And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God; yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. All the versions are practically in agreement with the Massoretic text, save that none of them gives the hophal meaning, “caused to fly swiftly;” the nearest approach being in the Septuagint, in which we have τάχει φερόμενος. All, however, derive the word from יָעַף, “to fly;” another etymology is possible from יָעַף. As to the meaning of this word, there is a difference of opinion, Gesenius holding that it means “wearied out”—a meaning unsuited to the subject or to the context, though in accordance with the use of the word elsewhere. Meinbold would connect this word with the preceding clause, and refer it to Daniel, “when I was faint.” The main difficulty is the succeeding word. Furst suggests that it means “shining in splendour”—a meaning perfectly suited to the circumstances, but for which there seems little justification in etymology from cognate tongues. Furst suggests a transposal from יָפַע. Winer gives it, “celeriter ivit, cucurrit.” This view is taken by Hitzig, yon Lengerke, and Havernick. Verse 20 is largely an expansion of the first clause of verse 21. Whiles I was speaking, and praying. (comp. Gen_24:15, “And it came to pass, before he had done speaking”). This shows the rapidity of the Divine answer to prayer; even before we ask, “our Father knows what things we have need of.” The man Gabriel. The name Gabriel, as mentioned above, means “Hero of God;” and tile word here translated “man” is the ordinary word for “man,” ‘ish. It may be remarked that in Scripture angels are always “men;” never, as in modern art and poetry, “women.” Whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning. This really means “whom I had seen previously in vision,” the reference being to Dan_8:16. Being caused to fly swiftly. As above mentioned, there is considerable difficulty in deciding which meaning is to be taken as the correct. Kliefoth’s and Meinhold’s view would be the simplest, if there were any certainty that יעף means “faintness.” Touched me about the time of the evening oblation. Daniel is so absorbed in his devotions that not till Gabriel touched him did he recognize the presence of an an gel-visitant. The time of the evening offering does not imply that those offerings were made in Babylon, but simply that, through the half-century that had intervened since the capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar the sacred hour had been kept in remembrance, not impossibly as being one consecrated to prayer. Daniel had been using this season to make known his request and petition to God. “Oblation,” minhah, the bloodless meat offering (Le Dan_2:1, Dan_2:4, Dan_2:14).
Cambridge Bible Driver
21. even the man] ‘even’ arises from an incorrect apprehension of the syntax, and should be omitted (as is done in R.V.).
in the vision at the beginning] Dan_8:16.
being caused to fly swiftly] The Hebrew is peculiar, and has been variously understood. The first word may be derived equally from two different verbs, meaning respectively to fly and to be weary; the second word, as it stands, could only be derived naturally from the latter verb: thus we get the two renderings, being made to fly in weariness (i.e. being exhausted by his flight), and (Ges., Keil, Meinh.) being made weary in weariness (cf. R.V. marg. ‘being sore wearied’), the words in the latter case being referred either (Ges.) to Gabriel, or (Keil, Meinh.) to Daniel (‘whom I had seen …, when exhausted,’ &c.), in accordance with what is said in Dan_8:17 f. Neither explanation is satisfactory, but the present text admits of nothing better. ‘Swiftly’ (A.V.), though found in the ancient versions (LXX, τάχει φερόμενος, Vulg. cito volans), is a very questionable paraphrase. The second word might have arisen by an erroneous and incorrect repetition of the first. Of the first word, being made to fly is the more natural rendering. Angels are elsewhere in the O.T. represented as possessing human form, but not as winged (only seraphim, Isa_6:2, and cherubim, Eze_1:6, have wings): winged angels (unless one is presupposed here, or in Dan_12:6, 1Ch_21:16?) appear first in Enoch lxi. 1, ‘And I saw in those days how cords were given to those angels, and they took to themselves wings and flew, and they went towards the north’; cf. Rev_14:6.
touched me] was approaching close to me.
the evening meal offering] 2Ki_16:15; Ezr_9:4-5; Psa_141:2 : cf. 1Ki_18:29; 1Ki_18:36.
Jamison, Fausset, & Brown
Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
The man Gabriel, whom I had seen in a vision at the beginning – namely, in the former vision by the river Ulai (Dan_8:1; Dan_8:16).
Being caused to fly swiftly – or else, ‘to come with weariness,’ i:e., to move swiftly, as one breathless and wearied out with quick running (Gesenius). Maurer and others object to the English version that, except the seraphim and cherubim, the angels generally are not represented with wings in the Old Testament. But the fact that the seraphim have six wings assigned to them, and the cherubim four wings, and also the distinct mention of an angel lying, in Rev_14:6, proves that the English version is better (Isa_6:2; Eze_1:6). [ mu`aap (H3286) is from `uwp (H5774), to fly (Buxtorf); and biy`aap (H3288) is probably from the same root; so that the two words together mean ‘being caused to fly swiftly’-literally, with a flight. Others take the latter word from yaa`ap (H3286), weariness: so margin] Vulgate, Syriac, and Theodotion support the English version.
Time of the evening oblation – the ninth hour, three o’clock (cf. 1Ki_18:36). As formerly, when the temple stood, this hour was devoted to sacrifices, so now to prayer. Daniel, during the whole captivity to the very last, with pious patriotism, never forgot God’s temple worship, but speaks of its rites, long abolished, as if still in use. The connection of the answer to prayer with the evening sacrifice is marked here, in order to teach us that it is only in virtue of the one sacrifice, of which the law sacrifices were but types, that God will hear prayer and give an answer of peace.
And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. The LXX. and Peshitta render the first clause, “And he approached and talked with me.” It is difficult to understand how that reading could have arisen from the Massoretic text, or how, on the other hand, the Massoretic text could have arisen from that behind the Septuagint. The rendering of the Septuagint in the last clause is better than that in our Authorized Version, and is in accordance with our Revised, “to make thee skilful of understanding.” Theodotion agrees with the Massoretic. Although Daniel was highly endowed, and although he had before him the inspired words of Jeremiah, he had need of yet higher endowments to understand the secrets of the Divine plan. He knew that if he reckoned seventy years from the time when he himself had been carried captive, then the period was drawing to a close: but the sins of the people were still there. It might be that God would restrain the fulfilment of his promise; the more so that, if the prophecy of Jeremiah were reckoned from the fall of Jerusalem, twenty years would yet have to run. Daniel is concerned about the sins of his people, knowing that, unless they were removed, renewed punishment would befall them.
Cambridge Bible Driver
23. the commandment came forth] a word went forth (cf. Est_7:8; Isa_55:11). The reference is not to the commandment given to Gabriel to go to Daniel, but to the Divine declaration contained in Dan_9:24-27.
to shew thee] to declare (it): cf. on Dan_2:2.
greatly beloved] greatly desired, or (R.V. marg.) very precious: lit. desirable things or desirablenesses; cf. Dan_10:11; Dan_10:19, ‘a man of desirablenesses,’ the plural being intensive.
 For the Heb. idiom here employed cf. Psa_109:4; Psa_110:3 : and see Ges.-Kautzsch, § 141 c.
The cognate verb means to desire (Psa_19:10; Exo_20:17, ‘covet’); and when applied to men has usually reference to their personal attractiveness (Isa_53:2; Psa_39:11, ‘his desirableness,’ A.V., R.V., ‘his beauty’). The word here used, properly desired, is elsewhere rendered precious (2Ch_20:25; Ezr_8:27; Dan_11:43), or pleasant (Dan_10:3; Dan_11:38): hence R.V. marg. ‘very precious.’
understand … consider] R.V. consider … understand. The two words in the Heb. are different forms of one and the same verb: R.V. transposes the renderings, probably on the ground that ‘understanding’ implies more than ‘consideration,’ and would naturally follow it.
the matter] the word (Dan_10:1), i.e. the prophetic word following (Dan_9:24-27).
the vision] Dan_8:16; Dan_8:27, Dan_10:1. Also a term descriptive of the revelation following, and implying that the appearance of Gabriel to Daniel took place in a vision. The word (מראה) is not the one found in Isa_1:1 (חזון), which does sometimes mean no more than ‘prophecy’.
Cambridge Bible Driver
24. The 70 years foretold by Jeremiah are to be understood as 70 weeks of years (i.e. 490 years); at the end of that period sin will be done away with, and the redemption of Israel will be complete. Jeremiah’s promises, which, while the city and nation are being made the prey of Antiochus, seem a dead letter, will, with this new explanation of their meaning, receive their fulfilment; and (as Dan_9:26-27 shew) the time when this will take place is not now far distant. Perhaps, as Prof. Bevan observes, this explanation may have been suggested to the writer by the terms of Lev_26:18; Lev_26:21; Lev_26:24; Lev_26:28, where it is emphatically declared that the Israelites are to be punished seven times for their sins: “the 70 years of Jeremiah were to be repeated seven times, and at the end of the 490th year the long-promised deliverance might be confidently expected.” The Chronicler had already brought the idea of the 70 years of Judah’s desolation into connexion with heptads, or ‘weeks,’ of years, by his remark (2Ch_36:20 f.) that they were the penalty exacted by God for the ‘sabbatical’ years, which Israel had neglected to observe whilst in possession of its land (cf. Lev_26:34 f.).
weeks] i.e. (as the sequel shews) weeks of years, a sense not occurring elsewhere in Biblical Hebrew, but found in the Mishna.
determined] decreed (R.V.). The word is a different one from that rendered ‘determined’ in Dan_9:26-27, and occurs only here in Biblical Hebrew. In the Talm. it means to determine in judgement, decide.
to finish the transgression] to bring it to an end. The verb rendered finish is anomalous in form, and might also be rendered to confine (as in a prison, Jer_32:2), or restrain (Num_11:28), viz. so that it could no longer spread or continue active (so R.V. marg.). But the former rendering is preferable; and is that adopted both by the ancient versions and by the great majority of modern commentators.
and to make an end of sins] parallel with to finish transgression: cf. for the meaning of the verb, Eze_22:15 (‘consume’). So the Heb. marg. (Qrê), Aq., Pesh., Vulg. The Heb. text (K’tib) and Theod. have to seal up (חתם for התם), which is explained (in agreement with restrain in the last clause), as meaning partly to preclude from activity, partly to preclude from forgiveness (cf. Job_14:17): but this explanation is forced; and the Qrê yields here a meaning in better harmony with the context.
and to cancel iniquity] The verb kipper means originally, as seems to be shewn by Arabic, to cover; in Hebrew, however, it is never used of literal covering, but always in a moral application, viz. either of covering the face of (i.e. appeasing) an offended person, or of screening an offence or an offender. When, as here, the reference is to sin or iniquity, the meaning differs, according as the subject is the priest, or God: in the former case the meaning is to cover or screen the sinner by means (usually) of a propitiatory sacrifice, and it is then generally rendered make atonement or reconciliation for (as Lev_4:20; Lev_4:26; Lev_4:31); in the latter case it means to treat as covered, to pardon or cancel, without any reference to a propitiatory rite, as Jer_18:23; Psa_65:3; Psa_78:38; Psa_79:9 (A.V. to purge away or forgive). Here no subject is mentioned: it would most naturally (as in the case of the other infinitives) be God; moreover, when, in the ritual laws, the subject is the priest, the object of the verb is never, as here, the guilt. The rendering of R.V. marg. (‘to purge away’), though somewhat of a paraphrase, is thus preferable to that of A.V.
 See Gen_32:20 [Heb. 21]; and cf. Pro_16:14 (‘pacify’).
 Occasionally without one, as Exo_30:15-16, Num_16:46 f., Num_25:13.
 See more fully the note in the writer’s Deuteronomy, p. 425 f.; or the art. Propitiation in Hastings’ Dict. the Bible.
everlasting righteousness] The expression does not occur elsewhere. In thought, however, Isa_45:17, ‘Israel is saved through Jehovah with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be put to shame, and ye shall not be confounded, for ever and ever,’ Isa_60:21, ‘Thy people shall be all of them righteous, for ever shall they inherit the land,’ are similar. The general sense of the four clauses, of which this is the last, is that the Messianic age is to be marked by the abolition and forgiveness of sin, and by perpetual righteousness. It thus expresses in a compendious form the teaching of such passages as Isa_4:3 f. (the survivors of the judgement to be all holy), Isa_32:16-17 (righteousness the mark of the ideal future), Isa_33:24 (‘the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity’), Eze_36:25-27; Isa_45:17; Isa_60:21.
and to seal vision and prophet] i.e. to set the seal to them, to ratify and confirm the prophets’ predictions, the figure (cf. Joh_3:33; Joh_6:27) being derived from the custom of affixing a seal to a document, in order to guarantee its genuineness (Jer_32:10-11; Jer_32:44). The close of the 70 weeks will bring with it the confirmation of the prophetic utterances (such as those just quoted) respecting a blissful future.
