12. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered.
12. Et tempus 1 datum est super jugi sacrificio in scelere, 2 et projiciet veritatem in terram et faciet, 3 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. abu 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 espb, 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.
Grant, Almighty God, as thou hast enlightened us by the teaching of thy Gospel, and set before our eyes thine only begotten Son as a Sun of righteousness to rule us, and hast deigned to separate us from the whole world, and to make us thy peculiar people, and to prepare for us a certain seat in heaven: Grant, I pray thee, that we may be heirs of eternal life. Grant us also, to be mindful of thy sacred calling, and to make our pilgrimage on earth with spirits looking upwards and tending towards thee. May we meditate upon the righteousness of thy kingdom, and be entirely devoted to thee. Do thou protect us by thy hand even to the end, and may we march boldly under thy standard, till at length we arrive at that blessed rest, where the fruit of our victory is laid up for us in Jesus Christ our Lord. -- Amen.
Daniel here mentions one among the many crimes of Antiochus, his casting down truth to the ground. This clause ought to be joined with the former; for Antiochus could not deprive God of his lawful worship without abolishing sound doctrine. The angel seems here to express the reason for the destruction of the sanctuary, because the worship of God depended upon the teaching of the law, which is here understood by the word "truth." This passage then states that no religion is pleasing to God unless founded on truth; for God, according to the uniform teaching of the Scriptures, does not desire to be worshipped according to man's caprice, but rather tries the obedience of men by prescribing what he demands and approves, lest men should pass over these bounds. We must here remark the union which Daniel now establishes between the overthrow and abolition of the worship of God, and the casting down of truth to the ground, when it neither obtains its proper rank, nor subdues all mortals to itself.
It may be read, he will east down truth in the earth; thus making a distinction between heaven and earth. And if we like to read it so, the sense will be -- truth still remains stable although it perishes in the earth, because it has its station in heaven. Thus the sense would be -- after the abolition of the worship of God, and the cessation of the sacrifices, piety could no longer exist among mortals. At length he adds, he shall succeed and prosper. The first word here implies execution. God wished on the whole to admonish his Church concerning the prosperous success of Antiochus, lest the faithful should be dispirited at beholding the impious tyranny so petulantly and wantonly polluting God's temple, and utterly destroying his religion, as if he had provoked God himself to the contest. For this conduct was equivalent to a direct declaration of war against God. For his success would trouble all the pious, as if the tyrant was superior to God himself. Hence this prediction would warn the faithful against the novelty or suddenness of anything which might occur. It follows, --