Hosea 10:12
Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness on you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) In their despair come some characteristic gleams of hope on the desolation; the eternal law which makes reaping a consequence of sowing will still apply. The mercy of God will be the harvest of a sowing to the Spirit. (Comp. Galatians 6:8; Romans 8:7-13; and Micah 6:8.) The very soil of the soul is fallow and unbroken. Break it up, seek Jehovah, and He will come as never before. This momentary rift in the storm-cloud shows the light behind it.

Hosea 10:12. Sow to yourselves in righteousness. — Exercise yourselves in the works of righteousness and holiness, in the performance of all duties due both to God and man. Reap in mercy — And then God, of his grace and mercy, will, in due time, bestow an abundant reward upon you. Break up your fallow ground — Your hearts are as ground overrun with weeds, which have need to be ploughed and broken up by conviction, humiliation, and godly sorrow for sin, that good seed may be sown in them. For it is time — High time, if you mean to do it at all, and a fit season for it, 2 Corinthians 6:2, now that troubles are near; to seek the Lord — To seek reconciliation and peace with him, to seek his favour, and a conformity to his will. Seek him, with earnest desire and persevering diligence, in the use of all the means which he hath appointed. Till he come and rain righteousness upon you — That is, pour down his grace and blessings upon you, according to what he has promised.10:9-15 Because God does not desire the death and ruin of sinners, therefore in mercy he desires their chastisement. The children of iniquity still remained in Israel. The enemies would be gathered against them. It is just with God to make those know what hardships mean, who indulge themselves in ease and pleasure. Let them cleanse their hearts from all corrupt affections and lusts, and be a broken and contrite spirit. Let them abound in works of piety towards God, and of justice and charity towards one another: herein let them sow to the Spirit. Seeking the Lord is to be every day's work, but there are special occasions when to seek him. Christ shall come as the Lord our righteousness, and grant us of it abundantly. If we sow in righteousness, we shall reap according to mercy; a reward not of debt, but of grace. Even the gains of sin yield the sinner no satisfaction. As our comforts, so our confidences in the service of sin will certainly fail us. Come and seek the Lord, and thy hope in him shall not deceive thee. See what cruel work war makes. Whatever mischief is done, it is sin that does it. What miseries men's sins bring on them, even in this world!Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy - Literally, "in the proportion of mercy," not in proportion to what you have sown, nor what justice would give, but beyond all deserts, "in the proportion of mercy;" i. e., "according to the capacity and fullness of the mercy of God; what becometh the mercy of God, which is boundless," which overlooketh man's failings, and giveth an infinite reward for poor imperfect labor. As our Lord says, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together and running over, shall men give into your bosom" Luke 6:38. : "If the earth giveth thee larger fruits than it has received, how much more shall the requiting of mercy repay thee manifold more than thou gavest!" Sowing and reaping always stand over against each other, as labor and reward. "He that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully" 2 Corinthians 9:6.

And, "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. In due season we shall reap, if we faint not" Galatians 6:7-9. We are bidden "to sow to ourselves," for, "our goodness reacheth not to God" Psalm 16:2; our's is the gain, if we love God, the Fountain of all good. This reward, "according to mercy," is in both worlds. it is in this world also. For "grace well used draws more grace." God giveth "grace upon grace" John 1:16; so that each good deed, the fruit of grace, is the seed-corn of larger grace. "If thou humble thyself, it stimulates thee to humble thyself more. If thou prayest, thou longest to pray more. If thou givest alms, thou wishest to give more." It is in the world to come. For, says a holy man , "our works do not pass away as it seems, but each thing done in time, is sown as the Seed of eternity. The simple will be amazed, when from this slight seed he shall see the copious harvest arise, good or evil, according as the seed was." "Thou seekest two sheaves, rest and glory. They shall reap glory and rest, who have sown toil and self-abasement" .

