Q67 : Extending Israel's Exile?

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Q67 : Extending Israel's Exile?


In part two of your 4-part series on Daniela, you wrote:

To suggest there is here an extension of the exile is ridiculous. Porteous, for example, intimates the seventy years had passed and Daniel was asking the Lord to end the exile. Instead of doing so, Yahweh declares the Jews must remain in exile another 490 years. This interpretation is borderline blasphemy, for God cannot go back on His word (Jer. 25:11, 12). Besides, it is an historical fact that Cyrus permitted the Jews to return to Jerusalem.

Would you reconsider that in light of Leviticus 26? Since Daniel is praying about the 70-years of exile, acknowledging that Israel deserved it and still had not repented of its sins, Leviticus 26 suggests precisely this: Israel's punishment would be multiplied seven-fold:

And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. (Lev. 26:18)

And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. (Lev. 26:21)

And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. (Lev. 26:23-24)

And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. (Lev. 26;27-28)

In light of that, I do not believe it is so ridiculous to believe that there is an extension of the exile. In fact, it appears to be perfectly consistent with Leviticus 26. Rather than having God go back on His word, it has God keeping the promise of Leviticus 26, "i.e., And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins." We note that in Daniel 9:13 that "all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth." Isn't this precisely the circumstance in which Leviticus 26 would come into play?

At the very least, suggesting an extension of the exile is neither ridiculous nor borderline blasphemy. It is probably more accurate to say it's an extension of the punishment, which is the language I prefer.

Your thoughts?

A67 : by Charles Ray

Thanks for your question about Leviticus 26 and Daniel 9. I wish all Christians would study the Bible as you do. I will get to the bottom line before I go into details.

The passages concerning the 70-year captivity are not crystal clear but secular history is (as you noted in my quote). Some 50,000 Jews returned to Israel late in the sixth century. In other words, the exile was not extended. I don’t see how we can get around that fact.

It is debatable whether or not the “seven times” expression in Lev. 26 has to do with the material coming after the expression or before it. I tend to think it concerns the passage before the expression. The transition from verse 28 to 29 is an example. Verse 28 has the “seven times” expression in it but the first word of verse 29 is “further” (NASB; “and,” KJV).

I take that arrangement to mean: “I’m going to do that seven times over, and in addition I’m going to do this.” Too, there are four verses between verse 28 and verse 33 (where the exile is first mentioned). Therefore, the “seven times” is not connected to the mentioning of the exile.

Even if we granted that the Lord did intend to extend the exile (based on Lev. 26), that statement goes up against the evidence that indicates that He did not intend to or actually extend the exile. Jeremiah (Jer. 25:11, 12; 29:10; cf. 2 Chron. 36:21) predicted that the exile would be seventy years and “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).

Although the word “repent” is not in Daniel 9, Daniel is at least acknowledging the sins of the people. Daniel 9:20 for example: “àconfessing my sin and the sin of my people Israelà” In Daniel 9:13 he is admitting that they have not been seeking the Lord, but now Daniel is pleading with God to end the exile in light of Jer, 25:11 and for His sake (Dan. 9:17).

I hope this is helpful.

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