Daniel 9:24
Seventy weeks are determined on your people and on your 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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(24) Seventy weeks.—Great difficulty is experienced in discovering what sort of weeks is intended. Daniel 9:25-27 are sufficient to show that ordinary weeks cannot be meant. Possibly, also, the language (Daniel 10:2, margin “weeks of days”) implies that “weeks of days” are not intended here. On the other hand, it is remarkable that in Leviticus 25:1-10 the word week should not have been used to signify a period of seven years, if year-weeks are implied in this passage. However, it is generally assumed that we must understand the weeks to consist of years and not of days (see Pusey’s Daniel, pp. 165, 166), the principle of year-weeks depending upon Numbers 14:34, Leviticus 26:34, Ezekiel 4:6. The word “week” in itself furnishes a clue to the meaning. It implies a “Heptad,” and is not necessarily more definite than the “time” mentioned in Daniel 7:25.

Are determined.—The word only occurs in this passage. Theod. translates συνετμήθησαν; LXX., ἐκρίθησαν; Jer. “abbreviatœ sunt.” In Chaldee the word means “to cut,” and in that sense “to determine.”

The object “determined” is twofold: (1) transgression and sin; (2) reconciliation and righteousness.

To finish.—The Hebrew margin gives an alternative rendering, “to restrain,” according to which the meaning is “to hold sin back” and to “prevent it from spreading.” If this reading is adopted it will be parallel to the second marginal alternative, “to seal up,” which also implies that the iniquity can no more increase. Although the alternative readings may be most in accordance with the Babylonian idea of “sealing sins,” the presence of the word “to seal” in the last clause of the verse makes it more probable that the marginal readings are due to the conjectures of some early critics, than that they once stood in the text. However, it must be observed that while St. Jerome translates the passage “ut consummetur prœvaricatio, et finem habeat peccatum,” Theodotion supports the marginal reading “to seal.”

To make reconciliationi.e., atonement. (Comp. Proverbs 16:6; Isaiah 6:7; Isaiah 27:9; Psalm 78:38.) The two former clauses show that during the seventy weeks sin will cease. The prophet now brings out another side of the subject. There will be abundance of forgiveness in store for those who are willing to receive it.

Everlasting righteousness.—A phrase not occurring elsewhere. The prophet seems to be combining the notions of “righteousness” and “eternity,” which elsewhere are characteristics of Messianic prophecy. (Isaiah 46:13; Isaiah 51:5-8; Psalm 89:36; Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:18; Daniel 7:27.)

To Seal Up.—σϕραγίσαι, Theod.; συντελεσθῆναι, LXX.; impleatur, Jer.; the impression of the translators being that all visions and prophecies were to receive their complete fulfilment in the course of these seventy weeks. It appears, however, to be more agreeable to the context to suppose that the prophet is speaking of the absolute cessation of all prophecy. (Comp. 1Corinthians 13:8.)

To anoint the most Holy.—The meaning of the sentence depends upon the interpretation of the words “Most Holy” or “Holy of Holies.” In Scripture they are used of (1) the altar (Exodus 29:37); (2) the atonement (Exodus 30:10); (3) the tabernacle and the sacred furniture (Exodus 30:29); (4) the sacred perfume (Exodus 30:36); (5) the remnant of the meat offering (Leviticus 2:3; Leviticus 2:10); (6) all that touch the offerings made by fire (Leviticus 6:18); (7) the sin offering (Leviticus 10:17); (8) the trespass offering (Leviticus 14:13); (9) the shewbread (Leviticus 24:9); (10) things devoted (Leviticus 27:28); (11) various offerings (Numbers 18:9); (12) the temple service and articles connected with it, or perhaps Aaron (1Chronicles 23:13); (13) the limits of the new temple (Ezekiel 43:12); (14) the sanctuary of the new temple (Ezekiel 45:3); (15) the territory set apart for the sons of Zadok (Ezekiel 48:2). Which of these significations is to be here adopted can only be discovered by the context. Now from the careful manner in which this and the following verse are connected by the words “Know therefore,” it appears that the words “most Holy” are parallel to “Messiah the Prince” (Daniel 9:25), and that they indicate a person. (See Leviticus 6:18; 1Chronicles 23:13.) This was the opinion of the Syriac translator, who renders the words “Messiah the most Holy,” and of the LXX. εὐϕρᾶναι ἃγιον ἁγίων, on which it has been remarked that εὐϕρᾶναι would have no meaning if applied to a place, and the phrase employed in this version for the sanctuary is invariably τὸ ἃγιον τῶν ἁγίων. Any reference to Zerubbabel’s temple, or to the dedication of the temple by Judas Maccabæus, is opposed to the context.

EXCURSUS G: THE SEVENTY WEEKS (Daniel 9:24).

It may be questioned in what way this prophecy presents any meaning to those who follow the punctuation of the Hebrew text, and put the principal stop in Daniel 9:25 after “seven weeks,” instead of after “three score and two weeks.” The translation would be as follows, “From the going out . . . until Messiah the prince shall be seven weeks; and during sixty-two weeks the city shall be rebuilt . . . and after sixty-two weeks shall Messiah be cut off” . . . This can only be explained upon the hypothesis that the word “week” is used in an indefinite sense to mean a period. The sense is then as follows:—The period from the command of Cyrus or of Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem, down to the time of Messiah, consisted of seven such weeks; during the sixty-two weeks that followed the kingdom of Messiah is to be established amidst much persecution. During the last week the persecution will be so intense that Messiah may be said to be annihilated by it, His kingdom on earth being destroyed. At the end of the last week the Antichristian prince who organises the persecution is himself exterminated, and destroyed in the final judgment.

According to this view the seventy weeks occupy the whole period that intervenes between the times of Cyrus or Artaxerxes and the last judgment. The principal objection to it is that it gives no explanation of the numbers “seven” and “sixty-two,” which seem to have been chosen for some particular purpose. Nor does it furnish any reason for the choice of the word “weeks” instead of “times” or “seasons,” either of which words would have equally served the same indefinite purpose.

The traditional interpretation follows the punctuation of Theodotion, which St. Jerome also adopted, and reckons the seventy weeks from B.C. 458, the twentieth year of Artaxerxes. From this date, measuring seven weeks of years—that is, forty-nine years—we are brought to the date B.C. 409. It is predicted that during this period the walls of Jerusalem and the city itself should be rebuilt, though in troublous times. It must be remembered that very little is known of Jewish history during the times after Ezra and Nehemiah. The latest date given in Nehemiah is the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes, or B.C. 446. It is highly probable that the city was not completely restored till nearly forty years later. Reckoning from B.C. 409 sixty-two weeks or 434 years, we are brought to A.D. 25, the year when our Saviour began His ministry. After three and a half years, or in the “midst of a week,” he was cut off. The seventy weeks end in A.D. 32, which is said to be the end of the second probation of Israel after rejecting the Messiah. The agreement between the dates furnished by history and prediction is very striking, and the general expectation that there prevailed about the appearance of a Messiah at the time of our Saviour’s first advent points to the antiquity as well as to the accuracy of the interpretation. However, the explanation of the latter half of the seven weeks is not satisfactory. We have no chronological account of events which occurred shortly after the Ascension, and there are no facts stated in the New Testament that lead us to suppose that Israel should have three and a half years’ probation after the rejection of the Messiah.

