[b-hebrew] "Desire of Women" in Heb. Text of Dan. 11:37

Harold Holmyard hholmyard at ont.com
Tue Nov 14 08:09:46 EST 2006

Dear Yitzhak,
> Both of you are reading these verses with a theological message, and that
> theological message may be appropriate for you and those who abide by
> your theological beliefs.

HH: The Bible is a theological message.

>   That theological message and set of beliefs must
> be set aside, however, and the verses interpreted in their proper context to
> understand what Haggai was talking about.

HH: The theological message may be taken from the text rather than 
imposed on it.

>    Haggai was speaking to a
> people who did not know of a third temple, who did not expect a third
> temple, who did not expect the Davidic line of kings to be interrupted.

HH: The Davidic line of kings had already been interrupted. The fact 
that these people were not expecting a third temple is not determinative 
because biblical prophecy sometimes speaks of events hundreds or even 
thousands of years in advance of the fulfillment.

>    For
> these people, the word "Messiah" was not something extra-ordinarily
> special.

HH: The idea of a David king is in view, and by this time that was a 
special idea.

>   It was simply a term for God's chosen king at the time.  It would
> be as if we were to take the ceremony of the President of the United
> States being sworn into office, and then speaking of the Sworn Person
> as something special.  In the time of Haggai, this chosen king was not
> necessarily a Jewish king -- Cyrus is called "Anointed" (Messiah) by
> Ezekiel.

HH: However, God had chosen the Davidic line to be kings, and Zerubbabel 
was the heir in that line. So when God speaks of making him like a 
signet ring on his finger because he had chosen him, the natural 
implication is that he will be the chosen king. But Zerubbabel never 
became king and this fact, plus the futuristic terms of the prophecy, 
suggest that Zerubbabel here represents the Davidic king or Davidic line 
as a symbol of a future fulfillment.

>    Worldly kings had not given gifts to the Temple.  Cyrus allowed
> the people to enjoy their religious freedoms.This was a general policy as the Cyrus Cylinder indicates.  It also indicates how much the book of Ezra
> reworks the message of Cyrus.  And all this reworking ends up allowing for
> people to donate gifts to the Temple, and for the ancient Temple artifacts to
> be restored to their original location.  This is not a gift, but a
> restoration of order.

HH: You're right; I cited the wrong verse. But the return of the temple 
treasures did amount to a gift. Cyrus was not obliged to return these 
things from the temple, for they were the spoils of war:

Ezra 1:7 King Cyrus himself brought out the vessels of the house of the 
LORD that Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and placed in 
the house of his gods.
Ezra 1:8 King Cyrus of Persia had them released into the charge of 
Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince 
of Judah.
Ezra 1:9 And this was the inventory: gold basins, thirty; silver basins, 
one thousand; knives, twenty-nine;
Ezra 1:10 gold bowls, thirty; other silver bowls, four hundred ten; 
other vessels, one thousand;
Ezra 1:11 the total of the gold and silver vessels was five thousand 
four hundred. All these Sheshbazzar brought up, when the exiles were 
brought up from Babylonia to Jerusalem.

HH: Plenty of Israelite treasures were taken by other kings, even temple 
treasures, and never returned:

2Kings 14:14 He took all the gold and silver and all the articles found 
in the temple of the LORD and in the treasuries of the royal palace. He 
also took hostages and returned to Samaria.

1Kings 14:25 And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, 
that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem:
1Kings 14:26 And he took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, 
and the treasures of the king’s house; he even took away all: and he 
took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made.

2Kings 12:18 King Jehoash of Judah took all the votive gifts that 
Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, and Ahaziah, his ancestors, the kings of Judah, 
had dedicated, as well as his own votive gifts, all the gold that was 
found in the treasuries of the house of the LORD and of the king’s 
house, and sent these to King Hazael of Aram. Then Hazael withdrew from 

2Chr. 25:23 And Joash the king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the 
son of Joash, the son of Jehoahaz, at Beth-shemesh, and brought him to 
Jerusalem, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim 
to the corner gate, four hundred cubits.
2Chr. 25:24 And he took all the gold and the silver, and all the vessels 
that were found in the house of God with Obed-edom, and the treasures of 
the king’s house, the hostages also, and returned to Samaria.

2Kings 18:16 At this time Hezekiah king of Judah stripped off the gold 
with which he had covered the doors and doorposts of the temple of the 
LORD, and gave it to the king of Assyria.

HH: Sometimes the Israelite king, without compulsion, even gave away 
such treasures:

1Kings 15:18 Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in 
the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s 
house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants: and king Asa 
sent them to Ben-hadad, the son of Tabrimon, the son of Hezion, king of 
Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying,
1Kings 15:19 There is a league between me and thee, and between my 
father and thy father: behold, I have sent unto thee a present of silver 
and gold; come and break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he 
may depart from me.

2Kings 16:8 And Ahaz took the silver and gold found in the temple of the 
LORD and in the treasuries of the royal palace and sent it as a gift to 
the king of Assyria.

HH: Yes, Cyrus did restore the idols and gods of the various nations 
taken captive by the Babylonians to their temples, but he was under no 
compulsion to do return treasures. They were a gift. Nebuchadnezzar had 
taken the temple treasures in part for the expense and effort undertaken 
to quell Zebediah's rebellion after he broke covenant with the king of 

>   The book of Ezra, written probably at least close to two centuries
> after Cyrus,  is not a very good historical book for the period.  It could have
> easily incorporated a text relating how Cyrus restored order, whether or not
> the Temple artifacts were indeed historically restored, and whether wealthy
> Jews in the Persian empire felt the need to go to a poor province in the
> far corner of the empire,

HH: This is a theological position, too: skepticism about biblical 
reality. The words of Ezra 1 are supported to some extent by the 
testimony of Chronicles 36.

>  and donate their gold to a poor reconstructed
> Temple who was competing for the favor of the Yahweh worshippers in the
> various reaches of the empire with at least two other Temples in the early
> Persian period -- the Samaritan temple and the Elephantine temple.  None
> of these people were thinking of the history 500 years hence, after the
> Persian empire would be conquered by the Greeks and they in turn by the
> Romans, or after the Temple would be rebuilt by Herod, or this new rebuilt
> grandiose Temple be destroyed.  It is important to keep in mind that
> Haggai's prophecies are for these people.  Haggai himself is one of these
> people.   To truly understand the meaning of the prophecies it is their reality
> and their theological beliefs that must be used.

HH: God's prophecies are for humanity, and they sometimes go in advance 
of their fulfillment by centuries or ages.

>   Sure, you can reinterpret
> Haggai, and find symbolism everywhere you want to look, and explain his
> prophecies according to your theological world.  There's nothing wrong with
> that.  But that's no longer Haggai's prophecy -- it is your prophecy.  Haggai's
> message is different, as is his reality, his theology, his concept of what a
> Messiah his, his concept of eschatology.  With this reality in place, Haggai
> is speaking of the second temple, not of a time thousands of years later.

HH: The Jews of the first century saw the world shaking predicted by 
Haggai as an event still in the future. So just because you think the 
ancient people had to look at things in a certain way does not mean that 
they did. Here is the first century Book of Hebrews:

Heb. 12:25 See that you do not refuse the one who is speaking; for if 
they did not escape when they refused the one who warned them on earth, 
how much less will we escape if we reject the one who warns from heaven!
Heb. 12:26 At that time his voice shook the earth; but now he has 
promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the 
Heb. 12:27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of what 
is shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
Heb. 12:28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be 
shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable 
worship with reverence and awe;
Heb. 12:29 for indeed our God is a consuming fire.

Harold Holmyard


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