|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:20-27 An answer was immediately sent to Daniel's prayer, and it is a very memorable one. We cannot now expect that God should send answers to our prayers by angels, but if we pray with fervency for that which God has promised, we may by faith take the promise as an immediate answer to the prayer; for He is faithful that has promised. Daniel had a far greater and more glorious redemption discovered to him, which God would work out for his church in the latter days. Those who would be acquainted with Christ and his grace, must be much in prayer. The evening offering was a type of the great sacrifice Christ was to offer in the evening of the world: in virtue of that sacrifice Daniel's prayer was accepted; and for the sake of that, this glorious discovery of redeeming love was made to him. We have, in verses 24-27, one of the most remarkable prophecies of Christ, of his coming and his salvation. It shows that the Jews are guilty of most obstinate unbelief, in expecting another Messiah, so long after the time expressly fixed for his coming. The seventy weeks mean a day for a year, or 490 years. About the end of this period a sacrifice would be offered, making full atonement for sin, and bringing in everlasting righteousness for the complete justification of every believer. Then the Jews, in the crucifixion of Jesus, would commit that crime by which the measure of their guilt would be filled up, and troubles would come upon their nation. All blessings bestowed on sinful man come through Christ's atoning sacrifice, who suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God. Here is our way of access to the throne of grace, and of our entrance to heaven. This seals the sum of prophecy, and confirms the covenant with many; and while we rejoice in the blessings of salvation, we should remember what they cost the Redeemer. How can those escape who neglect so great salvation!
Verse 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 three score and two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. The version of the LXX. is widely different from this, "And thou shalt know and shalt understand and shalt discover that the commandments are determined, and thou shalt build Jerusalem a city of the Lord." The change in the first clause is due to a doublet reading - tishmah being also read as well as tishkayl, which may have become confluent in the Hebrew text before the Septuagint translator wrote. Instead of min-motza, he must have read v'timtza, deriving this, not from יָצָא (yatza), "to go forth," but from מָצָא (matza), "to find" - a reading that is opposed by the fact that many manuscripts write the word plerum, מוצָא. Dabar must have been in the plural, and some such word as neherotzeem must have been supplied instead of hasheeb. The fact, however, that the same change occurs in Theodotion might render it at least possible that this was the word in the text, but Paulus Tellensis must have had a different reading, "Thou shalt find the precepts for answering;" a marginal reading adds, "and for the understanding the weeks." In the next clause, וּבָנִיתָ (oova-neetha) instead of לִבְנות (libenoth), and instead of עַד ('adh) עִר ('eer), must have been read, and "Messiah the Prince" has been par, phrased into Κυρίῳ. The last clause may be regarded as omitted. Not impossibly this may have resulted from the end of the one verse being so like the beginning of the next. Theodotion's rendering is much more in agreement with the received text, "And thou shalt know and understand, from the going forth of the word to determine and build Jerusalem, until the anointed leader, is seven weeks and sixty-two weeks, and he shall return, and the broad places and the wall shall be built, and the times shall be distressful." As above remarked, harootz is read instead of hasheeb. The Peshitta differs considerably from the received text, "Thou shalt know and understand from the decreeing of the word to restore and build Jerusalem, to the coming of the anointed king, is seven weeks and sixty-two weeks, to restore and build Jerusalem, its wall, and its palaces, at the end of the time." The rendering of the Vetus, as preserved to us in Tertuliian, runs thus, "And thou shalt know and perceive and understand from the going forth of the speech (sermo) for the restoring and rebuilding of Jerusalem, even to Christ the Leader, are sixty-two weeks and a half; and he shall return and build in joy, and the wall (convollationem), and times shall be renewed." Jerome's rendering is," Know and understand from the going forth of the word that Jerusalem should be again built, even to Christ the Leader, shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks, and the squares shall be again built and the walls in hard times." What cannot fail to impress one is the confusion that exists as to the original text. Of necessity conjectural emendations have been resorted to, with not much advantage. The most plausible is the suggestion of Professor Bevan to read lehosheeh, "to repeople," instead of lehasheeb, "to restore;" but there is no sign in the versions