Daniel 9


Daniel, understanding from the prophecies of Jeremiah that the

seventy years' captivity was now terminating, pours out his

soul in fervent prayer to God, and earnestly supplicates pardon

and restoration for his captive people, 1-12.

When thus supplicating God in behalf of Israel, the angel

Gabriel is sent to inform him of the seventy prophetic weeks,

or four hundred and ninety natural years, which should elapse

from the date of the edict to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple

to the death of the Messiah, 20-27;

a prophecy most exactly fulfilled by the event, according to

the computation of the best chronologers. Dean Prideaux states

the commencement of these seventy prophetic weeks to have been

in the month Nisan, in the year of the Julian period 4256,

which corresponds with A.M. 3546, B.C. 458, according to the

Usherian account. How awfully are the Jews blinded, who, in

contradiction to so clear a prophecy, still expect the Messiah

who was cut off, and, after suffering, is entered into his



Verse 1. In the first year of Darius] This is the same Darius

the Mede, spoken of before, who succeeded Belshazzar, king of the

Chaldeans. See Da 5:31.

Verse 2. I Daniel understood by books] The prophecy referred to

here is found Jer 25:12; 29:10. The people must have been

satisfied of the Divine inspiration of Jeremiah, or his prophecies

would not have been so speedily collected nor so carefully

preserved. It appears that there was a copy of them then in

Daniel's hands.

Verse 3. I set my face-to seek by prayer] He found that the time

of the promised deliverance could not be at any great distance;

and as he saw nothing that indicated a speedy termination of their

oppressive captivity, he was very much afflicted, and earnestly

besought God to put a speedy end to it; and how earnestly he

seeks, his own words show. He prayed, he supplicated, he fasted,

he put sackcloth upon his body, and he put ashes upon his head. He

uses that kind of prayer prescribed by Solomon in his prayer at

the dedication of the temple. See 1Ki 8:47, 48.

Verse 4. Keeping the covenant] Fidelity and truth are

characteristics of God. He had never yet broken his engagements to

his followers, and was ever showing mercy to men.

Verse 7. All Israel, that are near, and that are far off] He

prays both for Judah and Israel. The latter were more dispersed,

and had been much longer in captivity.

Verse 9. Mercies and forgivenesses] From God's goodness flow

God's mercies; from his mercies, forgivenesses.

Verse 11. Therefore the curse is poured upon us] It is probable

that he alludes here to the punishment of certain criminals by

pouring melted metal upon them; therefore he uses the word

tittach, it is poured out, like melted metal, for this is the

proper meaning of the root nathach.

Verse 14. The Lord watched upon the evil] In consequence of our

manifold rebellions he hath now watched for an opportunity to

bring these calamities upon us.

Verse 17. And cause thy face to shine] Give us proof that thou

art reconciled to us.

Verse 19. Thy city and thy people are called by thy name.] The

holy city, the city of the great King. I think it scarcely

possible for any serious man to read these impressive and pleading

words without feeling a measure of the prophet's earnestness.

Verse 21. The man Gabriel] Or the angel Gabriel, who had

appeared to me as a man. ish is the same here as

person-the person Gabriel.

Being caused to fly swiftly] God hears with delight such

earnest, humble, urgent prayers; and sends the speediest answer.

Gabriel himself was ordered on this occasion to make more than

usual speed.

Verse 24. Seventy weeks are determined] This is a most important

prophecy, and has given rise to a variety of opinions relative to

the proper mode of explanation; but the chief difficulty, if not

the only one, is to find out the time from which these seventy

weeks should be dated. What is here said by the angel is not a

direct answer to Daniel's prayer. He prays to know when the

seventy weeks of the captivity are to end. Gabriel shows him

that there are seventy weeks determined relative to a redemption

from another sort of captivity, which shall commence with the

going forth of the edict to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, and

shall terminate with the death of Messiah the Prince, and the

total abolition of the Jewish sacrifices. In the four following

verses he enters into the particulars of this most important

determination, and leaves them with Daniel for his comfort, who

has left them to the Church of God for the confirmation of its

faith, and a testimony to the truth of Divine revelation. They

contain the fullest confirmation of Christianity, and a complete

refutation of the Jewish cavils and blasphemies on this subject.

Of all the writers I have consulted on this most noble prophecy,

Dean Prideaux appears to me the most clear and satisfactory. I

shall therefore follow his method in my explanation, and often

borrow his words.

Seventy weeks are determined-The Jews had Sabbatic years,

Le 25:8, by which their years were divided into weeks of years,

as in this important prophecy, each week containing seven years.

The seventy weeks therefore here spoken of amount to four hundred

and ninety years.

In Da 9:24 there are

six events mentioned which should be the consequences of the

incarnation of our Lord:-

I. To finish ( lechalle, to restrain,) the

transgression, which was effected by the preaching of the

Gospel, and pouring out of the Holy Ghost among men.

II. To make an end of sins; rather ulehathem

chataoth, "to make an end of sin-offerings;" which our Lord did

when he offered his spotless soul and body on the cross once for


III. To make reconciliation ( ulechapper, "to make

atonement or expiation") for iniquity; which he did by the once

offering up of himself.

IV. To bring in everlasting righteousness, tsedek

olamim, that is, "the righteousness, or righteous ONE, of ages;"

that person who had been the object of the faith of mankind, and

the subject of the predictions of the prophets through all the

ages of the world.

V. To seal up ( velachtom, "to finish or complete") the

vision and prophecy; that is, to put an end to the necessity of

any farther revelations, by completing the canon of Scripture, and

fulfilling the prophecies which related to his person, sacrifice,

and the glory that should follow.

VI. And to anoint the Most Holy, kodesh kodashim,

"the Holy of holies." mashach, to anoint, (from which comes

mashiach, the Messiah, the anointed one,) signifies in

general, to consecrate or appoint to some special office. Here it

means the consecration or appointment of our blessed Lord, the

Holy One of Israel, to be the Prophet, Priest, and King of


Verse 25. From the going forth of the commandment to restore and

to build Jerusalem] The foregoing events being all accomplished by

Jesus Christ, they of course determine the prophecy to him. And if

we reckon back four hundred and ninety years, we shall find the

time of the going forth of this command.

Most learned men agree that the death of Christ happened at the

passover in the month Nisan, in the four thousand seven hundred

and forty-sixth year of the Julian period. Four hundred and ninety

years, reckoned back from the above year, leads us directly to the

month Nisan in the four thousand two hundred and fifty-sixth year

of the same period; the very month and year in which Ezra had his

commission from Artaxerxes Longimanus, king of Persia, (see

Ezr 7:9,) to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. See the commission

in Ezra, Ezr 7:11-26, and

Prideaux's Connexions, vol. ii. p. 380.

The above seventy weeks, or four hundred and ninety years, are

divided, in Da 9:25, into

three distinct periods, to each of which particular events are

assigned. The three periods are,-

I. Seven weeks, that is, forty-nine years.

II. Sixty-two weeks, that is, four hundred and thirty-four


III. One week, that is, seven years.

To the first period of seven weeks the restoration and repairing

of Jerusalem are referred; and so long were Ezra and Nehemiah

employed in restoring the sacred constitutions and civil

establishments of the Jews, for this work lasted forty-nine years

after the commission was given by Artaxerxes.

From the above seven weeks the second period of sixty-two

weeks, or four hundred and thirty-four years more, commences, at

the end of which the prophecy says, Messiah the Prince should

come, that is, seven weeks, or forty-nine years, should be

allowed for the restoration of the Jewish state; from which time

till the public entrance of the Messiah on the work of the

ministry should be sixty-two weeks, or four hundred and

thirty-four years, in all four hundred and eighty-three years.

From the coming of our Lord, the third period is to be dated,

viz., "He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week," that

is seven years, Da 9:27.

This confirmation of the covenant must take in the ministry of

John the Baptist with that of our Lord, comprehending the term

of seven years, during the whole of which he might be well said to

confirm or ratify the new covenant with mankind. Our Lord says,

"The law was until John;" but from his first public preaching the

kingdom of God, or Gospel dispensation, commenced.

These seven years, added to the four hundred and eighty-three,

complete the four hundred and ninety years, or seventy prophetic

weeks; so that the whole of this prophecy, from the times and

corresponding events, has been fulfilled to the very letter.

Some imagine that the half of the last seven years is to be

referred to the total destruction of the Jews by Titus, when the

daily sacrifice for ever ceased to be offered; and that the

intermediate space of thirty-seven years, from our Lord's death

till the destruction of the city, is passed over as being of no

account in relation to the prophecy, and that it was on this

account that the last seven years are divided. But Dean Prideaux

thinks that the whole refers to our Lord's preaching connected

with that of the Baptist. vachatsi, says he, signifies in the

half part of the week; that is, in the latter three years and a

half in which he exercised himself in the public ministry, he

caused, by the sacrifice of himself, all other sacrifices and

oblations to cease, which were instituted to signify his.

In the latter parts of Da 9:26, 27 we find the THIRD PART of

this great prophecy, which refers to what should be done after the

completion of these seventy weeks.

