Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;
Da 9:1-27. Daniel's Confession and Prayer for Jerusalem: Gabriel Comforts Him by the Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks.
The world powers here recede from view; Israel, and the salvation by Messiah promised to it, are the subject of revelation. Israel had naturally expected salvation at the end of the captivity. Daniel is therefore told, that, after the seventy years of the captivity, seventy times seven must elapse, and that even then Messiah would not come in glory as the Jews might through misunderstanding expect from the earlier prophets, but by dying would put away sin. This ninth chapter (Messianic prophecy) stands between the two visions of the Old Testament Antichrist, to comfort "the wise." In the interval between Antiochus and Christ, no further revelation was needed; therefore, as in the first part of the book, so in the second, Christ and Antichrist in connection are the theme.
1. first year of Darius—Cyaxares II, in whose name Cyrus, his nephew, son-in-law, and successor, took Babylon, 538 B.C. The date of this chapter is therefore 537 B.C., a year before Cyrus permitted the Jews to return from exile, and sixty-nine years after Daniel had been carried captive at the beginning of the captivity, 606 B.C.
son of Ahasuerus—called Astyages by Xenophon. Ahasuerus was a name common to many of the kings of Medo-Persia.
made king—The phrase implies that Darius owed the kingdom not to his own prowess, but to that of another, namely, Cyrus.
In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
2. understood by books—rather, "letters," that is, Jeremiah's letter (Jer 29:10) to the captives in Babylon; also Jer 25:11, 12; compare 2Ch 36:21; Jer 30:18; 31:38. God's promises are the ground on which we should, like Daniel, rest sure hope; not so as to make our prayers needless, but rather to encourage them.
And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
3. prayer … supplications—literally, "intercessions … entreaties for mercy." Praying for blessings, and deprecating evils.
And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;
4. my confession—according to God's promises in Le 26:39-42, that if Israel in exile for sin should repent and confess, God would remember for them His covenant with Abraham (compare De 30:1-5; Jer 29:12-14; Jas 4:10). God's promise was absolute, but prayer also was ordained as about to precede its fulfilment, this too being the work of God in His people, as much as the external restoration which was to follow. So it shall be at Israel's final restoration (Ps 102:13-17). Daniel takes his countrymen's place of confession of sin, identifying himself with them, and, as their representative and intercessory priest, "accepts the punishment of their iniquity." Thus he typifies Messiah, the Sin-bearer and great Intercessor. The prophet's own life and experience form the fit starting point of the prophecy concerning the sin atonement. He prays for Israel's restoration as associated in the prophets (compare Jer 31:4, 11, 12, 31, &c.) with the hope of Messiah. The revelation, now granted, analyzes into its successive parts that which the prophets, in prophetical perspective, heretofore saw together in one; namely, the redemption from captivity, and the full Messianic redemption. God's servants, who, like Noah's father (Ge 5:29), hoped many a time that now the Comforter of their afflictions was at hand, had to wait from age to age, and to view preceding fulfilments only as pledges of the coming of Him whom they so earnestly desired to see (Mt 13:17); as now also Christians, who believe that the Lord's second coming is nigh, are expected to continue waiting. So Daniel is informed of a long period of seventy prophetic weeks before Messiah's coming, instead of seventy years, as he might have expected (compare Mt 18:21, 22) [Auberlen].
great and dreadful God—as we know to our cost by the calamities we suffer. The greatness of God and His dreadful abhorrence of sin should prepare sinners for reverent, humble acknowledgment of the justice of their punishment.
keeping … covenant and mercy—that is, the covenant of Thy mercy, whereby Thou hast promised to deliver us, not for our merits, but of Thy mercy (Eze 36:22, 23). So weak and sinful is man that any covenant for good on God's part with him, to take effect, must depend solely on His grace. If He be a God to be feared for His justice, He is one to be trusted for His "mercy."
love … keep his commandments—Keeping His commandments is the only sure test of love to God (Joh 14:15).
