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city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many 27 for one week and in the midst of the week he shall cause
iii. 45)-'people' being used as in 2 Sam. x. 13, Ez. xxx. 11, &c., of a body of troops. On the treatment which the Temple received at the same time, see above on viii. II.
but his end (shall be) with a flood] he will be swept away in the flood of a Divine judgement. The word (cf. xi. 22) may be suggested by Nah. i. 8; cf. the cognate verb (also of an overwhelming Divine judgement) in Is. x. 22 (overflowing with righteousness,' i.e. judicial righteousness, judgement), xxviii. 2, 15, 17, 18, xxx. 28.
and until the end (shall be) war, (even) that which is determined of desolations] until the end (i.e. until the close of the seventieth week,— the period pictured by the writer (see on viii. 17) as the 'end' of the present dispensation), the war waged by Antiochus against the saints (vii. 21) will continue, together with the accompanying 'desolations,' determined upon in the Divine counsels. The word rendered 'that which is determined,' which recurs in v. 27, and xi. 36, is a rare one; and is manifestly a reminiscence of Is. x. 23, xxviii. 22. For 'desolations,' comp. 1 Macc. i. 39, iii. 45, iv. 38 (quoted in the notes on viii. 11).
27. And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week] Lit. make mighty a covenant. The expression is a peculiar one; but apparently (the Heb. being late) make mighty is used in the weakened sense of make strong or confirm; cf. Ps. ciii. 11, cxvii. 2 (where 'is great' ought rather to be is mighty: the word is also sometimes rendered prevail, as Gen. xlix. 26, Ps. lxv. 3). The subject is naturally the 'prince' just named (v. 26). If the text be sound, the allusion will be to the manner in which Antiochus found apostate Jews ready to cooperate with him in his efforts to extirpate their religion: see on xi. 30; and cf. I Macc. i. 11-15, where, conversely, the Hellenizing Jews say, 'Let us go and make a covenant with the nations that are round about us.'
and for half of the week he shall cause sacrifice and meal-offering to cease] alluding to the suspension of the Temple services by Antiochus from the 15th of Chisleu, B.C. 168, to the 25th of Chisleu, B.C. 165 (1 Macc. i. 54, iv. 52 f.: see the note on ch. viii. 14). The 'half-week' does not seem to coincide exactly with the three and a half years of vii. 25 and xii. 7; for xii. 11 appears to shew that the suspension of the legitimate services did not precede the erection of the heathen altar on the 15th of Chisleu, B.C. 168; as the reckoning here is by weeks, the half-week is in all probability meant merely as a round fraction for what was strictly a little more than three-sevenths of a 'week,' three years and ten days. Sacrifice' and 'meal-offering' are mentioned as representing sacrifices generally: cf. 1 Sam. ii. 29, iii. 14, Am. v. 25, Is. xix. 21. The 'meal-offering' (minḥāh) was properly the accompaniment of the burnt-offering, and, as such, offered daily: see Ex. xxix. 40,
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.
41. The word might, however, be used in its more general sense, and signify offering' or 'oblation' generally (1 Sam. ii. 17, xxvi. 19).
and upon the wing of abominations (shall be) a desolator] or better (cf. on viii. 13 and xi. 31) one that causeth appalment: in contrast to Jehovah, who rides upon the cherub (Ps. xviii. 10), the heathen foe will come against the sanctuary, riding upon a winged creature, which is the personification of the forces and practices of heathenism1. 'Abomination' (shikķūz) is often used as a contemptuous designation of a heathen god or idol, or an object connected with idolatrous rites: see e.g. Deut. xxix. 17; 1 Ki. xi. 5, 7; Jer. vii. 30. It would be better rendered-for the sake of distinction from tō'ēbāh, also ‘abomination 'detestation or detestable thing (as it is actually rendered in A. V. when it occurs by the side of tērēbāh, Ez. v. 11, vii. 20, xi. 18, 21); but 'abomination' is, through the N.T. (Matt. xxiv. 15; Mark xiii. 14), so inseparably connected with the Book of Daniel, that the time-honoured rendering may be left undisturbed.
Whether, however, the rendering given above expresses the real meaning of the passage may be doubted. The figure of the 'wing' is not in harmony with the context; and in xi. 31 the same two words 'abomination' and 'desolator (or appaller),' differently construed, recur, with clear reference to Antiochus's persecution, And they shall profane the sanctuary, (even) the stronghold, and take away the continual (burnt-offering), and set up the abomination that maketh desolate (or appalleth)' (cf. xii. II 'from the time when the continual burnt-offering was taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate (or appalleth) set up'; and above, viii. 13); and it is highly probable that, slightly changing the text, we should read here, similarly, and in its place (15 for so Van Lennep, Kuenen, Bevan, Kamphausen, Prince; cf. xi. 38) shall be the abomination that maketh desolate (or appalleth)'
erroneously מ a- שקוצים משומם as xii. 31, for שקוץ משומם)
repeated, and then Dp written plene Dip), i.e. instead of the legitimate sacrifice' and 'meal-offering' on the altar of burnt-offering, there will be the detestable heathen altar (see on xi. 31), built upon it by Antiochus.