A.V., R.V., ‘seal up,’ means to close up, preclude from activity, the sense of the expression, upon this view, being supposed to be that, prophecies being fulfilled, prophet and vision will be needed no more.
and to anoint a most holy] ‘most holy’ or ‘holy of holies’ (lit. holiness of holinesses) is an expression belonging to the priestly terminology and is variously applied. It is used of the altar of burnt-offering (Exo_29:37, ‘and the altar shall be most holy,’ Exo_40:10), of the altar of incense (Exo_30:10), of the Tent of meeting, with the vessels belonging to it (ib. Exo_30:26-29; cf. Num_4:4; Num_4:19, Eze_44:13); of the sacred incense (ib. 30:36), of the shew-bread (Lev_24:9), of the meal-offering (Lev_2:3; Lev_2:10; Lev_6:17; Lev_10:12), of the flesh of the sin-and guilt-offering (Lev_6:17; Lev_6:25; Lev_7:1; Lev_7:6; Lev_10:17; Lev_14:13, Num_18:9; cf. Lev_21:22, Eze_42:13, Ezr_2:63, 2Ch_31:14); of things ‘devoted’ to Jehovah (Lev_27:28); of the entire Temple, with the territory belonging to it, in Ezekiel’s vision (Eze_43:12; Eze_45:3; Eze_48:12); and once (perhaps) of the priests (1Ch_23:13), ‘And Aaron was separated, to sanctify him as (a thing) most holy, him and his sons for ever, to burn incense, &c.’: ‘the holy of holies,’ or ‘the most holy (place),’ is also the name, in particular, of the inmost part of the Tent of meeting, and of the Temple, in which the ark was (Exo_26:33, and frequently). As no object is called in particular ‘a most holy (thing),’ general considerations, viewed in the light of the context, can alone determine what is here intended. A material object, rather than a person, is certainly most naturally denoted by the expression, and most probably either the altar of burnt-offering (which was in particular desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes), or the Temple generally, is what is meant. The term anoint is used both of the altar of burnt-offering in particular, and of the Tent of meeting and vessels belonging to it in general, in Exo_29:36; Exo_30:26-28 (cf. Exo_40:9-11; Lev_8:10-11; Num_7:1; Num_7:10; Num_7:84; Num_7:88),—each time immediately preceding the passages quoted above for the use in the same connexion of the term ‘most holy.’ The consecration of a temple in the Messianic age (cf. Isa_60:7; Ezekiel 40 ff.) is, no doubt, what is intended by the words.
 The words ought however, perhaps, to be rendered (cf. A.V., R.V.) ‘that he should sanctify that which was most holy, he and his sons for ever,’—the reference being to the sanctuary and sacred vessels (cf. Exo_30:29), and to the various sacrifices mentioned above.
Cambridge Bible Driver
25. The 7 weeks and the following 62 weeks.
understand] R.V. discern,—the Hebrew word being the same as that rendered have discernment in Dan_9:13 (R.V.), and different from the one rendered understand in Dan_9:2; Dan_9:23.
the going forth of the word] cf. (for the expression) Dan_9:23, Isa_55:11. The reference is to the Divine word spoken by Jeremiah (Jer_30:18; Jer_31:38 f.), the meaning of whose predictions is here interpreted (cf. Dan_9:2).
to restore] lit. to cause to return or bring back, often used of exiles (as Jer_12:15), but not used elsewhere of restoring (i.e. rebuilding) a city. To repeople (השִׁיב for הָשִׁיב),—lit. to cause to sit, figuratively of a city, to cause to be inhabited,—is a plausible emendation (Bevan): cf. the same word in Isa_44:26 (‘she shall be made to be inhabited,’ lit. be made to sit), Jer_30:18 (see R.V. marg.: lit. shall sit), Eze_36:33 (lit. cause the cities to sit, followed by ‘and the waste places shall be builded’).
unto an anointed one, a prince] The term ‘anointed’ is used most frequently in the O.T. of the theocratic ruler of Israel (‘Jehovah’s anointed,’ ‘his, my, anointed,’ &c., 1Sa_12:3, Psa_18:50, &c., but never ‘the anointed’); of the high-priest, Lev_4:3; Lev_4:5; Lev_4:16; Lev_6:21 (‘the high-priest, the anointed one’), 2Ma_1:10; in a figurative sense also of Cyrus, as the agent commissioned by Jehovah for the restoration of His people, Isa_45:1, and of the patriarchs, Psa_105:15 (‘Touch not mine anointed ones’). On the rend. of A.V., see further p. 144.
prince (נגיד),—properly one in front, leader,—is used (a) of the chief ruler of Israel, 1Sa_9:16; 1Sa_10:1; 1Sa_13:14 and frequently; (b) of a foreign ruler, Eze_28:2; (c. of some high official connected with the Temple, Jer_20:1 (‘who was prince-overseer in the house of Jehovah’), 1Ch_9:11, 2Ch_31:18; 2Ch_35:8, Neh_11:11; (d) in the Chronicles, more generally, of a leader (1Ch_9:20; 1Ch_13:1; 1Ch_27:16), commander (2Ch_11:11), or superintendent (1Ch_26:24, 2Ch_31:12). The ‘anointed one, the prince,’ who is here meant, is apparently (see more fully below) Cyrus (Isa_45:1), who is called in Isa_45:1 Jehovah’s ‘anointed,’ and who, it is said in Isa_44:26; Isa_44:28; Isa_45:13, will give command for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, which is here, it will be observed, just the subject of the following clause. Grätz and Bevan, however, suppose that Jeshua, son of Jozadak, the first high-priest after the restoration (Ezr_3:2; Hag_1:1; Zec_3:1), is intended. The date would suit in either case: the prophecies contained in Jeremiah 30-31 were delivered probably shortly before the fall of Jerusalem, about b.c. 587, and 49 years from 587 would be 538, which was just the date of the capture of Babylon by Cyrus. Jeshua is mentioned among those who returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel (Ezr_2:2).
shall be seven weeks: and for threescore and two weeks it shall be built again, (with) broad place and moat (?); and that, in strait of times] so, according to the Heb. interpunction, in manifest agreement with what the sense requires. Seven weeks are to elapse from the ‘word’ commanding the rebuilding of Jerusalem to the ‘anointed one, the prince’; then it will be built again, as a complete city, with ‘broad place’ and moat (?), but in strait of times,—with allusion, viz. to the subject, and sometimes oppressed, condition of Jerusalem from b.c. 538 to 171 (comp. for the earlier part of the period Ezra 4, Nehemiah 6; Neh_9:37): Jerusalem would, indeed, be rebuilt, after the restoration in 538, with material completeness, but would not until long afterwards enjoy the splendour and independence which the prophets had promised (e.g. Isaiah 60.). A ‘broad place,’ or as we might say ‘a square,’ was a standing feature in an Eastern city: see in A.V. Jer_5:1, and in R.V. 2Ch_29:4; 2Ch_32:6, Ezr_10:9 (one before the Temple), Neh_8:1; Neh_8:3; Neh_8:16,—unhappily, in A.V. nearly always, and even in R.V. often, misrendered street, and so confused with something entirely different. The word rendered ‘moat’ does not occur elsewhere in the O.T.: the root signifies to cut, make incisions, and in the Mishna almost the same word is used of a trench in a field or vineyard. Whether these facts justify the definite sense of moat is, perhaps, questionable, especially as ‘walls’ and ‘towers’ are more commonly mentioned in connexion with the defences of Jerusalem. Prof. Bevan, following the Pesh., suggests the plausible emendation, ‘broad place and street’ (חוץ for חרוץ), two words often found in parallelism: see in A.V. Jer_5:1; in R.V. Pro_1:20; Pro_7:12, Isa_15:3; also Son_3:2, Amo_5:16, Nah_2:4 (here, badly, broad ways). Whether, however, the text be altered or not, the general sense remains the same: Jerusalem will be rebuilt with the usual material completeness of an Eastern city; but will not enjoy political ease and freedom.
 As Gen_19:2; Deu_13:16; 2Sa_21:12 (see R.V. marg.); Jer_9:21; Lam_2:11-12; Zec_8:4-5.
in strait of times] For the expression cf. Isa_33:6, ‘stability (i.e. security) of thy times’: for ‘times,’ also, 1Ch_29:30.
Cambridge Bible Driver
26. And after the threescore and two weeks shall an anointed one be cut off, and shall have no …] The ‘anointed one’ cannot be the same as the ‘anointed one’ of Dan_9:25; for he lives 62 ‘weeks’ (i.e. 434 years) after him. The language is intentionally allusive and ambiguous. The term ‘anointed’ (see on Dan_9:25) is used sometimes of the high-priest; and the reference, it seems, is here to Onias III. Onias III. was high-priest till b.c. 175, when he was superseded by his brother Jason, who by the offer of 440 talents of silver purchased the office from Antiochus for himself (2Ma_4:7-9). Jason held office for three years, at the end of which time a certain Menelaus, whom he had employed as his agent to carry the 440 talents to the king, took advantage of the occasion to secure the high-priesthood for himself by offering Antiochus 300 talents more. The money promised by Menelaus not being paid, he was summoned before the king. When he arrived he found Antiochus absent in Cilicia and a courtier named Andronicus representing him at Antioch. Menelaus, anxious to secure Andronicus’s favour, presented him with some golden vessels which he had stolen from the Temple. Onias, who was in the neighbourhood, hearing of what he had done, rebuked him sharply for his sacrilege; and Menelaus, resenting the rebuke, prevailed upon Andronicus to assassinate Onias. Antiochus, upon his return home, was vexed with what had occurred, and (according to 2 Macc.) had Andronicus put to death at the very spot at which he had murdered Onias (2Ma_4:7-9; 2Ma_4:23-38). The assassination of one who was the lawful high-priest was an occurrence which might well be singled out for mention in the prophecy; and how the godly character of Onias, and his unjust end, impressed the Jews, appears from what is said of him in 2Ma_3:1-2; 2Ma_4:2; 2Ma_4:35-37; 2Ma_15:12. On the chronological difficulty involved in the verse, see below, p. 146 f.
 This account of the end of Onias III. is accepted generally by historians (e.g. Ewald, v. 295; Schürer2, i. 152; Grätz ii. 2, 303): but 2 Macc. (which alone records it) is known to contain much that is not historical; and Josephus not only does not mention the assassination of Onias, but, while he sometimes (Ant. xii. ix. 7, xiii. iii. 1–3, xx. x.) speaks of Onias’ son as fleeing to Egypt, and founding there the temple at Leontopolis, elsewhere (B. J. i. i. 1, vii. x. 2–3) says that Onias himself, after Antiochus attack upon Jerusalem in 170 (Introduction, p. xliii.), fled to Egypt, and founded the temple at Leontopolis (cf. Bäthgen, ZATW., 1886, pp. 278–282). On, these and some other grounds, Wellhausen (Gött. Gel. Anz. 1895, pp. 950–6; Isr. u. Jüd. Gesch.3, 1897, pp. 244–7), partly following Willrich (Juden u. Griechen vorder Makkab. Erhebung, 1895, pp. 77–90), regards the account of Onias’ murder in 2 Macc. as apocryphal: see, however, on the other side, Büchler, Die Tobiaden u. die Oniaden (1899), pp. 106–124, 240 f., 275 f., 353–6, whose conclusion on this subject has the weighty support of the historian Niese, Kritik der beiden Makkabäerbücher (1900), p. 96 f. If Wellhausen’s view is correct, the reference in this verse of Dan. will be to the cessation of the legitimate high-priesthood, when Jason was superseded by the Benjaminite (2Ma_4:23; cf. 2Ma_3:4; Büchler, p. 14) Menelaus.
and shall have no.…] The clause is difficult; though the same text (ואין לו) was perhaps already read (but rendered incorrectly) by the LXX. (καὶ οὐκ ἔσται), and is distinctly implied by Aq., Symm., and the Pesh. The rendering ‘and shall have nothing’ may be defended by Exo_22:3 [Hebrews 2], though, it is true, the ‘thing’ lacking is there more easily supplied from the context than is the case here; but the sense obtained is not very satisfactory, and the sentence (in the Heb.) reads also incompletely; we should have expected, ‘and shall have no [helper].’—as Grätz would actually read, comparing Dan_11:45,—or ‘[successor],’ or ‘[seed],’ or something of the kind. Still, if the text be sound, this, it seems, must be the meaning: the ‘anointed one,’ when he is ‘cut off,’ will have nought, i.e. he will be left with nothing,—no name, no house, no legitimate successor. (LXX. and be no more, would be the correct rendering of ואיננו; but this reading is suspiciously easy.) The rendering of A.V., ‘but not for himself,’ is an impossible one: אין is not a synonym of לא, but always includes the substantive verb, ‘there is not,’ ‘was not,’ ‘shall not be’ (the tense being supplied according to the context).
the people of a prince that shall come] viz. against the land, the verb being used in the same hostile sense which it has in Dan_1:1, Dan_11:13; Dan_11:16; Dan_11:21; Dan_11:40-41. The allusion is to the soldiery of Antiochus Epiphanes, who set Jerusalem on fire, and pulled down many of the houses and fortifications, so that the inhabitants took flight, and the city could be described as being ‘without inhabitant, like a wilderness’ (1Ma_1:31-32; 1Ma_1:38; 1Ma_3:45)—‘people’ being used as in 2Sa_10:13, Eze_30:11, &c., of a body of troops. On the treatment which the Temple received at the same time, see above on Dan_8:11.
but his end (shall be) with a flood] he will be swept away in the flood of a Divine judgement. The word (cf. Dan_11:22) may be suggested by Nah_1:8; cf. the cognate verb (also of an overwhelming Divine judgement) in Isa_10:22 (‘overflowing with righteousness,’ i.e. judicial righteousness, judgement), Isa_28:2; Isa_28:15; Isa_28:17-18, Isa_30:28.
and until the end (shall be) war, (even) that which is determined of desolations] until the end (i.e. until the close of the seventieth week,—the period pictured by the writer (see on Dan_8:17) as the ‘end’ of the present dispensation), the war waged by Antiochus against the saints (Dan_7:21) will continue, together with the accompanying ‘desolations,’ determined upon in the Divine counsels. The word rendered ‘that which is determined,’ which recurs in Dan_9:27, and Dan_11:36, is a rare one; and is manifestly a reminiscence of Isa_10:23; Isa_28:22. For ‘desolations,’ comp. 1Ma_1:39; 1Ma_3:45; 1Ma_4:38 (quoted in the notes on Dan_8:11).
Cambridge Bible Driver
27. And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week] Lit. make mighty a covenant. The expression is a peculiar one; but apparently (the Heb. being late) make mighty is used in the weakened sense of make strong or confirm; cf. Psa_103:11; Psa_117:2 (where ‘is great’ ought rather to be is mighty: the word is also sometimes rendered prevail, as Gen_49:26, Psa_65:3). The subject is naturally the ‘prince’ just named (Dan_9:26). If the text be sound, the allusion will be to the manner in which Antiochus found apostate Jews ready to cooperate with him in his efforts to extirpate their religion: see on Dan_11:30; and cf. 1Ma_1:11-15, where, conversely, the Hellenizing Jews say, ‘Let us go and make a covenant with the nations that are round about us.’
and for half of the week he shall cause sacrifice and meal-offering to cease] alluding to the suspension of the Temple services by Antiochus from the 15th of Chisleu, b.c. 168, to the 25th of Chisleu, b.c. 165 (1Ma_1:54; 1Ma_4:52 f.: see the note on ch. Dan_8:14). The ‘half-week’ does not seem to coincide exactly with the three and a half years of Dan_7:25 and Dan_12:7; for Dan_12:11 appears to shew that the suspension of the legitimate services did not precede the erection of the heathen altar on the 15th of Chisleu, b.c. 168; as the reckoning here is by weeks, the half-week is in all probability meant merely as a round fraction for what was strictly a little more than three-sevenths of a ‘week,’ three years and ten days. ‘Sacrifice’ and ‘meal-offering’ are mentioned as representing sacrifices generally: cf. 1Sa_2:29; 1Sa_3:14, Amo_5:25, Isa_19:21. The ‘meal-offering’ (minḥâh) was properly the accompaniment of the burnt-offering, and, as such, offered daily: see Exo_29:40-41. The word might, however, be used in its more general sense, and signify ‘offering’ or ‘oblation’ generally (1Sa_2:17; 1Sa_26:19).
and upon the wing of abominations (shall be) a desolator] or better (cf. on Dan_8:13 and Dan_11:31) one that causeth appalment: in contrast to Jehovah, who rides upon the cherub (Psa_18:10), the heathen foe will come against the sanctuary, riding upon a winged creature, which is the personification of the forces and practices of heathenism. ‘Abomination’ (shiḳḳûẓ) is often used as a contemptuous designation of a heathen god or idol, or an object connected with idolatrous rites: see e.g. Deu_29:17; 1Ki_11:5; 1Ki_11:7; Jer_7:30. It would be better rendered—for the sake of distinction from tô‘çbâh, also ‘abomination’—detestation or detestable thing (as it is actually rendered in A.V. when it occurs by the side of tô‘çbâh, Eze_5:11; Eze_7:20; Eze_11:18; Eze_11:21); but ‘abomination’ is, through the N.T. (Mat_24:15; Mar_13:14), so inseparably connected with the Book of Daniel, that the time-honoured rendering may be left undisturbed.
 R.V. marg. ‘upon the pinnacle of abominations’; but though πτερύγιον (Mat_4:5) means a pinnacle, there is no evidence that the Heb. or Aram. כנף acquired this sense. A.V. ‘for (i.e. on account of) the overspreading,’ &c., follows David Kimchi, who takes ‘wing’ as a figure for spreading abroad, diffusion,—‘on account of the diffusion of abominations, men will be appalled.’ But such a metaphorical sense of the word is very improbable.
Whether, however, the rendering given above expresses the real meaning of the passage may be doubted. The figure of the ‘wing’ is not in harmony with the context; and in Dan_11:31 the same two words ‘abomination’ and ‘desolator (or appaller),’ differently construed, recur, with clear reference to Antiochus’s persecution, ‘And they shall profane the sanctuary, (even) the stronghold, and take away the continual (burnt-offering), and set up the abomination that maketh desolate (or appalleth)’ (cf. Dan_12:11 ‘from the time when the continual burnt-offering was taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate (or appalleth) set up’; and above, Dan_8:13); and it is highly probable that, slightly changing the text, we should read here, similarly, ‘and in its place (כנו for כנף: so Van Lennep, Kuenen, Bevan, Kamphausen, Prince; cf. Dan_11:38) shall be the abomination that maketh desolate (or appalleth)’ (שׁקוץ משׁומם, as Dan_11:31, for שׁקוצים משׁומם,—a מ erroneously repeated, and then שׁקוצם written plene שׁקוצים), i.e. instead of the legitimate ‘sacrifice’ and ‘meal-offering’ on the altar of burnt-offering, there will be the detestable heathen altar (see on Dan_11:31), built upon it by Antiochus.
and that, until the consummation, and that which is determined (i.e. the determined doom), be poured upon the desolator (or appaller)] the heathen abomination will remain upon the altar until the destined judgement come down upon its author (Antiochus). The phrase, the consummation, &c., from Isa_10:23; Isa_28:22. Be poured is often used of anger or fury (Jer_42:18; Jer_44:6 al.).
Cambridge Bible Driver
9. Go, Daniel, &c.] i.e. do not inquire further: for the words are shut up and sealed (Dan_12:4) till the time of the end: if Daniel does not understand them, it does not signify; they are not intended for him, but for readers in a distant future, viz. in the age of Antiochus Epiphanes, when they will first be divulged.
Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown
Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.
Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. There is no need of a fuller explanation as to the time: for when the predictions so far given shall have come to pass, the godly shall be “purified” by the foretold trials, and shall understand that the end is at hand; but the wicked shall not understand, and so shall rush on their own ruin (Dan_11:33-35). (Maurer.) The “end” is primarily that of Antiochus’ persecution; antitypically, the end of Antichrist’s. It is the very clearness in the main which renders necessary the partial obscurity. The fulfillment of God’s decree is not a mere arithmetical problem, which the profane may understand by arithmetical calculation; but a holy enigma, to stimulate to a faithful observance of God’s ways, and to a diligent study of the history of God’s people (Auberlen). To this Christ refers, Mat_24:15, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand).”
And 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. The Septuagint is, “From the time the sacrifice is taken away for ever, and the abomination of desolation is prepared to be set up, are a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” The translator must have had עֹלַת (‛olath) before him, and read it עלָה (‛olah), else he could not have translated hsilgnE:egaugnaL\תָּמֻיד} “for ever,” and written “sacrifice” also. The Hebrew copyist, following the usage of Palestine, which makes “sacrifice” understood after “continual,” had omitted it in the text followed by the Massoretes. Theodotion’s rendering is, “From the time of the change of the daily sacrifice (ἐν δελεχισμός) and the abomination of desolation set up (“given,” δοθήσεται) is a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” The Peshitta and Vulgate do not call for remarks. This verse is a veritable cruz interpretum. From the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away. This event is referred to in Dan_11:31. Whether the eleventh chapter is earlier or later is in our opinion scarcely doubtful. Also in Dan_8:11 we have the taking away of the daily sacrifice mentioned as one of the deeds of Antiochus. While the reference in Dan_11:1-45. and Dan_8:1-27. is to the action of Antiochus, it is not necessary to maintain that this refers to him; other oppressors might take away the daily sacrifice. This clause certainly seems to give the terminus a quo, but it is difficult to fix the date m question. Certainly from the fact that the words used here are used by the writer of the eleventh chapter to describe the actions of Antiochus, and that in 1 Macc. 1:54 there is also a similar identification, we might be inclined to take the event here mentioned as the starting-point of the twelve hundred and ninety days. But the acknowledged impossibility of fitting the days to the chronology militates against this view. And the abomination that maketh desolate set up. At first sight the reader is inclined to follow Wieseler, and regard this as a statement of the terminus ad quem. The grammatical difficulties against this view are forcible. Although לְ … מִן, “from” and “to,” are sometimes used for עד … מִן, “from … until,” it is rare, and the intrusion of וְ, “and,” is strong against this interpretation. Yet it seems strange that two termini a quo should be assigned and no terminus ad quota. A thousand two hundred and ninety days. While this seems to be the same period as that reckoned in the seventh verse, “a time, times, and half a time,” yet it is not absolutely coincident. It is thirty days more than three and a half times the prophetic year of three hundred and sixty, and eleven days more than three and a half mean solar years. As we have already said, if we take the profanation of the temple, 25th Casleu, 145 Seleucid era, as our starting-point, it is impossible to fix any great deliverance or any event of importance which happened some three years and seven months after. Antiochus may have died seven months after the news arrived of the reconsecration of the temple; but we have no data. As above stated, the death of Antiochus wrought but little alteration in the condition of the Jews. If we regard the days as literal days, there is one period that nearly coincides with the twelve hundred and ninety days—our Lord’s ministry upon the earth. It is difficult to understand how our Lord’s commencing his ministry was the removing of the daily sacrifice. Yet in the “heavenlies” it might be so. Further, we sometimes reckon “from” a period to come, as we can say, “We are yet—weeks from harvest, midsummer, or Christmas.” So the Crucifixion as the fulfilment of all the sacrifices of the Law may be regarded as their removal. Certainly in his crucifixion was the real abomination which maketh desolate set up. It suits the next verse. From our Lord’s crucifixion to his ascension there would be exactly forty-five days if, as is commonly believed, his ascension, as his resurrection, took place on a Sunday. This, however, is merely a thought thrown out. If we take the date indicated by our Lord, the war against the Jews, dating from Vespasian’s march to Ptolemais in the beginning of a.d. 67 to the capture of the temple and the cessation of the daily sacrifice (Josephus, ‘Bell. Jud.,’ 6.2. 1), is not far off twelve hundred and ninety days. From this to the final capture of the city is close upon forty-five days. If we, however, take a day for a year, then another series of possible solutions are before us, all more or less faulty. One has the merit of postponing the solution to a date still future. The capture of Jerusalem by the Arabs in a.d. 637 is made the starting-point; if we add to that twelve hundred and ninety years, we have a.d. 1927. The Mohammedan power may have fallen by that time; anything may have happened then. All these various solutions, all more or less unsatisfactory, prove that no solution is possible. If the fulfilment is yet in the future, circumstances may convey to us the interpretation. We must remember the vision was sealed to “the time of the end.” Professor Fuller suggests that Babylonian discovery may at some future date throw light on Daniel’s use of numbers.
But go thou thy way until the end be – See Dan_12:4, Dan_12:9. The meaning is, that nothing more would be communicated, and that he must wait for the disclosures of future times. When that should occur which is here called “the end,” he would understand this more fully and perfectly. The language implies, also, that he would be present at the development which is here called “the end;” and that then he would comprehend clearly what was meant by these revelations. This is such language as would be used on the supposition that the reference was to far-distant times, and to the scenes of the resurrection and the final judgment, when Daniel would be present. Compare the notes at Dan_12:2-3.
For thou shalt rest – Rest now; and perhaps the meaning is, shalt enjoy a long season of repose before the consummation shall occur. In Dan_12:2, he had spoken of those who “sleep in the dust of the earth;” and the allusion here would seem to be the same as applied to Daniel. The period referred to was far distant. Important events were to intervene. The affairs of the world were to move on for ages before the “end”’ should come. There would be scenes of revolution, commotion, and tumult – momentous changes before that consummation would be reached. But during that long interval Daniel would “rest.” He would quietly and calmly “sleep in the dust of the earth” – in the grave. He would be agitated by none of these troubles – disturbed by none of these changes, for he would peacefully slumber in the hope of being awaked in the resurrection. This also is such language as would be employed by one who believed in the doctrine of the resurrection, and who meant to say that he with whom he was conversing would repose in the tomb while the affairs of the world would move on in the long period that would intervene between the time when he was then speaking and the “end” or consummation of all things – the final resurrection. I do not see that it is possible to explain the language on any other supposition than this. The word rendered “shalt rest” – תנוּח tânûach – would be well applied to the rest in the grave. So it is used in Job_3:13, “Then had I been at rest;” Job_3:17, “There the weary be at rest.”
And stand in thy lot – In thy place. The language is derived from the lot or portion which falls to one – as when a lot is cast, or anything is determined by lot. Compare Jdg_1:3; Isa_57:6; Psa_125:3; Psa_16:5. Gesenius (Lexicon) renders this, “And arise to thy lot in the end of days; i. e., in the Messiah’s kingdom.” Compare Rev_20:6. The meaning is, that he need have no apprehension for himself as to the future. That was not now indeed disclosed to him; and the subject was left in designed obscurity. He would “rest,” perhaps a long time, in the grave. But in the far-distant future he would occupy ills appropriate place; he would rise from his rest; he would appear again on the stage of action; he would have the lot and rank which properly belonged to him. What idea this would convey to the mind of Daniel it is impossible now to determine, for he gives no statement on that point; but it is clear that it is such language as would be appropriately used by one who believed in the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, and who meant to direct the mind onward to those far-distant and glorious scenes when the dead would all arise, and when each one of the righteous would stand up in his appropriate place or lot.
At the end of the days – After the close of the periods referred to, when the consummation of all things should take place. It is impossible not to regard this as applicable to a resurrection from the dead; and there is every reason to suppose that Daniel would so understand it, for
(a) if it be interpreted as referring to the close of the persecutions of Antiochus Epiphanes, it must be so understood. This prophecy was uttered about 534 years b.c. The death of Antiochus occurred 164 b.c. The interval between the prophecy and that event was, therefore, 370 years. It is impossible to believe that it was meant by the angel that Daniel would continue to live during all that time, so that he should then “stand in his lot,” not having died; or that he did continue to live during all that period, and that at the end of it he “stood in his lot,” or occupied the post of distinction and honor which is referred to in this language. But if this had been the meaning, it would have implied that he would, at that time, rise from the dead.
(b) If it be referred, as Gesenius explains it, to the times of the Messiah, the same thing would follow – for that time was still more remote; and, if it be supposed that Daniel understood it as relating to those times, it must also be admitted that he believed that there would be a resurrection, and that he would then appear in his proper place.
(c) There is only one other supposition, and that directly involves the idea that the allusion is to the general resurrection, as referred to in Dan_12:3, and that Daniel would have part in that. This is admitted by Lengerke, by Maurer, and even by Bertholdt, to be the meaning, though he applies it to the reign of the Messiah. No other interpretation, therefore, can be affixed to this than that it implies the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, and that the mind of Daniel was directed onward to that. With this great and glorious doctrine the book appropriately closes. The hope of such a resurrection was fitted to soothe the mind of Daniel in view of all the troubles which he then experienced, and of all the darkness which rested on the future, for what we most want in the troubles and in the darkness of the present life is the assurance that, after having “rested” in the grave – in the calm sleep of the righteous – we shall “awake” in the morning of the resurrection, and shall “stand in our lot” – or in our appropriate place, as the acknowledged children of God, “at the end of days” – when time shall be no more, and when the consummation of all things shall have arrived.
In reference to the application of this prophecy, the following general remarks may be made:
I. One class of interpreters explain it literally as applicable to Antiochus Epiphanes. Of this class is Prof. Stuart, who supposes that its reference to Antiochus can be shown in the following manner: “The place which this passage occupies shows that the terminus a quo, or period from which the days designated are to be reckoned, is the same as that to which reference is made in the previous verse. This, as we have already seen, is the period when Antiochus, by his military agent Apollonius, took possession of Jerusalem, and put a stop to the temple worship there. The author of the first book of Maccabees, who is allowed by all to deserve credit as an historian, after describing the capture of Jerusalem by the agent of Antiochus (in the year 145 of the Seleucidae – 168 b.c.), and setting before the reader the widespread devastation which ensued, adds, respecting the invaders: ‘They shed innocent blood around the sanctuary, and defiled the holy place; and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fled away: the sanctuary thereof was made desolate; her feasts were turned into mourning, her sabbaths into reproach, and her honor into disgrace;’ 1 Macc. 1:37-39. To the period when this state of things commenced we must look, then, in order to find the date from which the 1335 days are to be reckoned. Supposing now that Apollonius captured Jerusalem in the latter part of May, 168 b.c., the 1335 days would expire about the middle of February, in the year 164 b.c. Did any event take place at this period which would naturally call forth the congratulations of the prophet, as addressed in the text before us to the Jewish people?
“History enables us to answer this question. Late in the year 165 b.c., or at least very early in the year 164 b.c., Antiochus Epiphanes, learning that there were great insurrections and disturbances in Armenia and Persia, hastened thither with a portion of his armies, while the other portion was commissioned against Palestine. He was victorious for a time; but being led by cupidity to seek for the treasures that were laid up in the temple of the Persian Diana at Elymais, he undertook to rifle them. The inhabitants of the place, however, rose en masse and drove him out of the city; after which he fled to Ecbatana. There he heard of the total discomfiture by Judas Maccabeus of his troops in Palestine, which were led on by Micanor and Timotheus. In the rage occasioned by this disappointment, he uttered the most horrid blasphemies against the God of the Jews, and threatened to make Jerusalem the burying-place of the nation. Immediately he directed his course toward Judea; and designing to pass through Babylon, he made all possible haste in his journey. In the meantime he had a fall from his chariot which injured him; and soon after, being seized with a mortal sickness in his bowels (probably the cholera), he died at Tabae, in the mountainous country, near the confines of Babylonia and Persia. Report stated, even in ancient times, that Antiochus was greatly distressed on his death-bed by the sacrilege which he had committed.
“Thus perished the most bitter and bloody enemy which ever rose up against the Jewish nation and their worship. By following the series of events, it is easy to see that his death took place some time in February of the year 164 b.c. Assuming that the commencement or terminus a quo of the 1335 days is the same as that of the 1290 days, it is plain that they terminate at the period when the death of Antiochus is said to have taken place. ‘It was long before the commencement of the spring,’ says Froelich, ‘that Antiochus passed the Euphrates, and made his attack on Elymais: so that no more probable time can be fixed upon for his death than at the expiration of the 1335 days; i. e., some time in February of 164 b.c. No wonder that the angel pronounced those of the pious and believing Jews to be blessed who lived to see such a day of deliverance.” – Hints on Prophecy, pp. 95-97.
There are, however, serious and obvious difficulties in regard to this view, and to the supposition that this is all that is intended here – objections and difficulties of so much force that most Christian interpreters have supposed that something further was intended. Among these difficulties and objections are the following:
(a) The air of mystery which is thrown over the whole matter by the angel, as if he were reluctant to make the communication; as if something more was meant than the words expressed; as if he shrank from disclosing all that he knew, or that might be said. If it referred to Antiochus alone, it is difficult to see why so much mystery was made of it, and why he was so unwilling to allude further to the subject – as if it were something that did not pertain to the matter in hand.
(b) The detached and fragmentary character of what is here said. It stands aside from the main communication. It is uttered after all that the angel had intended to reveal had been said. It is brought out at the earnest request of Daniel, and then only in hints, and in enigmatical language, and in such a manner that it would convey no distinct conception to his mind. This would seem to imply that it referred to something else than the main point that had been under consideration.
(c) The difference of time specified here by the angel. This relates to two points:
1. To what would occur after the “closing of the daily sacrifice, and the setting up of the abomination of desolation.” The angel now says that what he here refers to would extend to a period of twelve hundred and ninety days. But in the accounts before given, the time specified had uniformly been “a time, and times, and half a time;” that is, three years and a half, or twelve hundred and sixty days – differing from this by thirty days. Why should this thirty days have been added here if it referred to the time when the sanctuary would be cleansed, and the temple worship restored? Professor Stuart (Hints on Prophecy, pp. 93, 94) supposes that it was in order that the exact period might be mentioned. But this is liable to objections. For
(a) the period of three and a half years was sufficiently exact;
(b) there was no danger of mistake on the subject, and no such error had been made as to require correction;
(c) this was not of sufficient importance to justify the manifest anxiety of the angel in the case, or to furnish any answer to the inquiries of Daniel, since so small an item of information would not relieve the mind of Daniel.
The allusion, then, would seem to be something else than what had been referred to by the “three and a half years.”
