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Three Questions about Daniel 9
01-20-2017, 06:54 PM (This post was last modified: 01-20-2017 07:01 PM by rako17.)
Post: #1
Three Questions about Daniel 9
Maimonides and others saw Daniel 9 in particular to be an apocalyptic End Times prophecy because of the extreme blessings in the angel's prediction and its sense of finality. The 1917 Jewish Publication Society translation says:
Quote:Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sin, and to forgive iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal vision and prophet, and to anoint the most holy place.

Next, it says that after 483 years into those 70 weeks, an anointed one or Messiah would be cut off and "be not", which points to somewhere in 42 BC to 39 AD:
וְאַחֲרֵי הַשָּׁבֻעִים שִׁשִּׁים וּשְׁנַיִם, יִכָּרֵת מָשִׁיחַ וְאֵין לוֹ; וְהָעִיר וְהַקֹּדֶשׁ יַשְׁחִית עַם נָגִיד הַבָּא, וְקִצּוֹ בַשֶּׁטֶף, וְעַד קֵץ מִלְחָמָה, נֶחֱרֶצֶת שֹׁמֵמוֹת.

QUESTION 1:
The Hebrew expression here for "be not" might be "waen lo" (וְאֵין לוֹ). May I please ask what the "lo" means?

The only place I found in the Tanakh where a specific person "was not" was when Enoch "was not" because the Lord took him away (Gen 5:24):
וַיִּתְהַלֵּ֥ךְ חֲנֹ֖וךְ אֶת־הָֽאֱלֹהִ֑ים וְאֵינֶ֕נּוּ כִּֽי־לָקַ֥ח אֹתֹ֖ו אֱלֹהִֽים׃ פ

Rashi considers the anointed one / Messiah in the chapter to be King Herod Agrippa of Judea and "cut off" to refer to his being killed.
Quote: the anointed one will be cut off:
Agrippa, the king of Judea, who was ruling at the time of the destruction, will be slain.

and he will be no more:

Heb. וְאֵין לוֹ, and he will not have.
The meaning is that he will not be.

SOURCE: Rashi's commentary,



One explanation for the reliability of Biblical prophecy could be that the prophets were ancient sages and therefore relied on their wisdom and powers of reason with God's help and guidance to make their predictions.

Daniel's story says that he received the prophecy via explicit message from an angel that descended from heaven and gave it to him as a reward for his prophecy. That sounds quite outside our modern experience of the universe, which adds some doubt for me, although on the other hand we aren't prophets like Daniel, it's true.

I read that rabbis put Daniel in the "Scriptures"(Ketuvim) section of the Tanakh rather than the "prophets" section out of skepticism about the book. Sophie in an "Ask the Rabbi" thread says about Daniel 9:
Quote:First, realize that the Book of Daniel is not prophecy. It is in Writings not Prophets.
http://messiahtruth.yuku.com/topic/1192/...IEkmn2Al2B

Quote:Daniel is never called a "prophet" (Hebrew, navi), nor are his visions called "prophecy" [Babylonian Talmud: Megillah 3a; Bava Batra 14b]... BT Sanhedrin 93b–94a argues that Daniel was greater than prophets such as Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi because he "saw the vision" of a heavenly priest, which they did not [Dan 10:7]... The rabbis rejected Daniel as a prophet because he is not... explicitly called a prophet. But this criterion for his exclusion was not universally applied, for many of the prophets in the "Prophets" portion are never called navi either by themselves or by God himself.
...
There are nine prophets not named a navi in the Bible:

Hosea
Joel
Obadiah
Jonah
Micah
Nahum
Zephaniah
Malachi
Amos

http://www.hebrew-streams.org/works/misc...aniel.html

I read that one rabbi expressed major skepticism in the Talmud that Daniel's story about the angel flying down to tell him the prophecy was not literally and physically true, because angels did not do that kind of thing. The implication by the rabbi was that instead this was a literary device by the book of Daniel's author.

Another skeptical claim I read by some scholars is that Daniel was not really written by the 6th c. BC prophet Daniel, but rather was written by an anonymous writer of the 3rd-2nd c. AD. In this alternative explanation, the writer really was narrating the events of his own time like the Seleucid Greeks' persecution of the Jews and their desecration of the Temple. I don't know enough about this to have a strong opinion about this.

QUESTION 2:
Do you believe that the moving of Daniel to the Ketuvim instead of the Prophets, his claim that an angel flew down and gave him the 70 weeks' prophecy, or the claim that the book was actually written centuries after the real Daniel lived undermine the objective reliability of Daniel 9 as a predictive prophecy?