The modern explanation adheres in part to the Masoretic text, and regards the sixty-two year-weeks as beginning in B.C. 604. Reckoning onwards 434 years, we are brought to the year B.C. 170, in which Antiochus plundered the Temple and massacred 40,000 Jews. Onias III., the anointed prince, was murdered B.C. 176, just before the close of this period; and from the attack upon the Temple to the death of Antiochus, B.C. 164. was seven years, or one week, in the midst of which, B.C. 167, the offering was abolished, and the idolatrous altar erected in the Temple. The seven weeks are then calculated onwards from B.C. 166, and are stated to mean an indefinite period expressed by a round number, during which Jerusalem was rebuilt after its defilement by Antiochus. This explanation is highly unsatisfactory. It not only inverts the order of the weeks, but arbitrarily uses the word week in a double sense, in a definite and in an indefinite sense at once. There is still a graver objection to assuming that the starting point of the seventy weeks is the year B.C. 604. No command to rebuild Jerusalem had then gone forth.

Daniel 9:24. Seventy weeks, &c. — Weeks not of days, but of years, or, seventy times seven years, that is, four hundred and ninety years, each day being accounted a year according to the prophetic way of reckoning, (see note on Daniel 7:25,) a way often used in Scripture, especially in reckoning the years of jubilee, which correspond with these numbers in Daniel: see Leviticus 25:8. See also Genesis 29:27, where, to fulfil her week, is explained by performing another seven years’ service for Rachel; and Numbers 14:34, where we read, that according to the number of the days which the spies employed in searching out the land of Canaan, even forty days, the Israelites were condemned to bear their iniquities, even forty years. Thus God says likewise to Ezekiel, cotemporary with Daniel, I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days three hundred and ninety days. I have appointed thee EACH DAY FOR A YEAR. Nor was this mode of expression in use only among the Jews; for Varro, speaking of himself, says, he was entered into the twelfth week of his age, at the close of which he would have been eighty-four years old. In these instances, the days evidently denote solar years, which were in use throughout the Jewish history; so that there is no probability that the angel should here intend any such singularity, as counting by lunar years. Are determined upon, or concerning, thy people — Hebrew נחתךְ, are decided. The great event specified was not to be protracted beyond this period, fixed and determined in the counsels of God.

To finish the transgression — The reader will observe, the expression is not, to finish transgressions, but הפשׂע, the transgression; a word which is derived from a theme which signifies, “to revolt, to rebel, to be contumacious, to refuse subjection to rightful authority, or obedience to a law which we ought to observe.” To finish such transgression, is expressed by a word (לכלא) which denotes universality, to cancel, or annihilate. Dr. Apthorp, in his Discourses on Prophecy, vol. 1. p. 262, justly observes, that the diversity of expression respecting the several benefits here promised to the world by the Messiah, may be well supposed to intend so many distinct and determinate ideas. “In a prophecy of such moment,” says he, “we cannot suppose a mere co-acervation of synonymous terms, but each word is emphatic, and proper to its subject. The appropriate sense of each may be investigated, from their use and significance in other passages of Holy Scripture.” Accordingly, by the word transgression, he here understands man’s first disobedience, with its direful effects, the depravation and mortality of human nature. And by finishing this transgression he understands, “cancelling the primeval guilt of Adam’s apostacy, and reversing the sentence of mortality then passed on all the human race.” In other words we may properly understand by the expression, the abolishing the guilt and fatal effects of that disobedience, in such a manner that no man shall perish eternally merely on account of the sin of our first parents, or the depravity entailed upon us thereby; to counteract the influence of which, sufficient grace is procured for us, and offered to us in the gospel of Christ. Concerning this first benefit of our redemption, the apostle treats explicitly Romans 5:12-21, a passage which the reader is particularly requested carefully to consider, as containing a full justification of the exposition here given of the first clause of this verse; man’s first disobedience, termed by the apostle the one offence, and the offence of one, being represented by him as introducing death into the world, and all our misery; and the obedience, or righteousness of one, and the free gift, procured for all mankind, and actually conferred on all penitent believers, as the one meritorious cause and source of our salvation. “No words can express, or thought conceive, the greatness of this redemption. Imagination faints under the idea of a Divine Benefactor effacing sin, annihilating death, and restoring eternal life.”

And to make an end of sins — “As, in the appropriate sense of the words, the transgression denotes one original act of apostacy and rebellion against a positive command of God; sins, in the plural, emphatically express all the vices [offences] against conscience, all the crimes against civil society, and all sins against God, which have ever reigned among men. The redemption by Christ hath abolished all the fatal effects of moral evil, with respect to such as believe and obey the gospel;” not only cancelling their actual guilt by a gracious remission, but even renewing their fallen nature, stamping them with the divine image, and thus both entitling them to, and preparing them for, the immortality lost by the fall.

And to make reconciliation for iniquity — In these words is expressed the manner in which our redemption from death and sin hath been effected. “The word כפר, rendered reconciliation here, is the etymon of our English word, to cover. Its primary meaning is, to hide, or conceal, the surface of any substance, by inducing another substance over it. Thus the ark is commanded to be pitched, or covered, within and without, to secure it from the waters of the deluge. Sin, when grievous, and ripe for punishment, is said to be before God, or in his sight: a propitiation is the covering of sin, [procuring] God’s hiding his face from our sins, and blotting out our iniquities: see Romans 3:23; Romans 3:25. The word redemption implies a price paid for those who are set at liberty: the price is the blood of Christ; that blood a sacrifice; and the sacrifice an expiation for sinners, that is, for all mankind. This is the first and leading notion of the divine expedient for saving sinners, the sacrifice and blood of Christ. The second principal idea under which this redemption is represented, is that of substitution, and satisfaction, by another’s suffering for our guilt; and in this way of stating the doctrine, still the principal and leading idea is that of a sacrifice, and the blood of a victim;” namely, Christ’s dying for the ungodly: see Romans 5:6-9. Inasmuch as Christ, by dying in our stead, “hath prevented either the extinction or [eternal] misery of a whole species, and hath obtained for us a positive happiness, greater than we lost in Adam; every considerate man must think it fit, that to effect such a redemption, some great expedient should be proposed by God himself, to vindicate his wisdom and moral government, in suffering so much vice and confusion to end so happily.” Add to this, that “so congenial to the most generous sentiments of the human mind is the idea of one devoting himself for another, for many, and for all, that all antiquity abounds with such examples and opinions. Not that the Scripture doctrine of Christ’s satisfaction, in itself so luminous, needs any support from foreign testimony; but it is certain that a general consent, founded in nature, or divine institution, or both, hath led men to seek expiation of conscious guilt, in the way of voluntary substitution, and vicarious devotement. The chief reason of that prejudice, which is by some entertained against a doctrine so essential to peace of conscience, is founded on inattention to ancient religious customs. By the sacrifice of Christ, victims and sacrifices are abolished; but all the ancient religions abounded with them to a degree which we should think astonishing, and scarcely credible. Oceans of blood flowed round their altars; and the Levitical rites were instituted on purpose to adumbrate Christ’s expiation, and to introduce all that admirable spirituality and [pious] devotion, which is now the distinguishing excellence of Christianity.” — Dr. Apthorp.

