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Daniel 8:12

12. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.

12. Et tempus 5656     Some translate “army” but I approve of the other sense, and shall give the reason by and bye. — Calvin. datum est super jugi sacrificio in scelere, 5757     Or, on “account of wickedness,” verbally, “time shall be given” - the future tense. — Calvin. et projiciet veritatem in terram et faciet, 5858     That is, shall have execution prepared, as we commonly say. — Calvin. et prospere aget.

 

The Prophet mitigates the asperity which he now records. It seems absurd for God to allow such license to Antiochus, that his temple should be spoiled and all sacrifices and all worship exterminated. It is difficult to reconcile this, for the opinion will naturally creep in, — possibly God is constrained and deprived of power to subdue his foes. The, Prophet therefore clearly states here how the license for vexing and oppressing’ the Church would never have been granted to Antiochus without God’s permission. Time, therefore, shall be given him, says he. By the words, time shall be given. he refers to the will of God, meaning, the pious shall have no cause for desponding while they see all things disturbed and confused in every direction, as God will rule all these perplexities by his secret judgment. Time, then, shall be given, implying, Antiochus can do nothing by his unbridled and furious audacity, unless divinely permitted and previously limited.צבא tzeba, signifies both “army” and “time,” but the latter meaning is the most suitable here; for when it is translated “an army shall be given him,” the sense appears forced. I more willingly embrace the sense of time being allowed; that is, God will try the patience of his Church for a certain definite time, and will then bring their troubles to an end. We, know it to be impossible to sustain the spirits of the faithful, otherwise that by their expectation of a favorable termination, and by the hope of their emerging from the abyss of sorrow. This, then, is the reason why God shews his Prophet by a vision the temporary duration of the sway of Antiochus. A period, then, shall be appointed to him over the perpetual sacrifice; meaning, whatever he may intend, he shall not abolish the worship of God. For, however he may exert himself, God will not permit the sacrifices to perish utterly and forever; he will restore them in his own time, as we shall afterwards see, and when we come to the close, we shall find the context flowing on in accordance with this meaning — a time shall be given him over the continual sacrifice.

He afterwards adds בפשע, beph-sheng, “in wickedness,” or “in sin.” I prefer the simple translation “in sin” to “by sin,” although different senses are elicited according to the different views of interpreters. It is better to leave it to every one’s free choice, and thus simply to translate “in wickedness” or “sin.” Some refer it to Antiochus, because he wickedly polluted God’s temple, and abolished the sacrifices. This sense is probable, but I will add others, and then say which of them I like best. Some understand “in sin” of the priests, because, through the perfidy of Jason, Antiochus entered the city, spoiled the temple, and introduced those abominations which exterminated all piety and divine worship. (2 Maccabees. 4:7.) As Jason desired to snatch the priesthood from his brother Onias, he opened the gates to Antiochus; then a great slaughter followed, in which all the adherents of Onias were cruelly slain. Afterwards Menelaus expelled Jason again by similar perfidy. Some translate “by means of wickedness,” as these priests induced Antiochus to exercise cruelty in the holy city, and to violate the temple itself. Others approach nearer the real sense, by supposing the sacrifices to have ceased through wickedness, because they were adulterated by the priests. But this appears to me too restricted. In my judgment, I rather hold towards the view of those who take “wickedness” as a cause arid origin, thereby teaching the Jews how justly they were punished for their sins. I have already explained how properly the vision was limited as to time, and controlled by God’s permission and secret counsel. The cause is here expressed; for it might still be objected, “How happens it that God submits himself and his sacred name to the ridicule of the impious, and even deserts his own people? What does he intend by this?” The Prophet, therefore, assigns this cause — the Jews must feel the profanation of the temple, the sad devastation of the whole city and their horrible slaughter, to be the reward due to their sins. A time, therefore, shall be assigned over the perpetual sacrifice in sin; that is, on account of sin. We here see how God on the one hand moderates the weight of the evils which pressed upon the Jews, and shews them some kindness, lest sorrow, anxiety, and despair should consume the wretched people; on the other hand, he humbles them and admonishes them to confess their sins, and then he urges them to apply their minds to repentance, by stating their own sins to be the cause of their afflictions. He thus shews how the source of all their evils was in the Jews themselves, while God’s anger was provoked by their vices. It is necessary to stop here till tomorrow.


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