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orion Captivity begins & ends
I am curious how it is that Rabbi Akivah comes up with the date for
the beginning of the Exile/Cpativity so out of sinchronization
with the accurate dates.
The Exile began, Temple destroyed, 586 BCE and ended with Cyrus's
edict of return 538 BCE. 390 years later is 148 BCE.
(I haven't a plain copy translation of the DSS but I hope to have
one soon - I hear of friends getting the latest...so bear with me
if my reading the account is off the DSS versions.)
Now from Daniel I the following analysis (I'd appreciate learning
how closely the tranlstion I used follows the Qumran texts.
The date of the complete work appears in the latter half of
the book, the visions. The Seleucid King Antiochus IV Epiphanes
desecrated the temple in December, 167 B.C., as we see in Daniel
viii. 11Ä14. Verse viii, 14 implies the writer has seen the
rededication of the sanctuary in December, 164 B.C.E. The pas-
sage xi, 40Ä45 shows that the death of Antiochus IV Epiphanes was
in the future. The Seleucid King died in April, 163 B.C.E. We
can thereby date the visions almost to the month. They are
clearly an immediate apocalyptic forecast.
For further confirmation, consider the following:
At the beginning of the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, a
conflict broke out between two members of the High Priest Levite
family. The conflict resulted in High Priest Onias III going to
Egypt. There he set up a new temple at Heliopolis northeast of
what is now Cairo. This temple functioned until 70 C.E. when the
Romans destroyed it along with the one in Jerusalem.
Jason, the other High Priest, paid large tribute to the King.
This way he stayed in charge until 172 B.C.E. At that time,
factions of Jews objected to his closeness to the Greek king. So
they sent him to exile in Sparta. A lapsed Jew named Menelaus in
170 B.C.E. bought the High Priestly office. To outraged Orthodox
Jews, the Temple sacrifice became an abomination. In 168 B.C.E.,
Jason returned from Sparta and deposed Menelaus.
During this time, Antiochus was campaigning against Egypt.
Jason soon fell under the suspicions of the King who thought the
returned High Priest was conspiring against him. The king then
came back from his conflict with Egypt, entered Jerusalem, and
slaughtered his opponents. As punishment for this supposed
conspiracy, in 167 B.C.E. he dedicated the Temple to the Olympian
Zeus. This blunder, as noted above, aroused the Jews to murder-
ous fury. The fury restored the Temple in 164 B.C.E.
Few readers noted that two thousand, three hundred days had
passed since Menelaus unlawfully took the position of High Priest
in 170 B.C.E. to the restoration of the sanctuary in 164 B.C.E.
Therefore <<the prophecy of days was exactly that, one of days
and not days of weeks or of years>>. The cleansing of the Temple
took place in December, 164 B.C.E.!
This same historical data explains the forecast of Weeks at
the end of the book of Daniel ix, 24Ä27. Today we do not com-
monly understand much about those days before Jesus. Then there
was a priestly or Aaronic Messiah (Anointed One) and a princely
or Davidic Messiah. The High Priest Jason was legitimate in the
eyes of many Jews. So the words "shall Messiah be cut off"
relate directly to the Greek King personally returning and dedi-
cating the Temple to Zeus. He sacrificed swine on the altar!
The historical intervals of these episodes compare directly to
the Prophecy of Weeks. <<The Weeks were of days and of nothing
In like manner we deal with the forecasts of days given at the
end of the Book of Daniel (xii, 11Ä12). The numbers are "a
thousand two hundred and ninety days" or "the thousand three
hundred and five and thirty days". They relate to the time to
the restoration of the sanctuary from either the beginning or the
end of Jason's second time as High Priest. <<The days of the
forecast are days, only days and nothing else!>>
The composers of the book did not have full archives of jour-
nals. They did not have other records easy at hand. They did
not have the easy comparisons to datings we enjoy. If the
figures in this explanation do not precisely add up, they are
well in the ballpark. A reading of the Apocryphal book I Mac-
cabees will show the frame of this argument is right. Teasing
exactness out of the account is likely beyond us. The minor
discrepancies add to the certainty scribes composed the book of
Daniel well after the fact. <<Once again, the simplest explan-
ation is the best!>>
Thank you for your patience.