Break up your fallow ground - This is not the order of husbandry. The ground was already plowed, harrowed, sown. Now he bids her anew, "Break up your fallow ground." The Church breaks up her own fallow ground, when she stirs up anew the decaying piety of her own members; she breaks up fallow ground, when, by preaching the Gospel of Christ, she brings new people into His fold. And for us too, one sowing sufficeth not. It must be no surface-sowing. And "the soil of our hearts must ever be anew cleansed; for no one in this mortal life is so perfect, in piety, that noxious desires will not spring up again in the heart, us tares in the well-tilled field."

For it is time to seek the Lord, until He come and rain righteousness upon you - Or better, "until he shall come and teach you righteousness." To "rain righteousness" is the same image as Solomon uses of Christ; "He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass, as showers that water the earth" Psalm 72:6, and Isaiah, "drop down ye heavens from above and let the skies pour down righteousness" Isaiah 45:8. It expresses in picture-language how He, who is "our Righteousness," came down from heaven, to give life to us, who were dried and parched up and withered, when the whole face of our mortal nature was as dead. Yet there is nothing to indicate that the prophet is here using imagery. The Hebrew word is used very rarely in the meaning, to "rain;" in that of teaching, continually, and that, in exactly the same idiom as here . One office of our Lord was to teach. Nicodemus owned Him, "as a teacher sent from" God John 3:2. The Samaritans looked to the Messiah, as one who should "teach all things" John 4:25. The prophets foretold that He should "teach us His ways" Isaiah 2:3, that He should be a "witness unto the people" Isaiah 55:4.

The prophet bids them "seek diligently," and perseveringly, "not leaving off or desisting," if they should not at once find, but continuing the search, quite "up to" the time when they should find. His words imply the need of perseverance and patience, which should stop short of nothing but God's own time for finding. The prophet, as is the way of the prophets, goes on to Christ, who was ever in the prophets' hearts and hopes. The words could only be understood improperly of God the Father. God does not "come," who is everywhere. He ever was among His people, nor did He will to be among them otherwise than heretofore. No coming of God, as God, was looked for, to "teach righteousness." Rather, the time was coming, when He would be less visibly among them than before. Among the ten tribes, as a distinct people, He would shortly be no more, either by prophecy, or in worship, or by any perceptible token of His providence. From Judah also He was about, although at a later period, to withdraw the kingdom of David, and the Urim and Thummira, and the Shechinah, or visible presence. Soon after the captivity, prophecy itself was to cease. But "the coming of Christ the patriarchs and holy men all along desired to see: Abraham saw it and was glad John 8:56. Jacob longed for it Genesis 49:18. The law and the prophets directed to it, so that there were always in Israel such as waited for it, as appears by the example of old Simeon and Joseph of Arimathaea, and those many prophets and righteous men whom our Saviour speaks of Luke 2:25; Mark 15:43; Matthew 13:17. "He that should come" seems to have been a known title for Him; since John Baptist sent two of his disciples, to say unto Him, "Art thou He that shall come, or do we look for another?" Matthew 11:3.

The prophet saith then, "Now is the time to seek the Lord, and prepare for the coming of Christ, for He, when He cometh, will teach you, yea, will give you true righteousness, whereby ye shall be righteous before God, and heirs of His kingdom." : "So God speaketh through Isaiah, "keep ye judgment and do justice, for My salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed." In both places, people are warned, "to prepare the way" to receive Christ, which was the office assigned to the law. As Paul saith, "Whereunto was the law? It was added because of transgressions." It was given to restrain the passions of people by fear of punishment, lest they should so defile themselves by sin, as to despise the mercy and office of Christ. It was given to prepare our souls by love of righteousness and mercy to receive Christ, that he might enrich them with the divine wealth of righteousness." : "If Israel of old were so to order their ways in expectation of Him, and that they might be prepared for His coming; and if their neglecting to do this made them liable to such heavy judgments, how much severer judgments shall they be worthy of, who, after His Coming and raining upon them the plentiful showers of heavenly doctrine, and abundant measure of His grace and gifts of His Holy Spirit, do, for want of breaking up the fallow ground of their hearts, suffer His holy word to be lost on them. The fearful doom of such unfruitful Christians is set down by Paul" Hebrews 6:4-8.

