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Daniel - introductions
“a foregleam of the world view of the New Testament” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 351)Introductions
Daniel was the last book written before the Christian Era, about 170 years before, during the Maccabean war of liberation from the remnants of the Greek empire; about the interval between our time and the American Civil War. It was written to exhort the Jewish people to fight, prophesying victory; his exhortation was successful and that part of his prophesy came true.Arthur Jeffery, The Book of Daniel, The Interpreters’ Bible, 1956
Part of the exhortation was that they would never have to fight again, much as the world rallied to the War to End All Wars – WWI. Like WWI, however, the Maccabean war was not the last fight. After pretenders to the throne INVITED the Romans into Palestine to settle their dispute, they found themselves once more under the thumb of a foreign power.
This was the world into which Jesus was born, and the political reality which his generation faced.
When Alexander the Great died untimely at Babylon in 232 B.C., the consequent partition of his empire was fraught with momentous consequences for the peoples of the Near East…Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Bible, 1830
The Hellenization of the Orient – Wherever he went Alexander founded Greek settlements, each of which attracted further settlers, set up Greek institutions, and became a center of Greek life. This in turn encouraged the flow of trade, in which Orientals were quick to see advantages to themselves. The result was not only an intermingling of peoples, but much interchange of ideas and a wide extension of the use of Greek as an international language.
Four kingdoms finally emerged from the confusion after the death of Alexander: those of the Seleucids of Syria, of the Ptolemies of Egypt, of Lysimachus in Thrace, and of Cassander in Macedonia… It was Ptolemy Soter (323-283 B.C.) who founded at Alexandria the museum and the library where he gathered a notable band of men of learning. His rival, Seleucus Nicator (312-280 B.C.), established centers of Greek culture in almost every province under his government, and under his successors the ‘school’ at Antioch became a serious rival to that at Alexandria…
The Jews were not unaffected by this ferment. There were considerable communities of them in all four of the kingdoms which succeeded Alexander, and for the Jews of the Dispersion Greek quickly came to be the normal language for cultural expression. It was to meet their needs that a version of the Old Testament was produced. From them came religious writings such as the Wisdom of Solomon, I Esdras, II Maccabees, written in Greek for a Greek-reading public, the same public, indeed, as that addressed by Philo and Josephus. Alexander himself had come down through Phoenicia on this way to Egypt… It would seem that he treated the Jews favorably, and under the Ptolemies, who came to control Palestine and Phoenicia, they received as benevolent treatment as they enjoyed in Egypt. Ptolemy III (246-2211 B.C.) even coming to Jerusalem to present a thank offering at the temple in accordance with Jewish usage. Nor, indeed, when the Seleucids came to control, would there seem to have been any particular reason for their being evilly entreated. The little temple-state which centered at Jerusalem was but one of many such to be found in various parts of the Seleucid Empire… Greek names became fashionable, young men desired to join in the Greek games, Greek fashions in dress and adornment were popular, so that Hecataeus of Abdera, writing about 300 B.C., remarks that “the Jews had greatly altered many of the ordinances of their forefathers.” Under the Ptolemies Greek had come almost to rival Aramaic as the common language of Palestine. The tales telling of the translation of the biblical writings into Greek picture the work as having been done by pious Greek-speaking rabbis of Palestine brought to Egypt for the purpose. The grandson of Ben Sirach who translated Ecclesiasticus into Greek was a native of Palestine.
There were not wanting Jews who resisted this movement toward assimilation and Hellenization… These included the “godly ones,” the Hasidim, men who preferred to walk in the old paths and who resisted what was contrary to traditional belief and practice…In earlier days the “godly” seem to have had their strength in the poorer classes, and on the whole the strength of the movement of resistance against Hellenization again lay in the humbler classes who among the aristocracy and the wealthy there were also lovers of the old ways. It would likewise be an error to set both parties in too sharp opposition …
Ptolemies and Seleucids in Palestine.
After his victory at Gaza in 312 B.C., Ptolemy had conquered all the coastal lands as far north as Sidon, and is said to have taken Jerusalem. Though he was presently driven out of Syria by Antigonus, he moved in after the Battle of Ipsus in 301 B.C. to posses Coele-Syria, which then included Palestine. As Ptolemy had not taken part in that battle, the victors had allotted Coele-Syria to Seleucus, but when Ptolemy moved in to take possession, Seleucus, for the sake of peace, made no move to oust him. The Seleucids, however, continued to feel that that area was rightly theirs so that for the next hundred years there was struggle between Ptolemies and Seleucids for its possession. The most determined efforts to gain control of it were those by Antiochus the Great in 221, 219, and 218, all of which failed. After the death of Ptolemy IV in 203, Antiochus had a better opportunity, which this time was crowned with success in 198 B.C. at the Battle of Paneas near the source of the Jordan. In that year Palestine came definitely under Seleucid control… Josephus says that the triumphant Antiochus entered Jerusalem, where he was received with rejoicing and obtained bountiful replenishments for his army.
Divided Loyalties in Jerusalem.- The change in overlords…. seems to have widened the rift between two of the chief families in Jerusalem, Oniads and the Tobiads, the former, who held the high priestly office, championing the cause of the defeated Ptolemies, and the latter, who held the chief financial office, supporting Antiochus and his successors.
In 175 B.C. Antiochus IV Epiphanes succeeded his brother Seleucus IV as ruler of the Seleucid Empire. Shortly after his succession the Hellenizing party in Jerusalem asked permission to erect a gymnasium on the Greek pattern in their city. This is the matter referred to in I Macc. [Maccabees] 1:11-15… “So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem in heathen fashion, made themselves uncircumcised, disowned the holly covenant, allied themselves with the heathen and set themselves to do evil”.
