew 27:42). Nagid, as Prince of the Gentiles (Isaiah 55:4). Nagid is applied to Titus, only as representative of Christ, who designates the Roman destruction of Jerusalem as, in a sense, His coming (Matthew 24:29-31; John 21:22). Messiah denotes His calling; Nagid, His power. He is to “be cut off, and there shall be nothing for Him.” (So the Hebrew for “not for Himself,” Daniel 9:26, ought to be translated). Yet He is “the Prince” who is to “come,” by His representative at first, to inflict judgment, and at last in person.

wall — the “trench” or “scarped rampart” [Tregelles]. The street and trench include the complete restoration of the city externally and internally, which was during the sixty-nine weeks.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Daniel 9:25". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

The detailed statement of the 70 שׁבעים in 7 + 62 + 1 (Daniel 9:25, Daniel 9:26, Daniel 9:27), with the fuller description of that which was to happen in the course of these three periods of time, incontrovertibly shows that these three verses are a further explication of the contents of Daniel 9:24. This explication is introduced by the words: “Know therefore, and understand,” which do not announce a new prophecy, as Wieseler and Hofmann suppose, but only point to the importance of the further opening up of the contents of Daniel 9:24, since ותשׂכּל ( and thou wilt understand ) stands in distinct relation to בינה להשׂכּלך ( to give thee skill and understanding, Daniel 9:22). The two parts of Daniel 9:25 contain the statements regarding the first two portions of the whole period, the seven and the sixty-two שׁבעים, and are rightly separated by the Masoretes by placing the Atnach under שׁבעה . The first statement is: “ from the going forth of the command to restore and to build Jerusalem unto a Messiah (Gesalbten), a prince, shall be seven weeks .” דּבר מצא ( from the going forth of the commandment ) formally corresponds, indeed, to דּבר יצא ( the commandment came forth ), Daniel 9:23, emphatically expressing a decision on the part of God, but the two expressions are not actually to be identified; for the commandment, Daniel 9:23, is the divine revelation communicated in Daniel 9:24-27, which the angel brings to Daniel; the commandment in Daniel 9:25 is, on the contrary, more fully determined by the words, “ to restore and to build, etc. להשׁיב is not to be joined adverbially with ולבנות so as to form one idea: to build again ; for, though שׁוּב may be thus used adverbially in Kal, yet the Hiphil השׁיב is not so used. השׁיב means to lead back, to bring again, then to restore ; cf. for this last meaning Isaiah 1:26, Psalms 80:4, Psalms 80:8,20. The object to להשׁיב follows immediately after the word ולבנות, namely, Jerusalem. The supplementing of עם, people (Wieseler, Kliefoth, and others), is arbitrary, and is not warranted by Jeremiah 29:10. To bring back, to restore a city, means to raise it to its former state; denotes the restitutio , but not necessarily the full restitutio in integrum (against Hengstenberg). Here לבנות is added, as in the second half of the verse to תּשׁוּב, yet not so as to make one idea with it, restoring to build, or building to restore, i.e., to build up again to the old extent. בּנה as distinguished from השׁיב denotes the building after restoring, and includes the constant preservation in good building condition, as well as the carrying forward of the edifice beyond its former state.

But if we ask when this commandment went forth, in order that we may thereby determine the beginning of the seven weeks, and, since they form the first period of the seventy, at the same time determine the beginning of the seventy weeks, the words and the context only supply this much, that by the “commandment” is meant neither the word of God which is mentioned in Daniel 9:23, because it says nothing about the restoration of Jerusalem, but speaks only of the whole message of the angel. Nor yet is it the word of God which is mentioned in Daniel 9:2, the prophecies given in Jer 25 and 29, as Hitzig, Kranichfeld, and others suppose. For although from these prophecies it conclusively follows, that after the expiry of the seventy years with the return of Israel into their own land, Jerusalem shall again be built up, yet they do not speak of that which shall happen after the seventy years, but only of that which shall happen within that period, namely, that Jerusalem shall for so long a time lie desolate, as Daniel 9:2 expressly affirms. The prophecy of the seventy years' duration of the desolation of Jerusalem (Daniel 9:2) cannot possibly be regarded as the commandment (in Daniel 9:25) to restore Jerusalem (Kliefoth). As little can we, with Hitzig, think on Jer 30 and 31, because this prophecy contains nothing whatever of a period of time, and in this verse before us there is no reference to this prophecy. The restoration of Israel and of Jerusalem has indeed been prophesied of in general, not merely by Jeremiah, but also long before him by Isaiah (Daniel 40-56). With as much justice may we think on Isa 40ff. as on Jer 30 and 31; but all such references are excluded by this fact, that the angel names the commandment for the restoration of Jerusalem as the terminus a quo for the seventy weeks, and thus could mean only a word of God whose going forth was somewhere determined, or could be determined, just as the appearance of the נגיד משׁיח is named as the termination of the seven weeks. Accordingly “the going forth of the commandment to restore,” etc., must be a factum coming into visibility, the time of which could without difficulty be known - a word from God regarding the restoration of Jerusalem which went forth by means of a man at a definite time, and received an observable historical execution.

Now, with Calvin, Oecolampadius, Kleinert, Nägelsbach, Ebrard, and Kliefoth, we can think of nothing more appropriate than the edict of Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-11) which permitted the Jews to return, from which the termination of the Exile is constantly dated, and from the time off which this return, together with the building up of Jerusalem, began, and was carried forward, though slowly (Klief.). The prophecy of Isaiah 44:28, that God would by means of Cyrus speak to cause Jerusalem to be built, and the foundation of the temple to be laid, directs us to this edict. With reference to this prophecy, it is said in Ezra 6:14, “They builded according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of the king of Persia.” This is acknowledged even by Hengstenberg, who yet opposes this reference; for he remarks ( Christol . iii. p. 142), “If the statement were merely of the commencement of the building, then they would undoubtedly be justified who place the starting-point in the first year of Cyrus. Isaiah (Isaiah 45:13) commends Cyrus as the builder of the city; and all the sacred writings which relate to the period from the time of Cyrus to Nehemiah distinctly state the actual existence of a Jerusalem during this period.” But according to his explanation, the words of the angel do not announce the beginning of the building of the city, but much rather the beginning of its “completed restoration according to its ancient extent and its ancient glory.” But that this is not contained in the words ולבנות להשׁיב we have already remarked, to which is to be added, that the placing in opposition the commencement of the building and the commencement of its completed restoration is quite arbitrary and vain, since certainly the commencement of the restoration at the same time includes in it the commencement of the completed restoration. In favour of interpreting להשׁיב of the completed restoration, Hengstenberg remarks that “in the announcement the temple is named along with the city in Daniel 9:26 as well as in Daniel 9:27. That with the announcement of the building the temple is not named here, that mention is made only of the building of the streets of the city, presupposes the sanctuary as already built up at the commencement of the building which is here spoken of; and the existence of the temple again requires that a commencement of the rebuilding of the city had also been already made, since it is not probable that the angel should have omitted just that which was the weightiest matter, that for which Daniel was most grieved, and about which he had prayed (cf. Daniel 9:17, Daniel 9:20) with the greatest solicitude.” But the validity of this conclusion is not obvious. In Daniel 9:26 the naming of the temple along with the city is required by the facts of the case, and this verse treats of what shall happen after the sixty-two weeks. How, then, shall it be thence inferred that the temple should also be mentioned along with the city in Daniel 9:25, where the subject is that which forms the beginning of the seven or of the seventy weeks, and that, since this was not done, the temple must have been then already built? The non-mention of the temple in Daniel 9:24, as in Daniel 9:25, is fully and simply explained by this, that the word of the angel stands in definite relation to the prayer of Daniel, but that Daniel was moved by Jeremiah's prophecy of the seventy years' duration of the חרבות of Jerusalem to pray for the turning away of the divine wrath from the city. As Jeremiah, in the announcement of the seventy years' desolation of the land, did not specially mention the destruction of the temple, so also the angel, in the decree regarding the seventy weeks which are determined upon the people of Israel and the holy city, makes no special mention of the temple; as, however, in Jeremiah's prophecy regarding the desolation of the land, the destruction not only of Jerusalem, but also of the temple, is included, so also in the building of the holy city is included that of the temple, by which Jerusalem was made a holy city. Although thus the angel, in the passage before us, does not expressly speak of the building of the temple, but only of the holy city, we can maintain the reference of the דּבר מצא to the edict of Cyrus, which constituted an epoch in the history of Israel, and consider this edict as the beginning of the termination of the seven resp. seventy weeks.

The words נגיד משׁיח עד show the termination of the seven weeks. The words נגיד משׁיח are not to be translated an anointed prince (Bertholdt); for משׁיח cannot be an adjective to נגיד, because in Hebr. The adjective is always placed after the substantive, with few exceptions, which are inapplicable to this case; cf. Ewald's Lehrb . §293 b . Nor can משׁיח be a participle: till a prince is anointed (Steudel), but it is a noun, and נגיד is connected with it by apposition: an anointed one, who at the same time is a prince . According to the O.T., kings and priests, and only these, were anointed. Since, then, משׁיח is brought forward as the principal designation, we may not by נגיד think of a priest-prince, but only of a prince of the people, nor by משׁיח of a king, but only of a priest; and by נגיד משׁיח we must understand a person who first and specially is a priest, and in addition is a prince of the people, a king. The separation of the two words in Daniel 9:26, where נגיד is acknowledged as meaning a prince of the people, leads to the same conclusion. This priest-king can neither be Zerubbabel (according to many old interpreters), nor Ezra (Steudel), nor Onias III (Wieseler); for Zerubbabel the prince was not anointed, and the priest Ezra and the high priest Onias were not princes of the people. Nor can Cyrus be meant here, as Saad., Gaon., Bertholdt, v. Lengerke, Maurer, Ewald, Hitzig, Kranichfeld, and others think, by a reference to Isaiah 45:1; for, supposing it to be the case that Daniel had reason from Isaiah 45:1 to call Cyrus משׁיח - which is to be doubted, since from this epithet משׁיחו, His (Jehovah's) anointed, which Isaiah uses of Cyrus, it does not follow as of course that he should be named משׁיח - the title ought at least to have been משׁיח נגיד, the משׁיח being an adjective following נגיד, because there is no evident reason for the express precedence of the adjectival definition.

(Note: “It is an unjustifiable assertion that every heathen king may also bear the name משׁיח, anointed . In all the books of the O.T. There is but a single heathen king, Cyrus, who is named משׁיח (Isaiah 45:1), and he not simply as such, but because of the remarkable and altogether singular relation in which he stood to the church, because of the gifts with which God endowed him for her deliverance, ... and because of the typical relation in which he stood to the author of the higher deliverance, the Messiah. Cyrus could in a certain measure be regarded as a theocratic ruler, and as such he is described by Isaiah.” - Hengstenberg.)

The O.T. knows only One who shall be both priest and king in one person (Psalms 110:4; Zechariah 6:13), Christ, the Messias (John 4:25), whom, with Hävernick, Hengstenberg, Hofmann, Auberlen, Delitzsch, and Kliefoth, we here understand by the נגיד משׁיח, because in Him the two essential requisites of the theocratic king, the anointing and the appointment to be the נגיד of the people of God (cf. 1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Samuel 13:14; 1 Samuel 16:13; 1 Samuel 25:30; 2 Samuel 2:4; 2 Samuel 5:2.), are found in the most perfect manner. These requisites are here attributed to Him as predicates, and in such a manner that the being anointed goes before the being a prince, in order to make prominent the spiritual, priestly character of His royalty, and to designate Him, on the ground of the prophecies, Isaiah 61:1-3 and Isaiah 55:4, as the person by whom “the sure mercies of David” (Isaiah 55:3) shall be realized by the covenant people.