of such a reading being accepted. On the whole, a reading not far removed from the received has probability in its favour. Going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem. To what does this refer? Hengstenberg ('Christology,' 3:128) says, "There can be no doubt that motza dabar signifies the issue of the decree." This view has the advantage that in ver. 23 we have the same combination, יצא דבר (yatza dabar), "a command went forth." The probability is always in favour of holding a word not to change its meaning in contiguous verses, unless there is some indication that a change has taken place. Other commentators assume as strongly that the word must be the word of the Lord to Jeremiah; hence Bevan renders dabar, "promise," without so much as a hint that there can be any doubt in the matter. Behrmaun takes the לְ, the sign of the infinitive, as being equivalent to ut, and that hence this is a case of indirect speech - a usage gravely to be suspected, as certainly unexampled elsewhere in Biblical Hebrew. He refers to Ewald's 'Grammar,' but at his reference Ewald says that yKi is the sign of the semi-oblique narrative used in Hebrew. In a note Ewald refers to לאמר as introducing speeches; but that is not in point here. If dabar had meant "promise" or "prophecy" here, it would have been followed with the words in which the prophecy was announced. If, on the other hand, dabar is taken as" a decree," the infinitive is natural. The question, then, arises, "Whose decree is it that is here referred to?" Daniel was hoping for a decree being issued by Cyrus; of this he would naturally think, but what he thought is not to be taken as necessarily true. The prophets did not always know the meaning of their own prophecies. We must examine the record, and see what decree suits best with the words of our text. Many commentators think the reference here is to a Divine decree (Hengstenberg, Wolf. etc.). The difficulty of this view is that there is in appearance a definite starting-point given for the period named to begin. Now, a decree of God has no visible time-relation. This view, when maintained by those who hold that the prophecy of Jeremiah is referred to, may have some justification, only that a prophecy is never regarded as a decree, rendering certain its fulfilment. It must be, then, a human decree. The decree of Cyrus did not involve any rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem. The altar was set up - that was all; the temple, even, was not built. The terms of the decree of Cyrus, as we have it in Ezra 1:2, are, "The Lord God of heaven... hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem." This clearly is not the decree intended. When Darius Hystaspis founded his permission to build the temple on the decree of Cyrus, there was no word of permitting them to rebuild the city walls. When, in the seventh year of Arta-xerxes, Ezra and his companions left Babylon and came to Jerusalem, still, though there was no command given to build again the walls of Jerusalem, there is more nearly implied a restoration of Jerusalem as a city. We may, then, start from B.C. 458. To Nehemiah, in the twentieth year of the reign of Artaxerxes, was there a positive command given to build the wall of Jerusalem. This date brings us to B.C. 445. Starting from the first date, the end of the 490 years is A.D. , and the end of the 69 weeks (equivalent to 483 years) is A.D. . If, again, we start from the latter of these dates, the termination of the 490 years is A.D. , and of the 483 years A.D. . No one can fail to be struck with the fact that these dates are very near the most sacred date of all history - that of the crucifixion of our Lord. We know there is considerable diversity of opinion as to the date at which that event occurred. But, further, we are not to expect that prophecy shall have the accuracy we have in astronomical ephemerides. We admit there are great difficulties. We admit, further, that seven weeks mark, with wonderful precision, the time which elapsed from the capture of Jerusalem to the accession of Cyrus to the throne of Babylon. The interval was really fifty years. We do not know the occurrences that marked the relation of the Jewish people to their Persian masters during the century and more which elapsed between this twentieth year of Artaxerxes and the overthrow of the Persian Empire by Alexander the Great. The city walls and internal buildings of Jerusalem may have taken fifty years to erect - we simply cannot tell. It is, at all events, a singular thing that the date of our Lord's crucifixion so nearly coincides with the termination of the 483 years. What is the result of starting from the date at which the prophecy was given? Assuming that the writer lived in the reign of Epiphanes, and meant to indicate the date of some event near his own period by the end of the 490 or the 483 years, let us see what follows. If we take the Massoretic date of the prophecy, it was given in the year of the accession of Nebuchadnezzar, or the next year - his first year, according to Babylonian chronology, that is to say, B.C. 606 or B.C. 605. Subtract 483 