Hosea 2:18
And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) Make a covenant . . .—There shall be harmony without corresponding to the moral harmony within. The brute creation shall change from hostility to man. (Comp. Hosea 2:12; so also Isaiah 11:6-9.) Wars with foreign foes shall not desolate Israel’s borders.

Hosea 2:18. And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, &c. — That is, a covenant of security from the evils which, in the days of my vengeance, arose from beasts, and birds of prey, and venomous creatures. Or the words may be understood figuratively, of the final conversion of the most ignorant and vicious of the heathen to the true faith; the effect of which will be, that they shall live in peace and friendship with the re-established nation of the Jews. In this sense the passage is understood by Bishop Horsley. And I will break the bow, &c. — I will cause that there shall be no more wars, either foreign or domestic. A universal peace, and freedom from all enemies, is mentioned by the prophets, as a concomitant of that flourishing state of the church which shall commence at the restoration of the Jews, and the coming in of the Gentiles: see Isaiah 11:6-7. And will make them to lie down safely — Being gathered under the wings of my protection, they shall repose themselves upon my power and providence, committing themselves to my care in well doing. Observe, reader, all true and solid security, all real peace, whether inward or outward, flows from God’s favour.2:14-23 After these judgments the Lord would deal with Israel more gently. By the promise of rest in Christ we are invited to take his yoke upon us; and the work of conversion may be forwarded by comforts as well as by convictions. But usually the Lord drives us to despair of earthly joy, and help from ourselves, that, being shut from every other door, we may knock at Mercy's gate. From that time Israel would be more truly attached to the Lord; no longer calling him Baali, or My lord and master, alluding to authority, rather than love, but Ishi, an address of affection. This may foretell the restoration from the Babylonish captivity; and also be applied to the conversion of the Jews to Christ, in the days of the apostles, and the future general conversion of that nation; and believers are enabled to expect infinitely more tenderness and kindness from their holy God, than a beloved wife can expect from the kindest husband. When the people were weaned from idols, and loved the Lord, no creature should do them any harm. This may be understood of the blessings and privileges of the spiritual Israel, of every true believer, and their partaking of Christ's righteousness; also, of the conversion of the Jews to Christ. Here is an argument for us to walk so that God may not be dishonoured by us: Thou art my people. If a man's family walk disorderly, it is a dishonour to the master. If God call us children, we may say, Thou art our God. Unbelieving soul, lay aside discouraging thoughts; do not thus answer God's loving-kindness. Doth God say, Thou art my people? Say, Lord, thou art our God.And in that day - o: "Truly and properly is the time of the Incarnation of the Only-Begotten called "the Day," wherein darkness was dispelled in the world, and the mist dispersed, and bright rays shed into the minds of believers, and the Sun of Righteousness shone upon us, pouring in the light of the true knowledge of God, to those who could open wide the eye of the mind."

And I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field ... - God promises to do away the whole of the former curse. Before, He had said that their vineyards should be laid waste "by the beasts of the field;" now, He would make an entire and lasting peace with them. He, whose creatures they are, would renew for them in Christ the peace of Paradise, which was broken through Adam's rebellion against God, and would command none to hurt them. The blessings of God do not correspond only, they go beyond the punishment. The protection is complete. Every kind of evil animal, beast, bird and reptile, is named. So Peter "saw all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air." All were to be slain to their former selves, and pass into the Church. Together the words express, that God would withhold the power of all enemies, visible or invisible; worldly or spiritual. Each also may denote some separate form or character of the enemy. Thus "wild beasts" picture savageness or bloodthirstiness, the ceasing whereof Isaiah prophesies under the same symbols of beasts of prey, as the leopard, lion, wolf, and bear, or of venomous reptiles, as the asp or the basilisk. The "fowls of heaven" denote stealthy enemies, which, unperceived and unawares, take the word of God out of the heart; "creeping things," such as entice to degrading, debasing sins, love of money or pleasure or appetite, "whose god is their belly, who mind earthly things" Philippians 3:19. All shall be subdued to Christ or by Him; as He says, "I give you power over serpents and scorpions, and all the power of the enemy: and Thou shalt go upon the lion and the adder; the young lion and the adder shalt thou trample underfoot" Luke 10:19; Psalm 91:13.

