Tuesday, May 30th, 2023
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary Keil & Delitzsch
The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Daniel 12". Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary. https://studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ kdo/ daniel-12.html. 1854-1889.
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Daniel 12". Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary. https://studylight.org/
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ההיא וּבעת points back to קץ בּעת (Daniel 11:4). At the time of the end, in which the hostile persecutor rises up to subdue the whole world, and sets up his camp in the Holy Land to destroy many in great anger and to strike them with the ban ( החרים , Daniel 11:44), i.e., totally to outroot them (Daniel 11:40-45), the great angel-prince Michael shall come forth and fight for the people of God against their oppressor. Regarding Michael, see under Daniel 10:13, p. 771. “Who stands over the sons of thy people,” i.e., stands near, protecting them (cf. for על עמד in the sense of coming to protect, Esther 8:11; Esther 9:16), describes Michael, who carries on his work as Israel's שׂר (Daniel 10:21). That Michael, fighting for Daniel's people, goes forth against the hostile king (Daniel 11:45), is, it is true, not said expressis verbis , but it lies in the context, especially in the עמך ימּלט ( they people shall be delivered) of the second half of the verse, as well as in the expressions regarding Michael, Daniel 10:13 and Daniel 10:21.
But the people of God need such powerful help for their deliverance, because that time shall be one of oppression without any parallel. The description of this oppression seems to be based on Jeremiah 30:7 (C. B. Michaelis, Hengstenberg); but that which is there said is here heightened by the relative clause (cf. Joel 2:2), which enlarges the thought, Exodus 9:18, Exodus 9:24. This צרה עת ( time of distress) is the climax of the oppression which the hostile king shall bring upon Israel, and occurs at the same time as the expiry of the last (the seventieth) week, Daniel 9:26. “The salvation of Israel ( ימּלט ), which is here thought of as brought about under the direction of Michael, coincides essentially with the description, Daniel 7:18, Daniel 7:25., 14, Daniel 9:24.” Thus Kranichfeld rightly remarks. He also rightly identifies the continued victorious deliverance of Israel from the oppression (Daniel 12:1) with the setting up of the Messianic kingdom, described in Daniel 7:2, Daniel 7:9, and finds in this verse (Daniel 12:1) the Messianic kingdom dissolving the world-kingdoms.
With this the opposers of the genuineness of the book of Daniel also agree, and deduce therefrom the conclusion, that the pseudo-Daniel expected, along with the overthrow of Antiochus Epiphanes, the appearance of the Messianic kingdom of glory. This conclusion would be indisputable if the premises from which it is drawn, that ההיא בּעת ( at that time) is the time of Antiochus, were well founded. All attempts of believing interpreters, who, with Porphyry, Grotius, Bleek, v. Lengerke, Hitzig, and others, find the death of Antiochus prophesied in Daniel 11:45, to dismiss this conclusion, appear on close inspection to be untenable. According to Hävernick, with ההיא וּבעת ( and at that time) a new period following that going before is introduced, and that ההיא בּעת means at some future time. The appearance of Michael for his people denotes the appearance of the Messiah; and the sufferings and oppressions connected with his appearance denote the sufferings which the people of Israel shall endure at the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, but which shall be most fully realized only at the second coming of the Lord, Matthew 24:21-22. But this explanation is shattered against the ההיא בּעת , which never has the meaning “at some time,” i.e., in the further future, and is refuted by the following remark of Hitzig: - ”Not once,” says he, with good ground, “can the words ההוּא בּיּום be proved by such passages as 2 Kings 3:6; Isaiah 28:5; Genesis 39:11, to have the meaning of at that day; in ההיא בעת we may not by any means seek such a meaning, and the copula here puts a complete barrier in the way of such arbitrariness. Moreover, if the epoch of Antiochus Epiphanes was indeed a time of oppression, who could a reader then not refer this ההיא to the time of that king described in the foregoing chapter?” Finally, משׂכּילים ( intelligentes ), Daniel 12:3, refers back to the עם משׂכּילי who helped may to knowledge, and who lost their lives in the persecution (Daniel 11:33-34), and now are raised to eternal life.
(Note: These arguments extend also to the overthrow of Ebrard's view, that the expression “to this time” refers to the time after Antiochus Epiphanes shall have died.)
Hävernick, however, was right, in opposing those who refer Daniel 12:1 to the period of persecution under Antiochus, in arguing that the statement of the unheard-of greatness of the affliction is far too strong for such a period, and at the same time that the promise of the deliverance of those that shall be found written in the book does not accord with that Syrian oppression, although he is in error when he interprets the appearance of Michael of the first appearance of Christ. This interpretation receives no support either from Daniel 9:26 or from Matthew 24:21-22, because both passages treat of the coming of Christ in glory. But if the reference of this verse to the appearance of Christ in the flesh is inconsistent with the words, still more so is its reference to the period of Antiochus. Those interpreters who advance this view are under the necessity of violently separating Daniel 12:1 from Daniel 12:2, Daniel 12:3, which undoubtedly treat of the resurrection from the dead.
According to Auberlen, who has rightly conceived that the משׂכּילים , Daniel 12:3, allude to the משׂכּילים , Daniel 11:33 and Daniel 11:34, the הרבּים מצדּיקי to the לרבּים יבינוּ , Daniel 11:33, Daniel 12:2, Daniel 12:3 do not intimate any progress in the development of the history, but by mentioning the resurrection only, are referred to the eternal retribution which awaits the Israelites according to their conduct during the time of great persecution under Antiochus, because, as C. B. Michaelis has said, ejus (i.e., of the resurrection) consideratio magnam vim habet ad confirmandum animum sub tribulationibus . As to the period between the time of trial and the resurrection, nothing whatever is said; for in Daniel 12:2, Daniel 12:3 every designation of time is wanting, while in Daniel 12:1 the expression “at this time” twice occurs. Thus Hengstenberg ( Christol. iii. 1, p. 6) has remarked, “Whether there be a longer or a shorter time between the tribulation of the Maccabean era and the resurrection, the consolation from the fact of the resurrection remains equally powerful. Therefore it is so connected with the deliverance from the persecution as if the one immediately followed the other.” But with this it is conceded that the resurrection from the dead is so associated with the deliverance of Israel from the tyranny of Antiochus as if it came immediately after it, as the opponents of the genuineness of the book affirm. But this interpretation is obviously a mere make-shift.
These verses do not at all present the form of a parenetic reference to the retribution commencing with the resurrection. Daniel 12:2 is by the copula ו connected with Daniel 12:1, and thereby designates the continuance of the thought of the second half of Daniel 12:1, i.e., the further representation of the deliverance of God's people, namely, of all those who are written in the book of life. Since many of the משׂכּילים who know their God (Daniel 11:33) lose their life in the persecution, so in the promise of deliverance a disclosure of the lot awaiting those who sealed with their blood their fidelity to God was not to be avoided, if the prophecy shall wholly gain its end, i.e., if the promise of the deliverance of all the pious shall afford to the people of God in the times of oppression strength and joy in their enduring fidelity to God. The appeal to the fact that Daniel 12:2, Daniel 12:3 contain no designation of time proves nothing at all, for this simple reason, that the verses connected by “and” are by this copula placed under Daniel 12:1, which contains a designation of time, and only further show how this deliverance shall ensue, namely thus, that a part of the people shall outlive the tribulation, but those who lose their lives in the persecution shall rise again from the dead.
To this is to be added that the contents of Daniel 12:1 do not agree with the period of persecution under Antiochus. That which is said regarding the greatness of the persecution is much too strong for it. The words, “There shall be a time of trouble such as never was מהיות , since there was a nation or nations,” designate it as such as never was before on the earth. Theodoret interprets thus: οἵα οὐ γέγονεν, αφ ̓οὐ γεγένηται εθνος ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἕως τοῦ καιροῦ ἐκείνου . With reference to these words our Lord says: οἵα οὐ γέγονεν ἀπ ̓ἀρχῆς κόσμου ἕως τοῦ νῦν, οὐδ ̓οὐ μὴ γένηται , Matthew 24:21. Though the oppression which Antiochus brought upon Israel may have been most severe, yet it could not be said of it without exaggeration, that it was such a tribulation as never had been from the beginning of the world. Antiochus, it is true, sought to outroot Judaism root and branch, but Pharaoh also wished to do the same by his command to destroy all the Hebrew male children at their birth; and as Antiochus wished to make the worship of the Grecian Zeus, so also Jezebel the worship of the Phoenician Hercules, in the place of the worship of Jehovah, the national religion in Israel.
