Daniel 9
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

In the first year of ‘Darius the Mede,’ Daniel, considering that the 70 years of desolation prophesied by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 25:11; cf. Jeremiah 25:12; Jeremiah 29:10) were drawing to their close, implores God to forgive His people’s sin, and to look favourably upon His ruined city and sanctuary (Daniel 9:1-19). The angel Gabriel explains to Daniel that it would be, not 70 years, but 70 weeks of years (i.e. 490 years), before the iniquity of the people would be pardoned, and the promised deliverance be finally effected (Daniel 9:20-24). The period of 70 weeks is then divided into three smaller ones, 7 + 62 + 1; and it is said: (a) that 7 weeks (= 49 years) will elapse from the going forth of the ‘word’ for the rebuilding of Jerusalem to ‘an anointed one, a prince;’ (b) that for 62 weeks (= 434 years) the city will be rebuilt, though in straitened times; (c. that at the end of these 62 weeks ‘an anointed one’ will be, cut off, and the people of a prince that shall come will ‘destroy’ the city and the sanctuary: he will make a covenant with many for 1 week (= 7 years), and during (the second) half of this week he will cause sacrifice and meal-offering to cease, until his end come, and the destined doom overtake him (Daniel 9:25-27). The general sense of these verses is to postpone the fulfilment of the promises given by Jeremiah to the end of 490 years; and to describe in outline the troubles which must be gone through, in the closing years of this period, before the fulfilment can take place.

Additional Note on the Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks

Probably no passage of the Old Testament has been the subject of so much discussion, or has given rise to so many and such varied interpretations, as this. Already Jerome wrote[341], ‘Scio de hac quaestione ab eruditissimis viris varie disputatum et unumquemque pro captu ingenii sui dixisse quod senserat’; after which he proceeds to give, in some cases quoting the explanations in full, nine different interpretations: though, deeming it ‘dangerous’ to decide between the opinions of magistri Ecclesiae and to prefer one above another, he leaves it to his reader to determine which he will adopt. Since the time of Jerome the number of divergent interpretations has greatly increased. They differ primarily in the terminus ad quem which it is desired, or which it is thought possible, to reach; this necessitates differences in the terminus a quo adopted, and also in the manner of calculating the ‘weeks,’ which have been treated sometimes as consisting of solar years, sometimes of lunar years, sometimes as jubile-periods of 7 × 7 years, sometimes as mystic or symbolic periods, not necessarily equal in length; the order 7 + 62 + 1, implied apparently by the text, has been inverted, and altered into 62 + 7 + 1, or 62 + 1 + 7; the 62 weeks, instead of following the 7, have been made to begin concurrently with them; intervals, not taken account of in the prophecy, have been assumed in the period covered by it; the author, it has been supposed, has followed an erroneous chronology. The reason why commentators have had recourse to these varied and often singular expedients is that, understood in the plain and obvious meaning of the words,—the ‘week’ being naturally allowed to signify a week of years,—the prophecy admits of no explanation, consistent with history, whatever; and hence, if it is to be explained at all, an assumption, or assumptions, of some kind or other, must be made; and the only question that can arise is, What assumption is the least violent one, or most adequately meets the requirements of the case? It will be unnecessary to review at length the bewildering mass of explanations that have been offered[342]: the majority are so artificial, or extravagant, that they cannot be regarded as having a serious claim on the reader’s attention. The two principal explanations will however be noticed in some detail; and specimens of others will be placed before the reader.

[341] Comm. on Dan., ad loc. (ed. Vallarsi, v. 681; ed. Migne, v. 542). They may be seen summarized in Zöckler, p. 187. None of the interpretations which he mentions has found a sponsor in modern times.

[342] A synopsis will be found in Zöckler’s Comm. (1870), p. 185 ff.; and in Van Lennep’s De Zeventig Jaarweken van Daniel, 1888, p. 99 ff.

Two exegetical conditions may be premised, which it seems reasonable that any sound interpretation ought to satisfy: (1) the ‘weeks’ must have the same value throughout; (2) they must be distributed in the order in which they appear in the prophecy, i.e. 7, 62, and 1. It is the plain intention of the prophecy to answer Daniel’s questionings and supplication (Daniel 9:2; Daniel 9:18-19; Daniel 9:22), by assigning certain dates, marking stages in the future history of Jerusalem and ending with the consummation of the Divine purpose towards it; and if these dates were to be fixed by variable standards, or if the stages were to be taken as following one another in an inverted order, not indicated in the terms of the text, no definite information would be conveyed by the vision, and the intention of the prophecy would be frustrated.

(i) The traditional explanation of the passage makes it a prediction of the Advent (Daniel 9:25) and Death (Daniel 9:26) of Christ, of the abolition of Levitical sacrifices by His sacrifice, once for all, upon the Cross (Daniel 9:27), and of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans under Titus (Daniel 9:26). There are, no doubt, expressions in the version of Theodotion and the Vulgate, and still more in the Authorized Version, which directly suggest this interpretation,—for instance, ‘to anoint the most Holy’ (τοῦ χρίσαι ἅγιον ἁγίων, ut … ungatur sanctus sanctorum), ‘unto the Messiah the Prince’ (ἕως χριστοῦ ἡγουμένου, usque ad Christum ducem), ‘shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself’ (occidetur Christus; et non erit eius populus, qui eum negaturus est; Theod. here ἐξολοθρευθήσεται χρίσμα[343], καὶ κρίμα οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν αὐτῷ), ‘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’ (Theod. and Vulg. here, somewhat less pointedly, καὶ δυναμώσει διαθήκην πολλοῖς ἑβδομὰς μίακαὶ ἐν τῷ ἥμισυ τῆς ἑβδομάδος ἀρθήσεταί μου θυσία καὶ σπονδή, confirmabit autem pactum multis hebdomada una; et in dimidio hebdomadis deficiet hostia et sacrificium); but these renderings are interpretations, of which one (‘but not for himself’) is impossible, while the others are, to say the least, exegetically doubtful, and certainly in no case necessary (see the notes ad locc.). Thus, to take here but one expression, the crucial term ‘Messiah’ depends upon a wholly uncertain exegesis: nowhere else in the O.T. does mâshîaḥ, used absolutely, denote the ideal, or even the actual, ruler of Israel: the expression used is always either ‘Jehovah’s anointed,’ or ‘my, thy, his anointed’; and though the later Jews unquestionably used the term meshîḥâ ‘the anointed one’ (the Μεσσίας of the N.T.) to denote Israel’s expected ideal king, it is just the question when this usage began, and whether it was current as early as when the book of Daniel was written: certainly, if the book was written by Daniel himself, its appearance in it would be extremely unlikely. Even, indeed, if more than this were conceded, and it were granted that the word might have this sense in Daniel, there would be no proof that it must have it, and the rendering would still remain exegetically a matter of uncertainty.

[343] i.e. מֶשַׁח for מָשִׁחַ: so LXX. (ἀποσταθήσεται χρίσμα καὶ οὐκ ἔσται).

When, moreover, the passage is examined in detail, positive objections of a serious, not to say fatal kind, reveal themselves.

(1) If the Crucifixion (a.d. 29) is to fall (Daniel 9:27 A.V.) in the middle of the last week, the 490 years must begin c. 458 b.c., a date which coincides with the decree of Artaxerxes, and the mission of Ezra (Ezra 7), and which is accordingly assumed as the terminus a quo by Auberlen, Pusey, and others. Unfortunately, however, this decree is silent as to any command to ‘restore and build Jerusalem’; nor was this one of the objects of Ezra’s mission to Judah. Others, therefore, adopting the same general view of the meaning of the prophecy, assume as the terminus a quo the permission given by Artaxerxes to Nehemiah, in his 20th year, to visit Jerusalem for the purpose of rebuilding the walls (Nehemiah 1-3). To urge the objection that at this time Jerusalem itself was already rebuilt (cf. Haggai 1:4), and that the work of Nehemiah was only to rebuild the walls of the city, might be deemed hypercritical: it is a more substantial objection that Artaxerxes’ 20th year was b.c. 445, which brings the terminus ad quem 13 years too late,—a serious discrepancy, when the prediction is a minute one, and given (ex hyp.) by a special supernatural revelation. In so far also as this interpretation is usually adopted by those who believe the book to have been written by Daniel himself, it can hardly be considered probable that the terminus a quo should be a point some 80 years or more subsequent to the date (b.c. 538) at which the prophecy itself is stated to have been given (ch. Daniel 9:1).

(2) The interpretation depends upon the unnatural interpunction of Daniel 9:25 adopted in A.V., viz. ‘unto an anointed one, a prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks; it shall be built again, with broad place and moat, and that in strait of times’: the division of the 69 weeks into 7 weeks and 62 weeks, without the mention of anything to mark the close of the 7 weeks, is improbable, while at the same time some mention of the time at which or during which the city is to be ‘built again’ is desiderated. Those who adopt this interpretation generally suppose the 49 years (which would end c. 409 b.c.) to mark the close of the rebuilding of Jerusalem which was begun by Nehemiah: but there is really no ground for the supposition that this work continued till then. Nehemiah rebuilt, not the city, but the walls, and that, not after the destruction by Nebuchadnezzar, but after some more recent catastrophe[344]; the work was accomplished rapidly (Nehemiah 6:15), and even on the occasion of his second visit to Jerusalem in 432 (Nehemiah 13:6 ff.), there is no indication that any rebuilding, whether of the city or the walls, was still going on. With the interpretation and rendering of Daniel 9:25 adopted in R.V., the possibility ceases of identifying the ‘anointed one, the prince’ of Daniel 9:25 with the ‘anointed one’ of Daniel 9:26, and also of referring either—except upon such strained interpretations as those quoted below, pp. 148, 149—to Christ. (3) Christ did not ‘confirm a covenant with many for one week’ (= 7 years); His ministry lasted at most somewhat over 3 years; and if, in the years following, He is regarded as carrying on His work through the agency of His apostles, the limit, ‘seven years,’ seems an arbitrary one; for the apostles continued to gain converts from Judaism for many years subsequently. The preaching of the Gospel to the Samaritans (Acts 8), which may have happened 3–4 years after the Crucifixion, and which has been suggested as the limit intended in the prophecy, did not mark such an epoch in the establishment of Christianity as could be naturally regarded as closing the period during which the Messiah would ‘make a firm covenant with many.’

