Notes on Daniel
Blaine Robison, M.A.
Published 8 February 2010; Revised 17 July 2018
Scripture: The Scripture text used in this chapter commentary is prepared by Blaine Robison and based on the WLC Hebrew text used in the online Interlinear Bible. The Hebrew text for this chapter may be found here. Other passages quoted are from the NASB Updated Version unless otherwise noted. Click here for Abbreviations of Bible Versions. Most versions can be accessed on the Internet. Messianic Jewish versions are CJB, OJB and TLV. Non-Messianic versions are the CTHB and NJPS.
Sources: Bibliographic data for sources cited may be found at the end of the article. The Septuagint (LXX) is the Jewish translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, which was in use by Jews by the mid-2nd century BC. The LXX with English translation may be found here. Citations for Talmud tractates are from the Soncino Babylonian Talmud (1948); found at Halakhah.com.
Syntax: Unless otherwise noted the meaning of Hebrew words is from The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (1981), abbreviated as "BDB." Parsing data is from John J. Owens, Analytical Key to the Old Testament. Important Hebrew verb forms include Qal (simple active), Niphal (simple passive), Piel (intensive active), Pual (intensive passive), Hiphil (causative active), Hophal (causative passive), and Hithpael (intensive reflexive). For an explanation of the Hebrew verb forms see the article on Hebrew4Christians.com.
Terminology: In order to emphasize the Hebraic and Jewish nature of Scripture I use the terms Tanakh (Old Testament) and Besekh (New Testament), as well as the terms Yeshua (Jesus) and Messiah (Christ).
Please see the Introduction for background information on the book of Daniel, interpretative approaches and historical context.
1- In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans;
In the first: Heb. echad, the root meaning is 'one,' in the sense of singularity and uniqueness. The noun may also convey compound unity, e.g., "one flesh" (Gen 2:24), a corporate unity, e.g., "one statute" (Num 15:15), "one people acting in unity" (Jdg 20:8; 2Sam 11:7), "one cluster of grapes" (Num 13:23). Thus, echad incorporates the idea of a plurality in unity. The term is also used in a distributive sense of each or every (Ex 36:30), and as an ordinal number, to denote the "first" in a list of names or of a time reference, e.g., first of the month or year, which is the meaning here. year: Heb. shanah, a period of twelve months based on the lunar calendar. The time reference may have been the second year, since the accession year was often not counted in numbering the years of kings.
of Darius: Heb. Dareyavesh, the name given to Persian kings. Darius is actually a title meaning "lord" (SECB) or "one who subdues" (Sevener 56). BDB identifies three different men with the name Darius in the Tanakh (201): (1) Darius Hystaspis, 522-485 BC (Ezra 4:5, 24; 5:5-7; 6:1, 12-15; Hag 1:1, 15; 2:10; Zech 1:1,7; 7:1); (2) Darius Codomannus, 336-332 BC (Neh 12:22); and (3) Darius the Mede (Dan 5:31; 6:1, 2, 7, 10, 26, 29; 9:1; 11:1. The identity of the Darius in the book of Daniel has been the subject of considerable debate among Bible scholars. There is no ancient text outside the Bible that positively identifies Darius the Mede.
the son: Heb. ben, "son," "son of," which is used in three distinctive ways: (1) to identify direct paternity, as the son of his father (Gen 5); (2) to mean not the actual father but a more distant ancestor (e.g., Gen 32:32); or (3) to mean in a broader sense of having the characteristics of (e.g., Ps 89:22; Dan 3:25). The first meaning applies here. of Ahasuerus: Heb. Achashverosh, an approximation of the Persian name. The NIV has Xerxes, which is a Greek name. Like Darius, Xerxes (Ahasuerus) was a title applied to his father (Miller).
of the seed: Heb. zera, sowing, seed or offspring. The term may refer either to the source (e.g. seed, semen) or the product of propagation (e.g., posterity, descendant). Most versions render the noun "by birth" or "by descent," but "seed" seems more appropriate as characteristic of the people group (ASV, BRG, CTHB, DRA, KJV, YLT). of the Medes: Heb. Maday, originally a son of Japheth, then his descendants and their land. who: Heb. asher, particle of relation, who, which, that. was made king: Heb. malak, Hophil perf., be, or become king, or queen, reign. over: Heb. al, prep., upon, above, over or against. the kingdom: Heb. malkuth may mean (1) royalty, royal power or dominion; (2) reign, of a period of rulership; (3) kingdom or realm. The third meaning applies here.
of the Chaldeans: Heb. Kasdim, inhabitants of Chaldea, a territory situated in central and southeastern Mesopotamia, i.e., the land between the lower stretches of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Today Chaldea lies in the country of Iraq, very close to its border with Iran, and touching upon the head of the Persian Gulf (HBD). The book of Daniel provides little biographical detail on Darius, only that he is of Median descent and a son of Ahasuerus. Rashi notes that this is not the Ahasuerus of the days of Haman, for he was the king of Persia, whereas this one was Darius the Mede who was crowned over the kingdom of the Chaldeans when Belshazzar was slain (5:31).
Darius succeeded Belshazzar at the age of 62. He is the Darius who was manipulated into sentencing Daniel to the lion's den (6:6-7). Miller argues persuasively that Darius and Cyrus were dual titles for the same man. See the notes on Chapter Six for the rationale of dual titles. Darius the Mede should not to be confused with the later Persian emperor Darius the Great who led the first Persian invasion of Greece.
2- in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood in the scrolls the number of the years, the word of ADONAI, that came to Jeremiah the prophet, for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, seventy years.
in the first year: See the previous verse. of his reign: Heb. malak. See the previous verse. I: Heb. ani, singular pronoun of the first person. The pronoun emphasizes the first person narration. Israelite and Hebrew authors of history and prophecy generally did not attach their names to their works out of modesty or because their words brought unwelcome news. However, the narrative that follows is of such importance that Daniel knew it would be necessary to introduce his authorship. Daniel: Heb. Daniyyel, "God is my judge." Daniel was a young man of nobility taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, after the battle of Carchemish, 605 B.C. and transported from Judah to Babylon. The text does not indicate his precise age.
The Babylonians sought to remove all vestiges of Daniel's nationality and religion. For this reason, they sought to change the name of Daniel to Belteshazzar. He was trained in the arts, letters, and wisdom in the Babylonian capital and demonstrated at an early age propensities of knowledge, wisdom, and leadership. Eventually, he rose to high rank among the wise men of Babylon. In addition to his wisdom, he was skilled in dream interpretation (Dan 1:17). He was a man of singular piety (Dan 1:8-16; Ezek 14:14, 20), a man of prayer, (Dan 2:17; 6:10; 9:3-21) and courage (Dan 6:18-24). Daniel was a civil servant throughout the reign of Nebuchadnezzar (604-562 BC) and a high governmental official during the reign of Cyrus/Darius (539-529 BC). He probably lived to be over 100 years of age.
Rabbinic scholars who determined the canon of the Tanakh placed the book of Daniel in the section Ketuvim ("Writings") rather than the section Neviim ("Prophets"), because they considered the book too mysterious. However, Yeshua identified Daniel as a prophet (Matt 24:15), which is God's point of view.
understood: Heb. bin, Qal perf., may mean (1) to perceive with the senses; (2) to understand or know with the mind; (3) to observe, mark, give heed to, consider with attention; or (4) have discernment, insight, understanding. The third meaning applies here. The verb means that Daniel read and considered the significance of the revelation. in the scrolls: Heb. sêpherim, pl. of sêpher, means a missive, legal document, writing, letter, book or scroll (BDB 706). The plural form occurs 14 times in the Tanakh, mostly in regard to letters (e.g., 1Kgs 21:8-9), and only twice for books (Eccl 12:12). The main materials available for writing the text of the Scriptures were skins, papyrus and vellum (NIBD 1110). The use of prepared leather for recording documents dates well into antiquity and was used by the Hebrew prophets (Jer 36:23).
Most versions translate the noun as "books," but this may be misleading to modern readers. Some versions have "Scriptures" (CJB, GW, MSG, NCV, NIV). A few versions have "scrolls" (CEB, LEB, VOICE), which seems appropriate since ancient Hebrew sacred writings were written on one side and rolled up in itself or around a wooden shaft. The Scriptures were not bound between two covers. The mention of "scrolls" alludes to the publication of Scripture. The formation of the Bible is a subject of many scholarly works. The traditional (and correct) viewpoint is that the practice of writing can be dated from antiquity. Content was based on contemporaneous records of the Hebrew people and divine dictation. Books were therefore in written form early, certainly within the lifetimes of the prophets credited with authorship, and the Holy Spirit superintended the whole process (2Tim 3:16; 2Pet 1:21).
Liberal scholars, who generally assign late dates to books of the Tanakh, attribute the formation of the Tanakh to a variety of causes, including dependence on surrounding pagan customs, dependence on literary works of other cultures, oral tradition for centuries, and anonymous sources, yet unremembered in Judaism. The final written form supposedly appeared in the time of Ezra and only reflects Jewish religious belief. The alternative would appear to be choosing between divinely inspired leaders of Israel's history or a secret rabbinic publishing mill that cranked out the books and passed them off as God's word. This repugnant distortion of truth deserves the condemnation of Paul (Gal 1:8-9).
the number: Heb. mispar, number or tally. of the years: pl. of Heb. shanah, a period of twelve months based on the lunar calendar. the word: Heb. dabar, a vocalized expression of the mind, as communication ranging broadly in extent of content and variety of form; saying, speech, word, message, report, tidings, discourse, story, command, advice, counsel, promise, thing, or matter, whether of men or God (BDB 182). of ADONAI: Heb. YHVH. Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh (%&%*) is the personal name of the God of Israel (Ex 3:15; 2Chr 14:11; Isa 42:8). The sacred name is rendered LORD in small caps in Christian versions. "LORD" is a substitution for YHVH, not a translation. The presumed root of the name is hava, which means "to be" or "being" or "to become."
Thus YHVH may mean "the one bringing into being, life-giver," or simply "I am," which may refer to His uncreated eternal self-existence (BDB 217).He did not evolve into existence (Ex 3:14-15). YHVH is frequently described as the "living God" (Deut 5:26; Dan 6:20, 26) to contrast with the lifeless idols of pagan religions. YHVH is echad, one (Deut 6:4), or more literally "the only one." The deities represented by idols do not exist (Isa 43:10-11). The importance of the name YHVH to Israel cannot be overstated. YHVH has a direct connection with the covenant and promises to Israel (Deut 4:14; 7:9), His chosen people to whom He revealed His name. Daniel knows that YHVH is the deliverer of His people (Gen 15:7; Ex 20:2; Isa 43:11).
The actual pronunciation of YHVH is unknown. In post-biblical times Jews interpreted the warning of Leviticus 24:16 against blaspheming the Name as including pronunciation and substituted Adonai (Lord) or even HaShem (the Name) in synagogue readings. The scribes who produced the Masoretic Text assigned vowel pointing for Adonai, and actual writing resulted in YaHoVaH (rendered as "Jehovah" in several verses in the KJV). Of interest is that Daniel uses YHVH only in this prayer and no where else in his book. He must have known how to pronounce it. See my article The Blessed Name for more discussion on this subject.
that: Heb. asher, particle. See the previous verse. came: Heb. hayah, Qal perf., to fall out, come to pass, become, be. In Hebrew thought revelation is understanding as a result of knowledge "coming to" someone from outside himself. A logical deduction is not revelation. Thus, the verb emphasizes divine inspiration. to Jeremiah: Heb. Yirmeyahu, "YHVH has uplifted or loosened" (BDB 941). He was the son of a priest, Hilkiah, from Anathoth in Benjamin. Jeremiah began ministry about 20 years of age, about 627 BC, and was active in this capacity from this time on to the destruction of Jerusalem, 586 BC, under the kings Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. After the fall of Jerusalem he moved initially to Mizpah, but then was deported to Egypt where after several years he apparently died. His service for God extended over a period of about 50 years in all.
the prophet: Heb. nabi, a spokesman, speaker, or prophet. The noun especially refers to one who is gifted with the ability for interpretation or revelation transcending normal insight or awareness. In Scripture the term refers to one who spoke on God's behalf, whether in foretelling or forth-telling. The record of the Tanakh indicates considerable variance in the activity and ministry of Hebrew prophets. The Hebrew prophets were a diverse group with different personalities, vocations and manner of ministry, but they all spoke for God under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2Pet 1:21). The literary works of the prophets in the Tanakh are authoritative Scripture (Matt 5:17-19; Luke 24:44-45; 2Tim 3:16-17).
Jeremiah was appointed as prophet before he was born (Jer 1:5). Some would say that he was a depressed prophet, forced to deliver terrible news of God's judgment to his people, who regarded him as a traitor. True to his prediction Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians in 586 BC. Yet he soars to heights of future hope and Messianic prophecy. He was assisted with writing by a scribe named Baruch, (Jer 36:1-4, 32; 45:1). While Jeremiah warned Judah of judgment via Babylon, he also taught that ADONAI is in control of Israel’s destiny and promised that ADONAI would make all things new. There are several memorable passages in Jeremiah, such as "Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you," 29:7; "I know the plans I have for you," 29:11; "I will make a new covenant," 31:31; but the message that stood out to Daniel was "When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place" (29:10).
The message of Jeremiah in fact offered considerable future hope. The expression "Days are coming" occurs 16 times in Jeremiah whereas it only occurs 5 times elsewhere in the Bible. Several passages promise a Davidic Messiah (23:5-6; 30:8-9, 21-24; 33:14-26), the return of exiles (16:14; 23:7-8; 30:3; 31:1-14; 32:36-37), the renewal of the Land (31:27-28; 32:42-44), a New covenant (31:31-34; 32:38-40), the rebuilding of Jerusalem (31:38-40), the restoration of Levitical ministry (33:18), and judgment on Judah's enemies (48:12-13; 49:2; 51:47-52). Jeremiah apparently ended his ministry in Egypt.
for the completion: Heb. malê, to fill or to be full. of the desolations, pl. of Heb. chorbah , means waste, desolation or ruin (BDB 352). Miller suggests the plural emphasizes the intensity of the desolations suffered. It would no doubt refer to the destroyed cities, dwellings and fields in Judah. of Jerusalem: Heb. Yerushalayim, "possession" or "foundation of peace" (BDB 436). What a precious name is Jerusalem! The city is situated some 2500 feet above sea level and eighteen miles west of the northern end of the Dead Sea, was renowned as the capital of all Israel under David, and afterwards of the Kingdom of Judah and the seat of central worship in the temple. At the time of the Exodus the city was inhabited by the Jebusites (Josh 15:8), but then captured by the tribe of Judah (Jdg 1:8). The city was also known as the City of David (2Sam 5:7).
For the faithful Jew the city of Jerusalem represented all that was dear in the covenant relationship with God. David spoke of Jerusalem as
"a city that is bound firmly together, to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord" (Ps 122:3–4 ESV).
Another psalmist expressed his affection thus,
"If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget her skill, may my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy" (Ps 137:5–6).
Jerusalem is the city God favors above all other cities and the focus of His covenantal faithfulness (Ps 135:21; 147:2; Ezek 5:5; Zech 2:8). Jerusalem became the center of Jewish worship (Deut 16:16), but it figured prominently in Messianic expectation (Isa 59:20; 62:11; Zech 9:9). It was also the city from which the message of God's salvation would go forth (Isa 2:3; 40:9; 41:27; Mic 4:2). In the millennial kingdom Jerusalem will be the capital and center of the Messiah's government (Zech 14:16).
Daniel, who is at least 80 years of age at this point, takes note of the mention of specific number of years Jeremiah predicted as affecting the beloved city. The context of the great prophet affirms the historical setting of this chapter and Daniel's book. Scholars who cast doubt on the predictive nature of Daniel's book by placing its authorship in the Maccabean years likewise impugn Jeremiah's prophecy.
namely: This word is not in the Hebrew text. seventy: Heb. shibim, the numeral seventy, a cardinal number. years: pl. of Heb. shanah, a period of twelve months based on the lunar calendar. The time reference first appears as the length of Kenan's life (Gen 5:12) and later meant as an expectation of a normal life-span, as in Psalm 90:10, "As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years." In later Scripture writings the expression is used as a definite period of prophetic significance pertaining to the exile of the Jews (2Chr 36:21; Jer 25:11-12; 29:10, Dan 9:2; Zech 1:12; 7:5). Such passages would no doubt stir up Daniel with sudden hope as he began to calculate the years.