Still less does the second hemistich of Daniel 12:1 refer to the deliverance of the people from the power of Antiochus. Under the words, “every one that shall be found written in the book,” Hitzig remarks that they point back to Isaiah 4:3, and that the book is thus the book of life, and corrects the vain interpretation of v. Lengerke, that “to be written in the book” means in an earthly sense to live, to be appointed to life, by the more accurate explanation, “The book of life is thus the record of those who shall live, it is the list of the citizens of the Messianic kingdom (Philippians 4:3), and in Isaiah contains the names of those who reach it living, in Daniel also of those who must first be raised from the dead for it.” Cf. regarding the book of life, under Exodus 32:32.
Accordingly, ההיא בּעת extends into the Messianic time. This is so far acknowledged by Hofmann ( Weiss. u. Erf. i. p. 313, and Shcriftbew. 2:2, p. 697), in that he finds in Daniel 12:1, from “and there shall be a time,” and in Daniel 12:2, Daniel 12:3, the prophecy of the final close of the history of nations, the time of the great tribulation at the termination of the present course of the world, the complete salvation of Israel in it, and the resurrection of the dead at the end of the world. Since, however, Hofmann likewise refers the last verses of the preceding chapter to the time of Antiochus and his destruction, and can only refer the ההיא וּבעת at the beginning of Daniel 12:1-13, from its close connection with the last words of Daniel 11, to the time which has hitherto been spoken of, so he supposes that in the first clause of the first verse of this chapter (Daniel 12:1-13) there cannot be a passing over to another time, but that this transition is first made by והיתה . This transition he seeks indeed, in the 2nd ed. of his Schriftbew. l.c., to cover by the remark: that we may not explain the words of the angel, וגו עת והיתה , as if they meant: that time shall be a time of trouble such as has not been till now; but much rather that they are to be translated: “and there shall arise a time of trouble such as never was to that time.” But this separation of the words in question from those going before by the translation of והיתה “and there shall arise,” is rendered impossible by the words following, ההיא העת עד ; for these so distinctly point back to the words with which the verse commences, that we may not empty them of their definite contents by the ambiguous “till that time.” If the angel says, There shall arise a time of oppression such as has never been since there were nations till that time when Michael shall appear for his people, or, as Hofmann translates it, shall “hold fast his place,” then to every unprejudiced reader it is clear that this tribulation such as has never been before shall arise not for the first time centuries after the appearance of Michael or of his “holding fast his place,” but in the time of the war of the angel-prince for the people of God. In this same time the angel further places the salvation of the people of Daniel and the resurrection of the dead.
(Note: Hofmann's explanation of the words would only be valid if the definition of time ההיא העת אחרי stood after והיתה in the text, which Hofm. in his most recent attempts at its exposition has interpolated inadvertently, while in his earlier exposition ( Weiss. u. Erf. i. p. 314) he has openly said: “These last things connect themselves with the prospect of the end of that oppressor of Israel, not otherwise than as when Isaiah spoke of the approaching assault of the Assyrians on Jerusalem as of the last affliction of the city, or as in Jeremiah the end of those seventy years is also the end of all the sufferings of his people. There remains therefore a want of clearness in this prospect,” etc. This want of clearness he has, in his most recent exposition in the Schriftbew., not set aside, but increased, by the supposition of an immediate transition from the time of Antiochus to the time of the end.)
The failure of all attempts to gain a space of time between Daniel 11:45 and Daniel 12:1, Daniel 12:2 incontrovertibly shows that the assertions of those who dispute the genuineness of the book, that the pseudo-Daniel expected along with the death of Antiochus the commencement of the Messianic kingdom and of the resurrection of the dead, would have a foundation if the last verses of Daniel 11 treated of the last undertakings of this Syrian king against the theocracy. This if, it has, however, been seen from Daniel 11, is not established. In Daniel 11:40-45 the statements do not refer to Antiochus, but to the time of the end, of the last enemy of the holy God, and of his destruction. With that is connected, without any intervening space, in Daniel 12:1 the description of the last oppression of the people of God and their salvation to everlasting life. The prophecy of that unheard-of great tribulation Christ has in Matthew 24:21 referred, wholly in the sense of the prophetic announcement, to the yet future θλῖψις μεγάλη which shall precede the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven to judge the world and to bring to a consummation the kingdom of God. That this tribulation shall come only upon Israel, the people of God, is not said; the גּוי מהיות refers much more to a tribulation that shall come upon the whole of humanity. In it shall the angel-prince Michael help the people of Daniel, i.e., the people of God. That he shall destroy the hostile king, the Antichrist, is not said. His influence extends only to the assistance which he shall render to the people of God for their salvation, so that all who are written in the book of life shall be saved. Christ, in His eschatological discourse, Matt 24, does not make mention of this assistance, but only says that for the elect's sake the days of the oppression shall be shortened, otherwise that no one would be saved ( ἐσώθη , Matthew 24:22). Wherein the help of Michael consists, is seen partly from that which is said in Daniel 10:13 and Daniel 10:21 regarding him, that he helped the Angel of the Lord in the war against the hostile spirit of the Persian and the Javanic world-kingdom, partly from the war of Michael against the dragon described in Revelation 12:7. From these indications it is clear that we may not limit the help on the part of Michael to the help which he renders to the saints of God in the last war and struggle, but that he stands by them in all wars against the world-power and its princes, and helps them to victory.
But the salvation which the people of God shall experience in the time of the unparalleled great oppression is essentially different from the help which was imparted to the people of Israel in the time of the Maccabees. This is called “a little help,” Daniel 11:34. So also is the oppression of Israel in the time of the Maccabees different from the oppression in the end of the time, as to its object and consequences. The former oppression shall, according to Daniel 11:33-35, serve to purify the people and to make them white to the time of the end; the oppression at the time of the end, on the contrary, according to Daniel 12:1-3, shall effect the salvation ( המּלט ) of the people, i.e., prepare the people for the everlasting life, and bring about the separation of the righteous from the wicked for eternity. These clearly stated distinctions confirm the result already reached, that Daniel 12:1-3 do not treat of the time of Antiochus and the Maccabees.
The promised salvation of the people ( ימּלט ) is more particularly defined by the addition to עמך : “every one who shall be found written in the book,” sc. of life (see above, p. 813); thus every one whom God has ordained to life, all the genuine members of the people of God. נמלט , shall be saved, sc. out of the tribulation, so that they do not perish therein. But since, according to Daniel 11:33., in the oppression, which passes over the people of God for their purification, many shall lose their lives, and this also shall be the case in the last and severest oppression, the angel gives to the prophet, in Daniel 12:2, disclosures also regarding the dead, namely, that they shall awaken out of the sleep of death. By the connection of this verse with the preceding by , ו without any further designation of time, the resurrection of the dead is placed as synchronous with the deliverance of the people. “For that the two clauses, 'thy people shall be delivered' (Daniel 12:1), and 'many shall awake,' not only reciprocally complete each other, but also denote contemporaneous facts, we only deny by first denying that the former declares the final salvation of Israel” (Hofm. Schriftbew. ii. 2, p. 598). ישׁן , sleeping, is here used, as in Job 3:13; Jeremiah 51:39, of death; cf. καθεύδειν , Matthew 9:24; 1 Thessalonians 5:10, and κοιμᾶσθαι , 1 Thessalonians 4:14. אדמת־עפר , occurring only here, formed after Genesis 3:19, means not the dust of the earth, but dusty earth, terra pulveris , denoting the grave, as עפר , Psalms 22:30.
It appears surprising that רבּים , many, shall awake, since according to the sequel, where the rising of some to life and of some to shame is spoken of, much rather the word all might have been expected. This difficulty is not removed by the remark that many stands for all, because רבּים does not mean all. Concerning the opinion that many stands for all, Hofmann remarks, that the expression “sleeping in the dust of earth” is not connected with the word many ( רבּים ), but with the verb “shall awake” ( יקיצוּ ): “of them there shall be many, of whom those who sleep in the earth shall arise” (Hofm.). So also C. B. Michaelis interprets the words by reference to the Masoretic accentuation, which has separated רבּים from מיּשׁני ( sleeping), only that he takes מן in the sense of stating the terminus mutationis a quo . But by this very artificial interpretation nothing at all is gained; for the thought still remains the same, that of those who sleep in the dust many (not all) awake. The partitive interpretation of מן is the only simple and natural one, and therefore with most interpreters we prefer it. The רבּים can only be rightly interpreted from the context. The angel has it not in view to give a general statement regarding the resurrection of the dead, but only disclosures on this point, that the final salvation of the people shall not be limited to those still living at the end of the great tribulation, but shall include also those who have lost their lives during the period of the tribulation.