A third difficulty with the reliability of Daniel 9 is that while Christians say it was fulfilled in the 1st c. with Jesus' death and Rashi said it was fulfilled with the death of King Herod Agrippa, the rabbis in the Talmud seem to think that the scriptures' dates expecting the Messiah passed without him coming.

Quote:(Rav): All the Ketzim [dates] have passed. Now, Mashi'ach depends on Teshuvah and Mitzvos.

(Shmuel): The mourner need not mourn longer than the proscribed period. (Hash-m will not wait forever, even if Yisrael are not worthy. Alternatively, Yisrael has suffered enough in Galus, so they will be redeemed even without Teshuvah.)
SOURCE: http://dafyomi.co.il/sanhedrin/points/sn-ps-097.htm

"And the (voice from heaven) came forth and exclaimed, who is he that has revealed my secrets to mankind?.. He further sought to reveal by a Targum the inner meaning of the Hagiographa, but a voice from heaven went forth and said, enough! What was the reason?--because the date of the Messiah was foretold in it!"

SOURCE: Targum of the prophets, Tractate Megillah 3a; (the Ketuvim/Hagiographa is the section of the Tanakh that includes Daniel)

QUESTION 3:
Do these commentaries suggest that the rabbis accept as realistic that Messianic prophecies might not be fulfilled, like the prophecy that the Messiah would come at an appointed time?

A final note: I am not debating the Jewish or Christian view of Daniel 9, but rather looking to the commonality in their messianic expectations and looking to evaluate whether their predictions are basically reliable. (For my other notes on Daniel 9, you may see: http://www.religionforums.org/Thread-rako17-Blog)
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01-21-2017, 11:35 AM (This post was last modified: 01-21-2017 11:55 AM by Yefet.)
Post: #2
RE: Three Questions about Daniel 9
Quote:The Hebrew expression here for "be not" might be "waen lo" (וְאֵין לוֹ). May I please ask what the "lo" means?

Perhaps Rosends would be better at answering here
but V’ayn Lo or לו ואין simply means will be no more.
Quote:Do you believe that the moving of Daniel to the Ketuvim instead of the Prophets, his claim that an angel flew down and gave him the 70 weeks' prophecy, or the claim that the book was actually written centuries after the real Daniel lived undermine the objective reliability of Daniel 9 as a predictive prophecy?

Not at all, If read as intended Sefer Daniel was never about prophecy, his role was never that of a prophet. He had visions of the future and future events that he felt needed to be written down for future Jews Thus, they are concedered Writings, not Prophecies and if read and studied in Hebrew without the Christian agenda injected that is exactly what this book is, Writings is the right classification for this Sefer
Quote:Do these commentaries suggest that the rabbis accept as realistic that Messianic prophecies might not be fulfilled, like the prophecy that the Messiah would come at an appointed time?
Again, if read and studied in Hebrew the word משיח Moshiach was referring to anointing the Holy of Holies and not a savior type person that Christians inject. in fact it was refering to a number of different individuals and or objects, Kings and Holy of Holies ceremony's that were anointed and not necessarily about one individual person or Messiah. As I said these writing are for future generation as with everything Jewish everything depends on Mitzvot or actions of the individual and collective Action of Jews in General, Sefer Daniel was not necessarily Messianic prophecies because only actions can bring about the Messianic era and that can happen today, this second or a Million yrs from now, God forbid, it all depends on Mitzvot and Torah study, there is no such thing as an appointed time.

“hevei dan et kol adam le-khaf zekhut”
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01-21-2017, 02:44 PM (This post was last modified: 01-21-2017 03:58 PM by rako17.)
Post: #3
RE: Three Questions about Daniel 9
Thank you for your replies, Yefet!

(01-21-2017 11:35 AM)Yefet Wrote:  Not at all, If read as intended Sefer Daniel was never about prophecy, his role was never that of a prophet. He had visions of the future and future events that he felt needed to be written down for future Jews Thus, they are concedered Writings, not Prophecies and if read and studied in Hebrew without the Christian agenda injected that is exactly what this book is, Writings is the right classification for this Sefer
Question:
May I please ask how a prophet's role differs from Daniel's role?

The Chabad website says:
Quote:A prophet is an individual who receives a message from G‑d to transmit to the people. Maimonides counts it as one of the 13 foundations of the Jewish faith that "G‑d communicates to mankind through prophecy."
http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cd...ophecy.htm
You are saying that Daniel had visions about the future and he considered they needed to be written down for future Jews.