To bring in everlasting righteousness — The three former particulars already considered import the removing the greatest evils; this, and the two following, imply the conferring of the greatest benefits, and all by Jesus Christ. This clause, says Dr. Apthorp, “may admit of two interpretations, which both concur in Christ, and are consistent with each other: our justification by faith in him, and our subsequent study [practice] of personal virtue. The first is a gratuitous act of Christ; the second is characteristic of his true disciples. In the former sense, Jeremiah styles him by his divine title, JEHOVAH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. And in both senses Christ Jesus is made unto us wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption.” To speak a little more distinctly: to bring in everlasting righteousness, according to the gospel, evidently includes three things: 1st, To bring in Christ’s righteousness, or his obedience unto death, as the ground of our justification and title to eternal life, he being the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. 2d, To bring holiness, the divine nature, or the Spirit of God, with his various graces, into our souls, making us conformable to his image, as our meetness for that future felicity. And, 3d, For our direction in the way that leads to it; to lay before us, for our observation, a complete rule of life and manners. Of this last particular, which Dr. Apthorp includes in the everlasting righteousness here spoken of, as being immutable in its obligations, and eternal in its sanctions, he speaks as follows: “When we consider the Christian morality in its ground of obligation, [namely, the will of God,] its principle of charity, and in its detail of special duties, we are struck with admiration at the simplicity and perfection of a rule of life, which, without any artificial system, extended the Jewish law, and combined all the excellences of Gentile philosophy; the elevation of Plato, without his mysticism; the reasonableness of Aristotle, without his contracted selfishness, and worldly views; tempering the rigour of Zeno with the moderation of Epicurus; while, by the greatness of its end, it reforms, refines, and elevates human nature from sense to spirit, from earth to heaven.”

And seal up the vision and prophecy — Hebrew, ולחתם חזון ונביא, to seal vision and prophet; prophet being put for prophecy. The words are a Hebraism, and when expressed in modern language signify, 1st, The accomplishing, and thereby confirming, all the ancient predictions relating to the most holy person here intended. God had spoken of the Messiah, by the mouths of his holy prophets, from the foundation of the world; had foretold his coming, pointed out the place of his birth, and specified the extraordinary circumstances of it; described the manner of his life, the nature of his doctrine, and the variety and splendour of his miracles, with the treatment he should receive from his countrymen; had foretold repeatedly, and set forth at large, his humiliation, sufferings, and death, his resurrection, ascension, and the glory that should follow. Now by making the events exactly to answer the predictions, he confirmed them, as the setting of a seal to any writing confirms its authenticity. 2d, To seat implies, to finish, conclude, and put an end to any thing. Thus also were the vision and prophecy sealed among the Jews. They were shut up and finished. The privilege and use of them were no longer to be continued in their church. And this also happened accordingly; for, by their own confession, from that day to this they have not enjoyed either vision or prophet. But, 3d, To seal, is to consummate and perfect; and to seal the vision and prophecy here, may include the adding the New Testament revelations and predictions to those of the Old, and thereby supplying what was wanting to perfect the book of God, and render it a complete system of divine revelation. It is only necessary to add, 4th, That as things are frequently sealed in order to their security, the preservation of the divine records and oracles included in both Testaments may be also here intended by the expression.

And to anoint the Most Holy — Hebrew, קדשׂ קדשׂים, literally, the holy of holiest an expression often used of holy places, or things, especially of the most holy place of the Jewish tabernacle and temple. It is here very properly applied to the Messiah, whose sacred body was the temple of the Deity; agreeable to his own declaration, Destroy this temple, pointing to himself by some expressive action, and in three days I will raise it up; and who was greater than the temple. Now this most holy person, in whom dwelt the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and who, even as man, had the Holy Spirit without measure, was by that divine unction (which is here principally intended) at once designated and qualified for the sundry offices he was to sustain, especially the prophetic, sacerdotal, and kingly offices, for the various characters he was to bear, and the work he was to do on earth, and is now doing in heaven, and hence is properly termed the Messiah, or the Anointed One. To this may be added, that, as the Jewish temple was evidently a type of the church of God, especially the Christian Church, termed in the Psalms and Prophets the city of God, and the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High; by anointing the holy of holies here, may be also intended the effusion of the Holy Spirit, in his rich variety of gifts and graces, upon the Christian Church, foretold in innumerable passages of the Prophets, and eminently fulfilled, as the Acts of the Apostles, the epistles contained in the New Testament, and the writings of the ancient fathers abundantly prove. 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!Seventy weeks are determined - Here commences the celebrated prophecy of the seventy weeks - a portion of Scripture Which has excited as much attention, and led to as great a variety of interpretation, as perhaps any other. Of this passage, Professor Stuart ("Hints on the Interpretation of Prophecy," p. 104) remarks, "It would require a volume of considerable magnitude even to give a history of the ever-varying and contradictory opinions of critics respecting this "locus vexatissimus; "and perhaps a still larger one to establish an exegesis which would stand. I am fully of opinion, that no interpretation as yet published will stand the test of thorough grammatico-historical criticism; and that a candid, and searching, and thorough "critique" here is still a "desideratum." May some expositor, fully adequate to the task, speedily appear!" After these remarks of this eminent Biblical scholar, it is with no great confidence of success that I enter on the exposition of the passage.

Yet, perhaps, though "all" difficulties may not be removed, and though I cannot hope to contribute anything "new" in the exposition of the passage, something may be written which may relieve it of some of the perplexities attending it, and which may tend to show that its author was under the influence of Divine inspiration. The passage may be properly divided into two parts. The first, in Daniel 9:24, contains a "general" statement of what would occur in the time specified - the seventy weeks; the second, Daniel 9:25-27, contains a "particular" statement of the manner in which that would be accomplished. In this statement, the whole time of the seventy weeks is broken up into three smaller portions of seven, sixty-two, and one - designating evidently some important epochs or periods Daniel 9:25, and the last one week is again subdivided in such a way, that, while it is said that the whole work of the Messiah in confirming the covenant would occupy the entire week, yet that he would be cut off in the middle of the week, Daniel 9:27.

In the "general" statement Daniel 9:24 it is said that there was a definite time - seventy weeks - during which the subject of the prediction would be accomplished; that is, during which all that was to be done in reference to the holy city, or in the holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, etc., would be effected. The things specified in this verse are "what was to be done," as detailed more particularly in the subsequent verses. The design in this verse seems to have been to furnish a "general" statement of what was to occur in regard to the holy city - of that city which had been selected for the peculiar purpose of being a place where an atonement was to be made for human transgression. It is quite clear that when Daniel set apart this period for prayer, and engaged in this solemn act of devotion, his design was not to inquire into the ultimate events which would occur in Jerusalem, but merely to pray that the purpose of God, as predicted by Jeremiah, respecting the captivity of the nation, and the rebuilding of the city and temple, might be accomplished. God took occasion from this, however, not only to give an implied assurance about the accomplishment of these purposes, but also to state in a remarkable manner the "whole" ultimate design respecting the holy city, and the great event which was ever onward to characterize it among the cities of the world. In the consideration of the whole passage Daniel 9:24-27, it will be proper, first, to examine into the literal meaning of the words and phrases, and then to inquire into the fulfillment.