I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth - God foretells much more the greatness of what He would do for man, than the little which man receives. The Gospel brings peace within, and, since "wars and fightings come from" James 4:1 evil passions and lusts, it brings "peace," as far it prevails, without also; peace, as the "borders of" the Church Psalm 147:14; peace in the world, as far as it is won to Christ by the Church; peace to the soul of the believer, so far as he loves God and obeys the Gospel.

And will make them to lie down safely - that is, in confidence. God gives not outward peace only, but fearlessness. Fearless, the Christian lies down during life, at peace with God, his neighbor, and his own conscience; fearless, because "perfect love casteth out fear 1 John 4:18; and fearless in death also, because resting in Jesus, in everlasting, unfailing, unfading peace.

18. for them—for their benefit.

covenant … with the beasts—not to hurt them (Job 5:23). They shall fulfil the original law of their creation by becoming subject to man, when man fulfils the law of his being by being subject to God. To be realized fully in millennial times (Isa 11:6-9).

break the bow … out of the earth—rather, "out of the land"; that is, I will break and remove war out of the earth (Ps 46:9); and "out of the land" of Israel first (Isa 2:4; Eze 39:9, 10; Zec 9:9, 10).

lie down—A reclining posture is the usual one with Orientals when not in action.

safely—(Jer 23:6).

In that day: see Hosea 2:16.

Make a covenant; command or enjoin, and these creatures shall as duly observe the command as just ones keep a covenant.

For them; true converts, the Israel of God.

With the beasts of the field, & c.; with all the creatures that might either serve or hurt them; it is a full and gracious promise of abundance of peace, safety, and love among all, through the creation, for the comfort of God’s people.

And I will break the bow, & c: but if brute beasts do not hurt, yet unless more brutish creatures, bloody men, be tamed, there will be little safety to the church; therefore God will put an end to wars, and make men peaceable in their disposition, far more peaceable than heretofore they have been.

And will make them to lie down safely; by a special care of, love for, and presence with them, God will provide for their safety. Now I doubt not but all this in some measure was made good to the Jews returning out of captivity, among whom were also some thousands of the house of Israel, who had their share in this promised peace, safety, and prosperity; but the full accomplishment is to be to the church of Christ, and in spiritual blessings shadowed out by these temporal blessings. And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field,.... That is, so as to be at peace with them, as the Targum is; see Job 5:23, the sense is, the Lord here promises this unto them, and that it shall be as sure and firm, and to be as much depended upon, as if it was established and settled by covenant, and should be enjoyed as a covenant mercy and blessing; and the creatures should as strictly observe it, and answer to it, as if bound by covenant: and this should reach not only to the beasts of the field, the wild beasts of prey, "but the fowls of heaven"; as the locusts and others, as Kimchi observes, which should not eat up the fruits and increase of the earth: "and the creeping things of the ground": as serpents and scorpions, as the same writer suggests. Some think this was fulfilled in the first times of the Gospel, when the apostles took up serpents, and trod on scorpions, without any hurt; but then nothing was more common than for the Christians to be thrown to the lions, and devoured by beasts of prey. Others refer it to the last days, the times of the restitution of all things, when they suppose all creatures will be restored to their paradisiacal estate, and be in entire subjection to men. Rather the sense is, that whereas noisome beasts, and other things, were one of God's sore judgments, with which he threatened his people, when they sinned against him, now they should no more be hurt by them in a way of judgment; and, indeed, should cease from being among them, so that they should be in no fear of them any more; see Leviticus 26:22. Though the words may be understood figuratively and mystically, either of deliverance from all spiritual enemies by Christ, as sin, Satan, and the world, and all others; or of freedom from all wicked men, cruel and crafty ones, open and secret persecutors of the saints: persecution will cease at the time of the Jews' conversion; antichrist, and all the antichristian states, will be destroyed; the beast and false prophet will be taken and cast into the furnace of fire; the old serpent, the devil, will be bound, during the Millennium; and there will be none to hurt in God's holy mountain, neither in the spiritual nor personal reign of Christ.

