Historical and chronological ramifications of inaccurately interpreting Daniel chapter 9

Image result for daniel chapter 9 

by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

“And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing.

And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.

Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed”.

 Daniel 9:26

  

Part One:

A Jewish scholar clarifies the main terms

 

Introduction

 

Daniel’s famous prophecy of the Seventy Weeks “has been”, according to J. Paul Tanner, “one of the most notorious interpretive problem passages in Old Testament studies” (“IS DANIEL’S SEVENTY-WEEKS PROPHECY MESSIANIC?”).

 

Many see this prophecy as referring to Jesus Christ the Messiah, his Death and Resurrection, and thereby regard it as a most important piece of chronology for dating the era of Jesus Christ, based on Daniel 9:25: “ … from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks …”.

That is, 434 years (for the “sixty-two weeks”).

 

And this is precisely how I have long regarded, and have calculated, this prophecy.

 

In more recent times though, however, I have come to reject the notion that the prophet Daniel’s periods of “Weeks” are meant to be taken as chronological projections well into the future. And, with this, has inevitably come about the new conclusion of mine that the “cut off” Messiah can by no means be a reference to Jesus Christ himself.

On the contrary, the person to whom I believe Daniel’s prophecy is here pointing was actually a most wicked biblical character who was, in the end – and as according to this prophecy – left with “nothing” (with no descendants). 

 

Not least of my reasons for rejecting that there could have been approximately 500 years (Daniel’s “Seventy Weeks”) between the era of Daniel and that of Jesus Christ is the fact that: 

 

Medo-Persian History [is] Archaeologically Light. Part One: Introductory

 

https://www.academia.edu/31090097/Medo-Persian_History_Archaeologically_Light._Part_One_Introductory

 

For more, read this multi-part series.

 

In my related article:

 

Persian History has no adequate Archaeology

 

https://www.academia.edu/31113083/Persian_History_has_no_adequate_Archaeology

 

I began with the following quotation: The very existence of a Median empire, with the emphasis on empire, is thus questionable” (H. Sancisi-Weerdenburg, “Was there ever a Median Empire?”). Although there was a Medo-Persian empire, it was far briefer, with far fewer kings, than according to the textbook estimates.

 

Scholars down through the centuries have not been unanimous in their interpretations of the meaning of the Daniel 9 text.

Whilst many have regarded it as being Messianic (with reference to Jesus Christ), others have not. And even the Church Fathers, who generally tended to relate it to Jesus Christ, were by no means unanimous in their explanations of the various details of the prophecy.

This is apparent from J. Paul Tanner’s introduction to the subject:

https://www.dts.edu/download/publications/bibliotheca/DTS-Is%20Daniel%27s%20Seventy-Weeks%20Prophecy%20Messianic.pdf

 

THE SEVENTY-WEEKS PROPHECY IN DANIEL 9:24–27 has been one of the most notorious interpretive problem passages in Old Testament studies. As Montgomery put it, “The history of the exegesis of the 70 Weeks is the Dismal Swamp of O.T. criticism.” 1 Early church fathers commonly embraced a messianic interpretation of the passage and sought to prove a chronological computation for the time of Messiah’s coming based on this prophecy. This approach has been favored by many conservatives—both premillennial and amillennial—down through the centuries. Advocates of the messianic view differ over the details of interpretation (e.g., the number of times Messiah is referred to in the passage, the termini of the calculations, or how the final seventieth week relates to the first sixty-nine), but they agree that this passage is one of the most astounding references to the Lord Jesus Christ and the time of His first advent.

 

On the other hand some writers see no reference to Messiah in this passage. This includes most critical scholars, who typically favor a Maccabean fulfillment (i.e., in the second century B.C.), and Jewish exegetes, who—although differing about various details—tend to see the fulfillment of this passage with the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70 and/or its aftermath. ….

[End of quote]

 

I have noted in past articles (particularly relating to early Genesis) how a superficial reading of a given biblical text, without one’s really coming to grips with the proper meaning of the Hebrew words or with the intentions of the ancient scribe(s), can lead to weird and wonderful interpretations of the Bible that such interpreters will then insist is the infallible Word of God. A classic case in point is the great Noachic Flood, which has become, in the hands of sincere Fundamentalists, or ‘Creationists’, a global Flood complete with a Queen Mary sized ship, that I think would have been a complete surprise to Noah and his family.

And the same situation has occurred, I believe, with Daniel 9, which has had all of its Jewish meaning emptied out of it, thereby ‘enabling’ for a marvellous long-range Messianic prophecy, culminating in Jesus Christ himself.

And, in the process, the historical chronology of the ancient world has been totally mangled.

 

Thankfully, there is a Jewish scholar at hand to clarify certain meanings.

I refer to Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz’s (“Daniel 9 – A True Biblical Interpretation. A brief explanation of Daniel Chapter 9”):

https://jewsforjudaism.org/knowledge/articles/daniel-9-a-true-biblical-interpretation/

in which article I find some important lessons pertaining to the Hebrew words – though I would not accept the Rabbi’s conventionally-based chronology and dates.

Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz writes:

 

The book of Daniel is filled with Messianic illusions and calculations that even left Daniel pondering their meanings. …. Is there something about the Jewish Messiah?

 

Daniel Chapter 9

 

The ninth chapter has been of particular interest to both Jews and Christians. The message of a merciful God communicated in verse 18, “for not because of our righteousness do we pour out supplications before You, but because of Your great compassion.” has been a foundation of a Jews personal and spiritual relationship with God. Christians, on the other hand, tend to focus on verses 24 -26. The following is the Christian translation of those verses:

 

24) Seventy weeks are determined upon your people and upon your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

25)Know therefore and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again with plaza and moat but in troubled times.
26) Then after sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off but not for himself and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.”

 

Many Christians assert that these passages are a prophecy that predicts the exact dates that the Messiah will come and also die. They believe that Jesus fulfilled these predictions. Before examining these verses it is important to point out that: 1) Based on the Hebrew original and context, Jews have very valid reasons for rejecting the Christian interpretation and 2) the New Testament authors never quote these passages and calculations as a proof-text.

 

To understand this chapter, we must begin with an explanation of the term “weeks.”

 

Daniel chapter 9 uses the Hebrew word (שבעים ~ Shavuim) to represents a period of time multiplied by seven. For various reasons this word is translated as “weeks” and means a multiple of seven years rather than a multiple of seven days.

 

  1. a) We see a similar use in the verse, “You shall count~ שבע שבתת השנים) seven Shabbaths of years), seven years seven times… forty-nine years.Leviticus 25:8
    b) A Shabbath is a period of seven days and shares the same Hebrew root for the word (שבועה~Shavuah) that means “week”.
  2. c) Normally the plural of week would be (שבעות ~ Shavuot) in Daniel it uses the masculine “ים” ending for ( שבעים~ Shavuim) similar to (years ~ שנים) This indicates that (שבעים~ Shavuim) is referring to a multiple of seven years
    d) Both Jews and Christian agree that this is referring to a multiple of years.