However, determining the beginning and ending dates of the prophetic seventy years has been the subject of considerable discussion and debate across the centuries. Both Daniel and Zechariah (1:12) relate the expression to the period of the desolation of Jerusalem, which is normally thought to last from the destruction of the temple to its rebuilding (587–515 B.C.).
"Then the angel of the LORD said, "O LORD of hosts, how long will You have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been indignant these seventy years?" (Zech 1:12)
The first mention of "seventy years" in Jeremiah 25:8-12 also associates the seventy years with the period of Babylonian rule, which could be dated from the fall of Nineveh in 612 B.C. to the fall of Babylon in 539 B.C. (73 years) or the accession of Nebuchadnezzar in 605 B.C. to the fall of Babylon (66 years) or to the edict of Cyrus the following year.
"This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Then it will be when seventy years are completed I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation,' declares the LORD, 'for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans; and I will make it an everlasting desolation." (Jer 25:11-12)
In fact, when giving the termination of the seventy years in Jeremiah 29:10 the Lord says, "When seventy years have been completed for Babylon," NOT "when seventy years have been completed for you."
"For thus says the LORD, 'When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place." (Jer 29:10)
Thus, the prediction of seventy years in Jeremiah may not be intended as an exact number, but as a round number of approximation (Miller). Daniel realizes from reading the Scripture that the prophetic time period was nearing its conclusion.
3- And I set my face to the Lord God to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth and ashes.
And I set: Heb. nathan, Qal impf., to give, put or set. The verb emphasizes commitment and determination. The imperfect nature of the verb indicates Daniel's persistent action. my face: Heb. panim, face as an anatomical feature of the head. The plural form has a comprehensive meaning. Daniel sought the divine source of wisdom and understanding of Scripture. While translations treat "face" metaphorically, it also has a literal meaning as in 6:10. He turned his face toward Jerusalem, following the injunction of Solomon. His mention of praying toward Jerusalem is set in the context of the probability (if not prophecy) of Israel being taken into captivity:
"When they sin against You (for there is no man who does not sin) and You are angry with them and deliver them to an enemy, so that they take them away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near; 47 if they take thought in the land where they have been taken captive, and repent and make supplication to You in the land of those who have taken them captive, saying, `We have sinned and have committed iniquity, we have acted wickedly'; 48 if they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who have taken them captive, and pray to You toward their land which You have given to their fathers, the city which You have chosen, and the house which I have built for Your name; 49 then hear their prayer and their supplication in heaven Your dwelling place, and maintain their cause. (1Kgs 8:46-49)
to the Lord: Heb. Adonai, an emphatic form of adôn, lord, master or owner (BDB 10). Just as Elohim is plural in Hebrew, so Adonai is called an intensive plural or plural of majesty (TWOT 1:13). We could also say that like Elohim, Adonai hints at the triune nature of God. The plural form of the Hebrew name is typically transliterated as "Adonay," but the diphthong "ai" is used for correct pronunciation. This spelling is used in both Messianic and non-Messianic Jewish versions of the Bible. Christian versions typically use "Lord" (lower case) and never "Adonai." The title Adonai declares the sovereign authority over the people of God.
God: Heb. Elohim, the plural form of Eloah (BDB 43), one of the principal names for God occurring 2,340 times in the Tanakh. Elohim emphasizes the divine majesty and his creative powers. Given the plural nature of the name Elohim represents the full triunity of God. Elohim is the one who created the heavens and the earth out of nothing (Gen 1:1). Daniel's seeking his God was accomplished by four means. by prayer: Heb. tephillah, a general word for prayer (first in 2Sam 7:27), appearing in contexts of worship, personal requests and intercession for others. and supplications: Heb. tachanun, request for favor (BDB 337).
with fasting: Heb. tsōm, which in Scripture refers to refraining from food and drink. The root idea behind fasting is to humble oneself before God (cf. Lev 23:26). After the exile there were scheduled fasts (Zech 8:18-19), but generally fasting was a response to some personal or national crisis or tragedy. For more information on this subject see my web article Fasting and Prayer. and sackcloth: Heb. saq, a garment of coarse material fashioned from goat or camel hair worn as a sign of mourning or anguish. The word "sack" is a transliteration of the Hebrew word rather than a translation. and ashes: pl. of Heb. epher, ashes. Grief, humiliation, and repentance were expressed by placing ashes on the head or by sitting in ashes (e.g., Jer 6:26; Esth 4:1-3; Jonah 3:5-10; Job 42:6). The combination of sackcloth and ashes represents an intense emotional state.
4- And I prayed to ADONAI my God and made confession, saying, "I beseech you, Lord, the great and awesome God, the One keeping covenant and steadfast devotion to the ones loving Him and keeping His commandments,
And: The verse begins with the vav letter attached to the verb for conjunctive effect. I prayed: Heb. palal, Hithpael impf., to intervene or interpose and has a range of application both in a legal sense of arbitrate, judge and intercede, and in the religious sense to pray on behalf of or intercede for someone with God (BDB 813). The context of palal in the Tanakh is pleading before a judge. The implication of this meaning is significant because a weak and imperfect human being is approaching the holy God. Biblical prayer requires self-examination and self-judgment because prayer automatically invokes God's judgment. In this one verse Daniel uses four different names for God. to ADONAI: Heb. YHVH. See verse 2 above. Daniel addressed his prayer to the covenant-keeping God of Israel.
my God: Heb. Elohim. and made confession: Heb. yadah, Hithpael perf., to throw or cast. As a form of address to God it means to offer thanks, or to give praise (BDB 392). Daniel is not saying that he began with confessing sin, as the English verb normally means, but expressing adoration, acknowledging God's faithfulness as a covenant-keeping God. saying: Heb. amar, Qal impf., to utter, say, shew, command or think. I beseech you: Heb. annah, interjection, ah, now! I (we) beseech you! Lord: Heb. Adonai. See the previous verse. the great: Heb. gadol, adj., great, whether in magnitude and extent, number, intensity, volume of sound, age, or importance. The adjective denotes importance here. and awesome: Heb. yare, fear, to be afraid of, to be in awe of.
God: Heb. El, God or god, which must be determined from the context. El was used by pagan nations to refer to the supreme being, but in Israel El was the only God and the true God of Israel (BDB 42). By using El, Daniel emphasizes that God is the God of the nations and the God of Israel. the One keeping: Heb. shamar, Qal act. ptc., to keep, watch, or preserve. Use of the participle emphasizes that "keeping" is a character trait. covenant: Heb. b'rit, pact, compact, covenant (BDB 136). In the Tanakh a covenant may between men, such as (1) an alliance or treaty between competing parties (Gen 14:13); (2) a constitution or ordinance between a monarch and his subjects (2Sam 5:3); (3) an alliance of friendship (1Sam 18:3) or (4) an alliance of marriage (Prov 2:17; Mal 2:14).
The most significant usage is a covenant between God and man characterized by signs or pledges. God made specific covenants with Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the nation of Israel, Aaron, Pinchas and David. Unlike human covenants, God did not negotiate the terms of each of His covenants, so the divine covenants are not mutual agreements but unilateral testaments. "Covenant" represents the generous grace of God to establish a perpetual relationship, which can only be endangered by rebellion against covenantal expectations. The act of "keeping covenant" points backwards to the promises made in each of those covenants. ADONAI is a promise-keeping God.
and steadfast devotion: Heb. chesed, goodness, kindness or lovingkindness (BDB 338). This kindness may be extended to the lowly and miserable, hence meaning "merciful" as in the KJV. When used of God chesed emphasizes His kindness in condescending to the needs of his creatures, but even more encompasses redemption from enemies and troubles, preservation of life from death, quickening of spiritual life, redemption from sin, keeping the covenants He made with Abraham, Israel and David. The CJB interprets the noun as the extension of grace. There is no clear consensus of translation in Bible versions, some with "kindness," "lovingkindness," "mercy," or "steadfast love."
for the ones loving him: Heb. aheb, Qal act. ptc., to love, used with a variety of meanings much as the English word "love." The LXX translated the Hebrew word with Grk. agapaō, a verb that denotes a sacrificial devotion for the good of another. Here the devotion is directed toward God. and keeping: Heb. shamar, Qal act. ptc. His commandments: pl. of Heb. mitzvah, a directive for action; command, commandment, order (BDB 846). A mitzvah may be a human command, but mostly the term is used for divine instruction intended for obedience. Daniel emphasizes at this point in his prayer that God's covenant hesed is directed toward those who are faithful to him. God's loyalty is intended for those loyal to Him.
Moreover, God had been faithful even when his people had been unfaithful. Miller sees Daniel's prayer as a model for prayer. After adoration Daniel proceeds with confession of personal and national sin (5-14) and concludes with petition (15-19). The assumption is that only after the Lord is praised and sin confessed is the person qualified to make requests of God. In the prayer taught by Yeshua adoration of God comes first, but the request for bread precedes confessing sin (Matt 6:11-12). Of course, there are Psalms in which the writer begins with a request (Ps 5:1) or manages to combine a request with adoration (Ps 16:1). There is no cookie-cutter formula for prayer in the Bible. God knows our hearts.
5- we have sinned, and committed iniquity, and acted wickedly and rebelled to turn aside from Your commandments and ordinances.
Throughout the prayer verbs describing the behavior of Israelites is first person plural, which emphasizes the corporate nature of the people for whom Daniel is interceding. Daniel's litany of Israel's disobedience covers a broad range of offenses with increasing severity. We have sinned: Heb. chata, Qal perf., to miss the goal or way, go wrong or sin (BDB 306). The goal is the instruction of God or His commandments. Thus, sin is a behavior that violates a specific command or instruction of God. The degree of intentionality is not a factor in defining sinful behavior, only whether the express requirements or prohibitions of Torah commandments have been violated. Sinning can be unintentional (Lev 4:2) but the rest of the offenses would be considered deliberate.
and committed iniquity: Heb. avah, Qal perf., to bend or twist (BDB 730). The verb may suggest that a sin is something twisted or perverted (Miller), but the idea could also be that sinning is justified by twisting Scripture to make it mean what we want. and acted wickedly: Heb. rasha, Hiphil perf., may refer to being condemned as guilty in civil relations, in ethical and religious relations or to act wickedly in ethics and religion (BDB 957). and rebelled: Heb. marad, Qal perf., to rebel or revolt (BDB 597). Rebellion is rejection of both God's authority and His instructions as occurred in the time of the confederation when everyone did what was right in his own eyes (Jdg 17:6; 21:25). to turn aside: Heb. sur, Qal inf., depart, turn aside. from Your commandments: pl. of Heb. mitzvah. See the previous verse.
and ordinances: pl. of Heb. mishpat, judgment (BDB 1048). The noun is used for a case or cause presented for judgment, the process of litigation (Ps 143:2), the act of deciding a case of litigation, the place of deciding a case, or a sentence or decision of judgment. Mishpat is also used as an attribute of justice in administration (Ps 37:28), an ordinance of law (Ps 119) and one's right under law (Deut 18:3). The combination of "commandments and judgments" covers the various codes and specific statutes given to Israel through Moses, the Torah, which is the standard that defines sinful behavior. Sin is not imputed where there is no Law (Rom 4:15; 7:7).
Daniel could have said, "what commandment didn't we [Israel] break?" His summary probably reflects the condemnation of Israel as recorded by Jeremiah and Ezekiel. In Jeremiah the captivity is the result of rampant idolatry and many forms of injustice (Jer 11:10; 22:3-9; 25:4-9). Ezekiel (as confirmed by Ezra's writing in 2Chronicles) adds the interpretation of the captivity being a judgment for failing to keep the sabbath years.
"Therefore He brought up against them the king of the Chaldeans … 21 to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept sabbath until seventy years were complete." (2Chr 36:17, 21)
"Also I gave them My sabbaths to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them. 13 "But the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness. They did not walk in My statutes and they rejected My ordinances, by which, if a man observes them, he will live; and My sabbaths they greatly profaned. Then I resolved to pour out My wrath on them in the wilderness, to annihilate them." (Ezek 20:12-13)
The Torah specified a number of sabbaths, the most important of which was the seventh day Sabbath (Ex 20:8). Every major festival functioned as a sabbath, since work was prohibited during those times (Leviticus 23). In addition, a sabbath was enjoined for the land, which required the people to allow the land to lie fallow every seventh year (Ex 23:11) and also in the fiftieth year (Lev 25:8-11). God had intended these sabbaths as a sign of the covenantal relationship with Israel, but the sabbath observances were sorely neglected in the years of evil kings.
According to Ezra, the seventy years of exile represent allowing the land to "enjoy its sabbaths." While Ezra's explanation could be a reference to an accumulation of missed sabbatical and jubilee years, but this would suggest that these years had not been observed since the time of Samuel. Interestingly, there is no mention in the Tanakh of Israel ever complying with all the requirements of the Sabbatical and Jubilee years. However, the "sabbaths" could refer to all the missed sabbaths and only pertain to the years of spiritual apostasy. While we may lose track of what we owe God, He does not. Indeed Ezra recorded that Israel's exile lasted seventy years in order for the land to have the Sabbatical years that had been neglected [2Chr 36:21; cf. Lev 26:27-28; Jer 25:11; 29:10].
6- Neither have we listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers and all the people of the land.
Daniel continues the corporate first person plural. Daniel is not saying that there were never any obedient Israelites, but the sin of one impacts the whole community. Remember Achan. Neither: Heb. lo, adv., negative particle; not, neither. have we listened: Heb. shama, Qal perf., 1p-pl., to hear points to a serious fault, because to hear also implied to accept and to act upon what has been apprehended (BDB 1033; DNTT 2:173). One has not heard unless he has obeyed. to your servants: Heb. ebed, which may mean slave or servant, often identified those that served God (BDB 712; DNTT 3:593ff). The great Hebrew and Jewish heroes of the faith considered themselves servants of God the King and it was considered a high honor for a person to be called a servant of God.
Abraham was the first to use this title (Gen 18:3; 26:24), but the most frequent usage is in relation to Moses and over 40 citations remind Jews of his status, including 18 in the book of Joshua alone. Many other Israelite leaders also bore this title. Others called "servant of the Lord" include Job (Job 1:8), Caleb (Num 14:24), Joshua (Josh 24:29), Samson (Jdg 15:18), Samuel (1Sam 3:10), David (2Sam 3:18), Elijah (2Kgs 9:36), Jonah (2Kgs 14:25), Hezekiah (2Chr 32:16), Nehemiah (Neh 1:11), Isaiah (Isa 20:3), Zerubbabel (Hag 2:23), Daniel (Dan 6:20) and all the Hebrew prophets (Jer 25:4). Servants of God generally possessed authority to speak for God.
the prophets, Heb. nabi. See verse 2 above. Israel's prophets have generally been classified as either non-canonical (non-writing) or canonical (writing). The non-writing prophets included such notables as Elijah and Elisha. In addition, Gad, Nathan and Ahijah served in the important role of being court prophets and advisors to kings. The writing prophets are those who authored books included in the Tanakh. The first one to be called a prophet is Abraham (Gen 20:7), and the second Aaron (Ex 7:1) and the third Moses (Deut 18:15). In this passage Daniel probably considers those prophets who called Israel and Judah to repentance and warned of God's judgment. Many servants of God in the Tanakh might be listed, but Daniel no doubt has Isaiah and Jeremiah particularly in mind and perhaps the "minor" prophets who prophesied and wrote before the exile (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah).