And I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth; all the instruments of war shall be no more, these mentioned being put for all the rest; and there shall be no more battles fought after that at Armageddon; swords shall be beat into ploughshares, and spears into pruning hooks; there shall be no more wars, nor rumours of wars, but perfect external peace from all enemies on all sides, as well as spiritual and internal peace in the breast of the saints; and of both there shall be abundance, and without end, Psalm 72:7,

and will make them to lie down safely; under the protection of the King Messiah, David their Prince, who shall be over them, and whom they shall own, acknowledge, and serve, and so dwell in the utmost safety and security, not fearing any enemy whatever; they may lie down on their couches at meals, or on their beds at night for rest, or as flocks of sheep in their folds and pastures, and none make them afraid; see Jeremiah 23:5.

And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the {x} beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.

(x) Meaning that he will so bless them that all creatures will favour them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. I will make a covenant …] The language reminds us of Zechariah 11:10, where Jehovah ‘breaks his covenant which he has made with all the peoples’, restraining them from injuring the Israelites, and still more of Ezekiel 34:25 (evidently based on this passage). The ‘covenant’ (Heb. b’rîth) is in fact an ordińance imposed by Jehovah; it is not correct to say that it is a ‘treaty’ between Israel and the wild beasts. Probably ‘ordinance’ is the original meaning, which was afterwards widened into ‘covenant’. Comp. Hosea 6:7; Deuteronomy 33:9; 2 Kings 11:4; Jeremiah 11:6; Job 31:1; Psalm 105:10.

and I will break … out of the earth] Comp. Psalm 46:9. But the context requires the rendering, out of the land. All the ‘equipment of war’ (see on Hosea 1:7) of Israel’s enemies shall be destroyed (comp. Psalm 76:3).Verse 18. - A state of tranquility was to follow, a sort of golden age was to ensue. With both the rational and irrational creation they would be at peace, enjoying security from the one and safety from the other. Peace would be established with the hostile forces of the outer world, and peace at the same time national and political. With the beasts of the field - viz, the wild beasts, as contrasted with behemah, tame animals - and with the fowls of heaven - i.e. birds of prey, destructive of the fruits of the field - and with the creeping things of the ground, detrimental to the products of the earth, they would be in league; while weapons of war would be devoted to destruction, the bow and the sword and the battle being broken, and not only so, but banished out of the earth, so that Israel, free from the alarm of a night attack, and protected by night as well as by day, would be made to lie down safely. Milchamah is constructed with by zeugma; or it includes, as Kimchi explains it, "all the implements of war except the bow and sword, which he has already mentioned." In Daniel 8:13 תּת (to give) is more closely defined by מרמס (something trodden under foot); but in these passages in Ezekiel above referred to, it [the verb נתן] is connected with an actual object. Construed with the accus. pers. and על, נתן means "to place one over anything." This conception in its different shades is not so much derived from the words of the text as from a reference to the history; for it is supposed (cf. Grotius, Wies.) that because the matter spoken of is the wickedness of Antiochus, the entrance of the Syrian army into Jerusalem and its proceedings (1 Macc. 1:29ff.) must be set forth. צבא, notwithstanding the want of the article, and notwithstanding the feminine construction, cannot properly be otherwise understood in Daniel 8:12 than in Daniel 8:10, Daniel 8:13, not of the host of the Syrians, but only of the people of Israel. The article is wanting also in Daniel 8:13, where yet, because of its being taken in connection with קדשׁ, it can only refer to Israel. Besides this passage, the fem. construction is found also only in Isaiah 40:2, where it signifies the service of war or vassalage. But this meaning here, where weighty reasons oppose it, this construction does not require us to adopt, for such a construction is not infrequent. It is found not merely with names of nations and races, so far as land and people are nearly related ideas, but also with other words, such as even עם, people, fem., Exodus 5:16; 1 Kings 18:7; Jeremiah 8:5; המון, a multitude, Job 31:34; זרע, seed, i.e., descendants, Deuteronomy 31:21; cf. Ewald's Lehr. 174. But the want of the article in צבא in Daniel 8:12 and in Daniel 8:13 has its reason in this, that that which is said does not concern the whole host, but only one part of it, since, according to Daniel 8:10, the hostile horn will cast only some הצבא מן (of the host) to the earth. If, therefore, there is no sufficient ground for rejecting the application of the צבא to the people of Israel, it follows that this interpretation is decidedly required not only by the connection, chiefly by Daniel 8:13, but also by that which is said of צבא in Daniel 8:12.