 

Therefore in Daniel chapter 9, each week is a period of seven years.

 

Christian polemicists interpret these passages in the following way. These passages are being spoken by Daniel after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the evil Babylonian empire. At some point after the destruction, there will be a “decree” issued to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Starting from the issuing of that decree, 7 and 62 weeks totaling 69 weeks of years (483 years), will pass and then the Messiah will come and in that same seven year period “week” he will be cut off, but not for himself, but for the sins of mankind. Then the city and sanctuary will be destroyed. Christian assert that their calculation proves that Jesus fulfilled this prophecy to the exact day.

 

After the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem, any Jews that survived the Babylonian slaughter were exiled from their land. Daniel, for example, lived in Babylon. Eventually, the Babylonians were conquered by the Persian Empire. Christians claim that the decree mentioned in Daniel 9:25 was issued by the Persian King Artaxerxes in the year 444 BCE, based on Nehemiah 2:1-8. These passages speak about the king giving Nehemiah “letters” (אגרות ~ Iggrot) for safe passage and permission to rebuild the Temple.

 

Mackey’s comment: But see my identification of this King “Artaxerxes” with the Chaldean king Nebuchednezzar II in my multi-part series:

 

Governor Nehemiah’s master “Artaxerxes king of Babylon”.

 

especially Part Two: “‘Artaxerxes’ as king Nebuchednezzar”

 

https://www.academia.edu/37223861/Governor_Nehemiahs_master_Artaxerxes_king_of_Babylon_._Part_Two_Artaxerxes_as_king_Nebuchednezzar

The Rabbi continues:

 

The building of Jerusalem was started and halted several times, and there are three additional decrees mentioned earlier in the Bible.

1) In Ezra 1:1-4, King Cyrus issues a proclamation (קול ~ Kol) and writings (מכתב ~ Michtav) granting the Jews permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple.
2) Ezra 6:12-13, King Darius issues a decree (טעם ~Taam) granting permission to rebuilt the Temple.

3) Ezra 7:11-16, Artaxerxex, issues a decree (טעם ~Taam) granting permission to rebuilt the Temple. (Artaxerxex is a Persian title of royalty and can refer to different leaders. This is similar to the way Pharaoh is the title of rulers of Egypt)

 

We will see latter that it is significant that in these verses there are four different words used to describe these proclamations, and none of them match the Hebrew word used in Daniel 9 which is (דבר ~ Devar) that means “word.”

 

With four different proclamations, there is no historical justification to choose the one mentioned in Nehemiah 2 and there is no reliable source stating that it occurred exactly in 444 BCE. It seems that Christians picked this passage out of convenience and assigned it this specific date, because if you start at 444 BCE and count 69 weeks of years (483 years) you reach 39 CE. Whatever their reason for choosing Nehemiah’s reference and attributing it as having occurred in 444 BCE it is still seven years off from the year 32 CE when Jesus supposedly died.

 

This seven-year discrepancy is resolved by Christian theologians who redefined the definition of a “year.” They claim that prophecies like Daniel’s are to be understood in “Prophetic years” that have 360 days rather than 365 ¼ days. The argument that Daniel might be speaking to Babylonians who may have had a 360 year is unsubstantiated and refuted by the fact that this particular passage is spoken in Hebrew to Jews who had a different calendar then and Babylonians who spoke Aramaic.

 

Prophetic Year vs Solar Year

 

One Christian attempt to prove this concept of Prophetic years is from the New Testament: “They will tread underfoot the holy city for 42 months, and they will prophesy for 1260 days.Revelations 11:2-3

 

By dividing 1260 (days) by 42 (months) you get 30 days per month, they claim that each month is 30 days and a Prophetic Biblical year would therefore be being 360 days (30×12=360). An additional proof-text utilizes the events surrounding the flood. The following verses are quoted to show how biblical months were periods of 30 days,

 

the water prevailed upon the earth 150 daysGen 7:24 and

the flood started on,

the 17th day of the second monthGen 7:11, and ended on,

the 17th day of the seventh month.” Gen 8:4.

 

They argue that by taking this exact five month period and dividing it into the 150 days, you will see that there must be five months of 30 days each and therefore a year would be 360 days. The Christian argument continues that the difference between a solar year of 365 ¼ days and the so-called prophetic year of 360 days is what caused the seven-year discrepancy in their interpretation of Daniel 9, and the resolution of the problem is accomplished by converting the time period from “biblical” years to solar years.

 

They argue that that by multiplying 360 days by 483 years (69 weeks of years) you get 173,880 prophetic days. To convert this to solar years, you divide the 173,880 days by 365 1/4 (days), and you will get 476 years. 444 BCE plus 476 years will give you the year 32 CE, which they claim is the year that Jesus not only made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem (Messiah’s arrival) but was also crucified (cut off ).

 

Before explaining why this line of reasoning is absolutely false and a simply an act of desperation to resolve their 7 year miscalculation, we must explore the correct meaning of Daniel 9 and the concept of a Jewish calendar year.

 

Translating Daniel Correctly

 

It is essential to a correct understanding of Daniel 9, to point out that it is incorrect to read this passage as if it were speaking about the Messiah. This may appear obvious to Christians since their translations has the word “Messiah” mentioned twice in this chapter; however this is the result of a blatant and intentional mistranslation of the Hebrew word (משיח ~ Moshiach”).

 

This word literally means “anointed” and is an adjective as in the 1 Samuel 10:1-2 where the word clearly means an act of consecration. It is not a personal pronoun that refers to a particular individual called “The Messiah.” The word (משיח ~ Moshiach”) is used throughout Jewish Scriptures no less than 100 times and refers to a variety of individuals and objects. For example:

 

Priests: Leviticus 4:3

Kings: 1 Kings 1:39

Prophets: Isaiah 61:1

Temple Alter: Exodus 40:9-11

Matzot ~ Unleavened Bread: Numbers 6:15

Cyrus ~ a non-Jewish Persian King: Isaiah 45:1

 

Even in Christian translations, the word Moshiach is translated 99% of the time as “anointed.” The only exception is twice in Daniel 9 verses 25 and 26. This inconsistency is even more blatant since Christian translators translate the word (משיח ~ Moshiach) as “anointed” one verse earlier when it is used in Daniel 9:24. In this instance, it is referring to anointing the innermost chamber of the Holy Temple known as the “Holy of Holies,” (קדשים קדש ~ Kodesh Kedoshim). It is incorrect to translate this, as some missionaries do, to mean the “most holy one” in an attempt to have this refer to the Messiah rather than a place.

 

Therefore, in Daniel, the passages should be correctly translated as:

 

Daniel 9:24Until an anointed prince” and not as “Until Messiah he prince.”

 

Daniel 9:25 “an anointed one will be cut off” and not as “the Messiah will be cut off.”