Seventy weeks - שׁבעים שׁבעים shâbu‛ı̂ym shı̂b‛ı̂ym. Vulgate, Septuaginta hebdomades. So Theodotion, Ἑβδομήκοντα ἑβδομάδες Hebdomēkonta hebdomades. Prof. Stuart ("Hints," p. 82) renders this "seventy sevens;" that is, seventy times seven years: on the ground that the word denoting "weeks" in the Hebrew is not שׁבעים shâbu‛ı̂ym, but שׁבעות shâbu‛ôth. "The form which is used here," says he, "which is a regular masculine plural, is no doubt purposely chosen to designate the plural of seven; and with great propriety here, inasmuch as there are many sevens which are to be joined together in one common sum. Daniel had been meditating on the close of the seventy "years" of Hebrew exile, and the angel now discloses to him a new period of "seventy times seven," in which still more important events are to take place. Seventy sevens, or (to use the Greek phraseology), "seventy heptades," are determined upon thy people.

Heptades of what? Of days, or of years? No one can doubt what the answer is. Daniel had been making diligent search respecting the seventy "years;" and, in such a connection, nothing but seventy heptades of years could be reasonably supposed to be meant by the angel." The inquiry about the "gender" of the word, of which so much has been said (Hengstenberg, "Chris." ii. 297), does not seem to be very important, since the same result is reached whether it be rendered "seventy sevens," or "seventy weeks." In the former ease, as proposed by Prof. Stuart, it means seventy sevens of "years," or 490 years; in the other, seventy "weeks" of years; that is, as a "week of years" is seven years, seventy such weeks, or as before, 490 years. The usual and proper meaning of the word used here, however - שׁבוּע shâbûa‛a is a "seven," ἐβδομάς hebdomas, i. e., a week. - Gesenius, "Lexicon" From the "examples" where the word occurs it would seem that the masculine or the feminine forms were used indiscriminately.

The word occurs only in the following passages, in all of which it is rendered "week," or "weeks," except in Ezekiel 45:21, where it is rendered "seven," to wit, days. In the following passages the word occurs in the masculine form plural, Daniel 9:24-26; Daniel 10:2-3; in the following in the feminine form plural, Exodus 34:22; Numbers 28:26; Deuteronomy 16:9-10, Deuteronomy 16:16; 2 Chronicles 8:13; Jeremiah 5:24; Ezekiel 45:21; and in the following in the singular number, common gender, rendered "week," Genesis 29:27-28, and in the dual masculine in Leviticus 12:5, rendered "two weeks." From these passages it is evident that nothing certain can be determined about the meaning of the word from its gender. It would seem to denote "weeks," periods of seven days - "hebdomads" - in either form, and is doubtless so used here. The fair translation would be, weeks seventy are determined; that is, seventy times seven days, or four hundred and ninety "days." But it may be asked here, whether this is to be taken literally, as denoting four hundred and ninety days? If not, in what sense is it to be understood? and why do we understand it in a different sense? It is clear that it must be explained literally as denoting four hundred and ninety "days," or that these days must stand for years, and that the period is four hundred and ninety "years." That this latter is the true interpretation, as it has been held by all commentators, is apparent from the following considerations:

(a) This is not uncommon in the prophetic writings. See the notes at Daniel 7:24-28. (See also Editor's Preface to volume on Revelation.)

(b) Daniel had been making inquiry respecting the seventy "years," and it is natural to suppose that the answer of the angel would have respect to "years" also; and, thus understood, the answer would have met the inquiry pertinently - " not seventy years, but a week of years - seven times seventy years." Compare Matthew 18:21-22. "In such a connection, nothing but seventy heptades of years could be reasonably supposed to be meant by the angel." - Prof. Stuart's "Hints," etc., p. 82.

(c) Years, as Prof. Stuart remarks, are the measure of all considerable periods of time. When the angel speaks, then, in reference to certain events, and declares that they are to take place during "seventy heptades," it is a matter of course to suppose that he means years.

(d) The circumstances of the case demand this interpretation. Daniel was seeking comfort in view of the fact that the city and temple had been desolate now for a period of seventy years. The angel comes to bring him consolation, and to give him assurances about the rebuilding of the city, and the great events that were to occur there. But what consolation would it be to be told that the city would indeed be rebuilt, and that it would continue seventy ordinary weeks - that is, a little more than a year, before a new destruction would come upon it? It cannot well be doubted, then, that by the time here designated, the angel meant to refer to a period of four hundred and ninety years; and if it be asked why this number was not literally and exactly specified in so many words, instead of choosing a mode of designation comparatively so obscure, it may be replied,

(1) that the number "seventy" was employed by Daniel as the time respecting which he was making inquiry, and that there was a propriety that there should be a reference to that fact in the reply of the angel - "one" number seventy had been fulfilled in the desolations of the city, there would be "another" number seventy in the events yet to occur;

(2) this is in the usual prophetic style, where there is, as Hengstenberg remarks ("Chris." ii. 299), often a "concealed definiteness." It is usual to designate numbers in this way.

(3) The term was sufficiently clear to be understood, or is, at all events, made clear by the result. There is no reason to doubt that Daniel would so understand it, or that it would be so interpreted, as fixing in the minds of the Jewish people the period when the Messiah was about to appear. The meaning then is, that there would be a period of four hundred and ninety years, during which the city, after the order of the rebuilding should go forth Daniel 9:25, until the entire consummation of the great object for which it should be rebuilt: and that then the purpose would be accomplished, and it would be given up to a greater ruin. There was to be this long period in which most important transactions were to occur in the city.

Are determined - The word used here (נחתך nechettak from חתך châtak) occurs nowhere else in the Scriptures. It properly means, according to Gesenius, to cut off, to divide; and hence, to deterinine, to destine, to appoint. Theodotion renders it, sunetmeetheesan - are cut off, decided, defined. The Vulgate renders it, "abbreviate sunt." Luther, "Sind bestimmet" - are determined. The meaning would seem to be, that this portion of time - the seventy weeks - was "cut off" from the whole of duration, or cut out of it, as it were, and set by itself for a definite purpose. It does not mean that it was cut off from the time which the city would naturally stand, or that this time was "abbreviated," but that a portion of time - to wit, four hundred and ninety years - was designated or appointed with reference to the city, to accomplish the great and important object which is immediately specified. A certain, definite period was fixed on, and when this was past, the promised Messiah would come. In regard to the construction here - the singular verb with a plural noun, see Hengstenberg, "Christ. in, loc." The true meaning seems to be, that the seventy weeks are spoken of "collectively," as denoting a period of time; that is, a period of seventy weeks is determined. The prophet, in the use of the singular verb, seems to have contemplated the time, not as separate weeks, or as particular portions, but as one period.

continued...