"Since in Daniel 8:13 the inquirer resumes the contents of Daniel 8:10-12, and along with the sanctuary names also the 'host' as the object of the 'treading down,' it is not credible that this 'host' should be different from that mentioned in Daniel 8:12" (Klief.). Moreover, תּנּתן can have in this passage only the meaning of to be given up. התּמיד על can then only be translated because of the permanent sacrifice, if בּפשׁע (by reason of transgression) is united as object with תּנּתן in the sense: "was delivered up in transgression." But apart from this, that נתן in the sense of to give up is construed with בּיד, and there are wanting certain parallels for its construction with ב merely, this interpretation, "the host ( equals Israel) is given up in wickedness on account of the continual sacrifice," presents an idea not to be tolerated. We agree, therefore, in general with the interpretation of Daniel B. Michaelis, Hvernick, v. Lengerke, Maurer, Kranichfeld, and Kliefoth, and explain the words thus: "and (an) host shall be given up together with the daily sacrifice, because of transgression." צבא, an host, i.e., a great company of the host, the people of Israel. ב before פּשׁע (transgression) in the meaning of ב pretii, on account of (um), or because of, cf. Genesis 18:28. פּשׁע is the apostasy of the Israelites from God, the wickedness proceeding from the פּשׁעים (transgressors), Daniel 8:23. The objection that this interpretation is not appropriate, because פּשׁע is repeated in Daniel 8:13 in union with שׁמם (desolation), and therefore a wickedness devoted to destruction is characterized (Klief.), avails nothing, because it in no way follows from this that the "transgression" must be wickedness seating itself in the place of the "daily sacrifice," idolatrous worship supplanting the true worship. But "the transgression" cannot be that which sets itself in the place of the "daily sacrifice," because התּמיד is not the subject of the sentence, but is only co-ordinated to the subject. If ב in בּפשׁע is regarded as the ב pretii, then פשׁע can only be that which would be put in the place of the צבא. The preposition על before התּמיד means thereon, after that, also at the same time, or together with, as in Amos 3:15; Hosea 10:14, etc. תּמיד, as in Daniel 8:11, is not merely the daily sacrifice, but all that had continuance in the Mosaic worship. Finally, the jussive forms תּנּתן and תּשׁלך d (to be trodden) are to be observed, since, according to the just observation of Kran., they are not simply identical with the future, as Ewald (343) thinks, but here, as in Daniel 11:4, Daniel 11:10,Daniel 11:16, modify the conception of time by the presentation of the divine pre-determination or the decree, and thus express a should, may, or a faculty, a being able, in consequence of the divine counsel. To the verbs of the second half of the verse קרן (horn) is easily supplied from the foregoing context as the subject; and the passage closes with the thought: thus must the horn throw the truth to the ground, and he shall succeed in this.

(Note: "Successus Antiochi potuit pios omnes turbare, acsi tyrannus ille esset Deo superior. Ergo oportuit etiam hoc praedici, ne quid novum vel inopinatum constingeret fidelibus." - Calvin.)

אמת, the objective truth, the word of God, so far as it is embodied in the worship. As to this matter cf. 1 Macc. 1:43-52, 56, 60.

Daniel 8:13-14

In addition to what has been already seen and communicated in the vision, a further vision unfolds itself, by which there is conveyed to the prophet disclosures regarding the duration of the oppression of the people of God by the little horn. Daniel hears a holy one, i.e., an angel (see under Daniel 4:10), talking. What he said is not recorded. But while he is talking, another angel interrupts him with the question as to the duration of the affliction, and this is done that Daniel may hear the answer. Therefore the first angel immediately turns himself to Daniel, and, addressing him, makes known to him the information that was desired.