(Note: In the נגיד משׁיח it is natural to suppose there is a reference to the passages in Isaiah referred to; yet one must not, with Hofmann and Auberlen, hence conclude that Christ is as King of Israel named משׁיח, and as King of the heathen נגיד, for in the frequent use of the word נגיד of the king of Israel in the books of Samuel it is much more natural to regard it as the reference to David.)

The absence of the definite article is not to be explained by saying that משׁיח, somewhat as צמח, Zechariah 3:8; Zechariah 6:12, is used κατ ̓ἑχ . as a nomen propr . of the Messiah, the Anointed; for in this case נגיד ought to have the article, since in Hebrew we cannot say מלך דּוד, but only המּלך דּוד . Much rather the article is wanting, because it shall not be said: till the Messiah, who is prince, but only: till one comes who is anointed and at the same time prince, because He that is to come is not definitely designated as the expected Messiah, but must be made prominent by the predicates ascribed to Him only as a personage altogether singular.

Thus the first half of Daniel 9:25 states that the first seven of the seventy weeks begin with the edict (of Cyrus) permitting the return of Israel from exile and the restoration of Jerusalem, and extend from that time till the appearance of an anointed one who at the same time is prince, i.e., till Christ. With that view the supposition that שׁבעים are year-weeks, periods of seven years, is irreconcilable. Therefore most interpreters who understand Christ as the נגיד משׁיח, have referred the following number, and sixty-two weeks, to the first clause - ”from the going forth of the command ... seven weeks and sixty-two weeks .” Thus Theodotion: ἕως Χριστοῦ ἡγουμένου ἑβδομάδες ἑπτὰ καὶ ἑβδομάδες ἑξηκονταδύο ; and the Vulgate: usque ad Christum ducem hebdomades septem et hebdomades sexaginta duae erunt . The text of the lxx is here, however, completely in error, and is useless. This interpretation, in recent times, Hävernick, Hengstenberg, and Auberlen have sought to justify in different ways, but without having succeeded in invalidating the reasons which stand opposite to them. First of all the Atnach forbids this interpretation, for by it the seven שׁבעים are separated from the sixty-two. This circumstance, however, in and of itself decides nothing, since the Atnach does not always separate clauses, but frequently also shows only the point of rest within a clause; besides, it first was adopted by the Masoretes, and only shows the interpretation of these men, without at all furnishing any guarantee for its correctness. But yet this view is not to be overlooked, as Hgstb. himself acknowledges in the remark: “Here the separation of the two periods of time was of great consequence, in order to show that the seven and the sixty-two weeks are not a mere arbitrary dividing into two of one whole period, but that to each of these two periods its own characteristic mark belongs.” With this remark, Hävernick's assertion, that the dividing of the sixty-nine שׁבעים into seven and sixty-two is made only on account of the solemnity of the whole passage, is set aside as altogether vain, and the question as to the ground of the division presses itself on our earnest attention.

If this division must indicate that to each of the two periods its own distinctive characteristic belongs, an unprejudiced consideration of the words shows that the characteristic mark of the “seven weeks” lies in this, that this period extends from the going forth of the word to restore Jerusalem till the appearance of an Anointed one, a Prince, thus terminating with the appearance of this Prince, and that the characteristic mark for the “sixty-two weeks” consists in that which the words immediately connected therewith affirm, וגו ונבנתה תּשׁוּב, and thus that the “sixty-two weeks” belong indeed to the following clause. But according to Hengstenberg the words ought not to be so understood, but thus: “sixty-nine weeks must pass away, seven till the completed restoration of the city, sixty-two from that time till the Anointed, the Prince.” But it is clearly impossible to find this meaning in the words of the text, and it is quite superfluous to use any further words in proof of this.

(Note: Hengstenberg, as Kliefoth has remarked, has taken as the first terminus ad quem the words “to restore and to build Jerusalem,” till the rebuilding of Jerusalem, till its completed rebuilding, till that Jerusalem is again built; and then the further words, “unto the Messiah the Prince,” as the second terminus ad quem ; and, finally, he assigns the seven weeks to the first terminus ad quem , and the sixty-two weeks is the second; as if the text comprehended two clauses, and declared that from the going forth of the commandment till that Jerusalem was rebuilt are seven heptades, and from that time till a Messiah, a Prince, are sixty-two heptades .)

By the remark, “If the second designation of time is attributed to that which follows, then we cannot otherwise explain it than that during sixty-two weeks the streets will be restored and built up; but this presents a very inappropriate meaning,” - by this remark the interpretation in question is neither shown to be possible, nor is it made evident. For the meaning would be inappropriate only if by the building up of Jerusalem we were to understand merely the rebuilding of the city which was laid in ruins by the Chaldeans. If we attribute the expression “and sixty-two weeks” to the first half of the verse, then the division of the sixty-nine weeks into seven weeks and sixty-two weeks is unaccountable; for in Daniel 9:26 we must then read, “after sixty-nine weeks,” and not, as we find it in the text, “after sixty-two weeks.” The substitution, again [in Daniel 9:26], of only this second designation of time (sixty-two weeks) is also intelligible only if the sixty-two weeks in Daniel 9:25 belong to the second half of the verse, and are to be separated from the seven weeks. The bringing together of the seven and of the sixty-two week stands thus opposed to the context, and is maintained merely on the supposition that the שׁבעים are year-weeks, or periods of time consisting of seven years, in order that sixty-nine year-weeks, i.e., 483 years, might be gained for the time from the rebuilding of Jerusalem to Christ. But since there is in the word itself no foundation for attaching to it this meaning, we have no right to distort the language of the text according to it, but it is our duty to let this interpretation fall aside as untenable, in order that we may do justice to the words of the prophecy. The words here used demand that we connect the period “and sixty-two weeks” with the second half of the verse, “and during sixty-two weeks shall the street be built again,” etc. The “sixty-two weeks” are not united antithetically to the “seven weeks” by the copula, ו as Hofmann would have it, but are connected simply as following the seven; so that that which is named as the contents of the “sixty-two weeks” is to be interpreted as happening first after the appearance of the Maschiach Nagid, or, more distinctly, that the appearance of the Messias forming the terminus ad quem of the seven weeks, forms at the same time the terminus a quo of the sixty-two weeks. That event which brings the close of the sixty-two weeks is spoken of in Daniel 9:26 in the words משׁיח יכּרת, Messiah shall be cut off . The words “and sixty-two שׁבעים owt-ytx ” may be taken grammatically either as the absolute nominative or as the accusative of duration. The words ונבנתה תּשׁוּב refer undoubtedly to the expression ולבנות להשׁיב ( to restore and to build ), according to which תּשׁוּב is not to be joined adverbially to ונבנתה (according to Hävernick, Hofmann, and Wieseler), but is to be rendered intransitively, corresponding to השׁיב : shall be restored, as Ezekiel 16:55; 1 Kings 13:6; 2 Kings 5:10,2 Kings 5:14; Exodus 4:7. The subject to both verbs is not (Rosenmüller, Gesenius, v. Leng., Hgstb.) רחוב, but Jerusalem, as is manifest from the circumstance that the verbs refer to the restoration and the building of Jerusalem, and is placed beyond a doubt by this, that in Zechariah 8:5 רחוב is construed as masculine; and the opinion that it is generis faem . rests only on this passage before us. There is no substantial reason for interpreting (with Klief.) the verbs impersonally.

The words וחרוּץ רחוב are difficult, and many interpretations have been given of them. There can be no doubt that they contain together one definition, and that רחוב is to be taken as the adverbial accusative. רחוב means the street and the wide space before the gate of the temple. Accordingly, to חרוּץ have been given the meanings ditch, wall, aqueduct (Ges., Steud., Zünd., etc.), pond (Ewald), confined space (Hofmann), court (Hitzig); but all these meanings are only hit upon from the connection, as are also the renderings of the lxx εἰς πλάτος καὶ μῆκος, of Theod. πλατεῖα καὶ τεῖχος, and of the Vulg. platea et muri . חרץ means to cut, then to decide, to determine, to conclude irrevocably; hence חרוּץ, decision, judgment, Joel 3:14. This meaning is maintained by Häv., Hgstb., v. Leng., Wies., and Kran., and וחרוּץ is interpreted as a participle: “and it is determined.” This shall form a contrast to the words, “but in the oppression of the times” - and it is determined, namely, that Jerusalem shall be built in its streets, but the building shall be accomplished in troublous times. But although this interpretation be well founded as regards the words themselves, it does not harmonize with the connection. The words וחרוּץ רחוב plainly go together, as the old translators have interpreted them. Now רחוב does not mean properly street, but a wide, free space, as Ezra 10:9, the open place before the temple, and is applied to streets only in so far as they are free, unoccupied spaces in cities. חרוּץ, that which is cut off, limited, forms a contrast to this, not, however, as that we may interpret the words, as Hofm. does, in the sense of width, and space cut off, not capable of extension, or free space and limited quarter (Hitzig), an interpretation which is too far removed from the primary import of the two words. It is better to interpret them, with Kliefoth, as “wide space, and yet also limited,” according to which we have the meaning, “Jerusalem shall be built so that the city takes in a wide space, has wide, free places, but not, however, unlimited in width, but such that their compass is measured off, is fixed and bounded.”

The last words, העתּים וּבצוק, point to the circumstances under which the building proceeds: in the difficulty, the oppression of the times . The book of Nehemiah, 3:33; Nehemiah 4:1., Daniel 6:1., 9:36, 37, furnishes a historical exposition of them, although the words do not refer to the building of the walls and bulwarks of the earthly Jerusalem which was accomplished by Nehemiah, but are to be understood, according to Ps. 51:20, of the spiritual building of the City of God.

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The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
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Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Daniel 9:25". 1854-1889.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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 threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

From the going forth — From the publication of the edict, whether of Cyrus or Darius, to restore and to build it.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Daniel 9:25". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". 1765.

Scofield's Reference Notes

from the going forth of the commandment

Three decrees concerning Jerusalem are recorded, that of Cyrus, B.C. 536 (Ussher), for the restoration of the "house of the Lord God of Israel" 2 Chronicles 36:22; 2 Chronicles 36:23; Ezra 1:1-3 that of Darius Ezekiel 6:3-8 B.C. 521-486), and that of Artaxerxes in his seventh year. Ezekiel 7:7 say, B.C. 458). Artaxerxes in his twentieth year, B.C. 444 (Hales, Jahn), 446 (A.V.), 454 (Ussher, Hengstenberg), gave permission for the rebuilding of the "city," i.e., "Jerusalem" Nehemiah 2:1-8. The latter decree is, obviously, that from which the "seven weeks" (49 years) run, unless by "the commandment to restore," etc. is meant the divine decree Daniel 9:23. In the present state of biblical chronology the date of the decree of Artaxerxes cannot be unanswerably fixed farther than to say that it was issued between 454 and 444 B.C. In either case we are brought to the time of Christ. Prophetic time is invariably so near as to give full warning, so indeterminate as to give no satisfaction to mere curiosity. (cf); Matthew 24:36; Acts 1:7. The 434 years reckon, of course, from the end of the seven weeks so that the whole time from "the going forth of the commandment to restore," etc., "unto the Messiah" is sixty-nine weeks of years, or 483 years.

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These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.
Bibliographical Information
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Daniel 9:25". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Daniel 9:25 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 threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

Ver. 25. Know, therefore, and understand.] See on Daniel 9:24. Here the angel brancheth the whole seventy sevens into three heads, or into three distinct periods of time.

Shall be seven weeks.] Which make forty-nine years. These the angel purposely speaketh of apart, because they chiefly concerned the reparation of the city made under the Persian monarchy. Within this first seven weeks, or forty-nine years, the street of Jerusalem was rebuilt, and the wall with trench, though the times proved troublous, and full of straits.