“The high priest Onias III happened to be away at the time, so his brother Jason, who was pro-Syrian, made Antiochus a money offer of the high priestly office, and was appointed… To religious minded Jews… the office was not in the king’s gift, and though Jason was of the high priestly family, they could not recognize an appointment made in this way, and they maintained their allegiance to Onias… Jason enjoyed office for not more than three years at the most. An outsider named Menelaus coveted the post, offered Antiochus a sum considerably higher than that paid by Jason, and was granted the appointment. Jason fled and Menelaus, to secure his position, engineered the assassination of Onias. Then to recoup himself for his outlay he seems to have entered into a plot with his brother Lysimachus to steal and dispose of some of the temple vessels. To the populace this was the last straw. Jason’s presence in the holy office had been an affront, but his Menelaus was an outrage… There were riots in the city under cover of which Jason, knowing how occupied Antiochus was with his campaign in Egypt, re-entered the city and drove out Menelaus (169/170). Antiochus, however, returned, reinstated Menelaus … and plundered the temple. The people refused to be quieted and would not accept Menelaus. This is the story related in II Macc. 4-5.
The Desecration of Jerusalem. –Antiochus’ reaction was swift and drastic… His army from the Egyptian campaign was brought in and allowed to plunder the city and slaughter at will. Then the city walls were razed, a Syrian garrison installed in the city… The writer of I Macc. 1:41-63 tells the story: ‘Accordingly the king wrote to his whole kingdom that they should all become one people, each one giving up his own customs Now all the heathen gave assent to the king’s word, and many from Israel accepted his form of worship and sacrificed to the idols and profaned the Sabbath. The king also sent dispatches by the hand of messengers to Jerusalem and to the cities of Judah, bidding them follow customs foreign to the land, stop the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices and drink offerings at the sanctuary, profane the Sabbaths and feats, and defile the holy place and the holy people, to build altars and sacred precincts and idol shrines, sacrifice swine and unclean animals, leave their sons uncircumcised, and pollute their soul with every unclean and profane thing, that thus they might forget the law and change all the ordinances. Anyone who would not do according to the king’s word was to be put to death… Now many of the people joined themselves to them, everyone, indeed, who was willing to forsake the law, and they did evil in the land, forcing Israel into hiding-places, into every place of refuge they had. Then on the fifteenth day of Kislev, in the one hundred and forth fifth year [i.e., 168 B.C] he set up an abomination of desolation on the altar of sacrifice, and in the cities of Judah round about they set up altars, and at the doors of houses and in the public squares they burned incense, and the books of the law, such as they found, they tore up and burned with fire. Moreover, wheresoever they found a book of the covenant with anyone, or if anyone was found complying with the law, the king’s judgment was for his death. By their force did they compel in Israel… and by the twenty-fifth of the month they were sacrificing on the altar, that is on the altar of sacrifice. Also, the women who had had their children circumcised did they put to death in accordance with the decree, hanging the infants around their necks, together with their families and those who had circumcised them. Yet many in Israel stood firm, resolving in themselves not to eat anything unclean, choosing rather to die that they might be defiled by such foods and might not profane the holy covenant, and they did die.”
The Maccabean Revolt.- The result of these measures was the outbreak of the Maccabean Wars… The material for active revolt… was there, and it was kindled at the village of Modein. There when the king’s officers appeared to enforce the decree the local priest Mattathias refused to submit, and when an assimilationist Jew advanced to offer the heathen sacrifice Mattathias slew him on the altar, slew likewise the king’s officer, and broke down the heathen altar… Mattathias and his sons fled to the hill country where they were joined by sympathizers from all classes among the people. Their activities were at first directed against the assimilationists. They killed many of these… and circumcised their sons wherever they found them. This inevitably brought them in conflict with the royal troops. At first they were badly worsted, but when Mattathias died in 166/167 and the movement came under the direction of his sons, particularly under Judas Maccabaeus, it met with amazing success. In 165 they won remarkable victories over the royal troops and were able to retake Jerusalem, all save the citadel. On the fifteenth of Kislev, the very day on which three years before swine’s flesh had been offered on a pagan altar set up on the altar of sacrifice, they were able to cleanse and purify the temple and have a service of rededication.
Origin of the Book
It was at a moment when many of the people, in the reaction following the exaltation that had been produced by the Maccabean victories, had begun to have misgivings and look with grave anxiety at what the future might hold, that the book of Daniel, which had been written under the persecutions of Antiochus Epiphanes, found a ready audience. It message could counter the growing anxiety and incipient despair, maintain enthusiasm for the national cause, encourage loyalty to God and to the ordinances of the law, keep bright men’s hop in a future that could be even more wonderful than the past. Fairly early in the days of persecution the writer had seen the need for this, and to provide such a message he had used a particular literary vehicle – the allegory. He pictured to his audience a Jew living with his companions in an age long past, where they yet faced a situation similar to that which pious Jews were at the moment facing, living under a powerful monarch who sought to assimilate them to their heathen environment and bring to nought their religion. But his man and his companions were loyal to God, faithful in observing the law, and God saw them safely through their trials. Even when that king and his court exercised all their might against them, when pious observing Jews were thrown into a fiery furnace or into a den of lions, God saved them… From such a story the people could take heart, for what God had done he could again do, and as he had humbled Nebuchadrezzar and Belshazzar, so he could deal with Antiochus and his supporters. For further encouragement the writer added to his allegory a series of dreams and visions in which he set forth an interpretation of the historical background of their present struggle, and under symbols and images agave a forecast of the future.
