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Jews to express the period of seven days by any one word. I believe (he continues) that the inspired writers did not use yaw, ́ nyaw or ylaw, or any other word, to signify a week, but that they expressed the period by nya seven days.' He likewise supports his arguments by quotations from the Misnic writers, which we shall further notice presently. On these grounds he concludes that an unprepossessed person would most probably understand Daniel to speak of "sevens" of years; and he goes on to insist, that to sustain the argument built on this passage it ought to have been expressly written "weeks of days."P
It is important first to notice the admissions and exceptions made in the course of this argument. First, Mr. Maitland allows, that the Feast of Weeks was indeed fixed by counting seven weeks from a given time," and that it is mentioned eight times, as "the feast of sevens." He admits that the word weeks in Dan. x, 2, 3, where the Prophet says he was sick three weeks, is also an exception. In Leviticus xii, 5, it is said, a woman shall be unclean after the birth of a female "two weeks, or sevens ̄`yaw. Again, he says, Wishing to bring forward every thing which others might produce against my statement I add the
seven' (v) translated' week,' Gen. xxix, 27, 28; though com'mentators are not agreed, whether it belongs to the days of Leah's wedding feast or the years of Jacob's servitude." Of all these exceptions he observes, "I do not feel that they have much weight.”q Now to us the circumstance, that the term weeks would appear “somewhat singular," would form no objection against its being in Daniel
p No. 8, p. 5-13.
an enigmatical number: on the contrary, its singularity would of itself rather lead to the suspicion, that it was so intended. In this instance however, we do not believe it to be so unusual an expression as Mr. Maitland supposes. The exceptions he has himself alleged are ponderous enough in our minds to outweigh his objection; more especially the Feast of Weeks, which being an ecclesiastical calculation, renders the term weeks the more suitable for a prophetical date.
But as, on this part of the subject, authority must be opposed to authority, the testimony of Dr. J. Owen, the eminent Puritan writer, may be of some service, he being the contemporary, and (as regards prophetical interpretation) opposed to the views of Mede. In his Treatise on the Sabbath are the following passages: All nations, I say, in all ages, have from time immemo'rial made the revolution of seven
days to be the first stated period of time." So fixed was this computation of time [by weeks] on the minds of the Chaldeans and Egyptians, who retained the deep'est tincture of original traditions,
that, though they knew not the reason of it, yet, when they made a disposition of the days of the year into any other period, on ac'counts civil or sacred, they still ' retained this also." Then, after noticing that Noah observed this weekly revolution of days, in sending forth the dove out of the ark, (Gen. viii, 10-12) he adds, And in Gen. xxix, 27, a week is spoken
of as a known account of days or
time: Fulfil her week;' that is
custom, in those ancient times of the world to continue the celebration of a marriage feast for seven days or a week; as Judges xiv, 12—17, The seven days of The seven days of ' the feast,' is spoken of as a thing commonly known and in vulgar • use. Finally, quoting Theophilus of Antioch, he tells us, that Theophilus nevertheless mistook the origin of the term: "For by an error common to many of the ancients, who could not distinguish
us, that among the Hebrews it was called sabbath, which in Greek is week. It is also to this purpose observed by Rivet and Selden,
(from Salmasius, out of Georgius Syncallus, in his Chronology,) that 'the patriarchs reckoned the times, or distinguished them, by weeks ONLY."+
he tells שבע and שבת between
Mr. Cuninghame, who has in his critical works afforded good evidence that he possesses an adequate knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures, declares the whole foundation of Mr. Maitland's reasoning to be "utterly erroneous," in supposing the word ya and its plural
nification of the numeral seven. He refers to any Lexicon or Grammar to evince, that they are pointed differently but that which appears of most import is, "that where more
than one, or at least two sevens are intended, as in Lev. xxv, 8,
• the number is expressed, not by a
plural form of the numeral, as to
• the very existence of which in He
brew grammarians are silent, but by adding the word y, denoting
a time or repetition of a thing.