In Daniel 11:33, Daniel 11:35, the angel had already said, that of “those that understand” many shall fall by the sword and by flame, etc. When the tribulation at the time of the end increases to an unparalleled extent (Daniel 12:1), a yet greater number shall perish, so that when salvation comes, only a remnant of the people shall be then in life. To this surviving remnant of the people salvation is promised; but the promise is limited yet further by the addition: “every one that is found written in the book;” not all that are then living, but only those whose names are recorded in the book of life shall be partakers of the deliverance, i.e., of the Messianic salvation. But many ( רבּים ) of those that sleep, who died in the time of tribulation, shall awake out of sleep, some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting shame. As with the living, so also with the dead, not all attain to salvation. Also among those that arise there shall be a distinction, in which the reward of the faithful and of the unfaithful shall be made known. The word “many” is accordingly used only with reference to the small number of those who shall then be living, and not with reference either to the universality of the resurrection of the dead or to a portion only of the dead, but merely to add to the multitude of the dead, who shall then have part with the living, the small number of those who shall experience in the flesh the conclusion of the matter.
If we consider this course of thought, then we shall find it necessary neither to obtrude upon רבּים the meaning of all, - a meaning which it has not and cannot have, for the universality of the resurrection is removed by the particle מן , which makes it impossible that , οἱ πολλοί = πάντες ; for this conclusion can only be drawn from the misapprehension of the course of thought here presented, that this verse contains a general statement of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, an idea which is foreign to the connection.
From the correct interpretation of the course of thought arises the correct answer to the controverted question, whether here we are taught concerning the resurrection of the people of Israel, or concerning the resurrection of mankind generally. Neither the one nor the other of these things is taught here. The prophetic words treat of the people of Daniel, by which we are to understand the people of Israel. But the Israel of the time of the end consists not merely of Jews or of Jewish Christians, but embraces all peoples who belong to God's kingdom of the New Covenant founded by Christ. In this respect the resurrection of all is here implicite intimated, and Christ has explicitly set forth the thoughts lying implicite in this verse; for in John 5:28. He teaches the awakening from sleep of all the dead, and speaks, with unmistakeable reference to this passage before us, of an ἀνάστασις ζωῆς and an ἀνάστασις κρίσεως . For in the O.T. our verse is the only passage in which, along with the resurrection to everlasting life, there is mention also made of the resurrection to everlasting shame, or the resurrection of the righteous and of the wicked. The conception of עולם , חיּי ζωὴ αἰώνιος , meets us here for the first time in the O.T. חיּים denotes, it is true, frequently the true life with God, the blessed life in communion with God, which exists after this life; but the addition עולם does not generally occur, and is here introduced to denote, as corresponding to the eternal duration of the Messianic kingdom (Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:14, Daniel 7:27, cf. Daniel 9:24), the life of the righteous in this kingdom as imperishable. עולם לדראון לחרפות forms the contrast to עולם לחיּי ; for first חרפות , shame (a plur. of intensive fulness), is placed over against the חיּי , then this shame is designated in reference to Isaiah 66:24 as דּראון , contempt, an object of aversion.
Then shall they who in the times of tribulation have led many to the knowledge of salvation receive the glorious reward of their faithfulness. With this thought the angel closes the announcement of the future. המשׂכּילים refers back to Daniel 11:33-35, and is here, as there, not limited to the teachers, but denotes the intelligent who, by instructing their contemporaries by means of word and deed, have awakened them to stedfastness and fidelity to their confession in the times of tribulation and have strengthened their faith, and some of whom have in war sealed their testimony with their blood. These shall shine in eternal life with heavenly splendour. The splendour of the vault of heaven (cf. Exodus 24:10) is a figure of the glory which Christ designates as a light like the sun (“The righteous shall shine forth as the sun,” Matthew 13:43, referring to the passage before us). Cf. for this figure also Revelation 2:28 and 1 Corinthians 15:40. By the expression הרבּים מצדּיקי Kranichfeld would understand such as take away the sins of the people in the offering up of sacrifice, i.e., the priests who attend to the offering of the sacrifices, because the expression is borrowed from Isaiah 53:11, “where it is predicated of the Messianic priest κατ ̓ἐξοχὴν , in the fullest sense of the word, what is said here of the common priests.” But this interpretation is not satisfactory. In Isaiah 53:11 the Servant of Jehovah justifies many, not by the sacrifice, but by His righteousness, by this, that He, as צדּיק who has done no sin, takes upon Himself the sins of the people and gives His soul an offering for sin. הצּדּיק is neither in the law of sacrifices nor anywhere in the O.T. named as the effect of the sacrifice, but always only עון שׂאת ( נשׂא ) ( to take up, take away iniquity) and כּפּר , and in the expiatory sacrifices with the constant addition לו (<) ונסלח ; cf. Leviticus 4:26, Leviticus 4:31, Leviticus 4:35; Leviticus 5:10, Leviticus 5:16; Psalms 32:1.
Nor is the practice of offering sacrifice anywhere described as a הצּדּיק . This word signifies to assist in obtaining, or to lead to, righteousness, and is here to be read in this general interpretation, and not to be identified with the Pauline δικαιοῦσθαι . The מצדּיקים are those who by their צדקה , i.e., by their fidelity to the law, led others to צדקה , showed them by their example and teaching the way to righteousness.
The salvation of the people, which the end shall bring in, consists accordingly in the consummation of the people of God by the resurrection of the dead and the judgment dividing the pious from the godless, according to which the pious shall be raised to eternal life, and the godless shall be given up to everlasting shame and contempt. But the leaders of the people who, amid the wars and conflicts of this life, have turned many to righteousness, shall shine in the imperishable glory of heaven.
The Close of the Revelation of God and of the Book
As the revelation in Daniel 8 closes with the direction, “Wherefore shut thou up the vision” (Daniel 8:26), so this before us closes with the command (Daniel 12:4), “But thou Daniel shut up these words;” and as in the former case החזון denotes the vision interpreted to him by the angel, so here הדּברים can only be the announcements of the angel, Daniel 11:2-12:3, along with the preceding appearance, Daniel 10:2-11:1, thus only the revelation designated as דּבר , Daniel 10:1. Accordingly, also, סתן is obviously to be interpreted in the meaning illustrated and defended under Daniel 8:25, to shut up in the sense of guarding; and thus also חתם , to seal. Thus all the objections against this command are set aside which Hitzig has derived from the sealing, which he understands of the sealing up of the book, so that he may thereby cast doubt on the genuineness of the book.
It is disputed whether הספר is only the last revelation, Daniel 10-12 (Hävernick, v. Leng., Maurer, Kran.), or the whole book (Bertholdt, Hitzig, Auberlen, Kliefoth). That ספר might designate a short connected portion, a single prophecy, is placed beyond a doubt by Nahum 1:1; Jeremiah 51:63. The parallelism of the members of the passage also appears to favour the opinion that הספר stands in the same meaning as הדּברים . But this appearance amounts to a valid argument only under the supposition that the last revelation stands unconnected with the revelations going before. But since this is not the case, much rather the revelation of these chapters is not only in point of time the last which Daniel received, but also forms the essential conclusion of all earlier revelations, then the expression used of the sealing of this last revelation refers plainly to the sealing of the whole book. This supposition is unopposed. That the writing down of the prophecy is not commanded to Daniel, cannot be objected against. As this is here and in Daniel 8:26 presupposed as a matter of course, for the receiving of a revelation without committing it to writing is not practicable, so we may without hesitation suppose that Daniel wrote down all the earlier visions and revelations as soon as he received them, so that with the writing down of the last of them the whole book was completed. For these reasons we understand by הספר the whole book. For, as Kliefoth rightly remarks, the angel will close, Daniel 12:4, the last revelation, and along with it the whole prophetical work of Daniel, and dismiss him from his prophetical office, as he afterwards, Daniel 12:13, does, after he has given him, Daniel 12:5-12, disclosures regarding the periods of these wonderful things that were announced. He must seal the book, i.e., guard it securely from disfigurement, “till the time of the end,” because its contents stretch out to the time of the end. Cf. Daniel 8:26, where the reason for the sealing is stated in the words, “for yet it shall be for many days.” Instead of such a statement as that, the time of the end is here briefly named as the terminus , down to which the revelation reaches, in harmony with the contents of Daniel 11:40-12:3, which comprehend the events of the time of the end.