Verse 26. And the people of the prince that shall come shall

destroy the city and the sanctuary] By the "prince" Titus, the son

of Vespasian, is plainly intended; and "the people of that prince"

are no other than the Romans, who, according to the prophecy,

destroyed the sanctuary, hakkodesh, the holy place or

temple, and, as a flood, swept away all, till the total

destruction of that obstinate people finished the war.

Verse 27. And for the overspreading of abominations he shall

make it desolate] This clause is remarkably obscure.

kenaph shikkutsim meshomem, "And upon the wing of

abominations causing amazement." This is a literal translation of

the place; but still there is no determinate sense. A Hebrew MS.,

written in the thirteenth century, has preserved a very remarkable

reading here, which frees the place from all embarrassment. Instead

of the above reading, this valuable MS. has

ubeheychal yihyey shikkuts; that is, "And in the temple (of the

Lord) there shall be abomination." This makes the passage plain,

and is strictly conformable to the facts themselves, for the

temple was profaned; and it agrees with the prediction of our

Lord, who said that the abomination that maketh desolate should

stand in the holy place, Mt 24:15, and quotes the words as spoken

διαδανιηλτουφροφητου, by Daniel the prophet. That the above

reading gives the true sense, there can be little doubt, because

it is countenanced by the most eminent ancient versions.

The Vulgate reads, Et erit in templo abominatio, "And in the

temple there shall be abomination."

The Septuagint, καιεπιτοιερονβδελυγματωνερημωσεων, "And

upon the temple there shall be the abomination of desolation."

The Arabic, "And upon the sanctuary there shall be the

abomination of ruin."

The above reading is celebrated by J. D. Michaelis, Epist. De

Ebdom. Dan., p. 120: Vix insignius exemplum reperiri posse

autumem, ostensuro in codicibus Hebraeis latere lectiones

dignissimas quae eruantur, &c. "A more illustrious example can, I

think, hardly be found, to show that various readings lie hid in

Hebrew MSS., which are most worthy of being exhibited." Vid. Bib.

Hebr. KENNICOTT, Dis. Gen.

I have only to add that this mode of reckoning years and periods

by weeks is not solely Jewish. Macrobius, in his book on Scipio's

dream, has these remarkable words: Sed a sexta usque ad septimam

septimanam fit quidem diminutio, sed occulta, et quae detrimentum

suum aperta defectione non prodat: ideo nonnullarum

rerumpublicarum hic mos est, ut post sextam ad militiam nemo

cogatur; Somn. Scip., lib. i. c. vi., in fine. "From the sixth to

the seventh week, there is a diminution of strength; but it is

hidden, and does not manifest itself by any outward defect. Hence

it was the custom in some republics not to oblige a man to go to

the wars after the sixth week, i.e., after forty-two years of


Having now gone through the whole of this important prophecy,

and given that interpretation which the original seemed best to

warrant, I shall next proceed to notice the principal various

readings found in the Collections of Kennicott and De Rossi, with

those from my own MSS., which the reader may collate with the

words of the common printed text.

Verse 24.

Verse 25.

Verse 26.

Verse 27.

Of the whole passage Houbigant gives the following translation:-

Verse 24. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and the

city of thy sanctuary:

That sin may be restrained, and transgressions have an end;

That iniquity may be expiated, and an everlasting righteousness

brought in;

That visions and prophecies may be sealed up, and the Holy of

holies anointed.

Verse 25. Know therefore and understand:-

From the edict which shall be promulgated, to return and rebuild

Jerusalem, there shall be seven weeks.

Then it shall be fully rebuilt, with anxiety, in difficult


Thence, to the Prince Messiah, there shall be sixty-two weeks.

Verse 26. And after sixty-two weeks the Messiah shall be slain,

and have no justice.

Afterwards he shall waste the city and the sanctuary, by the

prince that is to come.

And his end shall be in straits; and to the end of the war

desolation is appointed.

Verse 27. And for one week he shall confirm a covenant with


And in the middle of the week he shall abrogate sacrifice and


And in the temple there shall be the abomination of desolation,

Until the ruin which is decreed rush on after the desolation.

In this translation there are some peculiarities.

Instead of "the street shall be built again, and the wall,"

Da 9:25, he translates (with the prefix

beth instead of vau in the latter word,) "it shall be fully

(the city and all its walls) rebuilt with anxiety."

Instead of "but not for himself," he translates, "Nor

shall justice be done him; " supposing that "justice" was

originally in the verse.

Instead of "the people of the prince," Da 9:26, he translates

"by the prince," using im as a preposition, instead of

am, "the people."

Instead of "and for the overspreading," he translates

"in the temple; " following the Septuagint, καιεπιτοιερον. This

rendering is at least as good as ours: but see the marginal

readings here, and the preceding notes.