For his story he used the figure of Daniel, a man with a symbolic name, “God hath given decision.” An ancient Semite worthy of this name is twice referred to in Ezekiel… In… these passages the name is actually Danel, which is the name of the ancient Canaanitish worthy whose legend now appears among the texts from Ras Shamra. It would seem that there was in circulation some Jewish Danel legend, which had as its setting the Babylonian captivity… This story… the writer retold for his contemporaries in such a way that to an outsider it would appear just a story, but one in which his audience would clearly see the figure of their present oppressor, would readily recognize the meaning of the symbols and signs of the visions, and catch the message of encouragement and inspiration it was intended to convey. To reach his audience effectively he wrote in Aramaic. In the book as we have it, 2:4b-7:28 are still in Aramaic… The Hebrew portion bears every evidence of having been translated from Aramaic, and why the book has come down partly in Aramaic and partly in Hebrew is a puzzle which scholarship has not yet solved.
… **Literary Genre*
From both Egypt and Mesopotamia we have evidence for the use of the allegory as a genre of religious literature in which interpretations of historical events and forecasts of the future are put forth under the name of some ancient worthy and said to have been hidden till the appropriate time for their appearance had arrived. The book of Daniel is thus a true apocryph (cf. 12:4: ‘Thou O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end’).
‘The book falls into two clearly distinct parts: (a) a collection of stories about Daniel and his friends, chs. 1-6; (b) a collection of visions seen by Daniel, chs. 7-12… most of the Aramaic material is in the first section and most of the Hebrew in the second
… The Stories. - The inevitable triumph of those faithful to the religion of Yahweh and the confusion of their enemies is illustrated in the first part. …
Chapter 1. Daniel and His Friends at Nebuchadrezzar’s Court…
Chapter 2. Nebuchadrezzar’s Dream…
Chapter 3. The Golden Idol and the Fiery Furnace…
Chapter 4. Nebuchadrezzar’s Madness…
Chapter 5. Belshazzar’s Feast…
Chapter 6. Daniel in the Lions’ Den…
Though no specific reference to Antiochus Epiphanes is given in these stories, no audience of that age could fail to see how the adventures of Daniel and his friends held a message for Jews suffering under Antiochus.…The Visions. - Events of current history are pictured under symbols and figures looking forward to the setting up of the kingdom of God.
Chapter 7. In the First Year of Belshazzar.…
Daniel interpreted the beasts as representing the Babylonian, Median, Persian, and Seleucid empires. The ten horns are Seleucid kings and pretenders, while the little horn is Antiochus Epiphanes, whose ‘time and time and half a time’ represent the years 168 to 165, after which the kingdom is to pass to the messianic king.Chapter 8. In the Third Year of Belshazzar. … Gabriel tells Daniel the meaning of the vision. The ram is the Medo-Persian kingdom, the he-goat is the Greek kingdom, its horn being Alexander the Great. The four horns which succeed the broken horn are the kingdoms of the Diadochi. The little horn is Antiochus Epiphanes, who proscribed the temple services at Jerusalem between 168 and 165 B.C.
Chapter 9. In the First Year of Darius. …Gabriel… explain[s] that the seventy years are seventy weeks of years, which fall into three periods of seven weeks, sixty-two weeks, and one week, in which last week will be the great abomination.
Though there is foreshortening, the reference here seems to be to the 49 years from Zedekiah (586) to Joshua the high priest (538), the presumed 435 years between Joshua and the assassination of Onias III in 171, and the period between the death of Onias and the establishment of God’s kingdom (171-164), during which Antiochus would set up the abomination in the temple.Chapters 10-12. In the Third Year of Cyrus…an angel appears and announces that he has come to reveal the future.
Composition and Date
- Three more kings of the Persians… the last of whom will fight against the Greeks (11:2). The dynasty is foreshortened but probably Darius I, Xerxes, and Artaxerxes…
- … (11:3-4). Alexander the Great and the Diadochi
- … (11:5). Ptolemy in Egypt and Seleucus in Syria and Mesopotamia
- … (11:6). Berenice, daughter of Ptolemy II, was married to Antiochus II, but Laodice, Antiochus’ divorced wife, arranged the assassination of Antiochus, Berenice, and the latter’s son.
- … (11:7-9). Ptolemy II, to avenge his sister Berenice, invaded Syria, overcame Seleucus II, the son of Laodice…
- … (11:10). Seleucus III and Antiochus III…
- … (11:11-12). Ptolemy IV defeated Antiochus III at Raphia…
- …(11:13-16). Antiochus III … wrested Palestine from Ptolemy V.
- …(11:7). Antiochus married his daughter Cleopatra to Ptolemy V…
- … (11:18). When Antiochus III attempted to conquer Asia Minor and Greece, he was defeated at Magnesia in 190 by a Roman commander
- … (11:19). Returning from Magnesia, he plundered a temple at Elymais but was attacked by the people and killed in 187
- … (11:20). Seleucus IV… assassinated in 175
- … (11:21). Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the brother of Seleucus, pushed aside the latter’s son Demetrius, who should have succeeded.
- … (11:22-24). Onias III, the high priest, was assassinated in 171.
- … (11:25-27). Antiochus’ expedition against Egypt in 170 was successful.
- … (11:28). It was after his Egyptian campaign that Antiochus began his campaign to destroy Judaism.
- … (11:29-30). His Egyptian campaign of 168 was halted by the Romans.
- … (11:31) His general Apollnius captured Jerusalem… the temple was made a shrine of Zeus Olympius.
- … (11:32-35). The division between the Hellenizers and the Hasidim now became acute and the Maccabean revolt started, though at first their cause was hindered by the severity of Judas.
- … (11:36-39). Antiochus took titles of divinity and plundered many local temples.
- … (11:40-43). Ptolemy Philometor will make another attempt, but Antiochus will overwhelm him and gain control not only over him but also over his allies in Libya and Ethiopia.
- … (11:44-45). Nos. 21-22 are predictions. Antiochus actually met his death at Tabae in Persia in 164.
