Biblical Annotations: Daniel 9:24-27

Daniel 9:24‑27  •  12 min. read  •  grade level: 11
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AN 9: 24-27THE seventy years' captivity were nearly ended. They began with Nebuchadnezzar's invasion of the land of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, when Daniel and others were carried captive by him, previous to Nabopolassar's death, which took place about two years afterward. Hence it is that whilst the Jews looked on him as king when he invaded their land (Jer. 25:11The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; (Jeremiah 25:1)), the Babylonians only reckoned his regnal of his father. At the time of the battle of Carchemish, where Nebuchadnezzar defeated Necho, and changed thereby the aspect of affairs in Asia and Syria, Nabopolassar, his father, was still alive. Following up that victory, Nebuchadnezzar entered Palestine and received the submission of Jehoiakim in the third year, as Daniel states, of the Jewish monarch's reign, or the fourth year, as Jeremiah describes it. From this the captivity dated, for they were to serve the king of Babylon seventy years (Jer. 25:11,1211And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations. (Jeremiah 25:11‑12)).
Daniel, understanding by books the number of the years whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem, set his face unto the Lord God to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting and sackcloth and ashes (9: 1-3). The chief minister of Darius, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans, was before his God in self-abasement and dependance, asking for Jerusalem and for his people, but reminding God that it was His city and His people. An answer comes by means of Gabriel, which reveals the whole of God's purpose about the city and the people called by His name.
The seventy years of captivity were well nigh. ended. Seventy weeks, or heptads of years were still determined upon Daniel's people and his city ere the transgression would be shut up, not to be sought for any more, sins would be sealed up (or finished, according to the K'ri), iniquity atoned for, vision and prophecy sealed up, and the holy of holies anointed. The whole period thus designated as seventy heptads or weeks, Gabriel next proceeded to explain that they would be broken up into three distinct portions—viz., seven heptads, or 49 years; sixty- two heptads, or 434 years; and one heptad, or 7 years,-for years they must be, as is clear from the time which elapsed between their commencement and the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. Seventy years had the Jews to undergo captivity at Babylon; seventy heptads of years would run by from the going forth of the command to rebuild the city to the bringing in of everlasting righteousness.
But from whence was this period to date? Daniel had been praying about the city and his people. The revelation concerned both these; and from the commandment going forth to restore and to build Jerusalem, unto Messiah the Prince, there would elapse seven heptads, and sixty-two heptads, or sixty-nine in all. From whence then does the period here indicated start? Now, we have four different decrees of Persian monarchs in Scripture. Cyrus issued one, Darius one, and Artaxerxes issued two-one in his seventh year (Ezra 7: 11-26), and another in the twentieth year of his reign (Neh. 2:1-81And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence. 2Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid, 3And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire? 4Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favor in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it. 6And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time. 7Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah; 8And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me. (Nehemiah 2:1‑8)). Now, of these decrees the first was to build the house at Jerusalem (Ezra 1:33Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. (Ezra 1:3)), the second was to finish it
(Ezra 6:1-12, 141Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon. 2And there was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of the Medes, a roll, and therein was a record thus written: 3In the first year of Cyrus the king the same Cyrus the king made a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, Let the house be builded, the place where they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations thereof be strongly laid; the height thereof threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof threescore cubits; 4With three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber: and let the expenses be given out of the king's house: 5And also let the golden and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the temple which is at Jerusalem, and brought unto Babylon, be restored, and brought again unto the temple which is at Jerusalem, every one to his place, and place them in the house of God. 6Now therefore, Tatnai, governor beyond the river, Shethar-boznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which are beyond the river, be ye far from thence: 7Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place. 8Moreover I make a decree what ye shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king's goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expenses be given unto these men, that they be not hindered. 9And that which they have need of, both young bullocks, and rams, and lambs, for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the appointment of the priests which are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail: 10That they may offer sacrifices of sweet savors unto the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons. 11Also I have made a decree, that whosoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged thereon; and let his house be made a dunghill for this. 12And the God that hath caused his name to dwell there destroy all kings and people, that shall put to their hand to alter and to destroy this house of God which is at Jerusalem. I Darius have made a decree; let it be done with speed. (Ezra 6:1‑12)
14And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. (Ezra 6:14)
), the third was to beautify it (Ezra 7:2727Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem: (Ezra 7:27)), and the fourth was to build the city of Nehemiah's father's sepulcher (Neh. 2:55And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favor in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it. (Nehemiah 2:5)). Hence we must date the commencement of the weeks from the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, and the commission entrusted to Nehemiah, But what year was that in the world's history? Profane historians generally agree in placing the twentieth year of Artaxerxes at 445 B.C.; adding to that the years of the Lord's life to His death, which would be 29, we find the period of 483 years or sixty-nine weeks runs on beyond the date of the cross. That cannot really be; and however difficult it may be as yet to harmonize the dates in profane history with the years as numbered by Daniel, we may be sure that God's word is right, and research may yet verify its accuracy; and if Hengstenberg, quoted in a little work called The Dates and Chronology of Scripture, be correct, the solution has been already discovered.