The אלי (to me), Daniel 8:14, is not, according to the old versions, to be changed into אליו (to him). What Hitzig says in justification of אליו is of no weight; cf. Kran. The angel that talked is designated by פּלמוני, quidam, nescio quis, as not being more particularly definable. The question condenses the contents of Daniel 8:10-12 : "Till how long is the vision, etc.?" החזון is not the action, but the contents of the vision, the thing seen. The contents of the vision are arranged in the form of appositions: that which is continual and the desolating wickedness, for: the vision of that which is continual and of the desolation. The meaning of this apposition is more particularly defined by the further passage following asyndetos: to give up the sanctuary as well as the host to destruction. שׁמם after the definite noun without the article, which is sometimes wanting (Jeremiah 2:21; Ezekiel 39:27; cf. Ew. 293), does not mean being benumbed, confounded, but laid waste, fallen into ruin; thus the wickedness which consists in laying waste. שׁמם cannot be understood transitively, since שׁמם and משׁמם are placed over against each other in Daniel 9:27.

In the answer, עד is to be interpreted as in the question: till 2300 evening-mornings have been, or have passed, thus: 2300 evening-mornings long, so ( equals then) the sanctuary is brought into its right state. צדק primarily means to be just, whence the meaning is derived to justify, which is not here suitable, for it must be followed by, from the defilement of the desolation. The restoration of the temple to its right condition is, it is true, at the same time a justification of it from its desolation, and it includes in it the restoration of the permanent worship.

The interpretation of the period of time, 2300 evening-mornings, named by the angel is beset with difficulty. And first the verbal import of בּקר ערב is doubtful. Among recent interpreters, Berth., Hv., v. Leng., Maur., and Horm. (Weiss. u. Erf. p. 295) understand by its days consisting of morning and evening (twenty-four hours); others, as Bleek, Kirmss, Ewald, Hitzig, Wieseler (who, however, in his treatise, Die 70 Wochen, u.s.w., p. 115ff., defends the first explanation), Kran., and Delitzsch, are of opinion that evening-morning is particularly reckoned with reference to the offering of a morning and an evening sacrifice each day, so that 2300 evening-mornings make only 1150 whole days. But there is no exegetical foundation for this latter opinion. It is derived only from a comparison, or rather an identification, of this passage with Daniel 7:25; Daniel 12:11., and Daniel 9:27; and therewith it is proved that, according to 1 Macc. 1:54, 59, cf. 4:52, the desolation of the sanctuary by the worship of idols under Antiochus Epiphanes lasted not longer than three years and ten days, and that from Daniel 12:11 it extends only to 1290 days. But these arguments rest on assertions which must first be justified. The passages Daniel 7:25 and Daniel 9:27 cannot be here taken into account, because they do not speak of Antiochus Epiphanes, and the 1290 days (1335 days, Daniel 12:11.) do not give 2300 evening-mornings, that we can and may at once identify these statements with this before us. In Daniel 12:11 the terminus a quo of the 1290 days is unquestionably the putting away or the removal of the תּמיד (daily sacrifice), and the giving (placing, raising up) of the abomination that maketh desolate (i.e., the altar of idol-worship); but in this verse (Daniel 8:14), on the contrary, the continuance not only of the taking away of the תּמיד, but also of the delivering up of the saints and the people to be trodden under foot, is fixed to 2300 evening-mornings. This oppression continued longer than the removal of the appointed daily sacrifice. According to 1 Macc. 1:10ff., the violent assaults of Antiochus against the temple and the Jews who remained faithful to the law began in the 143rd year of the era of the Seleucidae, but the abomination that maketh desolate, i.e., the idol-altar, was first erected on Jehovah's altar of burnt-offering, according to 1 Macc. 1:54, in the 145th year of the Seleucidae, and the purification of the temple from this abomination, and its re-consecration, took place on the 25th day of Kisleu (9th month) of the year of the Seleucidae 148. According to this, from the beginning of the desecration of the temple by the plundering of its vessels and its golden ornaments (1 Macc. 1:20ff.) to its restoration to its right condition, more than five years passed. The fulfilment, or the historical reference, of this prophecy accordingly affords, as is sufficiently manifest, no proper means of ascertaining the import of the "evening-morning." This must rather be exegetically decided. It occurs only here, and corresponds to νυχθήμερον, 2 Corinthians 11:25. But the choice of so unusual a measure of time, derived from the two chief parts of the day, instead of the simple measure of time by days, probably originates with reference to the morning and evening sacrifice, by which the day was to be consecrated to the Lord, after Genesis 1:5, Genesis 1:8,Genesis 1:13, etc., where the days of the creation week are named and reckoned according to the succession of evening and morning. This separation of the expression into evening and morning, so that to number them separately and add them together would make 2300 evening-mornings equals 1150 days, is shown to be inadmissible, both by the asyndeton evening-morning and the usages of the Hebrew language. That in Daniel 8:26 והבּקר הערב (the evening and the morning) stands for it, does not prove that the evening ad morning are reckoned separately, but only that evening-morning is a period of time consisting of evening and morning. When the Hebrews wish to express separately day and night, the component parts of a day of a week, then the number of both is expressed. They say, e.g., forty days and forty nights (Genesis 7:4, Genesis 7:12; Exodus 24:18; 1 Kings 19:8), and three days and three nights (Jonah 2:1; Matthew 12:40), but not eighty or six days-and-nights, when they wish to speak of forty or three full days. A Hebrew reader could not possibly understand the period of time 2300 evening-mornings of 2300 half days or 1150 whole days, because evening and morning at the creation constituted not the half but the whole day. Still less, in the designation of time, "till 2300 evening-mornings," could "evening-mornings" be understood of the evening and morning sacrifices, and the words be regarded as meaning, that till 1150 evening sacrifices and 1150 morning sacrifices are discontinued. We must therefore take the words as they are, i.e., understand them of 2300 whole days.