We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:
5. Compare Nehemiah's confession (Ne 9:1-38).
sinned … committed iniquity … done wickedly … rebelled—a climax. Erred in ignorance … sinned by infirmity … habitually and wilfully done wickedness … as open and obstinate rebels set ourselves against God.
Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
6. prophets … spake … to our kings … to all the people—They fearlessly warned all without respect of persons.
O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.
7. confusion of faces, as at this day—Shame at our guilt, betrayed in our countenance, is what belongs to us; as our punishment "at this day" attests.
near, and … far off—the chastisement, however varied, some Jews not being cast off so far from Jerusalem as others, all alike were sharers in the guilt.
O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.
To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;
9. mercies—The plural intensifies the force; mercy manifold and exhibited in countless ways. As it is humbling to recollect "righteousness belongeth unto God," so it is comforting, that "mercies belong to the Lord OUR God."
though we have rebelled—rather, "since," &c. [Vulgate], (Ps 25:11). Our punishment is not inconsistent with His "mercies," since we have rebelled against Him.
Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.
10. set before us—not ambiguously, but plainly, so that we were without excuse.
Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.
11. all—(Ps 14:3; Ro 3:12).
the curse … and … oath … in … law—the curse against Israel, if disobedient, which God ratified by oath (Le 26:14-39; De 27:15-26; 28:15-68; 29:1-29).
And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.
12. confirmed his words—showed by the punishments we suffer, that His words were no idle threats.
under … heaven hath not been done as … upon Jerusalem—(La 1:12).
As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.
13. yet made we not our prayer before—literally, "soothed not the face of." Not even our chastisement has taught us penitence (Isa 9:13; Jer 5:3; Ho 7:10). Diseased, we spurn the healing medicine.
that we might turn, &c.—Prayer can only be accepted when joined with the desire to turn from sin to God (Ps 66:18; Pr 28:9).
understand thy truth—"attentively regard Thy faithfulness" in fulfilling Thy promises, and also Thy threats [Calvin]. Thy law (Da 8:12), [Maurer].
Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.
14. watched upon the evil—expressing ceaseless vigilance that His people's sins might not escape His judgment, as a watchman on guard night and day (Job 14:16; Jer 31:28; 44:27). God watching upon the Jews' punishment forms a striking contrast to the Jews' slumbering in their sins.
God is righteous—True penitents "justify" God, "ascribing righteousness to Him," instead of complaining of their punishment as too severe (Ne 9:33; Job 36:3; Ps 51:4; La 3:39-42).
And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly.
15. brought thy people … out of … Egypt—a proof to all ages that the seed of Abraham is Thy covenant-people. That ancient benefit gives us hope that Thou wilt confer a like one on us now under similar circumstances (Ps 80:8-14; Jer 32:21; 23:7, 8).
as at this day—is known.
O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.
16. thy righteousness—not stern justice in punishing, but Thy faithfulness to Thy promises of mercy to them who trust in Thee (Ps 31:1; 143:1).
thy city—chosen as Thine in the election of grace, which changes not.
for … iniquities of … fathers—(Ex 20:5). He does not impugn God's justice in this, as did the murmurers (Eze 18:2, 3; compare Jer 31:29).
thy people … a reproach—which brings reproach on Thy name. "All the nations that are about us" will say that Thou, Jehovah, wast not able to save Thy peculiar people. So Da 9:17, "for the Lord's sake"; Da 9:19, "for Thine own sake" (Isa 48:9, 11).
Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake.
17. cause thy face to shine—metaphor from the sun, which gladdens all that it beams upon (Nu 6:25; Mal 4:2).
O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.
18. present … supplications—literally, "cause to fall," &c. (compare Note, see on Jer 36:7).
O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.
19. The short broken ejaculations and repetitions show the intense fervor of his supplications.
defer not—He implies that the seventy years are now all but complete.
thine own sake—often repeated, as being the strongest plea (Jer 14:21).
And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God;
20. whiles I was speaking—repeated in Da 9:21; emphatically marking that the answer was given before the prayer was completed, as God promised (Isa 30:19; 65:24; compare Ps 32:5).
Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
21. I had seen in the vision at the beginning—namely, in the former vision by the river Ulai (Da 8:1, 16).
fly swiftly—literally, "with weariness," that is, move swiftly as one breathless and wearied out with quick running [Gesenius]. English Version is better (Isa 6:2; Eze 1:6; Re 14:6).
time of … evening oblation—the ninth hour, three o'clock (compare 1Ki 18:36). As formerly, when the temple stood, this hour was devoted to sacrifices, so now to prayer. Daniel, during the whole captivity to the very last, with pious patriotism never forgot God's temple-worship, but speaks of its rites long abolished, as if still in use.
And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.
22. to give thee … understanding—Da 8:16; Da 8:26 shows that the symbolical vision had not been understood. God therefore now gives "information" directly, instead of by symbol, which required interpretation.
At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.
23. At the beginning of thy supplications, &c.—The promulgation of the divine decree was made in heaven to the angels as soon as Daniel began to pray.
came forth—from the divine throne; so Da 9:22.
thou art greatly beloved—literally, "a man of desires" (compare Eze 23:6, 12); the object of God's delight. As the apocalyptic prophet of the New Testament was "the disciple whom Jesus loved," so the apocalyptic prophet of the Old Testament was "greatly beloved" of God.
the vision—the further revelation as to Messiah in connection with Jeremiah's prophecy of seventy years of the captivity. The charge to "understand" is the same as in Mt 24:15, where Rome primarily, and Antichrist ultimately, is referred to (compare Note, see on Da 9:27).
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
24. 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.
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
25. from the going forth of the commandment—namely the command from God, whence originated the command of the Persian king (Ezr 6:14). Auberlen remarks, there is but one Apocalypse in each Testament. Its purpose in each is to sum up all the preceding prophecies, previous to the "troublous times" of the Gentiles, in which there was to be no revelation. Daniel sums up all the previous Messianic prophecy, separating into its individual phases what the prophets had seen in one and the same perspective, the temporary deliverance from captivity and the antitypical final Messianic deliverance. The seventy weeks are separated (Da 9:25-27) into three unequal parts, seven, sixty-two, one. The seventieth is the consummation of the preceding ones, as the Sabbath of God succeeds the working days; an idea suggested by the division into weeks. In the sixty-nine weeks Jerusalem is restored, and so a place is prepared for Messiah wherein to accomplish His sabbatic work (Da 9:25, 26) of "confirming the covenant" (Da 9:27). The Messianic time is the Sabbath of Israel's history, in which it had the offer of all God's mercies, but in which it was cut off for a time by its rejection of them. As the seventy weeks end with seven years, or a week, so they begin with seven times seven, that is, seven weeks. As the seventieth week is separated from the rest as a period of revelation, so it may be with the seven weeks. The number seven is associated with revelation; for the seven spirits of God are the mediators of all His revelations (Re 1:4; 3:1; 4:5). Ten is the number of what is human; for example, the world power issues in ten heads and ten horns (Da 2:42; 7:7). Seventy is ten multiplied by seven, the human moulded by the divine. The seventy years of exile symbolize the triumph of the world power over Israel. In the seven times seventy years the world number ten is likewise contained, that is, God's people is still under the power of the world ("troublous times"); but the number of the divine is multiplied by itself; seven times seven years, at the beginning a period of Old Testament revelation to God's people by Ezra, Nehemiah, and Malachi, whose labors extend over about half a century, or seven weeks, and whose writings are last in the canon; and in the end, seven years, the period of New Testament revelation in Messiah. The commencing seven weeks of years of Old Testament revelation are hurried over, in order that the chief stress might rest on the Messianic week. Yet the seven weeks of Old Testament revelation are marked by their separation from the sixty-two, to be above those sixty-two wherein there was to be none.