Additionally, in verse 25 there is no definite article (Hey ~ ה) before the word (משיח ~ Moshiach), and it is incorrect to translate this as “the Messiah” or “the anointed one” as if it were speaking about one exclusive individual. When translating correctly as an “anointed individual,7” the passages could be referring any one of a number of different individuals or objects that were anointed and not necessarily “the Messiah.”

 

A careful examination of Daniel 9 will lead to a clear understand of exactly to whom and what this chapter is referring. An additional mistake made by Christians is the translation of 7 and 62 weeks as one undivided unity of 69 weeks. The Christian version makes it sound as if the arrival and “cutting off” of the “Messiah” will take place sixty-nine weeks (483 years) after a decree to restore Jerusalem. They add the 7 and 62 weeks together and have one person (the Messiah) and two events occurring towards the end of the 69th week.

 

Actually, according to the Hebrew the 7 and 62 weeks are two separate and distinct periods. One event happens after seven weeks and another event after an additional 62 weeks. Simply put, if you wanted to say 69 in Hebrew you would say “sixty and nine.” You would not say “seven and sixty two.”

 

Furthermore, in Daniel it is written “7 weeks and 62 weeks rather than “7 and 62 weeks.” The use of the word “weeks” after each number also shows that they are separate events. The use of the definite article (ה ~ Hey) that means “the” in verse 26, “and after the 62 weeks shall an anointed one be cut off,” is sometimes deleted in Christian translations, but it’s presence in the Hebrew original clearly indicates that the 62 weeks is to be treated as separate period of time from the original 7 weeks.

 

The correct translation should be: “until an anointed prince shall be 7 weeks (49 years),” “then for 62 weeks (434 years) it (Jerusalem) will be built again but in troubled times.” Then after (those) the 62 weeks shall an anointed one will be cut off.Daniel 9:24-25

 

Two separate events and anointed ones, 62 weeks (434 years) apart.

 

Christians also incorrectly translated the Hebrew (V’ayn Lo ~ לו ואין), at the end of Daniel 9:26. They translate it that he will be cut off “but not for himself,” as if it refers to someone being cut off not for himself but cut off for us and indicating a form of vicarious attainment. However the Hebrew original means “and he will be no more” literally “and no more of him” and indicates the finality of his demise. Interestingly the Hebrew word (kares ~ כרת) translated as “cut off” biblically refers to someone who has sinned so grievously that they are put to death by heavenly decree as a divine punishment for their own transgressions.

 

Mackey’s comment: As I wrote above, “… the person to whom I believe Daniel’s prophecy is here pointing was actually a most wicked biblical character who was, in the end – and as according to this prophecy – left with “nothing” (with no descendants)”. 

The Rabbi continues:

 

An awareness of these eight mistranslations is essential to understanding the ninth chapter of Daniel. To recap:

 

  1. (קדשים קדש) mean “holy of holies” not the “most holy one
  2. (דבר ~ Devar) that means “word” not decree.
  3. (משיח ~ Moshiach”) means “anointed” not “Messiah” verse 23
  4. (משיח ~ Moshiach”) means “anointed” not “Messiah” verse 24
  5. seven weeks and sixty-two ” means two events one at 7 weeks and the other

62 weeks later not one event after a cumulative 69 weeks

  1. (Hey ~ ה) mean “the
  2. (V’ayn Lo ~ לו ואין) mean “will be no more” not “not for himself
  3. (kares ~ כרת) means death to a transgressor the cuts off their relationship to God.

 

Jewish Calendar Years

 

In addition to … these eight mistranslations Christians, as mentioned above, manipulate their calculation of the 69 weeks in Daniel 9 in an attempt to have them coincide with the arrival and death of Jesus in Jerusalem.

 

Christians based their understand with a belief that the starting point of the prophesy begins in 444 BCE with the decree issued by King Artaxerxex (Ezra 7:ll-16). Sixty–nine weeks (483 years) would bring you to 39 CE. This is 7 years off the commonly accepted date of 32 CE being the year Jesus was put to death. As mentioned above they attempt to resolve this issue by transforming “prophetic years” into solar years. The problem is that according to Jewish tradition and scriptures there is no such thing as a prophetic year of 360 days.

 

Jewish scripture clearly teaches that the Jewish calendar is both Solar and Lunar. As early as Genesis 1:14, that deals with the creation of the sun and the moon, we are told that “Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years” Both luminaries are used to determine our calendar.

 

A solar year is 365 1/4 days and a lunar year is 11 days shorter, 354 days long. Unlike the Gentile’s year where the length of the months is set by convention rather than a relationship to the lunar calendar, a Biblical Jewish calendar must coincide with both the sun (for seasons) and the moon. When God, commanded the people of Israel to sanctify the months he established the month that the Exodus took place as the first of the months. Exodus 12:1. God also commanded to observe Passover in the springtime as is says, “Observe the month of springtime and perform the Passover for God, for in the month on springtime God took you out of Egypt.” Deut 16:1.

 

In other words, a biblical calendar must coincide the months with the seasons creating a Solar-Lunar calendar.

 

There is an eleven day difference between a solar and lunar year. If Jewish holidays were established solely by a lunar year the holidays would move further and further away from their original seasons. This happens all the time with the Muslim Lunar calendar with Ramadan falling in a variety of seasons. A biblical Solar/Lunar calendar corrects this by adding a 13 month leap year approximately every 4 years. Some years have 12 months and the leap year has 13. The fabricated “prophetic year” of 360 days could not exist because it would not allow Jewish holidays to coincide with both months and seasons.

 

Understanding Daniel

 

Now we can return to the beginning of Daniel 9 and establish the correct starting point for Daniel’s prophesy. The Christian major error in establishing the starting point of Daniel prophesy is caused by their mistranslation of the verse, “know therefore and discern that from the going forth of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.” Daniel 9:25

 

Since their translation asserts that the starting point of this prophesy is from the issuing of a certain decree to rebuild Jerusalem, they incorrectly assume that it is the decree of King Artaxerxex. However, as mentioned above, there were a number of different decrees made concerning returning and rebuilding Jerusalem.

 

In Daniel 9:25, the original Hebrew used the word (דבר ~ Devar) which is significantly different from a human decree. The word (דבר ~ Devar) refers to a prophetic word. In the beginning of Daniel 9 verse 2, this word is used when Daniel says that he wants to understand “the word of the Lord to the Prophet Jeremiah.”

 

As mentioned above, in all of the passages that mention some form of decree or proclamation concerning Jerusalem, none of them use the Hebrew word (דבר ~ Devar).

 

The correct translation of Daniel should be: “Know therefore and discern that from the going forth of the word to restore and rebuild JerusalemDaniel 9:25

 

Therefore the correct starting point of Daniel’s prophesy must be associated with the issuing of a prophetic word and not a human decree. The word (דבר ~ Devar) is used in the beginning of Daniel chapter 9. A careful reading of the beginning of this chapter clarifies the correct meaning of the reference to the “word to restore and to build Jerusalem” mentioned in Daniel 9:25.

