Jovial (31 Dec 2011)
"Dan 9:26-27 and how significant is the "he"?"

Some mentioned the other day about how an interpretation of Dan 9:25-26 rested on the use of "he".  This is a great example of how one needs to read from the original language, and not rely on English, particularly when it comes to an interpretation that rests on grammar because grammar does not always translate well from one language to another.  The inclusion of a pronoun was actually the choice of the translators.  Let me try and translate Dan 9:25-26 as literally as possible and preserve as much of the original ambiguity as I can.



כו  וְאַחֲרֵי הַשָּׁבֻעִים שִׁשִּׁים וּשְׁנַיִם, יִכָּרֵת מָשִׁיחַ וְאֵין לוֹ; וְהָעִיר וְהַקֹּדֶשׁ יַשְׁחִית עַם נָגִיד הַבָּא, וְקִצּוֹ בַשֶּׁטֶף, וְעַד קֵץ מִלְחָמָה, נֶחֱרֶצֶת שֹׁמֵמוֹת. 26 And after 62 SHAVUIM, the Messiah will be cut off but not for himself/him/it. And the city and the Holy Place shall be destroyed by the people of the prince who will come, but his end shall be with a flood; and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
כז  וְהִגְבִּיר בְּרִית לָרַבִּים, שָׁבוּעַ אֶחָד; וַחֲצִי הַשָּׁבוּעַ יַשְׁבִּית זֶבַח  27a And a covenant for many will be strengthened for one SHAVUA / "Seven".  And for half of the SEVEN the sacrifice and the offering shall be caused to cease. 

Now most translations read "he shall confirm the covenant " and "he shall cause ", but there is no explicit personal pronoun in the Hebrew text.  "יַשְׁבִּית" is read as "he shall cause to cease" but it doesn't explicitely say that any one person will cause it.  That's being interpretted into the grammar.  Perhaps that interpretation is wrong.


We can't conclusively conclude that either the Messiah or the "prince who will come" will be the direct personal cause of either of the events in Dan 9:27.  Dan 9:27 is only saying that these two events will happen, not that the 'prince' will be personally involved in accomplishing it.


What is a "SHAVUA"?  Most English translations translate this as "week" or "Seven".  Most of us consider this a 7 year period.  However in Otser Midrashim, on page 386 in the latest publication of it, it says that a "שבוע" is "שמיטה של שבע שנים" or a "Shmitta of 7 years".  Or in other words, a Sabbatical year.  Thus, not just any 7 year period, but one being measured according to the Sabbatical cycle of years.  I found that while reading from Otser Midrashim for something else.  That is one of the great things about learning to read Hebrew without the need for an English translation; not only will you not rely on the translators for the Bible, but you get to read OTHER stuff never translated into English that can help you interpret what the text is saying as well.


Shalom, Joe