Daniel 9:26 KJB - "Messiah cut off, but NOT FOR HIMSELF"
ESV (NIV, NASB) - "an anointed one shall be cut off AND SHALL HAVE NOTHING."
[Note: At the end of this article you will see MANY different ways this passage has been mangled beyond recognition in the Bible Babble Buffet Versions. Who do you think would want to mess with this verse? As the Rolling Stones sing in Sympathy for the devil - "Hope you guess my name"]
An extremely important Messianic prophecy about the significance of the death of Christ has been drastically changed in a multitude of conflicting modern versions.
"And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, BUT NOT FOR HIMSELF." Daniel 9:26
Christ, who obviously is the Messiah, was cut off out of the land of the living and He died, not for Himself, but for His people. He laid down His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). He gave Himself for the church (Ephesians 5:25). He laid down His life for the sheep (John 10:15), and purchased the church of God with His own blood (Acts 20:28).
By His death the Lord Jesus Christ made reconciliation for iniquity and brought in everlasting righteousness, as the immediate context of Daniel 9:24 tells us.
There is no verb in the Hebrew text of Daniel 9:26; it reads "but not for himself". This is also the reading of the Bishop's Bible 1568 -"After these threescore & two weekes shall Messiah be slaine, & NOT FOR HIM SELFE" , the NKJV 1982, Daniel 9:26 "Messiah cut off, but NOT FOR HIMSELF".
The King James Bible is it's own best commentary. "CUT OFF"
In that great prophetic chapter about the substitutionary death of our Lord Jesus Christ, Isaiah 53, we read the following words in Isaiah 53:8 - "He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? FOR HE WAS CUT OFF out of the land of the living: FOR THE TRANSGRESSION OF MY PEOPLE WAS HE STRICKEN."
And in verse 10 we further read: "Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: WHEN THOU SHALT MAKE HIS SOUL AN OFFERING FOR SIN"
Agreeing with the King James reading of "but not for Himself" in Daniel 9:26 are Webster's 1833 translation, The Modern Greek Translation -"Και μετα τας εξηκοντα δυο εβδομαδας θελει εκκοπη ο Χριστος, πλην ουχι δι' εαυτον·", KJV 21st Century Version 1994, the Third Millennium Bible 1998, Green's 1998 Modern KJV 2000, the International Standard Version - "Then after the 62 weeks, the anointed one will be cut down (BUT NOT FOR HIMSELF).", the 2011 Orthodox Jewish Bible - "And after threescore and two heptads, yikaret (will be cut off) Moshiach [Yeshayah 53:8], BUT NOT FOR HIMSELF.", and the International Standard Version 2014 - "the anointed one will be cut down BUT NOT FOR HIMSELF."
Also reading like the King James Bible - "shall Messiah be cut off, BUT NOT FOR HIMSELF" are The Word of Yah 1993 - "shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself", Green's Literal 2005, Bond Slave Version 2009, Holy Scriptures VW Edition 2010 - "Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself.”, Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010 - "And after threescore and two weeks shall Mashiach be cut off, BUT NOT FOR HIMSELF”, Conservative Bible 2011, Orthodox Jewish Bible 2011 - "will be cut off Moshiach BUT NOT FOR HIMSELF", Interlinear Hebrew-Greek Scriptures 2012 (Mebust) - "Mashiyach shall be cut off BUT NOT FOR HIMSELF”,
Even the NIV footnote gives the reading of the King James Bible "or, CUT OFF, BUT NOT FOR HIMSELF", but the text of the NIV reads quite differently.
Foreign language Bibles that read like the KJB are: the French Martin 1744 - “le CHRIST sera retranché, MAIS NON PAS POUR SOI”, the French Ostervald Bible of 1996 - "le Christ sera retranché, ET NON POUR LUI.", the Romanian Fidela of 2010 "dar nu pentru el însuşi", the Spanish Cipriano de Valera of 1602 - "Ydespués de las sesenta y dos semanas se quitará la vida al Mesías, Y NO POR SI", the Reina Valera 1865 Angel de Mora, the 1909 Reina Valera and the 2010 Reina Valera Gomez bible - “Daniel 9:26 Y después de las sesenta y dos semanas el Mesías será muerto, Y NO POR SI.” but they changed the 1995 Reina Valera and it now reads like the NIV.