 

Chapter 9 begins as follows: “I Daniel considered (or contemplated) in the books the number of the years which the word (דבר ~ Devar) of G-d came to Jeremiah the Prophet that would accomplish to the destruction of JerusalemDaniel 9:2

 

Here Daniel uses the word (דבר ~ Devar) when pondering the numbers of years that Jeremiah had spoken about. Jeremiah had twice prophesied concerning a 70 year period.

 

Once Jeremiah said: “and these nation shall serve the King of Babylon 70 years and it shall come to pass when seventy years are accomplished that I will punish the King of Babylon and that nation … and make it everlasting desolation Jeremiah 25: 11-12

 

This prophesy states that Babylon would dominate Israel for a total of 70 years.

 

Jeremiah also says: “After 70 years are accomplished to Babylon I will take heed of you and perform My good word towards you in causing you to return to this place.” Jeremiah 29:l0

 

This prophesy states, that after the 70 years, in addition to the end of Babylonian domination, the Jews would also return to Jerusalem from the Babylonian exile. There are two Jeremiah prophesies concerning: 1) subjugation, and 2) return to Jerusalem.

 

Jeremiah’s 70 years start from the initial subjugation of Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. This took place 18 years before the destruction of Jerusalem, as demonstrated by the following passages, We know that the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in the 19th year of King Nebuchadnezzar. As it says:

 

In the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan the chief executioner was in service of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem… and destroyed the Temple of GodJeremiah 52:12-13

 

The 19th year means that 18 full years had already been completed. Nebuchadnezzar started to subjugate Jerusalem in his first year of his rule; this can be derived from the following verses;

 

in King Yehoyakim’s third year (three completed years) Nebuchadnezzar came to besiege JerusalemDaniel 1:1

 

in the fourth year (three completed years) of Yehoyakim which was the first year of NebuchadnezzarJeremiah 25:1

 

These verses demonstrate that Nebuchadnezzar started to besiege Jerusalem in his first year and the destruction of Jerusalem took place in his “19th” year. Therefore, 18 complete years had passed from the beginning of the siege until the destruction of Jerusalem. During these 18 years Jerusalem was laid siege and completely surrounded. Scriptures also indicate that the 70 years of Jeremiah were completed with the advent of Cyrus the King of the Persian Empire. As it says:

 

Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled.” Ezra 1:1-3

 

“Those who survived the sword he exiled to Babylon, where they became slaves to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia began to reign. This was the fulfillment of the word of God to Jeremiah, until the land would be appeased of its Sabbatical years, all the years of its desolation it rested, to the completion of 70 years. In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, upon the expiration of God’s prophesy spoken by Jeremiah. God aroused the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia and he issues a proclamation… to build God a Temple in Jerusalem.” 2 Chronicles 36:20-23

 

In addition to the Babylonian rule ended in fulfillment of Jeremiah 25:11-12, Cyrus also gave permission, in fulfillment of Jeremiah 29:l0, to the Jews to return to Jerusalem, as it says;

 

Whoever is among you all his people, let his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord G-d of Israel.” Ezra 1:4

 

It is important to remember that from the beginning of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, 18 years before the fall of Jerusalem, until the fall of the Babylonian Empire, when Cyrus came into power, 70 years had elapsed. By subtracting the 18 years subjugation before the destruction of the first Temple from the total of 70 years we are left with 52 years. This proves that King Cyrus arose to power and fulfilled Jeremiah’s prophesy 52 years after the destruction of Jerusalem.

 

Mackey’s comment: This “52 years” is, I believe, too large a figure for the period in question.

I think that Jeremiah’s “70 years” ought instead to be dated from the 13th year of king Josiah, which was 23 years from the 1st year of Nebuchednezzar, as according to this most important of OT chronological entries (Jeremiah 25:1-3):

 

The word came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. So Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people of Judah and to all those living in Jerusalem: ‘For twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah until this very day—the word of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened’.

 

And at this point we can leave the Rabbi’s excellent and most helpful discourse as, from now on, his identification of Medo-Persian kings begins greatly to confuse matters – at least according to my own arrangement and identification of these monarchs.

 

 

Part Two:

The “cut off” one was an evil king of Judah

 

 

This is what the Lord says:

‘Record this man as if childless,
a man who will not prosper in his lifetime,
for none of his offspring will prosper,
none will sit on the throne of David
or rule anymore in Judah’.

 

Jeremiah 22:30

 

 

We learned from PART ONE about Daniel 9, following Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz’s helpful account of the proper meanings of the key Hebrew words therein, that commentators have long been foisting their artificial translations upon the ancient text, usually for the purpose of ‘making’ it culminate with Jesus Christ the Messiah.

 

I also suggested that a flaw in the Rabbi’s own interpretation of Daniel’s text, chronology wise, pertained to the inevitable difficulties associated with accepting the standard Babylonian to Medo-Persian succession of kings. According to the Rabbi:

 

It is important to remember that from the beginning of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, 18 years before the fall of Jerusalem, until the fall of the Babylonian Empire, when Cyrus came into power, 70 years had elapsed. By subtracting the 18 years subjugation before the destruction of the first Temple from the total of 70 years we are left with 52 years. This proves that King Cyrus arose to power and fulfilled Jeremiah’s prophesy 52 years after the destruction of Jerusalem.

 

That would be according to the conventional arrangement of neo-Babylonian kings

 

Ruler Reigned Comments
Nabu-apla-usur (Nabopolassar) 626 – 605 BC Took control of Babylonia from Sinsharishkun of Assyria, ejected Assyrian armies from Babylonia in 616 BC. Entered into alliance with Cyaxares and destroyed Assyrian empire.
Nabu-kudurri-usur (Nebuchadnezzar II) 605 – 562 BC Chaldean king. Defeated the Egyptians and Assyrians at Carchemish. Is associated with Daniel in the Bible.
Amel-Marduk (Evil-Merodach) 562 – 560 BC Released Jeconiah after 37 years in captivity.
Nergal-shar-usur (Nergal-sharezer/Neriglissar) 560 – 556 BC Son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar II. Murdered Amel-Marduk.
Labashi-Marduk 556 BC Son of Neriglissar. Murdered after being deemed unfit to rule.
Nabu-na’id (Nabonidus) 556 – 539 BC Last Mesopotamian king of Babylon, originated in Harran in Assyria. Was not a Chaldean, often left rule to his son Belshazzar in a co-regency arrangement.

 

which, unfortunately, has several too many kings, Nebuchednezzar II being in fact the same as Nabonidus; Evil-Merodach being the same as the biblical “Belshazzar” (Bel-shar-usur), who is most likely the same, again, as Nergalsharezer (Nergal-shar-usur).  

 

Given that 23 years of the prophet Jeremiah’s count of 70 years of captivity had already expired by the 1st year of Nebuchednezzar (refer back to Part One), then about (23+18 =) 40/41 years must have expired when the Temple was destroyed by the Chaldeans. That means that there could have been only about 30 years, rather than the Rabbi’s “52 years”, until the 1st year of Cyrus. Those 30 years would now be made up of a remaining 25 years for Nebuchednezzar, plus 3-4 of his son-successor Belshazzar, plus the first year for Cyrus (25 + 4 + 1 = 30).