24. Seventy weeks—namely, of years; literally, "Seventy sevens"; seventy heptads or hebdomads; four hundred ninety years; expressed in a form of "concealed definiteness" [Hengstenberg], a usual way with the prophets. The Babylonian captivity is a turning point in the history of the kingdom of God. It terminated the free Old Testament theocracy. Up to that time Israel, though oppressed at times, was; as a rule, free. From the Babylonian captivity the theocracy never recovered its full freedom down to its entire suspension by Rome; and this period of Israel's subjection to the Gentiles is to continue till the millennium (Re 20:1-15), when Israel shall be restored as head of the New Testament theocracy, which will embrace the whole earth. The free theocracy ceased in the first year of Nebuchadnezzar, and the fourth of Jehoiakim; the year of the world 3338, the point at which the seventy years of the captivity begin. Heretofore Israel had a right, if subjugated by a foreign king, to shake off the yoke (Jud 4:1-5:31; 2Ki 18:7) as an unlawful one, at the first opportunity. But the prophets (Jer 27:9-11) declared it to be God's will that they should submit to Babylon. Hence every effort of Jehoiakim, Jeconiah, and Zedekiah to rebel was vain. The period of the world times, and of Israel's depression, from the Babylonian captivity to the millennium, though abounding more in afflictions (for example, the two destructions of Jerusalem, Antiochus' persecution, and those which Christians suffered), contains all that was good in the preceding ones, summed up in Christ, but in a way visible only to the eye of faith. Since He came as a servant, He chose for His appearing the period darkest of all as to His people's temporal state. Always fresh persecutors have been rising, whose end is destruction, and so it shall be with the last enemy, Antichrist. As the Davidic epoch is the point of the covenant-people's highest glory, so the captivity is that of their lowest humiliation. Accordingly, the people's sufferings are reflected in the picture of the suffering Messiah. He is no longer represented as the theocratic King, the Antitype of David, but as the Servant of God and Son of man; at the same time the cross being the way to glory (compare Da 9:1-27 with Da 2:34, 35, 44; 12:7). In the second and seventh chapters, Christ's first coming is not noticed, for Daniel's object was to prophesy to his nation as to the whole period from the destruction to the re-establishment of Israel; but this ninth chapter minutely predicts Christ's first coming, and its effects on the covenant people. The seventy weeks date thirteen years before the rebuilding of Jerusalem; for then the re-establishment of the theocracy began, namely, at the return of Ezra to Jerusalem, 457 B.C. So Jeremiah's seventy years of the captivity begin 606 B.C., eighteen years before the destruction of Jerusalem, for then Judah ceased to exist as an independent theocracy, having fallen under the sway of Babylon. Two periods are marked in Ezra: (1) The return from the captivity under Jeshua and Zerubbabel, and rebuilding of the temple, which was the first anxiety of the theocratic nation. (2) The return of Ezra (regarded by the Jews as a second Moses) from Persia to Jerusalem, the restoration of the city, the nationality, and the law. Artaxerxes, in the seventh year of his reign, gave him the commission which virtually includes permission to rebuild the city, afterwards confirmed to, and carried out by, Nehemiah in the twentieth year (Ezr 9:9; 7:11, &c.). Da 9:25, "from the going forth of the commandment to build Jerusalem," proves that the second of the two periods is referred to. The words in Da 9:24 are not, "are determined upon the holy city," but "upon thy people and thy holy city"; thus the restoration of the religious national polity and the law (the inner work fulfilled by Ezra the priest), and the rebuilding of the houses and walls (the outer work of Nehemiah, the governor), are both included in Da 9:25, "restore and build Jerusalem." "Jerusalem" represents both the city, the body, and the congregation, the soul of the state. Compare Ps 46:1-11; 48:1-14; 87:1-7. The starting-point of the seventy weeks dated from eighty-one years after Daniel received the prophecy: the object being not to fix for him definitely the time, but for the Church: the prophecy taught him that the Messianic redemption, which he thought near, was separated from him by at least a half millennium. Expectation was sufficiently kept alive by the general conception of the time; not only the Jews, but many Gentiles looked for some great Lord of the earth to spring from Judea at that very time [Tacitus, Histories, 5.13; Suetonius, Vespasian, 4]. Ezra's placing of Daniel in the canon immediately before his own book and Nehemiah's was perhaps owing to his feeling that he himself brought about the beginning of the fulfilment of the prophecy (Da 9:20-27) [Auberlen].

determined—literally, "cut out," namely, from the whole course of time, for God to deal in a particular manner with Jerusalem.

thy … thy—Daniel had in his prayer often spoken of Israel as "Thy people, Thy holy city"; but Gabriel, in reply, speaks of them as Daniel's ("thy … thy") people and city, God thus intimating that until the "everlasting righteousness" should be brought in by Messiah, He could not fully own them as His [Tregelles] (compare Ex 32:7). Rather, as God is wishing to console Daniel and the godly Jews, "the people whom thou art so anxiously praying for"; such weight does God give to the intercessions of the righteous (Jas 5:16-18).

finish—literally, "shut up"; remove from God's sight, that is, abolish (Ps 51:9) [Lengkerke]. The seventy years' exile was a punishment, but not a full atonement, for the sin of the people; this would come only after seventy prophetic weeks, through Messiah.

make an end of—The Hebrew reading, "to steal," that is, to hide out of sight (from the custom of sealing up things to be concealed, compare Job 9:7), is better supported.

make reconciliation for—literally, "to cover," to overlay (as with pitch, Ge 6:14). Compare Ps 32:1.

bring in everlasting righteousness—namely, the restoration of the normal state between God and man (Jer 23:5, 6); to continue eternally (Heb 9:12; Re 14:6).

seal up … vision … prophecy—literally, "prophet." To give the seal of confirmation to the prophet and his vision by the fulfilment.

anoint the Most Holy—primarily, to "anoint," or to consecrate after its pollution "the Most Holy" place but mainly Messiah, the antitype to the Most Holy place (Joh 2:19-22). The propitiatory in the temple (the same Greek word expresses the mercy seat and propitiation, Ro 3:25), which the Jews looked for at the restoration from Babylon, shall have its true realization only in Messiah. For it is only when sin is "made an end of" that God's presence can be perfectly manifested. As to "anoint," compare Ex 40:9, 34. Messiah was anointed with the Holy Ghost (Ac 4:27; 10:38). So hereafter, God-Messiah will "anoint" or consecrate with His presence the holy place at Jerusalem (Jer 3:16, 17; Eze 37:27, 28), after its pollution by Antichrist, of which the feast of dedication after the pollution by Antiochus was a type.

Seventy weeks: these weeks are weeks of days, and these days are so many years; though neither days, nor months, nor years are expressed, (which makes it somewhat the more obscure,) but weeks only. It is yet plain and obvious that the angel useth the number seventy to show the favour of God towards them, that they might have so much liberty and joy as their seventy years’ bondage and sufferings amounted to. Yet was this but a type of the time of grace which was to follow after by the coming of Christ. Upon thy people, and upon thy holy city. Why doth he call them Daniel’s people?

1. Because they were his by nation, blood, laws, and profession.

2. Thine because thou dost own them, and art so tender of them, and so zealous for them.

To finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity. Note,

1. The angel discovers first the disease, in three several words, havh Nwe evk which contain all sorts of sin, which the Messiah should free us from by his full redemption, see Exodus 34:6,7 Mt 1:21 viz. original, actual, of ignorance, presumption, &c.; also fault and punishment, which we may prove by Scripture.

2. The angel shows us also the cure of this disease in three words, le callee, le chatem, le capper:

1. To finish transgression;

2. To make an end of sin;

3. To make reconciliation: all which words are very significant in the original, and signify to pardon, to blot out, mortify, expiate.

To bring in everlasting righteousness, i.e. to bring in justification by the free grace of God in Jesus Christ the Lord our Righteousness, Isaiah 53:6 Jeremiah 23:6 33:16 1 Corinthians 1:30; called everlasting because Christ is eternal, and he and his righteousness is everlasting. Christ brings this in,

1. By his merit;

2. By his gospel declaring it;

3. By faith applying and sealing it by the Holy Ghost.

To seal up the vision and prophecy; to abrogate the former dispensation of the laws, and to fulfil it, and the prophecies relating to Christ, and to confirm and ratify the new testament or gospel covenant of grace. The Talmud saith, all the prophecies of the prophets related to Christ.

To anoint the most Holy; by which alluding to the holy of holies, which was anointed, Exodus 30:25-31 40:9-16. This typified the church, which is called anointed, 2 Corinthians 1:21, and heaven, into which Christ is entered, Hebrews 8:1 9:24 10:19; but chiefly Christ himself, who is the Holy One, Acts 3:14. He received the Spirit

without measure, John 3:34. His human nature is therefore called the temple, John 2:19, and tabernacle, Hebrews 8:2 9:11: moreover Christ is he that held the law, by which the will of God is revealed; the propiatory, appeasing God; the table, that nourisheth us; the candlestick, that enlightens; the altar, that sanctifies the gift and offering. All these were anointed and holy: by this word anointing he alludes to his name Messiah and Christ, both which signify anointed. Christ was anointed at his first conception and personal union, Luke 1:35; in his

baptism, Matthew 3:17; to his three offices by the Holy Ghost,

(1.) King, Matthew 2:2,

(2.) Prophet, Isaiah 61:1,

(3.) Priest, Psalm 110:4. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city,..... Or, "concerning thy people, and concerning thy holy city" (s); that is, such a space of time is fixed upon; "cut out" (t), as the word signifies; or appointed of God for the accomplishment of certain events, relative to the temporal good of the city and people of the Jews; as the rebuilding of their city and temple; the continuance of them as a people, and of their city; the coming of the Messiah to them, to obtain spiritual blessings for them, and for all the people of God; who also were Daniel's people and city in a spiritual sense, to which he belonged; and likewise what was relative to the utter ruin and destruction of the Jews as a people, and of their city: and this space of "seventy" weeks is not to be understood of weeks of days; which is too short a time for the fulfilment of so many events as are mentioned; nor were they fulfilled within such a space of time; but of weeks of years, and make up four hundred and ninety years; within which time, beginning from a date after mentioned, all the things prophesied of were accomplished; and this way of reckoning of years by days is not unusual in the sacred writings; see Genesis 29:27. The verb used is singular, and, joined with the noun plural, shows that every week was cut out and appointed for some event or another; and the word, as it signifies "to cut", aptly expresses the division, or section of these weeks into distinct periods, as seven, sixty two, and one. The first events mentioned are spiritual ones, and are not ascribed to any particular period; but are what should be done within this compass of time in general, and were done toward the close of it; and are first observed because of the greatest importance, and are as follow:

to finish the transgression; not the transgression of Adam, or original sin, which, though took away by Christ from his people, yet not from all men; nor the actual transgression of man in general, which never more abounded than in the age in which Christ lived; but rather the transgressions of his people he undertook to satisfy for, and which were laid on him, and bore by him, and carried away, so as not to be seen more, or to have no damning power over them. The word used signifies "to restrain" (u); now, though sin greatly abounded, both among Jews and Gentiles, in the age of the Messiah; yet there never was an age in which greater restraints were laid on it than in this, by the ministry of John the Baptist, and of Christ in Judea and by the apostles in the Gentile world:

and to make an end of sins; so that they shall be no more, but put away and abolished by the sacrifice and satisfaction of Christ for them, as to guilt and punishment; so that those, for whose sins satisfaction is made, no charge can be brought against them, nor the curse of the law reach them, nor any sentence of it be executed, or any punishment inflicted on them; but are entirely and completely saved from all their sins, and the sad effects of them. Our version follows the marginal reading; but the textual writing is, "to seal up sins" (w); which is expressive of the pardon of them procured by Christ; for things sealed are hid and covered, and so are sins forgiven, Psalm 32:1,

and to make reconciliation for iniquity: to expiate it, and make atonement for it; which was made by the sacrifice of Christ, by his sufferings and death; whereby the law and justice of God were fully satisfied, full reparation being made for the injury done by sin; and this was made for all kind of sin, expressed here by several words; and for all the sins, iniquities, and transgressions of the Lord's people; to do which was the grand end of Christ's coming into the world; see Hebrews 2:17, and to bring in everlasting righteousness; which is true only of the righteousness of Christ, by which the law is magnified and made honourable, justice satisfied, and all that believe in him justified from all their sins: this Christ, by his obedience, sufferings, and death, has wrought out, and brought into the world; and which phase designs, not the manifestation of it in the Gospel; nor the act of imputation of it, which is Jehovah the Father's act; nor the application of it, which is by the Spirit of God; but Christ's actual working of it out by obeying the precept and bearing the penalty of the law: and this may be truly called "everlasting", or "the righteousness of ages" (x), of ages past; the righteousness by which the saints in all ages from the beginning of the world are justified; and which endures, and will endure, throughout all ages, to the justification of all that believe; it is a robe of righteousness that will never wear out; its virtue to justify will ever continue, being perfect; it will answer for the justified ones in a time to come, and has eternal life connected with it:

and to seal up the vision and prophecy; not to shut it up out of sight; rather to set a mark on it, by which it might be more clearly known; but to consummate and fulfil it: all prophecy is sealed up in Christ, and by him; he is the sum and substance of it; the visions and prophecies of the Old Testament relate to him, and have their accomplishment in him; some relate to his person and office; others to his coming into the world, the time, place, and manner of it; others to the great work of redemption and salvation he came about; and others to his miracles, sufferings, and death, and the glory that should follow; all which have been fulfilled: or, "to seal up the vision and prophet" (y); the prophets were until John, and then to cease, and have ceased ever since the times of Jesus; there has been no prophet among the Jews, they themselves do not deny it; Christ is come, the last and great Prophet of all, with a full revelation of the divine will, and no other is to be expected; all that pretend to set up a new scheme of things, either as to doctrine or worship, through pretended vision or prophecy, are to be disregarded:

and to anoint the most Holy; not literally the most holy place in the temple; figuratively, either heaven itself, anointed, and prepared for his people by the Messiah's ascension thither, and entrance into it; or rather most holy persons, the church and people of God, typified by the sanctuary, the temple of God; and in a comparative sense are most holy, and absolutely so, as washed in the blood of Christ, clothed with his righteousness, and sanctified by his Spirit; and by whom they are anointed, some in an extraordinary and others in an ordinary way, and all by the grace of Christ: or it may be best of all to understand this of the Messiah, as Aben Ezra and others do; who is holy in his person, in both his natures, human and divine; sanctified and set apart to his office, and holy in the execution of it; equal in holiness to the Father and the Spirit; superior in it to angels and men, who have all their holiness from him, and by whom they are sanctified; and of whom the sanctuary or temple was a type; and who was anointed with the Holy Ghost as man, at his incarnation, baptism, and ascension to heaven; and Abarbinel owns it may be interpreted of the Messiah, who may be called the Holy of holies, because he is holier than all other Israelites.