And threescore and two weeks.] Which make four hundred thirty-four years, the events of which are mentioned [Daniel 9:26] as those of the seven years following, [Daniel 9:27] out of which it might easily be supplied, and is therefore here omitted by the angel.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Daniel 9:25". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Daniel 9:25. Unto the Messiah the Prince, &c.— That is, until the awful period when the business of his life was finished, until his hour was come, when he was to glorify his Father, or when he was to be cut off by a voluntary suffering for the sins of mankind; and thereby triumph as a prince, over death, and over all his and our enemies. All the circumstances of his life are omitted, or rather comprehended in this final one, when all things that were written of him were accomplished.

What has been hitherto offered, I trust, may be deemed a sufficient explanation of the true and proper sense of the astonishing prophesy contained in the four last verses. Yet, lest the sense here given should be mistaken, or not duly attended to in this detached form, I will beg leave to recapitulate it, or to state the sense of the angelic message with all due deference in the following summary; but previously reminding the reader, that the original word rendered weeks throughout the prophesy strictly signifies sevens, and may be referred either to days or years.

Seventy weeks of precision, or precise weeks, remain upon thy people and upon thy holy city Jerusalem, to restrain their rebellion or apostacy from God, and to put an end to sins and expiate iniquity, or to bring to a conclusion their sufferings and the punishment which occasioned them, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal the vision of the prophet Jeremiah, and to restore the religious rites and holy things to their proper uses. This first deliverance from the captivity shall be accomplished within seventy weeks of days; but this term shall be typical, or a prelude to another more glorious deliverance, which from its commencement to its full and final period shall be comprehended in the same number of sevens or weeks, yet not of days, but of times or years. And this longer period shall be distributed into three portions, of seven weeks, and then of sixty-two weeks, and lastly of one week, each of which will be distinguished by extraordinary events, as the prophesy now proceeds to shew.

For know and understand,—this interesting business induces me thus solemnly to recal your attention,—that from the passing of an edict to rebuild your city Jerusalem, which had been destroyed by fire, until Messiah the Prince, or from the 20th of Artaxerxes, when this edict will be delivered to Nehemiah, till that important hour, when the Messiah shall be offered up, and thereby triumph as a prince over death and hell and all his enemies, shall be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks, or sixty-nine weeks of years: and the term is thus divided, because the former part shall be distinguished by the building of the city, which shall be fully completed with its streets and walls in that narrower limit of the times.

Then after the threescore and two weeks, or at the passover next following their termination, shall Messiah be cut off by an ignominious death, and a total desertion. Yet though none shall be for him (so the words may be translated), or he shall be altogether forsaken at that time, his princely authority will still be manifested: for the people of the prince that shall come, or the Roman army in the service of the Messiah, when his business upon earth is completed, and the Gospel fully published, shall destroy both the Jewish city and sanctuary; and they shall come up against it like an inundation, and shall cut down with a general ruin, and to the end of a war decisive of the nation of the Jews there shall be desolations.

Yet the one week of years that remains to complete the number typified in the former deliverance, this space of seven years shall make firm a covenant of security and protection to many, when those who are in Judaea will escape to the mountains; and in the midst of the week the sacrifice and meat-offering, or the whole ritual of the Jewish worship, shall cease: and when upon the borders of the temple, represented by an expanded wing, shall be the abomination of desolation, either the dead bodies of the slain, or the idolatrous ensigns, together with the Roman armies encompassing Jerusalem, then the desolations shall presently follow, and shall continue till a full accomplishment of the decided fate of this devoted people shall be poured upon the desolate, or until the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, The date of this prophesy is in the first year of Darius, when the seventy years of the Jewish captivity ended, reckoning from the third of Jehoiakim.

1. Daniel had been diligently searching the Scriptures, and out of the book of Jeremiah understood that the time was at hand for the accomplishment of God's promises in the restoration of his people. Note; They who diligently search the Scriptures will find there what will amply compensate their pains.

2. He became an earnest intercessor for the accomplishment of the promised mercy. In fasting and sackcloth he deeply humbled himself, under a sense of the sins which had provoked God's displeasure, and as a mourner over the desolations of Zion; and with faith and importunity set his face to the Lord, to seek by prayer and supplications the hastening of their deliverance in his good time. Note; (1.) What God promises should be the matter of our prayers. (2.) They who have the interests of God's church at heart, cannot but be deeply affected with its desolations, and earnest supplicants that God would revive his work in the midst of the years.

2nd, We have Daniel's effectual fervent prayer.

1. He opens with a most reverential address to the great and dreadful God; terrible to the sinner, and a consuming fire, yet full of mercy towards those who love and serve him, and faithful to all his promises.

2. He makes his humble confession of sin, the cause of all their sufferings. They had provoked God by every possible aggravation of their iniquities; they had rebelled against him, rejected his government, broken all his precepts, positive and moral; and from the king upon the throne to the meanest of the people, notwithstanding their peculiar obligations, all had joined in the revolt, and were alike deaf to the admonitions of God's prophets, the corrections of his providences, and the threatenings of his word: and this is repeatedly acknowledged, as the burden which lay on the prophet's heart, as it ever will on all true penitents, when they begin in simplicity and godly sincerity to return to God.

3. He justifies God in the punishments inflicted upon them. God was righteous, and they could not in the least except to his dispensations: heavy as his hand was upon them in all the countries of their dispersion, it was less than their iniquities deserved; and with confusion of face they must bow into the dust, and kiss the rod that smote them; all, from the king to the beggar, must join in the acknowledgment of God's justice, and take deepest shame to themselves for their provocations; for they had the fairest notice of the consequences of their iniquities; nor could God, consistent with the honour of his government, overlook such flagrant offences: the curse under which they groaned had been foretold by Moses, and God's faithfulness was glorified in the infliction of it upon them. Their sufferings were singular as their crime, enough it might be thought to have long since bowed the most obdurate heart; but they had continued incorrigibly impenitent, never thought of returning to God; nay, they did not, as a nation in general, so much as direct their prayers to him to sanctify their afflictions, or to remove his terrible indignation from them. No marvel therefore that he still watched over them for evil. Note; (1.) In all our sufferings, however severe, we must own that God is righteous, and take to ourselves deserved shame. (2.) If sinners continue incorrigible, God's wrath will abide upon them. (3.) In our anguish our first recourse should be to God in prayer.

4. Though the iniquities of the people were so incontestably evident and aggravated, the prophet still had recourse to the divine mercy; it was God's distinguished glory, that to him belonged mercies and forgivenesses, his patience infinite, his compassions boundless: and this is the only hope of the miserable sinner; for else he must for ever despair. Wondrous had been the instances of the divine interposition in time past: the fame of his delivering his people from Egypt, was to that day heard to his glory: what he had done before, therefore, the prophet hopes he will do again; and by delivering them now from Babylon, exalt yet more abundantly his own great name, and once more magnify his power and grace towards them, Jeremiah 16:14; Jeremiah 16:21. As if to excite the divine commiseration, he spreads their present wretchedness before him; they were become the contempt of the heathen, and a reproach to the neighbouring nations; their holy city of Jerusalem laid in ruins; and that once glorious sanctuary, their boast and honour, was now desolate and profaned. Note; (1.) They who have made themselves wicked, may expect that God will make them vile. (2.) Nothing afflicts the gracious heart so much as the desolations of the sanctuary, and the triumphs of the wicked over it.

5. He concludes with importunate supplications, urged with the greatest vehemence and most engaging pleas. He founds all his hopes upon the relation that God yet stood in towards all the penitent among them, O our God; and therefore is emboldened to ask, [1.] The forgiveness of their sins, the cause of their calamities: and this is the sinner's first concern, the pardon of his guilt being more desirable than the removal of all his afflictions. [2.] He begs that he would turn away his wrath from Jerusalem, under the dire tokens of which the city at present lay, and cause his face to shine upon the desolate sanctuary; restoring it from its ruins, setting up again his worship there, and favouring them once more with a sense of his gracious presence in the midst of them. [3.] He entreats that the Lord would not defer their deliverance and recovery. They seemed at the last gasp, and the time of the promise was now come; so that he could with faith plead for a present and immediate answer of peace; and he urges these his requests,

(1.) With an absolute renunciation of any trust and dependence on themselves, as deserving the least notice or regard; and this every humbled sinner who approaches God unfeignedly does.

(2.) With an entire dependence on God, drawing their pleas for mercy from the consideration of his own glory. It must be for his own sake, not theirs, to magnify the riches of his grace; for the Lord's sake, the Lord Jesus, the sinner's atonement and glorious advocate, in and through whom alone any covenant mercies can be bestowed. His righteousness would be herein displayed, when he should execrate vengeance on their cruel enemies, and prove his faithfulness to his promises; and his mercy would in the most eminent manner be evinced, when thus exercised toward objects so utterly unworthy, and withal so exceedingly miserable. And finally, the sanctuary was his own, and the city and people called by his name: he had an interest therefore in their recovery and restoration; and they had, by virtue of their relation to him, a peculiar claim upon him, to help them, even for his own glory; the most effectual plea that we can make in any of our prayers.

3rdly, Very memorable is the answer here given to the prophet's prayer, and it contains one of the most remarkable prophesies of the Messiah that is to be found in the book of God. We have,

1. The time when this answer was given him, while he was speaking and praying; confessing his own sins and those of his people, and making supplication before God for pardon, and the restoration of God's sanctuary. The hour that he had chosen for these devotions was that of the evening oblation, when the lamb was offered; which prefigured him who should appear in the end of the world to take away sin by the sacrifice of himself, and for whose sake this revelation was now made to the prophet. Note; (1.) God is pleased sometimes to return immediate and sensible answers to the prayers of his believing people. (2.) Daniel, though so distinguished a saint, does not approach God but with the humiliation of a sinner; the best of men in their approaches to God must have no plea but their own infinite unworthiness and the infinite merit of the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. The messenger is an angel, Gabriel the mighty One of God, appearing in a human form, whom the same Daniel had seen before, chap. Daniel 8:16. He came with haste to deliver the message on which he was sent from on high; and touched him, to engage his attention, and to give him an intimation to desist from prayer, and hearken to what he was about to deliver; talking familiarly with him, as a man with his friend. He informs Daniel, that the moment he began to pray to God, the commandment came forth; either from the Lord, dispatching him on his errand; or at that very time the proclamation for the release of the Jews was signed by Cyrus. He lets him know how highly he was regarded of God; Thou art greatly beloved, or art desired; exceedingly amiable in the eyes of God and all his saints: and as the Lord intended to reveal to him his secrets, he must attend to, and consider the following vision. Note; (1.) Angels, though great in power and might, are but the servants of God's pleasure; and they are also ministers to the heirs of salvation. (2.) God's saints are greatly beloved by him, and he makes them know it by the visits of his grace; not to raise in them a conceit of themselves, but to humble them under a sense of their own unworthiness, and to engage a large return of love and gratitude. (3.) They who would understand the things of God, must consider them attentively and seriously.