{This is only an approximate calculation on my non-mathematically inclined part}.

There is no room here as well for the approximately 4 years of Nergalsharezer, the 1 year of Labashi-Marduk (whoever he was), or the 17 years of Nabonidus (4 + 1 + 17 = 22), from which conventional estimate Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz would have obtained his (30 + 22 =) “52 years”.  

 

My choice for the “cut off” anointed one of Daniel 9 has to be king Jehoiachin of Judah.

He is “cut off” even in name in the Book of Jeremiah, which reduces his name, sans theophoric, to “Coniah” (Jeremiah 22:24-28):

 

‘As surely as I live’, declares the Lord, ‘even if you, Coniah son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off. I will deliver you into the hands of those who want to kill you, those you fear—Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the Babylonians. I will hurl you and the mother who gave you birth into another country, where neither of you was born, and there you both will die. You will never come back to the land you long to return to’.

Is this man Jehoiachin a despised, broken pot,
an object no one wants?
Why will he and his children be hurled out,
cast into a land they do not know?

 

King Jehoiachin I have previously identified with the wicked Haman of the Book of Esther, and, more recently, with king Amon of Judah, from whom, indeed, we must get the name “Aman” (or Haman). See my article:

 

King Amon’s descent into Aman (Haman)

 

https://www.academia.edu/37376989/King_Amons_descent_into_Aman_Haman_

 

As Haman, he was childless alright, all ten of his sons having been killed by order of king “Ahasuerus” (i.e., Cyrus) soon after his own violent death (Esther 7:10): “So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the wrath of the king abated”.

Such was the ugly demise of the very evil and extremely long-reigning (but only in captivity) former king of Judah, Jehoiachin (Jeconiah-Coniah)/Amon/Aman (Haman).

The aged king of Judah had even been revered by the Persians as “father” (Esther 16:11-12):

 

[Haman] … found our humanity so great towards him, that he was called our father, and was worshipped by all as the next man after the king: But he was so far puffed up with arrogancy, as to go about to deprive us of our kingdom and life.

 

 

 

Part Three:

The ‘terminus ad quem’ of Daniel 9

 

 

“… he will put an end to sacrifice and offering.

And at the Temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation,

until the end that is decreed is poured out on him”.

 

Daniel 9:27

 

For those who interpret Daniel 9 as being a Messianic prophecy pertaining to Jesus Christ, then its culminating two verses (vv. 26-27):   

 

The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the Temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him [,]

 

can only be a description of the complete destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple in 70 AD (conventional dating).

Though who the “he” might be in this case could be problematical.

 

Not so, however, according to my revision, in which the “he” can be one, and only one, person, following on from my identification of the “cut off’ anointed one of the previous verse (v. 25) with Haman of the Medo-Persian period. The “he” can then only be that terrible persecuting king Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’ of “the [Macedonian] people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary”.

For, as we read in 1 Maccabees 1:20-24:

 

In the year 143, after the conquest of Egypt, Antiochus marched with a great army against the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem. In his arrogance, he entered the Temple and took away the gold altar, the lampstand with all its equipment, the table for the bread offered to the Lord, the cups and bowls, the gold fire pans, the curtain, and the crowns. He also stripped all the gold from the front of the Temple and carried off the silver and gold and everything else of value, including all the treasures that he could find stored there. Then he took it all to his own country. He had also murdered many people and boasted arrogantly about it.  

 

Then, just two years later (vv. 30-32): “… he suddenly launched a fierce attack on the city, dealing it a major blow and killing many of the people. He plundered the city, set it on fire, and tore down its buildings and walls. He and his army took the women and children as prisoners and seized the cattle”.

Next, came the Abomination (vv. 54-57):

 

King Antiochus set up The Awful Horror [Abomination] on the altar of the Temple, and pagan altars were built in the towns throughout Judea. Pagan sacrifices were offered in front of houses and in the streets. Any books of the Law which were found were torn up and burned, and anyone who was caught with a copy of the sacred books or who obeyed the Law was put to death by order of the king.

 

My identification of the “cut off’ one also necessitates now that the long count of the approximately 434 years of Daniel 9:26 must be retrospective – and not looking forwards – in relation to the era of Daniel, for as we read there: “After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ an Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing”.

 

The author of the following blog article has likewise rejected the “anointed” one of Daniel as being Jesus Christ, whilst correctly also (I believe) connecting the Abominator with Antiochus. His/her identification of the “anointed” one with the Maccabean high priest, Onias – which I personally cannot accept – is a view that does have some supporters as well. His/her conventional chronology of the Maccabean period is, I believe, wildly off the mark: https://dustinmartyr.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/responsibly-interpreting-the-visions-in-daniel-9-part-3/

Responsibly Interpreting the Visions in Daniel 9 (part 3)

 

This will be the final post on the Seventy Weeks prophecy in Daniel 9. For a recap of my thoughts on the passage’s introduction and verse 9:24, click here. Yesterday’s post regarded the exegesis of Dan 9:25 (here). Today’s post will deal with the final two verses (9:26-27) and some concluding matters of interpretation.

 

9:26  “And after the sixty-two weeks an anointed one will be cut off and no one will come to his aid. Then the people of the coming prince will spoil the city and the sanctuary. But his end will come with a flood unto an end; a war is being decided; desolating things.”

9:27  “He will confirm a covenant with the great ones for one week. But in the middle of the week he will remove the sacrifice and the grain offering; and upon a wing of abominations he will be desolating, up to the point of a complete destruction being decided which will be poured out upon the one desolating.” 

 

Quite a few remarks need to be stated in regard to this passage. I will number them for the sake of making organized conversation points:

 

  1. As I noted in the previous post, these two verses focus entirely upon the events after the initial two periods of history (‘seven’ weeks and ‘sixty-two’ weeks). In other words, the final week of the Seventy Weeks prophecy gets the most attention, making its events the crux of the passage’s emphasis.
  2. The beginning of this passage moves the listener over a long period of time up to this decisive moment where an anointed figure will be killed. Since there is a massive sixty-two week period separating these events from those described in 9:25, it seems obvious that the anointed figure in 9:26 is not the same individual as the one back in 9:25. It has been common ground for Christians to regard this anointed figure again as the Anointed One (i.e., Jesus Christ). Again, this argument fails to hold up to scholarly scrutiny. For one, we again have the Hebrew noun mashiach without the definite article, requiring the translation “an anointed one” rather than “the anointed one.” Sadly, many modern English translations have not been entirely honest on this point. Secondly, if this were a predictive prophecy about the death of Jesus Christ, why does the passage qualify this death with “no one will come to his aid”? Shouldn’t the passage (if it were referring to the death of Jesus) say that he will be supernaturally vindicated in glorious resurrection by God the Father? Why then does the passage actually say that no one will come to his aid? This is hardly a reference to Jesus. Furthermore, the New Testament Christians (who searched the Hebrew Bible diligently for any hint of messianic predictions) never once quote Daniel 9:26 to refer to Jesus’ death. Instead, they focus primarily upon Isaiah 53 and other verses, but never once is Dan 9:26 quoted in the New Testament to refer to Jesus. This suggests that its interpretation had an accepted reading which excluded Jesus from being its object of focus.
  3. In fact, we possess a perfect candidate for this anointed figure mentioned in 9:26. In the year 171 BCE a high priest named Onias III was in fact murdered. Unfortunately for him, none of the Jews came to help him or avenge his death. Instead his brother, the Hellenistic sympathizer Jason, took control of the temple. The actions of Jason were instrumental in the events leading up to the Maccabean Revolt.
  4. Around this time, the Seleucid Empire ruled by Antiochus IV made an agreement with some of the leading officials in Jerusalem in order to hellenize the city and its people. This agreement is the “covenant” mentioned in Dan 9:27. This is recorded in detail in 1 Maccabees:

In those days certain renegades came out from Israel and misled many, saying, “Let us go and make a covenant with the Gentiles around us, for since we separated from them many disasters have come upon us.” This proposal pleased them, and some of the people eagerly went to the king, who authorized them to observe the ordinances of the Gentiles. So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, according to Gentile custom, and they removed the marks of circumcision, and abandoned the holy covenant. They joined with the Gentiles and sold themselves to do evil. (1 Macc 1:11-15)

  1. After the murder of the anointed high priest Onias III the Seleucid armies, commanded by Antiochus Epiphanes, came into Jerusalem. The act of circumcision was restricted and the Sabbath was profaned. But the most detestable act was the placement of a statue of Zeus upon the temple’s sacrificial altar. Jews were forced to offer sacrifices to this These offensive acts are what Dan 9:26 refers to as the “spoiling of the city and the sanctuary” and what 9:27 describes as the plural “abominations.” These events were too much for the conservative Jews who were resistant to Hellenization (thus provoking the Maccabean Revolt).
  2. As I just noted in #5, the Syrian forces led by Antiochus brought about desolating abominations upon Jerusalem and its people. Note carefully that these abominations of desolation are plural, not singular. Furthermore, they are plural objects, not persons. This is something different from what Jesus stated in Mark 13:14 (i.e., a single, personal abomination of desolation). This point should not be taken lightly; Daniel 9:24-27 refers to plural abominations as things/objects and Mark 13:14 refers to a single person who is an abomination of desolation. We should let Daniel 9 say what it wants to say and let Mark say something else (without harmonizing the two accounts). Jesus is likely reusing the terrible events of the past as a rubric to convey the future abomination of desolation.
  3. Daniel 9:26 promises that there will indeed be divine retribution upon the coming prince Antiochus. His end will come with a “flood” – a common prophetic hyperbole for a swift death (cf. Isa 8:8; 10:22; 30:28; Ezek 13:13; Nah 1:8). Furthermore, 9:27 says that a destruction has been decreed by God (divine passive). This reassures the original readers that this national catastrophe will not go unpunished by Israel’s God, encouraging them to resist the hellenizing influences in covenantal faithfulness. Antiochus IV did indeed die in the year 164 BCE.
  4. To connect some loose ends, it is important to remember that some of the significant dates need to be kept in the forefront of these discussions:
    • Onias III, the Jewish high priest, was murdered in 171 BCE. This began the agreement/covenant (1 Macc 1:11-15) between the Seleucids and the leading Jews to hellenize Jerusalem and its people,
    • The Syrian forces led by Antiochus halted sacrifices and offerings by placing an idol of Zeus upon the altar. This occurred in 167 BCE,
    • The Maccabean Revolt ended in 164 with the cleansing of the holy temple, thus removing all of the abominations from it,
    • 171 minus 164 equals 7. How many years are in a single week? Seven. When did the sacrifice and offerings cease? In the middle of this period (167 BCE).
  5. If the seventieth week deals with the events from 171-164 BCE, then prophetic schemes expecting a future seven year tribulation prior to the end of the age have absolutely no biblical basis for their theology.

 

 

King Amon’s descent into Aman (Haman)

Image result for haman the wicked

Part One:

Honing in on the ever malevolent king Amon

 

by

 Damien F. Mackey

  

“[Amon] … did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as did Manasseh his father:

for Amon sacrificed unto all the carved images which Manasseh his father had made,

and served them; and humbled not himself before the Lord, as Manasseh his father

had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more”.

 2 Chronicles 33:22-23

  

 

How could this young king of Judah have managed to achieve such a degree of wickedness, when, as according to v. 21: “Amon was two and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned two years in Jerusalem”?

Not very long a reign, not very old in years, for Amon to have outpassed his father, Manasseh, who “reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years”.

 

My Revised Amon

 

My explanation for how king Amon of Judah was able to amass such an appalling record of “evil in the sight of the Lord” would be that the count of his reign had continued into a long period of captivity. I would take as an example of this king Jehoiachin of Judah, who, having “reigned in Jerusalem three months” before having been taken captive to Babylon by Nebuchednezzar (2 Kings 24:8-12), continued to have his regnal years counted there in exile, so that we read further on (25:27): “In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Awel-Marduk became king of Babylon …”.

King Jehoiachin is a particularly apt comparison – at least according to my revision – because he would continue in his evil ways (“trespassed more and more”) culminating in his rôle as the terrible Haman during the Medo-Persian era. See e.g. my:

 

If King Belshazzar made Daniel 3rd, who was 2nd?

 

www.academia.edu/23063639/If_King_Belshazzar_made_Daniel_3rd_who_was_2nd

 

But king Jehoiachin now – in my steps here towards a deeper revision – becomes even more apt given that his alter ego, Haman, enables for a virtual name comparison with Amon, leading to my proposed new identification of (Jehoiachin)-Haman with Amon king of Judah.

Haman is in fact called Aman (even closer to the name, Amon) in a version of Tobit 14:10, where he has been confused with Nadab (or Nadin), which is the correct reading.

 

{Haman and Nadin, my ‘Holofernes”, belong to two entirely different eras}

 

My new suggestion (Haman = Amon), which does affect certain biblical sequences as we currently have them (e.g. Amon can now no longer be the father of king Josiah) – as well as affecting information pertaining to who was the mother of Amon – can be only tentative at this stage.

If Haman is Amon, then that would account for the origin of the name Haman, which I had previously imagined must have been Jehoiachin’s Persian name. For instance, the famous Persian name Achaemenes can be rendered as Hakhamanish (containing the element haman). Amon itself, though, is very much an Egyptian name, and we know that pharaoh Necho, at about that time, had a certain influence in naming young kings of Judah (2 Kings 23:34).

 

Scholars dearly wish that they knew more about Amon, given that the Bible dismisses him, qua Amon, in just a few verses. “It is rather unfortunate that so little is known of the reign of Amon, king of Judah; for he lived evidently in a critical period”.

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/1420-amon-king-of-judah

However, if Amon has the alter egos that I have proposed for him in this article, then we can actually know quite a lot about him.

The Jewish Encyclopedia here recalls a Rabbinic comment on the extreme wickedness of King Amon of Judah:

 

The fact that Amon was the most sinful of all the wicked kings of Judah (II Chron. xxxiii. 23) is brought out in the Talmud (Sanh. 103b) as follows:

 

(Sanh. 104a)

Ahaz suspended the sacrificial worship, Manasseh tore down the altar, Amon made it a place of desolation [covered it with cobwebs]; Ahaz sealed up the scrolls of the Law (Isa. viii. 16), Manasseh cut out the sacred name, Amon burnt the scrolls altogether [compare Seder Olam, R. xxiv. This is derived from the story of the finding of the Book of the Law, II Kings, xxii. 8]; Ahab permitted incest, Manasseh committed it himself, Amon acted as Nero was said to have done toward his mother Agrippina. And yet, out of respect for his son Josiah, Amon’s name was not placed on the list of the kings excluded from the world to come.

[End of quote]

 

What does gel nicely – according to my revised view that Amon is Haman – is the situation of death of Amon (2 Kings 21:23): “Amon’s officials conspired against him and assassinated the king in his palace”, with the situation of death of Haman (Esther 7:9): “And Harbona, one of the eunuchs that stood waiting on the king, said: ‘Behold the gibbet which [Aman] hath prepared for Mardochai, who spoke for the king, standeth in Aman’s house, being fifty cubits high’. And the king said to him: ‘Hang him upon it’.”

 

Both deaths occurred violently, at the hands of officials, in the palace (house) of the offender.

 

 

In the case of Amon, we get the added note that (2 Kings 21:24): “Then the people of the land killed all who had plotted against King Amon …”.

The “land”, I believe, is Susa, and the Jews (now assisted by the Persian king) are in the midst of a major conflict, yet unresolved, with their enemies. So it may not be surprising to learn that there was a retaliation for the death of Amon-Haman, who had many friends and allies (Esther 5:10-11): “But dissembling his anger, and returning into his house, [Haman] called together to him his friends, and Zares his wife. And he declared to them the greatness of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and with how great glory the king had advanced him above all his princes and servants”.

 

A concluding note

 

New problems arise from this radical new proposal about King Amon of Judah, which places him much later in time than is usually accepted for him. I have already admitted this above. These problems will be elaborated upon, and hopefully addressed, as this series progresses.

 

 

Part Two:

Some implications of Amon’s being Jehoiachin-Haman 

 

 

“Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he was king [reigned] three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was

Nehushta daughter of Elnathan from Jerusalem”.

 

 2 Kings 24:8

 

 

At the end of Part One I noted that “new problems arise from this radical new proposal about King Amon of Judah, which places him much later in time than is usually accepted for him”. These “problems” are not insignificant.

 

First of all, this deeper revision must affect the sequence of the latter kings of Judah as currently set out in 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, etc.

For instance, Amon can no longer be the father of Josiah as recorded in various places. E.g.:

 

2 Kings 21:24;

2 Chronicles 33:25;

Jeremiah 1:2;

Zephaniah 1:1;

Matthew 1:10.

 

And, considering that the royal sequence is also set out in the New Testament, in Matthew 1:6-11, then the Genealogy of Jesus Christ as we currently have it must be affected as well. According to another version of Matthew 1:10 (ESV), though, Josiah was the son of “Amos”, not Amon: “… Hezekiah [was] the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah …”.

Bible Gateway adds the note to this: “Matthew 1:10 Amos is probably an alternate spelling of Amon; some manuscripts Amon; twice in this verse”.

In actual fact, the names “Amos” and “Amon” are two entirely different names.

The fact that “Amos” can appear instead of “Amon” may give me some hope now for thinking that there is a certain leeway for rejecting Amon as the father of Josiah.

 

And, perfectly in accord with my revised view that King Amon of Judah was also the wicked Haman of the Book of Esther is Abarim’s association of these two names:

http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Amon.html#.W5WkP-RNB9A

 

Associated Biblical names

 

♂♕☀Amonאמון
אמן

♂Haman

 

Other related problems that arise from my deeper revision are the different ages and reign lengths attributed to the supposedly two kings, but whom I am identifying as one, plus three different female names ‘claiming the right’ to be the king of Judah’s mother:

 

2 Kings 21:19:Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. His mother’s name was Meshullemeth daughter of Haruz; she was from Jotbah”.

 

2 Kings 24:8: “Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he was king [reigned] three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Nehushta daughter of Elnathan from Jerusalem”.

 

Esther 3:1: “After these events, King Xerxes honored Haman son of Hammedatha …”, she being queen Hamutal (Hammutal) of 2 Kings 23:30 according to my revision.

 

 

Part Three:

Re-casting the sequence of Judaean kings

 

 

 

“Now after this he (King Manasseh) built a wall without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entering in at the fish gate, and compassed about Ophel, and raised it up a very great height, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah.”

 

2nd Chronicles 33:14

 

 

 

With King Amon of Judah identified in this present series with Haman of the Book of Esther – described as a “king” in Queen Esther’s prayer (14:10), “to magnify forever a mortal king” – and whom I have previously identified with King Jehoiachin (var. Coniah) of Judah, and hence having now detected a duplicating sequence embedded in our various lists of Judaean kings, it becomes necessary to attempt to re-cast the royal list without any such duplications.    

 

Let us turn again the Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah in Matthew 1, to that part of Matthew’s list from King David to Jeconiah (= Amon) (vv. 7-11):

 

David was the father of Solomon …

Solomon the father of Rehoboam,

Rehoboam the father of Abijah,

Abijah the father of Asa,

Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,

Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,

Jehoram the father of Uzziah,

Uzziah the father of Jotham,

Jotham the father of Ahaz,

Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,

Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,

Manasseh the father of Amon,

Amon the father of Josiah,

and Josiah the father of Jeconiah ….

 

As has often been pointed out, four known kings (Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah and Jehoiakim) are missing from Matthew’s list here, making it seem to many to be artificially constructed.

  1. M. Williams, for instance, will wonder about three of these missing Judaean kings, in his “A word on the skipped generations in Matthew’s genealogy”:

https://resurrectingraleigh.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/a-word-on-the-skipped-generations-in-/

 

But in addition to the striking features of the schema, there are some nettlesome ones as well: namely, Matthew has to skip a few kings in order to make the second block of fourteen “work” (compare, for instance, 1:8-9 with 1 Chronicles 3:11-12–what happened to Ahaziah, Joash and Amaziah?) and the final block, if you count, actually only has thirteen generations.  One question which came up in our study yesterday was basically What are we to make of this?  Are we now resting our faith on a lie?  If Jesus was not born precisely forty nine generations after Abraham, is our faith in vain?

