on Daniel 8 :14
Unto two thousand and three hundred days - Though literally it be two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings. Yet I think the prophetic day should be understood here, as in other parts of this prophet, and must signify so many years. If we date these years from the vision of the he-goat, (Alexander's invading Asia), this was A.M. 3670, b.c. 334; and two thousand three hundred years from that time will reach to a.d. 1966, or one hundred and forty-one years from the present a.d. 1825. This will bring it near to the time mentioned Daniel 7:25 (note), where see the note.
on Daniel 8 :14
And he said unto me - Instead of answering the one who made the inquiry, the answer is made to Daniel, doubtless that he might make a record of it, or communicate it to others. If it had been made to the inquirer, the answer would have remained with him, and could have been of no use to the world. For the encouragement, however, of the Hebrew people, when their sanctuary and city would be thus desolate, and in order to furnish an instance of the clear fulfillment of a prediction, it was important that it should be recorded, and hence, it was made to Daniel.
Unto two thousand and three hundred days - Margin, evening, morning. So the Hebrew, בקר ערב ‛ereb boqer. So the Latin Vulgate, ad vesperam et mane. And so Theodotion - ἔως ἑσπέρας καὶ πρωΐ̀ heōs hesperas kai prōi - "to the evening and morning." The language here is evidently what was derived from Gen. i., or which was common among the Hebrews, to speak of the "evening and the morning" as constituting a day. There can be no doubt, however, that a day is intended by this, for this is the fair and obvious interpretation. The Greeks were accustomed to denote the period of a day in the same manner by the word νυχθήμερον nuchthēmeron (see 2 Corinthians 11:25), in order more emphatically to designate one complete day. See Prof. Stuart's Hints on Prophecy, pp. 99, 100. The time then specified by this would be six years and a hundred and ten days.
Much difficulty has been felt by expositors in reconciling this statement with the other designations of time in the book of Daniel, supposed to refer to the same event, and with the account furnished by Josephus in regard to the period which elapsed during which the sanctuary was desolate, and the daily sacrifice suspended. The other designations of time which have been supposed to refer to the same event in Daniel, are Daniel 7:25, where the time mentioned is three years and a half, or twelve hundred and sixty days; and Daniel 12:7, where the same time is mentioned, "a time, times, and an half," or three years and an half, or, as before, twelve hundred and sixty days; and Daniel 12:11, where the period mentioned is "a thousand two hundred and ninety days;" and Daniel 12:12, where the time mentioned is "a thousand three hundred and thirty-five days." The time mentioned by Josephus is three years exactly from the time when "their Divine worship was fallen off, and was reduced to a profane and common use," until the time when the lamps were lighted again, and the worship restored, for he says that the one event happened precisely three years after the other, on the same day of the month - Ant. b. xii. ch. vii. Section 6. In his Jewish Wars, however, b. i. ch. i. Section 1, he says that Antiochus "spoiled the temple, and put a stop to the constant practice of offering a daily sacrifice of expiation for three years and six months." Now, in order to explain the passage before us, and to reconcile the accounts, or to show that there is no contradiction between them, the following remarks may be made:
(1) We may lay out of view the passage in Daniel 7:25. See the note at that passage. If the reasoning there be sound, then that passage had no reference to Antiochus, and though, according to Josephus, there is a remarkable coincidence between the time mentioned there and the time during which the daily sacrifice was suspended, yet that does not demonstrate that the reference there is to Antiochus.
(2) We may lay out of view, also, for the present, the passages in Daniel 12:11-12. Those will be the subject of consideration hereafter, and for the present ought not to be allowed to embarrass us in ascertaining the meaning of the passage before us.
