9.1 Verses 26-27: Translation and Explanation

“And after the 62 weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but no one for Him. And the people of the coming Prince shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end (shall be) with a flood. And until an end of war, desolations are decreed (lit: that which is decreed, desolations). And He shall confirm the covenant with the many (for) one week. And in the middle of the week, he shall make cease sacrifice and offering. And upon a wing of abominations, (is) that which desolates even until an utter end. And that which was decreed shall pour out on that which desolates.

Attention will be focused on the highlighted portions of the translation of verse 26 & 27. Shea(114) connects the first phrase, “until an end of war…”, with the destruction of Jerusalem by translating it as: “at the end of the war desolations are decreed”. This alters the intended meaning by incorrectly translating the preposition, `ad, which means “unto” or “until” as “at”. The two definite articles “the”, associated with “end” and “war”, do not exist. The net effect of these linguistic alterations imply a reference to the preceding action associated with the destruction of Jerusalem. Such unjustified modifications and additions change the intended meaning of the text.

It is suggested that a simple, unaltered literal translation is preferred. “Until an end of war” refers to the continual conflict between religio-pagan forces throughout history exalting against God. This conflict (war) is described in each of the world-kingdom visions of Dn. 2 (verses 44-45), Dn. 7 (verses 21-22, 25-26), and Dn. 8 (verses 10-12, 24-25) and throughout Daniel 11. The world conflict in 9:26 is alluded to after the full destruction of Jerusalem “with a flood” in the preceding phrase. The next phrase is not repetitious of the preceding one as implied by Shea’s translation, but, with the correct translation, places the focus on the overall context of the 2300-year vision at the time of the end.

The plural participle translated as “desolations” (shomemoth) in 9:26, which includes the destruction of Jerusalem, is in the context of the conflict between the kingdoms of this world with God continuing until the end of history, and is also directly related to the same participle (shomem) in the singular state in 8:13. In Dn. 8:13 the singular participle, “causing desolation”, is attributed to the compound subject representing the singular activity of self-exaltation against God, namely “the daily” and “the transgression” which desolates. This desolation also covers the entire expanse of time of the 2300-year prophecy until the end of time. Thus, the desolating activity of 9:26 is directly related with 8:13 in a continual historical setting but with an end-time emphasis in the context of the 2300-year prophecy.

In verse 27, Shea adds the definite article “the” in the phrase “upon a wing of abominations” which conveys the sense that the phrase alludes to the previous activity associated with the Messiah in Jerusalem. He also emends the text by adding the phrase “shall come”: “and upon the wing of abominations shall come a desolator.” By these emendations Shea implies that the abominations were to come first and the desolator was to follow thereafter in terms of time.(115) Furthermore, Shea proceeds again to redefine the meaning of the preposition, `ad, in the next phrase from the correct meaning of “until an end” or “unto an end” to the incorrect translation, “at the end”. This creates a new thought pattern rather than continuing the thought pattern associated with the “wing of abominations”. The thrust of Shea’s emendations and arguments focuses entirely on the destruction of Jerusalem. These emendations are linguistically unacceptable and lead to a false understanding.

It is suggested that literal simplicity has the advantage. “Upon a wing of abominations (is) that which desolates even until an utter end”. This phrase is parallel to the earlier phrase in verse 26 concerning “an end of war” and is in the context of the “utter end” or “consummation” of earth’s history. Unmistakable evidence for this view in verse 27 is provided by the use of the word kalah which from lexical evidences means “utter end”, “full end” or “destructions resolved especially by God”.(116) This is also the sense ascertained for every usage of kalah in the OT.(117) For example, in Is. 28:22, God has determined a destruction upon the whole earth; and in Jer. 30:11 God will “make a full end of all nations” (see also Is. 10:23; Nah. 1:8-9; Eze. 11:13, etc.).

The desolator or “that which desolates” in v. 27 (singular participle shomem) accompanies and does not follow after the abominations upon a wing. These abominations are wrought by the desolating force or activity and continue throughout earth’s history. The desolating activity is identical to “the continual” and “the transgression” which desolates in 8:13.

The final thought of verse 27 begins with the conjunction (waw): “and that which was decreed shall pour out on that which desolates”. (The Hebrew conjunction “waw” in the phrase, “even until an end” is not a connecting but an intensifying conjunction emphasizing the duration of the desolating activity.) This describes the final fate of the desolator or desolating activity which was previously decreed in v. 26. This decree is an allusion to the final decree on the horn or king in Dn. 8:25, “but he shall be broken without hand”. The same final decree is repeated in Dn. 2:44-45 and Dn 7:11 & 26 (v. 26, “the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his rulership, to cut off and destroy until the end”), and finally in Dn. 11:45, the king of the north “shall come to his end and no one will help him”.

114) W. H. Shea, DARCOM: Vol. 3, p. 94.
115) Ibid., p. 97.
116) Holladay: CHAL, p.158
117) Wigram: NEHC, p. 600.


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