During the post-Solomon age prophets offered four types of messages: (1) allegation, naming sins and warning Israel and Judah of the sins that will lead to judgment; (2) judgment, announcing consequences in the form of disasters and foreign oppression; (3) instruction, teaching how to avoid wrath and turn back to God; and (4) future Hope, promises of restoration and revival, including promises of Messiah.
who: Heb. asher, particle, here used as a pronoun. spoke: Heb. dabar, Piel perf., to speak, whether publicly or in private conversation. in Your name: Heb. shem, name. The noun is used in its central sense of identifying someone with a proper name, but also carries the extended sense of authority, qualities, powers, attributes or reputation. to: Heb. el, prep., to, into, towards. our kings: pl. of Heb. melek, 1p-pl., king or chief ruler (BDB 572). In the Tanakh the title "king" was not associated with the size of territory governed (often a city), but the authority wielded. The executive and judicial functions (and sometimes legislative) of government were vested in one person. Daniel likely refers to kings after Solomon who turned toward idolatry and were rebuked by various prophets.
our princes: pl. of Heb. sar, 1p-pl., chieftain, chief, ruler, official, captain or prince (BDB 978). It had a wide application in reference to significant social stature and authority, whether nobles, military generals and captains, government officials, tribal leaders, or priests. In this verse sar likely has a wide application for all the leaders of the nation under the authority of the king. our fathers: pl. of Heb. av, 1p-pl., may mean (1) a male biological parent, (2) a forefather or ancestor, (3) one held in esteem because of his position or status (e.g., Gen 45:8; Jdg 17:10; 18:19; 2Kgs 2:12; 6:21; 13:14); (4) one who displays parental characteristics; or (5) in an extend sense of God. The noun "fathers" does not refer here to the patriarchs, but the leaders of the nation who received the message of prophets, e.g., priests, judges, or elders of the nation.
and all: Heb. kol, comprehensive in scope and without statistical emphasis; the whole, all, every. The noun is used here in a collective sense. the people: Heb. am, folk, people, nation or inhabitants of a locality (BDB 766). The noun often refers to common people in contrast to the ruling class. of the land: Heb. erets, land or earth, can mean soil (as in receiving seed), the ground, land as contrasted with the sea, the earth in contrast to heaven or a specific territorial area, especially the Land of Israel (BDB 75). Daniel indicates that the message of the prophets was disseminated widely in the nation of Israel.
7- "Righteousness to You, O Lord, but to us shame of face, as at this day, to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to all Israel, those nearby and those far off in all the lands to which You have driven them, because of their treacherous deeds which they have committed against You.
Righteousness: Heb. tsedeq, rightness or righteousness (BDB 841). Tsedeq refers to right character and right actions, esp. as they impact one's neighbor. It is based on an absolute standard specified in the Torah. It also carries the sense of salvation (deliverance) and judgment (justice). to You, O Lord: Heb. Adonai. See verse 3 above. The phrase that begins the verse is literally "To Adonai righteousness." Daniel points out that righteousness begins with God, both in his character of faithfulness and in his prescribed standards. but to us shame: Heb. boshet, confusion, shame or a shameful thing (BDB 102). of face: Heb. panim. See verse 3 above.
In other words, their faces were filled with shame. In Hebrew culture the values of honor and shame governed much of their life. Honor meant a claim to worth that is acknowledged before the family and community. To "have honor" is to have publicly acknowledged worth. It is a group-given value, not just self-respect. One's self-respect could be high, but honor low. On the other hand shame is a challenge to worth that is publicly denied or denied before others. To "be shamed" means to be denied or diminished in honor. The Talmud strongly condemns causing shame.
"He who publicly shames his neighbor is as though he shed blood. … He who publicly puts his neighbor to shame has no portion in the world to come. (Baba Metzia 58b)
as at this: Heb. zeh, demonstrative pronoun; this, here. day: Heb. yom is used to denote a specific division of time: (1) the 24-hour unit of the weekly calendar (Gen 1:14); (2) a working day (Ex 20:9); (3) a day's journey (Num 11:31), (4) a component of the duration of decreed activities and events (e.g., Gen 7:4; Ex 12:15; Lev 12:2); and (5) the time or duration of prophesied events (Jer 23:5; Ezek 4:5; Dan 12:11-12; cf. Rev 11:3; 12:6). Yom is also used to summarize the length of a person's life (Gen 5:5); as a time reference for the reign of a monarch (Gen 14:1); for the period of time spent in mourning (Gen 27:41); and for the time of harvest (Gen 30:14). All of these time references still rely on the basic concept of a finite and measurable period of time. For Daniel "this day" means the current time frame of his life.
Daniel then mentions three locations in reference to the Land. to the men: pl. of Heb. ish, man (BDB 35). of Judah: Heb. Y'hudah, "praise YHVH," (BDB 397), son of Jacob and Leah (Gen 29:35) and progenitor of the tribe of Judah. Far more is said about the tribe of Judah in the Scriptures than any other tribe. The phrase "men of Judah" may refer to the descendants of the important son of Jacob. Judah would produce a royal line of kings and after King Saul God would never give legitimacy to any king that did not come from the tribe of Judah. The political division after the death of King Solomon resulted in the southern kingdom of Judah, which also included the tribes of Benjamin and Simeon. "Men of Judah" probably refers to the wicked kings of the Kingdom of Judah, e.g., Rehoboam (2Chr 10−12), Jehoram (2Chr 21), Ahaz (2Chr 28), Manasseh (2Chr 33), and Zedekiah (2Chr 36). "Men" would exclude Athaliah, daughter of Jehoram (2Chr 22), who was not a legitimate king.
and to the inhabitants: m. pl. of Heb. yashav, to sit, remain, dwell; lit. "the ones dwelling," referring to residents (BDB 442). The noun probably refers to those who owned property and thus people of financial resources. of Jerusalem: See verse 2 above. and all: Heb. kol, the whole, all (BDB 481). Israel: Heb. Yisrael, "God prevails" (BDB 975). The name first appears in Genesis 32:28 where the heavenly being with whom Jacob struggled said, "From now on, you will no longer be called Ya'akov, but Isra'el; because you have shown your strength to both God and men and have prevailed" (CJB). The announcement, occurring before Jacob's reconciliation with his brother Esau, was prophetic because not until chapter 35 do we read that the name change was made permanent, along with affirmation of the covenantal promises (Gen 35:9-12).
The name of Israel was then given to the land God bequeathed to the descendants of Jacob (Gen 49:7) and used of the whole people regarded as one person (Num 24:5). The reader should note that Yochanan said "Israel" and not "Palestine." Contrary to the erroneous labeling on Christian Bible maps and usage by Christian commentators there was no Palestine in Bible times. To use the term in any biblical context can only be described as antisemitic. (See my web article The Land is Not Palestine.) The political division after the death of King Solomon resulted in the northern Kingdom of Israel, which included the tribes of Reuben, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, and Ephraim, plus the two half-tribes of Manasseh that occupied separate allotments on either side of the Jordan (cf. Num 32:33; Josh 13:7-8).
The phrase "all Israel" is used in a pejorative sense and probably does not refer to all the citizens of Israel (see the caveat of 1Kgs 18:14; 19:18). There is a Jewish saying that has relevance here, "If five sons are faithful and two are not, you may cry, 'Woe is me, for my sons are unfaithful!'" (Stern 386). The phrase was sometimes used of the clan leaders of the northern tribes (2Chr 10:1-3, 16). However, Daniel likely has in mind the 19 kings of the Kingdom of Israel, all of whom were bad. See a chart of the kings of Judah and Israel here.
those nearby: Heb. qarob, m. pl., near in proximity (BDB 898), probably referring to countries that shared a border with Israel. and those far off: Heb. rachoq, m. pl., distant, far in distance, used here as an adjective of space (BDB 935). in all: Heb. kol. the lands: pl. of Heb. erets. See the previous verse. The term refers to locales where Jews settled. to which: Heb. asher, particle of relation, who, which, that (BDB 81). You have driven: Heb. nadach, Hiphil perf., to impel, thrust or banish (BDB 626). The verb emphasizes that the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judea were forced to leave the Land against their will. them: Heb. sham, adv., there, thither (BDB 1027). The word is not a pronoun as translated by the NASB.
because of their treacherous deeds: Heb. ma'al, noun, m. pl., an unfaithful or treacherous act (BDB 591). which they have committed against You: Heb. ma'al, verb, 3p-pl., Qal perf., to act unfaithfully or treacherously (BDB 591). The combination of the noun and verb forms emphasizes intensity and could be lit. translated "their trespass they have trespassed." The LXX adds to the verse, "in which they annulled covenant with you, O Lord" (ABP). The ejection from the Land of Promise and dispersion into other lands was certainly a sign of shame, but the tragedy is that the Israelites brought it upon themselves.
God had warned Israel in the time of Moses of a future dispersion:
"Now just as ADONAI rejoiced over you to do you good and to multiply you, so ADONAI will rejoice over you to ruin and destroy you; and you will be uprooted from the land that you are going in to possess. 64 ADONAI will scatter you among all peoples from the one end of the earth to the other, and there you will serve other gods—wood and stone—that you and your fathers have not known. 65 Among these nations you will find no rest, and there will be no rest for the sole of your foot. But there ADONAI will give you a trembling heart and failing eyes, and a despairing spirit." (Deut 28:63-65 TLV)
8- Shame of face belongs to us, ADONAI, to our kings, our princes and our fathers, that we have sinned against You.
Daniel combines the indictment of the three previous verses. Shame of face belongs to us: See the previous verse. ADONAI: Heb. YHVH, vocative case. See verse 2 above. The NASB mistakenly used the lower case "Lord," as does the KJV. The use of YHVH in direct address occurs only here in the book of Daniel. to our kings, our princes and our fathers: See verse 6 above. that: Heb. asher. See the previous verse. we have sinned: Heb. chata, 1p-pl. See verse 5 above. Daniel does not admit to personal sin, but affirms that he belongs to the nation that sinned. against You: The verse ends with the preposition lak, "to." Daniel could mean that if the former generations of leaders were alive they would feel ashamed at the disobedience of their descendants.
9- To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgiveness, though we have rebelled;
To the Lord: Heb. Adonai. See verse 3 above. our God: Heb. Elohim. See verse 3 above. belong mercies: pl. intensive of Heb. racham, compassion, mercy or pity, orig. brotherly feeling as those born from the same womb (BDB 933). and forgiveness: pl. intensive of Heb. selichah, forgiveness (BDB 699). Both nouns are plural so they could be translated as "mercies and forgivenesses." The plural form of these nouns emphasizes the repeated nature of God's grace through the centuries. God had provided "manifold mercies and abundant forgiveness" (Miller). though: Heb. ki, conj., that, for, when, if (BDB 471). The translation of "because" in some versions is nonsensical (CEB, CJB, RSV). God does not show mercy because of our sin. God is merciful by nature and is merciful toward Israel because of covenantal promises.
The conjunction ki is used here with concessive force: "though," "although" or "even though" (CEV, CSB, GW, KJV, NCV, NIV, NKJV, NLT, TEV, TLV). we have rebelled: Heb. marad, Qal perf., 1p-pl., to rebel (BDB 597), a verb that describes the rejection of God's authority. Daniel notes that God extended his favor in the face of Israel's rebellion, which illustrates the fact that there is no cause and effect relationship between Israel's faithfulness and God's election (cf. Deut 7:7-8; Jer 30:11; Hos 1:6-11; 2:23; Rom 9:16, 24-26). They are still His people.
10- We have not obeyed the voice of ADONAI our God, to walk in His teachings which He set before us through His servants the prophets.
Daniel repeats similar thoughts expressed in vv. 5-6. We have not: Heb. lo, adv. that negates properly the word immediately following, not. obeyed: Heb. shama, Qal perf., 1p-pl., to hear. See verse 6 above. the voice: Heb. qol, may refer to (1) an auditory impression, sound, noise; (2) the faculty of producing speech, voice. The second meaning applies here. of ADONAI: Heb. YHVH. See verse 2 above. our God: Heb. Elohim. See verse 3 above. In the Tanakh YHVH is the One who generally speaks for Elohim. Here the "voice of YHVH" is credited as the source of biblical inspiration.
to walk: Heb. halak, Qal inf., to come, go or walk. "Walking" is often used as a metaphor of one's relationship with God, or the character and behavior of one's life that conforms to God's commandments. in His teachings: pl. of Heb. torah, direction, instruction or law. Torah is derived from the root verb yarah, which means to throw, to shoot (as in arrows), or to cast (as in lots); to point out, to show, to direct, to teach or to instruct. The teachings recorded in Scripture are intended to show people how to live in an ethical and moral way in order to enjoy life to the full and to please God.
which: Heb. asher. He set: Heb nathan, Qal perf., to give, put or set. before us: Heb. panim, face or presence. through: Heb. b'yad, lit. "by the hand." The Hebrew construction alludes to transcribing the "voice of YHVH" into written form. According to Jewish tradition "God spoke and Moses wrote." His servants: pl. of Heb. ebed. See verse 6 above. the prophets: pl. of Heb. nabi. See verse 2 and 6 above. Properly speaking the Tanakh was produced by prophets, beginning with Moses (cf. Luke 24:27, 44; Eph 2:20).
11- All Israel has transgressed Your instruction and turned aside, so as not to obey Your voice. The curse has been poured out on us, along with the oath which is written in the Torah of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned.
All Israel: See verse 7 above. Daniel repeats verbs describing the failure of Israel in the past. has transgressed: Heb. abar, Qal perf., 3p-pl., pass over, through, by, pass on. The verb depicts overstepping a boundary and thus "transgress." Your instruction: Heb. torah. See the previous verse. and turned aside: Heb. sur, Qal inf. See verse 5 above. so as not: Heb. bilti, particle of negation; not, except. to obey: Heb. shama, Qal inf. See verse 6 above. Your voice: Heb. qol with 2p-m.s. prefix. See the previous verse. The curse: Heb. alah, an oath or curse. is poured out: Heb. nathak, Qal impf., to pour forth, be poured out. on us: Heb. al, prep., 1p-pl. See verse 1 above.
and the oath: Heb. shebuah, may refer to (1) an oath of promise or attesting innocence; or (2) a curse (BDB 989). The noun is derived from sheba, the number seven. There is evidence in ancient literature that it was not uncommon to seal an agreement by the number "seven." A relationship between the two words is suggested in the narrative of Genesis 21 in which Abraham sealed an oath to Abimelech by giving seven ewe lambs as a witness (Gen 21:22-34). Abraham then named the well where he and Abimelech met "Beersheba" or "Well-of-the-seven-oath" (Gen 21:31).
which: Heb. asher. is written: Heb. kathav, Qal pass. ptc., to write. in the Torah: Heb. torah. of Moses: Heb. Mosheh, personal name most likely derived from Egyptian mes meaning "child" or "son" (BDB 602), since the daughter of Pharaoh named him (Ex 2:10). She explained the chosen name by saying, "Because I drew [Heb. mashah, "to draw"] him out of the water." the servant: Heb. ebed. See verse 6 above. of God: Heb. Elohim. See verse 3 above. Moses was the great Hebrew leader, prophet and lawgiver of Israel, born about 1525 BC.
The life of Moses can be easily divided into three 40-year periods, the first being his birth and early life in Egypt, the second his years in Midian, and the third the wilderness period after the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt. Moses was the leader of the Israelites in their journey through the wilderness. At Mount Sinai Moses served as God's spokesman to facilitate the beginning of the covenant relationship between God and Israel. Forty years later on the plains of Moab Moses renewed the covenant with Israel and made preparations for their entry into the promised land. Moses was a heroic leader of the people and a devout man of God.
Yet, due to an act of disobedience to God's instructions Moses was not permitted to enter the land of Canaan with the nation (Num 20:8-12). At the end of his life God allowed Moses to view the land from the top of Mt. Pisgah before his death and there he died at the age of 120. God buried him in the land of Moab (Deut 34:1-7). However, Moses' death was not the end of his importance or influence, because Scripture asserts that Moses compiled, wrote and/or edited the five books attributed to his name (Matt 22:24; Mark 12:19; Luke 16:29; 24:27, 44). Moses left Israel and the Body of Messiah with the rich legacy of God's Word. Moses was a giant of a man.
for: Heb. ki, conj. we have sinned: Heb. chata, Qal perf., 1p-pl. See verse 5 above. Israel experienced the judgment of which Moses warned the nation. Daniel's mention of the curse apparently alludes to the curses announced for disobedience and found in Deuteronomy 28:15-68. The list is extensive, specific and horrifying, including captivity and being scattered among the nations. Yet the Torah also provided future hope:
"Now when all these things come upon you—the blessing and the curse that I have set before you—and you take them to heart in all the nations where ADONAI your God has banished you, 2 and you return to ADONAI your God and listen to His voice according to all that I am commanding you today—you and your children—with all your heart and with all your soul, 3 then ADONAI your God will bring you back from captivity and have compassion on you, and He will return and gather you from all the peoples where ADONAI your God has scattered you. 4 Even if your outcasts are at the ends of the heavens, from there ADONAI your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you." (Deut 30:1-4 TLV)
12- And He has made stand His words that He spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us, to bring upon us a great calamity; for there has not been done under the whole heaven what has been done to Jerusalem.