This exegetical resolution of the matter is not made doubtful by the remark, that an increasing of the period of oppression to 2300 days, over against the duration of the oppression limited in Daniel 7:25 to only three and a half times, or to 1290 (or 1335 days, Daniel 12:11-12), is very unlikely, since there is in no respect any reason for this increase over against these statements (Kran. p. 298). This remark can only be valid as proof if, on the one side, the three and a half times in Daniel 7:25 are equal to three and a half civil years, for which the proof fails, and, on the other side, if the 1290 or the 1335 days in Daniel 12:11. indicate the whole duration of the oppression of Israel by Antiochus. But if these periods, on the contrary, refer only to the time of the greatest oppression, the erection of the idol-altar in the temple, this time cannot be made the measure for the duration of the whole period of tribulation.

The objection also, that it is more difficult to prove historically an oppression of the people of God for 2300 days by Antiochus than the 1150 days' duration of this oppression, need not move us to depart from the exegetically ascertained meaning of the words. The opponents of this view are indeed at one in this, that the consecration of the temple after its purification, and after the altar of Jehovah was restored, on the 25th Kisleu of the 148th year of the Seleucidae, formed the termination of the period named, but they are at variance as to the commencement of the period. Delitzsch reckons from the erection of the idol-altar in the temple on 15th Kisleu in the 145th year of the Sel., and thus makes it only three years and ten days, or 1090 to 1105 days. Hitzig reckons from the taking away of the daily sacrifice, which would take place somewhat earlier than the setting up of the idol-altar, but has not furnished proof that this happened tow months earlier. Bleek and Kirmss reckon from the taking of Jerusalem by Apollonius in the year of the Sel. 145 (1 Macc. 1:30ff.; 2 Macc. 5:24ff.), misplacing this in the first month of the year named, but without having any other proof for it than the agreement of the reckoning.

To this is to be added, that the adoption of the consecration of the temple as the terminus ad quem is not so well grounded as is supposed. The words of the text, קדשׁ ונצדּק ("thus is the sanctuary placed in the right state"), comprehend more than the purification and re-consecration of the temple. In Daniel 8:11, also Daniel 9:17 and Daniel 11:31, Daniel uses the word מקדּשׁ for temple, while on the other hand קדשׁ means all that is holy. Was, then, the sanctuary, in this comprehensive meaning of the word, placed in its right state with the consecration of the temple, when after this occurrence "they that were in the tower (Acra) shut up the Israelites round about the sanctuary," sought to hinder access to the temple, and, when Judas Maccabaeus had begun to besiege the tower, the Syrians approached with a reinforced army, besieged the sanctuary for many days, and on their departure demolished its strongholds (1 Macc. 6:18ff., 51, 62)? - when, again, under Demetrius Soter of Bacchides, the high priest Menelaus was deposed, and Alcimus, who was not descended from the family of a high priest, was advanced to his place, who cruelly persecuted the pious in Israel? - when the Syrian general Nicanor mocked the priests who showed to him the burnt-offering for the king, and defiled and threatened to burn the temple (1 Macc. 7)? And did the trampling upon Israel cease with the consecration of the temple, when at the building up of the altar and the restoration of the temple the heathen around became so furious, that they resolved to destroy all who were of the race of Jacob amongst them, and began to murder them (1 Macc. 5:1ff.)? Hvernick therefore, with Bertholdt, places the terminus ad quem of the 2300 days in the victory over Nicanor, by which the power of the Syrians over Judea was first broken, and the land enjoyed rest, so that it was resolved to celebrate annually this victory as well as the consecration of the temple (1 Macc. 7:48-50), according to which the terminus a quo of the period named would be shortly before the erection of the abomination of idolatry in the temple.