The present is ever the time to seek the Lord. "Behold now is the accepted time; behold now is the Day of Salvation" 2 Corinthians 6:2. As Hosea says, "it is time to seek the Lord until He come," so Paul saith, "unto them that look for Him, shall he appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation" Hebrews 9:28.

12. Continuation of the image in Ho 10:11 (Pr 11:18). Act righteously and ye shall reap the reward; a reward not of debt, but of grace.

in mercy—according to the measure of the divine "mercy," which over and above repays the goodness or "mercy" which we show to our fellow man (Lu 6:38).

break … fallow ground—Remove your superstitions and vices, and be renewed.

seek … Lord, fill he come—Though not answered immediately, persevere unceasingly "till He come."

rain—send down as a copious shower.

righteousness—the reward of righteousness, that is, salvation, temporal and spiritual (1Sa 26:23; compare Joe 2:23 ).

Sow to yourselves in righteousness: the prophet continueth his care of their welfare, by exhorting them yet at last to repent, which, as learned interpreters observe, the prophet doth here in the same elliptic speech which is used before these imperatives, and is to be made up thus, The Lord hath said by his prophets, Sow, &c.; this same duty hath been pressed on them formerly, and is again commended to them; sow in righteousness, in universal righteousness, towards God in piety, towards man in equity, and herein see that ye sow plentifully, that is, exercise yourselves in these works.

Reap in mercy: this is referred both to the Divine mercy, and so amounteth to a promise, and to the mercy we should show to man, and so is direction for another part of duty; both may well have place here.

Break up your fallow ground; your hearts, O ye Ephraimites, have been and still are, as ground overrun with weeds, which need be ploughed and broken up, that good seed may be sowed in them, that you may bring forth fruit in holy life, from a holy heart, and obtain mercy of God.

It is time to seek the Lord; it is full time, if you consider it aright; or, it is yet time, you may seek and find he is not quite gone, still he calls you, therefore hearken, and follow seasonable advice, seek ye the Lord whilst he may be found.

Till he come; seek with patience and faith until he doth, as certainly he will, come; for this passage is a virtual or implicit promise that God will come to them if they seek him, i.e. he will bless, favour, and love them; in these he will appear to them, which is his coming to them.

Rain righteousness; plentifully pour out the fruits of his own goodness and mercy which he hath promised, and, having promised, it is a righteous thing they should be given according to promise; thus the mercies of God to us are his righteousness to us.

Upon you, who repent and obey his counsel by his prophets. Saw to yourselves in righteousness,.... Not the seed of grace, which bad men have not, and cannot saw it; and which good men need not, it being sown in them already, and remaining; rather the seed of the word, which should be laid up in their hearts, dwell richly in them, and be kept and retained by them; though it is best of all to understand it of works of righteousness; as sowing to the flesh is doing the works of the flesh, or carnal and sinful acts; so sowing "unto righteousness" (g), as it may be rendered, is doing works of righteousness; living soberly and righteously; doing works according to the word of righteousness, from good principles, and with good views, with a view to the glory of God: and which will be "sowing to themselves", turn to their own account; for though such works are not profitable to God, as to merit anything at his hands; yet they are not only profitable to others, but to those that do them; for though not "for", yet "in keeping" the commands of God there is "great reward", Psalm 19:11. Reap in mercy; or "according to mercy" (h) not according to the merit of works, for there is none in them; but according to the mercy of God, to which all blessings, temporal, spiritual, and eternaL, are owing; and such who sow to the Spirit, or spiritual things, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting; not as the reward of debt, but of grace; not as of merit, but as owing to the mercy of Christ, Galatians 6:9 Jde Galatians 1:21;

