The Hebrew word for “cleansed” in Daniel 8:14

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In regards to the “cleansing” of the sanctuary in Daniel 8:14, critic Dr. Ford says:

“Not only is ‘days’ missing from Daniel 8:14, but ‘cleansed’ is missing also—see most modem translations.”

It is certainly true that the Hebrew word translated “cleansed” for the Day of Atonement, which is taher in Leviticus 16:30, is not the same word used in Daniel 8:14. However, we have learned that the word “tsadeq” which is used in Daniel 8:14 is related in a very special way to the context of what the day of Atonement is all about. Notice its use elsewhere in the scriptures:

Used in the Context of Judgement, Vindication of the Righteous and the Punishment of the Wicked:

Psalm 7:8-9
(8) The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness (tsadeq), and according to mine integrity that is in me.
(9) Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just (tsadeq): for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.

Psalm 9:4-8
(4) For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right (tsadeq).
(5) Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and ever.
(6) O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end: and thou hast destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them.
(7) But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment.
(8) And he shall judge the world in righteousness (tsadeq), he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.

Psalm 51:4
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified (tsadeq) when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

-Used in the Context of Salvation:

Psalm 98:2
(2) The LORD hath made known his salvation: his righteousness (tsadeq) hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen.

Psalm 119:123
(123) Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness (tsedeq).

Isaiah 53:11
(11) He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify (tsadeq) many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

Isaiah 45:22-25
(22) Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
(23) I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
(24) Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.
(25) In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified (tsadeq), and shall glory.

-Used in the Context of Purification and cleansing:

Job 4:17
(17) Shall mortal man be more just (tsadeq) than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?

Note: The word “pure” is the Hebrew word “taher” which is the same word used to describe the cleansing of the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:30). Here we find that both taher and tsadeq are interchangable!

Psalm 18:20
(20) The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness (tsadeq); according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.

Psalm 19:9
(9) The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous (tsadaq) altogether.

Job 15:14
(14) What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous (tsadeq)?

See also Eccl. 9:2 and Job 17:9.

We notice that the Hebrew word “tsadeq” and its derivation are associated with such concepts as Judgement, Vindication, Rightousness, Salvation, Purification and Cleansing. All these concepts are exactly what the Day of Atonement is all about. Notice the following quote:

“From the Hebrew sadaq, “to be just,” “to be righteous.” The verb occurs in the form here found (niphal) only this once in the O.T., which may suggest that a specialized meaning of the term is indicated. Lexicographers and translators suggest various meanings, such as “be put right,” or “be put in a rightful condition,” “be righted, “be declared right,” “be justified,” “be vindicated.” … Thus the Hebrew sadaq may convey the additional thought that God’s character will be fully vindicated as the climax to “the hour of his judgement” (Rev. 14:7), which began in 1844.” -The Seventh-Day Adventist Commentary vol. 4, pp. 844, 845, (orig. ed. 1955).

Note also that the Hebrew words taher and tsadeq are sometimes used interchangably throughout scripture, a seen in the following two verses:

Job 4:17
(17) Shall mortal man be more just (tsadeq) than God? shall a man be more pure (taher) than his maker?

Job 17:9
(9) The righteous (tsadeq) also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean (taher) hands shall be stronger and stronger.

The words tsadeq and taher are intimately connected in scripture. Both are interchangable, with tsadeq conveying an even deeper meaning to what the Day of Atonement was all about; not just cleansing, but also vindication, salvation, judgment, and more.

The Greek Jews and the Septuagint

Take note also that while translating the Hebrew bible into the Greek language, 70 Jewish scholars chose to translate the Hebrew word “tsadeq” in Daniel 8:14 into the Greek word “katharizō.” This same greek word (which is Strong’s #2511) is used to describe the “cleansing” of the sanctuary on the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16:30.


Daniel 8:14 (14) And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed (katharizō). –King James Version, LXX.

Leviticus 16:30 (30) For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse (katharizō) you, that ye may be clean (katharizō) from all your sins before the LORD. –King James Version, LXX.

