|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:1-14 God gives Daniel a foresight of the destruction of other kingdoms, which in their day were as powerful as that of Babylon. Could we foresee the changes that shall be when we are gone, we should be less affected with changes in our own day. The ram with two horns was the second empire, that of Media and Persia. He saw this ram overcome by a he-goat. This was Alexander the Great. Alexander, when about thirty-three years of age, and in his full strength, died, and showed the vanity of worldly pomp and power, and that they cannot make a man happy. While men dispute, as in the case of Alexander, respecting the death of some prosperous warrior, it is plain that the great First Cause of all had no more of his plan for him to execute, and therefore cut him off. Instead of that one great horn, there came up four notable ones, Alexander's four chief captains. A little horn became a great persecutor of the church and people of God. It seems that the Mohammedan delusion is here pointed out. It prospered, and at one time nearly destroyed the holy religion God's right hand had planted. It is just with God to deprive those of the privileges of his house who despise and profane them; and to make those know the worth of ordinances by the want of them, who would not know it by the enjoyment of them. Daniel heard the time of this calamity limited and determined; but not the time when it should come. If we would know the mind of God, we must apply to Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; not hid from us, but hid for us. There is much difficulty as to the precise time here stated, but the end of it cannot be very distant. God will, for his own glory, see to the cleansing of the church in due time. Christ died to cleanse his church; and he will so cleanse it as to present it blameless to himself.
Verse 14. - And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. The Massoretic reading is here clearly corrupt. "Unto me" ought to be "unto him," as proved by the versions and necessitated by sense. The LXX. is somewhat violent in construction, but means, "And he said to him, Until evenings and mornings are two thousand three hundred days, and the sanctuary shall be purified." Theodotion agrees closely with the LXX., only he has "five hundred" instead of "three hundred." The Peshitta agrees with the Massoretic, save as above mentioned - "him" instead of "me," and the last clause, which ought naturally to rendered "and the sacrifice be purified." The Hebrew phrase for this clause is an unnatural one - it might be rendered, "And holiness (or, 'holy thing,' 'offering') shall be justified." The want of the article is not an objection, as the manner of the author is to use the article sparingly. The word translated "cleansed" really means "justified;" it is the only example of this part of the verb. All the versions translate as if the word had been some derivative of טָהַר (tahar). The period referred to is that between the desolation inflicted on the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes and its cleansing by Judas Maccabaeus. It is somewhat difficult to fix the exact space of time intended by these two thousand three hundred evening-mornings. Does it mean two thousand three hundred days? For this may be urged that this succession. "evening and morning," not "morning and evening," resembles Genesis 1. If this resemblance is intentional, then "evening-morning" means a space of twenty-four hours. If the days are literal days, then the space of time would amount to nearly six years and a half, if' we take the year here as three hundred and sixty days. Another view is that day and night are separated and each reckoned; hence the number of days involved would be eleven hundred and fifty - fifty-five days more than three average years, and seventy days more than three years of three hundred and sixty days each. If, however, the year be the lunar year of three hundred and fifty-four days, it closely approximates to three years and a quarter. The period that one would naturally think of is that between the setting up of the abomination of desolation (1 Macc. 1:54), on the fifteenth day of Casleu, in the hundred and forty-fifth year of the Seleucid era to the rededication of the temple on the twenty-fifth of Casleu, in the hundred and forty-eighth year (from B.C. 167 to B.C. 164), but that is only three years and ten days. If the first and last of these years were respectively the fifth and seventh of a metonic cycle, in each of which there were intercalary months, then there is only a difference of eighteen days between the interval given above and the actual historical interval. If, however, we are to believe Maerobius ('Satur.,' 1:13, § 9), and hold that the intercalations were supplied by adding the three months in one year, if one of the years in question was the year in the cycle in which this took place, then the interval would be twelve days too much. In either case the difference is very small. The attempt to take the interval as two thousand three hundred days leads to very arbitrary results. Behrmann takes the victory of Adasa, which Judas gained over Nicanor, as the termination of the period - a purely arbitrary date, and reckons back to the displacement of Onias, another date that, so far as can be seen, was not regarded as of importance by the Jews, however important it has become in the eye of critics.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he said unto me,.... That is, "Palmoni", the wonderful person, to whom the angel put the above question, gave the answer to it; not unto the angel that asked it, but unto Daniel that stood by; knowing that it was for his and his people's sake the question was asked, and therefore gave the answer to him, as follows:
unto two thousand and three hundred days; or so many "mornings" and "evenings" (h); which shows that not so many years, as Jacchiades, and others, are meant; but natural days, consisting of twenty four hours, and which make six years, three months, and eighteen days; and reckoning from the fifteenth day of the month Cisleu, in the year 145 of the Selucidae, in which Antiochus set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar, in the Apocrypha:
"Now the five and twentieth day of the month they did sacrifice upon the idol altar, which was upon the altar of God.'' (1 Maccabees 1:59)
to the victory obtained over Nicanor by Judas, on the thirteenth day of the month Adar, Anno 151, are just 2300 days; which day the Jews kept as an annual feast, in commemoration of that victory; and from that time enjoyed peace and rest from war (i): this way goes L'Empereur after Capellus; but others begin from the defection of the people from the pure religion by Menelaus, Anno 141; though Antiochus did not enter on his impieties till the following year; and, reckoning from the sixth day of the sixth month in that year, to the twenty fifth day of Cisleu in the year 148, when the Jews offered the daily sacrifice on the new altar of burnt offerings, in the Apocrypha:
"Now on the five and twentieth day of the ninth month, which is called the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and eighth year, they rose up betimes in the morning, 53 And offered sacrifice according to the law upon the new altar of burnt offerings, which they had made. '' (1 Maccabees 4:52)
were just six years, three months, and eighteen days: and so it follows,
and then shall the sanctuary be cleansed; as it was by Judas Maccabeus at the time above mentioned; when he purified the holy places, sanctified the courts, rebuilt the altar, renewed the vessels of the sanctuary, and put all in their proper places; in the Apocrypha:
"41 Then Judas appointed certain men to fight against those that were in the fortress, until he had cleansed the sanctuary. 42 So he chose priests of blameless conversation, such as had pleasure in the law: 43 Who cleansed the sanctuary, and bare out the defiled stones into an unclean place. 44 And when as they consulted what to do with the altar of burnt offerings, which was profaned; 45 They thought it best to pull it down, lest it should be a reproach to them, because the heathen had defiled it: wherefore they pulled it down, 46 And laid up the stones in the mountain of the temple in a convenient place, until there should come a prophet to shew what should be done with them. 47 Then they took whole stones according to the law, and built a new altar according to the former; 48 And made up the sanctuary, and the things that were within the temple, and hallowed the courts. 49 They made also new holy vessels, and into the temple they brought the candlestick, and the altar of burnt offerings, and of incense, and the table. 50 And upon the altar they burned incense, and the lamps that were upon the candlestick they lighted, that they might give light in the temple. 51 Furthermore they set the loaves upon the table, and spread out the veils, and finished all the works which they had begun to make.'' (1 Maccabees 4)
Indeed, as Antiochus was a type of antichrist, and his persecution of that desolation made by antichrist in the church; these 2300 days may be considered as so many years, which will bring it down to the end of the sixth Millennium, or thereabout; when it may be hoped there will be a new face of things upon the sanctuary and church of God, and a cleansing of it from all corruption in doctrine, discipline, worship, and conversation.