So is the difference that the Chabad site says that prophets' messages are from the Lord, whereas Daniel's messages and visions were only from angels and dreams, and not considered to be from the Lord?


I understand what you are saying:
Quote:Again, if read and studied in Hebrew the word משיח Moshiach was referring to anointing the Holy of Holies and not a savior type person that Christians inject. in fact it was refering to a number of different individuals and or objects, Kings and Holy of Holies ceremony's that were anointed and not necessarily about one individual person or Messiah.

The first time it mentions anointed, it is talking about the holy place, the second time it looks like it's talking about an anointed prince. The third time it talks about the anointed one cut off, it doesn't say who or what it is, so there can be uncertainty:
Quote:Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sin, and to forgive iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal vision and prophet, and to anoint the most holy place.

Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the word to restore and to build Jerusalem unto one anointed, a prince, shall be seven weeks; and for threescore and two weeks, it shall be built again, with broad place and moat, but in troublous times.

And after the threescore and two weeks shall an anointed one be cut off, and be no more; and the people of a prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary;
My guess would be that since the third mentioned "anointed one" is in a different sentence than the sanctuary, that those are two different entities.

The Talmud and Maimonides as far as I can tell consider Daniel to be giving a date for Messiah's arrival, and I read the same thing about Nachmanides' view, whereas Rashi doesn't see Daniel 9 as Messianic but instead as referring to Herod Agrippa. Considering Rashi's dissent, I can see how there is also uncertainty or different opinions in Jewish tradition on whether Daniel 9 is Messianic.

I also understand what you mean here:

(01-21-2017 11:35 AM)Yefet Wrote:  As I said these writing are for future generation as with everything Jewish everything depends on Mitzvot or actions of the individual and collective Action of Jews in General, Sefer Daniel was not necessarily Messianic prophecies because only actions can bring about the Messianic era and that can happen today, this second or a Million yrs from now, God forbid, it all depends on Mitzvot and Torah study,
In the Tanakh, different outcomes depended on peoples' actions. For example in Jonah's book, Nineveh repented, and so the Lord didn't destroy it, even though there was a prophecy by Jonah that he would.


(01-21-2017 11:35 AM)Yefet Wrote:  there is no such thing as an appointed time.
Maybe what you mean is that when the Talmud and traditions refer to the Messiah's "appointed time", that the divine appointing of the date is not an absolute requirement binding Messiah to appear at that time.

Quote:'IN ITS TIME I WILL HASTEN IT': MESSIANIC SPECULATION IN THE BABYLONIAN TALMUD, SANHEDRIN 96B-99A
Margaret Jacobi
European Judaism: A Journal for the New Europe
Vol. 40, No. 1 (Spring 2007), pp. 115-119

The passage about the Messiah is part of the Gemara following the Mishnah stating who has a share [in the world to come]...

...will he come at the appointed time regardless?

Quote:"The tradition of the school of Elijah is, that the world is to stand six thousand years, two thousand years confusion, two thousand years the Law, and two thousand years the days of the Messiah."

It is further said ... "Rav says the appointed times are long since past."
http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/bar/bar009.htm

The Tractate talking about this can be found here:
http://images.e-daf.com/DafImg.asp?ID=3804&size=1

Thanks again for your answers.
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02-20-2017, 11:40 PM
Post: #4
RE: Three Questions about Daniel 9
What led Daniel to believe that seventy weeks of years were determined for the apocalyptic events?
In the story, it was simply that an angel descended and told him the information. It's hard to argue with that authority.

However, is there another way to explain the calculation?
The Lord had previously decreed through Jeremiah seventy years for Jerusalem's desolation. Those weeks were based on the number of years Judah had not left the fields fallow, in violation of the commandment on following a seven year cycle for leaving the fields empty one year out of the cycle.

When it came time to determine the number of years until the apocalyptic events of Daniel 9, a seemingly related figure was given - seventy weeks of years. What is curious about this is that on one hand, the prediction appears like a major blessing. According the Talmud and Maimonides, this was a prediction of Messiah's arrival. And Daniel 9 has the angel explaining that the prophecy is one of the arrival of blessings, like the sealing up of prophet, anointing of holy places, "an end of sin, ... to forgive iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness". And if one sees an analogy with Jeremiah's weeks that led to a blessing for Jerusalem, it looks like Daniel's prophecy indeed should result in a blessing.