break up your fallow ground; that is, of their hearts; which were like ground unopened, unbroken, not filled and manured, nor sown with seed, but overrun with weeds and thistles; and so were they, hard and impenitent, destitute of grace, and full of sin and wickedness, and stood in need of being renewed in the spirit of their minds; which this exhortation is designed to convince them of, and to stir them up to make use of proper methods of obtaining it, through the efficacious grace of God; see Jeremiah 4:5;

for it is time to seek the Lord: for his grace; as the husbandman seeks, prays, and waits for rain, when he has tilled his ground, and sowed his seed, to water it, and make it fruitful, that he may have a good reaping time, a plentiful harvest; and as there is a time to seek for the one, so for the other:

till he come and rain righteousness upon you; that is, Christ, whose coming is as the rain, Hosea 6:3; and who, when he should come, whether personally by his incarnation, or spiritually by his gracious presence, would rain a plentiful rain of the doctrines of grace, and the blessings of it, such as peace pardon, righteousness, and eternal life by him; particularly the justifying righteousness wrought out by him, which is fully manifested in the Gospel, the ministration of that righteousness, and is applied unto, and put upon, all them that believe: or "till he come and teach you righteousness" (i); as Christ did when come; he taught the word of righteousness in general, and the righteousness of God in particular, and directed men to seek it; declared he came to fulfil all righteousness, and taught men to believe in him for it, and that he is their righteousness, and the end of the law for it; as well as he taught them to live righteously and godly; see Joel 2:23. The Targum is,

"O house of Israel, do for yourselves good works; walk in the way of truth; establish for yourselves the doctrine of the law; behold, at all times the prophets say to you, return to the fear of the Lord; now shall he be revealed, and bring righteousness to you.''

But these exhortations were vain and fruitless, as appears by what follows:

(g) "ad justitiam", Pagninus, Montanus, Munster, Calvin, Junius & Tremellius, Drusius, Tarnovius, Cocceius. (h) "ad os miserecordiae", Montanus; "secundum misericordiam", Pagninus; "secundum pietatem", Cocceius, Schmidt. (i) "et doceat justitiam vos", Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius, Cocceius, Schmidt.

Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; {r} break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

(r) Read Geneva Jer 4:3 See Jer 4:4

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. If only a moral miracle could take place, Israel’s calamities might yet be averted. Nor is it entirely inconceivable, for miracles, so Hosea thinks, can be wrought by an earnest resolution. Hence Hosea’s final appeal.

Sow to yourselves, &c.] Rather, Sow to yourselves according to righteousness, and ye shall reap in proportion to love; that is, Let your conduct be governed by a regard to righteousness, and it shall be recompensed in accordance with the divine love (or perhaps, see on Hosea 4:1, in accordance with the love ye have shown to one another, ‘righteousness’ being only another aspect of ‘love’ or benevolence).

Break up your fallow ground] Husbandmen in the East are indolent, and sometimes ‘sow among thorns’ (Jeremiah 4:3). The Israelites are warned against committing this fault in their spiritual husbandry. Evil habits must be broken off, and a new character formed, or it will be impossible to sow the seed of righteousness.