[344] See Ryle on Nehemiah 1:3. On Nehemiah 2:5 end, and Daniel 7:4, see also Ryle’s notes.

(4) The destruction of Jerusalem by Titus (a.d. 70), which is supposed upon this view to be predicted in Daniel 9:26 b, follows the date of the Crucifixion by 40–41 years. It not only, therefore, is out of place before Daniel 9:27, but does not even come within the limits of the 490 years at all. Were the prophecy perfectly general in its terms, it would, no doubt, be unreasonable to press an objection of this kind; but where periods of 7 and 3½ years, in the distant future, are (ex hyp.) exactly discriminated, à fortiori a period of 40 years should be so discriminated. Auberlen, it is true, argues that the final destruction of Jerusalem is rightly excluded from the 70 weeks, because after Israel rejected the Messiah it was no longer an object of sacred but only of profane history; but if such an argument be a sound one, it surely ought to apply to the prophecy, not less than to the history, and the event in question ought not to be referred to in the prophecy at all. It is, however (ex hyp.), referred to in it; and is there, to all appearance, placed before the commencement of the 70th week.

(5) If the R.V. of Daniel 9:27 be correct,—and it is certainly the natural meaning of the Heb.,—a reference to the death of Christ is excluded altogether; for the verse does not then describe the final abolition of material sacrifices, but their temporary suspension for ‘half of the week.’

(ii) The principal alternative interpretation is the one adopted in this Commentary in the notes on Daniel 9:24-27. According to this view the terminus a quo is b.c. 587–6, the probable date of the promises that Jerusalem should be rebuilt contained in Jeremiah 30:18; Jeremiah 31:38-40; the 7 weeks of Daniel 9:25 end with b.c. 538, the date of the edict of Cyrus (the ‘anointed one, the prince’ of this verse); the 62 weeks, reckoned from 538, end with b.c. 171 (the date of the murder of Onias III., the ‘anointed one’ of Daniel 9:26); the last week extends from b.c. 171 to b.c. 164, the reference in Daniel 9:26 b, 27, being to Antiochus Epiphanes, and to his acts of violence and persecution against the Jews. This interpretation does entire justice to the terms of the text: but it labours under one serious difficulty. The number of years from 538 to 171 is not 434 (= 62 ‘weeks’), but 367; the number assigned in the prophecy is thus too large by 67. The difficulty is usually met, on the part of those who adopt this explanation, by the supposition that the author of Daniel followed an incorrect computation. There is no intrinsic improbability, it is urged, in such a supposition: for (1) the difficulty of calculating dates in the ancient world was much greater than is often supposed. Until the establishment of the Seleucid era, in b.c. 312, the Jews had no fixed era whatever; and a writer living in Jerusalem (ex hyp.) under Antiochus Epiphanes would have very imperfect materials for estimating correctly the chronology of the period here in question; the continuous chronology of the O.T. ceases with the destruction of Jerusalem b.c. 586,—or at least (2 Kings 25:27) with the 37th year of the captivity of Jehoiachin (= b.c. 562): and though mention is made in the O.T. of the 70 years of the Chaldaean supremacy, or (cf. on ch. Daniel 9:2) of the desolation of Judah, the length of the period between Cyrus and Alexander the Great could be ascertained exactly only by means of a knowledge of secular history which a Jew, living in such an age, was not likely to possess. There would thus be nothing unreasonable in the assumption of a mis-computation for the interval between 538 and 171.

Cornill makes the clever suggestion that, in the absence of any fixed era for the period before b.c. 312, the 490 years were arrived at by a calculation based on the generations of high-priests. From the destruction of Jerusalem to Onias III. there were just 12 generations in the high-priestly family: 1. Jehozadak (1 Chronicles 6:15); 2. Jeshua (Ezra 3:2); 3. Joiakim; 4. Eliashib; 5. Joiada; 6. Jonathan; 7. Jaddua (Nehemiah 12:10-11); 8. Onias I. (Jos. Ant. xi. viii. 7); 9. Simon I. the ‘Just’ (ib. xii. ii. 4); 10. Onias[345] II. (ib. xii. iv. 1); 11. Simon II.; and 12. his son Onias III. (ib. xii. iv. 10): and a generation being reckoned at 40 years, 12 generations (= 480 years) might readily suggest 69 weeks (= 483 years) for the period from the destruction of Jerusalem to the date of the death of Onias, and 70 weeks (= 490 years) for the entire interval contemplated by the author.

[345] Son of Simon I., though not his immediate successor in the high-priestly office: being an infant at the time of his father’s death, he was preceded in the office first by his own uncle Eleazar, and then by Eleazar’s uncle, Manasseh (Ant. xii. ii. 4, iv. 10).

(2) It is remarkable that, as has been pointed out by Schürer[346], precisely similar chronological mistakes are made by other Jewish writers. Thus Josephus (B. J. vi. iv. 8) says that there were 639 years between the second year of Cyrus (b.c. 537 or 536) and the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus (a.d. 70): the real interval was thus reckoned by him as longer by some 30 years than it should be. Further, the same writer reckons (Ant. xx. x.) 434 years from the Return from the Captivity (b.c. 538) to the reign of Antiochus Eupator (b.c. 164–162), i.e. 374 years, and (Ant. xiii. xi. 1) 481 years from the same date to the time of Aristobulus (b.c. 105–4) i.e. 433 years,—the former calculation being 60 years, and the latter nearly 50 years, in excess of the true amount. The Hellenistic Jew, Demetrius (Clem. Al. Strom. i. 21, § 141), reckons 573 years from the Captivity of the Ten Tribes (b.c. 722) to the time of Ptolemy IV. (b.c. 222), i.e. 500 years; he thus over-estimates the true period by 73 years[347]. There seems in fact, as Schürer has remarked, to have been a traditional error in the ancient chronology of the period here in question: it was over-estimated,—by Demetrius to approximately the same extent as by the author of Daniel. There is thus nothing astonishing in the fact ‘that an apocalyptic writer of the date of Epiphanes, basing his calculations on uncertain data to give an allegoric interpretation to an ancient prophecy, should have lacked the records which would alone have enabled him to calculate with exact precision’ (Farrar, Daniel, p. 291).

[346] Gesch. des Jüd. Volkes im Zeitalter Jesu Christi, ii. 616 (Engl. tr. ii. iii. p. 54).

[347] As Behrmann, however, has pointed out, this mistake is not quite certain; for in the figures of Demetrius, as quoted by Clement, there is some confusion: he reckons, viz., from the Captivity of Israel to that of Judah 128 years, 8 months, and from that of Judah to Ptol. IV. 338 years, 3 months,—both together thus equalling 466 years, 11 months; and yet for the whole period from the Captivity of Israel to Ptol. IV. he assigns 573 years, 9 months!—König (Expos. Times, 1899, p. 256 f.) explains a curious (early mediæval) example of the opposite error (327 years from Uzziah to Alexander, and the Persian period contracted to 52 years).

What may be termed a modification of this interpretation has been adopted by Hilgenfeld[348], also by Behrmann, the most recent commentator on Daniel. According to this view, the terminus a quo is b.c. 606 or 605, the date of Jeremiah 25, the promise contained in Daniel 9:11 f. being the ‘word’ of Daniel 9:24 here; the 7 weeks (= 49 years) end with b.c. 558; the 62 weeks (434 years), reckoned, not as following the 7 weeks, but as beginning from the same point that they do, end correctly with 171, the year in which Onias was murdered; and the last week ends with 164, the year of Antiochus’s death. The 7 weeks are thus included in the 62 weeks, and the entire number of weeks, reckoned consecutively, is not 70, but 63; it is, however, urged that the stress lies not upon the length of the period concerned in itself, but upon the events embraced in it, in so far as these depend upon a Divine decree; and so the sum of the years remains 70, even though the years do not follow consecutively. No doubt, it is not expressly stated either that the 7 + 62 + 1 weeks of Daniel 9:25-27 make up the 70 weeks of Daniel 9:24, or that the 62 weeks of Daniel 9:25 begin at the close of the 7 weeks mentioned in the same verse; nevertheless, it may be doubted whether an explanation which assumes the contrary is altogether natural. It might further be objected to this interpretation, (1) that a promise for the rebuilding of Jerusalem is not contained in Jeremiah 25:11 f., except, at most, implicitly; and (2) that for the first 7 ‘weeks’ of the 62 (b.c. 606–558) no attempt whatever was made to ‘rebuild’ Jerusalem.

[348] Die Jüdische Apokalyptik (1857), p. 29 f.

Van Lennep seeks to solve the difficulty by combining the historical with the symbolical interpretation: 60 weeks of years would have corresponded more exactly with the period from b.c. 588 to 164, but it would not have had the symbolical completeness of 70×7 (Genesis 4:24; Matthew 18:22): the 7×7 years at the beginning, and the 7 years at the end, though both agree substantially with the actual periods (b.c. 588–538, and b.c. 171–164), are also primarily symbolical; 7×7 years is a jubile-period (Leviticus 25:8 &c.), at the end of which Israel returns to Palestine, as the slave returns to his home; and the 7 years of trial are analogous to the 7 years of famine (Genesis 41:30; 2 Samuel 24:13; 2 Kings 8:1), or the seven ‘times’ of Nebuchadnezzar’s madness, or the seven troubles of Job 5:19 : the 62 intermediate weeks of years have thus no independent significance of their own, but are simply the residue which remains after the subtraction of 7+1 from 70.