from either of these, and we have the utterly inconspicuous years B.C. 122 and B.C. 123, that is to say, twelve or thirteen years after the death of Simon the Maccabee. If three years and a half are added, to reach the middle of the week, we have B.C. 119, an equally inconspicuous year. Professor Bevan, however, follows Ewald, and begins with the destruction of Jerusalem. That the statement contradicts the text, which dates "from the going forth of a promise to people and build again Jerusalem," according to Professor Bevan's own translation, not from the destruction of Jerusalem, is looked upon evidently as of no importance. Of course, the refuge is the ignorance of the author of Darnel, notwithstanding that Jeremiah (Jeremiah 25:1) dates his first prophecy "the fourth year of Jehoiakim," and his letter (Jeremiah 29:2), after the captivity of Jeconiah, and immediately after. Moreover, something more than ignorance is needed to explain the author of Daniel confounding the going forth of a prophecy to rebuild Jerusalem with the destruction of it. If we take the date of the destruction of Jerusalem, B.C. 588, and add 483 years, we reach B.C. 105 - a year conspicuous only for the death of John Hyrcanus. This is so obvious, that many devices have been tried to square matters. Ewald drops out seventy years. Professor Bevan justly characterizes this device as fantastic. Hitzig would make the first seven years run parallel with the first seven weeks of the sixty-two. Professor Bevan rejects this as "highly artificial, and scarcely reconcilable with the text." So, again, in company with Graf and Cornill, he takes refuge in the author's ignorance. If, again, we take B.C. 164, the date the critics wish to make the terminus ad quem, which is chosen because it is the year of the purification of the temple; if four hundred and eighty-three years are added to that date, we have B.C. 647 - a date that falls within the reign of Manasseh. As, however, the point of time is the anointing of a holy one, and there is reference also to an anointed prince in this verse, a more plausible date would be B.C. 153, the year when Jonathan the brother of Judas the Maccabee assumed the high priesthood (1 Macc. 10:21); to this add 483, and 636 is the result - a date during Josiah's reign. Of course, the refuge is the ignorance of our author; he didn't know any better. The difficulty is to understand, if he was so ignorant as to what was so comparatively near his own time, how he was so well informed as to Babylonian affairs. The critics cannot make the author of Daniel at once exceptionally ignorant and exceptionally well-informed. If, however, we take Mr. Galloway's reading ('Shadow on the Sundial,' p. 48) of the LXX. Version of this verse, we have "seven and seventy weeks" or five hundred and thirty-nine years. If we reckon these years from the decree of Cyrus, B.C. 538, we reach A.D. . Messiah the Prince; "the anointed prince." Both priests and kings were anointed, as a sign of consecration to their office. Very rarely are priests referred to as "anointed," and never without a distinct statement that they are priests, whereas "the Lord's anointed" always applies to kings. Priests are sometimes called "rulers," נְגִיד (negeed), but only in relation to the temple. Never is princedom and the anointing combined in regard to priest. These ideas are connected in regard to Solomon (1 Chronicles 29:22). We do not deny that this title would apply to the later Maccabeans, like Alexander Jannseus, who was at once high priest and king. We also note, however, that it applies to our Lord, who claimed to be anointed "to preach good tidings" (Luke 4:18). The street shall be built again. Rehob, "street," is really "broad place." Instead of the heaps of confused rubbish, the city was once more to be laid off in orderly streets and squares, so that Zechariah's prophecy might be fulfilled (Zechariah 8:5), "The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing." And the wall, even in troublous times. This was certainly fulfilled in the days of Nehemiah; one has only to read the Book of Nehemiah to see that. The word harootz, translated "wall," is of somewhat doubtful significance. It means (Isaiah 10:22) "a determination." In Job 41:22 (30) it is translated "a threshing-wain," whereas in Proverbs 3:14 it means "fine gold." Furst would make it mean here "a marked-off quarter of a city." Gesenius makes it mean here "a ditch " - a view that Winer also holds. Cornill ('Siebzig Jahrwochen,' p. 5) says most interpreters explain harootz, from the Targumic, as "ditches." It would seem that a bettor rendering would be "a palisade;" the ruling idea of all meanings, save the last, as pointed out by Winer, is "sharpness." "A ditch" or "a wall" conveys no suggestion of sharpness, but "a palisade" does. Not impossibly, before the wall was erected, the city was protected by "a palisade," and would certainly be set up in troublous times. It is to be observed that the events referred to in these two last clauses have no distinct temporal relation to the weeks. We might surmise that it referred to the time during which the city was being rebuilt - street and palisade - but we are destitute of informatiou which might enable us either to confirm or contradict that view. This period may be during the Maccabean struggle; we cannot tell. Ver 26. - And after three score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself; and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. The version of the LXX. is nearly unintelligible as it stands, though the genesis of each separate clause from a text akin to the Massoretic can be easily understood, "And after seven and seventy and sixty-two, the anointing shall be taken away, and shall not be, and the kingdom of the heathen shall destroy the city and the sanctuary with the Messiah, and his end shall come with wrath, and it shall be warred with war till the time of the end." The first clause has strayed from the end of the preceding verse, and שִׁבְעִים (shibeeem), "seventy," is confused with שִׁבֻעִים (shibooeem), "weeks." It is a possible thing that the Kabbalistic use of numbers had something to do with this number, for if these numbers are expressed in letters, and the letters taken as initials, we have the initials of this sentence סלעמיתּ בבל זמן עד, "The time until the overthrow of Babylon." They must have read משחה instead of מִָשיחַ. It is difficult to understand how "the people of the prince that shall come" could be read, "the kingdom of the Gentiles." save by supposing a somewhat arbitrary paraphrase. The last clause has probably assumed the present shape through the insertion of some part of the verb לחם, and the omission of the end of the verse. Theodotion's rendering is in closer agreement with the Massoretic text, yet is wide from it too, "After the sixty-two weeks anointing shall be utterly destroyed, and judgment is not in it (or 'him,' αὐτῷ), and he (it) shall destroy the city and the sanctuary with the leader that cometh; they shall be cut off with a flood, even until the end of the war, having been arranged by disappearances in order." The introduction of κρίμα is difficult to explain, except as an explanatory addition from Isaiah 53:8. Still more difficult is it to understand the genesis of the last clause. The Peshitta, though considerably closer to the Massoretic in the beginning of the verse, is as far apart in the last clause, "And after the sixty-two weeks, the anointed shall he killed, and there was not to him, and the city of the holy shall be destroyed with the king that cometh and his end is with a flood, even until the end of the war of the fragments of destruction." The Vetus, as represented by the quotation in Tertullian, is not so close to the LXX. as it usually is, "And after the sixty-two weeks, even the anointing shall be destroyed, and shall not be, and with the coming leader he shall destroy the holy city, and thus shall be destroyed in the end of the war, because he shall be destroyed even to death." This version agrees neither with the LXX. nor with Theodotion. Jerome translates into an eminently Christian sense, "And after sixty-two weeks Christ shall be slain, and his people who will deny him will not be. And his people with a leader about to come, will destroy the city and sanctuary, its end wasting, and after the end of the war desolation determined." And after three score and two weeks shall the Messiah be cut off. The period of sixty-two weeks must begin after the seven weeks have ended, as the completed period to Messiah the prince is seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. The Messiah: the word has no article, and, therefore, it is argued, it ought to be rendered "an anointed one;" but the use of the article is not so rigid. It is omitted in poetic and semi-poetic passages: eg. the first word in the Hebrew Bible is anarthreus, although we are obliged to translate it with the article. Further, the Messiah the Prince has already been mentioned, and, therefore, comes somewhat into the region of proper names, as Amos 7:12, "the sanctuary of king," instead of "the king;" so 1 Kings 21:13, "curse God and king." We take "Messiah" here as equivalent to "the Messiah" above mentioned. Who is it that is here referred to? The common critical position assuming, without reason assigned, that "anointed" without any subject may refer to a priest, asserts that the reference here is to Onias III. The account of his murder is given in 2 Macc. 4:39. He had succeeded his father, Simon If., as high priest, B.C. 198. In connection with his high-priesthood is the legendary story told (2 Macc. 3.) of the attempt of Heliodorus to spoil the temple. On the accession of Epiphanes, Jason, the brother of Onias, endeavoured to undermine him with the king, and succeeded: Onias, displaced, in favour of Jason, retired to Antioch. Three years after Jason, in turn, was superseded by Menelaus, who, according to 2 Maccabees, was a Benjamite. Onias rebuked Menelaus for selling some of the sacred vessels; Menelaus bribed Andronieus to put Onias to death, which he did, alluring him from the sanctuary of Daphne, in which he had taken refuge. Josephus gives a different account of matters ('Ant.,' 12:05), "About this time, Onias having died, he (Epiphanes) gives the high-priesthood to his brother Jesus, for the son whom Onias left was only a child. This Jesus, who was brother of Onias, was deprived of the high-priesthood. The king, being angry with him, gave it to his youngest brother Onias." Josephus adds, "These two brothers changed their names - Jesus became Jason, and Onias Menelaus. After a little, Onias (Menelaus) was expelled from Jerusalem, and retired to Antiochus and abjured his religion." In 1 Macccabees there is no reference to the death of Onias at all. Certainly the First Book of Maccabees does not take up this part of the history, but if this Onias was murdered, and his murder so affected Jewish feeling, that it became a date of superlative interest in Jewish history - the writer would at least have referred to it. The whole story, as told in 2 Maccabees, has a doubtful look. Even if we disregard the Heliodorus legend altogether, and the suspicion of the whole history which it engenders, we have Menelaus, a man who, according to 2 Maccabees, is a Benjamite, intruded into an office for which only Aaronites were eligible, without a hint that the writer thought it an additional element in the guilt of the usurper. Josephus mentions it as a point against Alcimus, that he was not of the high-priestly family ('Ant.,' 11:9. 5), yet Alcimus was a descendant of Aaron (1 Macc. 7:13). We have, further, a zealous Jew retiring to Antioch, and, when in danger, betaking himself for safety to the heathen sanctuary of Daphne. We know the orgies that consecrated the groves of Daphne. These would make Daphne the last place in which a Jewish high priest would seek refuge; if his very presence in the sanctuary would not be held by the Greeks as polluting it. Titus, even though we had not the express evidence of Josephus against it, the narrative is self-condemned. The whole story is baseless, and, whether true or false, did not affect Jewish imagination in the way assumed by critics. Had the story been that, while high priest, he was allured from the sacred precincts of the temple at Jerusalem and been murdered, then the legend, even if untrue, might well have affected the Jews deeply. But a high priest who had surrendered his office and retired into a heathen city was a less sacred person, and his allurement from a heathen sanctuary and his murder was a less heinous crime. The whole notion that Onias III. can be thought of here is an absurdity that would have been scorned at once by these critics, had any necessity of argument required it. The origin of this legend of the murder of Onias IIl. is to be sought in the murder or execution of Onias Menelaus by order of Antiochus Eupator (Jos., 'Ant.,' 12:09.5; 2 Macc. 13:5). Is the anointed one Seleucus Philopator? Bleek, von Lengerke, Maurer, and Ewald hold this view. Seleucus is alleged to have been murdered by Helio-dorus: this rests on the sole authority of Appian, in a narrative in which there is evidence of confusion. Even if it be granted, it is difficult to imagine a heathen prince called "Messiah." Certainly Cyrus is called so in the Second Isaiah, but this is because of the work he is to do for Israel. There seems a necessity to maintain that it was some one who was to be the anointed prince of the Jewish people, who should thus be cut off. But not for himself. Great difference of opinion exists as to the precise meaning of this phrase. The meaning expressed by the Authorized Version would have required at least in normal Hebrew, not ואין לו (v'ayin lo), but וְללֺא לו (velo'lo). The Revised Version is preferable, "and shall have nothing." It may mean "he shall not be," but that is not so natural. The Revised, however, is vague, and one is inclined to seek for an explanation in a parallel passage in Daniel 11:45, וְאֵין עפּוזִרִ לו, "And there was no helper to him." It is no sufficient answer to say, as does Professor Bevan, that Daniel 11:45 applies to Epiphanes, and this does not. The same statement might be made of two different persons. It seems to be a more condensed expression of what we find in Isaiah 63:3, "Of the people there was none with me." Behrmann's translation is indefensible, "No one remains to him, i.e. follows him;" he gives no particular reference. This view assumes Onias III. to be the Messiah. He was, according to Josephus, on his death succeeded by first one and then the other of his two brothers, because his son was too young for the office. The further assumption has to be made that, in the opinion of the pious, they were not successors of Onias. The pious of that time have left no record of their opinions. And the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The word translated "prince" is rarely to be rendered" king." The only cases are these of Solomon (1 Chronicles 29:22) and Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:5). The former was anointed, נגיד, while his father was still living; the latter occurs in a poetical passage. Priests are sometimes called" princes," or "rulers," but that is simply in regard to the house of God and the sacerdotal arrangements. If the verse stood by itself, there