(h) "vespero matutina", Castalio; "vespertina matutinaque tempora", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (i) Joseph. Antiqu. l. 12. c. 10. sect. 5.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. unto me—The answer is to Daniel, not to the inquirer, for the latter had asked in Daniel's name; as vice versa the saint or angel (Job 15:15; Ps 89:6, 7) speaks of the vision granted to Daniel, as if it had been granted to himself. For holy men are in Scripture represented as having attendant angels, with whom they are in a way identified in interests. If the conversation had been limited to the angels, it could have been of no use to us. But God conveys it to prophetical men, for our good, through the ministry of angels.
two thousand … three hundred days—literally, "mornings and evenings," specified in connection with the morning and evening sacrifice. Compare Ge 1:5. Six years and a hundred ten days. This includes not only the three and a half years during which the daily sacrifice was forbidden by Antiochus [Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 1:1.1], but the whole series of events whereby it was practically interrupted: beginning with the "little horn waxing great toward the pleasant land," and "casting down some of the host" (Da 8:9, 10); namely, when in 171 B.C., or the month Sivan in the year 142 of the era of the Seleucidæ, the sacrifices began to be neglected, owing to the high priest Jason introducing at Jerusalem Grecian customs and amusements, the palæstra and gymnasium; ending with the death of Antiochus, 165 B.C., or the month Shebath, in the year 148 of the Seleucid era. Compare 1 Maccabees 1:11-15; 2 Maccabees 4:9, &c. The reason for the greater minuteness of historical facts and dates, given in Daniel's prophecies, than in those of the New Testament, is that Israel, not having yet the clear views which Christians have of immortality and the heavenly inheritance, could only be directed to the earthly future: for it was on earth the looked-for Messiah was to appear, and the sum and subject of Old Testament prophecy was the kingdom of God upon earth. The minuteness of the revelation of Israel's earthly destiny was to compensate for the absence, in the Old Testament, of views of heavenly glory. Thus, in Da 9:24-27, the times of Messiah are foretold to the very year; in Da 8:14 the times of Antiochus, even to the day; and in Da 11:5-20 the Syro-Egyptian struggles in most minute detail. Tregelles thinks the twenty-three hundred "days" answer to the week of years (Da 9:27), during which the destroying prince (Da 9:26) makes a covenant, which he breaks in the midst of the week (namely, at the end of three and a half years). The seven years exceed the twenty-three hundred days by considerably more than a half year. This period of the seven years' excess above the twenty-three hundred days may be allotted to the preparations needed for setting up the temple-worship, with Antichrist's permission to the restored Jews, according to his "covenant" with them; and the twenty-three hundred days may date from the actual setting up of the worship. But, says Auberlen, the more accurate to a day the dates as to Antiochus are given, the less should we say the 1290, or 1335 days (Da 12:11, 12) correspond to the half week (roughly), and the twenty-three hundred to the whole. The event, however, may, in the case of Antichrist, show a correspondence between the days here given and Da 9:27, such as is not yet discernible. The term of twenty-three hundred days cannot refer twenty-three hundred years of the treading down of Christianity by Mohammedanism, as this would leave the greater portion of the time yet future. If the twenty-three hundred days mean years, dating from Alexander's conquests, 334 B.C. to 323, we should arrive at about the close of the sixth thousand years of the world, just as the 1260 years (Da 7:25) from Justinian's decree arrive at the same terminus. The Jews' tradition represents the seventh thousand as the millennium. Cumming remarks, 480 B.C. is the date of the waning of the Persian empire before Greece; deducting 480 from 2300, we have 1820; and in 1821, Turkey, the successor of the Greek empire, began to wane, and Greece became a separate kingdom. See on Da 12:11.
cleansed—literally, "justified," vindicated from profanation. Judas Maccabeus celebrated the feast of dedication after the cleansing, on the twenty-fifth of the ninth month, Kisleu (1 Maccabees 4:51-58; 2 Maccabees 10:1-7; Joh 10:22). As to the antitypical dedication of the new temple, see Eze 43:1-27, &c.; also Am 9:11, 12.
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