Specimens of other interpretations:—

(1) Wieseler (1846): terminus a quo, 4th year of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 25), b.c. 606: 62 weeks thence end b.c. 172; the last week is 172–165[349] (Daniel 9:26-27). The ‘7 weeks’ extend from 172 to the coming of Christ (the ‘anointed one, the prince’), and represent a jubile-period (Isaiah 61:1-2), to be understood in a spiritual sense, and not limited to 50 literal years.

[349] Different authorities vary by a year or so in the dates assigned by them to the same events.

(2) Delitzsch (1878): terminus a quo, Jehoiakim’s fourth year, b.c. 605 (Jeremiah 25): 62 weeks thence end with 171 (the deposition and murder of Onias, Daniel 9:26); one week thence carries us to the death of Antiochus in 164 (Daniel 9:27). The ‘7 weeks’ follow the 62+1: the ‘anointed one, the prince’ of Daniel 9:25 is the Messiah; as, however, the Advent of Christ did not take place 7 weeks (= 49 years) after b.c. 164, Delitzsch owns the ‘riddle’ of the 7 weeks to be insoluble. The ‘70 weeks,’ however, are ‘quadratic sabbath-periods,’ each consisting of 7 × 7 = 49 years; there are thus 49 × 70 = 3430 years from b.c. 605 to the Advent of Christ (the first and second advents being not distinguished). This result, it is added, is recommended by the fact that, as there were 3595 years from the Creation to Jehoiakim’s fourth year, the entire duration of the world would be not appreciably in excess of 7000 years.

(3) Kranichfeld (1868)[350]: terminus a quo, c. 592 (Jeremiah 29) or 588 (destruction of Jerusalem). The 7 weeks end in 539 (the year of Daniel’s vision). The ‘anointed one, the prince’ is Cyrus. The 62 weeks begin in 539, and end with the death of Christ (the ‘anointed one’ of Daniel 9:26). Certainly, in point of fact the 62 weeks end with b.c. 105, Daniel 9:26 b, 27 referring to the time of Maccabees: there is thus a lacuna of 135 years (from b.c. 105 to a.d. 30), which Daniel, in accordance with the laws of ‘perspective’ prophecy, did not see.

[350] Das Buck Daniel erklärt, 1868.

(4) Von Orelli (1882)[351]: terminus a quo, b.c. 588: end of 7 weeks, b.c. 536; end of 62 weeks, a.d. 29 (the death of Christ, to whom the ‘anointed one’ in both Daniel 9:25 and Daniel 9:26 refers); 434 years from 536 is indeed only c. b.c. 100, but the ‘weeks’ are typical weeks, and are not to be taken as mere mathematical quantities. The ‘redactor’ of the Book of Daniel (who lived in the age of Antiochus Epiphanes) identified the last ‘week’ with his own time; and it seems to be Orelli’s opinion that he modified the terms of Daniel 9:26-27 so as to introduce into them allusions to the events of b.c. 171–164.

[351] O.T. Prophecy, Engl. tr. (1885), p. 434 f.

(5) Nägelsbach (1858): terminus a quo, b.c. 536; end of 7 weeks, the dedication of the walls of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 12), b.c. 434–2; end of 62 weeks thence, the birth of Christ; the last week, from birth of Christ to destruction of Jerusalem, a.d. 70. שׁבוע, ‘week,’ upon this theory may denote any ‘heptad,’ not one of 7 years only, but also one of any multiple of 7; in the first 7 weeks, it is of about 14 years; in the last week, of about 70 years.

(6) Kliefoth (1868), and Keil (1869): terminus a quo, the edict of Cyrus, b.c. 537; the weeks are to be understood symbolically, not of chronologically definite periods of time. The seven weeks extend from 537 to the advent of Christ; the 62 weeks from Christ to the appearance of Antichrist; during this time Jerusalem (in a spiritual sense, i.e. the Church) is built; the last week is the period of the great apostasy, ending with the second Coming of Christ. The words, ‘an anointed one shall be cut off,’ refer to the ruin of Christ’s kingdom upon earth in the days of Antichrist (the ‘prince that shall come’); Daniel 9:27 (the 70th week) relates throughout to the high-handed dealings of Antichrist; Daniel 9:24 to his final overthrow.

(7) Julius Africanus, the chronographer (c. 200 a.d.), ap. Jerome, l.c.: terminus a quo, the 20th year of Artaxerxes (b.c. 445); end of 70 weeks (reckoned as 490 lunar years of 354 days = (nearly) 475 solar years), death of Christ. This view has been revived recently, in a slightly modified form, by Dr Robert Anderson[352], according to whom the ‘year’ of Daniel was the ancient luni-solar year of 360 days; reckoning, then, 483 years (= 69 ‘weeks’), of 360 days each, from 1 Nisan b.c. 445, the date of the edict of Artaxerxes, Dr Anderson arrives at the 10th of Nisan, in the 18th year of Tiberius Caesar, the day on which our Lord made His public entry into Jerusalem (Luke 19:37 ff.). Upon this theory, however, even supposing the objections against b.c. 445 as the terminus a quo (see above) to be waived, the 70th week remains unexplained; for the 7 years following the Crucifixion are marked by no events tallying with the description given in Daniel 9:27.

[352] The Coming Prince, ed. 5 (1895), p. 123 ff.

It is impossible to regard any of these interpretations as satisfactory, or, in fact, as being anything else than a resort of desperation. Even of the interpretation adopted in this Commentary, it must be owned that, like the rival traditional interpretation, it is not free from objection. When, however, it is asked, which of these two interpretations labours under the most serious objection, it can hardly be denied that it is the traditional one. As has been shewn (p. 144 ff.), there are points of crucial significance, at which the supposed fulfilment does not tally at all with the terms of the prediction. On the other hand, a chronological error, which would be in principle inconsistent with a prediction given by direct supernatural revelation, is not a conclusive objection to an interpretation in which (ex hyp.) the prediction does not extend to the figures here in question, but is limited, to the announcement of the approaching fall of Antiochus (Daniel 9:26 b, 27), and of the advent of the ideal age of righteousness which is then to commence (Daniel 9:24). The general parallelism of Daniel 9:26 b, 27,—especially the suspension of the Temple services for ‘half of the week,’—with other passages of the book where the persecutions of Antiochus are alluded to (as Daniel 7:25, Daniel 8:11; Daniel 8:13, Daniel 11:31, Daniel 12:7; Daniel 12:11), and the fact that elsewhere in c. 7–12. Antiochus is the prominent figure, and his age is that in which the prophecies culminate, are arguments which support the modern interpretation. The prophecy does not, upon this interpretation, cease to be a Messianic one: it promises an ideal end of the sin and trouble under which the people of God are at present suffering; and is thus Messianic in the broader sense of Isaiah 4:3 f., and the other passages quoted in the note on ‘everlasting righteousness’ in Daniel 9:24. See further the Introduction, pp. lxxxvi f., lxxxix.

Additional Note on the Expression ‘The abomination of desolation’

The following expressions occur in Daniel:—

1. Daniel 8:13 הַפֶּשַׁע שֹׁמֵם; LXX. Theod. ἡ ἁμαρτία ἐρημώσεως.

2. Daniel 9:27 שִׁקּוּצִים מְשֹׁמֵם; LXX. Theod. βδέλυγμα τῶν ἐρημώσεων.

3. Daniel 11:31 הַשִּׁקּוּץ מְשֹׁמֵם; LXX. βδέλυγμα ἐρημώσεως (so 1Ma 1:54, of the heathen altar built by Antiochus on the altar of burnt-offering), Theod. βδέλυγμα ἠφανισμένον.

4. Daniel 12:11 שִׁקּוּץ שֹׁמֵם; LXX. τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως (so Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14)[353], Theod. βδέλυγμα ἐρημώσεως.

[353] In the parallel in St Luke (Luke 21:20) the expression is paraphrased (‘when ye see Jerusalem encompassed with armies, then know that her desolation is at hand’).

The explanation of these expressions is difficult. Neither שֹׁמֵם nor מְשֹׁמֵם can really mean ‘desolation.’ מְשֹׁמֵם might mean either desolating or appalling: שמֵם (also Daniel 9:27 end) would naturally mean either desolated or appalled (see on Daniel 8:23), but neither of these renderings suits the subst. with which it is joined; it is, however, possible that, by an irregularity of form, of which there are a few examples (see ibid.), it might have an active force, desolating or appalling: but the absence of the art. before שֹׁמֵם in (1) and (3) is anomalous (Ges.-Kautzsch, § 126 z); and in (2) the plur. שקוצים (if this word is rightly connected with מְשֹׁמֵם) is impossible, though the correction שִׁקּוּץ מְשֹׁמֵם would here be an easy one. On the whole, the supposition that the ptcp. in each case means appalling, horror-causing, is the one that is least free from difficulty,—the word used being chosen possibly (as explained on Daniel 11:31) for the sake of its assonance with שָׁמַיִם ‘heaven.’