- Then will come a period of great tribulation which will usher in the resurrection and the age of bliss for the righteous (12:1-13)
The text has not been transmitted without interpolations. The book apparently ended at 12:8, but as the prediction given there was not fulfilled, two later passages have been added with fresh calculations as to when the end would be… In the Greek versions there are… three long pieces containing the story of Bel and the Dragon, the Prayer of Azarias and the Song of the Three Children, and the History of Susanna. There is nothing corresponding to these in the Masoretic Text, and in English Bibles they are given in the Apocrypha.
… In the Hebrew Bible… it comes not among the Prophets but in the third section among the Hagiographa1 . Even in that section it is placed late – among the latest writings within the canon. Both internal and external evidence supports this position.
Internal Evidence… The fact that parts of it are in Aramaic places it in the same group as Ezra-Nehemiah…
“… The Hebrew of the book is late, resembling that of Ecclesiastes, Esther, and Chronicles.
“The writer’s knowledge of history is excellent for the period after the rise of the kingdoms which succeeded Alexander, but is quite defective for the Persian and Babylonian periods. This is understandable if he was contemporary with the latest events he records.
External Evidence … Ben Sirach, writing about 190 B.C., in his famous catalogue of the great men of Israel (Ecclus. [Ecclesiasticus] 44:1-50:24) brings the list down to his own day, yet though he mentions the twelve prophets, Zerubbabel, Joshua, and Nehemiah, he makes no mention of Daniel.
“Since the book knows Jeremiah as a prophet, it must be later than the period of Jeremiah’s activity.
…Conclusion – The position the book of Daniel has in the Hebrew Bible is what might be expected in the case of a book written during the Maccabean struggles, but not in the case of a book written in the sixth century B.C. during the Babylonian captivity. That it belonged to the period of Antiochus Epiphanes was recognized by the Neo Platonist Porphyry in the third century A.D., who showed that the events recorded in ch. 11 were concerned with the Seleucids and Ptolemies and the persecution of the Jews under Antiochus IV. Earlier still, Josephus had recognized that the king who forbade the daily sacrifices was Antiochus Epiphanes… The Babylonian setting and predictive character are still maintained by most Roman Catholic commentators and find favor with a diminishing number of Protestant writers. The more natural understanding of the book is to place it in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, and to interpret it as apocalyptic.
As such, Daniel is the first great book in the class to which belong such notable writings as Enoch, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, the Assumption of Moses, II Esdras, the Apocalypse of Baruch (II Baruch), and the Ascension of Isaiah. Such books were the product of a peculiar spiritual temper and were the vehicles of a peculiar spiritual message. The permanent values and relevance of the message they convey is abundantly evident in our own times.
The teaching of the book is characteristic of this class of writing which comes from an age when prophecy has ceased. The old time prophet came forward with his message in the name of the Lord, keenly alive to the circumstances and needs of the times, and directing to the contemporary scene the message that his vivid experience of contact with the Lord had given him… The apocalyptist, however, speaks with no such accent of authority…He is rather the adapter, along one special line, of the messages of the older prophets. He sees his people in affliction and under persecution so that the burden of his message is to console them and to help them stand firm under their trials. He… wants to have his people look beyond …to the glorious future in which they will be freed from their tribulation and the ancient predictions of wonderful triumph will be fulfilled. He emphasizes present faithfulness in religion and stresses such matters as the strict fulfillment of various rituals since that would be evidence of faithfulness. Thus ritual righteousness seems almost to weigh more with him than moral righteousness. If the people are really obeying faithfully the religious law, the promised redemption cannot be long delayed, and so the apocalyptists in general regard the redemption as near at hand. With redemption will come the kingdom of God. The older prophets had preached of a kingdom in which, after his judgment on the enemies of his people God would supersede the kingdoms of this world by a reign of righteousness. As a rule they thought of this as a continuation of the life of the present world. There would be a thorough “housecleaning” for this world, a purgation in which Israel also would be purged of its unworthy members, after which God would set up an ideal kingdom of peace, happiness, and righteousness, in which prosperity would abound and all peoples would be incorporated into, or at least be subject to, the people of God. The later prophets tended to shift the divine intervention to a final judgment and to interpret the kingdom as something beyond this world. In apocalyptic this eschatological interpretation dominates the whole concept of the kingdom, and with the shift in emphasis comes a development in importance of the idea of resurrection. The wicked who have died ought not to escape judgment, and the righteous who have died ought not to be deprived of the joy of the coming of the kingdom, so the idea of a general resurrection for final judgment takes a prominent place in the picture of the end.
The theology of the book of Daniel stands in a midway position. It is more eschatological in its view of the judgment and the coming kingdom than the earlier prophets, but the shift has not yet been made from the expectation of an earthly kingdom to that of a purely spiritual kingdom. The writer of Daniel apparently expects the ideal kingdom to come soon after the fall of Antiochus Epiphanes and to be established on this earth. In his thought of the resurrection he has advanced beyond Hosea and Ezekiel, whose expectation was only for a rising of all Israel as a righteous nation, and beyond Isaiah 24:1-27:13, where it is only the pious individuals of the nation who will rise, for he teaches that both wicked and righteous will be raised. Yet he has not gone so far as to envisage a resurrection of all men such as we have in the New Testament and some of the apocalyptists. A similar midway position appears in this account of the angels. Here angles have personal names and function as patrons of the nations, which is a great advance over the angelology of earlier writings, where they appear only as anonymous messengers of God and have little personal character of their own, yet it is still far from the elaborate angelology and demonology of such a book as Enoch…
One point of particular interest is that in the writer’s account of the coming of the kingdom of God he sees it as the culmination of a succession of world empires. This suggests that he has caught the conception that history is a whole… There are hints of such a conception of world history in the Prophets but it is in this book of Daniel that it becomes explicit and gives a foregleam of the world view of the New Testament.
For the interpretation of the book of Daniel we have to depend almost exclusively on the Masoretic Text2 . There is no Targum3 to Daniel. The Greek translation in the Septuagint is paraphrastic, as it is in the case of other late books in the Hagiographa4 , so that at an early date its place was commonly taken in Greek manuscripts by a more literal version which goes under the name of Theodotion. There are traces of what is called a pre-Theodotion version, but the one commonly found seems to have come into existence about A.D. 180. Jerome knew that all available manuscript of the Greek Bible contained Theodotion’s version of Daniel… The available Syro-Hexaplar5 text is mainly useful for helping to restore Origen’s Septuagint text. The Lucianic text6 present a few useful readings…
Between 3:23 and 3:24 the LXX [the Septuagint, the ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible] and its dependents have the long passage known as the Song of the Three Children, recounting legendary details of their experiences in the fire, and the song they sang as they walked among the blazing coals.
In the Septuagint, the Syro-Hexaplar, and the Vulgate, ch. 13 is the History of Susanna… The story is intended to illustrate how God watches over the innocent…
In the Greek versions and the Vulgate7 , ch. 14 is the History of the Destruction of Bel and the Dragon… It recounts an incident that happened in Babylon not long after Cyrus the Persian acceded.
Daniel cannot be ranked among the Hebrew poets: - his Book is all in prose…Louis F,. Harmand, C.SS.R, writer & Alexander A. Di Lella, O.F.M., reviser, The Book of Daniel, The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, 1990
Daniel writes both Hebrew and Chaldee with great purity. (Adam Clarke, 1831, pp. IV 298-299)
…Gerald Kennedy, Exposition, The Interpreters' Bible, 1956
A still unsolved problem is Dan’s [Daniel’s] strange mixture of Hebrew and Aramaic.
… a theological contribution of immense significance is the clear teaching on the resurrection of the dead (12:2), which is something unique in the Hebr [Hebrew] OT [Old Testament – the Hebrew Bible] and is much more meaningful to the Semitic mentality than the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. Finally, the messianism of Dan brings Israel’s hope of salvation to the final stage before its full realization in the NT. Although the “son of man coming with the clouds of heaven” (7:13) does not refer directly to an individual Messiah … before long this term was destined to acquire such a connotation and to become the favorite expression by which Jesus of Nazareth would refer to himself. (Cody, 1990, pp. 407-409)
It is a sad thing that, in a day when we have more information available about the Scriptures than ever before, we have so many Bible illiterates. The fault lies with those who know the facts but keep their information to themselves, as if it were dangerous or immoral. We who have found that the critical approach to the Bible makes it shine with increase brilliance and increases our faith in it, ought to invite others to make this same approach. For every one who is disturbed, there will be a hundred who will be grateful for establishing their faith on a firm foundation and expanding their religious horizons. (Kennedy, 1956, p. VI 355)FOOTNOTES
1 Hagiographa – the third of the three Jewish divisions of the Old Testament, variously arranged, but usually comprising the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Hagiographa
2 Masoretic Text (MT, 𝕸) is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Old Testament
3 Targum - interpretive renderings of the books of the Hebrew Scriptures (with the exception of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Daniel) into Aramaic. Such versions were needed when Hebrew ceased to be the normal medium of communication among the Jews.
5 Syro-hexaplar: the Syriac translation of the Septuagint based on the fifth column of Origen's Hexapla. The translation was made by Bishop Paul of Tella, around 617 [AD], from the Hexaplaric text of the Septuagint. A Palestinian Syriac version, extant in fragments, is known to go back to at least 700.
This version is also important for the study of the Septuagint, for Swete believed that it often includes the symbols Origen used to mark the differences he observed between the Septuagint text and the Hebrew text. Since many later copies of the Septuagint dropped Origen's symbols, the Syro-Hexapla is one of the primary ways that textual critics can identify hexaplaric material in the Septuagint.6 The Lucianic text: A revision of the text of the Greek Bible by Lucian of Antioch (ca. [approximately] 240-312), which became the standard text of the Eastern Church. It lies behind the so-called Syrian (Westcott and Hort) or Byzantine (=Koinem) text of the NT [New Testament] and is thus the ultimate authority for the Textus Receptus [“Received Text”], which lies behind the AV [Authorized Version] (KJV [King James Version]) and other early Protestant translations. This text is characterized by smoothness of language, which is achieved by the removal of barbarisms, obscurities, and awkward grammatical constructions, and by the conflation of variant readings. - https://www.biblicaltraining.org/library/lucianic-text#sthash.qPpdwe4p.dpuf
Being a direct translation from the Greek of the Septuagint into Syriac, it should be distinguished from the Peshitta, which is a Syriac translation directly from the Hebrew. - Wikipedia
7 The Vulgate is a late fourth-century Latin translation of the Bible that became, during the 16th century, the Catholic Church's officially promulgated Latin version of the Bible. Wikipedia
An Amateur's Journey Through the Bible
“With the death of Antiochus Epiphanes the final consummation begins, and in view of the imminence of the end, Michael, the patron angel of the Jews, bestirs himself. The great tribulation now really becomes great in the final spasms of agony of a dying world period, the ‘birth pangs of the Messiah,’ but it ends with the general resurrection, the great separation of the blessed from the damned, and the coming of the kingdom of the saints. Here the vision ends (vss. [verses] 1-4) and seer is bidden to seal the book.
“This was the end of the original apocalypse, but to it have been added three supplements (vss. 5-13): (a) Daniel sees in a vision two angels by the stream. He inquires of them how long it will be until the end, and is told that the tribulation will last three and a half more years… (b) Another calculation of the duration of the abomination makes it 1,290 days. (c) A final calculation makes it 1,335 days. It is possible that vs. [verse] 13 belongs after vs. 4 and was the end of the original book, the supplements having been inserted between vs. 4 and vs. 13.” (Jeffery, 1956, pp. VI 540-541)
“12:1-3. Magnificent poetic conclusion of the revelation given in chaps. [chapters] 10-11.” (Louis F. Hartman, 1990, p. 419)
-1. ‘“And in time the that will stand MeeYKhah-’ayL ["Who is Like God", Michael], the prince, the great,
the stander upon sons of your people.
And it will be a time [of] distress,
that never was from existence of a nation until the time the that;
and in time the that will escape your people,
all the found written in [the] account.
“One common feature in descriptions of the great tribulation… is the great war when the Gentile nations assemble for a final assault on Jerusalem and its righteous inhabitants (Zech. [Zechariah] 14:2 ff. [and following]; Enoch 90:16; Rev. [Revelation] 16:14; 19:19).…“In the Persian Empire it had been customary to keep a register of citizens, and in the O.T. [Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible] there appears the idea of a register of the members of the theocratic community on earth, from which for cause a name might be blotted out (Exod. [Exodus] 32:32 ff.; Ps. [Psalm] 69:28; Isa. [Isaiah] 4:3;4:3,… Phil. [Philippians] 4:3; Rev. 3:5…). So here the idea is that those who had been faithful, and thus proved that they belonged to the saints of God, had been recorded as members of the new kingdom. Such would have to be delivered from the great tribulation that they might inherit the kingdom. Perhaps we have also here the idea that the names of the faithful in previous generations have likewise been recorded so that they too may share in the blessed life of the coming kingdom.” (Jeffery, 1956, pp. VI 541-542)-2. ‘“And multitudes from sleepers of ground of dust will awake [יקיצו, YahQeeYTsOo],
these to lives of world,
and these to reproach, to abhorrence [לדראון, LeDahR’ON] world.
“Here for the first time in the O.T. we have clear mention of a resurrection of the wicked as well as of the righteous. In Hosea and Ezekiel it is a national, not an individual, resurrection that is prominent, and when emphasis comes to fall on individual resurrection, this is limited to righteous Israelites and denied to others, as in Isa. 24-27; Ezek. [Exekiel] 37:11... A germ of the larger idea is sometimes discerned in Isa. 53:10 ff. … Eccl. 3:3:18-22, and some find intimation of it in Pss. [Psalms] 17; 39; 49; 73. It had not yet, however, become explicit. Even in this verse the resurrection is not general, for it is only many who will rise. It is impossible to say with certainty what groups this writer included…-3. ‘“And the schooled will shine [יזהרו, YaZHeeROo] as shines the firmament [הרקיע, HahRahQeeY`ah],
“That death is a sleep in the dust of the earth, where the dead rest in their graves until roused for the resurrection was a common idea (Enoch 91:10…). Sleep as an image for death is familiar from Jer. [Jeremiah] 51:39, 57; John 11:11; Acts 7:60; I Thess. [Thessalonians] 5:10. From the dust men were created and to dust they return, so dust as the dwelling of the departed is used as early as the Mesopotamian epics and is an O.T. image (Ps. 22:29; Job 20:11). Dust of the earth here, is a peculiar expression, ‘soil of dust’ or ‘land of dust,’ which some think means nothing more than the grave, but others take to be a descriptive name for Sheol…
“Following the resurrection come the great separation, familiar to us form the symbolism of dividing the sheep from the goats or the companions of the right hand from those of the left (Matt. [Matthew] 25:32-33)… Those who rise face the record of their deeds (7:10; cf. Rev. 20:12…). That is the basis on which they will be separated…
“From the separation they go on to their reward. Some to everlasting life, but some to shame and everlasting contempt. Everlasting life occurs only here in the O.T. A somewhat similar expression is used in Ps. 133:3, but there it seems to mean only the perpetual existence of Israel (cf. Ecclus. [Ecclisasticus] 37:25…). It is, however, a common enough expression in apocalyptic (Pss. Sol. [Psalms of Solomon] 3:16… IV Macc. [Maccabees] 14:5…), whence it came into the rabbinical writings (c.f. Targ. [Targum, ancient Jewish commentary] to Lev. [Leviticus] 18:5…).
“Everlasting: Without any ending since the kingdom promised to the saints in 2:44; 7:14, 27 was unending (cf. Rev. 11:15; 22:5). Shame: Lit., ‘reproaches,’… Some think the word was not part of the original but is a gloss explanatory of contempt, which is lit., ‘aversion,’ ‘abhorrence.’ These words say nothing of the actual punishment of the wicked but suggest it. The wicked enter a mode of existence that makes them a byword to the dwellers in the kingdom…: (Jeffery, 1956, pp. VI 542-543)
and makers righteous the multitudes as stars to world and perpetuity [ועד, Vah`ehD].
“When those who inherit the kingdom enter into their inheritance all receive their reward, but there are certain groups who are remarkable even in this state of bliss. Two such groups are mentioned here. The first is that of the wise who in 11:33, 35 were called leaders among the faithful. And then they were distinguished among their fellows, so in the kingdom they will be distinguished by their brightness… in Matt. 13:43… we have this nothing of the blessed as luminaries, an idea possibly derived from contemporary astral theology. In this verse they only shine like the stars, but the expression may have come from the same source.-4. ‘“And you, DahNeeYay’L, shut [סתם, ÇThoM] the words and seal [וחתם, VeHahThoM] the account until time [of] end.
“The second group is that of ‘the justifiers of the many.’ The many apparently means the multitude of common people (Esth. [Esther] 4:3…)… those who turn many to righteousness by their precept and example. They too are to shine brightly like the stars (Wisd. Sol. [Wisdom of Solomon] 3:7…).” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 543)
Will shuttle [ישטטו, YeShoTeTOo] multitudes, and will multiply the knowledge.”’”
“This suggests an author who has been writing an account, not a seer who has been seeing a vision… This book … is apocalyptic, and its writer is very conscious of the written form. In 7:1 there is a reference to the writing of visions. The writer’s literary framework is the court at Babylon, and there must be an explanation somewhere why these matters revealed there were not known to earlier generations. The explanation is that they were written down and sealed up until the time of the end drew near, when they were to be made available to the faithful that they might understand the significance of the events amid which they were living (cf. … Rev. 22:10).…
“Until the time of end refers to the framework of the book. Daniel is in the court at Babylon at the beginning of the Persian period. The visions concern the period of Antiochus Epiphanes, the ‘time of the end’ of 8:19, 26; 11:35… In Rev. 22:10 the seer is admonished not to seal up the vision, for the time was already at hand. It is not unusual to read that apocryphal books are to be concealed in some secret place until an appropriate time (II Esdras 12:37; Assumption of Moses 1:17-18).
"Many shall run to and fro: Shūṭ is ‘to rove,’ ‘to move about,’ and shôṭēṭ is used in Amos 8:12; Jer. 5:1; Zech. 4:10; II Chr. 16:9 in the sense of rapid movement to and fro, which suggests that we should translate here in that sense. But what would that mean? … Montgomery translates, ‘many shall run to and fro that knowledge may increase,’ thinking that the writer is alluding to Amos 8:12, a passage which pictures men rushing about trying to find the word of Yahweh but finding it not… Bentzen compares II Thess. 2:10-12.” (Jeffery, 1956, pp. VI 543-545) “
-5. “And I saw, I, DahNeeYay’L, and behold two others standing,“Some regard these verses as a later addition from another hand… Some regard the verses not as a supplement as an integral part of the whole passage.” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 545) ““EPILOGUE (12:5-13) “
one, behold, to lip of the river [היאר, HahYe’oR],
and one, behold, to lip of the river. “
“The two others must be two angels other than the angel of 10:5, who has been telling Daniel about the vision. The reason for there being two is the oath in vs. 7, since for any such oath two witnesses were necessary (Deut. [Deuteronomy] 19:15). … Apparently the two stood on either bank of the river, which must be the same as that in 10:4, the stream beside which the seer was when the vision came. Here, however, it is not the usual word for river, which was used in 10:4, but יאר [Ye‘oR], which in the O.T. usually means the Nile. It is used in Isa. 33:21, however, for watercourses (cf. ["compare with"] Job 28:10), and in later Hebrew is a general word for river.” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 545) “-6. “And he said to [the] man wearing the linens,
that was from upon to waters of the river,
‘Until when end the wonders?’
“The word is addressed to the angel who has all along been speaking to Daniel. This is evident from the facts that his white clothes (cf. 10:5) are mentioned and that as in 8:16 he stands somewhere above the stream. “-7. “And I heard [את, ’ehTh, indicator of direct object, no English equivalent] the man wearing the linens, that is from upon to waters of the river,
“… Pelā’ôth, wonders, ‘marvels’ … The Niphal participle1 was used in 11:36 of the boastings of Antiochus (cf. 8:24). The reference here is to the wondrous events which have been foreshadowed in the vision…” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 545) “
and he raised his right and his left unto the skies,
and swore in lives of the world that [כי, KeeY],
‘To season [of] seasons and half,
and as completes shattering [נפץ, NahPayTs] [the] hand [of] people holy,
will be completed all these.’
“It is an angel who swears in Rev. 10:5-6, where the oath is also ‘by him who lives for ever’ (cf. the formula in Judg. [Judges] 8:19; Deut. 32:40).-8. “And I heard, and did not understand, and I said,
“‘A time, times and a half’ would mean three and a half years (7:25; 8:14). There is no clear indication as to the date from which the three and a half years are to be reckoned. The calculation in vs. 11 begins at December, 167 B.C., when the daily sacrifice was suppressed, and it may be that this is the case here, though some think the writer is calculating from the mission of Apollonius in 168.
“The conclusion of the verse is a puzzle… The verb nāphaç means ‘to disperse,’ as in Isa. 11:12. Its usual meaning is ‘to dash to pieces,’ and some think that it refers to the persecutions under Antiochus… Yadh, ‘a hand,’ meaning power, is a common idiom (Num. [Numbers] 31:49; Josh. [Joshua] Sam. [Samuel] (Jeffery, 1956, pp. VI 545-546)
‘Lord, what is after these?’
“’Aḥarȋth is ‘latter end’…” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 546)-9. “And he said,
‘Go, DahNeeYay’L, for shut and sealed are the words until time end.
-10. Will be purified [יתבררו, YeeThBahRahROo] and whitened [ויתלבנו, VeYeeThLahBeNOo] and refined [ויצרפו, VeYeeTsahRPhOo] multitudes;
and will be wicked, the wicked, and not understand, all [the] wicked;
and the schooled will understand.’
“Wise in this sense of understanding the ways of God occurs in II Chr. 30:22; Prov. 15:24; Amos 5:13. In II Esdras 14:46 the reserved revelations are to be delivered ‘to the wise among the people.’” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 547)
-11. ‘“And from [the] time [of] taking away [הוסר, HOoÇahR] the Always,“There may be doubt as to whether vss. are interpolations, but vss. 11-12 certainly are. Since Gunkel’s work in 1895 it has been generally accepted that they are two successive glosses intended to prolong the term of 1,150 days given in 8:14 as the time which is to elapse from the abolition of the daily sacrifice until the cleansing of the sanctuary. Apparently the 1,150 days had passed, and what had been expected had not happened, so vs. 11 prolongs the period to 1,290 days, and vs. 12 to 1,225 days.” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 547)“11-12. Here are two fresh calculations of the date of the end.
and to giving Abomination of Desolation,
days a thousand two hundred and ninety.
“The abomination that maketh desolate set up] I believe, with Bp. [Bishop] Newton that this is a proverbial phrase; and may be applied to any thing substituted in the place of, or set up in opposition to, the ordinances of God, His worship, His truth, &c. Adrian’s temple, built in the place of God’s Temple at Jerusalem, the church of St. Sophia turned into a Mohammedan mosque, &c, &c, may be termed abominations that make desolate. Perhaps Mohammedanism may be the abomination; which sprang up A.D. 612. If we reckon one thousand two hundred and ninety years, ver. 11, from that time, it will bring us down to A.D. 1902, when we might presume, from this calculation that the religion of the FALSE PROPHET will cease to prevail in the world. Which, from the present year 1825, is distant only seventy-seven years.” (Adam Clarke, 1831, pp. 354-355)-12. “Fortunate the waiter and arrives to days thousand three hundred thirty and five.
“…all these conjectures may be founded in darkness. We have not chronological data; and the times and season God has reserved in His own power. (Adam Clarke, 1831, p. 355)-13. And you, go to [the] end and rest, and stand to your lot, to [the] end of the days.”
“…the end is eschatological. The seer is being told to go his way, the way all flesh will go until the end comes…FOOTNOTES
“Rest is generally taken to mean rest in the grave, as in Isa. 57:2, or in Sheol, as in Job 3:17…
“… he is being assured that when the last days merge into the coming kingdom he will have his allotted place or portion therein.” (Jeffery, 1956, pp. VI 548-549)
The end of the Masoretic Text
“At the end of Jerome’s Lat [Latin] translation of the Hebr [Hebrew] Aram [Aramaic] book of Daniel, the Vg [Vulgate - The authorized Latin version] has three other stories about Daniel from the Gk [Greek] text called ‘Theodotion-Daniel’… The type of Greek used in these stories shows that their original language was Semitic, either Hebrew or Aramaic.
“All three stories are haggadic folktales, like the stories in the first half of the book (chaps. 1-6). Fragments for a ‘Daniel Cycle’ found at Qumran indicate that all these stories are but a small part of numerous folktales about a legendary Daniel that circulated among the Jews of the last pre-Christian centuries.” (Louis F. Hartman, 1990, p. 419)
1 The Niphal [passive or reflective] Participle is formed with the Niphal prefix (נ), the verbal stem, and the inflectional endings that are the same as the Qal Participle. - http://www.becomingjewish.org/pdf/niphal_stem-hebrew.pdf
Adam Clarke, L. F. (1831). The Holy Bible containing the Old and New Testament... with Commentary and Critical Notes (first ed., Vols. IV Jer - Mal). New York: J. Emory and B. Waugh.
Jeffery, A. (1956). The Interpreters' Bible, The Holy Scriptures in the King James and Revised Standard Versions with general articles and Introduction, Exegesis, exposition for each book of the Bible. In W. R. George Arthur Buttrick (Ed.). Nashville, Tennessee, USA: Abingdon Press.
Kennedy, G. (1956). The Book of Daniel, exposition. In B. S. Buttrick (Ed.), The Interpreters' Bible (Vols. VI, Lam-Mal, p. 1144). Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.STUDY AIDS
Louis F. Hartman, C. &. (1990). The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. In S. J. Raymond E. Brown (Ed.). Englewood Cliffs,, New Jersey, USA: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
ספר הבריתות, תורה נביאים כתובים והברית החדשה [ÇehPhehR HahBReeYThOTh, ThORaH NehBeeY’eeYM KeThOoBeeYM VeHahBReeYTh HeHahDahShaH – The Book of the Covenants: Law, Prophets, Writings, and the New Covenant] The Bible Society in Israel, Jerusalem, Israel, 1991 Will survive anything short of untrained puppies, but the back is broken now. Easy to read “Arial” type font. A gift from Joy; the one I read and annotate.The Interlinear Bible, Hebrew, Greek, English, With Strong’s Concordance Numbers Above Each Word, Jay. Green, Sr., Hendrickson Publishers. A gift from my parents. Essential, but even the pocket dictionary has a better binding.
Compendious Hebrew-English Dictionary, Comprising a Complete Vocabulary of biblical, Mishnaic, Medieval and Modern Hebrew, complied by Reuben Avinoam (Grossmann) in collaboration with H. Sachs, revised and edited by M. H. Segal, The Dvir Publishing Co. Tel-Aviv, 1950. Part of a three volume set (the other volumes being English-Hebrew and a supplement). A hand me down from dad. It used to be my first recourse when the pocket dictionary fails me; nowadays I just go directly to it.
The New Bantam-Megiddo Hebrew & English Dictionary, by Dr. Reuven Sivan and Dr. Edward A. Levenston, New York, 1975. The pocket dictionary. I had misunderstood my brother to say that he got through seminary Hebrew with just this (plus his fluency). I update it from the other dictionaries. Its pages have fallen away from the glue that bound them. I’ve only lost one page so far; this is my third copy. Still useful for translating the modern Hebrew translation of the Aramaic portions of Daniel.
A Hebrew - English Bible According to the Masoretic Text and the JPS, 1917 Edition, © 2005 all rights reserved to Mechon Mamre for this HTML version. http://www.mechon-mamre.org/
The Comprehensive Concordance of the Bible: Together With Dictionaries of the Hebrew and Greek Words of the Original, With References to the English, by James Strong, Mendenhall Sales, Inc. Also a gift (or appropriation) from my parents. Also essential, although, according to Lenore Lindsey Mulligan, the current standard reference in English is the third edition of Koehler and Baumgartner's Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament. Excellent binding. A most curious introduction. Lacks perfection; when the number is wrong, you’re really stuck. There is one word in II Chronicles for which I never did find a definition.
The Biblical Learning Center - https://www.facebook.com/groups/15363590319/
an excellent on-line resource
for other posts, see: An Amateur's Journey Through the Bible