2. But there is a greater difficulty in regard to the other period – the 1335 days, for
(a) that stands wholly detached from what had been said.
(b) The beginning of that period – the terminus a quo – is not specified. It is true that Prof. Stuart (Hints on Prophecy, p. 95) supposes that this must be the same as that mentioned in the previous verse, but this is not apparent in the communication.
It is an isolated statement, and would seem to refer to some momentous and important period in the future which would be characterized as a glorious or “blessed” period in the world’s history, or of such a nature that he ought to regard himself as peculiarly happy who should be permitted to live then. Now it is true that with much probability this may be shown, as Prof. Stuart has done in the passage quoted above, to accord well with the time when Antiochus died, as that was an important event, and would be so regarded by those pious Jews who would be permitted to live to that time; but it is true also that the main thing for rejoicing was the conquest of Judas Maccabeus and the cleansing of the sanctuary, and that the death of Antiochus does not seem to meet the fulness of what is said here. If that were all, it is not easily conceivable why the angel should have made so much a mystery of it, or why he should have been so reluctant to impart what he knew. The whole matter, therefore, appears to have a higher importance than the mere death of Antiochus and the delivery of the Jews from his persecutions.
II. Another class, and it may be said Christian interpreters generally, have supposed that there was here a reference to some higher and more important events in the far-distant future. But it is scarcely needful to say, that the opinions entertained have beer almost as numerous as the writers on the prophecies, and that the judgment of the world has not settled down on any one particular method of the application. It would not be profitable to state the opinions which have been advanced; still less to attempt to refute them – most of them being fanciful conjectures. These may be seen detailed in great variety in Poole’s Synopsis. It is not commonly pretended that these opinions are based on any exact interpretation of the words, or on any certain mode of determining their correctness, and those who hold them admit that it must be reserved to future years – to their fulfillment to understand the exact meaning of the prophecy.
Thus Prideaux, who supposes that this passage refers to Antiochus, frankly says: “Many things may be said for the probable solving of this difficulty (the fact that the angel here refers to an additional thirty days above the three years and a half, which he says can neither be applied to Antiochus nor to Anti-christ), but I shall offer none of them. Those that shall live to see the extirpatton of Anti-christ, which will be at the end of those years, will best be able to unfold these matters, it being of the nature of these prophecies not thoroughly to be understood until they are thoroughly fulfilled.” – Vol. iii. 283, 284. So Bishop Newton, who supposes that the setting up of the abomination of desolation here refers to the Mahometans invading and devastating Christendom, and that the religion of Mahomet will prevail in the East for the space of 1260 years, and then a great revolution – “perhaps the restoration of the Jews, perhaps the destruction of Antichrist” – indicated by the 1290 years, will occur; and that this will be succeeded by another still more glorious event – perhaps “the conversion of the Gentiles, and the beginning of the millennium, or reign of the saints on the earth” – indicated by the 1335 years – says, notwithstanding, “What is the precise time of their beginning, and consequently of their ending, as well as what are the great and signal events which will take place at the end of each period, we can only conjecture; time alone can with certainty discover.” – Prophecies, p. 321.
These expressions indicate the common feeling of those who understand these statements as referring to future events; and the reasonings of those who have attempted to make a more specific application have been such as to demonstrate the wisdom of this modesty, and to make us wish that it had been imitated by all. At all events, such speculations on this subject have been so wild and unfounded; so at variance with all just rules of interpretation; so much the fruit of mere fancy, and so incapable of solid support by reasoning, as to admonish us that no more conjectures should be added to the number.
III. The sum of all that it seems to me can be said on the matter is this:
(1) That it is probable, for the reasons above stated, that the angel referred to other events than the persecutions and the death of Antiochus, for if that was all, the additional information which he gave by the specification of the period of 1260 days, and 1290 days, and 1335 days, was quite too meagre to be worthy of a formal and solemn revelation from God. In other words, if this was all, there was no correspondence between the importance of the events and the solemn manner in which the terms of the communication were made. There was no such importance in these three periods as to make these separate disclosures necessary. If this were all, the statements were such indeed as might be made by a weak man attaching importance to trifles, but not such as would be made by an inspired angel professing to communicate great and momentous truths.
(2) Either by design, or because the language which he would employ to designate higher events happened to be such as would note those periods also, the angel employed terms which, in the main, would be applicable to what would occur under the persecutions of Antiochus, while, at the same time, his eye was on more important and momentous events in the far-distant future. Thus the three years and a half would apply with sufficient accuracy to the time between the taking away of the daily sacrifice, and the expurgation of the temple by Judas Maccabeus, and then, also, it so happens that the thirteen hundred and thirty-five days would designate with sufficient accuracy the death of Antiochus, but there is nothing in the history to which the period of twelve hundred and ninety days could with particular propriety be applied, and there is no reason in the history why reference should have been made to that.
(3) The angel had his eye on three great and important epochs lying apparently far in the future, and constituting important periods in the history of the church and the world. These were, respectively, composed of 1260, 1290, and 1335 prophetic days, that is, years. Whether they had the same beginning or point of reckoning – termini a quo – and whether they would, as far as they would respectively extend, cover the same space of time, he does not intimate with any certainty, and, of course, if this is the correct view it would be impossible now to determine, and the development is to be left to the times specified. One of them, the 1260 years, or the three years and a half, we can fix, we think, by applying it to the Papacy. See the notes at Dan_7:24-28. But in determining even this, it was necessary to wait until the time and course of events should disclose its meaning; and in reference to the other two periods, doubtless still future, it may be necessary now to wait until events, still to occur, shall disclose what was intended by the angel. The first has been made clear by history: there can be no doubt that the others in the same manner will be made equally clear. That this is the true interpretation, and that this is the view which the angel desired to convey to the mind of Daniel, seems to be clear from such expressions as these occurring in the prophecy: “Seal the book to the time of the end,” Dan_12:4; “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased,” Dan_12:4; “the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end,” Dan_12:9; “many shall be made white,” Dan_12:1-13 : 10; “the wise shall understand,” Dan_12:10; “go thou thy way until the end be,” Dan_12:13. This language seems to imply that these things could not then be understood, but that when the events to which they refer should take place they would be plain to all.
(4) Two of those events or periods – the 1290 days and the 1335 days – seem to lie still in the future, and the full understanding of the prediction is to be reserved for developments yet to be made in the history of the world. Whether it be by the conversion of the Jews and the Gentiles, respectively, as Bishop Newton supposes, it would be vain to conjecture, and time must determine. That such periods – marked and important periods – are to occur in the future, or in some era now commenced but not yet completed, I am constrained to believe; and that it will be possible, in time to come, to determine what they are, seems to me to be as undoubted. But where there is nothing certain to be the basis of calculation, it is idle to add other conjectures to those already made, and it is wiser to leave the matter, as much of the predictions respecting the future must of necessity be left to time and to events to make them clear.