And: The vav letter is added to the first word for conjunctive effect. He has made stand: Heb. qum, Hiphil impf., arise, stand, stand up. The verb is used in a fig. sense of sovereign action taken to fulfill previous prophecy. Many versions have "confirmed," which does not suit this context. A better translation is "carried out" (AMP, CJB, CSB, LEB, NET, NJB, VOICE) or "fulfilled" (NABRE, NIV). His words: Heb. dabar, masc. pl. See verse 2 above. The CJB has "threats," and NJPS has "the threat." Properly, dabar here refers to prophecies. OJB and TLV have "words." that: Heb. asher. He spoke: Heb. dabar, verb, Piel perf., to speak. See verse 6 above. against us: Heb. al, prep., 1p-pl. See verse 1 above. The preposition has a downward aspect of opposition.
and against: Heb. al. our rulers: Heb. shaphat, Qal act. ptc, 1p-pl., to judge or govern. The verb is used to mean (1) act as law-giver, judge, governor (giving law, deciding controversies and executing law); (2) specifically decide controversy, discriminate between persons, in civil, political, domestic and religious questions; or (3) execute judgment. who: Heb. asher. ruled us: Heb. shaphat, Qal perf. with a 1p-pl. suffix. to bring: Heb. bo, Hiphil inf., to come in, come, go in, go, cause to come in, bring. upon us: Heb. al with 1p-pl. suffix.
a great: Heb. gadol, adj. See verse 4 above. The adjective is used here to denote magnitude and extent. calamity: Heb. ra, used here as a noun, may mean either (1) evil in an ethical sense; morally or socially reprehensible; or (2) harm that produces distress, misery, or injury; calamity (BDB 948). The second meaning applies here, although some versions as the KJV have "evil." for: Heb. asher. there has not: Heb. lo, adv., negative particle. been done: Heb. asah, Niphal perf., to do or make. under: Heb. tachath, prep., underneath, below. the whole: Heb. kol. See verse 6 above.
heaven: Heb. hashamayim, lit. "heavens," refers to the area above the earth that encompasses the atmosphere, interstellar space and the transcendent dwelling-place of God. The word "heaven" is used in Scripture to refer to three different places (Ps 148:1-4). In terms of direction from the ground level of the earth the first heaven is the atmosphere in which birds fly (Gen 1:20). The second heaven is interstellar space (Gen 1:1, 8) and the third heaven is the location of the throne of God and the home of angels (1Kgs 8:30). In Scripture "heaven" is always "up" as a direction from the surface of the earth. In Jewish tradition there were seven heavens (Hagigah 12b). The "whole heaven" may encompass all three locations.
what: Heb. asher. has been done: Heb. asah, Niphal perf. to Jerusalem: See verse 2 above. God keeps his promises, the negative as well as the positive. However, Daniel considers the temple and the city of Jerusalem lying in ruins as unique. Yes, other peoples had been taken captive and cities destroyed in the clash of empires, but Jerusalem was the place of God's presence, the apple of his eye in all the earth. It boggled Daniel's mind to consider the extent of God's judgment.
13- As it is written in the Torah of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not sought the face of ADONAI our God to turn from our iniquity and to consider Your faithfulness.
As: Heb. asher. See verse 1 above. it is written: Heb. kathav, Qal pass. ptc. See verse 11 above. A few versions have "was written" (CEB, GW, NOG). The phrase "it is written" is a standard formula in Scripture for referring to a passage in the Tanakh or quoting from the Tanakh. Daniel uses the expression as a reference to fulfilled prophecy. in the Torah of Moses: See verse 11 above. all: Heb. kol. this: Heb. zoth, demonstrative pronoun, this, here. calamity: Heb. ra. See the previous verse. has come: Heb. bo, Qal perf. See the previous verse. upon us: Heb. al, prep., 1p-pl. Daniel reiterates the tragedy of captivity mentioned in previous verses, based on God fulfilling the word given to Israel through Moses.
yet we have not: Heb. lo, adv. sought: Heb. kalah, Piel perf., to entreat or petition. the face: Heb. panim, lit. "faces." See verse 3 above. In the Tanakh God has multiple "faces," as may be seen in the figurative terms used of Him (shield, father, husband, shepherd, healer, savior, kinsman-redeemer) and the many names ascribed to Him (Adonai, Adonai-YHVH, El, Eloah, Elohim, El-Elyon, El-Roi, El-Shaddai, El-Olam, El-Beit-el, El-Elohe-Yisrael, Qadosh, Qadosh Yisrael, YHVH, YHVH-Elohim, YHVH-Elohim-Elyon, YHVH-Yireh, YHVH-Elohe-Haibriyim, YHVH-Eloheinu, YHVH-Rophe, YHVH-Nissi, YHVH-M'Kaddesh, YHVH-Shalom, YHVH-Tsidekenu, YHVH-Rohi, and YHVH-Shammah). The plural form may also hint at the triunity of God, Father (Ex 4:22; Jer 31:9; Mal 2:10), Son (Prov 30:4) and Spirit (Gen 1:2).
of ADONAI: Heb. YHVH. See verse 2 above. our God: Heb. Elohim. See verse 3 above. to turn: Heb. shuv, Qal inf., may mean (1) to bring back to mind, (2) to return, turn back, or turn around; or (3) to restore. The verb generally involves physical motion, but there are fig. uses, e.g. dying (breath returning to God), resuscitation of life, and often of spiritual relations. As a spiritual action the verb means to turn away from evil in the sense of renouncing and disowning sin, and to turn toward the good or becoming obedient to God’s will as expressed in the commandments (TWOT 2:909). This spiritual about face is called repentance ( e.g., 1Kgs 8:33, 35, 48; 2Chr 7:14; Isa 30:15; 59:20; Ezek 18:21; Hos 6:1; Jon 3:8).
from our iniquity: Heb. avon, iniquity or guilt. Iniquity is an abstract theological concept of crooked behavior, not simply violating a standard by mistake but perverting the standard for selfish purposes. The noun generally occurs as a collective in the Tanakh in that the individual misconduct is often associated with that of the group (e.g., Gen 15:16; Lev 16:22; Isa 53:6). The noun denotes both the deed and its consequences, although the context often lays emphasis on one aspect. In Hebraic thought the act of sin and its penalty are not radically separate (TWOT 2:650). Most scholars believe that implicit in avon is an awareness of the culpability of the action. Perhaps a greater tragedy than captivity is that the people had not fully repented from their previous error. As Jeremiah said,
"My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water" (Jer 2:13).
and to consider: Heb. sakal, Hiphil inf., consider, give attention to, look at, ponder, give insight. Your faithfulness: Heb. emet may mean (1) reliability, sureness; (2) stability, continuance; (3) faithfulness, reliability; or (4) truth (BDB 54). Most versions render the noun as "truth" but a few have "faithfulness" (CEB, EXB, LEB). In context emet is used to contrast with the iniquity or unfaithfulness of the Israelites, so the faithfulness of God seems to be the focus of emet here.
14- ADONAI has been wakeful over the calamity and has brought it on us; for ADONAI our God is righteous in all His works which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice.
ADONAI: Heb. YHVH. See verse 2 above. has been wakeful: Heb. shaqad, Qal impf., may mean (1) to keep watch over, as a watchman in the night or a beast watching for prey; or (2) to be wakeful, as one in mourning or suffering. over: Heb. al, prep. the calamity: Heb. ra. See verse 12 above. and has brought it: Heb. bo, Hiphil impf. See verse 12 above. on us: Heb. al, with 1p-pl. suffix. Daniel points out God's sovereign control over history. The Lord plans far in advance and can bring about His will as he desires. Yet, the verse hints at the suffering God endured to impose His judgment. Implied in this statement is that if Israel had obeyed God and lived by his Torah, then they would never have had to worry about the Babylonians. for: Heb. ki, conj. ADONAI our God: Heb. Elohim. See verse 3 above.
is righteous: Heb. tsaddiq, adj., just or righteous in an ethical sense. in: Heb. al. all: Heb. kol. See verse 6 above. His works: pl. of Heb. ma'aseh, a deed or work. Divine works point to either miraculous provision or fulfillment of covenantal promises. which: Heb. asher. See verse 1 above. He has done: Heb. asah, Qal perf. See verse 12 above. God is righteous in that he lives by the standard He imposes on us. Fulfilling his word concerning the curses was a matter of integrity. What sort of God would He be if He kept only His promises of blessing? but we have not: Heb. lo, negative adv. obeyed: Heb. shama, Qal perf. See verse 6 above. His voice: Heb. qol. See verse 10 above. The mention of "His voice" alludes to the verbal inspiration of the Torah . The last two verbs in the verse depict concurrent activities.
15- "And now, ADONAI our God, who brought out Your people from the land of Egypt by a mighty hand and have made for Yourself a name, as at this day; we have sinned; we have done wickedly.
And now: Heb. attah (SH-6258), temporal adv. of present time; now. ADONAI: Heb. YHVH. See verse 2 above. our God: Heb. Elohim. See verse 3 above. who: Heb. asher. brought out: Heb. yatsa, Hiphil perf., to go or come out. Your people: Heb. am. See verse 6 above. from the land: Heb. erets with the preposition "from" added to the noun. See verse 6 above. of Egypt: Heb. Mitzrayim, a land in northeastern Africa, home to one of the earliest civilizations, and an important cultural and political influence on ancient Israel. In contrast to the modern nation, ancient Egypt was confined to the Nile River valley, a long, narrow ribbon of fertile land (the "black land") surrounded by uninhabitable desert (the "red land"). Egypt proper, from the first cataract of the Nile to the Mediterranean, is some 750 miles long.
The English word "Egypt" is derived from the Greek word (Aiguptos) via Middle French "Egypte" and Latin "Aegyptus." The Greek historian Herodotus (440 BC) provides perhaps the earliest secular account of ancient Egyptian culture (Histories, Book II). An Egyptian priest, Manetho of Sebennytus (285-246 BC), wrote a book Aegyptiaca in Greek to acquaint the Mediterranean world with the history and civilization of his country. The original work has perished, but fragments have been preserved and transmitted by other ancient authors. See the complete work here: Manetho.
by a mighty: Heb. chazaq, stout, strong, mighty. hand: Heb. yad with the preposition "by" added to the noun; hand as an anatomical limb of the body. The expression is used figuratively of the power of God and is part of the longer declaration "by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm" (Deut 4:34; 5:15; 7:19; 11:2; 26:8; Jer 32:21), an allusion to the use of the staff by Aaron and Moses to perform twelve miraculous signs. and have made: Heb. asah, Qal impf. See verse 12 above. for Yourself: Heb. l'ka, prep., "to you." a name: Heb. shem is normally used in the sense of identifying someone with a proper name, but idiomatically the noun also carries the extended sense of qualities, powers, attributes or reputation. Some versions render the noun with "renown" (ASV, AMPC, BRG, CJB, KJV, OJB, WEB).
as at this day: See verse 7 above. we have sinned: Heb. chata, Qal perf., 1p-pl. See verse 5 above. we have done wickedly: Heb. rasha, Qal perf., 1p-pl. See verse 5 above. Daniel recounts God's great deliverance of Israel, the landmark event that seems to be imprinted on Jewish consciousness in the Tanakh. It was in that day using the hand of Moses and his staff that the God of Israel showed Himself greater than all the powers of Egypt. The Lord had made a name or preserved His reputation by keeping the promise made to Abraham to rescue his descendants after they sojourned in Egypt (Gen 15:13-16). Yet, Israel had shamed themselves and embarrassed the Lord by their sinning.
16- O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, let Your anger and Your wrath turn away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; for our sins and by the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people have become a reproach to all those around us.
O Lord: Heb. Adonai. See verse 3 above. according to all: Heb. kol. See verse 6 above. The noun has the kaf suffix, which functions as a preposition ("as," "like") to connect with a standard of comparison. Your righteousness: Heb. tsedaqah, a state of character that is in accord with the standard for acceptable behavior set forth in Torah; uprightness, righteousness, justice (BDB 842; TWOT 2:752). The noun is first used in Genesis 15:6 of Abraham's faithfulness being considered as righteousness. The noun is often used to describe the character of God (Ps 5:8; 35:24; Isa 5:16; 42:21; Jer 9:24), as well as the Davidic king, the Messiah (Ps 72:1; Jer 23:5) (DNTT 3:354). In the Tanakh the concept of tsedaqah refers to right or ethical character and behavior that is in keeping with the covenantal relationship with God.
So, righteousness is more relational than legal. In the Tanakh tsedaqah also carries the sense of salvation (deliverance) and judgment (justice). Righteousness primarily has human relationships as its focus and God's righteousness reflects His treatment of humans in accordance with Torah principles. Some versions translate the singular noun as plural, "righteous acts" (CEB, CSB, ESV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, OJB, RSV, TLV). Other versions translate the noun lit. as "righteousness" (ASV, HNV, JUB, KJV, LEB, NKJV, WEB). A few versions have "justice" (AMPC, CJB, NET, NJB). The NLT and TLB have "faithful mercies."
let Your anger: Heb. aph, a nostril, nose, face, anger, first in Genesis 27:45 of Esau's anger at Jacob. The anatomical term is used for anger because of the change in facial features that occurs from the emotion of anger. and Your wrath: Heb. chemah, fury, heat, rage, a burning anger. The use of the word for God's wrath occurs frequently in the Tanakh, mainly in the prophetic works, but a few times in the Torah for God's wrath against the wilderness generation (Num 25:11; Deut 9:19).
There are eight different Hebrew words for anger and most often used of the wrath of ADONAI, first against Moses (Ex 4:14), next against Egypt (Ex 15:7), next against Israel for worshipping the golden calf (Ex 32:9), and then later against Israel for grumbling (Num 11:1). In the Tanakh God is often depicted as zealous and angry, all occasioned by out-of-control sinning. God's wrath began in the Garden of Eden where the first couple received the predicted penalty of disobedience (Gen 2:17) and thereafter Adam served as the prototype of rebellion against God (Job 31:33; Hos 6:7). Most of the incidents of God's wrath in the Tanakh are directed against Israel for sinning, but wrath also awaits the nations (e.g., Isa 34:2; Jer 10:10, 25; 25:15; Ezek 30:15; Mic 5:15; Zeph 1:15-18).
turn away: Heb. shuv, Qal impf. See verse 13 above. from Your city: Heb. iyr, a population center and abode of men whose size or number of inhabitants could range broadly; city, town, fortress. Sometimes the noun means "fortified" because ancient cities relied on walls for security. Jerusalem: See verse 2 above. Daniel can make this request for God's mercy because God is faithful even to his unfaithful people (Jer 30:11; 31:31-34; 32:37-41; 33:25-26; Hos 1:6-11; 2:23). Little considered by Christian theologians is that the New Covenant is a declaration of God's faithfulness to Israel despite Israel's unfaithfulness. Daniel remembers with fondness the precious city of Jerusalem and identifies it in a special way.
Your holy: Heb. qodesh, apartness, sacredness (BDB 871). The noun refers to being set apart for dedication to the interests or expectations of God. mountain: Heb. har, mountain, hill, hill country. The term is given in Scripture to a comparatively large ridge, a collection of small hills and to many hogbacks in Israel. Modern science distinguishes hills from mountains by classifying a hill as being less than 1,000 feet above its surroundings, but the distinction may depend upon local interpretation. Contrary to the arbitrary standard of modern science, the biblical word was used to refer to any natural topographical feature that rose above a valley, plain or other surroundings regardless of height.