and that, until the consummation, and that which is determined (i.e. the determined doom), be poured upon the desolator (or appaller)] the heathen abomination will remain upon the altar until the destined judgement come down upon its author (Antiochus). The phrase, the
1 R.V. marg. 'upon the pinnacle of abominations'; but though Treрúylov (Matth. iv. 5) means a pinnacle, there is no evidence that the Heb. or Aram. acquired A.V. 'for (i.e. on account of) the overspreading,' &c., follows David Kimchi, who takes 'wing' as a figure for spreading abroad, diffusion,-'on account of the diffusion of abominations, men will be appalled.' But such a metaphorical sense of the word is very improbable.
consummation, &c., from Is. x. 23, xxviii. 22. Be poured is often used of anger or fury (Jer. xlii. 18, xliv. 6 al.).
Additional Note on the Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks.
Probably no passage of the Old Testament has been the subject of so much discussion, or has given rise to so many and such varied interpretations, as this. Already Jerome wrote1, 'Scio de hac quaestione ab eruditissimis viris varie disputatum et unumquemque pro captu ingenii sui dixisse quod senserat'; after which he proceeds to give, in some cases quoting the explanations in full, nine different interpretations: though, deeming it dangerous' to decide between the opinions of magistri Ecclesiae and to prefer one above another, he leaves it to his reader to determine which he will adopt. Since the time of Jerome the number of divergent interpretations has greatly increased. They differ primarily in the terminus ad quem which it is desired, or which it is thought possible, to reach; this necessitates differences in the terminus a quo adopted, and also in the manner of calculating the 'weeks,' which have been treated sometimes as consisting of solar years, sometimes of lunar years, sometimes as jubile-periods of 7×7 years, sometimes as mystic or symbolic periods, not necessarily equal in length; the order 7+62 + 1, implied apparently by the text, has been inverted, and altered into 62+7+1, or 62+1+7; the 62 weeks, instead of following the 7, have been made to begin concurrently with them; intervals, not taken account of in the prophecy, have been assumed in the period covered by it; the author, it has been supposed, has followed an erroneous chronology. The reason why commentators have had recourse to these varied and often singular expedients is that, understood in the plain and obvious meaning of the words,—the 'week' being naturally allowed to signify a week of years, the prophecy admits of no explanation, consistent with history, whatever; and hence, if it is to be explained at all, an assumption, or assumptions, of some kind or other, must be made; and the only question that can arise is, What assumption is the least violent one, or most adequately meets the requirements of the case? It will be unnecessary to review at length the bewildering mass of explanations that have been offered2: the majority are so artificial, or extravagant, that they cannot be regarded as having a serious claim on the reader's attention. The two principal explanations will however be noticed in some detail; and specimens of others will be placed before the reader.
Two exegetical conditions may be premised, which it seems reasonable that any sound interpretation ought to satisfy: (1) the 'weeks' must have the same value throughout; (2) they must be distributed in the order in which they appear in the prophecy, i.e. 7, 62, and 1. It
1 Comm. on Dan., ad loc. (ed. Vallarsi, v. 681; ed. Migne, v. 542). They may be seen summarized in Zöckler, p. 187. None of the interpretations which he mentions has found a sponsor in modern times.
2 A synopsis will be found in Zöckler's Comm. (1870), p. 185 ff.; and in Van Lennep's De Zeventig Jaarweken van Daniel, 1888, p. 99 ff.
is the plain intention of the prophecy to answer Daniel's questionings and supplication (vv. 2, 18, 19, 22), by assigning certain dates, marking stages in the future history of Jerusalem and ending with the consummation of the Divine purpose towards it; and if these dates were to be fixed by variable standards, or if the stages were to be taken as following one another in an inverted order, not indicated in the terms of the text, no definite information would be conveyed by the vision, and the intention of the prophecy would be frustrated.