The two clauses of Daniel 12:4 are differently explained. The interpretation of J. D. Michaelis, “Many shall indeed go astray, but on the other side also the knowledge shall be great,” is verbally just as untenable as that of Hävernick, “Many shall wander about, i.e., in the consciousness of their misery, strive after salvation, knowledge.” For שׁוּט signifies neither to go astray ( errare ) nor to wander about, but only to go to and fro, to pass through a land, in order to seek out or search, to go about spying (Zechariah 4:10, of the eyes of God; Ezekiel 27:8, Ezekiel 27:26, to row). From these renderings there arises for this passage before us the meaning, to search through, to examine, a book; not merely to “read industriously” (Hitzig, Ewald), but thoroughly to search into it (Gesenius). The words do not supply the reason for the command to seal, but they state the object of the sealing, and are not (with many interpreters) to be referred merely to the time of the end, that then for the first time many shall search therein and find great knowledge. This limiting of their import is connected with the inaccurate interpretation of the sealing as a figure either of the incomprehensibility of the prophecy or of the secrecy of the writing, and is set aside with the correct interpretation of this figure. If Daniel, therefore, must only place the prophecy securely that it may continue to the time of the end, the sealing thus does not exclude the use of it in transcriptions, then there exists no reason for thinking that the searching into it will take place only for the first time in the end. The words וגו רבּים ישׁטטוּ are not connected with the preceding by any particle or definition of time, whereby they should be limited to קץ עת . To this is to be added, that this revelation, according to the express explanation of the angel (Daniel 10:14), refers to all that shall be experienced by the people of Daniel from the time of Cyrus to the time of the end. If, then, it must remain sealed or not understood till the time of the end, it must have lain unused and useless for centuries, while it was given for the very purpose of reflecting light on the ways of God for the pious in all times, and of imparting consolation amid their tribulations to those who continued stedfast in their fidelity. In order to serve these purposes it must be accessible at all times, so that they might be able to search into it, to judge events by it and to strengthen their faith. Kliefoth therefore is right in his thus interpreting the whole passage: “Daniel must place in security the prophecies he has received until the time of the end, so that through all times many men may be able to read them and gain understanding (better: obtain knowledge) from them.” הדּעת is the knowledge of the ways of the Lord with His people, which confirms them in their fidelity towards God.
With Daniel 12:4 the revelation might have concluded, as that in Daniel ends with the direction to shut up the vision. But then a disclosure regarding the times of the events prophesied of, which Daniel might have expected according to the analogy of the visions in Daniel 8 and 9, would have been wanting. This disclosure is given to him in Daniel 12:5-12, and that in a very solemn, impressive way. The appearance which hitherto he has seen is changed. He sees two other angels standing on the banks of the river, the one on this side and the other on that side. והנּה ... וראיתי ( then I looked, and lo) does not, it is true, indicate a new vision so much as a new scene in the vision, which still continued. The words אהרים שׁנים , two others, sc. heavenly beings or angels (without the article), show that they now for the first time became visible, and were different from the one who was hitherto seen by him and had spoken with him. Therefore the supposition that the one of these two angels was Gabriel, who had communicated to him the revelation, fails, even if, which is according to our exposition, not the case, the speaker in Daniel 11 and Daniel 12:1-13 were this angel.
Besides these two now first seen by Daniel, he who was “clothed in linen” is named as standing above the waters of the river; but when we take into view the whole scene, he is by no means to be regarded as now for the first time coming into view. The use of the article ( לאישׁ ), and the clothing that characterized him, point him out as the person spoken of in Daniel 10:5. Hence our view developed in p. 768 is confirmed, viz., that previously the man clothed in linen was visible to Daniel alone, and announced to him the future. He also in the sequel alone speaks with Daniel. One of the other two makes inquiry regarding the end of the wonderful things, so as to give occasion to him (as in Daniel 8:13 and Daniel 8:14) to furnish an answer. With this the question presses itself upon us, For what purpose do the two angels appear, since only one of them speaks - the other neither does anything nor speaks? Leaving out of view the opinion of Jerome, Grotius, Stäudlin, and Ewald, that the two angels were the guardian spirits of Persia and Greece, and other conceits, such e.g., as that they represent the law and the prophets (after a gloss in the Cod. Chis.), which Geier has rejected as figmenta hominum textus auctoritate destituta , we confine ourselves to a consideration of the views of Hitzig and Kliefoth.
Hitzig thinks that the two angels appear as witnesses of the oath, and that for that reason there are two; cf. Deuteronomy 19:15 with Deuteronomy 31:28. But these passage do not prove that for the ratification of an oath witnesses are necessary. The testimony of two or three witnesses was necessary only for the attestation of an accusation laid before a judge. Add to this also that in Daniel 8:13. two angels appear along with him whose voice came from the Ulai (Daniel 8:16), without any oath being there given. It is true that there the two angels speak, but only the utterance of one of them is communicated. Hence the conjecture is natural, that here also both of the angels spake, the one calling to the other the question that was addressed to the Angel of the Lord hovering over the water, as Theodot. and Ephrem Syrus appear to have thought, and as Klief. regards as probable. In any case the appearance of the angels on the two banks of the river stands in actual connection with the hovering of the man clothed in linen above the waters of this river, in which the circumstance merits consideration that the river, according to Daniel 10:4 the Tigris, is here called יאר , as besides the Nile only is called in the O.T. The hovering above the stream can represent only the power or dominion over it. But Kliefoth is inclined to regard the river as an emblem of time flowing on to eternity; but there is no support in Scripture for such a representation. Besides, by this the appellation יאר is not taken into consideration, by which, without doubt, the river over which the Angel of the Lord hovers is designated as a Nile; i.e., it is indicated that as the Angel of the Lord once smote the waters of the Nile to ransom his people out of Egypt, so in the future shall he calm and suppress the waves of the river which in Daniel's time represented the might of the world-kingdom.
(Note: C. B. Michaelis has similarly interpreted the standing (or hovering) over the waters of the river as symbolum potestatis atque dominii supremi, quo non solum terram continentem et aridam, sed etiam aquas pedibus quasi suis subjectas habet, et ea quae aquarum instar tumultuantur, videlicet gentes, adversus ecclesiam Dei insurgentes atque frementes, compescere et coercere potest . Only he has not in this regard to the name יאר .)
The river Hiddekel (Tigris) was thus a figure of the Persian world-power, through whose territory it flowed (cf. for this prophetic type, Isaiah 8:6-7; Psalms 124:3-4), and the designation of the river as יאר , Nile, contains an allusion to the deliverance of Israel from the power of Egypt, which in its essence shall be repeated in the future. Two other angels stand as servants by the side of the Angel of the Lord, the ruler over the Hiddekel, prepared to execute his will. Thus interpreted, all the features of the vision gain an interpretation corresponding with the contents of the prophecy.
But the significance of the whole scene, which presents itself to the prophet after he received the announcement, at the same time shows that the Daniel 12:5-12 form no mere supplementary communication, which is given to Daniel before he is wholly dismissed for his prophetical office, regarding the question that lay upon his heart as to the duration of the severe tribulation that was announced, but that this disclosure constitutes an integral part of the foregoing revelation, and is placed at the end of the angel's message only because a change of scene was necessary for the giving prominence to the import of this disclosure.
Thus, to give the prophet the firm certainty that the oppression of his people spoken of, on the part of the ungodly world-rulers, when it has gained its end, viz., The purification of the people, shall bring about, along with the destruction of the enemy of the last time, the salvation of those who are truly the people of God in their advancement to eternal life in glory, the Angel of the Lord standing above the waters of the river presents himself to view as the guide and ruler of the affairs of the nations, and announces with a solemn oath the duration and the end of the time of tribulation. This announcement is introduced by the question of the angel standing by the river: “Till when the end, i.e., how long continues the end, of these wonderful things?” not: “When shall the end of these things be?” (Kran.) הפּלאות are, according to the context, the extraordinary things which the prophecy had declared, particularly the unheard-of oppressions described in Daniel 11:30.; cf. with פּלאות the synonym נפּלאות , Daniel 11:36 and Daniel 8:24. But the question is not: “How long shall all these פּלאות themselves continue?” but: “How long shall הפּלאות קץ , the end of these wonderful things, continue?” The end of these things is the time of the end prophesied of from Daniel 11:40 to Daniel 12:3, with all that shall happen in it. To this the man clothed with linen answers with a solemn oath for the confirmation of his statement. The lifting up of his hands to heaven indicates the solemnity of the oath. Commonly he who swears lifts up only one hand; cf. Deuteronomy 32:40; Ezekiel 20:5, and the remark under Exodus 6:8; but here with greater solemnity both hands are lifted up, and he swears העולם בּחי , by Him that liveth for ever. This predicate of God, which we have already heard from the mouth of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 4:31, here points back to Deuteronomy 32:40, where God swears, “I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever,” and is quoted from this verse before us in Revelation 10:6, and there further expanded. This solemn form of swearing shows that the question and answer must refer not to the duration of the period of the persecution under Antiochus, but to that under the last enemy, the Antichrist. The definition of time given in the answer leads us also to this conclusion: a time, two times, and half a time; which accurately agrees with the period of time named in Daniel 7:25 as that of the duration of the actions of the enemy of God who would arise out of the fourth world-kingdom. The כּי serves, as ὅτι frequently, only for the introducing of the statement or the answer. ל before מועד does not signify till (= עד , Daniel 7:25), but to or upon, at. In both of the clauses of the answer, “space of time and point of time, duration and final end, are connected, and this relation is indicated by an interchange of the prepos. ל and כ ” (Hitzig). In וגו למועד ( for a time, etc.) is given the space of time on or over which the פּלאות קץ ( the end of these wonders) stretches itself, and in the following clause, וגו וּככלּות ( and when he shall have accomplished, etc.), the point of time in which the wonderful things reach their end. Thus the two expressions of the oath are related to one another.