3. The message which he brought: seventy weeks of years, containing 490 years, are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city; so long God makes known to his prophet that their polity should last, or the most remarkable events concerning them should fall within that space of time; 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 prophesy, and to anoint the most Holy. These are the grand matters which shall be transacted within that period by the Messiah, the hope of Israel: he came to finish transgression, by taking upon himself the sin of the world, and thereby completely satisfying the justice of God in behalf of every faithful soul; that so he might be reconciled to them consistently with all his attributes—that he might be just, and yet a justifier of them that believe in Jesus: and to bring in everlasting righteousness, or the righteousness of ages; that righteous obedience of Christ to the death of the cross, which constitutes him our everlasting High-Priest, and by virtue of which alone our persons and our works are accepted of God; and also that internal righteousness—that image of God, which alone can qualify us for the eternal enjoyment of him the sovereign good: and to seal up the vision and prophesy, which should receive their full accomplishment in Christ Jesus; and to anoint the most Holy, the Messiah; most holy both in his divine and human nature; and appointed to, and qualified for the office of Mediator by that oil of gladness, the gift of the Spirit, which the Father without measure imparted to him: though this may also be applied to the people of God, who have an unction from the Holy One, and are sanctified by his Spirit, which in the days of the Messiah should be poured out in the most abundant manner. 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 threescore and two weeks: this is the period fixed, whence the seventy weeks are to be dated; which commenced, as is generally supposed, when Nehemiah received the edict of Artaxerxes, in the twentieth year of his reign, Nehemiah 2:1-8 wherein express mention is made of rebuilding Jerusalem; and this will make the expiration of the sixty-nine weeks, or 483 years, fall just at the year thirty-three, being generally supposed the year of Christ's death. The dividing of the weeks into different periods of seven, threescore and two, and one, seems to have respect to the different events, peculiar to these several spaces of times. The first seven weeks, or forty-nine years, include the troublous times when the city was rebuilding; during which Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem so opposed the work. And the like opposition may they expect who zealously stand up in every age to build the walls of Christ's church; but against them, if faithful, no enemy shall finally prevail. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off; at the expiration of 483 years; but not for himself, but for the sins of the world, and especially of them that believe, which were laid upon him: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary, as the Roman emperor did with his armies; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, so irresistibly should they sweep the land; and unto the end of the war desolations are determined; from the beginning of the war to the end, God had in righteous judgment given the Jewish people up to be consumed. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: which, as some suppose, refers to Messiah the Prince, confirming the covenant of grace, and by his own oblation of himself putting a period to the ceremonial services; but rather respects the prince of the Romans, who should come, having for that purpose made peace with other nations, as he did, in order to be more disengaged to wreak his vengeance on the Jews: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease; through the straitness of the siege, the famine which prevailed, and the tumults which were in the city, before it was taken they had ceased to offer the daily sacrifice; for the overspreading of abominations, for the wickedness of the Jewish people, who had filled up the measure of their iniquities, he shall make it desolate; God giving the land into the hand of the Romans: some read the words, upon the wing, or battlement, shall be the idols of the desolator; the Roman ensigns, with their idols thereon pourtrayed, should be fixed on the walls, or in the sanctuary; even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate; either these armies with their abominations should besiege the city, till the determined consumption should be made, and the land utterly desolate; or these desolations should remain till the time prefixed, when the fulness of the Gentiles should come in, Luke 21:24. Some render the words, upon the desolator; meaning the Romans, who should themselves be at last cut off, and then the desolations of Zion should cease.

This last week, according to the interpretation given, is separated from the rest; and the events contained in it, through the forbearance of God, deferred for a time, till about thirty years after the expiration of the sixty-nine weeks. On the whole, we have here an irrefragable argument against the Jews, who reject the true Messiah; it being evident, according to these prophesies, that he must have appeared many hundred years ago; and all the things predicted of him exactly corresponding with our adored Lord's appearing in the flesh, we are assured that this is he that should come, nor look for another.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Daniel 9:25". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Know therefore and understand, i.e. by deep consideration, upon a due search of reason, and comparing of things, and minding what the angel saith.

Seven weeks from the publication of the edict, whether of Cyrus or Darius, to restore and to build, we shall see anon.

Even in troublous times; noting the enemy should create them much trouble in the building and reparations of the wall, city, and temple, which they did many ways, as we read in Nehemiah, which the Spirit of God doth premonish them of, lest they should think this their chief deliverance and redemption. These seven weeks are therefore mentioned by themselves, and repeated no more, because they contained the time of building the wall, city, and temple of Jerusalem, at the end of which seem to begin the sixty-two weeks.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Daniel 9:25". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

25.The commandment — Literally, the word. When was this command, to restore (or, “re-people”) and to rebuild Jerusalem, given? That cannot be settled positively. (See remarks on “The Seventy Weeks” in our Introduction, II, 10.) Probably most modern scholars believe that this is the “word of the Lord” recorded by the prophet Jeremiah — of which Daniel was thinking at this very time (Daniel 9:2) — which “word” came to him in the first year of Nebuchadnezzar (606 B.C.) and later (593 B.C.; 586 B.C.), and included inferentially at first, and afterward by explicit statement, the promise of restoration at the end of the seventieth year, the punishment of enemies, and the repopulation and rebuilding of the capital city (Jeremiah 25:1-2; Jeremiah 25:12; Jeremiah 29:1; Jeremiah 29:14; Jeremiah 30:3; Jeremiah 30:9; Jeremiah 30:18; Jeremiah 31:38, etc.). This is the most natural reference — since it was concerning this “word” that Daniel had just been praying — unless we refer it to the edict of Cyrus which gave historical expression to the divine edict which Daniel had been so earnestly considering. This would be equally “natural,” hut does not furnish as satisfactory a terminus at the end of the first seven weeks, when according to the prophecy “an anointed one, a prince” should appear. The older interpretation generally dates it from the twentieth year of Artaxerxes (but see next verse).

Unto the Messiah the Prince — Later scholars usually read, with the R.V., “Unto the anointed one, the prince, shall be seven weeks.” According to this version the passage cannot refer primarily to Christ, for the “anointed one” is to come after seven weeks. Who is this anointed one? The reference attaches itself naturally to Cyrus, who had recently been called by this very title by Isaiah (Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:1) and who historically did appear as king of Anzan, 544 B.C., and as conqueror of Babylon, 537 B.C., just about seven weeks (forty-nine years) after these later and more explicit prophecies of the rebuilding of the city had been given (593 B.C.; 586 B.C.); although it may possibly refer to Jeshua, son of Jozadak (Ezra 3:2), who was the Jewish high priest at the time of the Return, (compare Haggai 1:1; Zechariah 3:1), the high priest being sometimes called in Scripture the “anointed” (Leviticus 4:3; Leviticus 4:5; Leviticus 4:16; Leviticus 6:20). Most of the older expositors prefer the hypothesis that the command of Daniel 9:23 is the decree of Artaxerxes given either to Ezra (about 458 B.C.) or to Nehemiah (about 445 B.C.), in which case the “anointed one” must be considered as the Lord Christ (compare Isaiah 61:1), and the punctuation of the verse retained as in the A.V. and margin of the R.V., where the seven weeks are united with the sixty-two. It seems more natural, however, to identify this mysterious “word” with the divine word of which the prophet was then thinking, as all acknowledge (see Daniel 9:2), rather than with a later decree made long after the exilic Daniel must have gone to his grave.

Threescore and two weeks — The R.V. reads, “unto the anointed one, the prince, shall be seven weeks: and threescore and two weeks, it shall be built again, with street and moat, even in troublous times.” This period of sixty-two weeks is passed by almost without remark, because the chief interest centers in the last week. Since the common symbolism of number required that the full period of sevenfold (or perfected) affliction should be seventy (7 x 10) weeks, and since seven weeks had been taken from the whole number at the beginning of the calculation and another week at the end, that necessarily left sixty-two weeks in the middle. According to the newer interpretation it is not probable that in the mind of the writer this represented any exact number of years, but in a general way was meant to cover the long period lying between the return of the Jews after the longed-for decree had been proclaimed by Cyrus, the “anointed prince” (537 B.C.) and the assassination of Onias III, the high priest, 171 B.C. (See next verse.) It was not, perhaps, intended to be chronologically exact, but was an indeterminate quantity connecting the two definite and well-known periods covered by the first seven and the final week of years. Certainly this final week, as is acknowledged by all, was the period upon which the emphasis was chiefly placed. During these sixty-two weeks Jerusalem should suffer trouble, but should at last be built up again “with street and moat” (R.V.), or perhaps rather, “with court and street.” The troubles experienced by the Jews in rebuilding may be seen from the fact that some ninety years after the Return, Nehemiah could speak of the vast open spaces in the city where no one yet lived and in which dwellings “are not builded” (Nehemiah 7:4; compare Nehemiah 1:3; Nehemiah 2:3; Nehemiah 6:1; Nehemiah 9:37). Perhaps, however, the phrase and in troublous times should be connected with the statement following.


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Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

“Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the command to restore and to build Jerusalem to the anointed one, the prince (nagid), will be seven sevens, and sixty two sevens. It will be built again with street and moat, even in troubled times.”

The command (literally ‘word’) to restore and build Jerusalem almost certainly refers to God’s command for it to happen spoken of in Daniel 9:23, for the same phraseology is used by the angel to Daniel there. In Daniel 9:23 the ‘word (of the Lord) went forth’ in response to Daniel’s prayer for the restoration of the land, the city and the Temple. That would appear to indicate that the word that goes forth here is the same word. In terms of Daniel 9:23 that dates the commencement of the seventy sevens as being the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede, which is 539/8 BC. The fulfilment of that word on earth proceeded in stages. It commenced with the decree of Cyrus in 538 BC (Ezra 1:2-4) which, although it was specifically about rebuilding the temple, necessarily involved other building work in the city with the purpose of housing those who would have direct responsibility for the Temple. That is possibly why in Isaiah 44:28 Cyrus is seen as declaring of Jerusalem ‘she shall be built’ and of the Temple ‘your foundation will be laid’. A further edict was decreed in the time of Nehemiah in 445 BC (Nehemiah 2:8), and there the city was to be fortified with walls and made a governing city of the area. Furthermore the words in Ezra 4:12-16 also indicate that an attempt had previously been made to continue the work of building Jerusalem, an attempt stymied by the activities of enemies of Jerusalem. Some work had already proceeded, certainly sufficient to arouse the ire of the complainants, and the consequence of their complaint was that the work was immediately suspended (Ezra 4:21-24). It is clear therefore that the work was proceeding ‘in troubled times’.

It was the rise of Nehemiah that resulted in a great advance in the situation. It was he who received the king’s authority to rebuild the city and its walls, and to establish it as an independent city, thus demonstrating that God was ensuring that His plan to go forward. It was then, and only then, that Jerusalem could become what for Israel it had always been, a capital city, ruling over its own dependency. Note the words spoken to Daniel, it would be built with street and moat, a planned and defendable city, not a huddle of houses. This presumably occurred within the first ‘seven.

The importance of this is clear. When Jerusalem was destroyed and ceased to be a ruling city, that was the sign that God had forsaken His people. And while it was trodden down that situation remained. The almost overwhelming vehemence of Ezekiel’s cries that ‘Jerusalem must be destroyed’ was the seal that God had closed a chapter in the history of Israel and Judah. (Later indeed, in other circumstances, after another destroying of Jerusalem, we are told that the times of the Gentiles will continue while Jerusalem was trodden down (Luke 21:24) demonstrating again that it was Jerusalem primarily and the Temple only secondarily that was seen as the prime test of God’s favour on the Jews).

Up to the time of Nehemiah Jerusalem had again been populated to some extent, but it was as a huddle of buildings with its own small Temple, and it was ruled from elsewhere and had little real authority. It was merely a provincial town of no importance and no status, part of a larger province, with no independence. It was still a dream in Israelite hearts rather than a reality. It was Nehemiah who rebuilt the walls and made it once more a ruling city with its pride restored (Nehemiah 5:14). It was Nehemiah who made ‘Jerusalem’ truly independent from the surrounding nations. Thus the word going forth in Daniel’s prophecy must be seen as resulting both in the edict of Cyrus and in the edict of Artaxerxes concerning Nehemiah, when Jerusalem once again began to count for something.