Thus in the passage just quoted, forty-nine years are expressed, 'first by the phrase, seven sabbaths
now of years-and in the next, by that of seven years SEVEN TIMES
Again, (in reply to the word, when it stands alone, never signifying a week of days,) having defied Mr. Maitland to produce a single example of the word 2 and its plural forms signifying a seven, or a week, or weeks of years; he adds: "On the other hand, (as Mr. Mait'land himself admits,) the same
word is uniformly used to signify the feast of weeks, or Pentecost,
• In Genesis xxix, 27, 28, yaw (the being supplied by the kibbuts point) is also used to express a week of days, being that of Leah's wedding feast. It is also found in Jer. v, 25, to signify the weeks of the harvest. Indeed it will be apparent, on examining a Hebrew concordance, that wherever the word stands alone in the Scriptures, (the disputed text in Daniel being of course excepted, as the point to be proved,) it signifies a week or 'weeks of days, and in no case whatever a week of years. Mr. Mait
land's assertion, that it might have
been understood to mean weeks of
r”.שבע פעמים ,REPEATED
.הג שבעת which has the name of
The Morning Watch had previously argued in a similar manner : We assert that the word 'sevens' does not occur in the (disputed) passage at all, and that our trans
* Thus Jerome says-" Non igitur, ut quidam male existimant, post septem annos alios Jacob accepit Rachel uxorem, sed post septem dies nuptiarum uxoris primæ.” Verse 30 will be sufficient proof of this with the considerate reader.
+ Pages 64-69 of the Revised Edition, published by Hatchards, London.
r No. 16, p. 5.
s Ibid. p. 6.
lation, 'weeks,' is
the true ren
dering of yaw. We must fur'ther state, that " days" added to this word, would not convey the ' meaning Mr. M. supposes, of any seven days; but would denote one ' or other of the two holiday weeks of the year, namely, unleavened bread and tabernacles." Then having quoted Buxtorf, Cocceius, Gussetius, and various other Lexicons, &c. to show that the word in Daniel ix, 25, commonly denotes a week of days, and in this passage alone was to be regarded as a week of years, because the fulfilment so required it; they add,-" On these
authorities we deny Mr. M.'s ''general rule,' and require better authority than Grotius, or any he adduces, before we can receive it. • The word in question is clearly 'masculine--and as clearly ‹ the plural of yaw, which last occurs but twice in Scripture-viz. 'Gen. xxix, 27, 28,—and both 'words always mean a week of ' days, and nothing else. Seven (the numeral) and its derivatives are always feminine; and these do of course require days to be added to designate a week.”t
It may be needful to observe, that we have not noticed in Mr. Maitland's latest pamphlets any reply to this refutation of his statements. Mr. Cuninghame's is indeed the last published work that we have seen on the subject, and there may not have been time for a reply; but since the Review from which the above passages are taken appeared in the Morning Watch, Mr. Digby's attack on Mr. Maitland's statements has appeared, as also Mr. M's reply.
Mr. Maitland is as unhappy in his appeal to the Misnic writers. He brings quotations from the Baba Metzia, Sheviith, Nedarim, &c. in
t No. 13, p. 455.
"u To this Mr. Cuninghame replies." The quotations of the learned writer from the Misnic writers seem to be no more to the purpose than his arguments from the Scriptures. He has indeed brought from the Baba Metzia, a 'passage, which distinguishes a ' workman of a sabbath (or week of
days,) of a month, of a year, and of
a week (of years), from each other; and he thereby proves that, in that book, the expression MTUM means a workman of a week, (viz.
man of a week, viz. of years. It therefore seems indisputable that, in these Rabbinical writings haw denotes, exclusively, a week of days, (usually, though not exclusively, as I learn from Mr. M.) a week of years. But then, unhappily for Mr. Maitland's argument, the former word is employed in the Scriptures in no such 'exclusive sense, being used in Lev.
xxv, 8, for sabbaths or sevens of years, (in which passage it merits particular attention that the word years, , is added,) as it is in · Lev. xxiii, 15, for sabbaths, or 'weeks of days. On the other hand,
the second word, which by the • rabbies is used for a week of years, has, in the Scriptures, the exclusive sense of a week of days. It
u No. 8, p. 10.