As regards the two passages in the N.T., three things may be observed. (1) In St Mark the best MSS. and editions (as Tisch., Westcott and Hort, and so R.V.) have the masc. ἑστηκότα (hence R.V. ‘standing where he ought not’), and omit the words ‘spoken of by Daniel the prophet’ (which have been introduced from the parallel text of St Matthew, where they are contained in all MSS.). (2) The interpretation of the expressions in the N.T. is uncertain: the context, however, shews that it must refer to something—or rather (Mk.) to some one—standing in the Temple,—as is generally supposed, not long before its destruction by Titus (in which case the statue of a Roman emperor might, for instance, be intended)[354], though others suppose the reference to be to an expected future Antichrist (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:4)[355]. (3) As regards the bearing of our Lord’s use of the expression upon the interpretation of it in the Book of Daniel, it is to be observed that in St Mark’s Gospel, which has the presumption of presenting the ‘synoptic tradition’ in a more primitive and original form than the other Gospels, there is no reference to Daniel at all; hence, especially in view of the fondness of St Matthew for O.T. references, it becomes probable that even in the first Gospel the words, ‘spoken of by Daniel the prophet,’ are not part of our Lord’s discourse, but are a comment added by the Evangelist. If this conclusion be accepted, it will follow that our Lord pronounces no judgement on the sense in which the expression is to be interpreted in Daniel: it is the expression alone which He borrows: His use of it by no means necessarily implies that He intends to denote by it the same object which it denotes in Daniel; and His authority cannot therefore be invoked against the interpretation of the expression, as used in Daniel, which has been adopted above.

[354] See for this and other cognate views the art. Abomination of Desolation in Hastings’ Dict. of the Bible. A further discussion of the subject does not belong here.

[355] See Abomination of Desolation, and Antichrist (§ 4), in the Encyclopædia Biblica; and cf. Man of Sin in Hastings’ Dict. (§ iv.).

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;
1. Darius] i.e. ‘Darius the Mede,’ Daniel 5:31 : cf. Daniel 6:1 ff. The date is fixed suitably: the first year after the conquest of Babylon would be a time when, in view of the promises of Jeremiah and the second Isaiah (e.g. Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:13), thoughts of restoration would naturally be stirring in the minds of the Jewish exiles.

the son of Ahasuerus] Ahasuerus,—properly ’Ǎchashwçrôsh, also in Ezra 4:6, and Esther, passim—is the Hebrew form of the Persian Khshayârshâ, the Greek Xerxes, called in contemporary Aramaic Chshiarsh (חשׁיארשׁ)[331]. Cf. p. liv, and on Daniel 5:31.

[331] See the writer’s Introduction, p. 512 (ed. 6, p. 546), note.

of the seed of the Medes] See Daniel 5:31. For the expression cf. Esther 6:13.

was made king] See on Daniel 5:31, ‘received the kingdom.’

In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
2. by the books] i.e. the sacred books, the Scriptures. The neglect of the Heb. article in the A.V. obscures here an important point; for ‘the books’ can only be naturally understood as implying that, at the time when the passage was written, some definite collection of sacred writings already existed (comp. Ryle, Canon of the Old Test., p. 112). We do not however learn more respecting its contents except that it included the prophecies of Jeremiah. The phrase might also be rendered (Hitz., Keil, Behrm.) observed in the books.

which the word of Jehovah came to Jeremiah the prophet that he would accomplish for the desolations of Jerusalem, (even) seventy years] See Jeremiah 25:12, and especially Jeremiah 29:10, which, being followed by promises of restoration, addressed to Israel, seems to have been particularly in the writer’s mind. Cf. 2 Chronicles 36:21.

And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
3. set my face] i.e. directed myself: cf. 2 Chronicles 20:3 (lit. ‘set his face to seek unto Jehovah’).

to seek prayer, &c.] i.e. to apply myself to prayer, &c.

with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes] marks of mourning, and the usual accompaniments of supplication, penitence, and confession. Cf. Isaiah 58:5; Ezra 8:23; Nehemiah 9:1; Jonah 3:5-6; Esther 4:1; Esther 4:3; Esther 4:16.

3–19. Daniel’s prayer, consisting (1) of a confession of national transgression, and of the justice of God’s punishment (Daniel 9:4-14), and (2) of a supplication for mercy and restoration (Daniel 9:15-19). The prayer evinces great depth and fervour of religious feeling. In style it is Deuteronomic; in fact, it is composed largely of reminiscences of Deut., the prayer of Solomon in 1 Kings 8, and (especially) of Jeremiah (in particular, of Jeremiah 26, 32, 44): there are also some noticeable parallels with the prayers in Nehemiah 1, 9, and Ezra 9 (see on Daniel 9:4; Daniel 9:6-7; Daniel 9:9; Daniel 9:14-15; Daniel 9:18). The most striking resemblances are, however, with parts of the confession and supplication in Bar 1:15 to Bar 3:18; on which see further the Introd. p. lxxiv f.

And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;
4. and made confession] Leviticus 5:5; Leviticus 16:21; Leviticus 26:40, Numbers 5:7, 2 Chronicles 30:22; and in a context similar to the present one, Ezra 10:1, Nehemiah 1:6; Nehemiah 9:2-3, as well as below, Daniel 9:20.

O Lord] Ah, now! Lord, beginning with a strong particle of entreaty. So Nehemiah 1:5, where the same particle is equally obliterated in A.V., R.V. In Nehemiah 1:11, Isaiah 38:3, Psalm 116:4 (but not in Daniel 9:16), Psalm 118:25, it is rendered I (or we) beseech thee.

the great … commandments] A quotation from Deuteronomy 7:9, with the substitution of great and terrible (as Deuteronomy 7:21) for faithful. The whole verse, from and said, is also almost identical with Nehemiah 1:5 (cf. Nehemiah 9:32 a).

We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:
5. We have sinned, and have dealt perversely, and have done wickedly] from 1 Kings 8:47, with extremely slight differences, indicated in R.V. by the substitution of done for dealt, and of dealt for done. Psalm 106:6 is based similarly on 1 Kings 8:47.

and have turned aside from thy commandments] Cf. Deuteronomy 17:20; Psalm 119:102. ‘Even’ with the partic. is quite false; the construction of the Heb. is one with which every tyro is familiar (Genesis 41:43, Exodus 8:11, &c.).

judgements] i.e. ordinances, as the word is sometimes rendered (Joshua 24:25; 2 Kings 17:34; 2 Kings 17:37; Isaiah 58:2). Properly a judicial decision, which being made legally binding, becomes a standing ordinance; the word being then generalized, it is applied to moral and religious ordinances, as well as to statutes of the civil and criminal law, Exodus 21:1). See e.g. Leviticus 18:4-5; Leviticus 18:26; Deuteronomy 4:1; Deuteronomy 4:5; Deuteronomy 4:8; Deuteronomy 4:14, &c.

Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
6. The guilt is the greater, because Israel had been warned, but had not listened to the warning.

neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets] A reminiscence of Jeremiah 26:5; cf. Jeremiah 7:25; Jeremiah 25:4; Jeremiah 29:19; Jeremiah 35:15; Jeremiah 44:4 (all containing the expression ‘my servants the prophets,’ followed by ‘and ye (or they) hearkened not’).

to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land] The same combination in Jeremiah 44:21; cf. ‘our fathers, our kings, and our princes,’ Jeremiah 44:17 : comp. Nehemiah 9:32; Nehemiah 9:34.

O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.
7. Thus righteousness belongs only to God: to the sinful people only confusion and shame. With Daniel 9:7-8 b, cf. Bar 1:15-17.

confusion of faces, &c.] Cf. Ezra 9:7, ‘and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered … to confusion of face, as (it is) this day.’ Lit. ‘shame of face,’ as the same expression is rendered in 2 Chronicles 32:21; cf. Psalm 44:15, ‘shame of my face;’ Jeremiah 7:19, ‘the shame of their own faces’; also Psalm 69:7. The meaning is the shame (i.e. disappointment) which is visible upon the face after a repulse, disaster, &c.

as (it is) this day] as experience shews is now the case.

the men (lit. man,—collectively) of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem] A combination found otherwise only in Jer. (8 times),—e.g. Jeremiah 4:4, Jeremiah 32:32,—and 2 Kings 23:2 (= 2 Chronicles 34:30). An evident reminiscence of the language of Jer.: cf. ‘all the countries whither thou hast driven them’ from Jeremiah 16:15; Jeremiah 23:3; Jeremiah 23:8; Jeremiah 32:37.

that are near and that are far off] Jeremiah 25:26; cf. Isaiah 57:19.

their unfaithfulness wherein they have dealt unfaithfully against thee] The idea of mâ‘al is disloyalty rather than ‘trespass.’ The same phrase Leviticus 26:40; Ezekiel 17:20; Ezekiel 18:24; Ezekiel 39:26; 1 Chronicles 10:13. Both the subst. and the cognate verb are almost confined to the priestly sections of the Hexateuch, to Ezek., and the Chronicles: cf., however, the subst. in Ezra 9:2; Ezra 9:4; Ezra 10:6, and the verb in Ezra 10:2; Ezra 10:10; Nehemiah 1:8; Nehemiah 13:27.

O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.
8. to our kings, &c.] Cf. Jeremiah 44:17 (quoted on Daniel 9:6).

To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;
9. mercies] The word often rendered ‘tender mercies’ (Psalm 25:6; Psalm 40:11, &c.). The cognate verb and adj. are often rendered by have compassion on (e.g. Isaiah 49:15), and full of compassion (e.g. Psalm 78:38). Compassion would be the best word to adopt uniformly for this word and its cognates.

forgivenesses] Psalm 130:4, ‘With thee is forgiveness’; and Nehemiah 9:17, ‘a God of forgivenesses.’

though] because or for. The clause explains how it is that there is need for the exercise of forgiveness by God.

Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.
10. obeyed (lit. hearkened to) the voice, &c.] So Exodus 15:26; Exodus 19:5; and especially in Deut. (as Deuteronomy 4:30, Deuteronomy 9:23, Deuteronomy 28:1-2; Deuteronomy 28:15), and Jer. (as Jeremiah 3:13, Jeremiah 9:13, Jeremiah 44:23). Cf. with this verse Bar 1:18; Bar 2:10.

to walk in his laws] Cf. Jeremiah 26:4; Jeremiah 32:23; Jeremiah 44:10; Jeremiah 44:23.

which he set before us] See Deuteronomy 4:8; Deuteronomy 11:32; Jeremiah 9:13; Jeremiah 44:10, and esp. Jeremiah 26:4 (cf. the last clause).

Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.
11. even by departing] and have turned aside, as Daniel 9:5.

so as not to obey (hearken to) thy voice] as Jeremiah 18:10; Jeremiah 42:13 (Heb.).

and so there hath been poured out upon us the curse and the oath, that is written, &c.] ‘Poured out,’ as Jeremiah 42:18; Jeremiah 44:6 (of anger): ‘the curse that is written in,’ as Deuteronomy 29:20, the reference being here to Deuteronomy 28:15 ff.; ‘curse’ strengthened by ‘oath,’ as Numbers 5:21, Nehemiah 10:29.

Moses, the servant of God] Nehemiah 10:29 : and (with Jehovah for God) Deuteronomy 34:5, and often in Josh, (as Joshua 1:1; Joshua 1:13; Joshua 1:15, Joshua 8:31; Joshua 8:33).

And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.
12. confirmed his words] The phrase as Nehemiah 9:8; cf. Deuteronomy 9:5, 1 Kings 8:20, al. with this verse, cf. Bar 2:1-2.

judges] apparently a general term for rulers, as Psalm 2:10.

by bringing, &c.] to ‘bring evil upon’ is a phrase common in Jer., as Jeremiah 35:17, Jeremiah 36:31 (where ‘pronounced’ is lit. spake, as here).

for] better, so that, such that, 1 Kings 3:12.

under the whole heaven] cf. on Daniel 7:27.

As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.
13. As it is written, &c.] Cf. Deuteronomy 28:15 b, Deuteronomy 30:1.

yet have we not intreated the favour of (R.V.)] lit. made the face sweet (i.e. gracious), the idiom used with reference to a human object in Job 11:19; Psalm 45:12; Proverbs 19:6, and frequently with reference to God, as Exodus 32:11; 1 Samuel 13:12; Jeremiah 26:19, al. Cf. Bar 2:8.

understand thy truth] better (R.V.), have discernment in thy truth, ‘truth’ being used in the objective sense which it has in Daniel 8:12, and the meaning being (Keil, Prince) to acquire insight into God’s revealed will, and to think and act in accordance with it. The words might, however, also be rendered (R.V. marg.) deal wisely (viz. in amending our ways) through[332] thy truth (v. Lengerke, Behrm.), i.e. through Thy revealed word. The verb has the former meaning (understand, discern) in Daniel 9:25; and the latter in Daniel 11:33; Daniel 11:35, Daniel 12:3; Daniel 12:10.

[332] There is a similar ambiguity in the verb and accompanying prep. in Psalm 101:2.

Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.
14. And (so) Jehovah hath watched over] The same expression in Jeremiah 1:12; Jeremiah 31:28; Jeremiah 44:27 (‘I watch over them for evil and not for good’), the meaning being that Jehovah is wakeful or vigilant over the evil, that it may duly be brought when the right moment arrives. Cf. Bar 2:9.

is righteous] cf. Jeremiah 12:1, Lamentations 1:18, Ezra 9:15, Nehemiah 9:8 end, 33.

in the matter of all his works which he hath done] cf. (with the same peculiar use of the prep. ‘al) Nehemiah 9:33, ‘and thou art righteous in the matter of all that is come upon us.’

and we have not obeyed (lit. hearkened to) his voice] cf. Daniel 5:10.

And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly.
15. that hast brought, &c.] Deuteronomy 6:21; Deuteronomy 9:26; Deuteronomy 26:8; cf. Jeremiah 32:21.

and hast made thee a name, as at this day] verbatim (in the Heb.), though not quite literatim, as Jeremiah 32:20 and Nehemiah 9:10; to make oneself a name (i.e. to gain renown), also, Genesis 11:4, and (of God) Isaiah 63:12; Isaiah 63:14, and (with a syn. in the Heb. for make) 2 Samuel 7:23.

we have sinned, we have done wickedly] 1 Kings 8:47.

15–19. The confession passes now gradually into a supplication for help. Cf. Bar 2:11-12 a, 13 a, 14 a, 16 b, 17 a, 19.

O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.
16. according to all thy righteousness] The plural, of righteousness exhibited in deeds, or, in other words, of acts of righteousness: so Jdg 5:11; 1 Samuel 12:7; Micah 6:5; Psalm 103:6. God’s deliverance of His people, according to His covenant-promise, when and in so far as it deserves it, is regarded as a manifestation of His righteousness. As in the last verse, God’s acts of mercy towards His people and His interpositions on its behalf, in the past, are appealed to as a ground why He should interpose similarly now.

let thine anger, &c.] for the expression, cf. Numbers 25:4, Jeremiah 23:20; Jeremiah 30:24, Isaiah 12:1.

thy city] Daniel 9:19 : cf. ‘my city,’ Isaiah 45:13.

thy holy mountain] Psalm 15:1; Psalm 43:3, and elsewhere. So Daniel 9:24.

the iniquities of our fathers] Cf. Leviticus 26:39, Jeremiah 11:10, Isaiah 65:7, Nehemiah 9:2; also Psalm 79:8.

a reproach to all that are round about us] Cf. Psalm 44:13; Psalm 79:4; also Ezekiel 25:3; Ezekiel 25:6; Ezekiel 25:8; Ezekiel 35:10; Ezekiel 35:12-13. The words may, however, also glance at “the position of the faithful Jews under Antiochus, since in addition to the tyranny of the king they had to endure the taunts of their heathen neighbours, the Edomites, the Ammonites, etc.” (Bevan).

Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake.
17. hearken unto the prayer, &c.] A reminiscence of 1 Kings 8:28 (= 2 Chronicles 6:19). Similarly Nehemiah 1:6; Nehemiah 1:11 (from 1 Kings 8:29).

cause thy face to shine upon] i.e. be favourable to: Numbers 6:25; Psalm 68:1; Psalm 80:3; Psalm 80:7; Psalm 80:19 (in a prayer for help, as here), Psalm 119:135.

desolate] The word (shâmçm) used in Lamentations 5:18, ‘mount Zion, which is desolate’ (cf. 1Ma 4:38), chosen perhaps at the same time with allusion to the transgression, or abomination, ‘causing appalment’ (shômçm, měshômçm), of Daniel 8:13, Daniel 9:27, Daniel 11:31, Daniel 12:11.

for the Lord’s sake] The words in themselves occasion no difficulty (cf. Daniel 9:19; Isaiah 48:11, ‘for mine own sake’), though for thy name’s sake would be more usual (Jeremiah 14:7; Jeremiah 14:21; Psalm 79:9): Jehovah’s honour, or reputation, it is implied, would be impaired, if His sanctuary remained longer in a basement; out of regard to Himself, therefore, He is entreated to interfere. But the third person in the midst of a series of petitions in the second person, is very strange: it is probable, therefore, that either a letter or a word has dropped out in the Heb., and that we should read, either with Theod., Prince, for thine own sake, O Lord (cf. Daniel 9:19), or with LXX, Bevan, Marti, for thy servants’ sake, O Lord as in the very similar appeal of Isaiah 63:17).

17–19. The supplication becomes more urgent, especially in Daniel 9:18-19.

O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.
18. incline … and behold (lit. see)] Almost exactly the words in Hezekiah’s prayer, 2 Kings 19:16 (= Isaiah 37:17).

desolations] Daniel 9:26 : cf. Isaiah 49:19; Isaiah 61:4 (twice).

over which thy name hath been called] i.e. of which Thou art the Owner. The sense of the expression appears from 2 Samuel 12:28, ‘lest I take the city, and my name be called over it,’ in token, viz. of my having conquered it. The expression is often used, especially in Deuteronomic writers, of the people of Israel, Jerusalem, or the Temple, as Daniel 9:19; Deuteronomy 28:10; Jeremiah 7:10-11; Jeremiah 7:14; Jeremiah 7:30; Jeremiah 14:9; Jeremiah 25:29; 1 Kings 8:43; Isaiah 63:10. The paraphrase of A.V., R.V., ‘which is called by my name,’ weakens and obscures the real force of the expression. Cf. further on Amos 9:12.

present] lit. cause to fall: so Daniel 9:20, Jeremiah 38:26; Jeremiah 42:2; Jeremiah 42:9; cf. Jeremiah 36:7 (lit ‘their supplication will fall before Jehovah’), Jeremiah 37:20 (here in the sense of being accepted). The expression does not occur elsewhere in the O.T.: Prof. Kirkpatrick compares, however, Bar 2:19 (οὐκαταβάλλομεν τὸν ἔλεον we do not cast down our supplication).

for … for] properly on (the ground of).

thy great compassions] Daniel 9:9. The same expression in Nehemiah 9:19; Nehemiah 9:27; Nehemiah 9:31 (A.V., R.V., ‘manifold mercies’): cf. 2 Samuel 24:14 (‘for his compassions are great’), Psalm 119:156.

O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.
19. hear … forgive] The combination is, no doubt, suggested by 1 Kings 8:30 b, 34, 36, 39.

hearken] attend, as the word is often rendered in the Psalm 17:1; Psalm 55:2; Psalm 61:1; Psalm 86:6; Psalm 142:6.

and do] cf. Jeremiah 14:7, ‘though our iniquities testify against us, O Jehovah do for thy name’s sake’: see also on Daniel 8:12.

defer not: for thine own sake, O my God, because, &c. (R.V.). The Hebrew accentuation places the main break in the verse at defer not.

defer not] as Psalm 40:17 (= Psalm 70:5 : in A.V., R.V., make no long tarrying).

for thine own sake] see on Daniel 9:17, end.

because thy name hath been called over thy city and thy people] see on Daniel 9:18.

And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God;
20. whiles] So Daniel 9:21. See on Daniel 5:2.

confessing] Daniel 9:4.

for the holy mountain of my God] cf. Daniel 9:16.