‘To an anointed one, a prince (nagid) will be seven sevens, and sixty two sevens.’ There is no indication from the Hebrew whether the coming of the anointed prince was to be after the seven sevens or the sixty two sevens. However the fact that the anointed one will be cut off at the end of the sixty two ‘sevens’ would appear to date his coming at that time. So we must ask, what is the significance of the split into two sections ? For nothing is specifically stated as happening at that time (unless we see it in the reference to the building of the city with street and moat in troubled times), and anointed princes were coming along in Israel all the time. It should be noted that this is not intended to be an ongoing prophecy like those in chapter 7, 8 and 11, covering different aspects of history. In this prophecy all the emphasis is on the achievement of God’s ends. This being so we must probably see this anointed prince as being also the one described in Daniel 9:26. All eyes are on his coming.

The main answer to the question of the reason for the split almost certainly lies in the nature of seven ‘sevens’. We must look at this from the perspective of Israel and understand in this regard that ‘seven’ was a distinctive period for Israel. Time for them was split up into seven day periods, with the seventh day a sabbath; then into moon periods; then into years; and then into seven year periods, with the seventh year a sabbath for the land; and then finally into ‘seven sevens of years’ (Leviticus 25:8) with the fiftieth year a year of Yubile (Leviticus 25:10-12), a time when all Israelite bondservants would be released and land outside of walled cities would revert to its original owners (see Leviticus 25, 27). All Israel would then be made free again. Thus time was seen as moving forward in seven day periods, and then in seven year periods and then in forty nine year periods (seven sevens of years). The fiftieth year was not strictly a year like all the others but overlapped the forty ninth year at the end of one period and the first year that began to next period of forty nine years. The Jews therefore saw time as moving forward in sevens.

Thus if seven days ended up with the sabbath and seven years ended up with the sabbath for the land and seven sevens of years ended up with the year of Yubile, then seven ‘sevens’ might well have been seen as a period ending with a seventh ‘seven’ which would be a time of special blessing. Seemingly this would be the period when the street and moat of Jerusalem would be built in troubled times, the street indicating a populated city, the moat indicating a city with strong defences (Daniel 9:25). Thus by the time of the seventh ‘seven’ Jerusalem would have been established as a populated and fortified city. And they might well have seen that as indicating that the kingdom of blessing would then come. The angel is therefore careful to explain that that will not be so. For the seven ‘sevens’ will simply lead into the sixty two ‘sevens’. They were not to look for a quick solution. The purpose of this is n order to emphasise that there will be a considerable length of time which must pass before what is prophesied finally comes about. The everlasting kingdom will not be issued in by the restoration of the city and building of the sanctuary.

This is not suggesting that we are to think strictly of a certain period of years. Indeed it rather brings out that we are dealing in ‘sevens’ not years. Not ‘seven days’, not ‘seven years’, nor seven sevens of years, but seven ‘sevens’, seven divinely determined periods. And these will then be followed by a period of a further sixty two ‘sevens’, and then by a final period of ‘a seven’. And these are clearly to occur in sequence. There is not even a hint of a gap in between. The first ‘seven’ (divinely determined period) sees the establishment of Jerusalem. The second series of ‘sevens’ will end in the coming of the anointed Prince, and the third ‘seven’ will bring about the consummation, the final fulfilment of prophecy and the introduction of the everlasting kingdom.

(At this point an interesting fact should be considered. In prophetic and general calculations months tended to be seen as of thirty days. This was equally used for convenience outside prophetic circles. It was a useful approximation. Of course true months per the moon were for twenty eight to twenty nine days, but this made for awkwardness, whilst our method of calculating months would not have been known to Daniel. Men lived by moon periods. So for calculation purposes a month was often seen as thirty days. Consider the 1,260 days of Revelation 11:3 which equates to forty two months which is intended to represent three and a half years (Revelation 11:2 with Daniel 11:3), and the 150 days of the flood which seems to indicate five months (Genesis 7:11 with Daniel 8:4). If we take the first sixty nine sevens as years and count them as being 360 days in length (12 times 30) we have 483 x 360, and the number of days resulting after the edict given to Nehemiah would actually, quite remarkably, bring us to the time of Jesus ministry on earth. This is so extraordinary a ‘coincidence’ that some find it difficult to see it as a mere coincidence. But the fact is that the angel has made quite clear when ‘the word went forth’ (Daniel 9:23; Daniel 9:25) and that was in 359/8 BC. Thus the main idea behind the seventy ‘sevens’ (rather than ‘seventy years’ as prophesied by Jeremiah) is of God’s perfect timing and a divinely perfect number of God-determined periods of activity of a duration unknown to man, as with the ‘seven times’ in Daniel 4:16. It should be noted in this regard that neither Jesus nor the Apostles ever seized on this passage as evidence that Jesus had come as ‘the anointed One’, nor did anyone else in the early church. That must count against its having a timing significance).

‘To an anointed one, a prince (or ‘to Messiah the Prince’).’ The latter translation would mean that we have here the first specific reference to the Messiah, although not to the Messianic idea, which occurs fairly regularly in the Old Testament. But either way, in these words all the emphasis is on this prince. He is the one who is coming, and to whom all should look forward. This account is all about ‘the anointed One, the Prince’, who is coming, and what is done to him, and what subsequently follows.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Daniel 9:25". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

There are four decrees concerning the rebuilding of Jerusalem that Scripture records. The first was Cyrus" decree to rebuild the temple in538 B.C. ( 2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4; Ezra 6:2-5). The second was Darius I"s decree in512 B.C. confirming Cyrus" earlier one ( Ezra 6:1; Ezra 6:6-12). The third was Artaxerxes" decree in457 B.C. ( Ezra 7:11-26). [Note: See William H. Shea, "Supplementary Evidence in Support of457 B.C. as the Starting Date for the2300 Day-Years of Daniel 8:14," Journal of the Adventist Theological Society12:1 (Spring2001):89-96.] The fourth was Artaxerxes" decree authorizing Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem in444 B.C. ( Nehemiah 2:1-8). Chisholm suggested a fifth possibility, namely, that the decree in view was Jeremiah"s prophecy, sometime between597,586 B.C, that Jerusalem would be rebuilt ( Jeremiah 30:18). He took the seventy weeks as symbolic of completeness. [Note: Chisholm, pp314-17.]

The first two of these decrees authorized the rebuilding of the temple, and the third provided for animal sacrifices in the temple. Only the fourth one gave the Jews permission to rebuild Jerusalem, and it seems to be the one in view here. The Jews encountered opposition as they sought to rebuild and refortify their ancient capital, as the Book of Nehemiah records. The date444 B.C, then, probably marks the beginning of this490-year period.

Seven sevens plus sixty-two sevens equals483years. Gabriel predicted that after483years, Messiah would be cut off. Detailed chronological studies have been done that show that Jesus Christ"s death occurred then. If one calculates483years from444 B.C, one might conclude that the date for Messiah being cut off is A.D39. However, both the Jews and the Babylonians observed years of360, rather than365 days per year. If one calculates the number of days involved in the Jewish and Babylonian calendar year, the year Messiah would be cut off comes out to A.D33with a365-day year, the modern Julian calendar year. One scholar, Sir Robert Anderson, calculated that the day Jesus entered Jerusalem in his triumphal entry was the last day of this long period. [Note: Robert Anderson, The Coming Prince, p128. McClain, p25-26; and H. W. Hoehner, "Daniel"s Seventy Weeks and New Testament Chronology," Bibliotheca Sacra132:525 (January-March1975):64; came to the same conclusion.] The Triumphal Entry was significant because it was the last public event during Jesus" first advent that demonstrated a positive popular reaction to Him. After it, the nation of Israel rejected Him. Whether or not the chronology is that exact, almost all expositors agree that the death of Christ is in view and that it occurred at the end of the sixty-ninth week. J. Paul Tanner showed that there was a strong consensus among the early Church fathers that this passage is messianic, though they varied greatly in their understanding of the details. [Note: J. Paul Tanner, "Is Daniel"s Seventy-Weeks Prophecy Messianic?" Bibliotheca Sacra166:662 (April-June2009):181-200.]

Even Young, a representative amillennialist, supported this basic chronology, though he held that the numbers (7,62) were symbolic, not literal numbers. [Note: Young, pp191-206, 220-21.] He believed the decree in Daniel 9:24 was Cyrus" decree of538 B.C, that the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D70 occurred toward the end of the70th week, and that the prince to come ( Daniel 9:26) was Titus.

What happened after49 years that justifies breaking this period of69 weeks into two parts? Perhaps it was the end of the Old Testament revelation through the writing prophets. Another, more probable view, is that it took seven weeks (49 years) to clear out all the debris from Jerusalem, and to restore it fully as a thriving city with streets and moat. [Note: Walvoord, Daniel . . ., p227; Pentecost, " Daniel," p1363; Campbell, p110; Ironside, p165; J. Randall Price, "Prophetic Postponement in Daniel 9 and Other Texts," in Issues in Dispensationalism, pp151-52.]

"This perfectly describes the work of Nehemiah and under what difficult circumstances he performed his tasks." [Note: Feinberg, p130.]

The reference to Jerusalem being rebuilt "with plaza and moat" (NASB), or "with streets and a trench" (NIV), has confused some readers, since Jerusalem never had a typical moat or trench around it. However, the valleys of Hinnom and Kidron, on Jerusalem"s east, south and west sides, resemble a moat or trench around most of the city. In heavy rains they did and still do carry water and function as a moat or trench.

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Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Daniel 9:25. Know therefore and understand — Learn therefore and retain; from the going forth of the commandment — From the publication of the edict by the Persian king; to restore and to build Jerusalem — Or, to build again Jerusalem: so the verb שׂובis translated in the latter part of the verse. Daniel had besought God to behold their desolations, and the ruins of the city which was called by his name, Daniel 9:18. In answer to this his supplication, the angel acquaints him, that an order should be issued from the Persian king to rebuild both the city and its wall. Now when, after this, the commandment did actually go forth, the faith of God’s people would be greatly confirmed, respecting the accomplishment of this wonderful prophecy of the coming of the Messiah, the prescience of the end being confirmed by that of all the intermediate events.

Four edicts of the kings of Persia, in favour of the Jews, mentioned in Scripture, are, 1st, That of Cyrus, Ezra 1:1. 2d, That of Darius Hystaspes, Ezra 4:6; Haggai 1:1; Haggai 2:3 d, That of Artaxerxes Longimanus, in the seventh year of his reign, Ezra 7.; Ezra 8:4 th, That in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, Nehemiah 2:1. The first of these edicts cannot be applied to this prophecy, inasmuch as from the first of Cyrus, before Christ 536, to the death of Christ, A.D. 34, are 570 years. It was, however, the basis of liberty to the Jews, for all the indulgences granted them afterward, by the following kings of Persia, were founded on the precedent of this great monarch. So that he might well be considered as fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah: He shall build my city, he shall let go my captives, Isaiah 45:13. In consequence of this decree 50,000 Jews returned under Zerubbabel, and partly dispersed themselves in their several tribes, and partly settled at Jerusalem, and began to build both the city and temple. But this was in a very rude and tumultuous manner, and they met with so many hinderances from the Samaritans and others, that the decree was not carried into effect. This therefore is not the period we are to reckon from. The second, namely, that of Darius Hystaspes, was made about fourteen years after, preceding the death of Christ 550 years. But neither was this efficacious. Besides, it related to the temple only, as appears from the letter of the Samaritan colony to Cambyses, Ezra 4:11-16; neither therefore is this the period. The third decree, which was that of Artaxerxes Longimanus, recorded at large Ezra 7:12-26, “was of great solemnity and efficacy, importing no less than the restoration of the Jewish constitution, both civil and ecclesiastical, providing in the first place for the re-establishment of divine worship with becoming order and magnificence, exempting the priesthood from all taxes; then, for the civil government of the people, the institution of tribunals, and the administration of justice, according to the law of Moses. This decree answers to all the characters of the prophecy, the restoring of the constitution, the rebuilding of the city, and the chronological periods distinctly specified,” and is, no doubt, here chiefly intended.