for it is time, &c.] There is still time to seek Jehovah, till he listen to your prayer, and rain his righteous gift of salvation upon you. For the figure of righteousness coming down from the sky, comp. Isaiah 45:8; Psalm 85:11. ‘Righteousness’ bears the meaning ‘salvation’ which it virtually has so often in the second part of Isaiah, ‘righteousness’ being the divine principle of action, ‘salvation’ the same divine principle in action.Verses 12, 13. - Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy. These two verses contain a call to repentance and reformation of life, in figurative language borrowed from the same department of human industry, לצדי is "for righteousness;" that is, sow such seed as that righteousness may spring from it. לפי הי is "according to," or "in proportion to, mercy." When two imperatives are joined, is here, the latter indicates a promise, and may be expressed by a future, as, "Do this and live," i.e. "ye shall live" (Genesis 42:18). Kimchi explains it correctly, thus: "Sow to yourselves, etc., that is, do good in mine eyes, and the recompense from me shall be far greater than your good deeds, just as if one sows a measure (seah), and hopes to reap therefore two measures (seahs) or still more. Therefore, he uses in sowing righteousness, and in connection with reaping grace, in order to intimate that grace surpasses righteousness. Or that God rewards men's actions, not according to merit, but according to grace. As men sew, they reap; accordingly Israel is directed to sow ac-eroding to righteousness - to act righteously in their dealings with their fellow-men; and their reaping or reward would be, not in proportion to what they had sown, not merely commensurate with their righteous actions or dealings, not proportionate to what justice would give; but in proportion to mercy - Divine mercy, and so far above their highest deserts. They are promised a reward far above their poor doings, and irrespective of their sad failings - a reward, not of debt, not of merit, but of grace. The seed-time of righteousness would be followed by a reaping-time proportionate to the boundless measure of the Divine mercy. Break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. Here they are urged to turn over a new leaf, as we say; to begin a new life; to root out the weeds of sin; to eradicate those evil passions that checked and stifled any noble feelings, as the husbandman runs his plough through the fallow field, and breaks it up, clearing out the weeds and roots, that the ground may be pure and clean for the sowing of the seed in spring. The LXX., reading נוּרו, instead of נֵיר נירוּ for נִיר, and דָּעַח for וְעֵח translates accordingly by φωτίσατε ἑαυτοῖς φῶς γνώσεως. They are further reminded that it is high time to begin this process, laying aside their stiff-necked, perverse ways; expelling from their heart the noxious growth that had overspread it; and by every way and means working earnestly and zealously for a renewal of life and return to the long-neglected work and worship of Jehovah. Neither were they to relax their efforts till the blessed end was attained, עד, with imperfect, marking the goal to be reached; nor would their efforts be in vain. The Lord would rain - bestow abundantly upon them, or touch (another and more frequent meaning of the word), their righteousness. Thus the ground that had long lain fallow must be broken up; its waste, wild state must cease and give place to cultivation; the ploughshare must be driven through it; its wild growths and weeds must be cut down and uprooted. A process of renewal must succeed; the vices of their natural state, the idolatrous and wicked practices that had sprung up, must be abandoned. Renewal and radical reform are imperatively demanded. Matters had remained too long in a miserable and unsatisfactory condition. A long night of sinful slumber had overcome them; it was high time to awake out of that sleep. Too long had they shamefully forgotten and forsaken God; it was more than time to wait upon him. Nor would such waiting, if persevered in, end in disappointment; notwithstanding their great and manifold provocations, he would come and rain righteousness in welcome, refreshing, and plenteous showers upon returning penitents; and with righteousness would be conjoined its reward of blessing and salvation, both temporal and spiritual. Besides these two now first seen by Daniel, he who was "clothed in linen" is named as standing above the waters of the river; but when we take into view the whole scene, he is by no means to be regarded as now for the first time coming into view. The use of the article (לאישׁ), and the clothing that characterized him, point him out as the person spoken of in Daniel 10:5. Hence our view developed in p. 768 is confirmed, viz., that previously the man clothed in linen was visible to Daniel alone, and announced to him the future. He also in the sequel alone speaks with Daniel. One of the other two makes inquiry regarding the end of the wonderful things, so as to give occasion to him (as in Daniel 8:13 and Daniel 8:14) to furnish an answer. With this the question presses itself upon us, For what purpose do the two angels appear, since only one of them speaks - the other neither does anything nor speaks? Leaving out of view the opinion of Jerome, Grotius, Studlin, and Ewald, that the two angels were the guardian spirits of Persia and Greece, and other conceits, such e.g., as that they represent the law and the prophets (after a gloss in the Cod. Chis.), which Geier has rejected as figmenta hominum textus auctoritate destituta, we confine ourselves to a consideration of the views of Hitzig and Kliefoth.