Messiah the Prince—Hebrew, Nagid. Messiah is Jesus' title in respect to Israel (Ps 2:2; Mt 27:37, 42). Nagid, as Prince of the Gentiles (Isa 55:4). Nagid is applied to Titus, only as representative of Christ, who designates the Roman destruction of Jerusalem as, in a sense, His coming (Mt 24:29-31; Joh 21:22). Messiah denotes His calling; Nagid, His power. He is to "be cut off, and there shall be nothing for Him." (So the Hebrew for "not for Himself," Da 9:26, ought to be translated). Yet He is "the Prince" who is to "come," by His representative at first, to inflict judgment, and at last in person.
wall—the "trench" or "scarped rampart" [Tregelles]. The street and trench include the complete restoration of the city externally and internally, which was during the sixty-nine weeks.
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
26. after threescore and two weeks—rather, the threescore and two weeks. In this verse, and in Da 9:27, Messiah is made the prominent subject, while the fate of the city and sanctuary are secondary, being mentioned only in the second halves of the verses. Messiah appears in a twofold aspect, salvation to believers, judgment on unbelievers (Lu 2:34; compare Mal 3:1-6; 4:1-3). He repeatedly, in Passion week, connects His being "cut off" with the destruction of the city, as cause and effect (Mt 21:37-41; 23:37, 38; Lu 21:20-24; 23:28-31). Israel might naturally expect Messiah's kingdom of glory, if not after the seventy years' captivity, at least at the end of the sixty-two weeks; but, instead of that, shall be His death, and the consequent destruction of Jerusalem.
not for himself—rather, "there shall be nothing to Him" [Hengstenberg]; not that the real object of His first coming (His spiritual kingdom) should be frustrated; but the earthly kingdom anticipated by the Jews should, for the present, come to naught, and not then be realized. Tregelles refers the title, "the Prince" (Da 9:25), to the time of His entering Jerusalem on an ass's colt, His only appearance as a king, and six days afterwards put to death as "King of the Jews."
the people of the prince—the Romans, led by Titus, the representative of the world power, ultimately to be transferred to Messiah, and so called by Messiah's title, "the Prince"; as also because sent by Him, as His instrument of judgment (Mt 22:7).
end thereof—of the sanctuary. Tregelles takes it, "the end of the Prince," the last head of the Roman power, Antichrist.
with a flood—namely, of war (Ps 90:5; Isa 8:7, 8; 28:18). Implying the completeness of the catastrophe, "not one stone left on another."
unto the end of the war—rather, "unto the end there is war."
determined—by God's decree (Isa 10:23; 28:22).
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
27. he shall confirm the covenant—Christ. The confirmation of the covenant is assigned to Him also elsewhere. Isa 42:6, "I will give thee for a covenant of the people" (that is, He in whom the covenant between Israel and God is personally expressed); compare Lu 22:20, "The new testament in My blood"; Mal 3:1, "the angel of the covenant"; Jer 31:31-34, describes the Messianic covenant in full. Contrast Da 11:30, 32, "forsake the covenant," "do wickedly against the covenant." The prophecy as to Messiah's confirming the covenant with many would comfort the faithful in Antiochus' times, who suffered partly from persecuting enemies, partly from false friends (Da 11:33-35). Hence arises the similarity of the language here and in Da 11:30, 32, referring to Antiochus, the type of Antichrist.
with many—(Isa 53:11; Mt 20:28; 26:28; Ro 5:15, 19; Heb 9:28).
in … midst of … week—The seventy weeks extend to A.D. 33. Israel was not actually destroyed till A.D. 79, but it was so virtually, A.D. 33, about three or four years after Christ's death, during which the Gospel was preached exclusively to the Jews. When the Jews persecuted the Church and stoned Stephen (Ac 7:54-60), the respite of grace granted to them was at an end (Lu 13:7-9). Israel, having rejected Christ, was rejected by Christ, and henceforth is counted dead (compare Ge 2:17 with Ge 5:5; Ho 13:1, 2), its actual destruction by Titus being the consummation of the removal of the kingdom of God from Israel to the Gentiles (Mt 21:43), which is not to be restored until Christ's second coming, when Israel shall be at the head of humanity (Mt 23:39; Ac 1:6, 7; Ro 11:25-31; 15:1-32). The interval forms for the covenant-people a great parenthesis.