In the second clause יד נפּץ are differently expounded. Ancient and very wide-spread is the exposition of נפּץ by to scatter. Theodotion has translated the words thus: ἐν τῷ συντελεσθῆναι διασκορπισμόν ; and Jerome (Vulg.): cum completa fuerit dispersio manus populi sancti . Hävernick, v. Lengerke, Gesenius, de Wette, Hitzig: when at the end of the dispersion of a portion of the holy people, which Häv., v. Leng., and others understand of the dispersion of Israel into the different countries of the world, which dispersion shall be brought to an end, according to the prophetic view, at the time of the Messianic final victory; Joel 3:5. (Daniel 2:32.); Amos 9:11. Hitzig, however, refers this to the circumstance that Simon and Judas Maccabaeus brought back their people to Judea who were living scattered among the heathen in Galilee and Gilead (1 Macc. 5:23, 45, 53, 54). But against such an interpretation of the word נפּץ , Hofmann ( Weiss. u. Erf. i. p. 314) has with justice replied, that the reference to the reunion of Israel, which is nowhere else presented in Daniel, would enter very unexpectedly into this connection, besides that נפּץ does not agree with its object יד , though we should translate this by “might,” or altogether improperly by “part.” יד has not the meaning “part,” which is attributed to it only on the ground of an incorrect interpretation of certain passages. נפּץ signifies to beat to pieces, to shatter; cf. Psalms 2:9; Psalms 137:9, and in the Pu. Isaiah 27:9. This is the primary meaning of the word, from which is attempted to be derived the meaning, to burst asunder, to scatter. This primary meaning of the word, however, Hengstenberg, Maurer, Auberlen, Kranichfeld, Kliefoth, and Ewald have rightly maintained in this place. Only we may not, with them, translate כּלּות by: to have an end, for then the answer would be tautological, since the breaking to pieces of the might of the people is identical with their scattering, but it has the meaning to make perfect, to accomplish, so that nothing more remains to be done. יד , hand, is the emblem of active power; the shattering of the hand is thus the complete destruction of power to work, the placing in a helpless and powerless condition, such as Moses has described in the words יד אזלת כּי ( for the hand is gone), Deuteronomy 32:36, and announced that when this state of things shall arise, then “the Lord shall judge His people, and repent Himself for His servants.” With this harmonizes the conclusion of the oath: then all these things shall be finished, or shall complete themselves. כּל־אלּה ( all these things) are the פּלאות , Daniel 12:6. To these “wonderful things” belong not merely the crushing of the holy people in the tribulation such as never was before, but also their deliverance by the coming of the angel-prince Michael, the resurrection of the dead, and the eternal separation of the righteous from the wicked (Daniel 12:1-3). This last designation of the period of time goes thus, beyond a doubt, to the end of all things, or to the consummation of the kingdom of God by the resurrection of the dead and the final judgment. With this also agrees with expression קדשׁ עם , which is not to be limited to the converted Jews. The circumstance that in Daniel's time the Israel according to the flesh constituted the “holy people,” does not necessitate our understanding this people when the people of God are spoken of in the time of the end, since then the faithful from among all nations shall be the holy people of God.
But by the majority of modern interpreters the designation of time, three and a half times, is referred to the duration of the oppression of the Jews under Antiochus Epiphanes; whence Bleek, v. Lengerke, Maurer, Hitzig, Ewald, and others conclude that the Maccabean pseudo-Daniel placed together as synchronous the death of Antiochus and the beginning of the Messianic salvation. Hävernick finds in the answer two different designations of time, but has said nothing as to the relation they bear to each other; Hofmann ( Weiss. u. Erf. i. p. 314) finds an obscurity in this, that the end of all things is simply placed in connection with the end of the oppressor Antiochus (see under Daniel 12:1). But, thus Kliefoth rightly asks, on the contrary, “How is it only possible that the catastrophe of Antiochus, belonging to the middle of the times, and the time of the end lying in the distant future, are so comprehended in one clause in an answer to a question regarding a point of time? How as it possible that to the question, How long continues the end of the wonders? it could be answered: For three and a half years shall Antiochus carry on his work; and when it comes to an end in the breaking of the people, then all shall come to an end? Thus the last only would be an answer to the question, and the first an addition not appertaining to it. Or how were it possible that for the expression, 'all shall be ended,' two characteristics were given, one of which belonged to the time of Antiochus and the other to the time of the end?” And, we must further ask, are we necessitated by the statement to make such an unnatural supposition? Certainly not. The two clauses do not give two different definitions of time, i.e., refer to different periods of time, but only two definitions of one period of time, the first of which describes its course according to a symbolical measure of time, the second its termination according to an actual characteristic. None of these definitions of time has any reference to the oppression of the holy people by Antiochus, but the one as well as the other refers to the tribulation of the time of the end. The measure of time: time, times, and half a time, does not indeed correspond to the duration of the dominion of the little horn proceeding from the Javanic world-kingdom (spoken of in Daniel 8) = 2300 evening-mornings (Daniel 8:14), but literally (for מועד corresponds with the Chald. עדּן ) agrees with that in Daniel 7:25, for the dominion of the hostile king, the Antichrist, rising out of the ten kingdoms of the fourth or last world-kingdom. יד נפּץ כּכלּות also refers to this enemy; for of him it is said, Daniel 7:21, Daniel 7:25, that he shall prevail against and destroy the saints of the Most High ( יבלּא , Daniel 7:25).
The reference of both the statements in the oath to the history of the end, or the time of Antichrist, has therefore been recognised by Auberlen and Zündel, although the latter understands also, with Hofmann, Daniel 11:36-45 of the oppression of Israel by Antiochus. To the question, how long the end of the terrible things prophesied of in Daniel 11:40-12:1 shall continue, the Angel of the Lord hovering over the waters answered with a solemn oath: Three and a half times, which, according to the prophecy of Daniel 7:25 and Daniel 9:26-27, are given for the fullest unfolding of the power of the last enemy of God till his destruction; and when in this time of unparalleled oppression the natural strength of the holy people shall be completely broken to piece, then shall these terrible things have reached their end. Regarding the definition of time, cf. The exposition under Daniel 7:25.
Daniel heard his answer, but he understood it not. To שׁמעתּי , as to אבין לא , the object is wanting, because it can easily be supplied from the connection, namely, the meaning of the answer of the man clothed in linen. Grotius has incorrectly supplied quid futurum esset from the following question, in which he has also incorrectly rendered אלּה אחרית by post illiu triennii et temporis semestris spatium . Hävernick has also defined the object too narrowly, for he has referred the non-understanding merely to the mysterious number (a time, two times, etc.). It was, besides, not merely the double designation of time in Daniel 12:7 which first at the hour of his receiving it, but while it was yet unintelligible to the hearer, compelled Daniel, as Hitzig thinks, to put the further question. The whole answer in Daniel 12:7 is obscure. It gives no measure for the “times,” and thus no intelligible disclosure for the prophet regarding the duration of the end, and in the definition, that at the time of the deepest humiliaton of the people the end shall come, leaves wholly undefined when this shall actually take place.
(Note: As to this latter circumstance L'Empereur remarks: Licet Daniel ex antecedentibus certo tempus finiendarum gravissimarum calamitatum cognoverit, tamen illum latuit, quo temporis articulo calamitas inceptura esset: quod ignorantiam quandam in tota prophetia peperit, cum a priori termino posterioris exacta scientia dependeret. Initium quidem variis circumstantiis definitum fuerat: sed quando circumstantiae futurae essent, antequam evenirent, ignorabatur .)
Hence his desire for a more particular disclosure.
The question, “what the end of these?” is very differently interpreted. Following the example of Grotius, Kliefoth takes אחרית in the sense of that which follows something which is either clearly seen from the connection or is expressly stated, and explains אלּה אחרית of that which follows or comes after this. But אלּה is not, with most interpreters, to be taken as identical with כּל־אלּה of Daniel 12:7; for since “this latter phrase includes all the things prophesied of down to the consummation, then would this question refer to what must come after the absolute consummation of all things, which would be meaningless.” Besides, the answer, Daniel 12:11, Daniel 12:12, which relates to the things of Antiochus, would not harmonize with such a question. Much more are we, with Auberlen (p. 75f.), to understand אלּה of the present things and circumstances, things then in progress at the time of Daniel and the going forth of the prophecy. In support of this interpretation Auberlen adds, “The angel with heavenly eye sees into the far distant end of all; the prophet, with human sympathies, regards the more immediate future of his people.” But however correct the remark, that אלּה is not identical with כּל־אלּה , this not identical with all this, there is no warrant for the conclusion drawn from it, that אלּה designates the present things and circumstances existing under Antiochus at the time of Daniel. אלּה must, by virtue of the connection in Daniel 12:7, Daniel 12:8, be understood of the same things and circumstances, and a distinction between the two is established only by כּל . If we consider this distinction, then the question, What is the last of these things? contains not the meaningless thought, that yet something must follow after the absolute consummation, but the altogether reasonable thought, Which shall be the last of the פּלאות prophesied of? Thus Daniel could ask in the hope of receiving an answer from which he might learn the end of all these פּלאות more distinctly than from the answer given by the angel in Daniel 12:7. But as this reference of אלּה to the present things and circumstances is excluded by the connection, so also is the signification attributed to אחרית , of that which follows something, verbally inadmissible; see under Daniel 8:19.
Most other interpreters have taken אחרית as synonymous with קץ , which Hävernick seeks to establish by a reference to Daniel 8:19, Daniel 8:23, and Deuteronomy 11:12. But none of these passage establishes this identity. קץ is always thus distinguished from אחרית , that it denotes a matter after its conclusion, while אחרית denotes the last or the uttermost of the matter. A distinction which, it is true, may in many cases become irrelevant. For if this distinction is not noticed here, we would be under the necessity, in order to maintain that the two questions in Daniel 12:6, Daniel 12:8 are not altogether identical, of giving to מה the meaning qualis (Maurer), of what nature (Hofmann, v. Lengerke, and others); a meaning which it has not, and which does not accord with the literal idea of אחרית . “Not how? but what? is the question; מה is not the predicate, but the subject, the thing inquired about.” Thus Hitzig, who is altogether correct in thus stating the question: “What, i.e., which even its the uttermost, the last of the פּלאות , which stands before the end?”
The answer, לך , go thy way, Daniel, is quieting, and at the same time it contains a refusal to answer; yet it is not wholly a refusal, as is clear from Daniel 12:11, Daniel 12:12. The disclosure regarding the end which is given to him in these verses shows distinctly that the end of the things is not so revealed as that men shall be able to know it beforehand with certainty.
(Note: On this Calvin has well remarked: Quamvis Daniel non stulta curiositate inductus quaesierit ex angelo de fine mirabilium, tamen non obtinet, quod petebat, quia scilicet voluit Deus ad modum aliquem intelligi quae praedixerat, sed tamen aliquid manere occultum usque dum veniret maturum plenae revelationis tempus. Haec igitur ratio est, cur angelus non exaudiat Danielem. Pium quidem erat ejus votum (neque enim optat quicquam scire plus quam jus esset), verum Deus scit quod opus sit, ideo non concessit quod optabat .)
לך signifies neither go hence, i.e., depart, die (Bertholdt, Hävernick), nor go away, instead of standing waiting for an answer (Hitzig), for the angel does give him an answer; but as the formula dimittentis ut excitantis ad animi tranquillitatem (C. B. Michaelis), it has the meaning: vade Daniel, h. e. mitte hanc praesentem tuam curam . “Be at peace, leave this matter alone” (Geier and others, and similarly v. Lengerke, Kranichfeld, Kliefoth). The clause assigning the reason for the command כּי ( for the words are shut up, etc.), is chiefly interpreted as referring the closing and sealing up to the incomprehensibility of the prophecy. Thus e.g., Ewald explains it: “For hidden and sealed up are the words, all the things contained in these prophecies, till the time of the end; then shall they be easily unsealed and deciphered.” But since, according to Daniel 12:4, Daniel himself must shut up and seal the book, the participles in the clause, assigning the reason for the command לך , cannot have the meaning of the perfect, but only state what is or shall be done: shut up - they shall be (remain) till the time of the end; thus they only denote the shutting up and sealing which must be accomplished by Daniel. But Daniel could not make the prophecy unintelligible, since (Daniel 12:8) he himself did not understand it; nor could he seal it up till the time of the end, since he did not live to see the end. The shutting up and sealing which was commanded to the prophet can therefore only consist in this, that the book should be preserved in security against any defacement of its contents, so that it might be capable of being read at all times down to the time of the end, and might be used by God's people for the strengthening of their faith; cf. Daniel 8:26. “Thus Daniel is calmed in regard to his not understanding it by the fact that this whole prophecy ( הדּברים as in Daniel 12:4) shall be guarded and placed in safety, and shall continue through all times down to the end” (Kliefoth). For the use of it in all times is supposed in Daniel 12:10.
The first clause of this verse is interpreted from Daniel 11:35. The being purified is effected through tribulation and affliction, which the people shall endure to the end. The prophecy shall serve for the gaining of this object. It is true, indeed, that this perfection shall not be attained by all; they that are ungodly shall remain ungodly still, and therefore they do not come to the understanding of the words which all the wise shall gain. יבינוּ and יבינוּ לא stand in such distinct relation to the אבין לא ( I understood not), Daniel 12:8, that they must be taken in the same sense in both places, i.e., not to have insight in general, but by supplying הדּברים as the object from Daniel 12:8, to have understanding of the prophecy. This is denied of the wicked or the godless. Only the wise shall gain it. Thus the angel says to Daniel for the purpose of calming him regarding his non-understanding: - Calm thyself, Daniel, if thou dost not understand these words. The prophecy shall be preserved for all times to the end of the days. These times shall bring many tribulations, to purify thy people; and though by these afflictions all shall not be converted, but the wicked shall remain wicked still and shall not understand the prophecy, yet the wise shall be purified and made white by the afflictions, and the longer they are tried the better shall they learn to understand the prophecy. Thus, though thou thyself understandest it not, yet it shall be a source of great blessing to the people of God, and in all times, even unto the end, they shall have more and more an understanding of it.
Thus has Kliefoth rightly presented the meaning of both verses, and in confirmation of this interpretation has referred to 1 Peter 1:10, 1 Peter 1:12, where, with reference to the passage before us (cf. Hengstenberg, Beitrag. i. p. 273f.), it is said that the prophets received the prophecies of the end not for themselves alone, but much rather for “ us,” for those who come after.
The angel gives to the prophet yet one revelation more regarding the duration of the time of tribulation and its end, which should help him to understand the earlier answer. The words, “from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination of the desolation,” so distinctly point back to Daniel 11:31, that they must here be referred, as there, to the wickedness of Antiochus in his desecrating the sanctuary of the Lord. The circumstance that the שׁקּוּץ ( abomination) is here described as שׁמם and in Daniel 11:31 as משׁמם , indicates no material distinction. In Daniel 11:31, where the subject spoken of is the proceedings of the enemy of God causing desolation, the abomination is viewed as משׁמם , bringing desolation; here, with reference to the end of those proceedings, as שׁמם , brought to desolation; cf. under Daniel 9:27. All interpreters therefore have found in these two verses statements regarding the duration of the persecutions carried on by Antiochus Epiphanes, and have sought to compare them with the period of 2300 evening-mornings mentioned in Daniel 8:14, in order thus to reckon the duration of the time during which this enemy of God shall prosecute his wicked designs.
But as the opinion is regarding the reckoning of the 2300 evening-mornings in Daniel 8:14 are very diverse from each other, so also are they here. First the interpretation of ולתת ( and set up) is disputed. Wieseler is decidedly wrong in thinking that it designates the terminsu ad quem to הוּסר מעת ( from the time shall be removed), as is generally acknowledged. Hitzig thinks that with ולתת the foregoing infin. הוּסר is continued, as Ecclesiastes 9:1; Jeremiah 17:10; Jeremiah 19:12, and therewith a second terminus a quo supposed. This, however, is only admissible if this second terminus stands in union with the first, and a second terminus ad quem also stands over against it as the parallel to the later terminus ad quem . Both here denote: the daily sacrifice shall be taken away forty-five days before the setting up of the βδέλυγμα ἐρημώσεως , and by so much the date in Daniel 12:12 comes below that of Daniel 12:11. According to this, both verses are to be understood thus: from the time of the taking away of the daily sacrifice as 1290 days, and from the time of the setting up of the abomination of desolation are 1335 days. But this interpretation is utterly destitute of support. In the first place, Hitzig has laid its foundation, that the setting up of the idol-abomination is separated from the cessation of the worship of Jehovah by forty-five days, only by a process of reasoning in a circle. In the second place, the המחכּה אשׁרי ( blessed is he that waiteth), Daniel 12:12, decidedly opposes the combining of the 1335 days with the setting up of the idol-abomination; and further, the grammatical interpretation of ולתת is not justified. The passages quoted in its favour are all of a different character; there a clause with definite time always goes before, on which the infinitive clause depends. Kranichfeld seeks therefore to take הוּסר also not as an infinitive, but as a relative asyndetical connection of the praeter. proph. to עת , by which, however, no better result is gained. For with the relative interpretation of הוּסר : the time, since it is taken away ... ולתת cannot so connect itself that this infinitive yet depends on עת . The clause beginning with ולתת cannot be otherwise interpreted than as a final clause dependent on וגו הוּסר מעת ; thus here and in Daniel 2:16, as in the passages quoted by Hitzig, in the sense: to set (to set up) the abomination, so that the placing of the abomination of desolation is viewed as the object of the taking away of the תּמיד ( daily sacrifice). From this grammatically correct interpretation of the two clauses it does not, however, follow that the setting up of the idol-abomination first followed later than the removal of the daily sacrifice, so that ולתת signified “to set up afterwards,” as Kliefoth seeks to interpret it for the purpose of facilitating the reckoning of the 1290 days. Both can be done at the same time, the one immediately after the other.
A terminus ad quem is not named in both of the definitions. This appears from the words “blessed is he that waiteth ... .” By this it is said that after the 1335 days the time of tribulation shall be past. Since all interpreters rightly understand that the 1290 and the 1335 days have the same terminus a quo , and thus that the 1290 days are comprehended in the 1335, the latter period extending beyond the former by only forty-five days; then the oppression cannot properly last longer than 1290 days, if he who reaches to the 1335 days is to be regarded as blessed.
With regard to the reckoning of these two periods of time, we have already shown that neither the one nor the other accords with the 2300 evening-mornings, and that there is no ground for reckoning those 2300 evening-mornings for the sake of these verses before us as 1150 days. Moreover, we have there already shown how the diversity of the two statements is explained from this, that in Daniel 8:14 a different terminus a quo is named from that in Daniel 12:11.; and besides have remarked, that according to 1 Macc. 1:54, 59, cf. with 4:52, the cessation of the Mosaic order of worship by sacrifice lasted for a period of only three years and ten days. Now if these three years and ten days are reckoned according to the sun-year at 365 days, or according to the moon-year at 354 days with the addition of an intercalary month, they amount to 1105 or 1102 days. The majority of modern interpreters identify, it is true, the 1290 days with the 3 1/2 times (= years), and these two statements agree so far, since 3 1/2 years make either 1279 or 1285 days. But the identifying of the two is not justified. In Daniel 12:11 the subject plainly is the taking away of the worship of Jehovah and the setting up of the worship of idols in its stead, for which the Maccabean times furnish an historical fulfilment; in Daniel 12:7,however, the angel speaks of a tribulation which extends so far that the strength of the holy people is altogether broken, which cannot be said of the oppression of Israel by Antiochus, since a stop was put to the conduct of this enemy by the courageous revolt of the Maccabees, and the power of valiant men put an end to the abomination of the desolation of the sanctuary. The oppression mentioned in Daniel 12:7 corresponds not only in fact, but also with respect to its duration, with the tribulation which the hostile king of the time of the end, who shall arise from the fourth world-kingdom, shall bring upon the holy people, since, as already remarked, the 3 1/2 times literally correspond with Daniel 7:25. But Daniel 12:11 and Daniel 12:12 treat of a different, namely, an earlier, period of oppression than Daniel 12:7, so the 1290 and the 1335 days are not reckoned after the 3 1/2 times (Daniel 12:11 and Daniel 7:35); and for the Maccabean period of tribulation there remain only the 2300 evening-mornings (Daniel 8:14) for comparison, if we count the evening-mornings, contrary to the usage of the words, as half-days, and so reduce them to 1150 days. But if herewith we take into consideration the historical evidence of the duration of the oppression under Antiochus, the 1290 days would agree with it only if we either fix the taking away of the legal worship from 185 to 188 days, i.e., six months and five or eight days, before the setting up of the idol-altar on Jehovah's altar of burnt-offering, or, if these two facta occurred simultaneously, extend the terminus ad quem by six months and five or eight days beyond the day of the re-consecration of the altar. For both suppositions historical evidence is wanting. The former is perhaps probable from 1 Macc. 4:45, cf. with v. 54; but, on the contrary, for the second, history furnishes no epoch-making event of such significance as that the cessation of the oppression could be defined by it.
The majority of modern interpreters, in the reckoning of the 1290 and the 1335 days, proceed from Daniel 8:14, and with them Kliefoth holds, firstly, that the 2300 evening-mornings are 1150 days, the termination of which constitutes the epoch of the re-consecration of the temple, on the 25th of the month Kisleu of the year 148 of the Seleucidan aera (i.e., 164 b.c.); and secondly, he supposes that the terminus a quo of the 2300 evening-mornings (Daniel 8:14 and of the 1290 or 1335 days is the same, namely, the taking of Jerusalem by Apollonius (1 Macc. 1:29ff.), and the setting aside of the תּמיד which followed immediately after it was taken, about 140 days earlier than the setting up of the idol-altar. As the terminus ad quem of the 2300 evening-mornings the re-consecration of the temple is taken, with which the power of Antiochus over Israel was broken, and the beginning of the restoration made. No terminus ad quem is named in this passage before us, but perhaps it lies in the greater number of the days, as well as in this, that this passage speaks regarding the entire setting aside of the power of Antiochus-an evidence and a clear argument for this, that in Daniel 12:11, Daniel 12:12 a further terminus ad quem , reaching beyond the purification of the temple, is to be supposed. This terminus is the death of Antiochus. “It is true,” Kliefoth further argues, “we cannot establish it to a day and an hour, that between the putting away of the daily sacrifice and the death of Antiochus 1290 days intervened, since of both facta we do not know the date of the day. But this we know from the book of the Maccabees, that the consecration of the temple took place on the 25th day of the month Kisleu in the 148th year of the Seleucidan aera, and that Antiochus died in the 149th year; and if we now add the 140 days, the excess of 2300 above 1290 after the consecration of the temple, we certainly come into the year 149. The circumstance also, that in the whole connection of this chapter the tendency is constantly toward the end of Antiochus, the Antichrist, induces us to place the death of that persecutor as the terminus ad quem of the 1290 days. Consequently we shall not err if, with Bleek, Kirmss, Hitzig, Delitzsch, Hofmann, Auberlen, Zündel, we suppose, that as the purifying of the temple is the end of the 2300 evening-mornings, so the death of Antiochus is the end of the 1290 days. The end of the 1335 days, Daniel 12:12, must then be an event which lies forty-five days beyond the death of Antiochus, and which certainly attests the termination of the persecution under Antiochus and the commencement of better days, and which at least bears clear evidence of the introduction of a better time, and of a settled and secure state of things. We are not able to adduce proof of such a definite event which took place exactly fort-five days after the death of Antiochus, simply because we do not know the date of the death of Antiochus. The circumstances, however, of the times after the death of Antiochus furnish the possibility of such an event. The successor of Antiochus Epiphanes, Antiochus Eupator, certainly wrote to the Jews, after they had vanquished his host under Lysias, asking from them a peace; but the alienation between them continued nevertheless, and did not absolutely end till the victory over Nicanor, 2 Macc. 11-15. Hence there was opportunity enough for an event of the kind spoken of, though we may not be able, from the scantiness and the chronological uncertainty of the records of these times, to prove it positively.” Hereupon Kliefoth enters upon the conjectures advanced by Hitzig regarding the unknown joyful event, and finds that nothing important can be brought forward in opposition to this especially, that the termination of the 1335 days may be the point of time when the tidings of the death of Antiochus, who died in Babylonia, reached the Jews in Palestine, and occasioned their rejoicing, since it might easily require forty-five days to carry the tidings of that even to Jerusalem; and finally he throws out the question, whether on the whole the more extended period of 1335 days must have its termination in a single definite event, whether by the extension of the 1290 days by fort-five days the meaning may not be, that whoever lives beyond this period of 1290 days, i.e., the death of Antiochus, in patience and in fidelity to the truth, is to be esteemed blessed. “The forty-five days were then only added to express the living beyond that time, and the form of this expression was chosen for the purpose of continuing that contained in Daniel 12:11.”
We cannot, however, concur in this view, because not only is its principal position without foundation, but also its contents are irreconcilable with historical facts. To change the 2300 evening-mornings into 1150 days cannot be exegetically justified, because according to the Hebrew mode of computation evening and morning do not constitute a half but a whole day. But if the 2300 evening-mornings are to be reckoned as so many days, then neither their terminus a quo nor their terminus ad quem stands in a definite relation to the 1290 days, from which a conclusion may be drawn regarding the terminus ad quem of the latter. Then the death of Antiochus Epiphanes does not furnish a turning-point for the commencement of a better time. According to 1 Macc. 6:18-54, the war against the Jews was carried on by his successor Eupator more violently than before. And on the news that Philippus, returning from Persia, sought to deprive him of the government, Lysias advised the king to make peace with the Jews, and to promise to them that they would be permitted to live according to their own laws. On this the Jews opened the citadel of Zion; but the king, after he had entered into it, violated his oath, and ordered its walls to be demolished. It was not till two years after the death of Antiochus Epiphanes that Judas gained a decisive victory over Nicanor, which was celebrated by the Jews by a joyful festival, which they resolved to keep every year in memory of that victory (1 Macc. 7:26-50). In these circumstances it is wholly impossible to suppose an event forty-five days after the death of Antiochus which could clearly be regarded as the beginning of a better time, and of a settled and secure state of things, or to regard the reception in Palestine of the news of the death of Antiochus as an event so joyful, that they were to be esteemed as blessed who should live to hear the tidings.
After all, we must oppose the opinion that the 1290 and the 1335 days are to be regarded as historical and to be reckoned chronologically, ad we are decidedly of opinion that these numbers are to be interpreted symbolically, notwithstanding that days as a measure of time are named. This much seems to be certain, that the 1290 days denote in general the period of Israel's sorest affliction on the part of Antiochus Epiphanes by the taking away of the Mosaic ordinance of worship and the setting up of the worship of idols, but without giving a statement of the duration of this oppression which can be chronologically reckoned. By the naming of “days” instead of “times” the idea of an immeasurable duration of the tribulation is set aside, and the time of it is limited to a period of moderate duration which is exactly measured out by God. But this is more strictly represented by the second definition, by which it is increased by 45 days: 1335 days, with the expiry of which the oppression shall so wholly cease, that every one shall be blessed who lives till these days come. For 45 days have the same relation to 1290 that 1 1/2 have to 43, and thus designate a proportionally very brief time. But as to this relation, the two numbers themselves show nothing. If we reduce them to the measure of time usual for the definition of longer periods, the 1290 days amount to 54 months, or 3 years and 7 months, and the 1335 days to 44 1/2 months, or 3 years and 8 1/2 months, since generally, and still more in symbolical definitions of time, the year is wont to be reckoned at 12 months, and the months at 30 days. Each of the two periods of time thus amounts to a little more than 3 1/2 years; the first exceeds by 1 month and the second by 2 1/2 months, only a little more than the half of 7 years - a period occurring several times in the O.T. as the period of divine judgments. By the reduction of the days to years and parts of a year the two expressions are placed in a distinct relation to the 3 1/2 times, which already appears natural by the connection of the two questions in Daniel 12:6, Daniel 12:8. On the one hand, by the circumstance that the 1290 days amount to somewhat more than 3 1/2 years, the idea that “times” stands for years is set aside; but on the other hand, by the use of “days” as a measure of time, the obscurity of the idea: time, times, and half a time, is lessened, and Daniel's inquiry as to the end of the terrible things is answered in a way which might help him to the understanding of the first answer, which was to him wholly unintelligible.
Such an answer contains the two definitions of the time under the supposition that the hostile undertakings of Antiochus against Judaism, in their progress and their issue, form a type of the persecution of the last enemy Antichrist against the church of the Lord, or that the taking away of the daily sacrifice and the setting up of the idol-abomination by Antiochus Epiphanes shows in a figure how the Antichrist at the time of the end shall take away the worship of the true God, renounce the God of his fathers, and make war his god, and thereby bring affliction upon the church of God, of which the oppression which Antiochus brought upon the theocracy furnished a historical pattern. But this typical relation of the two periods of oppression is clearly set forth in Daniel 11:21-12:3, since in the conduct and proceedings of the hostile king two stadia are distinguished, which so correspond to each other in all essential points that the first, Daniel 11:21-35, is related to the second, Daniel 11:35-12:3, as the beginning and the first attempt is related to the complete accomplishment. This also appears in the wars of this king against the king of the south (Daniel 11:25-29, cf. with Daniel 11:40-43), and in the consequences which this war had for his relation to the people of God. On his return from the first victorious war against the south, he lifted up his heart against the holy covenant (Daniel 11:28), and being irritated by the failure of the renewed war against the south and against the holy covenant, he desolated the sanctuary (vv. 30, 31); finally, in the war at the time of the end, when Egypt and the lands fell wholly under his power, and when, alarmed by tidings from the east and the north, he thought to destroy many, he erected his palace - tent in the Holy Land, so that he might here aim a destructive blow against all his enemies - in this last assault he came to his end (Daniel 11:40-45).
Yet more distinctly the typical relation shows itself in the description of the undertakings of the enemy of God against the holy covenant, and their consequences for the members of the covenant nation. In this respect the first stadium of his enmity against the God of Israel culminates in the taking away of His worship, and in the setting up of the abomination of desolation, i.e., the worship of idols, in the sanctuary of the Lord. Against this abomination the wise of the people of God raise themselves up, and they bring by their rising up “a little help,” and accomplish a purification of the people (Daniel 11:31-35). In the second stadium, i.e., at the time of the end, the hostile king raises himself against the God of gods, and above every god (Daniel 11:37), and brings upon the people of God an oppression such as has never been from the beginning of the world till now; but this oppression ends, by virtue of the help of the archangel Michael, with the deliverance of the people of God and the consummation by the resurrection of the dead, of some to everlasting life, and of some to everlasting shame (Daniel 12:1-3).
If thus the angel of the Lord, after he said to Daniel that he might rest as to the non-understanding of his communication regarding the end of the wonderful things (Daniel 12:7), because the prophecy shall at the time of the end give to the wise knowledge for the purifying of many through the tribulation, so answers the question of Daniel as to the אלּה אחרית that he defines in symbolically significant numbers the duration of the sufferings from the removal of the worship of Jehovah to the commencement of better times, with which all oppression shall cease, then he gave therewith a measure of time, according to which all those who have understanding, who have lived through this time of oppression, or who have learned regarding it from history, may be able to measure the duration of the last tribulation and its end so far beforehand, as, according to the fatherly and wise counsel of God, it is permitted to us to know the times of the end and of our consummation. For, from the comparison of this passage with that in Daniel 8:14 regarding the duration of the crushing under feet of the holy people by the enemy rising from the Javanic world-kingdom, it is clear that as the 2300 evening-mornings do not contain a complete heptad of years, so the 1290 days contain only a little more than half a heptad. In this lies the comfort, that the severest time of oppression shall not endure much longer than half the time of the whole period of oppression. And if we compare with this the testimony of history regarding the persecution of the Old Covenant people under Antiochus, in consequence of which God permitted the suppression of His worship, and the substitution of idol-worship in its stead, for not fully 3 1/2 years, but only for 3 years and 10 days, then we are able to gather the assurance that He shall also shorten, for the sake of His elect, the 3 1/2 times of the last tribulation. We should rest here, that His grace is sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:9). For as God revealed to the prophets, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto us, the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow, that they might search and inquire what and what manner of time the Spirit of Christ who was in them did signify; so in the times of the accomplishment, we who are living are not exempted from searching and inquiring, but are led by the prophetic word to consider the signs of the times in the light of this word, and from that which is already fulfilled, as well as from the nature and manner of the fulfilment, to confirm our faith, for the endurance amid the tribulations which prophecy has made known to us, that God, according to His eternal gracious counsel, has measured them according to their beginning, middle, and end, that thereby we shall be purified and guarded for the eternal life.
After these disclosures regarding the time of the end, the angel of the Lord dismisses the highly-favoured prophet from his life's work with the comforting assurance that he shall stand in his own lot in the end of the days. לקּץ לך evidently does not mean “go to the end, i.e., go thy way” (Hitzig), nor “go hence in relation to the end,” as Kranichfeld translates it, because לקּץ with the article points back to קץ עת , Daniel 12:9. For though this reference were placed beyond a doubt, yet לקּץ could only declare the end of the going: go to the end, and the meaning could then with Ewald only be: “but go thou into the grave till the end.” But it is more simple, with Theodoret and most interpreters, to understand לקּץ of the end of Daniel's life: go to the end of thy life (cf. for the constr. of הלך with ל , 1 Samuel 23:18). With this ותנוּח simply connects itself: and thou shalt rest, namely, in the grave, and rise again. תּעמוד = תּקוּם , to rise up, sc. from the rest of the grave, thus to rise again. לגורלך , in thy lot. גּורל , lot, of the inheritance divided to the Israelites by lot, referred to the inheritance of the saints in light (Colossians 1:12), which shall be possessed by the righteous after the resurrection from the dead, in the heavenly Jerusalem. הימים לקץ , to = at, the end of the days, i.e., not = הימים אחרית , in the Messianic time, but in the last days, when, after the judgment of the world, the kingdom of glory shall appear. Well shall it be for us if in the end of our days we too are able to depart hence with such consolation of hope!