If we now, however, turn from this supposition, since the text speaks further of it, to seek the end of the oppression in the restoration of the legal temple-worship, or in the overthrow of Antiochus Epiphanes, which the angel brings to view in the interpretation of the vision (Daniel 8:26), so also in these cases the 2300 days are to be calculated. C. v. Leng., Maur., and Wiesel., who regard the death of Antiochus as the termination, place the beginning of the 2300 days one year before the beginning of violence with which Antiochus, after his return from the expedition into Egypt in the year 143 Sel., went forth to destroy (1 Macc. 1:20) the Mosaic worship and law. Only a few weeks or months earlier, in the middle of the year 142 Sel., the point of commencement must be placed, if the consecration of the temple is held to be the termination. In the year 142 not only was the pious high priest Onias removed from his office by the godless Jason, but also Jason himself was forced from the place he had usurped by Menelaus, who gave Antiochus a greater bribe than he did, and gave away as presents and sold to the heathen the golden utensils of the temple, and commanded Onias, who denounced his wickedness, to be deceitfully murdered (2 Macc. 2:4). Hence we need not, with Hofmann, regard the deposition of Onias, the date of which cannot be accurately fixed, but which, 2 Macc. 4:7ff., is brought into connection with the commencement of the reign of Antiochus, and which probably took place before the year 142, as the date of the commencement of the 2300 days, although the laying waste of the sanctuary may be dated from it; since Jason by royal authority set up a heathen γυμνάσιον with an ἐφηβεῖον, and by the wickedness of the profane and unpriestly conduct of this man Greek customs and the adoption of heathenish manners so prevailed, that the priests ceased to concern themselves about the service of the altar, but, despising the temple and forgetting the sacrifice, they hastened to witness the spectacles in the palaestra, which were contrary to the law; cf. 2 Macc. 4:13ff. with 1 Macc. 1:11-15. The 2300 days are thus, as well as the 1150 days, historically authenticated.

But it is on the whole questionable whether the number given by the angel is to be reckoned as an historico-chronological period of time, or is not rather to be interpreted as symbolical. The analogy of the other prophetic numbers speaks decidedly for the symbolical interpretation. The 2300 cannot, it is true, be directly a symbolical number, such as 7, 10, 40, 70, and other numbers are, but yet it can stand in such a relation to the number seven as to receive a symbolical meaning. The longer periods of time are usually reckoned not by days, but by weeks, months, or years; if, therefore, as to the question of the duration of the 2300 days, we reduce the days to weeks, months, and years, we shall find six years, three or four months, and some days, and discover that the oppression of the people by the little horn was to continue not fully a period of seven years. But the times of God's visitations, trials, and judgments are so often measured by the number seven, that this number came to bear stamped on it this signification; see under Daniel 4:13; Daniel 7:25. The number of seven years is used in the symbolical meaning when, not to mention the cases in Genesis 29:18, Genesis 29:27; Genesis 41:26., and Judges 6:1, seven years' famine were laid upon the land as a punishment for David's sin in numbering the people (2 Samuel 24:13), and when in Elisha's time Israel was visited with seven years' famine (2 Kings 8:1). Thus the answer of the angel has this meaning: The time of the predicted oppression of Israel, and of the desolation of the sanctuary by Antiochus, the little horn, shall not reach the full duration of a period of divine judgment, shall not last so long as the severe oppression of Israel by the Midianites, Judges 6:1, or as the famine which fell upon Israel in the time of Elisha, and shall not reach to a tenth part of the time of trial and of sorrow endured by the exiles, and under the weight of which Israel then mourned.

continued...

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