And yet on the other hand, Daniel 9's prophecy, despite its seeiming promise, appears to result in major disasters: the "anointed one" is cut off and the Temple is "desolated" (in Hebrew: yashit). Further, if one makes an analogy to Jeremiah's prophecy, then there also seems to be a dark aspect. Jeremiah prophesied his 70 years of desolation because Judah had violated the Lord's commandments by not leaving the fields fallow. The 70 years seemed to be a time of punishment, after which Judah was forgiven. The number 70 could refer to completion. If an analogy is drawn with Daniel 9, then it might seem that there was also some punishment involved. Had Judah also committed some sin for which the 70 times 7 years was imposed? Nothing like that is mentioned in the text directly. But it's also questionable - if Judah had been scattered during Jeremiah's time for failing to leave the fields occasionally fallow, perhaps they had been doing the same during the time Daniel counted for his 70 weeks of years, and thus the same issue of leaving the fields fallow laid unresolved?

How should Daniel as a prophet have concluded that Messiah/the anointed one was to be cut off and have nothingness, as the text says in Daniel 9?
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02-21-2017, 06:19 AM
Post: #5
RE: Three Questions about Daniel 9
You are mixing a whole bunch of stuff in here.
A few random responses:
Daniel is not considered to be a prophet nor is his book prophetic. That doesn't mean that the messages weren't divine, nor that they were untrue. http://www.jewfaq.org/prophet.htm

The dates in Daniel (the 70 years etc) have been variously explained to refer to a few different historical events. This explanation starts about a third of the way down http://drazin.com/?7._The_L-RD%27S_Anointed
here is a video http://jewsforjudaism.ca/daniel-9-%E2%97...an-bernis/

In the talmud there is a question of an appointed time. According to one opinion, we are not to START considering that the time has come until a certain number of years have passed -- the appointed time is the earliest, not the latest. We aren't up to that time yet.

Remember, there is a difference between a Moshiach and a moshia.
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02-22-2017, 03:38 PM
Post: #6
RE: Three Questions about Daniel 9
Thanks for replying, Rosends!

I understand what you mean:
(02-21-2017 06:19 AM)rosends Wrote:  Daniel is not considered to be a prophet nor is his book prophetic. That doesn't mean that the messages weren't divine, nor that they were untrue. http://www.jewfaq.org/prophet.htm

The dates in Daniel (the 70 years etc) have been variously explained to refer to a few different historical events.

In the talmud there is a question of an appointed time. According to one opinion, we are not to START considering that the time has come until a certain number of years have passed -- the appointed time is the earliest, not the latest. We aren't up to that time yet.

Here I am not raising a question of whether Christian or rabbinic interpretations are correct, but rather whichever one is correct, how I should best understand three things:

My main questions here are:
1. What led Daniel to conclude 490 years were given for the Messiah's appointed time?

2. How to explain that the prophecy starts out by saying that it's a prophecy of extreme blessings, but then says that the anointed one (however you want to interpret that person) will be cut off and the Temple desolated, which sounds quite negative?

3. What makes Daniel conclude that this anointed person will be cut off?

You gave two sites:
Quote:This explanation starts about a third of the way down http://drazin.com/?7._The_L-RD%27S_Anointed

here is a video http://jewsforjudaism.ca/daniel-9-%E2%97...an-bernis/

Drazin's site says:
Quote:During this 490--year grace period, the Jewish people could have proven its loyalty to G-d and His Torah by repenting. Had the Jews done so, the Messiah would have ushered in the Messianic Era and these blissful promises would have been fulfilled. Unfortunately, this opportunity was squandered. Consequently, 490 years later, the then--rebuilt Temple was destroyed and they were again exiled from the Holy Land.
I understand that a prophecy can be conditional: eg. the promised good blessing might only come to pass if one acts accordingly.

Daniel 9 on the other hand is stated to be a 490 year good blessing and the stated good blessing says that at the end the Temple will be desolated. That is, the good blessing in its fulfilled form involves the Temple's desolation. So it doesn't seem to be a conditional, consistently positive blessing of promise. It seems just to be a straight factual prediction of what will happen, and what is strange about it is that it's a prediction of blessing and yet the promise nonetheless involves desolation of the Temple.

The two articles did not get into the issue beyond what I quoted above.
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02-22-2017, 05:33 PM
Post: #7
RE: Three Questions about Daniel 9
(02-22-2017 03:38 PM)rako17 Wrote:  My main questions here are:
1. What led Daniel to conclude 490 years were given for the Messiah's appointed time?