he shall cause the sacrifice … oblation to cease—distinct from the temporary "taking away" of "the daily" (sacrifice) by Antiochus (Da 8:11; 11:31). Messiah was to cause all sacrifices and oblations in general to "cease" utterly. There is here an allusion only to Antiochus' act; to comfort God's people when sacrificial worship was to be trodden down, by pointing them to the Messianic time when salvation would fully come and yet temple sacrifices cease. This is the same consolation as Jeremiah and Ezekiel gave under like circumstances, when the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar was impending (Jer 3:16; 31:31; Eze 11:19). Jesus died in the middle of the last week, A.D. 30. His prophetic life lasted three and a half years; the very time in which "the saints are given into the hand" of Antichrist (Da 7:25). Three and a half does not, like ten, designate the power of the world in its fulness, but (while opposed to the divine, expressed by seven) broken and defeated in its seeming triumph; for immediately after the three and a half times, judgment falls on the victorious world powers (Da 7:25, 26). So Jesus' death seemed the triumph of the world, but was really its defeat (Joh 12:31). The rending of the veil marked the cessation of sacrifices through Christ's death (Le 4:6, 17; 16:2, 15; Heb 10:14-18). There cannot be a covenant without sacrifice (Ge 8:20; 9:17; 15:9, &c.; Heb 9:15). Here the old covenant is to be confirmed, but in a way peculiar to the New Testament, namely, by the one sacrifice, which would terminate all sacrifices (Ps 40:6, 11). Thus as the Levitical rites approached their end, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, with ever increasing clearness, oppose the spiritual new covenant to the transient earthly elements of the old.
for the overspreading of abominations—On account of the abominations committed by the unholy people against the Holy One, He shall not only destroy the city and sanctuary (Da 9:25), but shall continue its desolation until the time of the consummation "determined" by God (the phrase is quoted from Isa 10:22, 23), when at last the world power shall be judged and dominion be given to the saints of the Most High (Da 7:26, 27). Auberlen translates, "On account of the desolating summit of abominations (compare Da 11:31; 12:11; thus the repetition of the same thing as in Da 9:26 is avoided), and till the consummation which is determined, it (the curse, Da 9:11, foretold by Moses) will pour on the desolated." Israel reached the summit of abominations, which drew down desolation (Mt 24:28), nay, which is the desolation itself, when, after murdering Messiah, they offered sacrifices, Mosaic indeed in form, but heathenish in spirit (compare Isa 1:13; Eze 5:11). Christ refers to this passage (Mt 24:15), "When ye see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place" (the latter words being tacitly implied in "abominations" as being such as are committed against the sanctuary). Tregelles translates, "upon the wing of abominations shall be that which causeth desolation"; namely, an idol set up on a wing or pinnacle of the temple (compare Mt 4:5) by Antichrist, who makes a covenant with the restored Jews for the last of the seventy weeks of years (fulfilling Jesus' words, "If another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive"), and for the first three and a half years keeps it, then in the midst of the week breaks it, causing the daily sacrifices to cease. Tregelles thus identifies the last half week with the time, times, and a half of the persecuting little horn (Da 7:25). But thus there is a gap of at least 1830 years put between the sixty-nine weeks and the seventieth week. Sir Isaac Newton explains the wing ("overspreading") of abominations to be the Roman ensigns (eagles) brought to the east gate of the temple, and there sacrificed to by the soldiers; the war, ending in the destruction of Jerusalem, lasted from spring A.D. 67 to autumn A.D. 70, that is, just three and a half years, or the last half week of years [Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 6.6].
poured upon the desolate—Tregelles translates, "the causer of desolation," namely, Antichrist. Compare "abomination that maketh desolate" (Da 12:11). Perhaps both interpretations of the whole passage may be in part true; the Roman desolator, Titus, being a type of Antichrist, the final desolator of Jerusalem. Bacon [The Advancement of Learning, 2.3] says, "Prophecies are of the nature of the Author, with whom a thousand years are as one day; and therefore are not fulfilled punctually at once, but have a springing and germinant accomplishment through many years, though the height and fulness of them may refer to one age."