While discounted generally by Christians, Jerusalem is reputed in Jewish circles to have been built on seven hills (cf. Ps 125:1-2). Rev. James Neil, formerly incumbent of Christ Church in Jerusalem (1871-1874), enumerated on a map the seven hills on which the city was built as Mount Zion, Mount Ophel, Mount Moriah, Mount Bezetha, Mount Acra, Mount Gareb, and Mount Goath (289). "Your holy mountain" might refer to Mount Zion in the southwestern quarter of the city and site of where the king's palace once stood (Miller) or it could be Mount Moriah where the temple was located. However, Daniel identifies the entire city of seven hills as a holy mountain. The whole city is holy to ADONAI, the God of Israel. It still is.
for: Heb. ki, conj. See verse 9 above. our sins: pl. of Heb. chata, 1p-pl. See verse 5 above. and by: The vav-bêt letters as suffix to the noun means lit. "and by" (YLT). The suffix represents causation. the iniquities: pl. of Heb. avon. See verse 13 above. of our fathers: pl. of Heb. av. See verse 6 above. Jerusalem and Your people: The nouns are repeated. have become: The verb is supplied for clarity. a reproach: Heb. cherpah, an object of criticism, censure or reproach. to all: Heb. kol. those around us: pl. of Heb. sabib with a 1p-pl. suffix; circuit, round about. The term is used as a substantive to refer to the inhabitants in the parts round about the Land. Daniel reminds ADONAI that countries bordering Israel mocked the nation for the catastrophe of defeat, destruction and exile (cf. Jer 42:18; 44:8; 49:13; 51:51; Ezek 5:14; 21:28; 22:4).
17- And now, our God, hear toward the prayer of Your servant and his supplications, and cause Your face to shine on Your desolate sanctuary, for Your sake, O Lord.
Daniel pleads for God's response, and in verses 17 to 19 offers three reasons for God to respond favorably. And now: Heb. attah, adv. See verse 15 above. our God: Heb. Elohim, 1p-pl. See verse 3 above. hear: Heb. shama, Qal imp. See verse 6 above. The imperative functions as an entreaty, not a command. When God "hears" He responds in a manner appropriate to the need (cf. Ex 6:5). toward: Heb. el, prep., to, into, towards. The preposition depicts God leaning forward to listen intently. the prayer: Heb. tephillah. See verse 3 above. of Your servant: Heb. ebed, with 2p-sing. suffix. See verse 6 above. and his supplications: Heb. tachanun, with 3p-sing. suffix, an earnest petition or supplication for favor. The change from second person to third person signifies the humility of Daniel.
and cause Your face: Heb. panim. See verses 3 and 13 above. to shine: Heb. or, Hiphil imp., to be or become light, cause to shine. on Your desolate: Heb. shamem, adj., devastated. sanctuary: Heb. miqdash, a sacred place, sanctuary. The noun refers to the temple and its precincts. for Your sake: Heb. ma'an, prep. expressing purpose or intent, for the sake of. O Lord: Heb. Adonai. See verse 3 above. Daniel wished to see that God's approval would rest once more on the ground He had set apart for his Name.
18- Incline, O my God, Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and behold our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; not because of our righteousness do we present our supplications before you, but because of your great mercies.
Incline: Heb. natah, Hiphil imp., to stretch out, spread out, extend, incline, bend. O my God: Heb. Elohim. See verse 3 above. Your ear: Heb. ozen, the anatomical organ of the ear, used here as an anthropomorphism. and hear: Heb. shama, Qal imp. See verse 6 above. Open: Heb. paqach, Qal imp., to open, used in reference to eyes and ears in the idiomatic sense of giving attention. Your eyes: pl. of Heb. ayin, the anatomical organ of the eye, , used here as an anthropomorphism. and behold: Heb. ra'ah, Qal imp., used in the central sense of perceiving with the eye; look at, see. our desolations: 1p-pl. of Heb. shemamah, devastation, waste, usually of land, city, house, etc. and the city: Heb. iyr. See verse 16 above. Daniel does not mean to imply that God was unaware of the state of Jerusalem. God brought about the judgment on Israel. Rather, Daniel is using anthropomorphic language to appeal for God's mercy in the present.
which: Heb. asher. is called: Heb. qara, Niphal perf., to call, proclaim, or read. The verb alludes to a public proclamation. by Your name: Heb. shem. See verse 6 above. not: Heb. lo, adv. because of: Heb. al, prep. our righteousness: 1p-pl. of Heb. tsedaqah. See verse 16 above. Daniels knows that the righteousness of Israel was as filthy menstruation rags (Isa 64:6; cf. Rom 3:10). do we: Heb. anachnu, pl. pronoun of the first person; we, ourselves. present: Heb. naphal, Hiphil ptc., to fall or lie, used here in the sense of falling prostrate, a typical position for prayer or demonstrating obeisance before a monarch. our supplications: 1p-pl. of Heb. tachanun. See the previous verse. before you: Heb. panim. See verse 3 and 13 above. but because of: Heb. al. your great: Heb. rab, adj., much, many, great. mercies: pl. of Heb. racham. See verse 9 above.
The second reason to grant favor is that God's nature is to have compassion. Daniel can offer no merit on the part of the people. He doesn't even try to offer his own merit. We all know that we have received of God's mercy because of His faithfulness and free decision to forgive, not because we deserved it.
19- O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act, delay not for Your own sake, O my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name."
O Lord: Heb. Adonai. See verse 3 above. hear: Heb. shama, Qal imp. See verse 6 above. Daniel can make this appeal because Israel was delivered from Egypt as a result of God hearing their groaning (Ex 2:24; 6:5). Adonai is a "hearing God" unlike the idols that do not hear (Ps 135:17). O Lord: Heb. Adonai. forgive: Heb. salach, Qal imp., to forgive, pardon. Daniel was confident in God's readiness to forgive (Num 14:18; Ps 86:5; 130:4; Isa 27:9), because God had forgiven Israel many times in the past (Num 14:19; Ps 65:3; 99:8). O Lord: Heb. Adonai. Miller suggests that Daniel's use of Adonai three times in this verse is designed to emphasize His sovereign power and ability to answer. listen: Heb. qashav, Hiphil imp., to incline ears, be attentive, heed, listen. In contrast to shama the verb qashav is rare in the Tanakh (46 times), predominately in the Latter Prophets and Ketuvim. This verb while a synonym of shama makes the appeal more impassioned (cf. Ps 17:1; 55:2; 61:1; 86:6; 142:6).
and act: Heb. asah, Qal imp. See verse 12 above. The verb is tantamount to saying "do something!" Daniel knows from history that when God hears He acts. delay: Heb. achar, Piel imp., to remain behind, delay, tarry. not: Heb. al, adv. of negation. for Your own sake: Heb. ma'an. See verse 17 above. Daniel's rationale for divine response may seem a strange way to get a favorable answer, but he argues that God's reputation is at stake. O my God: Heb. Elohim. See verse 3 above. for: Heb. ki, conj. See verse 9 above. Your city: Heb. iyr. See verse 16 above. and Your people: Heb. am. See verse 6 above. are called: Heb. qara, Niphal perf. See the previous verse. by Your name: Heb. shem. See verse 6 above.
The third reason for God granting favor is that Israel is still God's people. "Your name" refers to the name "Israel" which the Lord gave to Jacob (Gen 32:28), but also to the startling fact that the only people to whom God revealed his personal name YHVH was to the Israelites. God's name is forever connected to the Jews. Daniel would have been reminded of the covenantal connection in reading Jeremiah that God remains faithful to His people regardless of their past conduct (Jer 33:20-26).
20- And while I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before ADONAI my God for the holy mountain of my God,
And while: Heb. od, adv. expressing continuance; still, yet, while. I was: Heb. ani, pronoun of the first person; I, myself. speaking: Heb. dabar, Piel ptc. See verse 6 above. and praying: Heb. palal, Hithpael ptc. See verse 4 above. and confessing: Heb. yadah, Hithpael ptc. See verse 4 above. my sin: Heb. chata. See verse 5 above. The noun is first person singular, so Daniel was acknowledging his own shortcoming. Confessing reflects the humility of this godly man. We may ask what one of the top three godly men in the Tanakh (the others being Noah and Job, Ezek 14:20) would have to confess? Solomon spoke the truth when he said, "Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins" (Eccl 7:20).
Typical of confessions in Scripture, Daniel does not satisfy our curiosity, but then are we comfortable airing our shortcomings before others? We all fall short [present tense] of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). Since the broad meaning of chata is to miss the mark, then Daniel could be referring to unintentional violations of Torah statutes. On the other hand he could simply be voicing his unworthiness to ask anything of the holy God. and the sin: Heb. chata. of my people: Heb. am. See verse 6 above. Israel: See verse 7 above. Since "sin of my people Israel" is singular Daniel may intend a comprehensive concept or more particularly of a capital sin, such as idolatry (cf. 1Kgs 16:2; Ezek 37:23).
and presenting: Heb. naphal, Hiphil ptc. See verse 18 above. my supplication: Heb. techninnah, supplication for favor. before: Heb. panim. See verse 3 and 13 above. ADONAI: Heb. YHVH. See verse 2 above. my God: Heb. Elohim. See verse 3 above. for: Heb. al, prep. the holy mountain: See verse 16 above. of my God: Heb. Elohim. Daniel seeks for restoration of Israel to the Land and the rebuilding of the city and center of worship.
21 and while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being wearied with weariness about the time of the evening offering.
LXX: "yes, while I was yet speaking in prayer, behold the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, came flying, and he touched me about the hour of the evening sacrifice." (LXX2012)
And while: Heb. od, adv. See the previous verse. I was: Heb. ani, pronoun of the first person. speaking: Heb. dabar, Piel ptc. See verse 6 above. in prayer: Heb. tephillah. See verse 3 above. the man: Heb. ish, a male human, man, first used in Genesis 2:23 of Adam. Gabriel: Heb. Gavri'el, a proper name meaning "strong man of God." He is mentioned four times in Scripture in which he appeared to three people, first to Daniel (8:16; and here), then to Zechariah (Luke 1:19) and finally to Miriam, mother of Yeshua (Luke 1:26). In the Besekh passages Gabriel is called an angel. Angels are far different from depictions in popular media. Angels are not glorified humans that earn status in heaven by doing good works on earth.
Angels have a created physical form like that of a human male (Jdg 13:6; Dan 9:21; Mark 16:5; Luke 24:4; Acts 1:10), contrary to art and media that sometimes depicts them as female. Also, angels can fly (Rev 14:6), but there is no mention of them having wings. Unlike humans angels do not die and do not marry (Matt 22:30). Gabriel is included in a list of seven archangels in 1Enoch 9:1, which also include Uri'el, Rafa'el, Ragu'el, Micha'el, Saraka'el, and Remi'el. 1Enoch 20:1-7 assigns special functions to each angel. Gabriel was thought to have charge over serpents, Paradise and cherubim. In 1Enoch 40:9 he is one of four angels who stand before God and he presides over all that is powerful. Revelation 8:2 also mentions "seven angels who stand before God," which may include Gabriel and Michael. See my web article The Host of Heaven.
whom: Heb. asher. I had seen: Heb. ra'ah, Qal perf. See verse 18 above. in the vision: Heb. chazon, a pictographic divine communication; vision. at the beginning: Heb. techillah, beginning. The noun alludes to the time twelve years earlier in the third year of the reign of Belshazzar that God gave Daniel visions of the future and he received interpretive guidance from Gabriel. Some versions clarify the syntax with "earlier vision" (AMP, CEV, MSG, NIV, NLT, TEV, TLB, TLV). The vision of Gabriel mentioned at 8:15-17 does not describe the time of day, but it may have been similar to the nighttime visions of 7:1-15.
being wearied: Heb. yaeph, Hophal ptc., to tire, be weary, faint. with weariness: Heb. yeaph, weariness, faintness. The noun occurs only here in the Tanakh. Daniel may have been exhausted from insomnia and fretting about the meaning of the visions. Bible versions and scholars are divided over the translation of this phrase. The NASB has "came to me in my extreme weariness," whereas the KJV has "being caused to fly swiftly." The NIV has similar words "came to me in swift flight." The CJB and NJB say it even more dramatically, "swooped down on me in full flight." The translation of "weariness" is supported by Keil, BDB (419) and Miller, as well as some versions (CSB, HCSB, LEB, LITV, NET, OJB). Archer, Morris, Sevener (138) and most Bible versions support the KJV translation.
The difference in translation results from a dispute over the correct form of the verb, whether Heb. ayin-vav-pey, which means "to fly" (Gen 1:20) or Heb. yod-ayin-pey ("weariness"), which appears in the MT of this verse (Miller). Of interest is that the LXX, produced by Jewish rabbis long before any English versions were produced, translated the verbal phrase with Grk. petomenos kai ēpsato mou, "flying and he touched me." Non-Messianic Jewish versions translate the phrase "approached me in swift flight" or words to that effect (CTHB, JPS, NJPS). It is not likely the LXX translators invented their interpretation, but worked from a variant Hebrew text that the Massoretes later chose to ignore when they finalized the Hebrew text of the Tanakh.
Sevener seems to like both alternatives and attributes the reason for Gabriel's swift flight to Daniel's physical, emotional and spiritual state rather than the urgency of his intercession. Unlike 8:27, which occurred twelve years before this chapter, where Daniel described himself as exhausted and sick for days, there is no actual testimony of Daniel being in such a depleted condition in chapter nine. Morris comments that "angels fly very swiftly, but not instantaneously. Gabriel flew from God's presence above all heavens to Daniel's presence on Earth in the time it took for Daniel to pray his prayer of seventeen verses in length."
about the time: Heb. eth, time of day, often an appointed time and related to an event. The LXX has Grk. hōra, hour. of the evening: Heb. erev, sunset, evening. By itself "evening" is not a definite clock time, since the term generally referred to any time after the noon hour. More exact determination must be made from the context. offering: Heb. minchah may mean (1) a personal gift (Gen 32:14-22; 43:11-26); tribute to a ruler (Jdg 3:16-18); or (3) an offering made to God, frequently of grain but also of an animal. The evening offering specified in (Ex 29:39, 41; Num 28:1-4) was conducted about 3 P.M. (the ninth hour) (Josephus, Ant. XIV, 4:3). Daniel does not mean that sacrifices were still being offered in Jerusalem, but the state of the temple was on his mind.
The time of the evening offering may allude to Daniel's practice of praying three times a day (Dan 6:10). The Talmud says that since Jews were not able to sacrifice in the Temple during the exile, they used prayer as a substitute for sacrifice (Berachot 26b). People got together to pray three times a day, two of which corresponded with the time of the morning and evening sacrifices. The three services are called shacharit ("morning"), minchah ("afternoon") and ma’ariv ("evening"). Keil (631) says these services were held at the third, sixth and ninth hours of the day. Praying three times a day predated the exile as David refers to praying "evening and morning and at noon" (Ps 55:17). In Acts 3:1 the minchah prayers were at the ninth hour or about 3:00 pm. After the rebuilding of the temple prayer three times a day at the temple was institutionalized.
22 And he gave understanding and spoke with me and said, "O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight and understanding.
LXX: "And he instructed me, and spoke with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to impart to you understanding." (LXX2012)
And he gave understanding: Heb. bin, Hiphil impf., may mean (1) to discern with the senses; (2) to understand with the mind; or (3) to observe, give attention. and spoke: Heb. dabar, Piel impf. See verse 6 above. with me: Heb. im, prep. with first person suffix; with. and said: Heb. amar, Qal impf., to utter or say, often used to introduce a direct quotation. O Daniel: See verse 2 above. I have now: Heb. attah, adv. See verse 15 above. come forth: Heb. yatsa, Qal perf. See verse 15 above. to give you insight: Heb. sakal, Hiphil inf. See verse 13 above. and understanding: Heb. binah, which means understanding (BDB 108). In application binah may refer to the faculty to get understanding or the object of knowledge. Miller sees sakal and binah as synonyms, but the distinction seems to be Gabriel's function on the one hand to teach Daniel the mystery of God's planning and the enablement of Daniel on the other hand to use his intellectual abilities to a heightened degree in understanding.
23 At the beginning of your supplications a word went forth, and I have come to tell you, for you are precious; so consider the message and consider the vision.