“It is not unpleasing to conjecture the cause that moved the Persian monarch thus to emulate and transcend the magnanimity of Cyrus. Josephus with great probability, supposes the famous Esther to have been the queen of Artaxerxes. By her influence both the edicts of the seventh and twentieth of his reign were obtained: which is almost demonstrable from Nehemiah’s prayer, Nehemiah 1:5-11; and relation, Nehemiah 2:1-11. Thus the providence of God raised a Jewish heroine to the throne of Persia, first to preserve his people from massacre and extermination, and afterward to facilitate and complete their resettlement. Under these auspices, Ezra, like another Moses, became a second founder of the Jewish state: and his return with the captives to restore Jerusalem is the glorious epoch, from which the seventy weeks begin. God was pleased to reward the heroic virtue of Esther with a long and uninterrupted prosperity, being in full favour with the king from the seventh to the twentieth year of his reign, and perhaps earlier and later: and she had the felicity, than which none on earth can be greater, of having restored her nation to the full possession of their religion, laws, and liberties.”

“The fourth and last edict was that which the same Artaxerxes granted to Nehemiah, in the twentieth year of his reign, to repair and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Between the two edicts of the seventh and the twentieth, the rebuilding had met with so much opposition and hostility, that Nehemiah had much of the fortifications to begin again: the temple, which is the essential part of the completion, being finished, in consequence of the former edict. It is easy to solve the seeming difficulty respecting the thirteen years between the two edicts; for the archangel commences the seventy weeks, not from the actual rebuilding the walls and streets, but from the going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild them. So that the date of the first edict, not the work itself, is the epoch from whence begins the period of four hundred and ninety years. The work itself, though interrupted and resumed, properly began with the permission to execute it. Ezra began the foundation of the temple; Nehemiah completed the walls on the old foundations, and celebrated the encænia, keeping the dedication with gladness and with thanksgivings, Nehemiah 12:27. Thus, of the four edicts, the first two are excluded because they were not efficacious, and prolong the term to near six hundred years: and the fourth was only a confirmation of the third. No other commencement of the four hundred and ninety years agrees with the event, than that of the seventh of Artaxerxes: and this system is perspicuous, and free from all difficulties.” — Apthorp.

In order to manifest the perspicuity of this exposition, and give it the greater evidence, it may be well to examine the distinct characters of each of the three intervals into which the seventy weeks are divided; namely, seven weeks, threescore and two weeks, and one week. The reason of this distribution into three intervals, flowing in uninterrupted succession, is not so obscure as to elude discovery. The first and third of these intervals are marked by great events; the restoration of the Jewish polity, the expiation of Christ’s passion, and his covenant with the Jews and Gentiles. The long interval which connects the two extremes, necessarily contains sixty-two weeks. “In our English version, the sense of the twenty-fifth verse is somewhat obscured by the punctuation. It is easily rectified thus: From the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, unto Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks The angel then specifies the great events of each of these intervals. In the first, of seven weeks, the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And thus it was; the city and the walls were rebuilt in forty-nine years, not without much opposition and various impediments. Nothing can be more exact than this period of the completion, both for the interval of forty-nine years, ending with the sixteenth of Darius; and for the troublous times in which the Jewish patriots restored and rebuilt their city.” — Dr. Apthorp. It must be observed here, 1st, That the restoring and rebuilding Jerusalem, here spoken of, though it may chiefly respect the laws and constitution, is not so merely figurative as to exclude the literal sense: for though the city itself was in some degree rebuilt before this period, yet it was done so imperfectly, by reason of their poverty, and the opposition and envy of their neighbours, that the work was to be resumed in the seventh of Longimanus, whose long reign, and his favour to the nation of his queen, providentially effected its complete restoration. 2d, The troublous times mentioned, refer both to the seven weeks and the sixty-two weeks. “The peculiarity in the application of these times to the seven weeks, consists in the almost continual obstructions which the restored Jews met with, chiefly from the Samaritans, and also from their idolatrous neighbours the Moabites, Ammonites, and others, in the difficult work of rebuilding the temple and walls of the new city; insomuch that the artificers were obliged to carry on their work with arms in their hands to repulse their assailants. But the troublous times here predicted have also an aspect on the long period of sixty-two weeks, in which the Jewish history abundantly verified this sad circumstance. Not to mention their general calamities and subjection to their potent neighbours of Syria and Egypt, their city was taken and their temple profaned by Ptolemy I., by Antiochus, by Crassus, by Pompey, by Herod: and their state was often so critical, that a particular providence was manifested in their preservation, especially in raising them up those illustrious patriots, who so nobly resisted the tyranny and persecution of Antiochus. Few periods of history are more savage and inglorious, more profligate and flagitious, than that of the successors of Alexander: and the Jewish government is not to be calumniated for their portion in the general calamities of those ages; while they are deserving of the highest admiration for their constancy, in being the only people on earth who adhered to the exclusive worship of the ONLY GOD.” — Apthorp.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Daniel 9:25". Joseph Benson's Commentary. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Word, &c. That is, from the twentieth year of king Artaxerxes, when, by his commandment, Nehemias rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, 2 Esdras ii. From which time, according to the best chronology, there were just sixty-nine weeks of years, the is 483 years, to the baptism of Christ, when he first began to preach and execute the office of Messias. (Challoner) --- The prophecy is divided into three periods: the first of forty-nine years, during which the walls were completed; (they had been raised in fifty-two days, (2 Esdras vi. 15.) but many other fortifications were still requisite) the second of four hundred and thirty-four years, at the end of which Christ was baptized, in the fifteenth of Tiberius, the third of three years and a half, during which Christ preached. In the middle of this last week, the ancient sacrifices became useless, (Calmet) as the true Lamb of God had been immolated. (Theod.) --- A week of years denotes seven years, as Leviticus xxv. and thus seventy of these weeks would make four hundred and ninety years. (Ven. Bede, Rat. temp. 6 &c.; Worthington) --- Origen would understand 4900 years, and dates from the fall of Adam to the ruin of the temple. Marsham begins twenty-one years after the captivity commenced, when Darius took Susa, and ends in the second of Judas, when the temple was purified. This system would destroy the prediction of Christ's coming, and is very uncertain. Hardouin modifies it, and acknowledges that Christ was the end of the prophecy, though it was fulfilled in figure by the death of Onias III. See 1 Machabees i. 19; Senens. Bib. viii. hær. 12; and Estius. From Chapter vii. to xii. the changes in the East, till the time of Epiphanes, are variously described. After the angel had here addressed Daniel, the latter was still perplexed; (Chap. x. 1.) and in order to remove his doubts, the angel informs him of the persecution of Epiphanes, as if he had been speaking of the same event. We may, therefore, count forty-nine years from the taking of Jerusalem (when Jeremias spoke, Chap. vi. 19.) to Cyrus, the anointed, (Isaias xlv. 1.) who was appointed to free God's people. They would still be under the Persians, &c. for other four hundred and thirty-four years, and then Onias should be slain. Many would join the Machabees; the sacrifices should cease in the middle of the seventieth week, and the desolation shall continue to the end of it. Yet, though this system may seem plausible, it is better to stick to the common one, which naturally leads us to the death of Christ, dating from the tenth year of Artaxerxes. (Calmet) --- He had reigned ten years already with his father. (Petau.) --- All the East was persuaded that a great king should arise about the time; when our Saviour actually appeared, and fulfilled all that had been spoken of the Messias. (Calmet; Diss.) --- Ferguson says, "We have an astronomical demonstration of the truth of this ancient prophecy, seeing that the prophetic year of the Messias being cut off was the very same with the astronomical." In a dispute between a Jew and a Christian, at Venice, the Rabbi who presided....put an end to the business by saying, "Let us shut up our Bibles; for if we proceed in the examination of this prophecy, it will make us all become Christians." (Watson, let. 6.) --- Hence probably the Jews denounce a curse on those who calculate the times, (Haydock) and they have purposely curtailed their chronology. (Calmet) --- Times, &c. (angustia temporum) which may allude both to the difficulties and opposition they met with in building, and to the shortness of the time in which they finished the wall, viz. fifty-two days. (Challoner)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Daniel 9:25". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Know therefore and understand. Note this second admonition, as shown in the Structure ("25-") above.

from the going forth, &c. : i.e. in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes (= the great king: i.e. Astyages), 454 B.C. See notes on Nehemiah 2:1, Nehemiah 5:14, Nehemiah 13:4. Also App-50 and App-58.

commandment = word. Hebrew. dabar. App-73. Referring to the Divine word rather than to a royal decree.

Jerusalem. Not the Temple (as in Ezra), but the city (as in Nehemiah), which was the subject of Daniel"s prayer, and therefore the answer to it.

Messiah = anointed. Only priests and kings were anointed, lepers, and Elisha (1 Kings 19:16) being the only exceptions.

Messiah the Prince = "Messiah [that is to say] the Prince [of the People]". Messiah is a noun, and is connected with Prince by apposition: i.e. a priest-king. Only one such known to Scripture (Psalms 110:4. Zechariah 6:13. John 4:25).

the Prince. Hebrew. nagid = a leader and ruler of the People (1 Samuel 9:16; 1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Samuel 13:14; 1 Samuel 18:13; 1 Samuel 25:30. 2 Samuel 5:2, &c). Therefore not Zerubbabel (who was a prince but not a priest); nor Ezra (who was a priest but not a prince); nor Cyrus (who was a king but not a priest, and he only as a type of Messiah, who was both).

seven weeks = forty-nine years (454-405 B. C). See App-50, and App-91.

threescore and two weeks = 434 years (405 B. C-A.D. 29): the two together being 49 + 434 = 483 years; leaving seven years to make up the full 490 years of Daniel 9:24. See App-50, and App-91.

the street . . . and the wall = open place . . . and close street: implying the completeness of the restoration; which included the places of resort and the thoroughfares leading thereto, like our English "court and alley".

the street = the broad way or open space by the gates or elsewhere.

the wall. Hebrew. haruz. Whatever it may mean, it cannot be "wall", for that is homah (that which surrounds). Haruz = something cut in or dug out; and may well be used of what is narrow, and then that which is narrowed down to a deciding point, a decision or determination, as in Daniel 9:26; Daniel 11:36. Compare Isaiah 10:22. Job 14:5, &c. See the Oxford Gesenius.

in troublous times: i.e. the times of Ezra and Nehemiah. This covers the forty-nine years. We know this, not from history profane or Divine, but from the statement here.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Daniel 9:25". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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 threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment - namely, the command from God, whence originated the command of the Persian king (Ezra 6:14). Auberlen remarks, there is but one Apocalypse in each Testament. Its purpose in each is to sum up all the preceding prophecies previous to the "troublous times" of the Gentiles, in which there was to be no revelation. Daniel sums up all the previous Messianic prophecy, separating into its individual phases, what the prophets had seen in one and the same perspective, the temporary deliverance from captivity and the antitypical final Messianic deliverance. The 70 weeks are separated (Daniel 9:25-27) into three unequal parts, 7 weeks, 62 weeks, one week. The 70th is the consummation of the preceding ones, as the Sabbath of God succeeds the working days-an idea suggested by the division into weeks. In the 69 weeks Jerusalem is restored, and so a place is prepared for Messiah wherein to accomplish His sabbatic work (Daniel 9:25-26) of "confirming the covenant" Daniel 9:27).