(i) The traditional explanation of the passage makes it a prediction of the Advent (v. 25) and Death (v. 26) of Christ, of the abolition of Levitical sacrifices by His sacrifice, once for all, upon the Cross (v. 27), and of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans under Titus (v. 26). There are, no doubt, expressions in the version of Theodotion and the Vulgate, and still more in the Authorized Version, which directly suggest this interpretation,-for instance, 'to anoint the most Holy' (TOU Xploαι ayior dyiwv, ut...ungatur sanctus sanctorum), 'unto the Messiah the Prince' (ews xploтoû youuévou, usque ad Christum ducem), 'shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself' (occidetur Christus; et non erit eius populus, qui eum negaturus est; Theod. here oλopevenσεται χρίσμα, καὶ κρίμα οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν αὐτῷ), ‘and he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease' (Theod. and Vulg. here, somewhat less pointedly, καὶ δυναμώσει διαθήκην πολλοῖς ἑβδομὰς μία· καὶ ἐν τῷ ἥμισυ τῆς ἑβδομάδος ἀρθήσεταί μου θυσία καὶ σπονδή, confirmabit autem pactum multis hebdomada una; et in dimidio hebdomadis deficiet hostia et sacrificium); but these renderings are interpretations, of which one (but not for himself') is impossible, while the others are, to say the least, exegetically doubtful, and certainly in no case necessary (see the notes ad locc.). Thus, to take here but one expression, the crucial term 'Messiah' depends upon a wholly uncertain exegesis: nowhere else in the O.T. does mashiaḥ, used absolutely, denote the ideal, or even the actual, ruler of Israel: the expression used is always either 'Jehovah's anointed,' or 'my, thy, his anointed'; and though the later Jews unquestionably used the term meshiḥā 'the anointed one' (the Meorías of the N.T.) to denote Israel's expected ideal king, it is just the question when this usage began, and whether it was current as early as when the book of Daniel was written: certainly, if the book was written by Daniel himself, its appearance in it would be extremely unlikely. Even, indeed, if more than this were conceded, and it were granted that the word might have this sense in Daniel, there would be no proof that it must have it, and the rendering would still remain exegetically a matter of uncertainty.
When, moreover, the passage is examined in detail, positive objections of a serious, not to say fatal kind, reveal themselves.
(1) If the Crucifixion (A.D. 29) is to fall (v. 27 A.V.) in the middle of the last week, the 490 years must begin c. 458 B.C., a date which coincides with the decree of Artaxerxes, and the mission of Ezra (Ezr. vii.), and which is accordingly assumed as the terminus a quo by Auberlen, Pusey, and
1 i.e. nip for ip:
others. Unfortunately, however, this decree is silent as to any command to restore and build Jerusalem'; nor was this one of the objects of Ezra's mission to Judah. Others, therefore, adopting the same general view of the meaning of the prophecy, assume as the terminus a quo the permission given by Artaxerxes to Nehemiah, in his 20th year, to visit Jerusalem for the purpose of rebuilding the walls (Neh. i.--iii.). To urge the objection that at this time Jerusalem itself was already rebuilt (cf. Hag. i. 4), and that the work of Nehemiah was only to rebuild the walls of the city, might be deemed hypercritical: it is a more substantial objection that Artaxerxes' 20th year was B.C. 445, which brings the terminus ad quem 13 years too late,-a serious discrepancy, when the prediction is a minute one, and given (ex hyp.) by a special supernatural revelation. In so far also as this interpretation is usually adopted by those who believe the book to have been written by Daniel himself, it can hardly be considered probable that the terminus a quo should be a point some 80 years or more subsequent to the date (B.C. 538) at which the prophecy itself is stated to have been given (ch. ix. 1).
(2) The interpretation depends upon the unnatural interpunction of v. 25 adopted in A.V., viz. ' unto an anointed one, a prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks; it shall be built again, with broad place and moat, and that in strait of times': the division of the 69 weeks into 7 weeks and 62 weeks, without the mention of anything to mark the close of the 7 weeks, is improbable, while at the same time some mention of the time at which or during which the city is to be 'built again' is desiderated. Those who adopt this interpretation generally suppose the 49 years (which would end c. 409 B.C.) to mark the close of the rebuilding of Jerusalem which was begun by Nehemiah: but there is really no ground for the supposition that this work continued till then. Nehemiah rebuilt, not the city, but the walls, and that, not after the destruction by Nebuchadnezzar, but after some more recent catastrophe1; the work was accomplished rapidly (Neh. vi. 15), and even on the occasion of his second visit to Jerusalem in 432 (Neh. xiii. 6 ff.), there is no indication that any rebuilding, whether of the city or the walls, was still going on. With the interpretation and rendering of v. 25 adopted in R. V., the possibility ceases of identifying the 'anointed one, the prince' of v. 25 with the anointed one' of v. 26, and also of referring either-except upon such strained interpretations as those quoted below, pp. 148, 149-to Christ. (3) Christ did not 'confirm a covenant with many for one week' (=7 years); His ministry lasted at most somewhat over 3 years; and if, in the years following, He is regarded as carrying on His work through the agency of His apostles, the limit, 'seven years,' seems an arbitrary one; for the apostles continued to gain converts from Judaism for many years subsequently. The preaching of the Gospel to the Samaritans (Acts viii.), which may have happened 3-4 years after the Crucifixion, and which has been suggested as the limit intended in the prophecy, did not mark such an epoch in the establishment of Christianity as could be naturally regarded as closing the period during which the Messiah would make a firm covenant with many.'
1 See Ryle on Neh. i. 3. On Neh. ii. 5 end, and vii. 4, see also Ryle's notes.