The greek “katharizō” is also used to describe the cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary in Hebrews 9:23. Here the King James Version translates this greek word as “purified.” Notice:

Hebrews 9:23 (23) It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified (katharizō) with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

You can look this up in the Septuagint online by clicking HERE. A free download is also available at that website.

Your Thought Questions Answered

Question #1: Dont you think that if God really wanted people to link Daniel 8:14 to the cleansing of the Sanctuary on the Day of Atonement, he would have inspired Daniel to use the Hebrew word taher, which is found in Leviticus 16, instead of tsadeq?

Answer: While we believe both Leviticus 16 and Daniel 8 are two prophetic chapters, we are also aware that Leviticus 16 was a temporal, ceremonial event that would last but one day, then would start all over the next year. Daniel 8:14 is not an event that would repeat itself, but one that would fulfill the type at that one moment prophesied. Bible students who notice this, understand that differences such as this are more common then not. For example, we know that Daniel 9:26 is talking about the death of Jesus Christ. However, the word translated “cut off” in this verse is the Hebrew word “karath,” and this Hebrew word is never used anywhere else to describe the killing of the animal sacrifices. Christians know that the death of the lamb in the Old Testament covanant always represented Jesus Christ, who was…

“… the lamb which taketh away the sin of the world” -John 1:26.

But the Hebrew word used to describe the sacrifices of those lambs, goats, etc, is not karath, but rather “shackat” a different Hebrew word (see Ex. 12:21 for example). Both the prophetic chapters which speak about the animal sacrifices and Daniel 9 prophecy the same event. But, those in the ceremonial law were temporal acts, much like the Day of Atonment and the cleansing of the Sanctuary. The prophecy of Daniel 9:26, however, is the direct fulfillment of these prophetic types, never to be repeated again.

We can not argue that the Holy Spirit would have inspired certian words if such chapters were speaking about the same things, for this same line of reasoning can be used against Daniel 9:26. Instead, let the questioner be aware of the greater lesson taught by the use of the word “karath” in Daniel 9:26, and he will notice that the same is taught by the use of the word tsadeq in Daniel 8:14. Karath is used more often in the Hebrew scriptures, and is translated many times as “cut,” mainly in the context of “covenants.” Shackat is never translated “cut.” Therefore, karath can portray something shackat can not, and thats the covenant between Christ and his chosen redeemed, who would come to an agreement with him through the administration of his blood that they would be his people, and he would save them from their sins. As shown in this article, tsadeq also offers a broader picture as to what the type was to fulfill.

Question #2: The word tsadaq is fundamentally a judicial term relating to justification and justice. It relates to that part of the Law referred to as the “judgments.” Isen’t it true that the Day of Atonement had nothing to do with judgment?

Answer: Judgment is a concept clearly taught in the ceremony of the Day of Atonement:

Leviticus 23:28-30
(28) And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.
(29) For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.
(30) And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.

Note that the Israelite that did not celebrate the feast day the right way by not afflicting himself or by working on this day was completely removed by death from off the camp of Israel. Whenever we read in scripture that God destroys people or a nation, it is a “judgment” that he has performed upon them. Take for example the following verse:

Exodus 12:12
(12) For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.

Add to this, that whenever the High Priest was to enter into that place that was “before the Lord,” the Most Holy Place (which took place only on the Day of Atonment), he was to wear a “breasplate of judgment.” Notice:

Exodus 28:30
(30) And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before (hebrew: the face of) the LORD: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually.

For further study, see:

A critique of Dr. Desmond Ford’s: Critique of the 2006 Sabbath School Lesson
The Hebrew word for “days” in Daniel 8:14
The Investigative Judgement in Matthew 22


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About The Author

Edwin Cotto

With over 13 years of experience in apologetics, evangelism and youth directing, Edwin has worked with various ministries both in English and Spanish. Having had the opportunity to travel to various states in the USA, and also to Venezuela and Mexico, he has enjoyed the privilege of conducting evangelistic meetings and apologetics seminars. His education includes training in the Medical Field, Adult Education at Valencia College, Biblical Hebrew with the Israel Institute of Biblical Studies, and Evangelism with Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism. He is furthering his academic studies in theology while also working as a bible worker for the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Ordained as an elder, Edwin's passion for ministry begins first at home with his wife and kids.

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