corner graphic   Hi,    
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to

Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

Ancient of Days

Resource Toolbox
Additional Links

—Biblical Data:

A poetical epithet for God. It is an incorrect rendering of the Aramaic ' attiḳ yomin ( Daniel 7:9 ) or ' attiḳ yomaya ( ib. 7:13,22), which should be translated "an aged one," "the aged one" (compare Dalman, "Die Worte Jesu," 1:194). "Ancient of Days" is used either to emphasize the contrast between the true God and the idols, the new gods ( Judges 5:8 Deuteronomy 32:17 ), or merely to express the venerable character of the being whose name the author hesitates to mention. From the above-cited passage in Daniel is borrowed the expression "re' esha mawa' el" (head of days) in the Book of Enoch 46:1, and the description of the Son of Man in Revelation 1:14 .

C. L.

—In Rabbinical Literature:
This name of God, used only in Daniel 7:9,13 , 22, in which He is described as having "the hair of his head [white] like pure wool," denotes the One who is from of old that is, old compared with all created things, that are of yesterday. As stated by Pseudo-Saadia and other Jewish commentators, God is often depicted by the rabbis as the venerable sage (Zaḳ en ) invested with judicial authority, whose sternness is tempered by mildness of judgment. To the devotees of mystic lore, within whose circle the Book of Daniel and the entire apocalyptic literature originated, the name naturally suggested itself as an attribute of majesty combined with tenderness, since they regarded the title "Zaḳ en" (the aged one) to mean the one invested with the highest dignity. Accordingly "Ancient of Days" remained with these a favorite name of God (Pes. 119a , B. B. 91b ). It became, moreover, the standing name for God in the oldest portions of the Zohar, the (Book of Mystic Lore), in which the white, wool-like hair of the head became a prominent feature of the anthropomorphism of the Cabala. The following rational explanation of this anthropomorphic description of the Deity is given in Mek., Beshallaḥ Shirah (Exodus 15:3 ), and Ḥ ag. 13a : "When represented as a warrior triumphant in battle, God appears as a fiery young hero and in an assembly of the wise who seek truth and justice, He is depicted as a venerable sage, ca lm and majestic." K.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Ancient of Days'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, November 28th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
Search for…
Enter query in the box:
Choose a letter to browse:
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M 
N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  Y  Z 

Prev Entry
Anchias, Juan de
Next Entry
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology