|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 27. - And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. The verse in the Septuagint corresponding to this is evidently mixed up with confluent readings and notes as to earlier verses, "And the covenant shall be strong upon many, and again he shall turn ('repent') ἐπιστρέψει), and it shall be built in breadth and length, and according to the end of times until the end of the war, and after seven and seventy times and sixty-two years until the end of the war; and the desolation shall be taken away in confirming (or 'when he shall confirm') the covenant to many weeks; and in the end of the week the sacrifice and the oblation shall be taken away, and upon the temple shall be the abomination of desolation until the end, and an end shall be given to the desolation." In this mass of confusion this much is clear - the clause, "the covenant shall be strong (δυναστεύσει) upon many," is a doublet of the clause, "when he shall confirm the covenant to many weeks." The clause, "and after seven and seventy times and sixty-two years," is a doublet of the beginning of the twenty-sixth verse; "Till the end of the war, and the desolation shall be taken away," is an alternative version of the last clause of the twenty-sixth verse. When those extraneous elements are got rid of, we have left a rendering of the twenty-seventh verse, which may afford us light as to the text. "The covenant shall be strong upon many" is a possible rendering of the Hebrew (see Psalm 12:5). The alternative reading, "when he shall confirm (ἐν τῷ κατισχῦσαι) the covenant during many weeks," implies the infinitive with the preposition בְ, and "weeks" in the plural, and one omitted - the latter is omitted, indeed, by both. "And in the end of the week" - reading קֵצ (qaytz) instead of חֲצִי (hatzee) - "sacrifice and offering shall be taken away, and upon the temple shall be the abomination of desolation" - reading קֹדֶשׁ (qodesh), "holy," instead of זֶבַח (kenaph), "wing," "outspreading," or it may be tendered "wing of temple" - "until the end, and an end be given to desolation" - reading תֻּתַּן (toottan), "is given," or "appointed," instead of תִּתַּך (tittak), "poured out." Theodotion is closer to the Massoretic, "And one week shall confirm (δυναμώσει) a covenant to many, and in the middle (ἡμίσει) of the week my sacrifice and offering shall be taken away" - reading זִבְחִי (zebehee) instead of זֶבַח (zebah), and possibly min hath, instead of minhah - "and upon the temple (shall be) the abomination of desolations, and till (at) the end of the time an end is set (given) to the desolation." It will be observed that Theodotion agrees with the LXX. in reading קֹדֶשׁ (qodesh) instead of כֵּנַפ (kenaph), and תֻּתַּן (toottan) instead of תִּתַּך (tittak) The Peshitta is closer still to the Massoretic, but the last verb the translator seems to have read as tanah, "shall rest." Tertullian, in his quotation from the Vetus, shows that in this verse it follows Theodotion, or rather the version which he made his basis. He, however, connects "half a week" with "one week." The Vulgate rendering is, "One week also shall confirm the covenant to many, and in the middle of the week sacrifice and offering shall cease" - reading יִשׁבַת: (yishbath) - "and in the temple shall be the abomination of desolation" - therefore reading with the Greek versions and the Vetus, קדֶשׁ instead of כָנָפ - "and even to the consummation and end shall the desolation continue" - reading, therefore, תֵּשֵׁב instead of תִּתַּך, and omitting the preposition עַל ('al), "upon" - the latter is not a probable reading. From this examination of the versions one thing is clear - we must accept, with all its difficulties, "confirms." Gratz would change one letter, and translate, "he shall cause many to transgress the covenant." The wilder supposition of Professor Bevan, which would change two letters, and translate, "the covenant shall be annulled for many," is equally out of court. The next point is kenaph, "expansion." Here the Greek and Latin versions, including that in Matthew 24:15, but excluding the doublet mixed up in the text of the Vatican and Alexandrian Codices, have read קֹדֶשׁ. The Peshitta and the author of the reading intruded into the Alexandrian Codex have read כְּנַפ. (kenaph). However, these two are not agreed as to the interpretation. The Peshitta renders "wings," the Vatican and Alexandrian scribes render πτερύγιον, the word used (Matthew 4:5) for a pinnacle of the temple. There is, whichever is preferred, not the slightest justification for the suggestion of Kuenen that we should read כּנּו instead of כְּנַפ Professor Bevan thinks "this emendation is well-nigh certain." If that is so, any suggestion of any critic may be equally commended. We have practically four Greek versions here, two Syriae if we include Paulus Tellensis, two Latin, and not one of them gives the slightest hint that this "well-nigh certain" reading was in existence. The balance of evidence is decidedly in favour of קֹדֶשׁ (qodesh), especially so in the light of our Lord's words. Had the text with which his hearers were familiar contained the suggestive word כִּנַפ, "wing," it was impossible, speaking as he did of the setting up of the Roman eagles in the temple, to have avoided remarking on the word used. Our Lord in this case must have had the Hebrew before him, as he does not render as the Greek versions do, ἐπὶ τὸ ἱερόν, but ἐν τόλῳ ἁγίῳ. We must thus hold קֹדֶשׁ to have been the original text. And he shall confirm the covenant with many. What is the subject of the verb here? Hengstenberg, Hitzig, and yon Lengerke make the one week the nominative of the verb. Professor Bevan objects that to represent a week making a covenant, or making it burdensome, is without analogy. Both Hitzig and Hengstenberg appeal to Malachi 3:19; Isaiah 22:5; Job 3:3, where a "day" is represented as acting. Theodotion translates thus. The natural meaning, according to the Hebrew, if we do not pass beyond the clause before us for the subject of the verb, is בְּרִית, (bereeth), "covenant." Thus we ought naturally to render either - taking the hiphil in its causative sense - "a covenant," or "the covenant shall confirm;" i.e. secure "one week to many," or - and this is better, as supported by Psalm 12:5 (4), in the sense given to the hiphil of גָבַר (gabar) - "the covenant shall prevail for many during one week." This agrees with the first version we find in the Septuagint, The covenant - God's covenant with Israel, and this it must be here - "prevails with many;" his covenant to send a Messiah, a part of the eternal covenant with Israel, would prevail with the hearts of many of Israel during one week. If we reckon our Lord's ministry to have begun in the year A.D. , and the conversion of St. Paul A.D. , we have the interval required. After the conversion of St. Paul, the Gentiles more than the Jews were brought into the Church. Another theory is that it is the coming prince who is referred to. This is assumed by critics to be Antiochus; e.g. Ewald. Moses Stuart, who adopts this view, refers to the covenant made with Antiochus by many of the Jews. But bereeth thus absolute, is used not of alliances, but of the Divine covenant. The theory that the coming prince is Jason the brother of Onias does not suit with the idea of confirming the Divine covenant, so the interpreters that hold this view - e.g. Bevan - do not make "the prince" the subject of the verb. If bereeth is the Divine covenant, as by usage it is, then the prince whose people were to lay waste the temple and city cannot be he that confirms the covenant. We might take the last clause of ver. 26 as in a parenthesis, and regard the subject of the verb "confirm" as the Messiah who was cut off. It seems, however, preferable to take the construction as we have done above, and make bereeth the subject of the verb. And in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease. In accordance with our interpretation of the previous clause, we would interpret this, "The covenant shall cause offering and oblation to cease." What covenant is this? The new Messianic covenant promised in Jeremiah 31:31. The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 8:8) quotes this passage as Messianic, and as proving that sacrifice and offering had ceased with Christ's sacrifice of himself. Interpreters of the critical school are reduced to considerable difficulties in their endeavours to square this passage with their preconceived notions Bevan admits that the natural subject of the verb yashbeeth is the "prince who shall come;" but having come to the conclusion that this coming prince is Jason, he could not be said to make sacrifice and offering cease. Professor Bevan is constrained to change the reading from hiphil into the kal. He has certainly the justification that the Septuagint and Theodotion both make the word passive. Ewald regards the coming prince as Epiphanes. If so, then he must be the subject all through. In that case we are obliged to contradict usage and maintain that the covenant confirmed refers to an alliance made with apostate Jews; but this, as we have said, contradicts the usage in regard to "covenant" in this absolute position. Further, we have, in the end of ver. 26, the "end of the war" referred to. Yet, according to this interpretation, after the war is over the prince is making sacrifice and offering to cease. Ewald, recognizing the difficulties of his interpretation,declares, "As soon as the discourse touches upon the man and his projects, it is at once agitated with the profoundest disorder." The midst of the week. On the ordinary Christian interpretation, this applies to the crucifixion of our Lord, which took place, according to the received calculation, during the fourth year after his baptism by John, and the consequent opening of his ministry. Hitzig and many critical commentators see a reference in the half-week to the time, times, and half a time, and they identify that with the time during which Antiochus had set up the heathen altar in the temple. It is to be observed that this view has the support of 1 Macc. 1:54, which applies the next clause to Antiochus. If the traditional view is correct - that the prophecy published in the days of Cyrus applied to the coming Romans - then it was but natural that a writer in the clays of John Hyrcanus should be prone to interpret the prophecy of events in his own time. As we have already seen, the reference cannot be to Antiochus. The extreme popularity of Daniel by the time 1 Maccabees was written, probably about B.C. 100, is to be observed. For the overspreading of abominations, he shall make it desolate. This is rendered in the Revised Version, "And upon the wing of abominations shall come one that maketh desolate;" in the margin the rendering is, "upon the pinnacle of abominations." We have seen that the great balance of evidence was in favour of inserting קֹדֶשׁ, "holy place," instead of כָּנָפ, "wing." Even if we take the Massoretic reading, and render it according either to the text or the margin, we have difficulties. We have no instance of a bird supporting itself by one wing. If כְּנָפ. (konaph), "wing," is retained, the reference to the Roman eagles can scarcely be resisted. The word has several derivative meanings: "The edge" of the earth, as Isaiah 24:16; from this is derived the rendering in the Revised. In the present passage, Gesenius, Furst, and Wirier regard it as equivalent to πτερύγιον; but no such meaning is elsewhere found in Hebrew. "He shall make it desolate." In Hebrew, this is only one word, meshomaym, the participle. The word occurs twice in Ezra 9:1, 4, and there means "astonished," "stupefied." It is imitated in Daniel 11:31, but the preceding word, שִׁקּוּצ (shiqqootz), is in the singular, and agrees with meshomaym. Here we have the noun shiqqootzeem in the plural while the participle is in the singular. In Daniel 12:11 we have another variation, שִׁקוּצ שֹׁמֵם. The versions translate as if the word had been in the singular; hence we may doubt whether the noun was not originally singular, all the more that in the parallel passage (Daniel 11:31) we have the singular used. An accidental reduplication of the מ, which begins מְשׁמֵם, would explain the present reading. Professor Bevan suggests that we read מֻשָׁמִים, the hophal participle plural from שׂוּם, "to sit;" but the evidence of the versions is decisive against this. The rendering of the clause would be thus, "and upon the temple the abomination of desolation." The usage of shiqqootz leads us to think of heathen idols, as 1 Kings 11:1, Chemosh, the abomination of Moab; Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon, 2 Kings 23:13; Ashtoreth, the abomination of the Zidonians. More important is Jeremiah 32:34, "They set their abominations in the house that is called by my name, to defile it." We have here the combination suggested by Professor Bevan. From the fact that Daniel seems to have been saturated with Jeremiah, his suggestion might have had weight; but the utter want of any hint in the versions that the reading was even doubtful, compels us to be against this view. There is no case where shiqqootz means "altar," but many where it means" idol." So the setting up of a heathen altar is not what would naturally be thought of in this connection. The traditional opinion, that this refers to the Roman eagle standards, which were in a sense "idols," and were regarded especially as such by the Jews, is certainly at least plausible on grammatical grounds, and may be regarded as certain from other reasons; e.g. its suitability to the meaning of the other verses. Even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured out upon the desolate. The Revised Version is very different here, "And even unto the consummation, and that determined, shall wrath be poured out upon the desolator." We have already seen that תִּתַּך (tittak)," poured out," must be abandoned, as not present in any of the versions. Most of them have read 1 Samuel 2:15. The generality of the phenomenon is due to the normal structure of the Hebrew clause. An end shall be set some time to the desolation of Zion, although that end may coincide with 'the end of all things.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week,.... Sixty nine of the seventy weeks being accounted for, and the several events observed to be fulfilled in them; the angel proceeds to take notice of the remaining "one" week, or seven years, and what should be done within that space of time: a covenant should be confirmed with many; which is not to be understood of the Messiah's confirming the covenant of grace with many, or on account of all his people, by fulfilling the conditions of it, and by his blood and sacrifice, through which all the blessings of it come to them; for this is not for one week only, but for ever; but this is to be interpreted of the Roman people, spoken of in the latter part of the preceding verse; who, in order to accomplish their design to destroy the city and temple of Jerusalem, made peace with many nations, entered into covenant and alliance with them, particularly the Medes, Parthians, and Armenians, for the space of one week, or seven years; as it appears they did at the beginning of this week (l):
and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease; the daily sacrifice of the Jews, and all their other offerings; and which was literally fulfilled "in the half part" (m) of this week, as it may be rendered; towards the close of the latter half of it, when the city of Jerusalem, being closely besieged by Titus, what through the closeness of the siege, the divisions of the people, and the want both of time and men, and beasts to offer, the daily sacrifice ceased, as Josephus (n) says, to the great grief of the people; nor have the Jews, ever since the destruction of their city and temple, offered any sacrifice, esteeming it unlawful so to do in a strange land:
and at the same time, in the same half part of the week,
for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate; that is, the Roman people shall make the land of Judea desolate, for the overspreading of their abominations or idolatries in it. The words may be rendered, as by some, "upon the wing", the battlements of the temple,
shall be the abominations, or "idols of the desolator", or "of him that makes desolate" (o); so Bishop Lloyd; meaning either the ensigns of the Roman army, which had upon them the images of their gods or emperors; and being set up in the holy place, and sacrificed to, nothing could be a greater abomination to the Jews; or else the blood of the zealots slain on these battlements, by which the holy place was polluted; see Matthew 24:15,
even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate; that is, either these abominations shall continue in the place where they are set until the utter destruction of the city and temple; or the desolation made there should continue until the consummation of God's wrath and vengeance upon them; until the whole he has determined is poured out on this desolate people; and which continues unto this day, and will till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled, Luke 21:24. Some, as Bishop Lloyd, render it, "upon the desolator" (p); meaning the Romans; and the sense they take to be is, that this vengeance shall continue upon the Jews until it is turned upon the head of those who have made them desolate: now this "one week", according to the sense given, must begin in the sixty third year of the vulgar era of Christ, about thirty years after the expiration of the sixty nine weeks; since it ends in the seventieth year of the same era, in which was the destruction of Jerusalem, the grand event assigned to it in this famous prophecy; when it might have been expected it should have begun at the end of the sixty nine weeks, and run on in a direct line from them. The true reason of its being thus separated from them is the longsuffering and forbearance of God to the people of the Jews, who gave them, as to the old world, space to repent; but his grace and goodness being slighted, things began to work at the beginning of this week towards their final ruin, which, in the close of it, was fully accomplished: from the whole of this prophecy it clearly appears that the Messiah must be come many hundred years ago. The Jews are sensible of the force of this reasoning; so that, to terrify persons from considering this prophecy, they denounce the following curse, "let them burst, or their bones rot, that compute the times" (q). R. Nehemiah, who lived about fifty years before the coming of Christ, declared the time of the Messiah, as signified by Daniel, could not be protracted longer than those fifty years (r). The Jews also say the world is divided into six parts, and the last part is from Daniel to the Messiah (s).
(l) See Marshall's Chron. Treat. p. 271. (m) "et in dimidio hebdomadis", Montanus, Michaelis; "dimidio septimanae", Cocceius. (n) De Bello, Jud. l. 6. c. 2.((o) "desolator", Piscator, Gejerus; "desolans", Covveius; "stupefaciens", Montanus. (p) "super obstupescentem", Montanus; "in stupendem", Cocceius, (q) T. Bab. Sanhedrin. fol. 97. 2.((r) Apud Grotium de Ver. Rel. Christ l. 5. sect. 14. (s) Caphtor Uperah, fol 17. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
27. he shall confirm the covenant—Christ. The confirmation of the covenant is assigned to Him also elsewhere. Isa 42:6, "I will give thee for a covenant of the people" (that is, He in whom the covenant between Israel and God is personally expressed); compare Lu 22:20, "The new testament in My blood"; Mal 3:1, "the angel of the covenant"; Jer 31:31-34, describes the Messianic covenant in full. Contrast Da 11:30, 32, "forsake the covenant," "do wickedly against the covenant." The prophecy as to Messiah's confirming the covenant with many would comfort the faithful in Antiochus' times, who suffered partly from persecuting enemies, partly from false friends (Da 11:33-35). Hence arises the similarity of the language here and in Da 11:30, 32, referring to Antiochus, the type of Antichrist.
with many—(Isa 53:11; Mt 20:28; 26:28; Ro 5:15, 19; Heb 9:28).
in … midst of … week—The seventy weeks extend to A.D. 33. Israel was not actually destroyed till A.D. 79, but it was so virtually, A.D. 33, about three or four years after Christ's death, during which the Gospel was preached exclusively to the Jews. When the Jews persecuted the Church and stoned Stephen (Ac 7:54-60), the respite of grace granted to them was at an end (Lu 13:7-9). Israel, having rejected Christ, was rejected by Christ, and henceforth is counted dead (compare Ge 2:17 with Ge 5:5; Ho 13:1, 2), its actual destruction by Titus being the consummation of the removal of the kingdom of God from Israel to the Gentiles (Mt 21:43), which is not to be restored until Christ's second coming, when Israel shall be at the head of humanity (Mt 23:39; Ac 1:6, 7; Ro 11:25-31; 15:1-32). The interval forms for the covenant-people a great parenthesis.