Hitzig thinks that the two angels appear as witnesses of the oath, and that for that reason there are two; cf. Deuteronomy 19:15 with Deuteronomy 31:28. But these passage do not prove that for the ratification of an oath witnesses are necessary. The testimony of two or three witnesses was necessary only for the attestation of an accusation laid before a judge. Add to this also that in Daniel 8:13. two angels appear along with him whose voice came from the Ulai (Daniel 8:16), without any oath being there given. It is true that there the two angels speak, but only the utterance of one of them is communicated. Hence the conjecture is natural, that here also both of the angels spake, the one calling to the other the question that was addressed to the Angel of the Lord hovering over the water, as Theodot. and Ephrem Syrus appear to have thought, and as Klief. regards as probable. In any case the appearance of the angels on the two banks of the river stands in actual connection with the hovering of the man clothed in linen above the waters of this river, in which the circumstance merits consideration that the river, according to Daniel 10:4 the Tigris, is here called יאר, as besides the Nile only is called in the O.T. The hovering above the stream can represent only the power or dominion over it. But Kliefoth is inclined to regard the river as an emblem of time flowing on to eternity; but there is no support in Scripture for such a representation. Besides, by this the appellation יאר is not taken into consideration, by which, without doubt, the river over which the Angel of the Lord hovers is designated as a Nile; i.e., it is indicated that as the Angel of the Lord once smote the waters of the Nile to ransom his people out of Egypt, so in the future shall he calm and suppress the waves of the river which in Daniel's time represented the might of the world-kingdom.

(Note: C. B. Michaelis has similarly interpreted the standing (or hovering) over the waters of the river as symbolum potestatis atque dominii supremi, quo non solum terram continentem et aridam, sed etiam aquas pedibus quasi suis subjectas habet, et ea quae aquarum instar tumultuantur, videlicet gentes, adversus ecclesiam Dei insurgentes atque frementes, compescere et coercere potest. Only he has not in this regard to the name יאר.)

The river Hiddekel (Tigris) was thus a figure of the Persian world-power, through whose territory it flowed (cf. for this prophetic type, Isaiah 8:6-7; Psalm 124:3-4), and the designation of the river as יאר, Nile, contains an allusion to the deliverance of Israel from the power of Egypt, which in its essence shall be repeated in the future. Two other angels stand as servants by the side of the Angel of the Lord, the ruler over the Hiddekel, prepared to execute his will. Thus interpreted, all the features of the vision gain an interpretation corresponding with the contents of the prophecy.

But the significance of the whole scene, which presents itself to the prophet after he received the announcement, at the same time shows that the Daniel 12:5-12 form no mere supplementary communication, which is given to Daniel before he is wholly dismissed for his prophetical office, regarding the question that lay upon his heart as to the duration of the severe tribulation that was announced, but that this disclosure constitutes an integral part of the foregoing revelation, and is placed at the end of the angel's message only because a change of scene was necessary for the giving prominence to the import of this disclosure.

Thus, to give the prophet the firm certainty that the oppression of his people spoken of, on the part of the ungodly world-rulers, when it has gained its end, viz., The purification of the people, shall bring about, along with the destruction of the enemy of the last time, the salvation of those who are truly the people of God in their advancement to eternal life in glory, the Angel of the Lord standing above the waters of the river presents himself to view as the guide and ruler of the affairs of the nations, and announces with a solemn oath the duration and the end of the time of tribulation. This announcement is introduced by the question of the angel standing by the river: "Till when the end, i.e., how long continues the end, of these wonderful things?" not: "When shall the end of these things be?" (Kran.) הפּלאות are, according to the context, the extraordinary things which the prophecy had declared, particularly the unheard-of oppressions described in Daniel 11:30.; cf. with פּלאות the synonym נפּלאות, Daniel 11:36 and Daniel 8:24. But the question is not: "How long shall all these פּלאות themselves continue?" but: "How long shall הפּלאות קץ, the end of these wonderful things, continue?" The end of these things is the time of the end prophesied of from Daniel 11:40 to Daniel 12:3, with all that shall happen in it. To this the man clothed with linen answers with a solemn oath for the confirmation of his statement. The lifting up of his hands to heaven indicates the solemnity of the oath. Commonly he who swears lifts up only one hand; cf. Deuteronomy 32:40; Ezekiel 20:5, and the remark under Exodus 6:8; but here with greater solemnity both hands are lifted up, and he swears העולם בּחי, by Him that liveth for ever. This predicate of God, which we have already heard from the mouth of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 4:31, here points back to Deuteronomy 32:40, where God swears, "I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever," and is quoted from this verse before us in Revelation 10:6, and there further expanded. This solemn form of swearing shows that the question and answer must refer not to the duration of the period of the persecution under Antiochus, but to that under the last enemy, the Antichrist. The definition of time given in the answer leads us also to this conclusion: a time, two times, and half a time; which accurately agrees with the period of time named in Daniel 7:25 as that of the duration of the actions of the enemy of God who would arise out of the fourth world-kingdom. The כּי serves, as ὅτι frequently, only for the introducing of the statement or the answer. ל before מועד does not signify till ( equals עד, Daniel 7:25), but to or upon, at. In both of the clauses of the answer, "space of time and point of time, duration and final end, are connected, and this relation is indicated by an interchange of the prepos. ל and כ" (Hitzig). In וגו למועד (for a time, etc.) is given the space of time on or over which the פּלאות קץ (the end of these wonders) stretches itself, and in the following clause, וגו וּככלּות (and when he shall have accomplished, etc.), the point of time in which the wonderful things reach their end. Thus the two expressions of the oath are related to one another.

In the second clause יד נפּץ are differently expounded. Ancient and very wide-spread is the exposition of נפּץ by to scatter. Theodotion has translated the words thus: ἐν τῷ συντελεσθῆναι διασκορπισμόν; and Jerome (Vulg.): cum completa fuerit dispersio manus populi sancti. Hvernick, v. Lengerke, Gesenius, de Wette, Hitzig: when at the end of the dispersion of a portion of the holy people, which Hv., v. Leng., and others understand of the dispersion of Israel into the different countries of the world, which dispersion shall be brought to an end, according to the prophetic view, at the time of the Messianic final victory; Joel 3:5. (Daniel 2:32.); Amos 9:11. Hitzig, however, refers this to the circumstance that Simon and Judas Maccabaeus brought back their people to Judea who were living scattered among the heathen in Galilee and Gilead (1 Macc. 5:23, 45, 53, 54). But against such an interpretation of the word נפּץ, Hofmann (Weiss. u. Erf. i. p. 314) has with justice replied, that the reference to the reunion of Israel, which is nowhere else presented in Daniel, would enter very unexpectedly into this connection, besides that נפּץ does not agree with its object יד, though we should translate this by "might," or altogether improperly by "part." יד has not the meaning "part," which is attributed to it only on the ground of an incorrect interpretation of certain passages. נפּץ signifies to beat to pieces, to shatter; cf. Psalm 2:9; Psalm 137:9, and in the Pu. Isaiah 27:9. This is the primary meaning of the word, from which is attempted to be derived the meaning, to burst asunder, to scatter. This primary meaning of the word, however, Hengstenberg, Maurer, Auberlen, Kranichfeld, Kliefoth, and Ewald have rightly maintained in this place. Only we may not, with them, translate כּלּות by: to have an end, for then the answer would be tautological, since the breaking to pieces of the might of the people is identical with their scattering, but it has the meaning to make perfect, to accomplish, so that nothing more remains to be done. יד, hand, is the emblem of active power; the shattering of the hand is thus the complete destruction of power to work, the placing in a helpless and powerless condition, such as Moses has described in the words יד אזלת כּי (for the hand is gone), Deuteronomy 32:36, and announced that when this state of things shall arise, then "the Lord shall judge His people, and repent Himself for His servants." With this harmonizes the conclusion of the oath: then all these things shall be finished, or shall complete themselves. כּל־אלּה (all these things) are the פּלאות, Daniel 12:6. To these "wonderful things" belong not merely the crushing of the holy people in the tribulation such as never was before, but also their deliverance by the coming of the angel-prince Michael, the resurrection of the dead, and the eternal separation of the righteous from the wicked (Daniel 12:1-3). This last designation of the period of time goes thus, beyond a doubt, to the end of all things, or to the consummation of the kingdom of God by the resurrection of the dead and the final judgment. With this also agrees with expression קדשׁ עם, which is not to be limited to the converted Jews. The circumstance that in Daniel's time the Israel according to the flesh constituted the "holy people," does not necessitate our understanding this people when the people of God are spoken of in the time of the end, since then the faithful from among all nations shall be the holy people of God.