שבעת or שבת commonly use
-a work שכיר שבוע of days) and
thus appears, that the rabbinical use of both words is directly the reverse of the Scriptural use; and it follows, that Mr. Maitland's argument from the rabbinical writings in support of his sense of the word is good for nothing.' We have yet to refer to another passage of importance in this controversy: viz. Dan. xiii, 13, in which the vision therein described is said to be "unto two thousand and three hundred days." We have before noticed, that the time in this instance is part of the vision itself; it is not written however in the original 2300 days, but 2300 eveningsmornings, as given in the margin. From this circumstance the Morning Watch seems to think, that at verse 26 it is called the vision of the evening and the morning which was told;" told (as the Morning Watch justly observes) though a vision”w—which clearly indentifies the time, as a part of that vision.* Mr. Maitland says: "Most modern
writers, I believe, are prepared to follow Sir Isaac and Bishop New'ton in this matter, and to say ' with the latter, "these 2300 days can by no computation be accommodated to the times of Antiochus Epiphanes, even though the days be taken for natural 'days.'" Mr. M. further considers the period to mean natural "because he knows of no readays, son for supposing otherwise :" but why the expression "mornings and evenings" should be used instead of days, he does not feel bound to give
our Lord; and if, on the other
hand, the time is connected with
the last antichrist, 2300 days can'not be extended back to the time of Jerusalem's destruction."y Again they observe: "The vision is for "many days ;”† (v. 25 ;) and
in the midst of the events of the 'vision (v. 13) stands the transgression of desolation," to which our Lord refers in Matt. xxiv, 15; ' Mark xiii, 4; and which we know from Luke xxi, 20 was the time • when Jerusalem was compassed
armies and the desolation thereof nigh." The number 2300 therefore of very necessity joins
on to or includes this event, because it is asked How long shall 'be the vision to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot ;" which tread ́ing under foot certainly began
A. D. 70. It must also of very
v No. 16, p. 6. w No. 13, p. 458.
x No. 9, p. 31, 32. y No. 10, p. 517.
* Mr. Maitland is disposed to think this expression, "the vision of the morning and evening," arises from the subject matter of the prophecy being concerning the morning and evening sacrifice.
+ On this Mr. Cuninghame says: "how a vision relating to the revolutions and fates of empires can be called for many days, if it be measured by a period of six years and less than four months, Mr. Maitland has not explained."
necessity reach down to the cleansing of the
sanctuary.— Then shall the sanctuary be cleansed;" (v. 14) an event which, by the confession of all, is still future, and therefore cannot be 'included in 2300 literal days."z We need not enter into Mr. Cuninghame's view of this particular point; (which indeed is very simvery similar) for Mr. Maitland really makes no answer worthy of notice: he merely takes up the word 'IF,' and sarcastically applies to it the whole argument.a
It would not be doing justice to Mr. Maitland did we not revert once more to the passage in which the 1260 days is set forth by "time, times, and dividing of time," for the purpose of stating what appears to us his most forcible objection, though it occupies but little compass in the controversy. In Dan. iv, we read of seven times, during which Nebuchadnezzar should be excluded from his kingdom; and which are admitted by all interpreters to have been seven literal years. Mr. Faber, apparently with an eye to this passage, in laying down his principles of interpreting the 1260 days symbolically, excepts excepts individuals from the operation of this rule, and only applies it to communities. Quoting however one of Mr. Faber's own principles against himself, Mr. Maitland says-" Surely we may ⚫venture to assume, that the same mode of computation which is used by an author in one passage of his 'writings, will be used by him in 'all other passages.' Yet, (without the slightest hint of any change ' of style in the author,) we are to suppose Daniel using the same
munity.”b Again, in reply to the Morning Watch, he turns one of their canons of interpretation against themselves, in regard to this passage. The Reviewer had said " Nor is there any difficulty in ascertaining when language is symbolical, and when not; for the symbolical language always forms a part of the vision, and is often expressed in an unusual, and not ' in the ordinary manner." Mr. M. rejoins-"Now surely, Sir, Nebuchadnezzar's vision of the tree was a symbolical vision, and the word declaring the period of the vision formed a part of that vision. The Watcher and the Holy One said, 'Let seven times pass over him.'"c The proper solution of this difficulty is given by Mr. Cuninghame, and is contained in a general principle, applicable to all those Scriptures wherein the times of future events have been literally fulfilled: viz. that the period in Dan. iv was intended to be understood at the time it was uttered: the other passage was not intended to be understood at the time, but was shut up and sealed. This appears the more consistent with Scripture from the facts, that the other symbols are explained or interpreted, and therefore are not in that sense sealed; and that in the end of the last chapter, where several periods are enumerated, the sealing is specially applied to them.*
It follows that we attach little or no weight to another circumstance urged by Mr. Maitland; viz. that the
word, in chap. iv, to signify one year, and in chapter vii, to signify 360 years, and this merely because in one case he speaks of an individual, and in the other of a com
z No. 13, p. 459. a No. 12, p. 46.
b No. 8, p. 14. c No. 12, p. 45.
* We pass over the period of ten days mentioned in Revelations; for though we incline to think ourselves that it is not to be interpreted of literal days, we agree with Mr. M. that it is a questionable point, and cannot be justly assumed.