Also agreeing with the KJB reading is the Portuguese A Biblia Sagrada - "E depois das sessenta e duas semanas ser cortado o Messias, MAS NO PARA SI MESMO", and The Modern Greek Translation -"Και μετα τας εξηκοντα δυο εβδομαδας θελει εκκοπη ο Χριστος, πλην ουχι δι' εαυτον·"
Versions like the NIV, RSV, NRSV, ESV, Holman, and NASB read: "Messiah shall be cut off AND HAVE NOTHING."
Messiah shall have nothing?!? He purchased His people and bought His bride with His own blood! He certainly did not "have nothing".
The NIV is not always translated in the same way into foreign languages. The Spanish NIV, La Nueva Versión Internacional 1999 says: "después de las sesenta y dos semanas, se le quitará la vida al príncipe elegido. Éste se quedará sin ciudad y sin santuario, porque un futuro gobernante los destruirá." which means "After 62 weeks the life of the elect prince will be taken away. THIS ONE WILL REMAIN WITHOUT A CITY AND WITHOUT A SANCTUARY..."!
But the Portuguese NIV reads differently than both the English and Spanish versions. The NIV Portuguese edition, Nova Versão Internacional 2000 has: "Depois das sessenta e duas semanas, o Ungido será morto, e já não haverá lugar para ele." which comes out to mean - "After the sixty-two weeks, the anointed one is dead, AND THERE WILL BE NO PLACE FOR HIM."
Dr. Daniel Wallace and company, of Dallas Theological Seminary, are writing their own bible version on the internet. It is called the NET version and it often rejects the clear Hebrew readings and frequently comes up with meanings not found in any other bible out there in print.
The NET version with commentary says: "Now after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one will be cut off AND HAVE NOTHING." Then he footnotes: "The expression "HAVE NOTHING" is difficult. Presumably it refers to an absence of support or assistance for the anointed one at the time of his “cutting off.” The KJV rendering “but not for himself,” apparently suggesting A VICARIOUS DEATH, CANNOT BE DEFENDED."
This "renowned scholar" admits his own rendering "is difficult", and "a presumption", but then he adamantly tells that the idea of a substitutionary death as found in the King James Bible "cannot be defended"!!!
He is uncertain about his own reading, but certain that the King James Bible got it wrong! Aren't Bible correctors a kick in the head? Well, as we shall soon see, a great many Bible commentators, teachers and translators are not at all in agreement with Dock Wallace's opinions.
Bible Commentators that got it right
Matthew Henry comments: "In order to all this the Messiah must be cut off, must die a violent death, and so be cut off from the land of the living, as was foretold, Isa. 53:8. He must be cut off, BUT NOT FOR HIMSELF —not for any sin of his own, but, as Caiaphas prophesied, HE MUST DIE FOR THE PEOPLE, IN OUR STEAD and for our good, it was TO ATONE FOR OUR SINS, and to purchase life for us, that he was cut off."
John Wesley tersely remarks: " Not for himself - BUT FOR OUR SAKES, and for our salvation."
John Gill offers two different interpretations but he gives this one first: "when Jesus the true Messiah was cut off in a judicial way; not for any sins of his own, BUT FOR THE SINS OF HIS PEOPLE, to make satisfaction for them, and TO OBTAIN THEIR REDEMPTION and salvation."
David Guzik's Commentary says simply: "The Messiah will be cut off FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS, NOT FOR HIMSELF."
C.H. Spurgeon comments: "The Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself." - Daniel 9:26 "Blessed be his name, there was no cause of death in him. Neither original nor actual sin had defiled him, and therefore death had no claim upon him. No man could have taken his life from him justly, for he had done no man wrong, and no man could even have lain him by force unless he had been pleased to yield himself to die. But lo, one sins and another suffers. Justice was offended by us, but found its satisfaction in him. Rivers of tears, mountains of offerings, seas of the blood of bullocks, and hills of frankincense, could not have availed for the removal of sin; BUT JESUS WAS CUT OFF FOR US, and the cause of wrath was cut off at once, for sin was put away for ever. Herein is wisdom, whereby SUBSTITUTION, the sure and speedy WAY OF ATONEMENT, was devised! Herein is condescension, which brought Messiah, the Prince, to wear a crown of thorns, and die upon the cross! Herein is love, which led the Redeemer to LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS ENEMIES!