The Messianic time is the Sabbath of Israel's history, in which it had the offer of all God's mercies, but in which it was cut off for a time by its rejection of them. As the 70 weeks end with 7 years, or a week, so they begin with seven times seven - i:e., 7 weeks. As the 70th week is separated from the rest as a period of revelation, so it may be with the seven weeks. The number seven is associated with revelation; because the seven Spirits of God are the mediators of all His revelations (Revelation 1:4; Revelation 3:1; Revelation 4:5). Ten is the number of what is human-e.g., the world-power issues in ten heads and ten horns (Daniel 2:42, "the (ten) toes" of the image; Daniel 7:7). Seventy is ten multiplied by seven, the human moulded by the divine. The 70 years of exile symbolize the triumph of the world-power over Israel. In the seven times 70 years the world number 10 is likewise contained - i:e., God's people is still under the power of the world ("troublous times" Daniel 9:25); but the number of the divine is multiplied by itself; seven times seven years, at the beginning, a period of Old Testament revelation to God's people by Ezra, Nehemiah, and Malachi, whose labours extend over about half a century, or seven weeks, and whose writings are last in the canon; and in the end, seven years, the period of New Testament revelation in Messiah. The commencing seven weeks of years of Old Testament revelation are hurried over, in order that the chief stress might rest on the Messianic week. Yet the seven weeks of Old Testament revelation are marked by their separation from the sixty-two, to be above those sixty-two, wherein there was to be none.

The Messiah the Prince - Hebrew [ naagiyd (Hebrew #5057)], Messiah, the King, is Jesus' title in respect to Israel (Psalms 2:2, "the Lord's anointed;" Matthew 27:37; Matthew 27:42 "Jesus the King of the Jews" - "the King of Israel"). Naagiyd, as Prince of the Gentiles (Isaiah 55:4, "Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader" [ naagiyd (Hebrew #5057)]. Naagiyd is applied to Titus, only as representative of Christ, who designates the Roman destruction of Jerusalem as, in a sense, His "coming" (Matthew 24:1-51; John 21:22). Hence, too, he calls Titus' army His army (Matthew 22:7, "When the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city"). Messiah denotes His calling; naagiyd (Hebrew #5057), His power. He is to 'be cut off, and there shall be nothing for Him.' So the Hebrew [ w

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Daniel 9:25". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(25) Know therefore.—The difficulty of this verse is considerably increased by the principal accent in the Hebrew text being placed after the words “seven weeks.” According to the present punctuation, the translation is “Unto an Anointed one a prince shall be seven weeks, and during sixty and two weeks [Jerusalem] shall be built up” . . . This is opposed (1) to ancient translations except the LXX.; (2) to Daniel 9:26, which connects the sixty-two weeks with the Anointed, and not with the building of the city.

The commandment.—To be explained, as in Daniel 9:23, to mean revelation. But to what revelation is the allusion? Is it to the edict of Cyrus (Ezra 6:14), which Isaiah predicts (Isaiah 44:28)? Or are we to explain it of what happened in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes? (See Excursus G.) It is obvious that there is no reference to Jeremiah’s prophecy, for nothing is there stated which can be interpreted to be a command to rebuild Jerusalem.

Messiah the Prince.—Literally, an Anointed one, a prince, the two nouns being placed in apposition, and the article omitted before each, the person and the office of the person contemplated being sufficiently definite. He is to be “anointed,” that is, King and Priest at once (see 1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Samuel 13:14; 1 Samuel 25:30); in fact, He is to possess those attributes which in other passages are ascribed to the Messiah. It is needless to point out that Cyrus, though spoken of (Isaiah 45:1) as an “anointed of Jehovah,” cannot be indicated here. By no calculation can he be said to have come either seven weeks or, sixty-nine weeks from the time of the commencement of the Captivity.

The street . . . the wall.—By the street is meant the large square, which, according to Ezra 10:9, was in front of the Temple. With this the “wall” is contrasted, but what is meant cannot be ascertained. According to the etymology, it means “something cut off.” The English Version follows the ancient translations.

In troublous times.—The whole history of the rebuilding of Jerusalem tells us one long tale of protracted opposition. Zerubbabel was compelled to undergo the persecution of his adversaries, and to bear their misrepresentations (Ezra 4:1-6). Attempts to delay the works were made in the reign of Darius (Ezra 5:6). In later times (Ezra 4:12) complaints were made that the walls were being rebuilt. Probably on this occasion the works that had been executed were destroyed (Nehemiah 1:3), and it was not until the twentieth year of Artaxerxes that Nehemiah succeeded in completing the walls, and not even then without the most indefatigable labours.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Daniel 9:25". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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 threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
and understand
23; Matthew 13:23; 24:15; Mark 13:14; Acts 8:30
Ezra 4:24; 6:1-15; 7:1,8,11-26; Nehemiah 2:1-8; 3:1
restore and to build Jerusalem
or, build again Jerusalem: as.
2 Samuel 15:25; Psalms 71:10
the Messiah
John 1:41; 4:25
the Prince
8:11,25; Isaiah 9:6; 55:4; Micah 5:2; Acts 3:15; 5:31; Revelation 1:5; 19:16
seven weeks
The seventy weeks are here divided into three periods. 1. Seven weeks, or 49 years, for the restoration of Jerusalem. 2. Sixty-two weeks, or 434 years, from that time to the announcement of the Messiah by John the Baptist. 3. One week, or seven years, for the ministry of John and of CHRIST himself to the crucifixion.
be built again
Heb. return and be builded. wall. or, breach, or, ditch. even.
Nehemiah 4:8,16-18; Ephesians 5:16
troublous times
Heb. strait of times.
Nehemiah 6:15
Reciprocal: Genesis 8:16 - GeneralGenesis 49:10 - until;  1 Kings 8:34 - forgive the sin;  Ezra 4:1 - the adversaries;  Ezra 4:12 - set up;  Ezra 9:9 - a wall;  Nehemiah 4:17 - with one;  Psalm 51:18 - build;  Psalm 147:2 - build;  Psalm 147:13 - he hath;  Ecclesiastes 3:3 - a time to break;  Isaiah 44:26 - that saith;  Isaiah 58:12 - The repairer;  Jeremiah 31:28 - so;  Jeremiah 31:38 - that;  Jeremiah 33:14 - GeneralEzekiel 21:27 - until;  Daniel 9:26 - and the people;  Daniel 10:21 - Michael;  Daniel 12:1 - the great;  Micah 7:11 - the day;  Zechariah 6:13 - and the;  Matthew 2:1 - Herod;  Matthew 25:34 - the King;  Mark 1:15 - The time;  John 1:49 - the King;  Acts 18:5 - was Christ

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Daniel 9:25". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Daniel here repeats the divisions of time already mentioned. He had previously stated seventy weeks; but he now makes two portions, one of seven weeks, and the other of sixty-two. There is clearly another reason why he wished to divide into two parts the number used by the angel. One portion contains seven weeks, and the other sixty-two; a single week is omitted which will afterwards be mentioned. The Jews reject seven weeks from the rule of Herod to that of Vespasian. I confess this to be in accordance with the Jewish method of speech; instead of sixty-two and seven, they will say seven and sixty-two; thus putting the smaller number first. The years of man (says Moses) shall be twenty and a hundred, (Genesis 6:3) the Greeks and Latins would say, shall be a hundred and twenty years. I confess this to be the common phrase among the Hebrews; but here the Prophet is not relating the continuance of any series of years, as if he were treating of the life of a single man, but he first marks the space of seven weeks, and then cuts off another period of sixty-two weeks. The seven weeks clearly precede in order of time, otherwise we could not sufficiently explain the full meaning of the angel.

We shall now treat the sense in which the going forth of the edict ought to be received. In the meantime, it cannot be denied that the angel pronounces this concerning the edict which had been promulgated about the bringing back of the people, and the restoration of the city. It would, therefore, be foolish to apply it to a period at which the city was not restored, and no such decree had either been uttered or made public. But, first of all, we must treat what the angel says, until the Christ, the Messiah Some desire to take this singular noun in a plural sense, as if it were the Christ of the Lord, meaning his priests; while some refer it to Zerubbabel, and others to Joshua. But clearly enough the angel speaks of Christ, of whom both kings and priests under the law were a type and figure. Some, again, think the dignity of Christ lessened by the use of the word נגיד, negid, “prince” or “leader,” as if in his leadership there existed neither royalty, nor scepter, nor diadem. This remark is altogether without reason; for David is called a leader of the people, and Hezekiah when he wore a diadem, and was seated on his throne, is also termed a leader. (2 Samuel 5:2; 2 Kings 20:5.) Without doubt, the word here implies superior excellence. All kings were rulers over the people of God, and the priests were endowed with a certain degree of honor and authority. Here, then, the angel calls Christ, leader, as he far surpassed all others, whether kings or priests. And if the reader is not captious, this contrast will be admitted at once.

He next adds, The people shall return or be brought back, and the street shall be built, and the wall, and that, too, in the narrow limit of the times. Another argument follows, — namely, after sixty-two weeks Christ shall be cut off. This the Jews understand of Agrippa, who certainly was cut off when Augustus obtained the empire. In this they seek only something to say; for all sound and sensible readers will be perfectly satisfied that they act without either judgment or shame, and vomit forth whatever comes into their thoughts. They are quite satisfied when they find anything plausible to say. That trifler, Barbinel, of whom I have previously spoken, thinks Agrippa has just as much right to be called a Christ as Cyrus; he allows his defection to the Romans, but states it to have been against his will, as he was still a worshipper of God. Although he was clearly an apostate, yet he treats him as by no means worse than all the rest, and for this reason he wishes him to be called the Christ. But, first of all, we know Agrippa not to have been a legitimate king, and his tyranny was directly contrary to the oracle of Jacob, since the scepter had been snatched away from the tribe of Judah. (Genesis 49:10.) He cannot by any means be called Christ, even though he had surpassed all angels in wisdom, and virtue, and power, and everything else. Here the lawful government of the people is treated, and this will not be found in the person of Agrippa. Hence the Jewish arguments are altogether futile. Next, another statement is added, he shall confirm the treaty with many. The Jews elude the force of this clause very dishonestly, and without the slightest shame. They twist it to Vespasian and Titus. Vespasian had been sent into Syria and the East by Nero. It is perfectly true, that though a wish to avoid a severe slaughter of his soldiers, he tried all conditions of peace, and enticed the Jews by every possible inducement to give themselves up to him, rather than to force him to the last extremity. Truly enough, then, Vespasian exhorted the Jews to peace, and Titus, after his father had passed over to Italy, followed the same policy; but was this confirming the covenant? When the angel of God is treating events of the last importance, and embracing the whole condition of the Church, their explanation is trifling who refer it to the Roman leaders wishing to enter into a treaty with the people. They attempted either to obtain possession of the whole empire of the East by covenant, or else they determined to use the utmost force to capture the city. This explanation, then, is utterly absurd. It is quite clear that the Jews are not only destitute of all reason when they explain this passage of the continual wrath of God, and exclude his favor and reconciliation with the people, but they are utterly dishonest, and utter words without shame, and throw a mist over the passage to darken it. At the same time their vanity is exposed, as they have no pretext for their comments.