Houbigant contends also that the arrangement of the several

members in these passages is confused. He proposes one alteration,

which is important, viz., From the promulgation of the decree to

rebuild Jerusalem shall be seven weeks; and unto Messiah the

prince, sixty-two weeks. All these alterations he vindicates in

his notes at the end of this chapter. In the text I have inserted

Houbigant's dots, or marks of distinction between the different

members of the verses.


Verse 24. weeks written full, so to prevent

mistakes, in thirteen of Kennicott's, four of De Rossi's, and one

ancient of my own.

Seventy-one of Kennicott's, and one of De Rossi's,

have "weeks, weeks, weeks;" that is, "many weeks:" but this

is a mere mistake.

"to restrain." "to consume," is the reading of

twenty-nine of Kennicott's, thirteen of De Rossi's, and one

ancient of my own.

"and to seal up." Forty-three of Kennicott's, twelve of

De Rossi's, and one of my own, have "to make an end." One

reads , more full.

"sins." "sin," in the singular, is the reading of

twenty-six of De Rossi's; and so, in the second instance where

this word occurs, two of my MSS.

"everlasting." Two of my oldest MSS. read , and so

in the next instance.

"and the prophet." The conjunction is omitted by two of


"and understand." One of my MSS. has .

Verse 25. "from the publication." One MS. of De Rossi's

omits the "from," and instead of either, one of my oldest MSS.

has "to the publication."

"Messiah." Nine MSS. read the word with the point sheva,

which makes it read, in regimine, "the anointed of the prince."

But this is evidently the effect of carelessness, or rather


"seven." Two MSS. add the conjunction vau, "and."

"and to build." One of mine omits the conjunction.

"seven weeks." One of Kennicott's has

"seventy years."

"and weeks." One of Kennicott's has and a


"sixty." A few add the conjunction vau, "and

sixty;" and another has "six;" and another "seventy."

Wherever this word signifies weeks, two of my oldest MSS. write it

full . In one of my MSS. are omitted in

the text, but added by a later hand in the margin.

"and the ditch." One MS. has "the city." And for

"street," one of mine has of the same meaning, but more full.

"and in straits," or anxiety. One MS. without and, as

the Vulgate and Septuagint.

Verse 26. "and the holy place or sanctuary." But two of

my most ancient MSS., and four of Kennicott's, leave out the

vau, and read "and the holy city," or "city of

holiness," instead of "the city and sanctuary." In one MS. is

omitted in .

"and its end." One MS. omits the conjunction and;

one omits the following "the end;" reading thus: "and unto the

war." But a more singular reading is that of one of my own MSS.

written about A.D. 1136, which has "and its summer."

"sixty." But one of Kennicott's MSS. has

"sixty weeks;" and another adds the conjunction, AND sixty.

shall destroy." But one of De Rossi's has "shall be


"the people." im, "with," is the reading of one of

Kennicott's, with the Septuagint, Theodotion, Syriac, Hexapla,

Vulgate, and Arabic.

"with a flood." One MS. has "the flood."

"and upon the wing." Nearly twenty MSS. have "and

unto," &c.

Verse 27. "and unto the end." "to the end;" and one

has "and upon."

"the end." One has "the time; " and another both,

"the time of the end."

"and upon the wing (or battlement) abomination."

Instead of this, one of the Parisian MSS. numbered three hundred

and thirteen in Kennicott's, has "and in the

temple there shall be abomination." See the preceding notes. This

is a similar reading to Theodotion, the Vulgate, Septuagint,

Syriac, Hexapla, and the Arabic; and is countenanced by our Lord,

Mt 24:15. After all that has been said on this reading, (which

may be genuine, but is less liable to suspicion, as the MS.

appears to be the work of some Christian; it is written from the

left to the right hand, and is accompanied by the Vulgate

Latin,) if this be an attempt to accommodate the Hebrew to the

Vulgate, it should be stated that they who have examined this

MS. closely, have asserted that there is no evidence that the

writer has endeavoured to conform the Hebrew to the Latin text,

unless this be accounted such. The ancient versions give this

reading great credit.

"abominations." One of mine has less fully .

"desolation." One of mine has more fully .

"and unto," is wanting in one of mine; "and upon" is the

reading in one other.

"until the desolation." "the desolation." One of

mine has without the vau. is wanting; but is added

in the margin, by a later hand, in another of these ancient MSS.

I have thus set down almost all the variations mentioned by

Kennicott and De Rossi, and those furnished by three ancient

MSS. of my own, that the learned reader may avail himself of every

help to examine thoroughly this important prophecy. Upwards of

thirty various readings in the compass of four verses, and

several of them of great moment.

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