At the beginning: Heb. techillah. See verse 21 above. of your supplications: pl. of Heb. tachanun. See verse 3 above. a word: Heb. dabar. See verse 2 above. went forth: Heb. yatsa, Qal perf. See verse 15 above. and I have come: Heb. bo, Qal perf. See verse 12 above. to tell you: Heb. nagad, Hiphil inf., to be conspicuous or in front and in used to mean, tell, announce, declare, expound, or proclaim. No sooner had Daniel begun to pray God commanded Gabriel to go. God knew the content of the prayer before Daniel did, so in the space of time that it took Daniel to pray verses 4 to 20 Gabriel was en route from heaven to earth and arrived at this point.
for: Heb. ki, conj. you are: Heb. attah (SH-859), personal pronoun, you. precious: Heb. chamad, as a noun it means desirableness or preciousness. Several versions translate the noun as "greatly beloved" (AMPC, ASV, CJB, ESV, KJV, MSG, NKJV, NRSV, RSV, WEB), apparently on the assumption that a text of the LXX has agapētos ("beloved") (Owens). However, a check of available LXX Greek texts online revealed that the Greek noun is epithumia ("strong interest, desire"). The OJB has "greatly valued" and TLV has "greatly esteemed. The point is that Daniel was precious to God. The noun reflects God's opinion of Daniel, regardless of his own self-evaluation. Daniel was greatly valued by the Lord. These words are similar to the greeting Gabriel gave Mary, "Greetings, favored one" (Luke 1:28).
so consider: Heb. bin, Qal imp. See verse 22 above. the message: Heb. dabar. See verse 2 above. and consider: Heb. bin, Hiphil imp. Gabriel commands Daniel to give heed to, attend to, observe, discern what he is about to reveal. the vision: Heb. mareh, sight, appearance or vision (BDB 909). The NASB translators, as the KJV and NIV, interpret mareh as vision, perhaps assuming that the word refers to Gabriel appearance in vision form. In Tanakh usage mareh often refers to a physical phenomenon or personal presence (e.g., Gen 2:9; Lev 13:3; Num 9:15; 12:8; Judg 13:6; SS 5:15). In this context, then, mareh does not denote a vision like those in chapters seven and eight, but rather the revelation that Gabriel is going to provide. It could well be that "consider the message" and "consider the vision" is a Hebraic parallelism with the second part repeating and emphasizing the meaning of the first part.
24 "Seventy weeks are determined on your people and your holy city, to shut up the transgression, and to conclude sin-offering, and to atone for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophet and to anoint the Holy of Holies.
As Miller notes, verses 24 to 27 are four of the most controversial verses in the Bible. Miller identifies four basic interpretations: (1) The weeks are literal years commencing with the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. and extending through the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes in 164 B.C. (2) The weeks are symbolic/literal periods of time ending in the first century A.D. with the first coming of Yeshua. (3) The weeks are symbolic periods ending at Messiah's Second Coming. (4) The weeks are literal years ending with Messiah's Second Coming.
Seventy: Heb. shibim. See verse 2 above. weeks: Heb. shabuim, pl. of Heb. shabua, a period of seven days (Ezek 45:21) or heptad (group or series of seven) (BDB 988). The word occurs only twenty times in the Tanakh and is translated in the LXX with hebdomas, "week." The term is first used of the period of a wedding feast (Gen 29:27-28) and then the Feast of Weeks (Ex 34:22; Num 28:26; Deut 16:9-10, 16; 2Chr 8:13). The translation here of "weeks" in almost all Bible versions, while technically correct for the general usage of shabua in the Tanakh, does not reflect the intent of the prophecy given to Daniel. Since Daniel observed that the seventy years Jeremiah prophesied had been completed (verse 2 above), then these "seventy weeks" represent the future (Payne 383).
The time period is clearly symbolic and Jewish and Christian interpretation accept its meaning as 490 years. There is debate among scholars over whether the 490 years are "prophetic" years of 360-days each (so Morris & Sevener) or 365 days each (so Archer and Miller). The answer is probably a combination of both. The principles of the Hebrew calendar are based on the Torah which coordinates four phenomena established by God in creation and further legislated at Sinai: the day, the seven day week, the month and the year. There is no direct physical correlation between these four phenomena, but as Morris points out the original created year was apparently twelve 30-day months (cf. Gen 7:11, 24; 8:3-4). The civil calendar used today by most of the world arbitrarily sets the length of months to 28, 30 or 31 days.
For the Hebrew calendar the Torah stipulates the year to begin with the month of Aviv (Ex 12:2, called Nisan during the exile, Esth 3:7) and each month to begin with the new moon (Num 10:10). Thus, the months are twenty-nine or thirty days. At least as early as Temple times and through the Tannaitic period (70-200 AD), the Hebrew calendar was observational, with the beginning of each month determined by the high court based on the testimony of witnesses who had observed a new crescent moon. Because of the roughly eleven-day difference between twelve lunar months and one solar year, the court periodically ordered an extra month added to keep Passover in the spring, again based on observation of natural events. The insertion of the extra month occurred every two or three years, for a total of 7 times per 19 years. (For more information see the articles on the Hebrew calendar at Wikipedia and Judaism 101.)
The Torah prescribed Sabbatic years (Leviticus 25), by which years were divided into weeks of years, each containing seven years. The origin of this practice may be found in the first use of shabua in Genesis 29:27 where Laban says, "Complete the week [shabua] of this one, and we will give you the other also for the service which you shall serve with me for another seven years." The seventy years, which allude backwards to the Babylonian captivity, points to the future. The purpose of the "seventy sevens" or seventy Sabbatic periods is to accomplish six goals for the Holy City and for God's covenant people. The first three relate to the removal of sin and the second three to the restoration of righteousness (Archer).
Stern suggests that in the shibim shabuim a jubilee motif may be at play (CJSB 1256). If a jubilee was to occur every fifty years (Lev 25:10) then Daniel's seven weeks may represent an extended time period lasting almost until a final jubilee, at the end of time. Sevener (141) suggests that the seventy sevens represented the immediate future of Israel, if, as a nation they repented and became obedient to God's commands, or they would represent the distant future of Israel if they continued in unbelief and disobedience. There is merit to this approach. Even with a specific number of sabbatic periods the prophecy has enough ambiguity built in to allow God to fulfill the prophecy as He chooses.
are determined: Heb. chathak, Niphal perf., to divide or determine (BDB 367). The verb occurs only here in the Tanakh. The LXX translates chathak with Grk. suntemnō, to make the shortest way possible, bring to swift accomplishment. The perfect tense indicates that the action of determination is completed. God's sovereign plan for the future is set, thereby guaranteeing fulfillment. The passive nature of the Niphal form indicates that Israel is the recipient of the preordained plan. for your people: Heb. am. See verse 6 above. and your holy: Heb. qodesh. See verse 16 above. city: Heb. iyr. See verse 16 above. Jerusalem is the holy city (Neh 11:1; Isa 52:1). Gabriel then identifies six goals of the divine decree.
and to shut up: Heb. kala, Piel inf., to shut up, restrain, withhold (BDB 477). the transgression: Heb. pesha, transgression, whether against individuals or against God (BDB 833). The noun refers to rebellious acts and has the sense of revolting against authority. The intent in the first goal appears to be to confine, to contain or to hinder, rather than eradicate from existence. The question here is "what transgression?" The chief or national transgression that sent Israel into captivity was idolatry. One could say that the captivity contained idolatry among the Jews, at least in the sense of the widespread practice on every high hill that occurred before the captivity (Jer 2:20; Ezek 6:13).
However, the pre-captivity idolatry was replaced with a post-captivity idolatry of a philosophical nature, namely Hellenism which began under Alexander the Great and was imposed with a vengeance by Antiochus. The chief transgression of the Jews under the Greek empire was embracing a culture and philosophy that would reject the revealed truth of Scripture and abandon the covenantal obligations of Torah. A Hellenistic Jew might not bow down to idols, but he would abandon the signs of the covenant with his God, namely circumcision, sabbath observance and kosher diet. He would exchange his unique Jewish culture and heritage in order to amalgamate with the Gentile world.
With the victory of the Maccabees came a new pietistic movement that would eventually overturn Hellenistic dominance among Jews in the holy land. The kingdom of God inaugurated by Yeshua sought to end the rebellion of Israel and Judah against God by fulfilling the New Covenant (Jer 31:31-34). Yeshua came to destroy the works of the devil (1Jn 3:8). Unfortunately, in spite of the fact that tens of thousands of Jews embraced Messiah Yeshua (Acts 21:20), the Judean authorities did not and their rejection became the great enigma for the apostle Paul, which he addresses in Romans 9―11.
and to conclude: Heb. chatham, Qal inf., affix a seal, to seal, seal up. The verb is used lit. for affixing a monarch's seal to an official document (1Kgs 21:8; Esth 8:8, 10) or a seal to a deed of sale (Jer 32:10,11). A seal indicated that the document was complete and the matter was closed to further discussion. The verb is also used fig., "seal up the teaching among my disciples" (Isa 8:16), i.e. preserve it or keep it securely. The LXX translates chatham with sunteleō (aorist passive infinitive), to bring to a close, complete, conclude. The revelation is complete and nothing should be added or taken away. Most versions translate the verb as "make an end of" or words to that effect.
sin-offering: Heb. chatta'ah, sin as an act (Ex 32:31) or a sin offering (Lev 6:10; BDB 307). Almost all versions translate the noun as "sin" or "sins" (even though the noun is singular), which is problematic in context. These two different uses of chata'ah can result in very different interpretations of the second goal. If chata'ah is understood as acts of sin, then this goal could only be fulfilled by the Second Coming and kingly reign of the Messiah (so Archer, Gill, Miller & Morris). On the other hand, the announcement clearly states that the action of the verb would be accomplished at the end of seventy weeks (of years), but people are still sinning. Surely if God had intended "sinful acts" He would have used the word chata (see verse 5 above) to avoid any ambiguity. It makes much more sense that the promise refers to the end of sacrificial offerings for sin as accomplished by the once-for-all atonement of Yeshua (Clarke, Coke and Henry; cf. Rom 6:10; Heb 7:27; 9:12; 10:10; 1Pet 3:18).
and to atone for:, Heb. kaphar, to pacify, to cover, to make propitiation, to atone for sin (BDB 497). The full and final atonement was accomplished on Calvary with Yeshua as the sin offering. iniquity: Heb. avon. See verse 13 above. Iniquity is another word for sin, in that it refers to a violation of Torah commandments, particularly the serious breaches of the moral and justice codes. However, iniquity emphasizes the quality of sin as unfaithfulness to one's relationship with God (Lev 26:40). Fortunately, iniquity is forgivable upon confession or priestly intercession (Ex 34:6-7; Num 14:17-20; Lev 26:40-42). The phrase "to atone for iniquity" functions as a parallelism of "to seal up sin-offering," which was fulfilled by Yeshua.
and to bring in: Heb. bo, Hiphil inf. See verse 12 above. everlasting: pl. of Heb. olam, long duration, futurity, antiquity or forever (BDB 761). Olam can point backwards to ancient times or to the future, either in the context of legislating regular observance of an event, such as the Sabbath, or the distant future in the sense of eternity. righteousness: Heb. tsedeq. See verse 7 above. God's goal is to establish a kingdom whose hallmark is righteousness, where the second great commandment to love one's neighbor is the principal community value. For Morris this goal is only possible with the second coming of Messiah.
However, the verb "bring in" doesn't mean to complete or finish as in the first goal, but to inaugurate or commence. In his first coming Yeshua announced the presence of a kingdom of righteousness (Matt 6:33). The plural intensive olamim would point to the eternity of the Messianic kingdom as in Daniel 2:44; 7:18, 27 and 2Peter 3:13 (Keil), but Kohlenberger translates the plural noun as "everlasting ones," which suggests the expression relates to all the people who have received eternal life. Indeed olam is used to refer to ancient people (Isa 44:7), so it could point to a future people. Tsedeq olamim, or "everlasting ones of righteousness," are the true people of God, Jews and Gentiles, who have surrendered their lives to the authority of the King of the Jews and seek his righteousness.
and to seal up: Heb. chatham, Qal. inf. The verb indicates that no further discussion is needed of the matter. vision: Heb. chazon. See verse 21 above. and prophet: Heb. nabi. See verse 2 above. That is, this prophecy summarizes in succinct fashion the entire timeline of God for the redemption of his people. Daniel would not be the last prophet to offer future hope in the person of the Messiah (such as Zechariah and Malachi), so sealing up does not mean the end prophecy but its preservation. However, Daniel is the only one to offer a time table.
and to anoint: Heb. mashach, Qal inf., to smear or anoint (BDB 602). In the Tanakh mashach generally refers to an act of consecration in which oil was poured on the head of a prophet (1Kgs 19:16; Isa 61:1), a king (1Sam 16:3; 1Kgs 1:39), or a priest (Ex 28:41; 29:7; 30:30; 40:13). Sacred things, such as the tabernacle, altar or vessels could also be anointed (Ex 29:36; 30:26; 40:9-11). the holy: Heb. qodesh. See verse 16 above. of holies: Heb. qadashim, intensive pl. of qodesh. Many versions render qodesh qadashim as "the [most] holy place," implying either the temple or the area where the temple stood (AMP, CEB, CEV, CJB, CSB, ESV, HCSB, NASB, NCV, NET, NIV, NLT, NRSV, RSV, TEV, TLB).
Anointing the temple in a dedicatory sense occurred on three occasions: the original tabernacle, the temple Solomon built and the temple Herod built. The future temple as anticipated in Ezekiel 43 for the millennial reign of the Messiah would also be anointed before use. It's possible this prophecy relates to Herod's temple, but Archer, Miller and Sevener interpret the holy place to be the Messiah's temple. The expression qodesh qadashim is used in the Torah to refer to the altar of burnt offering (Ex 29:37), the Yom Kippur sacrifice (Ex 30:10), the ark, lampstand, altar of incense and various utensils (Ex 30:29), the portion of offerings that belonged to the priests (Lev 2:3; Num 18:9) and places set apart for God's presence (Ex 40:9).
The expression qodesh qadashim is also applied to Aaron and Moses who were consecrated for service to God (1Chr 23:13). With such an application the prophetic goal could refer to Yeshua, considering the prophecy of Messiah the Prince in the next verse (cf. Luke 4:18; Acts 4:27; 10:38). Clarke connects the anointing to the first coming of Yeshua and observes that the anointing refers to "the consecration or appointment of our blessed Lord, the Holy One of Israel, to be the Prophet, Priest, and King of mankind." This anointing could then refer either to his anointing by the Holy Spirit at the beginning of his ministry (Luke 4:18) or the anointing for his burial (Mark 14:8; John 12:7). However, Keil sees the fulfillment at the end of history as given in the vision of the New Jerusalem to John on Patmos (Rev 21:1-3). For Keil qodesh qadashim is God dwelling among his people.
An interesting note from the Torah is that the priests who came into contact with the most holy things were rendered most holy themselves (Ex 30:29). This prophetic anointing could then refer to the experience of New Covenant disciples who were anointed and cleansed by the Holy Spirit beginning at Pentecost (cf. 2Cor 1:21; 1Jn 2:20, 27). God wants his people to be qodesh qadashim, a holy temple for his dwelling as expressed by the apostle Paul (Acts 17:24-25; 1Cor 3:16-17; 6:19; 2Cor 6:16; Eph 2:21). As John says, "You have an anointing from the Holy One" (1Jn 2:20).
25 And know and consider from the going forth of a command to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, seven weeks and sixty and two weeks; and the plaza and moat will be built again, even in troubled times.
Gabriel informs Daniel that the seventy weeks are divided into three distinct periods associated with historic milestones. What he doesn't say is how the six goals are connected to these three periods and the milestones. Whatever else may be said about the aforementioned goals there is no doubt that the eschatology envisioned is centered on Israel, its land, its chief city, its temple and its Messiah. Any eschatology that does not include God's plan for Israel is not biblical.
And know: Heb. yada, Qal impf., 2p-sing., to know, with a variety of applications: (1) to learn good and evil; (2) to recognizing or acknowledging persons; (3) have knowledge about animals; (4) know a person sexually; (4) to know or understand how to do something, be skillful; (5) have knowledge of God and duty; (6) be instructed; (7) have perception based on observation, taking note; (8) know by experience; (9) able to distinguish between things; and (10) to consider something. Gabriel wants Daniel to accept the instruction and information and preserve the revelation. and consider: Heb. sakal, Hiphil impf., 2p-sing. See verse 13 above. The imperfect tense of the two verbs indicates the action is not complete and implies that the revelation will be a continuing source of study and wonder for Daniel.
from: Heb. min, prep., from, here with a temporal force to indicate a starting point in time. the going forth: Heb. motsa, a construct, the act of going forth. of a command: Heb. dabar. See verse 2 above. The term is used here in the sense of an official decree. to restore: Heb. shuv, Hiphil inf. See verse 13 above. The verb also hints at its root meaning ("return"), because the Jews would have to be allowed to return in order to restore. and to rebuild: Heb. banah, Qal inf., to build, rebuild or repair. The verb, which emphasizes making something permanent, also has the fig. meaning of to perpetuate and establish a family, to establish David's throne. Jerusalem: See verse 2 above. For the condition of Jerusalem at this time see Nehemiah 1:3; 2:3, 11-17.