(3) On the assumption, however, that those passages refer to Antiochus, and that the accounts in Josephus above referred to are correct - though he mentions different times, and though different periods are referred to by Daniel, the variety may be accounted for by the supposition that separate epochs are referred to at the starting point in the calculation - the terminus a quo. The truth was, there were several decisive acts in the history of Antiochus that led to the ultimate desolation of Jerusalem, and at one time a writer may have contemplated one, and at another time another. Thus, there was the act by which Jason, made high priest by Antiochus, was permitted to set up a gymnasium in Jerusalem after the manner of the pagan (Prideaux, iii. 216; 1 Macc. 1:11-15); the act by which he assaulted and took Jerusalem, entering the most holy place, stripping the temple of its treasures, defiling the temple, and offering a great sow on the altar of burnt-offerings (Prideaux, iii. 230, 231; 1 Macc. 1:20-28); the act, just two years after this, by which, having been defeated in his expedition to Egypt, he resolved to vent all his wrath on the Jews, and, on his return, sent Apollonius with a great army to ravage and destroy Jerusalem - when Apollonius, having plundered the city, set it on fire, demolished the houses, pulled down the walls, and with the ruins of the demolished city built a strong fortress on Mount Acra, which overlooked the temple, and from which he could attack all who went to the temple to worship (Prideaux, iii. 239, 240; 1 Macc. 1:29-40); and the act by which Antiochus solemnly forbade all burnt-offerings, and sacrifices, and drink-offerings in the temple - (Prideaux, iii. 241, 242; 1 Macc. 1:44-51). Now, it is evident that one writing of these calamitous events, and mentioning how long they would continue, might at one time contemplate one of these events as the beginning, the terminus a quo, and at another time, another of these events might be in his eye. Each one of them was a strongly marked and decisive event, and each one might be contemplated as a period which, in an important sense, determined the destiny of the city, and put an end to the worship of God there.
(4) It seems probable that the time mentioned in the passage before us is designed to take in the whole series of disastrous events, from the first decisive act which led to the suspending of the daily sacrifice, or the termination of the worship of God there, to the time when the "sanctuary was cleansed." That this is so would seem to be probable from the series of visions presented to Daniel in the chapter before us. The acts of the "little horn" representing Antiochus, as seen in vision, began with his attack on the "pleasant land" Daniel 8:9, and the things which attracted the attention of Daniel were, that he "waxed great," and made war on "the host of heaven," and "cast some of the host and of the stars to the ground" Daniel 8:10, and "magnified himself against the prince of the host" Daniel 8:11 - acts which refer manifestly to his attack on the people of God, and the priests or ministers of religion, and on God him. self as the "prince of the host" - unless this phrase should be understood as referring rather to the high priest. We are then rather to look to the whole series of events as included within the two thousand and three hundred days, than the period in which literally the daily sacrifice was forbidden by a solemn statute. It was practically suspended, and the worship of God interrupted during all that time.
(5) The terminus ad quem - the conclusion of the period is marked and settled. This was the "cleansing of the sanctuary." This took place, under Judas Maccabeus, Dec. 25, 165 b.c. - Prideaux, iii.-265-268. Now, reckoning back from this period, two thousand and three hundred days, we come to August 5, 171 b.c. The question is, whether there were in this year, and at about this time, any events in the series of sufficient importance to constitute a period from which to reckon; events answering to what Daniel saw as the commencement of the vision, when "some of the host and the stars were cast down and stamped upon." Now, as a matter of fact, there commenced in the year 171 b.c. a series of aggressions upon the priesthood, and temple, and city of the Jews on the part of Antiochus, which terminated only with his death. Up to this year, the relations of Antiochus and the Jewish people were peaceful and cordial.
In the year 175 b.c. he granted to the Jewish people, who desired it, permission to erect a gymnasium in Jerusalem, as above stated. In the year 173 b.c. demand was made of Antiochus of the provinces of Ccelo-Syria and Palestine by the young Philometor of Egypt, who had just come to the throne, and by his mother - a demand which was the origin of the war between Antiochus and the king of Egypt, and the beginning of all the disturbances. - Prideaux, iii. 218. In the year 172 b.c., Antiochus bestowed the office of high priest on Menelaus, who was the brother of Jason the high priest. Jason had sent Menelaus to Antioch to pay the king his tribute-money, and while there Menelaus conceived the design of supplanting his brother, and by offering for it more than Jason had, he procured the appointment and returned to Jerusalem. - Prideaux, iii.-220-222. Up to this time all the intercourse of Antiochus with the Jews had been of a peaceful character, and nothing of a hostile nature had occurred.
In 171 b.c. began the series of events which finally resulted in the invasion and destruction of the city, and in the cessation of the public worship of God. Menelaus, having procured the high priesthood, refused to pay the tribute-money which he had promised for it, and was summoned to Antioch. Antioclius being then absent, Menelaus took advantage of his absence, and having, by means of Lysimachus, whom he had left at Jerusalem, procured the vessels out of the temple, He sold them at Tyre, and thus raised money to pay the king. In the meantime, Onias III, the lawful high priest, who had fled to Antioch, sternly rebuked Menelaus for his sacrilege, and soon after, at the instigation of Menelaus, was allured from his retreat at Daphne, where he had sought an asylum, and was murdered by Andronicus, the vicegerent of Antiochus. At the same time, the Jews in Jerusalem, highly indignant at the profanation by Menelaus, and the sacrilege in robbing the temple, rose in rebellion against Lysimachus and the Syrian forces who defended him, and both cut off this "sacrilegious robber" (Prideaux), and the guards by whom he was surrounded.
This assault on the officer of Antiochus, and rebellion against him, was the commencement of the hostilities which resulted in the ruin of the city, and the closing of the worship of God. - Prideaux, iii.-224-226; Stuart's Hints on Prophecy, p. 102. Here commenced a series of aggressions upon the priesthood, and the temple, and the city of the Jews, which, with occasional interruption, continued to the death of Antiochus, and which led to all that was done in profaning the temple, and in suspending the public worship of God, and it is doubtless to this time that the prophet here refers. This is the natural period in describing the series of events which were so disastrous to the Jewish people; this is the period at which one who should now describe them as history, would begin. It may not, indeed, be practicable to make out the precise number of days, for the exact dates are not preserved in history, but the calculation brings it into the year 171 b.c., the year which is necessary to be supposed in order that the two thousand and three hundred days should be completed. Compare Lengerke, in loc., p. 388. Various attempts have been made to determine the exact number of the days by historic records. Bertholdt, whom Lengerke follows, determines it in this manner. He regards the time referred to as that from the command to set up pagan altars to the victory over Nicanor, and the solemn celebration of that victory, as referred to in 1 Macc. 7:48, 49. According to this reckoning, the time is as follows: The command to set up idol altars was issued in the year 145, on the 15th of the month Kisleu. There remained of that year, after the command was given -
Half of the month Kisleu 15 days The month Thebet 30 days The month Shebath 29 days The month Adar 30 days The year 146 354 days The year 147 354 days The year 148 354 days The year 149 354 days The year 150 354 days The year 15l to the 13th day of the month Adar, when the victory over Nicanor was achieved 337 days Two intercalary months during this time, according to the Jewish reckoning 60 days Total of 2,271 days. This would leave but twenty-nine days of the 2300 to be accounted for, and this would be required to go from the place of the battle - between Beth-Horon and Adasa (1 Macc. 7:39, 40) to Jerusalem, and to make arrangements to celebrate the victory. See Bertholdt, pp. 501-503. The reckoning here is from the time of founding the kingdom of the Seleucidae, or the era of the Seleucidae.
Then shall the sanctuary be cleansed - Margin, justified. the Hebrew word (צדק tsâdaq) means, to be right or straight, and then to be just or righteous; then to vindicate or justify. In the form used here (Niphal), it means to be declared just; to be justified or vindicated, and, as applied to the temple or sanctuary, to be vindicated from violence or injury; that is, to be cleansed. See Gesenius, Lexicon There is undoubtedly reference here to the act of Judas Maccabeus, in solemnly purifying the temple, and repairing it, and re-dedicating it, after the pollutions brought upon it by Antiochus. For a description of this, see Prideaux's Connexions, iii.-265-269. Judas designated a priesthood again to serve in the temple; pulled down the altars which the pagan had erected; bore out all the defiled stones into an unclean place; built a new altar in place of the old altar of burnt-offerings which they had defiled; hallowed the courts; made a new altar of incense, table of showbread, golden candlestick, etc., and solemnly re-consecrated the whole to the service of God. This act occurred on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month (Kisleu), and the solemnity continued for eight days. This is the festival which is called "the feast of dedication" in the New Testament John 10:22, and which our Saviour honored with his presence. See 1 Macc. 4:41-58; 2 Macc. 10:1-7; Josephus, Ant. b. xii. ch. vii. Section 6, 7.
on Daniel 8 :14
8:14 He - That angel. Then - Just so long it was, from the defection of the people, procured by Menelaus, the high - priest, to the cleansing of the sanctuary, and the re - establishment of religion among them.