posted on May, 14 2012 @ 05:23 PM
What does Daniel mean when he says about “the prince who is to come” that “he shall make a strong covenant with many”?
We’re told, in Daniel ch9 v27, that the time of this prince occupies the period of “one week”.
This week is defined, in fact, by the “covenant with many”.
While the other business of the time, “causing the sacrifice to cease”, only occupies half the week- presumably the second half.
The making of a covenant is a common act in the Old Testament.
They tend to be direct agreements between two parties.
They might be between men of equal status, like the covenant which ended the feuding between Abraham and Abimelech at Beersheba, or the covenant of
friendship between Jonathan and David, or the peace covenant between Ahab and Ben-Hadad.
On the other hand, the covenant which David made with the elders of Israel at Hebron (1 Chronicles ch11 v3) was not an equal relationship, because
they were accepting him as their king.
It was still an agreement between two parties, though, allowing for the fact that one of the parties (the people of Israel) was a corporate body.
Obviously the most important covenants in the Old Testament are the covenants which are established by God himself.
The other party in the covenant may be a corporate body, the people of Israel, or a human individual acting as a representative..
Clearly, this is an unequal relationship.
But the common factor in all these examples is that a covenant is made between two parties, with the purpose of setting out the terms of the
relationship between them.
If we look at the wording of Daniel ch9 v27, we find that the prince makes covenant “for one week”. In other words, this is not a single event,
but an on-going relationship.
The further question is what is meant by covenanting “with many”.
The currently popular interpretation is that he would be making a treaty or peace settlement of some kind. The assumption is made, though nothing in
the text says so, that this would be about establishing peace in the Middle East.
But such a peace treaty would be a single event, and it would necessarily be a multi-party agreement (or a minimum of three parties, counting himself
as a mediator).
As I was observing, covenants in the rest of the Bible are direct agreements between two parties.
I suggest, then, that the prince in this verse is not making a single covenant involving a large number of people.
What he is doing, instead, is making a large number of one-to-one covenants.
And the effect of these covenants would be to set the terms of his relationship with a large number of people, over the full period of “one
What kind of relationship would this be?
There may be a clue in that passage in Revelation which describes the relationship between the Beast and the “ten kings”, who have dominion
together for the space of “one hour” (Revelation ch17 v12).
We’re told in the next verse that the kings “give over their power and authority to the Beast”.
So the relationship between them is that the kings are giving the Beast their allegiance.
They are a network of subordinate allies, on which his power is built.
On my own interpretation, this is precisely what the first part of Daniel ch9 v27 is describing.
The prince “makes covenant with many”; he attaches a large number of subordinate allies to himself and builds up a network.
These relationships are on-going, lasting for the full “week” of his rule.
In fact they are the real basis of his ability to be a dominant power.
And that is the power-base which enables him to embark on the dramatic venture of the second part of the week, the “stopping of the sacrifice” and
the Abomination of Desolation.
“Those who acknowledge him he shall magnify with honour. He shall make them rulers over many and shall divide the land for a price”- ch11 v39
These rewards will surely be showered upon those, in particular, who have “made covenant” with him from the beginning.