Matthew Poole was well aware of all the different theories and ideas about how to translate this passage and he comments on it in his Commentary on the whole Bible saying: - Daniel 9:26 “Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself” - But not for himself - which being abrupt, is variously rendered and read; some referring it to Christ, and some to the people, and others to both, and all with very probable conjectures: There was none to succour him ; or that they would none of him for their Messiah; they set him at nought, and would not have him live, and therefore he would not own them for his people, but cast them off, for thus dying is expressed in short, not to be. BUT OUR ENGLISH TRANSLATION SEEM TO HIT THE TRUEST SENSEM I.E. NOT FOR HIMSELF. HE WAS INNOCENT AND GUILTLESS, HE DIED FOR OTHERS, NOT FOR HIMSELF, BUT FOR OUR SAKES AND FOR OUR SALVATION."
Bible Babel in Action
Here are some other "bible versions" and their readings for comparison. See if this clears things up for us and verifies the statements made by many today that "They all have the same message", "They are all the inspired words of God", or "By reading a multitude of different versions we get a better idea of what the text says".
Wycliffe 1395 - "Christ shall be slain, and IT SHALL NOT BE HIS PEOPLE THAT SHALL DENY HIM."
Coverdale 1535 "Christ shall be slain AND THEY SHALL HAVE NO PLEASURE IN HIM."
The New English bible 1970 says: "one who is anointed is removed WITHOUT ANYONE TO TAKE HIS PART."
The Lesser Old Testament 1853 - "And after the sixty and two weeks will an anointed one be cut off WITHOUT A SUCCESSOR TO FOLLOW HIM."
Jehovah Witness New World Translation - "Messiah will be cut off, WITH NOTHING FOR HIMSELF."
The so called Greek Septuagint by Brenton says: "the anointed one shall be destroyed, AND THERE IS NO JUDGMENT IN HIM."
Young's 'literal' translation 1898 has: "cut off is Messiah AND THE CITY AND THE HOLY PLACE ARE NOT."
Lamsa's 1936 translation of the Syriac - "Messiah shall be slain AND THE CITY SHALL BE WITHOUT A RULER."
The Message of 2002 - "After the sixty-two sevens, the Anointed Leader will be killed--THE END OF HIM." (Not quite true, is it?)
1917 Jewish Publication Society translation - "shall an anointed one be cut off AND BE NO MORE." (Again not true)
The Good News Translation - Second edition says: "And at the end of that time God's chosen leader will be killed UNJUSTLY." Then it footnotes: "One ancient translation unjustly; Hebrew unclear."
The New Berkeley Version in Modern English 1969 - "but after 62 weeks Messiah shall be slain, ALTHOUGH THERE IS NOTHING AGAINST HIM."
Amplified Bible 1987 - “shall the Anointed One be cut off or killed AND SHALL HAVE NOTHING AND NO ONE BELONGING TO AND DEFENDING HIM."
The Revised English Bible 1989 - "after sixty two have passed, the anointed prince will BE REMOVED, AND NO ONE WILL TAKE HIS PART."
Living Bible 1971 - “the Anointed One will be killed, HIS KINGDOM STILL UNREALIZED”
New Living Translation 2013 - “the Anointed One will be killed, APPEARING TO HAVE ACCOMPLISHED NOTHING”
New International Reader’s Version 1998 - “the Anointed King will be put to death. HIS FOLLOWERS WILL DESERT HIM.”
The Easy To Read Version 2006 - "After the 62 weeks, the chosen person will be killed. HE WILL BE GONE."
The Common English Bible 2011 - "after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one will be eliminated. NO ONE WILL SUPPORT HIM." (Then it footnotes that "Hebrew is uncertain")
The Catholic Connection
The Catholic versions are all in disagreement with each other too.
The Douay Version of 1950 says: - "And after sixty-two weeks Christ shall be slain: AND THE PEOPLE THAT SHALL DENY HIM SHALL NOT BE HIS."
Then the Jerusalem Bible of 1968 has: "an anointed one will be cut off - AND....WILL NOT BE FOR HIM." (This is actually how it reads)
The St. Joseph New American Bible of 1970 has: "an anointed shall be cut down WHEN HE DOES NOT POSSESS THE CITY"
And finally the New Jerusalem Bible of 1985 says: "an Anointed One put to death WITHOUT HIS...city and sanctuary ruined by a prince who is to come." (Again, this is actually how it reads)
May I suggest you take a few moments to review this list of conflicting bible readings, and then ask God to open your eyes to see which one presents the truth about why Messiah was cut off, and what His death accomplished? The King James Bible always comes out on top when the Truth of God is revealed to the believing heart.
All of grace, believing the Book,
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