But by the majority of modern interpreters the designation of time, three and a half times, is referred to the duration of the oppression of the Jews under Antiochus Epiphanes; whence Bleek, v. Lengerke, Maurer, Hitzig, Ewald, and others conclude that the Maccabean pseudo-Daniel placed together as synchronous the death of Antiochus and the beginning of the Messianic salvation. Hvernick finds in the answer two different designations of time, but has said nothing as to the relation they bear to each other; Hofmann (Weiss. u. Erf. i. p. 314) finds an obscurity in this, that the end of all things is simply placed in connection with the end of the oppressor Antiochus (see under Daniel 12:1). But, thus Kliefoth rightly asks, on the contrary, "How is it only possible that the catastrophe of Antiochus, belonging to the middle of the times, and the time of the end lying in the distant future, are so comprehended in one clause in an answer to a question regarding a point of time? How as it possible that to the question, How long continues the end of the wonders? it could be answered: For three and a half years shall Antiochus carry on his work; and when it comes to an end in the breaking of the people, then all shall come to an end? Thus the last only would be an answer to the question, and the first an addition not appertaining to it. Or how were it possible that for the expression, 'all shall be ended,' two characteristics were given, one of which belonged to the time of Antiochus and the other to the time of the end?" And, we must further ask, are we necessitated by the statement to make such an unnatural supposition? Certainly not. The two clauses do not give two different definitions of time, i.e., refer to different periods of time, but only two definitions of one period of time, the first of which describes its course according to a symbolical measure of time, the second its termination according to an actual characteristic. None of these definitions of time has any reference to the oppression of the holy people by Antiochus, but the one as well as the other refers to the tribulation of the time of the end. The measure of time: time, times, and half a time, does not indeed correspond to the duration of the dominion of the little horn proceeding from the Javanic world-kingdom (spoken of in Daniel 8) equals 2300 evening-mornings (Daniel 8:14), but literally (for מועד corresponds with the Chald. עדּן) agrees with that in Daniel 7:25, for the dominion of the hostile king, the Antichrist, rising out of the ten kingdoms of the fourth or last world-kingdom. יד נפּץ כּכלּות also refers to this enemy; for of him it is said, Daniel 7:21, Daniel 7:25, that he shall prevail against and destroy the saints of the Most High (יבלּא, Daniel 7:25).

The reference of both the statements in the oath to the history of the end, or the time of Antichrist, has therefore been recognised by Auberlen and Zndel, although the latter understands also, with Hofmann, Daniel 11:36-45 of the oppression of Israel by Antiochus. To the question, how long the end of the terrible things prophesied of in Daniel 11:40-12:1 shall continue, the Angel of the Lord hovering over the waters answered with a solemn oath: Three and a half times, which, according to the prophecy of Daniel 7:25 and Daniel 9:26-27, are given for the fullest unfolding of the power of the last enemy of God till his destruction; and when in this time of unparalleled oppression the natural strength of the holy people shall be completely broken to piece, then shall these terrible things have reached their end. Regarding the definition of time, cf. The exposition under Daniel 7:25.

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