Zechariah on duty (Lk 1:8-1:8)

“Zechariah

Was serving

As a priest

Before God,

Because his section

Was on duty.”

 

Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ ἱερατεύειν αὐτὸν ἐν τῇ τάξει τῆς ἐφημερίας αὐτοῦ ἔναντι τοῦ Θεοῦ,

 

Having described Zechariah and his wife, Luke turned to the action around Zechariah.  This happened (Ἐγένετο) as he was serving as the priest (δὲ ἐν τῷ ἱερατεύειν αὐτὸν) before God (ἔναντι τοῦ Θεοῦ).  His section or division of Levite priests were on duty (ἐν τῇ τάξει τῆς ἐφημερίας αὐτοῦ).  Apparently, his group of Abijah priests served for 2 weeks at the Temple each year.  Not bad, instead of 2 weeks off for vacation, they served for only 2 weeks a year, since there were 24 groups of priests with various tasks.

Daniel was mourning (Dan 10:2-10:3)

“In those days,

I,

Daniel,

Had been mourning

For three weeks.

I had eaten

No rich food.

I had eaten

No meat.

No wine

Had entered

My mouth.

I had not anointed myself

At all,

For the full three weeks.”

Daniel, once again, assumed the first-person singular to talk about this vision.   He had been in mourning for 3 weeks, but there is no indication on why he was mourning. Nevertheless, he had not eaten any rich food or meat. He had not taken any wine. Finally, he had not anointed or cleaned himself for the full 3 weeks.

The anointed one was cut off (Dan 9:26-9:27)

“After the sixty-two weeks,

An anointed one

Shall be cut off.

He shall have nothing.

The troops

Of the prince,

Who is to come,

Shall destroy

The city.

He shall destroy

The sanctuary.

Its end shall come

With a flood.

To the end,

There shall be war.

Desolations are decreed.

He shall make

A strong covenant

With many

For one week.

For half

Of the week,

He shall make

Sacrifices cease.

He shall make

Offerings cease.

In their places,

There shall be an abomination

That desolates,

Until the decreed end

Is poured out

On the desolator.”

Well, that was a simple explanation by Gabriel! After 62 weeks, the anointed one would be cut off. In fact, there is some agreement that this anointed one was the high priest Onias III, who was deposed in 175 BCE. The prince coming to destroy him was probably King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who came to destroy the city of Jerusalem and the sanctuary. It is unclear what the flood was about. Obviously, there was a war and the Maccabees uprising. The covenant for one week might mean 7 years, and ½ a week might mean 3 ½ years, the time when the sacrifices and offerings ceased in the Temple. Instead, they had the terrible abominations and desolations of the false idols. Finally, this all came to an end.