would seem little possible difficulty in regard to accepting the old Jewish interpretation which made "the prince" Titus, who was left to carry on the siege of Jerusalem while his father was in Rome, busied with the duties incumbent on the occupant of the imperial throne. Certainly the Romans, the people of the prince, did destroy the city and the sanctuary in a more thorough way than any one since Nebuchadnezzar. And the end thereof shall be with a flood. It is difficult to decide the reference of "thereof" here. The reference grammatically seems to be restricted to "the people," as that is the nominative of the preceding verb. It may, however, without much grammatical strain, refer to the prince. In regard to prophecy, especially apocalyptic prophecy, grammar cannot be regarded as affording a final canon for interpretation. The main subject of the verse is the Messiah who shall be cut off. There might, therefore, be a reference to him, "his end" being the vengeance that came upon the people for deserting him. This is the interpretation of the Septuagint, "The kingdom of the heathen shall destroy the city and the sanctuary with the Messiah," identifying "prince" with "Messiah," and his end shall come with wrath." Theodotion refers to the city and the sanctuary, for he has, "They shall be cut off with a flood." The Peshitta refers to the king that cometh. The Vetus has finem belli. Jerome has finis eius vast#as, his reference being to the city. The idea of Hitzig, that the prenominal suffix refers to the campaign, seems the most natural one. Of course, Hitzig refers it to the campaign of Antiochus, but the interpretation does not necessitate that. With a flood; not a literal flood. This word does not elsewhere refer to a number of men, save in the eleventh chapter of this book; that chapter, however, is of doubtful authenticity. All that we draw from the use of shateph, "a flood," for "a multitude of men," and of shataph, "to overflow," "to overrun," is that, in the opinion of the author of the eleventh chapter, the phrase here means "a multitude of men." "Wrath," or "devastation," seems to be the best meaning of the word. The latter seems, on the whole, the more natural rendering here. If so, no one can fail to see how apt a description it gives of the state of Judaea, and especially of Jerusalem, after the war which was concluded by the capture of the city by Titus. And unto the end of the war desolations are determined. Rather it should be rendered, "until the end was the decree of desolations," viz. the end of this campaign above referred to, and until that end is reached, war, which is itself a decree of desolations, is determined. Taken thus, this clause explains that which has gone before. The text here, however, is evidently in such a corrupt state that no decision can be made with any feeling of confidence. The Septuagint appears to have read yillahaym instead of nehresheth, and has omitted the last word altogether. Theodotion has, "by order in disappearances," but one cannot tell what Hebrew words these represent. The Vetus, which usually stands closely related to the Septuagint, omits a number of words. The uncertainty of the text renders one chary of suggesting meanings.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire 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 Gussetius (a) thinks that the word 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 Tirinus (b), 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 Chandler (c) 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 following (d)'';
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. Azariah (e) 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 Newton (f) 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.
(a) Ebr. Comment. p. 177, 329. (b) Chronolog. Sacr. p. 44. (c) Answer to the Grounds and Reasons, &c. p. 139. (d) See 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. (e) Meor Enayim, c. 41. fol. 134. 2.((f) Observations on Daniel, p. 132, 133, 134.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
25. from the going forth of the commandment—namely the command from God, whence originated the command of the Persian king (Ezr 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 (Da 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 (Da 9:25, 26) of "confirming the covenant" (Da 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 (Re 1:4; 3:1; 4:5). Ten is the number of what is human; for example, the world power issues in ten heads and ten horns (Da 2:42; 7:7). Seventy is ten multiplied by seven, the human moulded 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 Prince—Hebrew, Nagid. Messiah is Jesus' title in respect to Israel (Ps 2:2; Mt 27:37, 42). Nagid, as Prince of the Gentiles (Isa 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 (Mt 24:29-31; Joh 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," Da 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.
Daniel 9:25 Parallel Commentaries
Daniel 9:25 NIV
Daniel 9:25 NLT
Daniel 9:25 ESV
Daniel 9:25 NASB
Daniel 9:25 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible