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Barnes on Daniel 9 #4

The 70 Week Prophecy

                         ALBERT BARNES ON DANIEL 9

                          THE 70 WEEK PROPHECY #4


The Prince

This word properly means a leader, a prefect, a prince. It is a
word of very general character, and might be applied to any
leader or ruler. It is applied to an overseer, or, as we should
say, a secretary of the treasury, 1 Chron. xxvi. 24; 2 Chron.
xxxi. 12; an overseer of the temple, 1 Chron. ix. 11; 2 Chron.
xxxi.13; of the palace, 2 Chron. xxviii. 7; and of military
affairs, 1 Chron. xiii. 1; 2 Chron. xxxii. 21. It is also used
absolutely to denote a prince of a people, any one of royal
dignity, 1 Sam. ix. 16; x. 1; xiii. 14.- Gesenius. So far as this
word, therefore, is concerned, it would apply to any prince or
leader, civil or military; any one of royal dignity, or who
should distinguish himself, or make himself a leader in civil,
ecclesiastical, or military affairs, or who should receive an
appointment to any such station. It is a word which would be as
applicable to the Messiah as to any other leader, but which has
nothing in itself to make it necessary to apply it to him. All
that can be fairly deduced from its use here is, that it would be
some prominent leader; some one that would be known without any
more definite designation; some one on whom the mind would
naturally rest, and some one to whom when he appeared it would be
applied without hesitation and without difficulty. There can be
no doubt that a Hebrew, in the circumstances of Daniel, and with
the known views and expectations of the Hebrew people, would
apply such a phrase to the Messiah. 

Shall be seven weeks.    

See Notes on ver.24. The reason for dividing the whole period
into seven weeks, sixty-two weeks, and one week, is not formally
stated, and will be considered at the close of the verse. All
that is necessary here in order to an explanation of the
language, and of what is to be anticipated in the fulfilment, is
this (a) That, according to the above interpretation (ver.24),
the period would be forty-nine years. (b) That this was to be the
first portion of the whole time, not time that would be properly
taken out of any part of the whole period. (c) That there was to
be some event at the end of the forty-nine years which would
designate a period, or a natural division of the time, or that
the portion which was designated by the forty-nine years was to
be distinctly characterized from the next period referred to as
sixty-two weeks, and the next period as one week. (d) No
intimation is given in the words as to the nature of this period,
or as to what would distinguish one portion from the others, and
what that was to be is to be learned from subsequent
explanations, or from the actual course of events. If one period
was characterized by war, and another by peace; one in building
the city and the walls, and the other by quiet prosperity; one by
abundance, and the other by famine; one by sickness, and the
other by health - all that is fairly implied by the words would
be met. It is foretold only that there would be some-thing that
would designate these periods, and serve to distinguish the one
from the other.     

And threescore and two weeks. Sixty-two weeks; 

that is, as above explained (ver.24), four hundred and
thirty-four years.  The fair meaning is, that there would be
something which would characterize that long period, and serve to
distinguish it from that which preceded it. It is not indeed
intimated what that would be, and the nature of the case seems to
require that we should look to the events - to the facts in the
course of the history to determine what that was. Whether it was
peace, prosperity, quiet, order, or the prevalence of religion as
contrasted with the former period, all that the words fairly
imply would be fulfilled in either of them. 

The street shall be built I again. 

This is a general assertion or prediction, which does not seem to
have any special reference to the time  when it would be done.   
The fair interpretation of the expression does not require us to
understand that it should be after the united period of the seven
weeks and the sixty-two weeks, nor during either one of those
periods; that is, the language is not such that we are
necessarily required to affix it to any one period. It seems to
be a general assurance designed to comfort Daniel with the
promise that the walls and streets of Jerusalem, now desolate,
would be built again, and that this would occur some time during
this period. His mind was particularly anxious respecting the
desolate condition of the city, and the declaration is here made
that it would be restored. In so far as the language--the
grammatical construction is concerned, it seems to me that this
would be fulfilled if it were done either at the time of the
going forth of the commandment, or during either of the periods
designated, or even after these periods. It is, however, most
natural, in the connection, to understand it of the first period
- the seven weeks, or the forty-nine years--since it is said that
"the commandment would go forth to restore, and to build
Jerusalem;" and since, as the whole subsequent period is divided
into three portions, it may be presumed that the thing that would
characterize the first portion, or that which would first be
done, would be to execute the commandment--that is, to restore
and build the city. These considerations would lead us,
therefore, to suppose that the thing which would characterize the
first period--the forty-nine years - would be the rebuilding of
the city; and the time - a time which, considering the extent and
entireness of the ruins, the nature of the opposition that might
be encountered, the difficulty of collecting enough from among
the exiles to return and do it, the want of means, and the
embarrassments which such an undertaking might be supposed to
involve, cannot, probably, be regarded as too long.

The word rendered street - (Heb.) means a street, so called from
its breadth, and would properly, therefore, be applied to a wide
street. Then it denotes a market-place, or a forum - the broad
open place at the gates of Oriental cities where public trials
were held, and things exposed for sale, 2 Chron. xxxii. 6. In
Ezra x. 9, the word refers to the area or court before
the temple: "And all the people sat in the street (Heb.) of the
house of God," &c. Comp. Nehe. viii. 1,3,16. The reference in
this place, therefore, may be to that area or court; or it may be
to any place of concourse, or any thoroughfare. It is such
language as would be naturally used to denote that the city would
be restored to its former condition. The phrase "shall be built
again" is, in the margin, "return and be builded." This is in
accordance with the Hebrew. That is, it would be restored to its
former state; it would, as it were, come back and be built up
again. Hengstenberg renders it "a street is restored and built."
The phrase properly implies that it would assume its former
condition, the word "built" here being used in the sense of made,
as we speak of making a road. Lengerke renders it, "wind wieder
hergestellt" - "shall be again restored." Theodotion renders it,
(Greek) "it shall return," understanding it as meaning that there
would be a return, to wit, from the exile. But the more correct
meaning undoubtedly is, that the street would return to its
former state, and be rebuilt.  And the wall. Marg., "ditch."
Hengstenberg renders this, "and firmly is it determined;"
maintaining that the word here means "fixed, determined,
resolved on," and that the idea is, the purpose that the city
should be rebuilt was firmly resolved on in the Divine mind, and
that the design of what is here said was to comfort and animate
the returned Hebrews in their efforts to rebuild the city, in all
the discouragements and troubles which would attend such an

The common interpretation, however, has been that it
refers to a ditch, trench, or wall, that would be constructed at
the time of the rebuilding of the city. So the Vulgate, "muri,"
walls. So Theodotion, Greek--wall. The Syriac renders it, -
Jerusalem, and the villages, and the streets." Luther, Mauren,
walls. Lengerke renders it, as Hengstenberg does, "and it is
determined." Maurer understands the two expressions, street and
wall, to be equivalent to within and without - meaning that the
city would be thoroughly and entirely rebuilt. The Hebrew 
word (Heb.) means, properly, that which is cut in, or dug out,
from (Heb.) -- to cut in. The word is translated sharp-pointed
things in Job xli. 30; gold, fine gold, choice gold, in Psa.
lxviii. 13; Prov. iii. 14; viii. 10, 19; xvi. 16; Zech. ix. 3; a
threshing instrument, Isa. xxviii. 27; Amos i. 3; sharp 
(referring to a threshing instrument), Isa. xli. 15; wall, Dan.
ix. 25; and decision, Joel iii. 14. It does not elsewhere occur
in the Scriptures. The notion of gold as connected with the word
is probably derived from the fact of its being dug for, or
eagerly sought by men. That idea is, of course, not applicable
here. Gesenius supposes that it here means a ditch or trench of a
fortified city. This seems to me to be the probable
signification. At all events, this has the concurrence of the
great body of interpreters; and this accords well with the
connection. The word does not properly mean wall, and it is never
elsewhere so used. It need not he said that it was common, if not
universal, in walled cities to make a deep ditch or trench around
them to prevent the approach of an enemy, and such language would
naturally be employed in speaking of the rebuilding of
a city. Prof. Stuart renders it, "with broad spaces, and narrow

Even in troublous times. 

Marg., "strait of." Hengstenberg, "in a time of distress."
Lengerke, "Im Druck der Zeiten" in a pressure of times." Vulg.,
"In angustia temporum." Theodotion, in the Septuagint, renders
it, "And these times shall be emptied out" (Thompson)--(Greek)
"and these times shall be emptied out."  The proper meaning of
the Hebrew word (Heb.) is, distress, trouble, anguish; and the
reference is, doubtless. to times that would be characterized by
trouble, perplexity, and distress. The allusion is clearly to the
rebuilding of the city, and the use of this language would lead
us to anticipate that such an enterprise would meet with
opposition or embarrassment; that there would be difficulty in
accomplishing it; that the work would not be carried on easily,
and that a considerable time would be necessary to finish it.

Having gone through with an investigation of the meaning of the
words and phrases of this verse, we are now prepared to inquire
more particularly what things are referred to, and whether the
predictions have been fulfilled. The points which it is necessary
to examine are the following: To whom reference is made by the
Messiah the Prince; the time designated by the going forth of the
commandment or the "terminus a quo;" the question whether the
whole period extends to the birth of him here referred to as the
Messiah the Prince, or to his assuming the office or appearing as
such; the time embraced in the first seven weeks - and the
fulfilment - or the question whether, from the time of the going
forth of the commandment to the appearing of the Messiah, the
period of the four Hundred and ninety years can be fairly made
out. These are evidently important points, and it need not be
said that a great variety of opinions has prevailed in regard to
them, and that they are attended with no little difficulty.

(There really should be no difficulty. We are being told a leader
would come, that had the power and right to blot out sin, who
would come at the last week of the 70 weeks to confirm the
covenant of God with people, but also be cut off in the half of
the week. You also had the prophecy in the prophets that someone
would come BEFORE this prince Messiah to announce the coming of
the Messiah. You had the end of the Jewish captivity of 70 years,
which ended in 516 B.C. From that time onward all here told to
Daniel would come to pass. The main point and event being the
coming of the Messiah at the last week of years. While some could
get themselves into all kinds of trouble with dates and commands
on rebuilding Jerusalem, God would make sure His people could
know the time, for one was to come who was to "prepare the way"
for the Messiah. And sure enough John the baptist was on the
scene, a miraculous birth, told by the angel to his father, that
he would be the "Elijah to come" to prepare the way for the
Messiah. He was already doing his ministry work, his disciples
knew that he John was not the Messiah, but that John himself had
said he was not, but one was to come whose shoes he was not
worthy to unlatch. John's disciples and the true people of God
were looking for the true Messiah to appear on the scene as
spiritual leader. They knew 69 weeks of years had gone by since
the command to build Jerusalem. They knew it was the time for the
Messiah prince to appear. they were looking for Him, and they
indeed found Him, as the early parts of the Gospels record. Jesus
began His ministry in 26 A.D. He was born in 5 B.C. as another
study on this Website proves from historical records etc.  Keith

I. To whom reference is made as the Messiah the Prince. In the
exposition of the meaning of the words, we have seen that there
is nothing in the language itself to determine this. It is
applicable to any one who should be set apart as a ruler or
prince, and might be applied to Cyrus, to any anointed king, or
to him who is properly designated now as the Messiah - the Lord
Jesus. Comp. Notes On Isa. xlv. 1. It is unnecessary to show that
a great variety of opinions has been entertained, both among the
Jewish Rabbins and among Christian commentators, respecting the
question to whom this refers. Among the Jews, Jarchi and
Jacchiades supposed that it referred to Cyrus; Den Gersom, and
others, to Zerubbabel; Aben Ezra to Nehemiah; Rabbi Azariah to
Artaxerxes. Bertholdt, Lengerke, Maurer, and this class of
expositors generally, suppose that the reference is to Cyrus, who
is called the Messiah, or the "Anointed," in Isa. xlv. 1.   

According to this interpretation, it is supposed that the
reference is to the seventy years of Jeremiah, and that the
meaning is, that "seven weeks," or forty-nine years, would elapse
from the desolation of the city till the time of Cyrus. See
Maurer, in loc. Comp. also Lengerke, pp.444,445. As specimens of
the views entertained by those who deny the reference of the
passage to the Messiah, and of the difculties and absurdities of
those views, we may notice those of Eichhorn and Bertholdt. 
Eichhorn maintains that the numbers referred to are round
numbers, and that we are not to expect to be able to make out an
exact conformity between those numbers and the events. The 
"commandment" mentioned in ver.25 he supposes refers to the order
of Cyrus to restore and rebuild the city, which order was given,
according to Usher, A.M.3468. From this point of time must the 
"seven weeks," or the forty-nine years, be reckoned; but,
according to his view, the reckoning must be "backwards and
forwards;" that is, it is seven weeks, or forty-nine years,
backward to Nebuchadnezzar, who is here called "Messiah the
Prince," who destroyed the temple and city, A.M. 3416--or about
fifty-two years before the going forth of the edict of Cyrus.
From that time, the reckoning of the sixty-two weeks must be
commenced. But again, this is not to be computed literally from
the time of Nebuchadnezzar; but since the Jews, in accordance
with Jeremiah xxv. 11,12, reckoned seventy years, instead of the
true time, the point from which the estimate is to begin is the
fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim, and this occurred,
according to Usher, A.M. 3397. Reckoning from this point onward,
the sixty-two weeks, or 434 years, would bring us to the time of
Antiochus Epiphanes (A.M.3829). At the end of the sixty-two
weeks, in the first year of Antiochus Epiphanes, the high-priest,
Onias 111. (the Messiah of ver.26), "was displaced" "cut off"--
Jason was appointed in his place, and Menelaus the year after
removed him. Thus Onias had properly no successor. This absurd
opinion Bertholdt (p.605, s seq.) attempts to set aside - a task
which is very cosily performed, and then proposes his own - a
hypothesis not less absurd and improbable. According to his
theory (p.613, seq.), the seventy years have indeed a historical
basis, and the time embraced in them extends from the destruction
of Jerusalem by Nebuehadnezzar to the death of Antiochus
Epiphanes. It is divided into three periods: (a) The seven first
hebdomads extend from the destruction of Jerusalem by
Nebuchadnezzar to king Cyrus, who gave the exiles permission to
return to their land. This is the period during which Jerusalem
must lie waste (ver.2); and after the close of this, by the
favour of Cyrus (ver. 25), the promise of Jeremiah (ver.25 -
"commandment "), that Jerusalem shall be rebuilt, goes forth. (b)
The following sixty-two weeks extend from the return of the
exiles to the beginning of the troubles and persecutions under
Antiochus. This is the period of the rebuilding of Jerusalem
(ver.25). (c) The last period of one week extends from the time
of the oppressions and wrongs commenced under Antiochus, to the
death of Antiochus. See this view fully explained and illustrated
in Bertholdt, "ut supra." The great mass of Christian
interpreters, however, have supposed that the reference is to the
Messiah properly so called--the promised Saviour of the world -
the Lord Jesus. In support of this opinion, the following
considerations may be suggested, which seem to me to be

(The ideas of men are amazing at times. The people of God and the
disciples of John the baptist knew the simple truth. 
69 weeks of years brings you to the end of John the baptist's
ministry and the start of the Messiah Savior's ministry, the
start of the last week of years. It was not just relying on "dates"
but also on the one that was to come before the Messiah, who would
announce and prepare the way for the Messiah - John the baptist,
and people in tune with God acknowledged that he was the one to
prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah. The truth of the
"Elijah to Come" can be found in a study on this Website.
People can get messed up on "dates" on "history" on "decrees"
on "commands" but an Elijah was to come before the Messiah came,
the first time, and so again at the time of the end, to restore
all things, then Jesus will return - Keith Hunt)

(1.) The language itself is such as is properly applicable to
him, and such as would naturally suggest him. It is true, as we
see in Isa. xlv. 1, that the term Messiah may be applied to
another, as it is there to Cyrus (see the Notes on the meaning of
the word in that place, and in the exposition of this verse), but
it is also true that if the term stands by itself, and with no
explanation, it would naturally suggest him who, by way of
eminence, is known as the Messiah. In Isa. xlv. 1, it is
expressly limited to Cyrus, and there can be no danger of
mistake. Here there is no such limitation, and it is natural,
therefore, to apply it in the sense in which among the Hebrews it
would be obviously understood. Even Bertholdt admits the force of
this. Thus (p.563) he says "That at the words (Heb.)  [Messiah
the Prince] we should be led to think of the Messiah, Jesus, and
at those, ver.26, (Heb.) [shall be cut off but not for himself],
of his crucifixion, though not absolutely necessary, is still
very natural." 

(2.) This would be the interpretation which would be given to the
words by the Jews. They were so much accustomed to look forward
to a great prince and deliverer, who would be by way of eminence
the Anointed of the Lord, that, unless there was some special
limitation or designation in the language, they would naturally
apply it to the Messiah, properly so called. Comp. Isa. ix. 6, 7.
Early in the history of the Jews, the nation had become
accustomed to the expectation that such a deliverer would come,
and its hopes were centred on him. In all times of national
trouble and calamity; in all their brightest visions of the
future, they were accustomed to look to him as one who would
deliver them from their troubles, and who would exalt their
people to a pitch of glory and of honour, such as they had never
known before. Unless, therefore, there was something in the
connection which would demand a different interpretation, the
language would be of course applied to the Messiah. But it cannot
be pretended that there is anything in the connection that
demands such a limitation, nor which forbids such an application.

 3.) So far as the ancient versions throw any light on the
subject, they show that this is the correct interpretation. So
the Latin Vulgate. "usque ad Christum ducem." So the Syriac,
"unto Messiah, the most holy" - literally, "holy of holies." So
Theodotion--(Greek)--where there can be little doubt that the
Messiah was understood to be referred to. The same is found in
the Arabic. The "Codex Chis." is in utter confusion on this whole
passage, and nothing can be made of it. 

(4.) All the circumstances referred to in connection with him who
is here called "Messiah the Prince" are such as to be properly
applicable to the work which the Lord Jesus came to do, and not
to Cyrus, or Antiochus, or any other leader or ruler.  See the
Notes on ver.24. To no other one, according to the interpretation
which the passage in that verse seems to demand, can the
expressions there used be applied. In that exposition it was
shown that the verse is designed to give a general view of what
would be accomplished; or of what is expressed more in detail in
the remaining verses of the vision, and that the language there
used can be applied properly to the work which the Lord Jesus
came to accomplish. Assuredly to no one else can the phrases "to
restrain transgression," "to seal up sins," "to cover over
iniquity," "to bring in everlasting righteousness," "to seal up
the vision and proplicey," and "to consecrate the most holy
place," be so well applied. The same is true of the language in
the subsequent part of the prophecy, "Messiah shall be cut off,"
"not for himself," "shall confirm the covenant," "cause the
oblation to cease." Any one may see the perplexities in which
they are involved by adopting another interpretation, by
consulting Bertholdt, or Lengerke on the passage. 

(5.) The expression here used "prince" applied to the Messiah
beyond all question iii Isa. Iv. 4: "I have given him for a
witness to the people, a leader - (Heb.)--and a commander to the

(6.) The perplexity attending any other interpretation is an
additional proof of this point. In full illustration of this, it
is necessary only to refer to the views of Bertholdt and Eichhorn
as above exhibited. Whatever may be said about the difficulties
on the supposition that it refers to the Lord Jesus - the true
Messiah - no one can undertake to reconcile the applications
which they have proposed with any belief of the inspiration of
the passage. These considerations seem to me to make it clear
that the prophecy had reference to the Messiah properly so called
- the hope and the expectation of the Jewish people. There can be
no doubt that Daniel would so understand it; there can be no
doubt that it would be so applied by the Jews.

(And that is exactly the truth of the matter as the disciples of
John the baptist well knew. They were looking for ONE, the
Messiah, to replace the ministry of John, to supercede him, as
John himself said, "I must deminish so he can increase" or such
words as made it clear that the true Savior Messiah was to come,
was near at hand, was alive and was to start His ministry. Also
as John said when Jesus came to him for baptism, "It is I would
need to be baptized of you." This is a clear prophecy that John,
his disciples, and the true people of the Lord, knew was about
the true Messiah coming after 69 weeks of years from the command
to rebuild the city. Whatever else may be the technicalities of
the three sections to this 70 week prophecy, the main true fact
is 69 weeks of years or 483 years had transpired from that
command to bring us to the ministry of Jesus Christ, the Messiah
that all God's people were seeking and looking to appear in the
last year or so of John the baptist's ministry - Keith Hunt)

II. The next question is: From what point are we to reckon in
computing the time when the Messiah would appear - "the terminus
a quo?" It is important to fix this, for the whole question of
the fulfilment depends on it, and honesty requires that it should
be determined without reference to the tune to which four hundred
and ninety years would reach - or the "terminus ad quern." It is
clearly not proper to do as Prideaux does, to assume that it
refers to the birth of Christ, and then to reckon backward to a
time which may be made to mean the "going forth of the
commandment." The true method, undoubtedly, would be to fix on a
tune which would accord with the expression here, with no
reference to the question of the fulfilment - for in that way
only can it be determined to be a true prophecy, and in that way
only would it be of any use to Daniel, or to those who succeeded
him. It need hardly be said, that a great variety of opinions
have been maintained in regard to the time designated by the
"going forth of the commandment." Dertholdt (pp. 561,568)
mentions no less than thirteen opinions which have been
entertained on this point, and in such a variety of sentiment, it
seems almost hopeless to be able to ascertain the truth with
certainty. Now, in determining this, there are a few points which
may be regarded as certain. They are such as these: (a) That the
commandment referred to is one that is issued by some prince or
king having authority, and not the purpose of God. See Notes
above on the first part of the verse. (b) That the distinct
command would be to "restore and build Jerusalem." This is
specified, and therefore would seem to be distinguished from a
command to build the temple, or to restore that from its state of
ruin. It is true that the one might appear to be implied in the
other, and yet this does not necessarily follow.  For various
causes it might be permitted to the Jews to rebuild their temple,
and there might be a royal ordinance commanding that, while there
was no purpose to restore the city to its former power and
splendour, and even while there might be strong objections to it.
For the use of the Jews who still resided in Palestine, and for
those who were about to return, it might be a matter of policy to
permit them to rebuild their temple, and even to aid them in it,
while yet it might be regarded as perilous to allow them to
rebuild the city, and to place it in its former condition of
strength and power. It was a place easily fortified; it had cost
the Babylonian monarch much time, and had occasioned him many
losses, before he had been able to conquer and subdue it and,
even to Cyrus, it might be a matter of very questionable policy
to allow it to be built and fortified again. Accordingly we find
that, as a matter of fact, the permission to rebuild the temple,
and the permission to rebuild the city, were quite different
things, and were separately granted by different sovereigns, and
that the work was executed by different persons. The former
might, without impropriety, be regarded as the close of the
captivity - or the end of the "seventy years" of Jeremiah - for a
permission to rebuild the temple was, in fact, a permission to
return to their own country, and an implied purpose to aid them
in it, while a considerable interval might, and probably would
elapse, before a distinct command was issued to restore and
rebuild the city itself, and even then a long period might
intervene before it would be completed. Accordingly, in the edict
published by Cyrus, the permission to rebuild the temple is the
one that is carefully specified "Thus saith Cyrus, king of
Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of
the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at
Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who 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 i.2,3.   

In this order there is nothing said of the restoration of the city, and
that in fact occurred at a different time, and under the
direction of different leaders. The first enterprise was to
rebuild the temple; it was still a question whether it would be a
matter of policy to allow the city to be rebuilt, and that was in
fact accomplished at a different time. These considerations seem
to make it certain that the edict referred to here was not that
which was issued by Cyrus, but must have been a subsequent decree
bearing particularly on the rebuilding of the city itself.  It is
true that the command to rebuild the temple would imply that
either there were persons residing amidst the ruins of Jerusalem,
or in the land of Palestine, who were to worship there, and that
there would be inhabitants in Jerusalem, probably those who would
go from Babylon for otherwise the temple would be of no service,
but still this might be, and there be no permission to rebuild
the city with any degree of its ancient strength and splendour,
and none to surround it with walls - a very material thing in the
structure of an ancient city: (c) This interpretation is
confirmed by the latter part of the verse: "the street shall be
built again, and the wall, even in troublous times." If the word
rendered wall means trench or ditch, as I have supposed, still it
was a trench or ditch which was designed as a defence of a city,
or which was excavated for making a wall, for the purpose of
fortifying a walled city in order to make it stronger, and the
expression is one which would not be applied to the mere purpose
of rebuilding the temple, nor would it be used except in a
command to restore the city itself. We are, then, in the fair
interpretation of the passage, required now to show that such a
command went forth from the Persian king to "restore and rebuild"
the city itself, that is, a permission to put it into such a
condition of strength as it was before.

In order to see how this interpretation accords with the facts in
the case, and to determine whether such a period can be found as
shall properly correspond with this interpretation, and enable us
to ascertain the point of tune here referred to - "the terminus a
quo"--it is proper to inquire what are the facts which history
has preserved.

For this purpose, I looked at this point of the investigation
into Jahn's, Hebrew Commonwealth, (pp.160-177), a work not
written with any reference to the fulfilment of this prophecy,
and which, indeed, in the portion relating to this period of the
world, makes no allusion whatever to Daniel. The inquiry which it
was necessary to settle was, whether under any of the Persian
kings there was any order or command which would properly
correspond with what we have ascertained to be the fair meaning
of the passage. A very brief synopsis of the principal events
recorded by Jahn as bearing on the restoration of the Jews to
their own country, will be all, that is needful to add to
determine the question before us.

(Barnes then gives page after page of "history" per se. But never
does come up with the right answer. The technicality of it all,
when Christ was born and hence when His ministry began is all
covered in detail in the study on this Website called "Christ was
Born 5 B.C." The command to rebuild the city was given in 458
B.C. Then move forward with 69 weeks of years = 483 years and you
arrive at 26 A.D. [adding a year for there is no year "0" going
from B.C. to A.D.]. Jesus died or was killed in 30 A.D. and 40
years later in 70 A.D. Jerusalem was destroyed by the armies of
Rome under Titus - Keith Hunt)

And after threescore and two weeks. 

After the completion of the last period of four hundred and
thirty-four years, The angel had shown in the previous verse what
would be the characteristic of the first period of "seven weeks" 
that during that time the wall and the street would be built in
circumstances of general distress and anxiety, and he now pro-
ceeds to state what would occur in  relation to the remaining
sixty-two weeks. The particular thing which would characterize
that period would be, that the Messiah would be cut off, and that
the series of events would commence which would terminate in the
destruction of the city and the temple. He does not say that this
would be immediately on the termination of the sixty-two weeks,
but he says that it would be "after"--(Heb.) - subsequent to the
close of that period. The word does not mean necessarily
immediately, but it denotes that which is to succeed - to follow
- and would be well expressed by the word afterwards: Gen. xv.
14; xxiii. 19; xxv. 26, et al. See Gesenius, Lex. The natural
meaning here would be, that this would be the next event in the
order of events to be reckoned; it would be that on which the
prophetic eye would rest subsequent to the close of the period of
sixty-two weeks. There are two circumstances in the prophecy
itself which go to show that it is not meant that this would
immediately follow: (a) One is, that in the previous verse it is
said that the "sixty-two weeks" would extend "unto the Messiah;"
that is, either to his birth or to his manifestation as such; and
it is not implied anywhere that he would be "cut off" at once on
his appearing, nor is such a supposition reasonable, or one that
would have been embraced by an ancient student of the prophecies;
(b) the other is, that, in the subsequent verse, it is expressly
said that what he would accomplish in causing the oblation to
cease would occur "in the midst of the week;" that is, of the
remaining one week that would complete the seventy. This could
not occur if he were to be "cut off" immediately at the close of
the sixty-two weeks. The careful student of this prophecy,
therefore, would anticipate that the Messiah would appear at the
close of the sixty-two weeks, and that he would continue during a
part, at least, of the remaining one week before he would be cut
off. This point could have been clearly made out from the
prophecy before the Messiah came.   

Shall Messiah.

Notes, ver.25.  

Be cut off     

The word here used (Heb.) means, properly, to cut, to cut off, as
a part of a garment, 1 Sa. xxiv. 5 (6), 11 (12); a branch of a
tree, Numb. xiii. 23; the prepuce, Exod. iv. 25; the head, 1 Sa.
xvii. 51; v. 4; to cut down trees, Deut. xix. 5;  Isa. xiv. 8;
xliv. 14; Jer. x. 3; xxii. 7.  Then it means to cut off persons,
to destroy, Deut. xx. 20; Jer. xi. 19;  Gen. ix. 11;   Psa.
xxxvii. 9; Prov. ii. 22; x. 31, et al. scepe. The phrase, "that
soul shall be cut off from his people," "from the midst of the
people," "from Israel," "from the congregation," &c., occurs
frequently in the Scriptures (compare Gen. xvii. 14; Lev. vii.
20,21; Num. xv. 30; xix. 13,20; Exod. xii. 19, et al.), and
denotes the punishment of death in general, without defining the
manner. "It is never the punishment of exile."--Gesenius, Lex.
The proper notion or meaning here is, undoubtedly, that of being
cut off by death, and would suggest the idea of a violent death,
or a death by the agency of others. It would apply to one who was
assassinated, or murdered by a mob, or who was appointed to death
by a judicial decree; or it might be applied to one who was cut
down in battle, or by the pestilence, or by lightning, or by
shipwreck, but it would not naturally or properly be applied to
one who had lived out his days, and died a peaceful death.  We
always now connect with the word the idea of some unusual
interposition, as when we speak of one who is cut down in middle
life. The ancient translators understood it of a violent death.
So the Latin Vulgate, "occidetur Christ us;" Syriac, "the Messiah
shall be slain," or put to death.  It need not be here said that
this phrase would find a complete fulfilment in the manner in
which the Lord Jesus was put to death, nor that this is the very
language in which it is proper now to describe the manner in
which he was removed. He was cut off by violence; by a judicial
decree: by a mob; in the midst of his way, &c. If it should be
admitted that the angel meant to describe the manner of his
death, he could not have found a single word that would have
better expressed it.  

But not for himself. 

Marg., and shall have nothing. This phrase has given rise to not
a little discussion, and not a little diversity of opinion. The
Latin Vulgate is, "et non exit ejus populus, qui Cum negaturus
est" "and they shall not be his people who shall deny him." 
Theodotion (in the Sept.), (Greek)  "and there is no crime in
him." Syriac, "And it is not with him." The Hebrew is (Heb.)--and
the interpretation turns on the meaning of the word (Heb.)
Hengstenberg maintains that it is never used in the sense of     
(not), but that it always conveys the idea of nothing, or
non-existence, and that the meaning here is, that, then, "there
was nothing to him;" that is, that he ceased to have authority
and power, as in the cutting off of a prince or ruler whose power
comes to an end. Accordingly he renders it, "and is not to him;"
that is, his dominion, authority, or power over the covenant
people as an anointed prince, would cease when he was cut off,
and another one would come and desolate the sanctuary, and take
possession. Bertholdt renders it, "Ohne Nachfolger von den
Scinigen zu haben" - "without any successors of his own" -
meaning that his family, or that the dynasty would be cut off, or
would end with him. He maintains that the whole phrase denotes 
"a sudden and an unexpected death," and that it here means that
he would have no successor of his own family. He applies it to
Alexander the Great. Lengerke renders it, "Und nicht rat
vorhanden, der ihm angehoret" -- and explains the whole to mean, 
"The anointed one [as the lawful king] shall be cut off, but it
shall not then be one who belongs to his family [to wit, upon the
throne], but a Prince shall come to whom the crown did not
belong, to whom the name anointed could not properly belong."
Maurer explains it, "There shall be to him no successor or lawful
heir." Prof. Stuart renders it, "One shall be cut off, and there
shall be none for it" (the people). C.B. Michaelis, "and not to
be will be his lot." Jacch. and Hitzig, "and no one remained to
him." Rosch, "and no one was present for him." Our translation -
"but not for himself" -- was undoubtedly adopted from the common
view of the atonement - that the Messiah did not die for himself,
but that his life was given as a ransom for others. There can be
no doubt of that fact to those who hold the common doctrine of
the atonement, and yet it maybe doubted whether the translators
did not undesignedly allow their views of the atonement to shape
the interpretation of this passage, and whether it can be fairly
made out from the Hebrew. The ordinary meaning of the Hebrew word
(Heb.) is, "undoubtedly, nothing, emptiness" -- in the sense of
there being nothing (see Gesenius, Lex.); and, thus applied, the
sense here would be, that after he was cut off, or in consequence
of his being cut off, that which he before possessed would cease,
or there would be "nothing" to him; that is, either his life
would cease, or his dominion would cease, or he would be cut off
as the Prince - the Messiah. This interpretation appears to be
confirmed by what is immediately said, that another would come
and would destroy the city and the sanctuary, or that the
possession would pass into his hands. 

It seems probable to me that this is the fair interpretation. 
The Messiah would come as a "Prince." It might be expected that 
he would came to rule - to set up a kingdom, but he would be 
suddenly cut off by a violent death. The anticipated dominion over 
the people as a prince would not be set up. It would not pertain to him.  
Thus suddenly cut off, the expectations of such a rule would be 
disappointed and blasted. He would in fact set up no such dominion 
as might naturally be expected of an anointed prince; he would have no
successor; the dynasty would not remain in his hands or his
family, and soon the people of a foreign prince would come and
would sweep all away. This interpretation does not suppose that
the real object of his coming would be thwarted, or that he would
not set up a kingdom in accordance with the prediction properly
explained, but that such a kingdom as would be expected by the
people would not be set up. He would be cut off soon after he
came, and the anticipated dominion would not pertain to him, or
there would be "nothing" of it found in him, and soon after a
foreign prince would come and destroy the city and the sanctuary.

This interpretation, indeed, will take this passage away as a
proof-text of the doctrine of the atonement, or as affirming the
design of the death of the Messiah, but it furnishes a meaning as
much in accordance with the general strain of the prophecy, and
with the facts in the work of the Messiah. For it was a natural
expectation that when he came he would set up a kingdom - a
temporal reign - and this expectation was extensively cherished
among the people. He was, however, soon cut off, and all such
hopes at once perished in the minds of his true followers (comp.
Luke xxiv. 21), and in the minds of the multitudes who, though
not his true followers, began to inquire whether he might not be
the predicted Messiah the Prince to sit on the throne of David.
But of such an anticipated dominion or rule, there was "nothing"
to him. All these expectations were blighted by his sudden death,
and soon, instead of his delivering the nation from bondage and
setting up a visible kingdom, a foreign prince would come with
his forces and would sweep away everything.  

Whether this would be the interpretation affixed to these words
before the advent of the Messiah cannot now be determined.  We
have few remains of the methods in which the Hebrews interpreted
the ancient prophecies, and we may readily suppose that they
would not be disposed to embrace an exposition which would show
them that the reign of the Messiah, as they anticipated it, would
not occur, but that almost as soon as he appeared, he would be
put to death, and the dominion pass away, and the nation be
subjected to the ravages of a foreign power. 

And the people of the prince that shall come.

Marg., "And they (the Jews) shall be no more his people; or, the
Prince's (Messiah's) future people." This seems to be rather an
explanation of the meaning, than a translation of the Hebrew. The
literal rendering would be, "and the city, and the sanctuary, the
people of a prince that comes, shall lay waste."  On the general
supposition that this whole passage refers to the Messiah and his
time, the language here used is not difficult of interpretation,
and denotes with undoubted accuracy the events that soon followed
the "cutting off" of the Messiah.

The word people (Heb.) is a word that may well be applied to
subjects or armies - such a people as an invading prince or
warrior would lead with him for purposes of conquest. It denotes
properly (a) a people, or tribe, or race in general; and then (b)
the people as opposed to kings, princes, rulers (comp. (Greek),
the people as opposed to chiefs in Homer, ll. ii. 365, xiii. 108,
xxiv. 28): and then as soldiers, Judg. v. 2. Hence it may be
applied, as it would be understood to be here, to the soldiers of
the prince that should come.

Of the prince that shall come.     

The word prince here (Heb.) is the same which occurs in ver.25,
"Messiah the Prince." It is clear, however, that another prince
is meant here, for (a) it is just said that that prince - the
Messiah - would be "cut off," and this clearly refers to one that
was to follow; (b) the phrase "that is to come" (Heb.) would also
imply this. It would naturally suggest the idea that be would
come from abroad, or that he would be a foreign prince - for he
would "come," for the purposes of destruction. No one can fail to
see the applicability of this to the destruction of Jerusalem by
the Roman power, after the Lord Jesus was put to death. If that
was the design of the prophecy, or if it be admitted that the
prophecy contemplated that, the language could not have been
better chosen, or the prediction more exact. No one can
reasonably doubt that, if the ancient Hebrews had understood the
former part of the prophecy, as meaning the true Messiah would be
put to death soon after his appearing, they could not fail to
anticipate that a foreign prince would soon come and lay waste
their city and sanctuary.


To be continued

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