[End of quote]

 

I have wondered especially about the omission of the mighty kings, Joash and Amaziah, who, though they erred, do not appear to have been so consistently bad as, say, Ahaz, or Manasseh, who are included in the list. But, in the end, I had acquiesced to arguments connecting them with the Omride queen, Athaliah – although that would apply more directly to king Jehoram (who was married to her, 2 Kings 8:18), who is not omitted from the list.   

 

But now, with duplications recognised (if I am on the right track), there is no longer need for Joash and Amaziah to be excluded from the list. {Though I can accept, perhaps, that their predecessor Ahaziah might be omitted as constituting a ‘lost generation’}.

 

Taking the first ten generations in the list, I would like to suggest the following emendations (in bold print):

 

David was the father of Solomon …

Solomon the father of Rehoboam,

Rehoboam the father of Abijah,

Abijah the father of Asa,

Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,

Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,

Jehoram the father of Joash,

Joash the father of Amaziah,

Amaziah the father of Uzziah,

Uzziah the father of Jotham,

Jotham the father of Ahaz,

Ahaz the father of Hezekiah ….

 

Ten generations now enlarged to twelve.

Conventionally, we still have yet four generations left (a total of 12+4 = 16), which would spoil Matthew’s neat sequence of fourteens:

 

Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,

Manasseh the father of Amon,

Amon the father of Josiah,

and Josiah the father of Jeconiah ….

 

We now, therefore, have 2 generations too many.

However, with Amon now folded into Jeconiah (or Jehoiachin) as according to this series, and with Amon no longer recognised as the father of Josiah, but rather one named “Amos” thus being recognised, then, finally – and what I have long wondered about – Hezekiah can now be identified with his mirror-image Josiah.

Manasseh now becomes the wicked Jehoiakim, another of those kings who has been left out of Matthew’s genealogical list.

And “Amos”, the father of Josiah, becomes Ahaz, the father of Hezekiah.

The name Amos, or Amoz, is only a consonant different from Ahaz.

This would therefore be my emended list:

 

Hezekiah [=Josiah] the father of Manasseh [=Jehoiakim],

Manasseh the father of Amon =Jehoiachin] ….

 

Fourteen generations.

 

If Manasseh were Jehoiakim, then that would explain, for one, why the prophet Jeremiah names Manasseh as the reason for the Babylonian enmity (Jeremiah 15:4): “I will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what Manasseh son of Hezekiah king of Judah did in Jerusalem”, even though Jehoiakim was just as evil and was, conventionally speaking, far closer in time to the Babylonian troubles than was Manasseh.

Again it would explain the strong tradition of the prophet Isaiah’s being martyred during the reign of king Manasseh.

“Michael A. Knibb writes: “The Martyrdom of Isaiah is a Jewish work which has come down to us as part of a larger Christian composition known as the Ascension of Isaiah”.”

http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/ascensionisaiah.html Un-mentioned in the Bible in connection with king Manasseh, qua Manasseh, this incident can (I think) be related to the martyrdom of the prophet Uriah (var. Urijah) during the reign of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 26:23): “And they fetched forth Urijah out of Egypt, and brought him to Jehoiakim the king; who slew him with the sword, and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people”.

Uriah now becomes Isaiah.

Incidentally, the prophet Uriah was “fetched forth” from Egypt by an “Elnathan” (v. 27), who may well be the same as the father of king Jehoiachin’s mother, “Nehushta daughter of Elnathan” (2 Kings 24:8): “His mother’s name was Nehushta daughter of Elnathan …”.

 

Unlike king Amon/Jehoiachin, who evolved into Haman, and who “humbled not himself before the Lord [but who] trespassed more and more”, his similarly long-reigning (in captivity) father, king Manasseh/Jehoiakim, thankfully, “had humbled himself” (2 Chronicles 33:22, 23).

 

The conversion of King Manasseh is told in vv. 11-13:

 

Therefore the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the Assyrian king; they captured Manasseh with hooks, shackled him with chains, and transported him to Babylon. In his distress, he began to appease the Lord, his God. He humbled himself abjectly before the God of his ancestors, and prayed to him. The Lord let himself be won over: he heard his prayer and restored him to his kingdom in Jerusalem. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is indeed God.

 

As we read at the beginning, king Manasseh began the rebuilding and fortifying of Jerusalem.

 

I would tentatively identify king Manasseh/Jehoiakim with the “Sheshbazzar prince of Judah” of Ezra 1:8: “Cyrus king of Persia brought these out in the charge of Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah”.

“Sheshbazzar” would of course have been the king’s Babylonian name, given to him in captivity. As we do not hear any more about Sheshbazzar, he, now aged (if he were Manasseh), may well have died not long afterwards – or simply left the overseeing of the remaining building work to younger men.

 

 

Part Four:

Who was the actual mother of King Amon of Judah?

 

 

“After these events, King Ahasuerus honored Haman son of Hammedatha …”.

 

Esther 3:1

 

 

 

Having alter egos for King Amon of Judah, whilst serving to solve certain problems according to the findings of this series, also adds a few complications as I noted in Part Two:

 

“Other related problems that arise from my deeper revision are the different ages and reign lengths attributed to the supposedly two kings, but whom I am identifying as one, plus three different female names ‘claiming the right’ to be the king of Judah’s mother:

 

2 Kings 21:19:Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. His mother’s name was Meshullemeth daughter of Haruz; she was from Jotbah”.

 

2 Kings 24:8: “Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he was king [reigned] three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Nehushta daughter of Elnathan from Jerusalem”.

 

Esther 3:1: “After these events, King Ahasuerus honored Haman son of Hammedatha …”, she being queen Hamutal (Hammutal) of 2 Kings 23:30 according to my revision”.

 

Actually, I have already partly solved the problem of ‘three mothers’ for the one king here by indicating that the otherwise unattested “Hammedatha”, of whom Haman was the “son”, was the same as the Jewish queen, Hammutal (or Hamutal).

For Hamutal was not the biological mother of the king, but was the mother of his uncles:

http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Hamutal.html#.W5cH5uRNB9A

“There is only one Hamutal in the Bible, and she is the mother of kings Jehoahaz and Zedekiah of Judah (2 Kings 23:31, 24:18, Jeremiah 52:1)”.

{That these kings could have more than the one name is attested by Zedekiah originally having been Mattaniah (2 Kings 24:17)}

 

As to whether either Meshullemeth (above), said to be the mother of Amon, or Nehushta (above), said to be the mother of (Amon’s alter ego) Jehoiachin, was the actual biological mother, I have not looked into the matter yet deeply enough to make any sort of judgment.

One possibility to be considered is that Meshullemeth and Nehushta were the same person, though with different patronymics due to possible differentiation between father and grandfather.

But, whatever may be the case, we have easily managed to reduce three ‘mothers’ to two.

 

Differing ages and reign lengths: Amon … twenty-two years old … he reigned in Jerusalem two years; Jehoiachin … eighteen years old … he … [reigned] three months in Jerusalem, can readily be accounted for by co-regency.