Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
HIM BY THE
PROPHECY OF THE
The world powers here recede from view; Israel, and the salvation by
Messiah promised to it, are the subject of revelation. Israel had
naturally expected salvation at the end of the captivity. Daniel is
therefore told, that, after the seventy years of the captivity, seventy
times seven must elapse, and that even then Messiah would not come in
glory as the Jews might through misunderstanding expect from the earlier
prophets, but by dying would put away sin. This ninth chapter (Messianic
prophecy) stands between the two visions of the Old Testament
Antichrist, to comfort "the wise." In the interval between Antiochus and
Christ, no further revelation was needed; therefore, as in the first
part of the book, so in the second, Christ and Antichrist in connection
are the theme.
1. first year of Darius--Cyaxares II, in whose name Cyrus, his
nephew, son-in-law, and successor, took Babylon, 538 B.C. The date of this chapter is therefore 537 B.C., a year before Cyrus permitted the Jews to return
from exile, and sixty-nine years after Daniel had been carried captive
at the beginning of the captivity, 606 B.C.
son of Ahasuerus--called Astyages by
XENOPHON. Ahasuerus was a name
common to many of the kings of Medo-Persia.
made king--The phrase implies that Darius owed the kingdom not to
his own prowess, but to that of another, namely, Cyrus.
2. understood by books--rather, "letters," that is, Jeremiah's letter
to the captives in Babylon; also
Jer 25:11, 12;
Jer 30:18; 31:38.
God's promises are the ground on which we should, like Daniel, rest
sure hope; not so as to make our prayers needless, but rather to
3. prayer . . . supplications--literally,
"intercessions . . . entreaties for mercy." Praying
for blessings, and deprecating evils.
4. my confession--according to God's promises in
that if Israel in exile for sin should repent and confess, God
would remember for them His covenant with Abraham (compare
God's promise was absolute, but prayer also was ordained as about to
precede its fulfilment, this too being the work of God in His
people, as much as the external restoration which was to follow.
So it shall be at Israel's final restoration
Daniel takes his countrymen's place of confession of sin, identifying
himself with them, and, as their representative and intercessory
priest, "accepts the punishment of their iniquity." Thus he typifies
Messiah, the Sin-bearer and great Intercessor. The prophet's own life
and experience form the fit starting point of the prophecy concerning
the sin atonement. He prays for Israel's restoration as associated in
the prophets (compare
Jer 31:4, 11, 12, 31,
&c.) with the hope of Messiah. The revelation, now granted, analyzes
into its successive parts that which the prophets, in prophetical
perspective, heretofore saw together in one; namely, the redemption
from captivity, and the full Messianic redemption. God's servants, who,
like Noah's father
hoped many a time that now the Comforter of their afflictions was at
hand, had to wait from age to age, and to view preceding fulfilments
only as pledges of the coming of Him whom they so earnestly desired to
as now also Christians, who believe that the Lord's second coming is
nigh, are expected to continue waiting. So Daniel is informed of a long
period of seventy prophetic weeks before Messiah's coming, instead of
seventy years, as he might have expected (compare
Mt 18:21, 22)
great and dreadful God--as we know to our cost by the calamities we
suffer. The greatness of God and His dreadful abhorrence of sin
should prepare sinners for reverent, humble acknowledgment of the
justice of their punishment.
keeping . . . covenant and mercy--that is, the covenant of Thy mercy,
whereby Thou hast promised to deliver us, not for our merits, but of Thy
(Eze 36:22, 23).
So weak and sinful is man that any covenant for good on God's part with
him, to take effect, must depend solely on His grace. If He be a God to
be feared for His justice, He is one to be trusted for
love . . . keep his commandments--Keeping His
commandments is the only sure test of love to God
5. Compare Nehemiah's confession
sinned . . . committed iniquity . . . done wickedly . . . rebelled--a
climax. Erred in ignorance . . . sinned by
infirmity . . . habitually and wilfully done wickedness . . . as
open and obstinate rebels set ourselves against God.
6. prophets . . . spake . . . to our kings . . .
to all the people--They fearlessly warned all
without respect of persons.
7. confusion of faces, as at this day--Shame at our guilt, betrayed
in our countenance, is what belongs to us; as our punishment "at this
near, and . . . far off--the chastisement, however varied, some Jews
not being cast off so far from Jerusalem as others, all alike were
sharers in the guilt.
9. mercies--The plural intensifies the force; mercy manifold and
exhibited in countless ways. As it is humbling to recollect
"righteousness belongeth unto God," so it is comforting, that
"mercies belong to the Lord OUR God."
though we have rebelled--rather, "since," &c. [Vulgate],
Our punishment is not inconsistent with His "mercies," since we
have rebelled against Him.
10. set before us--not ambiguously, but plainly, so that we were
the curse . . . and . . . oath . . .
in . . . law--the curse against Israel, if
disobedient, which God ratified by oath
De 27:15-26; 28:15-68; 29:1-29).
12. confirmed his words--showed by the punishments we suffer, that
His words were no idle threats.
under . . . heaven hath not been done as . . . upon
13. yet made we not our prayer before--literally, "soothed not the
face of." Not even our chastisement has taught us penitence
Diseased, we spurn the healing medicine.
that we might turn, &c.--Prayer can only be accepted when joined
with the desire to turn from sin to God
understand thy truth--"attentively regard Thy faithfulness" in
fulfilling Thy promises, and also Thy threats [CALVIN]. Thy law
14. watched upon the evil--expressing ceaseless vigilance that His
people's sins might not escape His judgment, as a watchman on guard
night and day
Jer 31:28; 44:27).
God watching upon the Jews' punishment forms a striking contrast
to the Jews' slumbering in their sins.
God is righteous--True penitents "justify" God, "ascribing
righteousness to Him," instead of complaining of their punishment as too
15. brought thy people . . . out of . . . Egypt--a proof to all ages
that the seed of Abraham is Thy covenant-people. That ancient benefit
gives us hope that Thou wilt confer a like one on us now under similar
Jer 32:21; 23:7, 8).
as at this day--is known.
16. thy righteousness--not stern justice in punishing, but Thy
faithfulness to Thy promises of mercy to them who trust in Thee
(Ps 31:1; 143:1).
thy city--chosen as Thine in the election of grace, which changes
for . . . iniquities of . . . fathers--
He does not impugn God's justice in this, as did the murmurers
(Eze 18:2, 3;
thy people . . . a reproach--which brings reproach on Thy name. "All
the nations that are about us" will say that Thou, Jehovah, wast not
able to save Thy peculiar people. So
"for the Lord's sake";
"for Thine own sake"
(Isa 48:9, 11).
17. cause thy face to shine--metaphor from the sun, which gladdens all
that it beams upon
18. present . . . supplications--literally, "cause to fall," &c.
(compare Note, see on
19. The short broken ejaculations and repetitions show the intense
fervor of his supplications.
defer not--He implies that the seventy years are now all but complete.
thine own sake--often repeated, as being the strongest plea
20. whiles I was speaking--repeated in
emphatically marking that the answer was given before the prayer was
completed, as God promised
(Isa 30:19; 65:24;
21. I had seen in the vision at the beginning--namely, in the former
vision by the river Ulai
(Da 8:1, 16).
fly swiftly--literally, "with weariness," that is, move swiftly as
one breathless and wearied out with quick running
English Version is better
time of . . . evening oblation--the ninth hour, three
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.
22. to give thee . . . understanding--
shows that the symbolical vision had not been understood. God therefore
now gives "information" directly, instead of by symbol, which required
23. At the beginning of thy supplications, &c.--The promulgation of
the divine decree was made in heaven to the angels as soon as Daniel
began to pray.
came forth--from the divine throne; so
thou art greatly beloved--literally, "a man of desires" (compare
Eze 23:6, 12);
the object of God's delight. As the apocalyptic prophet of the New
Testament was "the disciple whom Jesus loved," so the apocalyptic
prophet of the Old Testament was "greatly beloved" of God.