The year of Xerxes' death was, he states, 474 B.C., and not 464 B.C. If this can be relied on, the chronological difficulty is solved. From 455 B.C. to A.D. 29 would be exactly 483 years. For it must be remembered that Daniel explicitly states that the cutting off of Messiah was not to be till after the seven heptads and the sixty and two heptads-that is, after sixty-nine of the weeks had run out, and not, as has been so often but erroneously concluded, that the whole period of 490 years was to elapse before the crucifixion. Daniel's statement clearly negatives that: "After threescore and two heptads shall Messiah be cut off and have nothing." At this point, it should be remarked, the enumeration of the heptads of years is dropped, and the angel proceeds, "And the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary, and the end thereof shall be in the flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined."
Caiphas had prophesied that " it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not" (John 11:5050Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. (John 11:50)), the mouthpiece, as. High Priest, of God the Holy Ghost, without being aware of it, or even understanding the true meaning of the words. He and those with him thought by the Lord's death to preserve their national existence and country. Daniel's prophecy foretold a very opposite result, and that which came true. Instead of preserving their place and nation, the Romans-the people of the prince that shall come-destroyed the city and the sanctuary. This carries us down to the destruction of Jerusalem under Titus. But the prophecy looks on to the end of all the troubles at Jerusalem, which can only cease in the flood (TO, -the incursion of the northern power of Daniel, the Assyrian of Isaiah. See for the term "flood," Dan. 11:22,2622And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant. (Daniel 11:22)
26Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain. (Daniel 11:26)
, "his army shall overflow," writing here of what is past; and xi. 40; Isa. 10:22; 28: 2, 15, 17, 1822For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness. (Isaiah 10:22), predicting what is still future. An invading host from the north, either the Assyrian of old (Isa. 8:88And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel. (Isaiah 8:8)), or the Babylonian (Jer. 47:22Thus saith the Lord; Behold, waters rise up out of the north, and shall be an overflowing flood, and shall overflow the land, and all that is therein; the city, and them that dwell therein: then the men shall cry, and all the inhabitants of the land shall howl. (Jeremiah 47:2)), or Antiochus Epiphanes (Dan. 11:2626Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain. (Daniel 11:26)), are so termed by the sacred writers, for it must be an invading host, to carry out the simile. And. the invader of the last days who will capture Jerusalem will be the Assyrian, or northern power of that time. No end, then, can come to Jerusalem's troubles till that flood has swept over the land; and till it does, desolations are determined. The troubles to the Jewish polity and country, which commenced with the taking of Jerusalem by the Romans, the people of the prince that shall come; will not end till after the invasion of the future king of the north.
Having thus sketched out the condition of the city and sanctuary till then, some details are now given in v. 27 relative to the last heptad of years. " And he shall confirm a covenant with the many for one heptad, or week of years." Who will do this? Two princes or leaders have been mentioned, Messiah the prince (נׇנׅיר), and the prince (נׇנׅיר) that shall come. Who this one is v. 26 has made plain. He is the prince of the Roman Empire, for the people of the prince that shall come, i.e. the Romans, were to destroy, and have destroyed Jerusalem. This prince, then, the last one named, will confirm a covenant with the mass of the Jews, the many, for one week. The political reasons for this Isa. 28 has foretold. They will be under
the protection of the Roman imperial power to shield them from the threatened incursion of the northern Assyrian power of that day. The head of the Roman Empire entering into a covenant with the Jews restored in unbelief, to keep a hold, by means of friendship with them and protection of them, of the land of Canaan, is the Eastern Question coming up in its last phase.
In the middle of this, the last week of years, the political head of the Roman Empire will discover his true character, and break the covenant; displacing by the instrumentality of Antichrist the worship of God, and substituting that of his image in its stead, the abomination of desolation (Dan. 12:1111And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. (Daniel 12:11); Matt. 24:1515When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) (Matthew 24:15); Mark 13:1414But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judea flee to the mountains: (Mark 13:14)); so-called because idolatry being hateful to God will bring down a desolator on the then apostate Jews. So Gabriel proceeds: " For the overspreading" -rather because of the protection-" of abominations (i.e. idolatry) there shall be a desolator (מְשׁו֗מֵם) until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate" (שׁו֗מֵם). Idolatry set up by Antichrist in the temple of God, a desolator will be used of God to scourge the idolatrous people till the divine will has been carried out on Jerusalem.
Now there are two participles derived from the same root, מְשׁו֗מֵם and שׁו֗מֵם, both from שׇׁמַם, made use of by Gabriel in this last verse, translated in the A. V. "he shall make it desolate" מׅשׁו֗מֵם, and " the desolate " שׁו֗מֵם. By comparison with other pas, sages light is thrown on them, and whilst the A. V. is in the main right, the more exact meaning of the first of these participles will be made apparent. For instead of translating "he shall make it desolate," which might refer to the prince already mentioned, the better translation would be " there shall be a desolator," one distinct from the prince of the Roman Empire, and who comes up in this character because of the idolatry established at Jerusalem. Thus the definite use of the term מְשׁמֵם is preserved, and its application to the northern power is made clear; for it occurs again only in 11:31 of this prophet, where the northern power of the past, Antiochus Epiphanes, is described, who introduced idolatry into the temple, and was himself a desolator of the Jews, combining in his own person the action of the beast of the future, who will set up idolatry in the temple, and the action of the northern power of that day, which will be the desolator, God's scourge, in consequence. So when in this respect the active agent in the desolation is described (11: 31; 9: 27) מְשׁו֗מֵם is used; where the sin which calls down the desolation is mentioned, tut, is the word employed (see 8: 13; 12: 11). " The transgression of desolation " (8: 13) is the idolatry which brings on the Jews desolation. "The abomination of desolation" (12: 11) is the very image of the beast, which will justify God in allowing the northern power to sweep over the land. Thus these terms are used in Daniel with precision, and are not really interchangeable, and the reason of the language in 11: 31,מְשׁׅו֗מֵֹם הֵשּׅקּוּץ, the reader will readily apprehend. Had we there simply, שׁו֗מֵם שׁׅקּוּץ, as in 12: 11, the reason of the desolation, i.e. idolatry, would have been mentioned, but we should not have understood thereby that Antiochus Epiphanes not only introduced it, but was himself the desolator.
In 11: 24, 25, then, we have history to the date of Messiah the prince, who was to be cut off, and have nothing. In v. 26 we have the present interval between His crucifixion and the reappearance in power, and that in connection with the Jews of the revived Roman Empire. In v. 27 we have the last week described, and the incursion of the northern power accounted for.
The passage may be thus translated:-
"Seventy heptads (i.e. weeks of years) are determined on thy people, and upon thy holy city to shut up (i.e. not to seek for it any more) the transgression, and to seal up בַּלֵּא (or, according to the Kri הׇתֵם to finish) sins, and to atone for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the holy of holies (i.e. the temple). And thou shalt know and understand from the going forth of a word to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah (the) prince (or leader) seven heptads (there shall be), and sixty-two heptads; the street shall be built again, and the wall (or foss) even in troublous times. And after the sixty and two heptads Messiah shall be cut off and have nothing (לו֗ וְאֵיז), and the city and the sanctuary the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy, and its end shall be in the flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
And he shall confirm a covenant with the many (for) one heptad, and at the middle of the heptad he shall cause sacrifice and offering to cease, and because of the protection of abominations (there shall be) a desolator מְשׁו֗מֵם and until that which is determined' shall be poured upon the desolate one שׁו֗מֵם.