20–23. Daniel’s prayer heard; and the angel Gabriel sent with the answer.

Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
21. even the man] ‘even’ arises from an incorrect apprehension of the syntax, and should be omitted (as is done in R.V.).

in the vision at the beginning] Daniel 8:16.

being caused to fly swiftly] The Hebrew is peculiar, and has been variously understood. The first word may be derived equally from two different verbs, meaning respectively to fly and to be weary; the second word, as it stands, could only be derived naturally from the latter verb: thus we get the two renderings, being made to fly in weariness (i.e. being exhausted by his flight), and (Ges., Keil, Meinh.) being made weary in weariness (cf. R.V. marg. ‘being sore wearied’), the words in the latter case being referred either (Ges.) to Gabriel, or (Keil, Meinh.) to Daniel (‘whom I had seen …, when exhausted,’ &c.), in accordance with what is said in Daniel 8:17 f. Neither explanation is satisfactory, but the present text admits of nothing better. ‘Swiftly’ (A.V.), though found in the ancient versions (LXX, τάχει φερόμενος, Vulg. cito volans), is a very questionable paraphrase. The second word might have arisen by an erroneous and incorrect repetition of the first. Of the first word, being made to fly is the more natural rendering. Angels are elsewhere in the O.T. represented as possessing human form, but not as winged (only seraphim, Isaiah 6:2, and cherubim, Ezekiel 1:6, have wings): winged angels (unless one is presupposed here, or in Daniel 12:6, 1 Chronicles 21:16?) appear first in Enoch lxi. 1, ‘And I saw in those days how cords were given to those angels, and they took to themselves wings and flew, and they went towards the north’; cf. Revelation 14:6.

touched me] was approaching close to me.

the evening meal offering] 2 Kings 16:15; Ezra 9:4-5; Psalm 141:2 : cf. 1 Kings 18:29; 1 Kings 18:36.

And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.
22. and he informed me] better, made (me) to understand, as in Daniel 8:16. But the pron. is (in the Heb.) much desiderated; and very probably we should read, with LXX, Pesh., And he came (ויבא for ויבן): so Bevan, Behrm., Marti.

to give thee skill and understanding] R.V. (from A.V. marg.) to make thee skilful (cf. Daniel 1:4; Daniel 1:17) of understanding. The verb might also be rendered to give thee discernment or make thee wise (cf. Daniel 9:13 end).

At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.
23. the commandment came forth] a word went forth (cf. Esther 7:8; Isaiah 55:11). The reference is not to the commandment given to Gabriel to go to Daniel, but to the Divine declaration contained in Daniel 9:24-27.

to shew thee] to declare (it): cf. on Daniel 2:2.

greatly beloved] greatly desired, or (R.V. marg.) very precious: lit. desirable things or desirablenesses; cf. Daniel 10:11; Daniel 10:19, ‘a man of desirablenesses,’ the plural being intensive[333].

[333] For the Heb. idiom here employed cf. Psalm 109:4; Psalm 110:3 : and see Ges.-Kautzsch, § 141 c.

The cognate verb means to desire (Psalm 19:10; Exodus 20:17, ‘covet’); and when applied to men has usually reference to their personal attractiveness (Isaiah 53:2; Psalm 39:11, ‘his desirableness,’ A.V., R.V., ‘his beauty’). The word here used, properly desired, is elsewhere rendered precious (2 Chronicles 20:25; Ezra 8:27; Daniel 11:43), or pleasant (Daniel 10:3; Daniel 11:38): hence R.V. marg. ‘very precious.’

understand … consider] R.V. consider … understand. The two words in the Heb. are different forms of one and the same verb: R.V. transposes the renderings, probably on the ground that ‘understanding’ implies more than ‘consideration,’ and would naturally follow it.

the matter] the word (Daniel 10:1), i.e. the prophetic word following (Daniel 9:24-27).

the vision] Daniel 8:16; Daniel 8:27, Daniel 10:1. Also a term descriptive of the revelation following, and implying that the appearance of Gabriel to Daniel took place in a vision. The word (מראה) is not the one found in Isaiah 1:1 (חזון), which does sometimes mean no more than ‘prophecy’.

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, 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 prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
24. The 70 years foretold by Jeremiah are to be understood as 70 weeks of years (i.e. 490 years); at the end of that period sin will be done away with, and the redemption of Israel will be complete. Jeremiah’s promises, which, while the city and nation are being made the prey of Antiochus, seem a dead letter, will, with this new explanation of their meaning, receive their fulfilment; and (as Daniel 9:26-27 shew) the time when this will take place is not now far distant. Perhaps, as Prof. Bevan observes, this explanation may have been suggested to the writer by the terms of Leviticus 26:18; Leviticus 26:21; Leviticus 26:24; Leviticus 26:28, where it is emphatically declared that the Israelites are to be punished seven times for their sins: “the 70 years of Jeremiah were to be repeated seven times, and at the end of the 490th year the long-promised deliverance might be confidently expected.” The Chronicler had already brought the idea of the 70 years of Judah’s desolation into connexion with heptads, or ‘weeks,’ of years, by his remark (2 Chronicles 36:20 f.) that they were the penalty exacted by God for the ‘sabbatical’ years, which Israel had neglected to observe whilst in possession of its land (cf. Leviticus 26:34 f.).

weeks] i.e. (as the sequel shews) weeks of years, a sense not occurring elsewhere in Biblical Hebrew, but found in the Mishna.

determined] decreed (R.V.). The word is a different one from that rendered ‘determined’ in Daniel 9:26-27, and occurs only here in Biblical Hebrew. In the Talm. it means to determine in judgement, decide.

to finish the transgression] to bring it to an end. The verb rendered finish is anomalous in form, and might also be rendered to confine (as in a prison, Jeremiah 32:2), or restrain (Numbers 11:28), viz. so that it could no longer spread or continue active (so R.V. marg.). But the former rendering is preferable; and is that adopted both by the ancient versions and by the great majority of modern commentators.

and to make an end of sins] parallel with to finish transgression: cf. for the meaning of the verb, Ezekiel 22:15 (‘consume’). So the Heb. marg. (Qrê), Aq., Pesh., Vulg. The Heb. text (K’tib) and Theod. have to seal up (חתם for התם), which is explained (in agreement with restrain in the last clause), as meaning partly to preclude from activity, partly to preclude from forgiveness (cf. Job 14:17): but this explanation is forced; and the Qrê yields here a meaning in better harmony with the context.

and to cancel iniquity] The verb kipper means originally, as seems to be shewn by Arabic, to cover; in Hebrew, however, it is never used of literal covering, but always in a moral application, viz. either of covering the face of (i.e. appeasing[334]) an offended person, or of screening an offence or an offender. When, as here, the reference is to sin or iniquity, the meaning differs, according as the subject is the priest, or God: in the former case the meaning is to cover or screen the sinner by means (usually) of a propitiatory sacrifice[335], and it is then generally rendered make atonement or reconciliation for (as Leviticus 4:20; Leviticus 4:26; Leviticus 4:31); in the latter case it means to treat as covered, to pardon or cancel, without any reference to a propitiatory rite, as Jeremiah 18:23; Psalm 65:3; Psalm 78:38; Psalm 79:9 (A.V. to purge away or forgive)[336]. Here no subject is mentioned: it would most naturally (as in the case of the other infinitives) be God; moreover, when, in the ritual laws, the subject is the priest, the object of the verb is never, as here, the guilt. The rendering of R.V. marg. (‘to purge away’), though somewhat of a paraphrase, is thus preferable to that of A.V.

[334] See Genesis 32:20 [Heb. 21]; and cf. Proverbs 16:14 (‘pacify’).

[335] Occasionally without one, as Exodus 30:15-16, Numbers 16:46 f., Numbers 25:13.

[336] See more fully the note in the writer’s Deuteronomy, p. 425 f.; or the art. Propitiation in Hastings’ Dict. the Bible.

everlasting righteousness] The expression does not occur elsewhere. In thought, however, Isaiah 45:17, ‘Israel is saved through Jehovah with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be put to shame, and ye shall not be confounded, for ever and ever,’ Isaiah 60:21, ‘Thy people shall be all of them righteous, for ever shall they inherit the land,’ are similar. The general sense of the four clauses, of which this is the last, is that the Messianic age is to be marked by the abolition and forgiveness of sin, and by perpetual righteousness. It thus expresses in a compendious form the teaching of such passages as Isaiah 4:3 f. (the survivors of the judgement to be all holy), Isaiah 32:16-17 (righteousness the mark of the ideal future), Isaiah 33:24 (‘the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity’), Ezekiel 36:25-27; Isaiah 45:17; Isaiah 60:21.

and to seal vision and prophet] i.e. to set the seal to them, to ratify and confirm the prophets’ predictions, the figure (cf. John 3:33; John 6:27) being derived from the custom of affixing a seal to a document, in order to guarantee its genuineness (Jeremiah 32:10-11; Jeremiah 32:44). The close of the 70 weeks will bring with it the confirmation of the prophetic utterances (such as those just quoted) respecting a blissful future.