the vision--the further revelation as to Messiah in connection with
Jeremiah's prophecy of seventy years of the captivity. The charge to
"understand" is the same as in
where Rome primarily, and Antichrist ultimately, is referred to
(compare Note, see on
24. Seventy weeks--namely, of years; literally, "Seventy sevens";
seventy heptads or hebdomads; four hundred ninety years; expressed in a
form of "concealed definiteness"
[HENGSTENBERG], a usual way with
the prophets. The Babylonian captivity is a turning point in the
history of the kingdom of God. It terminated the free Old Testament
theocracy. Up to that time Israel, though oppressed at times, was; as a
rule, free. From the Babylonian captivity the theocracy never recovered
its full freedom down to its entire suspension by Rome; and this period
of Israel's subjection to the Gentiles is to continue till the
when Israel shall be restored as head of the New Testament theocracy,
which will embrace the whole earth. The free theocracy ceased in the
first year of Nebuchadnezzar, and the fourth of Jehoiakim; the year of
the world 3338, the point at which the seventy years of the captivity
begin. Heretofore Israel had a right, if subjugated by a foreign king,
to shake off the yoke
as an unlawful one, at the first opportunity. But the prophets
declared it to be God's will that they should submit to Babylon.
Hence every effort of Jehoiakim, Jeconiah, and Zedekiah to rebel was
vain. The period of the world times, and of Israel's depression, from
the Babylonian captivity to the millennium, though abounding more in
afflictions (for example, the two destructions of Jerusalem, Antiochus'
persecution, and those which Christians suffered), contains all that
was good in the preceding ones, summed up in Christ, but in a way
visible only to the eye of faith. Since He came as a servant, He chose
for His appearing the period darkest of all as to His people's temporal
state. Always fresh persecutors have been rising, whose end is
destruction, and so it shall be with the last enemy, Antichrist. As the
Davidic epoch is the point of the covenant-people's highest glory, so
the captivity is that of their lowest humiliation. Accordingly, the
people's sufferings are reflected in the picture of the suffering
Messiah. He is no longer represented as the theocratic King, the
Antitype of David, but as the Servant of God and Son of man; at the
same time the cross being the way to glory (compare
with Da 2:34, 35, 44; 12:7).
In the second and seventh chapters, Christ's first coming is not
noticed, for Daniel's object was to prophesy to his nation as to the
whole period from the destruction to the re-establishment of
Israel; but this ninth chapter minutely predicts Christ's first
coming, and its effects on the covenant people. The seventy weeks
date thirteen years before the rebuilding of Jerusalem; for then
the re-establishment of the theocracy began, namely, at the return
of Ezra to Jerusalem, 457 B.C. So Jeremiah's
seventy years of the captivity begin 606 B.C.,
eighteen years before the destruction of Jerusalem, for then Judah
ceased to exist as an independent theocracy, having fallen under the
sway of Babylon. Two periods are marked in Ezra: (1) The return from
the captivity under Jeshua and Zerubbabel, and rebuilding of the
temple, which was the first anxiety of the theocratic nation.
(2) The return of Ezra (regarded by the Jews as a second Moses) from
Persia to Jerusalem, the restoration of the city, the
nationality, and the law. Artaxerxes, in the seventh year of
his reign, gave him the commission which virtually includes permission
to rebuild the city, afterwards confirmed to, and carried out by,
Nehemiah in the twentieth year
(Ezr 9:9; 7:11,
"from the going forth of the commandment to build Jerusalem,"
proves that the second of the two periods is referred to. The words in
are not, "are determined upon the holy city," but "upon thy
people and thy holy city"; thus the restoration of the religious
national polity and the law (the inner work fulfilled by Ezra
the priest), and the rebuilding of the houses and walls (the
outer work of Nehemiah, the governor), are both included in
"restore and build Jerusalem." "Jerusalem" represents both the city,
the body, and the congregation, the soul of the state. Compare
Ps 46:1-11; 48:1-14; 87:1-7.
The starting-point of the seventy weeks dated from eighty-one years
after Daniel received the prophecy: the object being not to fix for
him definitely the time, but for the Church: the prophecy taught
him that the Messianic redemption, which he thought near, was
separated from him by at least a half millennium. Expectation was
sufficiently kept alive by the general conception of the time;
not only the Jews, but many Gentiles looked for some great Lord of the
earth to spring from Judea at that very time [TACITUS, Histories, 5.13; SUETONIUS, Vespasian, 4]. Ezra's placing of Daniel
in the canon immediately before his own book and Nehemiah's was perhaps
owing to his feeling that he himself brought about the beginning of the
fulfilment of the prophecy
determined--literally, "cut out," namely, from the whole course of
time, for God to deal in a particular manner with Jerusalem.
thy . . . thy--Daniel had in his prayer often spoken of Israel as
"Thy people, Thy holy city"; but Gabriel, in reply, speaks of
them as Daniel's ("thy . . . thy") people and city, God thus
intimating that until the "everlasting righteousness" should be brought
in by Messiah, He could not fully own them as His
Rather, as God is wishing to console Daniel and the godly Jews, "the
people whom thou art so anxiously praying for"; such weight does
God give to the intercessions of the righteous
finish--literally, "shut up"; remove from God's sight, that is, abolish
[LENGKERKE]. The seventy years' exile was a
punishment, but not a full atonement, for the sin of the people; this
would come only after seventy prophetic weeks, through Messiah.
make an end of--The Hebrew reading, "to steal," that is, to hide
out of sight (from the custom of sealing up things to be concealed,
is better supported.
make reconciliation for--literally, "to cover," to overlay (as with
bring in everlasting righteousness--namely, the restoration of the
normal state between God and man
(Jer 23:5, 6);
to continue eternally
seal up . . . vision . . . prophecy--literally, "prophet." To give
the seal of confirmation to the prophet and his vision by the
anoint the Most Holy--primarily, to "anoint," or to consecrate after its pollution "the Most Holy" place but mainly Messiah,
the antitype to the Most Holy place
The propitiatory in the temple (the same Greek word expresses
the mercy seat and propitiation,
which the Jews looked for at the restoration from Babylon, shall have
its true realization only in Messiah. For it is only when sin is "made
an end of" that God's presence can be perfectly manifested. As to
Ex 40:9, 34.
Messiah was anointed with the Holy Ghost
(Ac 4:27; 10:38).
So hereafter, God-Messiah will "anoint" or consecrate with His presence
the holy place at Jerusalem
(Jer 3:16, 17;
Eze 37:27, 28),
after its pollution by Antichrist, of which the feast of dedication
after the pollution by Antiochus was a type.
25. from the going forth of the commandment--namely the command from
God, whence originated the command of the Persian king
AUBERLEN remarks, there is but one Apocalypse in
each Testament. Its purpose in each is to sum up all the preceding
prophecies, previous to the "troublous times" of the Gentiles, in which
there was to be no revelation. Daniel sums up all the previous
Messianic prophecy, separating into its individual phases what the
prophets had seen in one and the same perspective, the temporary
deliverance from captivity and the antitypical final Messianic
deliverance. The seventy weeks are separated
into three unequal parts, seven, sixty-two, one. The seventieth is the
consummation of the preceding ones, as the Sabbath of God succeeds the
working days; an idea suggested by the division into weeks. In
the sixty-nine weeks Jerusalem is restored, and so a place is prepared
for Messiah wherein to accomplish His sabbatic work
(Da 9:25, 26)
of "confirming the covenant"
The Messianic time is the Sabbath of Israel's history, in which it had
the offer of all God's mercies, but in which it was cut off for a time
by its rejection of them. As the seventy weeks end with seven years, or
a week, so they begin with seven times seven, that is, seven weeks. As
the seventieth week is separated from the rest as a period of
revelation, so it may be with the seven weeks. The number
seven is associated with revelation; for the seven
spirits of God are the mediators of all His revelations
(Re 1:4; 3:1; 4:5).
Ten is the number of what is human; for example, the world power
issues in ten heads and ten horns
(Da 2:42; 7:7).
Seventy is ten multiplied by seven, the human
moulded by the divine. The seventy years of exile symbolize the
triumph of the world power over Israel. In the seven times seventy
years the world number ten is likewise contained, that is, God's people
is still under the power of the world ("troublous times"); but the
number of the divine is multiplied by itself; seven times seven years,
at the beginning a period of Old Testament revelation to God's people
by Ezra, Nehemiah, and Malachi, whose labors extend over about half a
century, or seven weeks, and whose writings are last in the
canon; and in the end, seven years, the period of New Testament
revelation in Messiah. The commencing seven weeks of years of Old
Testament revelation are hurried over, in order that the chief stress
might rest on the Messianic week. Yet the seven weeks of Old Testament
revelation are marked by their separation from the sixty-two, to be
above those sixty-two wherein there was to be none.