I now come to the Ancient Writers. Jerome, as I stated shortly yesterday, recites various opinions. But before I treat them singly, I must answer in few words, the calumny of that impure and obstinate Rabbi, Barbinel. To deprive the Christians of all confidence and authority, he objects to their mutual differences; as if differences between men not sufficiently exercised in the Scriptures, could entirely overthrow their truth. Suppose, for instance, that I were to argue against him, the absence of consent among the Jews themselves. If any one is anxious to collect their different opinions, he may exult as a conqueror in this respect, as there is no agreement between the Rabbis. Nay, he does not point out the full extent of the differences which occur among Christians, for I am ready to concede far more than he demands. For that brawler was ignorant of all things, and betrays only petulance and talkativeness. His books are doubtless very plausible among the Jews who seek nothing else. But he takes as authorities with us, Africanus and Nicolaus de Lyra, Burgensis, and a certain teacher named Remond. He is ignorant of the names of Eusebius, (119) Origen, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Apollinaris, Jerome, Augustine, and other similar writers. We here perceive how brazen this prater is, who dares to babble about matters utterly beyond his knowledge. But as I have stated, I allow many differences among Christians. Eusebius himself agrees with the Jews in referring the word “Christ” to the priests, and when the angel speaks of the death of Christ, he thinks the death of Aristobulus, who was slain, is intended here. But this is altogether foolish. He is a Christian, you will say; true, but he fell into ignorance and error. The opinion of Africanus is more to the point, but the time by no means accords with that of Darius the son of Hystaspes, as I shall afterwards show. He errs again on another chapter, by taking the years to be lunar ones, as Lyranus does. Without doubt, this was only a cavil of his; through not finding their own years suit, they thought the whole number might be made up, by using intercalary years together with the 490. For before the year was adjusted to the course of the sun, the ancients were accustomed to reckon twelve lunar months, and afterwards to add another. The whole number of years may be made up according to their imagination, if we add those additional periods to the years here enumerated by the Prophet. But I reject this altogether. Hippolytus also errs in another direction; for he reckons the seven weeks as the time which elapsed between the death and resurrection of Christ, and herein he agrees with the Jews. Apollinaris also is mistaken, for he thinks we must begin at Christ’s birth, and then extends the prophecy to the end of the world. Eusebius also, who contends with him in a certain passage, takes the last week for the whole period which must elapse till the end of the world shall arrive. I therefore am ready to acknowledge all these interpretations to be false, and yet I do not allow the truth of God to fail.

How, therefore, shall we arrive at any certain conclusion? It is not sufficient to refute the ignorance of others, unless we can make the truth apparent, and prove it by clear and satisfactory reasons. I am willing to spare the names of surviving commentators, and of those who have lived during our own times, yet I must say what will prove useful to my readers; meanwhile, I shall speak cautiously, because I am very desirous of being silent upon all points except those which are useful and necessary to be known. If any one has the taste and the needful leisure to inquire diligently into the time here mentioned, Oecolampadius rightly and prudently admonishes us, that we ought to make the computation from the beginning of the world. For until the ruin of the Temple and the destruction of the city, we can gather with certainty the number of years which have elapsed since the creation of the world; here there is no room for error. The series is plain enough in the Scriptures. But after this they leave the reader to other sources of information, since the computation from the overthrow of the Temple is loose and inaccurate, according to Eusebius and others. Thus, from the return of the people to the advent of Christ 540 years will be found to have elapsed. Thus we see how impossible it is to satisfy sensible readers, if we only reckon the years in the way Oecolampadius has done. (120)

Philip Melancthon, who excels in genius and learning, and is happily versed in the studies of history, fakes a double computation. He begins one plan from the second year of Cyrus, that is, from the commencement of the Persian monarchy; but he reckons the seventy weeks to be finished about the death of Augustus, which is the period of the birth of Christ. When he arrives at the baptism of Christ, he adds another method of reckoning, which commences at the times of Darius: and as to the edict here mentioned, he understands it to have been promulgated by Darius the son of Hystaspes, since the building of the Temple was interrupted for about sixty-six years. As to this computation, I cannot by any means approve of it. And yet I confess the impossibility of finding any other exposition of what the angel says — until Christ the Leader, unless by referring it to the baptism of Christ.

These two points, then, in my judgment, must be held as fixed; first, the seventy weeks begin with the Persian monarchy, because a free return was then granted to the people; and secondly, they did not terminate till the baptism of Christ, when he openly commenced his work of satisfying the requirements of the office assigned him by his father. But we must now see how this will accord with the number of years. I confess here, the existence of such great differences between ancient writers, that we must use conjecture, because we have no certain explanation to bring forward, which we can point out as the only sufficient one. I am aware of the various calumnies of those who desire to render all things obscure, and to pour the darkness of night upon the clearest daylight. For the profane and the skeptical catch at this directly; for when they see any difference of opinion, they wish to shew the uncertainty of all our teaching. So if they perceive any difference in the views of various interpreters, even in matters of the smallest moment, they conclude all things to be involved in complete darkness. But their perverseness ought not to frighten us, because when any discrepancies occur in the narratives of profane historians, we do not pronounce the whole history fabulous. Let us take Grecian history, — how greatly the Greeks differ from each other? If any should make this a pretext for rejecting them all, and should assert all their narrations to be false, would not every one condemn him as singularly impudent? Now, if the Scriptures are not self-contradictory, but manifest slight diversities in either years or places, shall we on that account pronounce them entirely destitute of credit? We are well aware of the existence of some differences in all histories, and yet this does not cause them to lose their authority; they are still quoted, and confidence is reposed in them.

With respect to the present passage, I confess myself unable to deny the existence of much controversy concerning these years, among all the Greek and Latin writers. This is true: but, meanwhile, shall we bury whatever has already past, and think the world interrupted in its course? After Cyrus had transferred to the Persians the power of the East, some kings must clearly have followed him, although it is not evident who they were, and writers also differ about. the period and the reigns of each of them, and yet on the main points there is a general agreement. For some enumerate about 200 years; others 125 years; and some are between the two, reckoning 140 years. Whichever be the correct statement, there was clearly some succession of the Persian kings, and many additional years elapsed before Alexander the Macedonian obtained the monarchy of the whole East. This is quite clear. Now, from the death of Alexander the number of years is well known. Philip Melancthon cites a passage from Ptolemy which makes them 292; and many testimonies may be adduced, which confirm that period of time. If any object, the number of years might be reckoned by periods of five years, as the Romans usually did, or by Olympiads, with the Greeks, I confess that the reckoning by Olympiads removes all source of error. The Greeks used great diligence and minuteness, and were very desirous of glory. We cannot say the same of the Persian empire, for we are unable accurately to determine under what Olympiad each king lived, and the year in which he commenced his reign and in which he died. Whatever conclusion we adopt, my previous assertion is perfectly true, — if captious men are rebellious and darken the clear light of history, yet, they cannot wrest this passage from its real meaning, because we can gather from both the Greek and Latin historians, the whole sum of the times which will suit very clearly this prophecy of Daniel. Whoever will compare all historical testimony with the desire of learning, and, without any contention, will carefully number the years, he will find it impossible to express them better than by the expression of the angel — seventy weeks. For example, let any studious person, endued with acuteness, experience, and skill, discover whatever has been written in Greek and Latin, and distinguish the testimony of each writer under distinct heads, and afterwards compare the writers together, and determine the credibility of each, and how far each is a fit and classical authority, he will find the same result as that here given by the Prophet. This ought to be sufficient for us. But, meanwhile, we must remember how our ignorance springs chiefly from this Persian custom; whoever undertook a warlike expedition, appointed his son his viceroy. Thus, Cambyses reigned, according to some, twenty years, and according to others, only seven; because the crown was placed on his head during his father’s lifetime. Besides this, there was another reason. The people of the East are notoriously very restless, easily excited, and always desiring a change of rulers. Hence, contentions frequently arose among near relatives, of which we have ample narratives in the works of Herodotus. I mention him among others, as the fact is sufficiently known. When fathers saw the danger of their sons mutually destroying each other, they usually created one of them a king; and if they wished to prefer the younger brother to the elder, they called him “king” with the concurrence of their council. Hence, the years of their reigns became intermingled, without any fixed method of reckoning them. And, therefore, I said, even if Olympiads could never mislead us, this could not be asserted of the Persian empire. While we allow much diversity and contradiction united with great obscurity, still we must always return to the same point, — some conclusion may be found, which will agree with this prediction of the Prophet. Therefore I will not reckon these years one by one, but will only admonish each of you to weigh for himself, according to his capacity, what he reads in history. Thus all sound and moderate men will acquiesce, when they perceive how well this prophecy of Daniel agrees with the testimony of profane writers, in its general scope, according to my previous explanations.

I stated that we must begin with the monarchy of Cyrus; this is clearly to be gathered from the words of the angel, and especially from the division of the weeks. For he says, The seven weeks have reference to the repair of the city and temple No cavils can in any way deprive the Prophet’s expression of its true force: from the going forth of the edict concerning the bringing back of the people and the building of the city, until Messiah the Leader, shall be seven weeks; and then, sixty-two weeks: afterward he adds, After the sixty-two weeks Christ shall be cut off When, therefore, he puts seven weeks in the first place, and clearly expresses his reckoning the commencement of this period from the promulgation of the edict, to what can we refer these seven weeks, except to the times of the monarchy of Cyrus and that of Darius the son of Hystaspes? This is evident from the history of the Maccabees, as well as from the testimony of the evangelist John; and we may collect the same conclusion from the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah, as the building of the Temple was interrupted during forty-six years. Cyrus permitted the people to build the Temple; the foundations were laid when Cyrus went out to the war in Scythia; the Jews were then compelled to cease their labors, and his successor Cambyses was hostile to this people. Hence the Jews say, (John 2:20,) Forty-six years was this Temple in building, and wilt thou build it in three days? They strive to deride Christ because he had said, Destroy this Temple, and I will rebuild it in future days, as it was then a common expression, and had been handed down by their fathers, that the Temple had occupied this period in its construction. If you add the three years during which the foundations were laid, we shall then have forty-nine years, or seven weeks. As the event openly shews the completion of what the angel had predicted to Daniel, whoever wishes to wrest the meaning of the passage, only displays his own hardihood. And must we not reject every other interpretation, as obscuring so clear and obvious a meaning? We must next remember what I have previously stated. In yesterday’s Lecture we saw that seventy weeks were cut off for the people; the angel had also declared the going forth of the edict, for which Daniel had prayed. What necessity, then, is there for treating a certainty as doubtful? and why litigate the point when God pronounces the commencement of this period to be at the termination of the seventy years proclaimed by Jeremiah? It is quite certain, that these seventy years and seventy weeks ought to be joined together. Since, therefore, these periods are continuous, whoever refers this passage to the time of Darius Hystaspes, first of all breaks the links of a chain of events all connected together, and then perverts the whole spirit of the passage; for, as we yesterday stated, the angel’s object was to offer consolation in the midst of sorrow. For seventy years the people had been miserably afflicted in exile, and they seemed utterly abandoned, as if God would no longer acknowledge these children of Abraham for his people and inheritance. As this was the Almighty’s intention, it is quite clear that the commencement of the seventy weeks cannot be otherwise interpreted than by referring it to the monarchy of Cyrus. This is the first point.

We must now turn to the sixty-two weeks; and if I cannot satisfy every one, I shall still content myself with great simplicity, and I trust that all sound and humble disciples of Christ will easily acquiesce in this exposition. If we reckon the years from the reign of Darius to the baptism of Christ, sixty-two weeks or thereabouts will be found to have elapsed. As I previously remarked, I am not scrupulous to a few days or months, or even a single year; for how great is that perverseness which would lead us to reject what historians relate because they do not all agree to a single year? Whatever be the correct conclusion, we shall find about 480 years between the time of Darius and the death of Christ. Hence it becomes necessary to prolong these years to the baptism of Christ, because when the angel speaks of the last week, he plainly states, The covenant shall be confirmed at that time, and then the Messiah shall be cut off As this was to be done in the last week, we must necessarily extend the time to the preaching of the Gospel. And for this reason Christ is called a “Leader,” because at his conception he was destined to be king of heaven and earth, although he did not commence his reign till he was publicly ordained the Master and Redeemer of his people. The word “Leader” is applied as a name before the office was assumed; as if the angel had said, the end of the seventy weeks will occur when Christ openly assumes the office of king over his people, by collecting them from that miserable and horrible dispersion under which they had been so long ground down. I shall put off the rest till to-morrow.

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Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Daniel 9:25". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.