A.V., R.V., ‘seal up,’ means to close up, preclude from activity, the sense of the expression, upon this view, being supposed to be that, prophecies being fulfilled, prophet and vision will be needed no more.

and to anoint a most holy] ‘most holy’ or ‘holy of holies’ (lit. holiness of holinesses) is an expression belonging to the priestly terminology and is variously applied. It is used of the altar of burnt-offering (Exodus 29:37, ‘and the altar shall be most holy,’ Exodus 40:10), of the altar of incense (Exodus 30:10), of the Tent of meeting, with the vessels belonging to it (ib. Exodus 30:26-29; cf. Numbers 4:4; Numbers 4:19, Ezekiel 44:13); of the sacred incense (ib. 30:36), of the shew-bread (Leviticus 24:9), of the meal-offering (Leviticus 2:3; Leviticus 2:10; Leviticus 6:17; Leviticus 10:12), of the flesh of the sin-and guilt-offering (Leviticus 6:17; Leviticus 6:25; Leviticus 7:1; Leviticus 7:6; Leviticus 10:17; Leviticus 14:13, Numbers 18:9; cf. Leviticus 21:22, Ezekiel 42:13, Ezra 2:63, 2 Chronicles 31:14); of things ‘devoted’ to Jehovah (Leviticus 27:28); of the entire Temple, with the territory belonging to it, in Ezekiel’s vision (Ezekiel 43:12; Ezekiel 45:3; Ezekiel 48:12); and once (perhaps) of the priests (1 Chronicles 23:13), ‘And Aaron was separated, to sanctify him as (a thing) most holy[337], him and his sons for ever, to burn incense, &c.’: ‘the holy of holies,’ or ‘the most holy (place),’ is also the name, in particular, of the inmost part of the Tent of meeting, and of the Temple, in which the ark was (Exodus 26:33, and frequently). As no object is called in particular ‘a most holy (thing),’ general considerations, viewed in the light of the context, can alone determine what is here intended. A material object, rather than a person, is certainly most naturally denoted by the expression, and most probably either the altar of burnt-offering (which was in particular desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes), or the Temple generally, is what is meant. The term anoint is used both of the altar of burnt-offering in particular, and of the Tent of meeting and vessels belonging to it in general, in Exodus 29:36; Exodus 30:26-28 (cf. Exodus 40:9-11; Leviticus 8:10-11; Numbers 7:1; Numbers 7:10; Numbers 7:84; Numbers 7:88),—each time immediately preceding the passages quoted above for the use in the same connexion of the term ‘most holy.’ The consecration of a temple in the Messianic age (cf. Isaiah 60:7; Ezekiel 40 ff.) is, no doubt, what is intended by the words.

[337] The words ought however, perhaps, to be rendered (cf. A.V., R.V.) ‘that he should sanctify that which was most holy, he and his sons for ever,’—the reference being to the sanctuary and sacred vessels (cf. Exodus 30:29), and to the various sacrifices mentioned above.

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.
25. The 7 weeks and the following 62 weeks.

understand] R.V. discern,—the Hebrew word being the same as that rendered have discernment in Daniel 9:13 (R.V.), and different from the one rendered understand in Daniel 9:2; Daniel 9:23.

the going forth of the word] cf. (for the expression) Daniel 9:23, Isaiah 55:11. The reference is to the Divine word spoken by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 30:18; Jeremiah 31:38 f.), the meaning of whose predictions is here interpreted (cf. Daniel 9:2).

to restore] lit. to cause to return or bring back, often used of exiles (as Jeremiah 12:15), but not used elsewhere of restoring (i.e. rebuilding) a city. To repeople (השִׁיב for הָשִׁיב),—lit. to cause to sit, figuratively of a city, to cause to be inhabited,—is a plausible emendation (Bevan): cf. the same word in Isaiah 44:26 (‘she shall be made to be inhabited,’ lit. be made to sit), Jeremiah 30:18 (see R.V. marg.: lit. shall sit), Ezekiel 36:33 (lit. cause the cities to sit, followed by ‘and the waste places shall be builded’).

unto an anointed one, a prince] The term ‘anointed’ is used most frequently in the O.T. of the theocratic ruler of Israel (‘Jehovah’s anointed,’ ‘his, my, anointed,’ &c., 1 Samuel 12:3, Psalm 18:50, &c., but never ‘the anointed’); of the high-priest, Leviticus 4:3; Leviticus 4:5; Leviticus 4:16; Leviticus 6:21 (‘the high-priest, the anointed one’), 2Ma 1:10; in a figurative sense also of Cyrus, as the agent commissioned by Jehovah for the restoration of His people, Isaiah 45:1, and of the patriarchs, Psalm 105:15 (‘Touch not mine anointed ones’). On the rend. of A.V., see further p. 144.

prince (נגיד),—properly one in front, leader,—is used (a) of the chief ruler of Israel, 1 Samuel 9:16; 1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Samuel 13:14 and frequently; (b) of a foreign ruler, Ezekiel 28:2; (c. of some high official connected with the Temple, Jeremiah 20:1 (‘who was prince-overseer in the house of Jehovah’), 1 Chronicles 9:11, 2 Chronicles 31:18; 2 Chronicles 35:8, Nehemiah 11:11; (d) in the Chronicles, more generally, of a leader (1 Chronicles 9:20; 1 Chronicles 13:1; 1 Chronicles 27:16), commander (2 Chronicles 11:11), or superintendent (1 Chronicles 26:24, 2 Chronicles 31:12). The ‘anointed one, the prince,’ who is here meant, is apparently (see more fully below) Cyrus (Isaiah 45:1), who is called in Isaiah 45:1 Jehovah’s ‘anointed,’ and who, it is said in Isaiah 44:26; Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:13, will give command for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, which is here, it will be observed, just the subject of the following clause. Grätz and Bevan, however, suppose that Jeshua, son of Jozadak, the first high-priest after the restoration (Ezra 3:2; Haggai 1:1; Zechariah 3:1), is intended. The date would suit in either case: the prophecies contained in Jeremiah 30-31 were delivered probably shortly before the fall of Jerusalem, about b.c. 587, and 49 years from 587 would be 538, which was just the date of the capture of Babylon by Cyrus. Jeshua is mentioned among those who returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:2).

shall be seven weeks: and for threescore and two weeks it shall be built again, (with) broad place and moat (?); and that, in strait of times] so, according to the Heb. interpunction, in manifest agreement with what the sense requires. Seven weeks are to elapse from the ‘word’ commanding the rebuilding of Jerusalem to the ‘anointed one, the prince’; then it will be built again, as a complete city, with ‘broad place’ and moat (?), but in strait of times,—with allusion, viz. to the subject, and sometimes oppressed, condition of Jerusalem from b.c. 538 to 171 (comp. for the earlier part of the period Ezra 4, Nehemiah 6; Nehemiah 9:37): Jerusalem would, indeed, be rebuilt, after the restoration in 538, with material completeness, but would not until long afterwards enjoy the splendour and independence which the prophets had promised (e.g. Isaiah 60.). A ‘broad place,’ or as we might say ‘a square,’ was a standing feature in an Eastern city: see in A.V. Jeremiah 5:1, and in R.V. 2 Chronicles 29:4; 2 Chronicles 32:6, Ezra 10:9 (one before the Temple), Nehemiah 8:1; Nehemiah 8:3; Nehemiah 8:16,—unhappily, in A.V. nearly always[338], and even in R.V. often, misrendered street, and so confused with something entirely different. The word rendered ‘moat’ does not occur elsewhere in the O.T.: the root signifies to cut, make incisions, and in the Mishna almost the same word is used of a trench in a field or vineyard. Whether these facts justify the definite sense of moat is, perhaps, questionable, especially as ‘walls’ and ‘towers’ are more commonly mentioned in connexion with the defences of Jerusalem. Prof. Bevan, following the Pesh., suggests the plausible emendation, ‘broad place and street’ (חוץ for חרוץ), two words often found in parallelism: see in A.V. Jeremiah 5:1; in R.V. Proverbs 1:20; Proverbs 7:12, Isaiah 15:3; also Song of Solomon 3:2, Amos 5:16, Nahum 2:4 (here, badly, broad ways). Whether, however, the text be altered or not, the general sense remains the same: Jerusalem will be rebuilt with the usual material completeness of an Eastern city; but will not enjoy political ease and freedom.

[338] As Genesis 19:2; Deuteronomy 13:16; 2 Samuel 21:12 (see R.V. marg.); Jeremiah 9:21; Lamentations 2:11-12; Zechariah 8:4-5.

in strait of times] For the expression cf. Isaiah 33:6, ‘stability (i.e. security) of thy times’: for ‘times,’ also, 1 Chronicles 29:30.

25–27. The 70 weeks are now broken up into three periods of 7, 62, and 1 week, respectively; and the events by which each of these periods is to be marked are signalized.

And after threescore 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.
26. And after the threescore and two weeks shall an anointed one be cut off, and shall have no …] The ‘anointed one’ cannot be the same as the ‘anointed one’ of Daniel 9:25; for he lives 62 ‘weeks’ (i.e. 434 years) after him. The language is intentionally allusive and ambiguous. The term ‘anointed’ (see on Daniel 9:25) is used sometimes of the high-priest; and the reference, it seems, is here to Onias III. Onias III. was high-priest till b.c. 175, when he was superseded by his brother Jason, who by the offer of 440 talents of silver purchased the office from Antiochus for himself (2Ma 4:7-9). Jason held office for three years, at the end of which time a certain Menelaus, whom he had employed as his agent to carry the 440 talents to the king, took advantage of the occasion to secure the high-priesthood for himself by offering Antiochus 300 talents more. The money promised by Menelaus not being paid, he was summoned before the king. When he arrived he found Antiochus absent in Cilicia and a courtier named Andronicus representing him at Antioch. Menelaus, anxious to secure Andronicus’s favour, presented him with some golden vessels which he had stolen from the Temple. Onias, who was in the neighbourhood, hearing of what he had done, rebuked him sharply for his sacrilege; and Menelaus, resenting the rebuke, prevailed upon Andronicus to assassinate Onias. Antiochus, upon his return home, was vexed with what had occurred, and (according to 2 Macc.) had Andronicus put to death at the very spot at which he had murdered Onias (2Ma 4:7-9; 2Ma 4:23-38). The assassination of one who was the lawful high-priest was an occurrence which might well be singled out for mention in the prophecy; and how the godly character of Onias, and his unjust end, impressed the Jews, appears from what is said of him in 2Ma 3:1-2; 2Ma 4:2; 2Ma 4:35-37; 2Ma 15:12[339]. On the chronological difficulty involved in the verse, see below, p. 146 f.