(s) "de populo tuo", Helvicus. (t) "decisae", Pagninus: Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Michaelis. (u) "cohibendo", Junius & Tremellius; "ad cohibendum", Piscator, Gejerus, Michaelis; "ad coercendum", Cocceius. (w) "obsignando", Junius & Tremellius; "ad sigilandum", Montanus; "ut obsignet", Piscator. (x) "justitiam seculorum", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Michaelis. (y) "et prophetam", Pagninus, Montanus, Munster, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Michaelis.

Seventy {p} weeks are determined upon {q} thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the {r} 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.

(p) He alludes to Jeremiah's prophecy, who prophesied that their captivity would be seventy years: but now God's mercy would exceed his judgment seven times as much, which would be 490 years, even until the coming of Christ, and so then it would continue forever.

(q) Meaning Daniel's nation, over whom he was careful.

(r) To show mercy and to put sin out of remembrance.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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 30:29Verse 24. - 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. The LXX. here differs from the above, "Seventy weeks are determined (ἐκρίθησαν) upon thy people and the city Zion, to make an end of sin, to make unrighteousnesses rare (σπανίσαι), and to wipe out the unrighteous-nesses, and to understand the vision, and to give (appoint) (δοθῆναι) everlasting righteousness, and to end the visions and the prophet, and to rejoice the holy of holies." There seem here to be some instances of doublet: τὰς ἀδικίας σπανίσαι and ἀπαλεῖψαι τὰς ἀδιλίας are different renderings of לְחָתֵם (lehathaym hattaoth), or as it is in the Q'ri, leahthaym hattath (לְחָתֵם חַטָּאוח). Neither of these seems to be the original of the Greek. Schleusner suggests to read σφραγίσαι. Against this is the fact that Paulus Tellensis renders lemaz'or, "to bring to nothing" (Jeremiah 10:24, Peshitta). How Wolf ('Siebzigwochen,' p. 26) can say the LXX. confirms the Massoretic K'thib, is difficult to see. The author of the first rendering of this phrase seems to have read חתת (ha-thath) instead of hatham; the other translator must have read mahah (מָחָה). The phrase, διανοηθῆναι, "to understand the vision," seems a doublet of the clause, "to seal up the vision." There seems to have been in one of the manuscripts used by the LXX. translator a transposition of words; for one of them must have read לְחֻתַן (lehoothan) instead of לְחָבִיא, since he renders δοθῆναι. This is an impossible change, but the mistaking of להחם for להתן is perfectly easy to imagine, if להתם had been written in place of להביא, and it transferred to the place in the Massoretic text occupied by להיי, then we can easily understand להבין. In the last clause the LXX. translator must have read שמח instead of משח, a clearly inferior reading. The impression conveyed to one is that the translators were able to put no intelligible meaning on the passage, and rendered the words successively as nearly as they could without attempting to make them sense. We must admit, however, that the phenomena that cause this impression may be due to corruption of the text. Theodotion renders, "Seventy weeks are determined (συνετμήθησαν) upon thy people and on the holy city, to seal sins and wipe away unrighteousness, and to atone for sin, and to bring the everlasting righteousness, and to seal the vision and the prophet, and to anoint the holy of holies." Theodotion, it will be seen, as the LXX., has "prophet" instead of "prophecy," which certainly is more verbally accurate than our version; he omits "to finish transgression," having instead, "to seal sins." The Peshitta has followed the K'thib and renders, "finish transgressions," and instead of "prophecy" has the "prophets." The text of the Vetus, as preserved to us by Tertullian, is, "Seventy weeks are shortened (breviatae) upon thy people, and upon the holy city, until sin shall grow old, and iniquities be marked (signentur), and righteousnesses rise up, and eternal righteousness be brought in, and that the vision and the prophet should be marked (signetur), and the holy of holies (sanctus sanctorum) be anointed." Jerome renders, "Seventy weeks are shortened (abbreviate sunt)upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to end falsehood (prevarieatio), to end sin, to wipe out iniquity, to bring in the everlasting righteousness, to fulfil the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the holy of holies (sanctus sanctorum)." The Hebrew here is peculiar; the word for "weeks" is in the masculine, which is unexampled elsewhere in the plural. The singular masculine is found, e.g Genesis 29:27; there is no case of feminine singular. Mr. Galloway ('Shadow on the Sundial,' p. 51) would read שָׁבֻעִים שָׁבֻעִים, and would render, "by weeks it is determined." There seems little evidence for this reading; against a few late manuscripts is the consensus of versions. "Determined" is also a word that occurs only Lore; it is Aramaic, but not common even in that language. It means "to cut off." It may thus refer to these weeks being "cut off" from time generally; hence "determined." It is singular, and its nominative is plural. "To finish" also causes difficulty; so translated, it implies that the word should be written כָלָה; but it is written כָּלָא, which means "to restrain," "to enclose," "to separate off" (Furst). Hence if we translate as it stands, it should be "restrain transgression." "To make an end of" in also "cause transgression to cease" This in a rendering of the Massoretic Q'ri; if the K'thib had been taken, the translation should rather have been "to seal." "Sins:" this word is plural in the K'thib, but singular in the Q'ri. A large number of manuscripts write the word plural; the Greek versions give the plural; the Pe-shista and Vulgate, Aquila and Paulus Tellensis, singular. "The prophecy," it is clearly an it stands "the prophet." Jerome is the only one of the versions that takes the word in the sense in which it is taken in our versions. Professor Bevan renders it "prophet" (so Hitzig and Hengstenberg). One is tempted to adopt the reading of Michaelis הזיי חנביא, "the vision of the prophet," which has some manuscript authority (Wolf, 'Siebzigwochen,' p. 15). The overwhelming mass of evidence is in favour of the present consonantal text. Seventy weeks. "Week," while generally a week of days (Daniel 10:2), was occasionally week of years, as Genesis 29:27, "fulfil the week of this," i.e. the seven years of service. Among the later Jews this became a recognized mode of reckoning, as in the Book of Jubilees, each jubilee in divided into successive weeks. From what follows it is necessary that the weeks here are sevens of years. "Are determined," as already indicated, means "cut off," not "shortened," which does not seem to be the meaning of the word in any case. "Upon thy people and upon thy holy city." Daniel has been praying long and earnestly for his people; so there would be no inability to see what was meant by "his city and his people." "To finish transgression" is equivalent to "to restrain transgression." Transgression is apt to become bold and imperious; it is a great deal when it is even somewhat "restrained." It is to be noted that, as Daniel's prayer was greatly confession of the sins of the people and prayer for forgiveness, the promises here are largely moral; but still the Messianic period even was not to be expected to be one in which there will be no sin - it is to be restrained. "To make an end of sins" - though "to seal sins" seems the better reading diplomatically it is the K'thib, and that of some of the versions. It is difficult to give the phrase an intelligible meaning. Moreover, the occurrence of חתם so immediately after is against it. Something may be said for מחה, which occurs in a similar connection with תמם that this does in Lamentations 4:22. This is the reading of one of the translators in the LXX., ἀπαλεῖψαι - the spirit of lawlessness would be restrained and the past iniquities and their guilt wiped away. "To make reconciliation " - "to make an atonement." The verb used is the technical word, "the offering of an atoning sacrifice." In this sense it occurs some fifty times in Leviticus. This might apply to the renewal of sacrificial offerings in the temple after the fifty years' cessation during the Babylonian captivity, or to the renewal after the shorter cessation under the oppression inflicted on the Jews under Epiphanes. The next clause implies a wider application and a loftier sacrifice. Professor Bevan is right in maintaining that, despite the accents, this clause is to be connected with the next. To bring in everlasting righteousness. This is more than merely the termination of the suit of God against his people (Isaiah 27:9). The phrase occurs in Psalm 119:142, and is applied to the righteousness of God. These two, "atonement for sin" and "the everlasting righteousness," are found in Christ - his atoning death and the righteousness which he brings into the world. It is true that when Daniel heard these words spoken by Gabriel he might not put any very distinct meaning on them - in that he was but like other prophets; the prophets did not know the meaning of their own prophecies. To seal up the vision and prophecy; more correctly, to seal vision and prophet - to set to them the seal of fulfilment (von Lengerke, Hitzig, Bevan). This does not refer to Jeremiah, because his prophecy referred merely to the return from Babylon, and this refers to a period which is to continue long after that. Jeremiah's prophecy was about to be verified. This new prophecy required four hundred and ninety years ere it received its verification. Some event to happen nearly half a millennium after Daniel is to prove the prophecy God has given him to be true. And to anoint the Most Holy. This phrase, קָדָשִׁים קֹרֶשׁ (qodesh qodasheem), is used some forty times in Scripture, but almost always of things, as the altar and the innermost sanctuary (Bevan, 155). Hengstenberg ('Christ.,' 3:119) points out that the phrase for "sanctuary" is "קֹדֶשׁ הַקּ, with the article. He appeals to 1 Chronicles 23:13 as a case where, without the article, the phrase applies to an individual, וַוִּבַּ דֵל אַחֲרֹן לְהִקְדִישׁו קיי קיי (vayibba-dayl Aheron leheqdeesho qodesh qadasheem), "And he separated Aaron to sanctify him as a holy of holies." This seems almost the necessary translation, despite the versions; for the prenominal suffix must be the object, and "holy of holies" must be in apposition to it. The act of anointing as a sign of consecration, though applied to the tabernacle (Exodus 30:26; Exodus 40:9), to the altar (Exodus 40:10), the laver (Exodus 40:11), is never applied to the holy of holies. It is applied most frequently to persons; as to Aaron (Exodus 40:13), to Saul (1 Samuel 10:1), to David (1 Samuel 16:3). The words of Gabriel thus point forward to a time when all iniquity shall be restrained, sin atoned for, and a priest anointed. Daniel adds to his interpretation of the dream the warning to the king to break off his sins by righteousness and mercy, so that his tranquillity may be lengthened. Daniel knew nothing of a heathen Fatum, but he knew that the judgments of God were directed against men according to their conduct, and that punishment threatened could only be averted by repentance; cf. Jeremiah 18:7.; Jonah 3:5.; Isaiah 38:1. This way of turning aside the threatened judgment stood open also for Nebuchadnezzar, particularly as the time of the fulfilment of the dream was not fixed, and thus a space was left for repentance. The counsel of Daniel is interpreted by Berth., Hitz., and others, after Theodotion, the Vulgate, and many Church Fathers and Rabbis, as teaching the doctrine of holiness by works held by the later Jews, for they translate it: redeem thy sins by well-doing (Hitz.: buy freedom from thy sins by alms), and thy transgressions by showing mercy to the poor.