The initiating event or milestone is a decree to rebuild Jerusalem. As Sevener notes there were four separate decrees issued in connection with restoration activity in Jerusalem after the end of the Babylonian captivity (148-152).
• First: Cyrus-Darius the Mede, in his first year (536 BC) issued a decree permitting Jews to return to their Land and to build a temple (2Chr 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4).
• Second: Darius Hystaspis issued a decree in 519 BC to allow resumption of the temple building (Ezra 6:1-5, 8-12), which had been halted by opposition of Israel's enemies. The rebuilding was completed in 516 BC.
• Third: Artaxerxes issued a decree in the seventh year of his reign (458 BC) and authorized considerable expenditure of funds for the maintenance of the temple and temple offerings, as well as an injunction to enforce obedience of the people to the "Law of your God" (Ezra 7:11-26).
• Fourth: Artaxerxes issued a decree in the twentieth year of his reign (445 BC) to amend the third decree to allow rebuilding of the city (Neh 2:8). Daniel did not live to see this decree enacted.
The first three recorded decrees did not specifically authorize rebuilding the city. When Nehemiah learned that after all the years of work on the temple the city still lay in ruins, he appealed to Artaxerxes to amend his order and specifically allow the rebuilding of the city, which he did in 445 B.C. (Neh 2:8). The straightforward meaning of Daniel's prophecy must refer to the last commission of Artaxerxes. Miller believes that permission to rebuild the city was implied in the former decrees, since Isaiah prophesied that Cyrus would "build the city" (Isa 45:13). However, the fourth decree seems to be in view with the specific wording of the prophecy.
until: Heb. ad, prep., as far as, even to, up to, until, while. The period concludes with the appearance and work of an important person. Messiah: Heb. Mashiach, anointed one, which refers to one who has been consecrated to office (BDB 603). Mashiach is used in the Tanakh principally for three men: the High Priest (Lev 4:5); the King, (1Sam 12:3; King Saul; 2Sam 22:51, King David; Isa 45:1, King Cyrus); and the Messiah (Ps 2:2 and here). Generally the anointing occurred in a special ceremony with olive oil, which invested them with the authority of their positions. Mashiach is also applied to the patriarchs (Ps 105:9-15) and to two special servants of the Lord (Zech 4:11-14).
In the LXX Mashiach is translated with Christos. In Greek culture christos came from chriein, to rub lightly, and in its secular use had no religious connotation at all. Christos as an adjective described someone smeared with whitewash, cosmetics or paint, and was anything but an expression of honor. As a personal reference it even tended toward the disrespectful (DNTT 2:334). The LXX translators elevated the word Christos to a title of great honor.
Modern English translation varies. A number of versions have "the Anointed One" (AMPC, ASV, CSB, ESV, HNV, NIV, NLT, REV, RSV, TLB, WEB). Other versions have "Messiah" (AMP, BRG, DARBY, HCSB, KJV, LAMSA, LITV, MEV, NASB, NKJV, YLT). Some versions translate the noun as an adjective "anointed" for the noun that follows (CEB, CJB, GW, ISV, JUB, LEB, NABRE, NET, NIRV, NJB, NOG), as do non-Messianic versions (CJHB, JPS, NJPS). A few other versions render the noun as an adjective with "chosen" (CEV, ERV, NLV, TEV) and "appointed" (ICB, EXB, NCV). OJB and TLV use the Hebrew word Mashiach.
the Prince, Heb. nagid, leader, ruler or prince, lit. "one in front" (BDB 617). Sevener (157) considers nagid to be a weaker word than sar, since Yeshua is called Sar Shalom in Isaiah 9:6. However, actual Tanakh usage of these titles does not bear out this assumption, and in fact would suggest just the opposite. (See the note on sar in verse 6 above.) Nagid is derived from the verb nagad, to be conspicuous or in front. Nagid occurs 45 times in the Tanakh, especially of kings of Israel. Consider the parallel prophecy given of Saul to Samuel: "About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint [mashach] him to be prince [nagid] over My people Israel" (1Sam 9:16).
Likewise the title nagid is given to David (1Sam 13:14; 25:30), Solomon (1Kgs 1:35), Jeroboam (1Kgs 14:7), Baasha (1Kgs 16:2), Hezekiah (2Kgs 20:5), and Abijah (2Chr 11:22). The title is also given to the high priest (Neh 11:11) and Israelite military leaders (1Chr 13:1; 27:1). Three times nagid refers to non-Jewish rulers (Dan 9:26; 11:22; Ezek 28:2). Thus, the Messiah could be a king, priest, or military leader. The Besekh identifies Yeshua as all three. Yeshua is the King of the Jews (Matt 2:2; 27:11; John 19:19), he is the great high priest (Heb 3:1; 6:20) and he is the great leader of armies who will defeat and destroy the beast and his evil regime (Rev 19:11-15).
The 490 years are divided into three specific periods of unequal length. seven: Heb. sheva, the numeral seven, a cardinal number. There is little doubt that the number seven represents completeness or perfection (Stern 786). weeks: Heb. shavuim, pl. of Heb. shabua (derived from sheva). See the previous verse. Symbolically the seven weeks represents forty-nine years and something significant was to occur at the end of this time. Miller, assuming the third decree of 458 BC started the timeline, the 49 years ended in 409 BC, which marked the end of rebuilding projects and Nehemiah's term as governor. However, Nehemiah did not arrive to commence his governorship and rebuilding the wall until after the fourth decree of 445 BC (Neh 5:14). Sevener interprets the 49 years as commencing with the fourth decree and concluding in 396 BC (152).
and sixty: Heb. shishshim, the numeral sixty. and two: Heb. shenayim, the numeral two, a cardinal number. weeks: pl. Heb. shavuim. One might wonder why if the first period was entirely occupied with the restoration of Jerusalem, how the second period could be associated with the Messiah. Assuming the fulfillment of this prophecy is Yeshua, what about the 400 years before he was born? Those years were occupied with preserving the Messianic line so that the Messiah would be able to come (Matt 1:2-16; Luke 3:23-38). During those years the Jews faced extinction, first from Haman, the Persian official, and then from King Antiochus Epiphanes who ruthlessly oppressed the Jews.
Indeed, both Purim and Hanukkah celebrate the reality that without divine intervention, the Jewish people would have ceased to exist before the first century. No Jewish people would have meant no Messiah. From the time of Daniel Jews eagerly anticipated the coming of the Messiah to deliver them from their enemies, establish His kingdom on the earth and fulfill the covenant promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Luke 1:69-75). and the plaza: Heb. rechob, a broad open place, plaza or square. The term refers to a public area within the city in contrast to private dwellings, and would be distinguished from the broad area at the city gates where public business was done and courts operated (TWOT 2:841).
and wall: Heb. charuts, adj. and noun, a term with a variety of meanings: (1) adj., "sharp," of a threshing instrument (Isa 41:15); (2) adj., "diligent" (Prov 10:4; 21:5); (3) noun, a strict decision (Joel 3:14); (4) noun, moat (only Dan 9:25); (5) noun, gold (Ps 68:14; Zech 9:3) (BDB 358). The Gesenius lexicon does not include "moat" in its list of definitions of charuts (306). The LXX decides the matter with its translation of charuts with Grk. teichos, "wall." A few versions like the KJV have "wall." Most versions translate the noun as "moat, but Sevener points out that while the city of Babylon had a moat, Jerusalem with its hilly dry terrain did not.
will be built: Heb. banah, Niphal perf. again: Heb. shuv, Hiphil impf. The verb is used here to denote repetition, do again. even in troubled: Heb. tsoq, pressure, distress. times: pl. of Heb. eth. See verse 21 above. A few versions translate the plural noun as singular (ESV, NRSV, RSV), but the plural form is appropriate for the length of the rebuilding. Most commentators interpret the "troubled times" as referring to period of rebuilding under Nehemiah. Sanballat, the Horonite, in league with Tobiah, an Ammonite, Geshem, an Arab, and other Arabs, tried to stop the work, but without success (Neh 4:1-8; 6:1-9). The people also experienced internal trouble of an economic nature. Building the walls caused a labor shortage; farms were mortgaged, and high rates of interest were charged. Nehemiah corrected the lending practice and gave financial aid to those in need (Neh 5:1-9).
26 And after the sixty and two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is coming will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And the end will be with a flood; and until the end war is determined and desolations.
Word Order: "And after • weeks • sixty • and two • shall be cut off • Messiah • and but nothing • and the city • and the sanctuary • will cause destroying • the people • [of?] the prince • the one coming • and the end • with a flood • and until • the end • war • is decreed • desolations."
And after: Heb. achar, adv., behind, used here in a temporal sense; afterwards. the sixty: Heb. shishshim, the numeral sixty. and two: Heb. shenayim, the numeral two, a cardinal number. weeks: pl. Heb. shavuim. See the previous verse. The 62 weeks would symbolically represent 434 years. Scholars are divided in their interpretation, whether to count years as lunar or solar. The solar timeline of 69 weeks (483 years), starting from 445 B.C., would culminate in AD 38, well after Yeshua ascended to heaven. Miller believes that the third decree of Artaxerxes in 458 BC, which gave great latitude to Ezra in expenditure of funds, implied permission to rebuild the city and therefore should be the starting point (cf. Ezra 7:18-20). The total of 483 years would then culminate in A.D. 26, the date of Yeshua's immersion and anointing by the Spirit.
the Messiah: Heb. Mashiach. See the previous verse. will be cut off: Heb. karath, Niphal impf., to cut off or cut down (BDB 503). The ordinary usage of the verb is in reference to physical cutting, such as removing foreskin, cutting vegetation, cutting garments, etc. The verb is also used idiomatically of making a covenant, because of the cutting up and distribution of the flesh of the victim for eating in the sacrifice of the covenants (e.g., Gen 15:10; Ps 50:5; Jer 34:18). Lastly the verb is used of actions taken against persons, such as barring someone from joining the congregation in worship (Num 15:20), but more often of causing death, whether killing enemies by the sword (Jdg 4:24), imposing the death penalty for crimes (Ex 31:14) or divine judgment against people (Deut 19:1).
This is a shocking prophecy. The Messiah was supposed to be the victorious heir to David's throne (2Sam 7:12-13; Isa 9:6; 11:1-5; Jer 23:5; Micah 5:2; 2Esdras 12:32). However, Isaiah prophesied that the Lord's servant (the Messiah) would be "cut off from the land of living for the transgression of my people" (Isa 53:8). The bad news was also mentioned in other passages (Gen 3:15; Num 21:8; Ps 22:16; Zech 12:10; 13:1, 7-9; 2Esdras 7:29; cf. Luke 24:27, 44; John 3:14-15). Yeshua the Messiah did not simply die, but was executed by the order of Pontius Pilate. He was "cut off." Rabbinic Sages accepted the prophecy of a suffering Messiah, whom they dubbed Mashiach ben Yosef (Sukkah 52a). He was called son of Joseph as homage to Joseph the son of Jacob who was sold into Egyptian bondage but later gained deliverance for his family.
Contrary to Miller's calculation the prophecy says the time period begins with the conclusion of the 49 years of rebuilding initiated with the fourth decree and ends with the Messiah being cut off, not being anointed for ministry. Scholars are divided over the year of Yeshua's death, some favoring AD 33 and others AD 30. I believe greater evidence exists for AD 30. The time period of sixty-two week-years can be confirmed by the lunar method of calculating from the fourth decree in 445 BC (so Morris and Sevener). Sevener calculates the period by this simple formula: 483 total prophetic years times 360 days each equals 173,880 days divided by 365 regular calendar days, which yields 476.38 years (153). Another method is: 360 lunar days x 69 week-years = 24,840 days; 24,840 days ÷ 365 solar days = 68 week-years; 68 week-years x 7 years = 476 prophetic years. Back dating from AD 30, 476 years comes to 446 BC (within a year of the date given for the 4th decree).
and have nothing: Heb. ayin, particle of negation. Miller suggests that the Hebrew phrase ayin lo may be rendered as "and [but] not to [for] him." Similarly Kohlenberger translates the phrase as "and there will be nothing to him." The KJV has "but not for himself," suggesting that Messiah's death was for others but not for himself. Miller sees the "have nothing" associated with the desertion of the disciples and the seeming failure of his mission. Sevener (154) suggests a simple Jewish explanation. To have nothing would mean to have no children, no progeny, no one to carry on his name. This interpretation is supported by the prophecy of Isaiah, "By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? (Isa 53:8 NIV). To a religious Jew to be put to death before descendants could be born was (and is) one of the greatest tragedies. Yeshua also did not have any real property of his own to pass on to heirs (Matt 8:20). He even lost his personal property to his executioners (Matt 27:35).
and the people: Heb. am. The noun is singular. See verse 6 above. of the prince: Heb. nagid. See the previous verse. who is coming: Heb. bo, Qal act. ptc. See verse 12 above. will destroy: Heb. shachath, Hiphil impf., 3p-sing., go to ruin, destroy. The Hiphil form is used to mean (1) spoil or ruin in a literal sense; and (2) pervert or corrupt in a moral sense (BDB 1007). The Hiphil imperfect form of the verb conveys a causative effect, "shall cause to be destroyed." the city: Heb. iyr. See verse 16 above. The city is presumptively Jerusalem. and the sanctuary: Heb. qodesh, lit. "the holy." See verse 16 above. The noun could be alluding to the "holy mountain" in verse 16, the site of the temple, or the "holy of holies" in the previous verse.
Questions to answer: (1) Who is the "people" and who is the "prince?" (2) Who destroys the city and sanctuary, the people or the prince? (3) As a prophesied event when did the destruction occur? Daniel's second reference to a prince (nagid) to come has naturally been the subject of much discussion and debate. For many commentators the phrase "people of the prince" refers to the Romans who devastated Jerusalem in A.D. 70 (cf. Luke 21:20). Early church fathers generally believed that the entire section of Daniel 9:24-27 pertained to the first coming of Yeshua and the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. See the commentary of Jerome for a summary of the views of prominent early church fathers.
Historicist commentators, such as Matthew Henry, Robert Jamieson and John Wesley, likewise believed that Titus, who led the Roman army against Jerusalem and represented the world power, was the one referred to by the title Prince, because he was sent by God as an instrument of judgment. Many modern commentators, especially Dispensationalists, interpret this coming Prince as the Antichrist of the New Testament. Morris points out that the second prince to come cannot be the Messiah Prince, because he was "cut off."
The Douay-Rheims Version imposes Catholic replacement theology on Daniel 9:26,
"And after sixty-two weeks Christ shall be slain: and the people that shall deny him shall not be his. And a people, with their leader, that shall come, shall destroy the city, and the sanctuary: and the end thereof shall be waste, and after the end of the war the appointed desolation."
Some versions seem to infer that the ruler to come would be someone who would arrive shortly after the Messiah’s ministry was completed on earth, rather than a figure at the end of history (CEV, DRA, NLT, TEV). Simon ben Kosiba (dubbed Bar Kokhba, "son of the star") led the last revolt against the Romans (132-136 AD) and was hailed as the Messiah by Rabbi Akiva. Indeed, on some of Simon's coins and in his letters, he calls himself 'Prince' (Nasi), a word that had very strong Messianic overtones.