[339] This account of the end of Onias III. is accepted generally by historians (e.g. Ewald, v. 295; Schürer2, i. 152; Grätz ii. 2, 303): but 2 Macc. (which alone records it) is known to contain much that is not historical; and Josephus not only does not mention the assassination of Onias, but, while he sometimes (Ant. xii. ix. 7, xiii. iii. 1–3, xx. x.) speaks of Onias’ son as fleeing to Egypt, and founding there the temple at Leontopolis, elsewhere (B. J. i. i. 1, vii. x. 2–3) says that Onias himself, after Antiochus attack upon Jerusalem in 170 (Introduction, p. xliii.), fled to Egypt, and founded the temple at Leontopolis (cf. Bäthgen, ZATW., 1886, pp. 278–282). On, these and some other grounds, Wellhausen (Gött. Gel. Anz. 1895, pp. 950–6; Isr. u. Jüd. Gesch.3, 1897, pp. 244–7), partly following Willrich (Juden u. Griechen vorder Makkab. Erhebung, 1895, pp. 77–90), regards the account of Onias’ murder in 2 Macc. as apocryphal: see, however, on the other side, Büchler, Die Tobiaden u. die Oniaden (1899), pp. 106–124, 240 f., 275 f., 353–6, whose conclusion on this subject has the weighty support of the historian Niese, Kritik der beiden Makkabäerbücher (1900), p. 96 f. If Wellhausen’s view is correct, the reference in this verse of Dan. will be to the cessation of the legitimate high-priesthood, when Jason was superseded by the Benjaminite (2Ma 4:23; cf. 2Ma 3:4; Büchler, p. 14) Menelaus.

and shall have no.…] The clause is difficult; though the same text (ואין לו) was perhaps already read (but rendered incorrectly) by the LXX. (καὶ οὐκ ἔσται), and is distinctly implied by Aq., Symm., and the Pesh. The rendering ‘and shall have nothing’ may be defended by Exodus 22:3 [Hebrews 2], though, it is true, the ‘thing’ lacking is there more easily supplied from the context than is the case here; but the sense obtained is not very satisfactory, and the sentence (in the Heb.) reads also incompletely; we should have expected, ‘and shall have no [helper].’—as Grätz would actually read, comparing Daniel 11:45,—or ‘[successor],’ or ‘[seed],’ or something of the kind. Still, if the text be sound, this, it seems, must be the meaning: the ‘anointed one,’ when he is ‘cut off,’ will have nought, i.e. he will be left with nothing,—no name, no house, no legitimate successor. (LXX. and be no more, would be the correct rendering of ואיננו; but this reading is suspiciously easy.) The rendering of A.V., ‘but not for himself,’ is an impossible one: אין is not a synonym of לא, but always includes the substantive verb, ‘there is not,’ ‘was not,’ ‘shall not be’ (the tense being supplied according to the context).

the people of a prince that shall come] viz. against the land, the verb being used in the same hostile sense which it has in Daniel 1:1, Daniel 11:13; Daniel 11:16; Daniel 11:21; Daniel 11:40-41. The allusion is to the soldiery of Antiochus Epiphanes, who set Jerusalem on fire, and pulled down many of the houses and fortifications, so that the inhabitants took flight, and the city could be described as being ‘without inhabitant, like a wilderness’ (1Ma 1:31-32; 1Ma 1:38; 1Ma 3:45)—‘people’ being used as in 2 Samuel 10:13, Ezekiel 30:11, &c., of a body of troops. On the treatment which the Temple received at the same time, see above on Daniel 8:11.

but his end (shall be) with a flood] he will be swept away in the flood of a Divine judgement. The word (cf. Daniel 11:22) may be suggested by Nahum 1:8; cf. the cognate verb (also of an overwhelming Divine judgement) in Isaiah 10:22 (‘overflowing with righteousness,’ i.e. judicial righteousness, judgement), Isaiah 28:2; Isaiah 28:15; Isaiah 28:17-18, Isaiah 30:28.

and until the end (shall be) war, (even) that which is determined of desolations] until the end (i.e. until the close of the seventieth week,—the period pictured by the writer (see on Daniel 8:17) as the ‘end’ of the present dispensation), the war waged by Antiochus against the saints (Daniel 7:21) will continue, together with the accompanying ‘desolations,’ determined upon in the Divine counsels. The word rendered ‘that which is determined,’ which recurs in Daniel 9:27, and Daniel 11:36, is a rare one; and is manifestly a reminiscence of Isaiah 10:23; Isaiah 28:22. For ‘desolations,’ comp. 1Ma 1:39; 1Ma 3:45; 1Ma 4:38 (quoted in the notes on Daniel 8:11).

26, 27. The 70th week (b.c. 171 to 164).

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.
27. And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week] Lit. make mighty a covenant. The expression is a peculiar one; but apparently (the Heb. being late) make mighty is used in the weakened sense of make strong or confirm; cf. Psalm 103:11; Psalm 117:2 (where ‘is great’ ought rather to be is mighty: the word is also sometimes rendered prevail, as Genesis 49:26, Psalm 65:3). The subject is naturally the ‘prince’ just named (Daniel 9:26). If the text be sound, the allusion will be to the manner in which Antiochus found apostate Jews ready to cooperate with him in his efforts to extirpate their religion: see on Daniel 11:30; and cf. 1Ma 1:11-15, where, conversely, the Hellenizing Jews say, ‘Let us go and make a covenant with the nations that are round about us.’

and for half of the week he shall cause sacrifice and meal-offering to cease] alluding to the suspension of the Temple services by Antiochus from the 15th of Chisleu, b.c. 168, to the 25th of Chisleu, b.c. 165 (1Ma 1:54; 1Ma 4:52 f.: see the note on ch. Daniel 8:14). The ‘half-week’ does not seem to coincide exactly with the three and a half years of Daniel 7:25 and Daniel 12:7; for Daniel 12:11 appears to shew that the suspension of the legitimate services did not precede the erection of the heathen altar on the 15th of Chisleu, b.c. 168; as the reckoning here is by weeks, the half-week is in all probability meant merely as a round fraction for what was strictly a little more than three-sevenths of a ‘week,’ three years and ten days. ‘Sacrifice’ and ‘meal-offering’ are mentioned as representing sacrifices generally: cf. 1 Samuel 2:29; 1 Samuel 3:14, Amos 5:25, Isaiah 19:21. The ‘meal-offering’ (minḥâh) was properly the accompaniment of the burnt-offering, and, as such, offered daily: see Exodus 29:40-41. The word might, however, be used in its more general sense, and signify ‘offering’ or ‘oblation’ generally (1 Samuel 2:17; 1 Samuel 26:19).

and upon the wing of abominations (shall be) a desolator] or better (cf. on Daniel 8:13 and Daniel 11:31) one that causeth appalment: in contrast to Jehovah, who rides upon the cherub (Psalm 18:10), the heathen foe will come against the sanctuary, riding upon a winged creature, which is the personification of the forces and practices of heathenism[340]. ‘Abomination’ (shiḳḳûẓ) is often used as a contemptuous designation of a heathen god or idol, or an object connected with idolatrous rites: see e.g. Deuteronomy 29:17; 1 Kings 11:5; 1 Kings 11:7; Jeremiah 7:30. It would be better rendered—for the sake of distinction from tô‘çbâh, also ‘abomination’—detestation or detestable thing (as it is actually rendered in A.V. when it occurs by the side of tô‘çbâh, Ezekiel 5:11; Ezekiel 7:20; Ezekiel 11:18; Ezekiel 11:21); but ‘abomination’ is, through the N.T. (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14), so inseparably connected with the Book of Daniel, that the time-honoured rendering may be left undisturbed.

[340] R.V. marg. ‘upon the pinnacle of abominations’; but though πτερύγιον (Matthew 4:5) means a pinnacle, there is no evidence that the Heb. or Aram. כנף acquired this sense. A.V. ‘for (i.e. on account of) the overspreading,’ &c., follows David Kimchi, who takes ‘wing’ as a figure for spreading abroad, diffusion,—‘on account of the diffusion of abominations, men will be appalled.’ But such a metaphorical sense of the word is very improbable.

Whether, however, the rendering given above expresses the real meaning of the passage may be doubted. The figure of the ‘wing’ is not in harmony with the context; and in Daniel 11:31 the same two words ‘abomination’ and ‘desolator (or appaller),’ differently construed, recur, with clear reference to Antiochus’s persecution, ‘And they shall profane the sanctuary, (even) the stronghold, and take away the continual (burnt-offering), and set up the abomination that maketh desolate (or appalleth)’ (cf. Daniel 12:11 ‘from the time when the continual burnt-offering was taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate (or appalleth) set up’; and above, Daniel 8:13); and it is highly probable that, slightly changing the text, we should read here, similarly, ‘and in its place (כנו for כנף: so Van Lennep, Kuenen, Bevan, Kamphausen, Prince; cf. Daniel 11:38) shall be the abomination that maketh desolate (or appalleth)’ (שׁקוץ משׁומם, as Daniel 11:31, for שׁקוצים משׁומם,—a מ erroneously repeated, and then שׁקוצם written plene שׁקוצים), i.e. instead of the legitimate ‘sacrifice’ and ‘meal-offering’ on the altar of burnt-offering, there will be the detestable heathen altar (see on Daniel 11:31), built upon it by Antiochus.

and that, until the consummation, and that which is determined (i.e. the determined doom), be poured upon the desolator (or appaller)] the heathen abomination will remain upon the altar until the destined judgement come down upon its author (Antiochus). The phrase, the consummation, &c., from Isaiah 10:23; Isaiah 28:22. Be poured is often used of anger or fury (Jeremiah 42:18; Jeremiah 44:6 al.).

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