he shall cause the sacrifice … oblation to cease—distinct from the temporary "taking away" of "the daily" (sacrifice) by Antiochus (Da 8:11; 11:31). Messiah was to cause all sacrifices and oblations in general to "cease" utterly. There is here an allusion only to Antiochus' act; to comfort God's people when sacrificial worship was to be trodden down, by pointing them to the Messianic time when salvation would fully come and yet temple sacrifices cease. This is the same consolation as Jeremiah and Ezekiel gave under like circumstances, when the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar was impending (Jer 3:16; 31:31; Eze 11:19). Jesus died in the middle of the last week, A.D. 30. His prophetic life lasted three and a half years; the very time in which "the saints are given into the hand" of Antichrist (Da 7:25). Three and a half does not, like ten, designate the power of the world in its fulness, but (while opposed to the divine, expressed by seven) broken and defeated in its seeming triumph; for immediately after the three and a half times, judgment falls on the victorious world powers (Da 7:25, 26). So Jesus' death seemed the triumph of the world, but was really its defeat (Joh 12:31). The rending of the veil marked the cessation of sacrifices through Christ's death (Le 4:6, 17; 16:2, 15; Heb 10:14-18). There cannot be a covenant without sacrifice (Ge 8:20; 9:17; 15:9, &c.; Heb 9:15). Here the old covenant is to be confirmed, but in a way peculiar to the New Testament, namely, by the one sacrifice, which would terminate all sacrifices (Ps 40:6, 11). Thus as the Levitical rites approached their end, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, with ever increasing clearness, oppose the spiritual new covenant to the transient earthly elements of the old.
for the overspreading of abominations—On account of the abominations committed by the unholy people against the Holy One, He shall not only destroy the city and sanctuary (Da 9:25), but shall continue its desolation until the time of the consummation "determined" by God (the phrase is quoted from Isa 10:22, 23), when at last the world power shall be judged and dominion be given to the saints of the Most High (Da 7:26, 27). Auberlen translates, "On account of the desolating summit of abominations (compare Da 11:31; 12:11; thus the repetition of the same thing as in Da 9:26 is avoided), and till the consummation which is determined, it (the curse, Da 9:11, foretold by Moses) will pour on the desolated." Israel reached the summit of abominations, which drew down desolation (Mt 24:28), nay, which is the desolation itself, when, after murdering Messiah, they offered sacrifices, Mosaic indeed in form, but heathenish in spirit (compare Isa 1:13; Eze 5:11). Christ refers to this passage (Mt 24:15), "When ye see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place" (the latter words being tacitly implied in "abominations" as being such as are committed against the sanctuary). Tregelles translates, "upon the wing of abominations shall be that which causeth desolation"; namely, an idol set up on a wing or pinnacle of the temple (compare Mt 4:5) by Antichrist, who makes a covenant with the restored Jews for the last of the seventy weeks of years (fulfilling Jesus' words, "If another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive"), and for the first three and a half years keeps it, then in the midst of the week breaks it, causing the daily sacrifices to cease. Tregelles thus identifies the last half week with the time, times, and a half of the persecuting little horn (Da 7:25). But thus there is a gap of at least 1830 years put between the sixty-nine weeks and the seventieth week. Sir Isaac Newton explains the wing ("overspreading") of abominations to be the Roman ensigns (eagles) brought to the east gate of the temple, and there sacrificed to by the soldiers; the war, ending in the destruction of Jerusalem, lasted from spring A.D. 67 to autumn A.D. 70, that is, just three and a half years, or the last half week of years [Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 6.6].
poured upon the desolate—Tregelles translates, "the causer of desolation," namely, Antichrist. Compare "abomination that maketh desolate" (Da 12:11). Perhaps both interpretations of the whole passage may be in part true; the Roman desolator, Titus, being a type of Antichrist, the final desolator of Jerusalem. Bacon [The Advancement of Learning, 2.3] says, "Prophecies are of the nature of the Author, with whom a thousand years are as one day; and therefore are not fulfilled punctually at once, but have a springing and germinant accomplishment through many years, though the height and fulness of them may refer to one age."
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