(Note: Theodot. translates: καὶ τὰς ἁμαρτίας σου ἐν ἐλεημοσύναις λύτρωσαι καὶ τὰς ἀδικίας σου ἐν οἰκτιρμοῖς πενήτων. The Vulg.: et peccata tua eleemosynis redime et iniquitates tuas misericordiis pauperum. Accordingly, the Catholic Church regards this passage as a locus classicus for the doctrine of the merit of works, against which the Apologia Conf. August. first set forth the right exposition.)

But this translation of the first passage is verbally false; for פּרק does not mean to redeem, to ransom, and צדקה does not mean alms or charity. פּרק means to break off, to break in pieces, hence to separate, to disjoin, to put at a distance; see under Genesis 21:40. And though in the Targg. פרק is used for גּאל, פּדה, to loosen, to unbind, of redeeming, ransoming of the first-born, an inheritance or any other valuable possession, yet this use of the word by no means accords with sins as the object, because sins are not goods which one redeems or ransoms so as to retain them for his own use. חטי פּרק can only mean to throw away sins, to set one's self free from sins. צדקה nowhere in the O.T. means well-doing or alms. This meaning the self-righteous Rabbis first gave to the word in their writings. Daniel recommends the king to practise righteousness as the chief virtue of a ruler in contrast to the unrighteousness of the despots, as Hgstb., Hv., Hofm., and Klief. have justly observed. To this also the second member of the verse corresponds. As the king should practise righteousness toward all his subjects, so should he exercise mercy toward the oppressed, the miserable, the poor. Both of these virtues are frequently named together, e.g., Isaiah 11:4; Psalm 72:4; Isaiah 41:2, as virtues of the Messiah. חטייך is the plur. of חטי, as the parallel עויּתך shows, and the Keri only the later abbreviation or defective suffix-formation, as Daniel 2:4; Daniel 5:10.

The last clause of this verse is altogether misunderstood by Theodotion, who translates it ἴσως ἔσται μακρόθυμος τοῖς παραπτώμασιν σου ὁ Θεός, and by the Vulgate, where it is rendered by forsitan ignoscet delictis tuis, and by many older interpreters, where they expound ארכּא in the sense of ארך אפּים, patience, and derive שׁלותך from שׁלה, to fail, to go astray (cf. Daniel 3:29). ארכּא means continuance, or length of time, as Daniel 7:12; שׁלוא, rest, safety, as the Hebr. שׁלוה, here the peaceful prosperity of life; and הן, neither ecce nor forsitan, si forte, but simply if, as always in the book of Daniel.

Daniel places before the king, as the condition of the continuance of prosperity of life, and thereby implicite of the averting of the threatened punishment, reformation of life, the giving up of injustice and cruelty towards the poor, and the practice of righteousness and mercy.

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