Messiah the Prince--Hebrew, Nagid. Messiah is Jesus' title in
respect to Israel
Mt 27:37, 42).
Nagid, as Prince of the Gentiles
Nagid is applied to Titus, only as representative of Christ, who
designates the Roman destruction of Jerusalem as, in a sense, His
Messiah denotes His calling; Nagid, His power. He is to
"be cut off, and there shall be nothing for Him." (So the Hebrew
for "not for Himself,"
ought to be translated). Yet He is "the Prince" who is to "come," by
His representative at first, to inflict judgment, and at last in
wall--the "trench" or "scarped rampart"
street and trench include the complete restoration of the city
externally and internally, which was during the sixty-nine weeks.
26. after threescore and two weeks--rather, the
threescore and two weeks. In this verse, and in
Messiah is made the prominent subject, while the fate of the city and
sanctuary are secondary, being mentioned only in the second halves of
the verses. Messiah appears in a twofold aspect, salvation to
believers, judgment on unbelievers
Mal 3:1-6; 4:1-3).
He repeatedly, in Passion week, connects His being "cut off" with
the destruction of the city, as cause and effect
(Mt 21:37-41; 23:37, 38;
Lu 21:20-24; 23:28-31).
Israel might naturally expect Messiah's kingdom of glory, if not after
the seventy years' captivity, at least at the end of the sixty-two
weeks; but, instead of that, shall be His death, and the consequent
destruction of Jerusalem.
not for himself--rather, "there shall be nothing to Him"
[HENGSTENBERG]; not that the real object of His first coming (His
spiritual kingdom) should be frustrated; but the earthly kingdom
anticipated by the Jews should, for the present, come to naught, and
not then be realized.
TREGELLES refers the title, "the Prince"
to the time of His entering Jerusalem on an ass's colt, His only
appearance as a king, and six days afterwards put to death as "King of
the people of the prince--the Romans, led by Titus, the representative
of the world power, ultimately to be transferred to Messiah, and so
called by Messiah's title, "the Prince"; as also because sent by Him, as
His instrument of judgment
end thereof--of the sanctuary.
TREGELLES takes it, "the end of the
Prince," the last head of the Roman power, Antichrist.
with a flood--namely, of war
Isa 8:7, 8; 28:18).
Implying the completeness of the catastrophe, "not one stone left on
unto the end of the war--rather, "unto the end there is war."
determined--by God's decree
(Isa 10:23; 28:22).
27. he shall confirm the covenant--Christ. The confirmation of the
covenant is assigned to Him also elsewhere.
"I will give thee for a covenant of the people" (that is, He in
whom the covenant between Israel and God is personally expressed);
"The new testament in My blood";
"the angel of the covenant";
describes the Messianic covenant in full. Contrast
Da 11:30, 32,
"forsake the covenant," "do wickedly against the covenant." The
prophecy as to Messiah's confirming the covenant with many would
comfort the faithful in Antiochus' times, who suffered partly from
persecuting enemies, partly from false friends
Hence arises the similarity of the language here and in
Da 11:30, 32,
referring to Antiochus, the type of Antichrist.
Mt 20:28; 26:28;
Ro 5:15, 19;
in . . . midst of . . . week--The seventy weeks extend to A.D. 33.
Israel was not actually destroyed till A.D. 79, but it was so virtually,
A.D. 33, about three or four years after Christ's death, during which
the Gospel was preached exclusively to the Jews. When the Jews
persecuted the Church and stoned Stephen
the respite of grace granted to them was at an end
Israel, having rejected Christ, was rejected by Christ, and henceforth
is counted dead (compare
Ho 13:1, 2),
its actual destruction by Titus being the consummation of the removal
of the kingdom of God from Israel to the Gentiles
which is not to be restored until Christ's second coming, when Israel
shall be at the head of humanity
Ac 1:6, 7;
Ro 11:25-31; 15:1-32).
The interval forms for the covenant-people a great parenthesis.
he shall cause the sacrifice . . . oblation to cease--distinct from
the temporary "taking away" of "the daily" (sacrifice) by Antiochus
(Da 8:11; 11:31).
Messiah was to cause all sacrifices and oblations in general to
"cease" utterly. There is here an allusion only to
Antiochus' act; to comfort God's people when sacrificial worship was to
be trodden down, by pointing them to the Messianic time when salvation
would fully come and yet temple sacrifices cease. This is the same
consolation as Jeremiah and Ezekiel gave under like circumstances, when
the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar was impending
(Jer 3:16; 31:31;
Jesus died in the middle of the last week, A.D.
30. His prophetic life lasted three and a half years; the very time in
which "the saints are given into the hand" of Antichrist
Three and a half does not, like ten, designate the power of the world
in its fulness, but (while opposed to the divine, expressed by
seven) broken and defeated in its seeming triumph; for
immediately after the three and a half times, judgment falls on the
victorious world powers
(Da 7:25, 26).
So Jesus' death seemed the triumph of the world, but was really its
The rending of the veil marked the cessation of sacrifices through
(Le 4:6, 17; 16:2, 15;
There cannot be a covenant without sacrifice
(Ge 8:20; 9:17; 15:9,
&c.; Heb 9:15).
Here the old covenant is to be confirmed, but in a way peculiar to the
New Testament, namely, by the one sacrifice, which would terminate all
(Ps 40:6, 11).
Thus as the Levitical rites approached their end, Jeremiah, Ezekiel,
and Daniel, with ever increasing clearness, oppose the spiritual new
covenant to the transient earthly elements of the old.
for the overspreading of abominations--On account of the
abominations committed by the unholy people against the Holy One,
He shall not only destroy the city and sanctuary
but shall continue its desolation until the time of the consummation
"determined" by God (the phrase is quoted from
Isa 10:22, 23),
when at last the world power shall be judged and dominion be given to
the saints of the Most High
(Da 7:26, 27).
AUBERLEN translates, "On account of the desolating
summit of abominations (compare
Da 11:31; 12:11;
thus the repetition of the same thing as in
is avoided), and till the consummation which is determined, it (the
foretold by Moses) will pour on the desolated." Israel reached the
summit of abominations, which drew down desolation
nay, which is the desolation itself, when, after murdering Messiah,
they offered sacrifices, Mosaic indeed in form, but heathenish in
Christ refers to this passage
"When ye see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the
prophet, stand in the holy place" (the latter words being
tacitly implied in "abominations" as being such as are committed
against the sanctuary). TREGELLES
translates, "upon the wing of abominations shall be that which
causeth desolation"; namely, an idol set up on a wing or pinnacle of
the temple (compare
by Antichrist, who makes a covenant with the restored Jews for the last
of the seventy weeks of years (fulfilling Jesus' words, "If another
shall come in his own name, him ye will receive"), and for the first
three and a half years keeps it, then in the midst of the week breaks
it, causing the daily sacrifices to cease. TREGELLES thus identifies the last half week with the
time, times, and a half of the persecuting little horn
But thus there is a gap of at least 1830 years put between the
sixty-nine weeks and the seventieth week. SIR
ISAAC NEWTON explains the
wing ("overspreading") of abominations to be the Roman ensigns (eagles)
brought to the east gate of the temple, and there sacrificed to by the
soldiers; the war, ending in the destruction of Jerusalem, lasted from
spring A.D. 67 to autumn A.D.
70, that is, just three and a half years, or the last half week of
years [JOSEPHUS, Wars of the Jews, 6.6].
poured upon the desolate--TREGELLES
translates, "the causer of desolation," namely, Antichrist.
Compare "abomination that maketh desolate"
Perhaps both interpretations of the whole passage may be in part
true; the Roman desolator, Titus, being a type of Antichrist, the final
desolator of Jerusalem. BACON [The Advancement
of Learning, 2.3] says, "Prophecies are of the nature of the
Author, with whom a thousand years are as one day; and therefore are
not fulfilled punctually at once, but have a springing and germinant
accomplishment through many years, though the height and fulness of
them may refer to one age."