After Sixty-Two Weeks

After the first sixty-nine weeks, a malevolent “leader” appeared who corrupted the city and “desolated” the sanctuary – Daniel 9:26

The final “week” of the prophecy culminates in the desecration of the sanctuary and the cessation of the daily burnt offering. The “seventy weeks” is part of a series of visions about “what things must come to pass in later days,” all of which culminate in the establishment of the kingdom of God and the vindication of the saints. All the visions in the book are connected by verbal and conceptual links.

The focus of the “seventieth week” is the sanctuary, its desecration by a malevolent “leader.” Described events occur in Jerusalem, most pivotally, the “abomination that desolates.” The latter is installed by the figure who “corrupts” many of the “people.” Whatever the “abomination” is, it desecrates the sanctuary, and does not destroy it or the city.

Implicit is the predetermined endpoint of the “desecration,” the restoration of the sanctuary. When and how that will be achieved is not stated in the passage.
  • (Daniel 9:26) - And after the sixty-two weeks an anointed one will be cut off and have nothing, and the leader will corrupt the city and the sanctuary, and so will his end come with an overwhelming flood, howbeit, up to the full end of the war are decreed astounding things.
The Hebrew preposition rendered “after” locates the next set of events in the seventieth “week,” presumably, another period of seven years.

The “anointed one” is cut off “after the sixty-two weeks.” The final “week” is the third and last subdivision of the “seventy weeks.” That means the “anointed” figure that appears in the final “week” is not identical with the “anointed leader” that appeared at the end of the first “seven weeks” – The two figures are separated by centuries.

The chronological reference does not include the initial “seven weeks” of the prophecy. It states only that the “anointed one” was “cut off” after the second subdivision, after the “sixty-two weeks.” Why the angel did not combine the first “seven weeks” with the second “sixty-two weeks” for a total of “sixty-nine weeks” is not clear. Possibly, the first “seven weeks” ran concurrently with the “sixty-two weeks”; that is, both subdivisions commenced with the “word to return and build Jerusalem.” If so, then the “anointed one” was “cut off” after 434 rather than 483 years.

An anointed one will be cut off, and the leader will corrupt the city.” In verse 25, the first “anointed one” who appeared at the end of the first "seven weeks" was also called a “leader, a nagid. But that figure was distinct from the “anointed one” in verse 26 who was “cut off” during the final “week” who was not called a “leader” or nagid. In verse 26, the leader” is the figure who corrupted the city. In other words, the “anointed one” and the “leader” in verse 26 are not one and the same person.

Cut off.” The clause may mean death, but not necessarily so. The Hebrew verb means “cut.” Elsewhere, it is used for the “cutting” of a covenant, and it can signify “cutting” something into pieces. But it is applied often to someone who is “cut” or separated from the covenant of Yahweh. For example, Leviticus warns repeatedly that the man who violates ritual regulations would be “cut off” from the covenant - (Genesis 15:18, 17:14Leviticus 7:20-27).

And have nothing.” The Hebrew text more accurately reads “an anointed one is cut off, not the city and the sanctuary.” No verb is supplied with the second clause. The sense is that the “anointed one” is “cut off” from the city and Temple, and thus, he “has nothing.” That is, this man loses his place, access, or function in the city and sanctuary.

The “sanctuary” or qôdesh refers to the sanctuary proper, not to the entire Temple complex; and includes the altar for the daily burnt offering that was offered before the “Holy of Holies.” Its desecration was predicted in the vision of the goat:
  • (Daniel 8:13-14) - How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said to me: Until two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
The coming leader was corrupting the people.” The Hebrew term for “corrupt” does not mean “destruction,” but “corruption.” The idea of the “destruction” of the sanctuary makes no sense, since the “leader” also installs the “abomination that desolates” in the sanctuary. The verb means “decay, spoil, ruin, corrupt, pervert.” The same verb was applied earlier to the malevolent king who “corrupted mighty ones and the people of holy ones.” The point is the “corruption” of the people and the city, not their destruction - (Daniel 8:24-25).

In the Hebrew clause, “leader” is modified by the participle rendered “coming,” which also has the definite article or “the.” He is “the leader, the coming one.” Based on the verbal links, he is identical to the figure represented by the “little horn,” and by the “king of fierce countenance” from the preceding vision - (Daniel 7:7-88:8-14).

His end will come with an overwhelming flood.”  This is the only mention of any “flood” in Daniel. Most likely, it is used metaphorically to mean “overwhelming” and provides a verbal link to the last vision of the book:
  • (Daniel 11:21-22) – “And in his place shall stand up a contemptible person, to whom they had not given the honor of the kingdom: but he shall come in time of security and shall obtain the kingdom by flattery. And the overwhelming forces shall be overwhelmed from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the leader of the covenant.”
The term rendered “his end” provides another link to the interpretation of the vision of the goat – the “end” of the appointed “indignation” or “desolation”:
  • (Daniel 8:18-19) - Understand, O son of man; for the vision belongs to the time of the end. And he said, Behold, I will make you to know what will be in the latter time of the indignation; for it belongs to the appointed time of the end.”
Desolations” or shamem - (Strong’s - #H8074). The same word is applied four times in Daniel to the “abomination that desolates.” The Hebrew word does not mean “destroy,” but “desolate,” that is, the abandonment of something; to leave it desolate or deserted - (Daniel 8:13, 11:31, 12:11).

In chapter 8, the “little horn” removed the daily sacrifice and defiled the sanctuary, the “transgression that desolates.” Likewise, in chapter 11, the malevolent king arrived to “pollute the sanctuary, take away the daily sacrifice, and place the abomination that desolates,” not to destroy the Temple, but instead, to desecrate it.

Decreed” or “determined” (harats). The Hebrew term means “to sharpen, decide, determine, decree” - (Strong’s - #H2782). It occurs with the “abomination that desolates” in one other passage in the book:

  • (Daniel 11:31-36) - “And forces shall stand on his part, and they shall profane the sanctuary, even the fortress, and shall take away the continual burnt-offering, and they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate… And the king will do according to his own pleasure, and will exalt himself, and magnify himself against every GOD, yea, against the GOD of GODS will he speak wonderful things, and will succeed until exhausted is the indignation, for what is decreed must be done.”

Thus, the focus of the passage is on the leader” who “corrupts” the people and sanctuary, and “desolates” the sanctuary. The “cutting off” of the “anointed one” at the start of the passage is a chronological marker for the start of the final “week.” The “abomination of desolation” will bring great “indignation” to the city of Jerusalem; however, it will not last forever, but only until the time allotted by God reaches its predetermined end.

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