However, the immediate antecedent of "prince who is coming" is "Messiah the prince." "People" is a singular noun and the natural subject of the verb shachath, which has a causative emphasis. So, the "people of the prince" would be Yeshua's countrymen, the residents of Jerusalem (Matt 23:27-28; Luke 13:34-35) and the Judeans who controlled the city. The description of the city and sanctuary being destroyed follows the declaration of Messiah being cut off. The Judean authorities caused the city to be destroyed because they refused to recognize their redeemer (Luke 19:44).
and the end: Heb. qets, end, sometimes of a time reference (e.g., Gen 8:6) and also a spatial reference (2Kgs 19:23). Some versions translate the noun as "its end" alluding to "city and sanctuary (AMP, ESV, NASB, NRSV, RSV, WEB). The noun is masculine, so a few versions translate the noun as "his end," a reference to the prince (CEB, CJB, GW, NABRE, NET, NOG, TLV). Some versions render the noun as "the end" (ASV, CSB, KJV, MSG, NCV, NIV, NKJV, NLT, OJB), which could intend an eschatological reference, but in reality alludes to the end of the Jewish nation.
with a flood: Heb. sheteph, flood of waters (Job 38:25; Ps 32:6). In the Tanakh "flood" or an overflow of waters is a common metaphor used for various misfortunes or terrors, often the fear of death (Job 27:20; Ps 18:4; 32:6; 69:1-4, 15; 90:5; 124:2-5; Isa 43:2; Matt 7:25). Relevant to this context is that "flood" also represents intense opposition from military powers (1Chr 14:11; Ps 144:7; Isa 8:7; 17:12-13; Jer 46:8-9; 47:1-2; 51:42; Ezek 26:3, 19; Nah 1:8; Hab 3:8-15; cf. Rev 12:15-16). In Jeremiah 46:8-9 the Egyptian armies are likened to the flooding Nile. When rebellion of Judeans increased against Roman rule the Roman armies came like a flood over the land.
and until: Heb. ad, prep. See the previous verse. the end: Heb. qets. war: Heb. milchamah, a battle or war. is determined: Heb. charats, Niphal ptc., to cut, sharpen, decide. and desolations: Heb. shamem, Qal act. ptc., fem.-pl., to be desolated, appalled, causing horror. Yeshua predicted much the same in his Olivet Discourse (Matt 24:6-8).
27 And he will make strong a covenant with the many for one week, and in the middle of the week he will cause to cease sacrifice and offering; and on the wing of abominations one making desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate."
LXX: And one week shall establish the covenant with many: and in the midst of the week my sacrifice and drink-offering shall be taken away: and on the temple shall be the abomination of desolations; and at the end of time an end shall be put to the desolation." (LXX2012; Brenton)
LXX: And he shall strengthen covenant with many one period of sevens and in the half of the period of seven sacrifice and libation offering shall be lifted away, and upon the temple will be an abomination of the desolations, and until the completion of time, completion shall be given unto the desolation." (ABP)
And he will make strong: Heb. gabar, Hiphil perf., 3p-masc.-sing., may mean (1) to be strong, mighty; or (2) to prevail. BDB defines the verb in this verse as "confirm" (149), which is followed in some versions. a covenant: Heb. b'rit. See verse 4 above. Sevener suggests that wit the verb this "covenant" is not a new covenant but confirmation of an existing covenant that would allow Jews the right to Jerusalem and the Land (Abrahamic) and the right to a temple for worship (Davidic). However, it is noteworthy that there is no mention in this verse of a covenant with Israel as a political entity. with the many: pl. of Heb. rab, adj. See verse 18 above. The plural noun is used of many persons (e.g., Ex 5:5; Jdg 8:30; 9:40; 1Kgs 4:20; 11:1), which can refer to the size of a family, a group or a nation. The Hebrew construction might allude to popularity.
for one: Heb. echad. See verse 1 above. week: Heb. shabua. See verse 24 above. The third period of the seventy weeks lasts "one week" or seven years. Hippolytus represents a minority viewpoint among church fathers that the completion of the seventieth week still lay in the future (Jerome). Interpretation of the first clause of the verse is not without its problems. First, it is a puzzle that the focus on the prophecy of the coming Messiah taking 62-weeks, should abruptly change to refer to a different coming ruler for one week. There are three interpretations of the covenant and the one making it.
First: The traditional Jewish position is that this refers to the action of Antiochus Epiphanies. Early in his reign Hellenistic Jewish leaders sought a covenant with him as reported in the book of Maccabees:
"In those days lawless men came forth from Israel, and misled many, saying, 'Let us go and make a covenant with the Gentiles round about us, for since we separated from them many evils have come upon us.' This proposal pleased them, and some of the people eagerly went to the king. He authorized them to observe the ordinances of the Gentiles. So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, according to Gentile custom, and removed the marks of circumcision, and abandoned the holy covenant. They joined with the Gentiles and sold themselves to do evil." (1Macc 1:11-15)
The weakness of this position is that contrary to Daniel's prophecy it was Israeli leaders who sought the covenant, not Antiochus. The Syrian ruler had no interest in accommodating traditional Jewish practices.
Second: The church fathers suggested that the covenant here is the New Covenant which Yeshua enacted with his blood (Luke 22:22). Matthew Henry (1662-1714), John Wesley (1703-1791) and Robert Jamieson (1802-1880), all great expositors of Scripture in their time, make strong arguments for the New Covenant. Isaiah prophesied of the Messiah, "I will appoint you as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations" (Isa 42:6). An objection to this view is that the New Covenant as given in Jeremiah 31:31-34 specifically names Israel and Judah as the recipients. Yet, the apostolic message is that Gentiles have been incorporated into the commonwealth of Israel (Eph 2:12).
Sevener (156) objects that the covenant here cannot be the New Covenant because it is unconditional and irrevocable. It should be noted that the text does not say that the covenant has specifically to do with offering sacrifices in the temple nor does it say that stopping sacrifices somehow canceled the covenant. In fact, stopping sacrifices in the Temple was necessary since the crucifixion of Yeshua was a once-for all atoning sacrifice. Nevertheless, the chief weakness of this position seems to be that this prophesied covenant is for seven years and the New Covenant is everlasting. Also, it was not three and half years, but 40 years after the New Covenant was inaugurated that animal sacrifices were ended with the destruction of the Temple.
Third: Many modern commentators believe that this covenant is a treaty that the Anti-Messiah makes with Israel in the last days (so Archer, Miller, Morris & Sevener). The treaty would allow building a temple or safeguarding a temple already built. More likely "the many" would indicate that the treaty is with other nations, particularly Islamic regimes, who would agree that a Jewish temple could be built in the vicinity of the sacred site claimed by Moslems. Jews would then resume sacrificial offerings. A rebuilt temple is not an impossibility, but obviously only an extraordinary series of events could bring it about. The idea of a rebuilt temple is a fantasy held by many Evangelical Christians anticipating a pre-tribulation rapture, but the fact remains that there is no divine directive in Scripture for the Jews to rebuild the temple. See my article Will There be a Rebuilt Temple?
and in the middle: Heb. chatsi, may mean (1) half of anything; or (2) middle, whether the midpoint or midst. of the week: Heb. shabua. he will cause to cease: Heb. shabath, Hiphil impf., to cease from continuance or desist from labor. The Hiphil is used to mean (1) cause to cease, put an end to; (2) exterminate, destroy; (3) cause to desist from; (4) remove or (5) cause to fail. The first meaning applies here. The masculine subject of the two verbs ("confirm" and "cause to cease") is undefined. Various suggestions have been made, including Antiochus Epiphanes, Yeshua, the Roman General Titus and the endtime anti-messiah. The "coming prince" in the previous verse is not the anti-messiah. The identity of the one making the covenant is found in the third clause of this verse, "the desolator." He is no prince.
sacrifice: Heb. zebach, a general term for animal sacrifices offered to the God of Israel and eaten by the one offering the animal, and distinguished from drink offerings, grain offerings, and tithes. The term has specific applications: (1) a covenant sacrifice between private parties (Gen 31:54); (2) a sacrifice of personal worship (Gen 46:1); (3) the Passover sacrifice (Ex 12:27; 34:25); (4) an annual sacrifice (1Sam 1:21; 2:19; (5) a peace or thank offering (Lev 3:1; 7:11-12); and (6) and a sacrifice to fulfill a vow (Num 15:3) (BDB 257). The term was also used of sacrifices devoted to pagan deities (Lev 17:7; Num 25:2; Jdg 16:23). Lastly, the term was applied to the slaughter of hostile nations offered by God Himself, in which the vultures devour the flesh of the victims (Isa 34:6; Jer 46:10; Ezek 39:17, 19; Zeph 1:7, 8; cf. Rev 19:17-18).
and offering: Heb. minchah. See verse 21 above. The noun most likely refers to the grain offering (Lev 2) (so AMP, CJB, ISV, NASB, NLV). Halfway through the prophesied seven the Desolator breaks the covenant to stop religious practice. Daniel 12:11 confirms this general description by saying that from the time the sacrifices are stopped there will be 1,290 or three and a half years until the end. Dispensationalists typically refer to the seventieth seven as the "tribulation period," even though that designation occurs nowhere in Scripture. The only tribulation mentioned in connection with the Anti-Messiah of the end times lasts three and a half years, not seven years (Dan 7:25; 12:7, 12; Rev 11:2; 12:14; 13:5-7). In fact, those days will be "cut short" (Matt 24:22), so no one can be certain how long the great tribulation will actually last.
and on the wing: Heb. kanaph may mean (1) wing, an anatomical limb for flight possessed by creatures (birds, insects), created beings (kerubim, seraphim) and women in a vision (Zech 5:9), plus fig. of wind (Ps 18:11) and the dawn (Ps 139:9); or (2) extremity, whether of a garment (1Sam 15:27) or the earth (Isa 24:16). The meaning in this context is obscure. A few versions interpret the noun as associated with the temple (CSB, DRA, HCSB, ICB, NIV, TEV), even though there is no Hebrew text in which kanaph is used in an architectural sense. However, kanaph is used as fig. of "wings" bringing the threat of military judgment (Jer 48:40; 49:22; Ezek 39:4, 17).
of abominations: pl. of Heb. shiqquts (from shaqats, verb, disgusting, filthy, to stink), a detested thing. In Daniel (11:31; 12:11) the term is used of a detested thing causing horror, such as the profanation of the temple altar by Antiochus Epiphanes, probably a statue of Zeus (cf. 1Macc 1:54; 5:68; 6:7). one making desolate: Heb. shamem, Poel ptc. See the previous verse. The Poel form is intensive active. BDB gives the meaning of the Poel ptc. as "horror-causer." The sacrilege or abomination of desolation is the description of a repugnant political and idolatrous decision.
From Daniel's point in time the reign of the Syrian ruler Antiochus Epiphanes would appropriately fulfill the prophecy. Antiochus ordered the cessation of regular sacrifices (cf. Dan 8:31; 11:31) and had a statue devoted to Olympian Zeus erected in the temple and swine were sacrificed on the altar, an abomination which desecrated the Temple. Josephus reported that because of Antiochus, the sanctuary was made desolate for three years and six months (Wars V, 9:4). However, Yeshua repeated the revelation given to Daniel regarding the seventieth week abomination of desolation as an anticipated event occurring in the very last days (Matt 24:15; Mark 13:14; cf. Dan 12:9-12).
Messianic Jews might well have thought Yeshua's prophecy was about to happen in A.D. 40 when Caligula sent an army into Syria with an order to erect a statute of himself in the Jerusalem temple with force of arms if necessary. Josephus tells the dramatic story that after many entreaties to the Roman General by thousands of Jews willing to die to prevent the sacrilege, his support to their cause was gained and a final appeal by King Agrippa succeeded in convincing Caligula to abandon his plan (Ant. XVIII, 8:2-9). In the first Jewish-Roman War of 66–70 AD the Romans had no interest in using the temple for idolatrous worship as Antiochus and Caligula, and in the year 70 destroyed the temple as Yeshua had prophesied (Matt 24:2).
Ironically, Jewish Zealots committed a sacrilege during this war. Josephus records that the Zealots moved into and occupied the temple area and allowed persons who had committed crimes to roam about freely in the Holy of Holies. The Zealots even carried out the farce of casting lots to replace the High Priest and selected one named Phannias who was totally unqualified for the office. The retired High Priest Ananus who witnessed these events lamented, "Certainly it had been good for me to die before I had seen the house of God full of so many abominations, or these sacred places, that ought not to be trodden upon at random, filled with the feet of these blood-shedding villains" (Wars IV, 3:7-10).
even until: Heb. ad, prep. See verse 25 above. the complete destruction: Heb. kalah, completion, complete destruction, consumption, annihilation. determined: Heb. charats, Niphal ptc. See the previous verse. is poured out: Heb. nathak, Qal impf. See verse 11 above. on: Heb. al, prep. See verse 1 above. the one making desolate: Heb. shamem, Qal act. ptc. The Desolator is to be identified with the anti-messiah (1Jn 2:18), the man of lawlessness (2Th 2:3) and the beast (Rev 11:7). In the end he will suffer complete destruction (2Th 2:8; Rev 19:20).
Luke's parallel narrative of the Olivet Discourse does not repeat the prophecy of the abomination of desolation, but includes the destruction of Jerusalem, the dispersion of Jews into the nations and the power of the Gentiles over Jerusalem "until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (Luke 21:24). We can assume as Hippolytus that the prophetic timetable was suspended following Messiah Prince coming and being cut off, and the "times of the Gentiles" has served as an interlude until the time of the seventieth week arrives. Daniel’s prophecy of future perilous times must of necessity, then, be associated with the last days prophesied by Yeshua. This viewpoint, I might add, does not lend credence to the Dispensationalist doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture.
Ant.: Flavius Josephus (c. 37–100 A.D.), Antiquities of the Jews (Latin Antiquitates Judaicae). trans. William Whiston (1737). Online.
Archer: Gleason L. Archer, Daniel, Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 7. Zondervan Publishing House, 1983. (Zondervan CD-ROM Version 2.6, 1989-1998)
Brenton: Sir Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton (1807-1862), The Septuagint version of the Old Testament. Samuel Bagster & Sons, 1879. Online.
BDB: The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Oxford University Press, 1907. Reprinted by Associated Publishers and Authors, Inc., 1981.
CJSB: David Stern, Complete Jewish Study Bible. Hendrickson Publishers, 2016.
Clarke: Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Holy Bible (1826). Ralph Earle, ed. Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 1967.
Coke: Thomas Coke (1747-1814), Commentary on the Holy Bible. 6 vols. Online.
DNTT: Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 3 vol., Colin Brown, ed., Zondervan Publishing Co., 1975.
Gesenius: Friedrich Wilhelm Gesenius (1786-1842), Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament. Trans. Samuel P. Tregelles (1846). Baker Book House, 1979. Online.
Gill: John Gill (1697-1771), Exposition of the Entire Bible. Online.
Henry: Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible: Daniel (1710). Unabridged Edition. Hendrickson Publishers, 1991. Online.
HBD: Holman Bible Dictionary. ed. Trent C. Butler. Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1991. Online.
Jamieson: Robert Jamieson (1802-1880), Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible: Daniel (1871). Online.
Keil: C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Ezekiel-Daniel. Commentary on the Old Testament (1866-1891), Vol. 9. Hendrickson Publishers, 2006.
Kohlenberger: John R. Kohlenberger III, The Interlinear NIV Hebrew-English Old Testament. Zondervan Publishing House, 1987.
LXX2012: Septuagint in American English 2012. Gen. Ed. Michael Paul Johnson. Ebible.org; HTML 4 June 2018.
Miller: Stephen R. Miller, Daniel. The New American Commentary, Vol. 18. Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1994.
Morris: Henry M. Morris, The Defender’s Study Bible (KJV). World Publishing Co., 1995.
NASBEC: New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, The Lockman Foundation, 1981.
Neil: James Neil, Palestine Explored. James Nisbet & Co., 1882.
NIBD: Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986.
Owens: John Joseph Owens, Analytical Key to the Old Testament, 4 vol. Baker Book House, 1989.
Payne: J. Barton Payne, Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy. Baker Books, 1973.
Rashi: Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaqi (1040-1105), Commentary on the Tanakh. Online.
SECB: James Strong (1822–1894), Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (1890). Online.
Sevener: Harold A. Sevener, God’s Man in Babylon. Chosen People Ministries, 1994.
Stern: David Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary. Jewish New Testament Publications, 1996.
TWOT: R. Laird Harris, ed., Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. 2 vols. Moody Press, 1980.
Wesley: John Wesley (1703-1791), Notes on the Bible. Wesleyan Heritage Publishing, 2009. Online.
Wars: Flavius Josephus (c. 37–100 A.D.), Wars of the Jews (Latin De Bello Judaico). trans. William Whiston (1737). Online.
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