2. How to explain that the prophecy starts out by saying that it's a prophecy of extreme blessings, but then says that the anointed one (however you want to interpret that person) will be cut off and the Temple desolated, which sounds quite negative?

3. What makes Daniel conclude that this anointed person will be cut off?
I don't really understand the questions. Daniel didn't conclude anything as far as I understand. The "man" in the vision gave him the message content and the ability to understand it.
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03-02-2017, 02:50 PM (This post was last modified: 03-02-2017 02:51 PM by rako17.)
Post: #8
RE: Three Questions about Daniel 9
(02-22-2017 05:33 PM)rosends Wrote:  
(02-22-2017 03:38 PM)rako17 Wrote:  My main questions here are:
1. What led Daniel to conclude 490 years were given for the Messiah's appointed time?

2. How to explain that the prophecy starts out by saying that it's a prophecy of extreme blessings, but then says that the anointed one (however you want to interpret that person) will be cut off and the Temple desolated, which sounds quite negative?

3. What makes Daniel conclude that this anointed person will be cut off?
I don't really understand the questions. Daniel didn't conclude anything as far as I understand. The "man" in the vision gave him the message content and the ability to understand it.
Rosends,

I read a rabbi's discussion in Jewish tradition (maybe the Talmud or another old commentary) where he taught that in real life Daniel did not literally see a real angel-man, because of an issue in Daniel's account of the angel's arrival.

In verses 21-23, while Daniel was praying, the angel whom Daniel "had seen in the vision" that he had before, flew down, physically "touched" him (something that would seem to distinguish the arrival from a vision) and said to "consider the vision"'s meaning. But it never says that this time Daniel was just having a vision.

The rabbi said something like angels appear in visions, but they don't literally fly down from the heavens to literally talk to people during waking hours like Daniel described. The rabbi's point was not to take the whole account literally, and this might have been part of a discussion on why Daniel's book is in the Writings/Ketuvim, not in the prophets- because Daniel deliberately thought out and composed the story about the angel as a story.

The best analogies I could think of would be Job, Jonah, Proverbs, or Psalms, where stories are given but could have been composed thoughtfully by their author instead of being literal narrations.

Maimonides on the other hand writes that since angels are not seen but in dreams or visions, Daniel must have been receiving a vision, wherein his "active intellect" induced his imagination of the account:
Quote:Comp. also the words of Daniel, “And the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation” (Dan. ix. 11). All this passed in a prophetic vision. Do not imagine that an angel is seen or his word heard otherwise than in a prophetic vision or prophetic dream, according to the principle laid down:–“I make myself known unto him in a vision, and speak unto him in a dream” (Num. xii. 6).

...it was in a prophetic vision that the angel spoke to him and “set him upon his knees.” Under such circumstances the senses cease to act, and the [Active Intellect] influences the rational faculties, and through them the imaginative faculties
https://madlik.com/2016/12/09/its-just-a-dream-vayetze/

Let me better explain why I asked those three questions:
Question 1. Daniel was contemplating Jeremiah's 49 year prophecy about Jerusalem's desolation that ended with its restoration, and then Gabriel came and gave a prediction about 490 years involving Jerusalem's rebuilding and Messiah/"Anointed One" the Prince that ended with the Temple's and city's desolation.

It looks like these two prophecies have some kind of important correlation to each other. The "490 years" does not look like a totally random number, Rosends, but seems to have some important meaning and relationship to the "49 years". It's also curious how the two prophecies have a kind of converse symmetry regarding Jerusalem's and the Temple's destruction and restoration.

And if the 490 years is not simply randomly chosen but has some relationship to the 49 years or some internal meaning or reason, then I would like to understand that meaning or reason in order to better understand Daniel's prophecy.

Question 2.
The angel introduces the 490 year prediction by saying that it is about extreme blessings, like bringing in "everlasting righteousness" and "anointing the holy place". So one would expect that the prophecy would end with something wonderful and positive, right?

But instead, the prediction ends by saying that an "anointed one" gets cut off, and the city and the sanctuary get destroyed. That certainly doesn't sound positive, right?

So I would like to understand this issue: Why does a prophecy about something good end up being about the Temple's desolation?

I understand you answered that it's just a conditional prediction. But in fact, the prediction never says it is conditional. It says that if this good prophecy does comes to pass, then the desolation happens.

So my basic goal in my three thread questions is to understand the underlying meaning and also the reasons why the Lord, the angel, or Daniel made the prediction they way they did.
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