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Bible Commentaries
Daniel 9

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-27

This time let's turn in our Bible to the book of Daniel, chapter 9.

In the beginning of chapter 9, we have a very keen insight to this man Daniel. And we understand why God has declared of him that was he was greatly loved by God. For Daniel greatly loved God and he loved the Word of God. And his obvious knowledge and love for the Word is revealed here in the ninth chapter. As he understands the plight of the nation Israel and the reason for their plight. He sees behind the issues that caused their being destroyed and now being captives in the Persian Empire, which has supplanted at this point the Babylonian Empire. But yet also, because that he was a man of the Word and studied the scriptures, he realized that the time of their captivity was about over.

The first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made the king over the realm of the Chaldeans; In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by the books the number of years whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem ( Daniel 9:1-2 ).

So Daniel was reading the prophecy of Jeremiah. Now you'll remember that Jeremiah was one of the last prophets in Judah prior to the Babylonian captivity. In fact, he was still prophesying when Nebuchadnezzar came. And Jeremiah in his prophecy was telling the people that God was going to give them into the hand of the king of Babylon, and the reason was, they had forsaken God and that they had forsaken the law of God, and the commandments of God. And therefore, they were going to be captives in Babylon for seventy years. And that particular prophecy was in Jeremiah, chapter 25, verses Daniel 9:11 , and Daniel 9:12 . And there the Lord said, "And the whole land shall be a desolation and astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon for seventy years. And it shall come to pass when the seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations."

So the Lord declared that, inasmuch as they had been in the land from the time of Joshua, 490 years, and under the law God had told them that every seventh year they were to let the land rest. The land was to have its own sabbath every seventh year. They were not to plant it, but they were only to eat that which grew wild and so forth and gather up in the sixth year. The Lord would give them such an abundant harvest in the sixth year it would carry them through the seventh.

The people did not obey this law of God. They did not give the land rest. But they planted it every year. And so God said, "You've been in the land for 490 years, you've never given it its sabbath. It's got seventy years coming, so I'm going to kick you out of the land for seventy years so that it can have its Sabbaths. And then after seventy years you can come back into the land." So the seventy years of captivity prophesied by Jeremiah are about over. Daniel realizes this. He's been reading the prophecy of Jeremiah. He realizes that the time of the captivity is about over.

And so he set himself his face unto the LORD, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes ( Daniel 9:3 ):

So he set himself aside for a period of intensive prayer and waiting upon God and seeking God for the nation.

Now the prayer of Daniel is remarkable. And in it he surely sets forth the clear understanding that he has of the ways and the purposes of God, and it is interesting that he does not seek to condemn God at all for the calamities that have befallen the people. But he acknowledges that, "These things have happened unto us because we were guilty, we turned aside from You, we went our own wicked ways."

Now so many times people want to blame God for the judgments that fall upon them for their own wickedness. As we pointed out a week or so ago, God tells us not to do a particular thing; if you do it, God said you're going to hurt. So we do it, and then we get hurt, and then we say, "Oh God, that isn't fair to hurt me." Well, God didn't hurt you. He just told you what would be the consequence of a particular action. Now if you want to just defy God and go ahead and do it, then don't blame God for the fact that you got hurt. And yet, this is what people are so often doing.

Now Daniel did not have any of this recrimination against God. But acknowledged that everything that had happened to them happened to them because they were guilty before God. They had forsaken God. Notice,

I prayed unto the LORD my God, made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; We have sinned ( Daniel 9:4-5 ),

Now Daniel isn't pointing the finger at others in a holier-than-thou kind of a thing, and said, "God, they're horrible sinners. They did this." But he places himself, "We have sinned," and identifies with God's people who had sinned against God. "We as a nation have sinned." And surely as we pray, we need to acknowledge the sin of the nation. We as a nation have sinned against God.

we've committed iniquity, we've done wickedly, we've rebelled, even by departing from your precepts and from your judgments: Neither have we hearkened unto your servants the prophets ( Daniel 9:5-6 ),

Now, he had of course have been reading Jeremiah. And he read how that when Jeremiah came and prophesied to them, they threw him in the dungeon. And he recognizes how that they so totally failed to listen to the warnings of God. "We have not hearkened to your servants, the prophets,"

which spake in your name to our kings, and our princes, and our fathers, and to all of the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces ( Daniel 9:6-7 ),

Lord, you're all right, but we're the ones that are confused.

as at this day; to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all of Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all of the countries where you have driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee. O Lord, unto us belongs the confusion of face, and to our kings, and princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. To the Lord our God belongs mercies and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against him; And neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. Yes, all of Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured out upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him ( Daniel 9:7-11 ).

So he was familiar with the books of Moses and the law of God. He'd been reading them. He says, "God, we've transgressed and now You've done those things that You said You would do in the law of Moses." And, of course, the Lord in the law of Moses did declare that if they would turn away from God and seek other gods that He would allow them to be driven out of the land and all. So Daniel recognizes it. "All of these things have happened to us because we are guilty; we have failed."

You've confirmed your word, which you spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us the great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done unto Jerusalem ( Daniel 9:12 ).

Actually, no city has been so devastated as was Jerusalem.

As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil has 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 ( Daniel 9:13 ).

In spite of all of this, we didn't turn from our sins.

Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice ( Daniel 9:14 ).

Not charging God at all. Accepting the responsibility and the guilt, a very important thing. Not crying out against God when the judgments have befallen us. But to acknowledge honestly, "Hey, God, it's my fault. I am guilty. You are righteous." God is a God of judgment, but even in judgment He is so right in His judgments.

In the midst of the Great Tribulation when God is pouring out His judgments upon the earth, there are voices that come from the throne of God declaring, "Holy and righteous and true are Thy judgments, O Lord." There are a lot of people that are concerned about God not being fair. They say, "But what about the poor people who have never heard about Jesus Christ? Is God going to damn them eternally and all?" I don't know. I do know God is fair. I do know that God will be righteous in His judgment. And when God makes the disposition of those particular cases, God will be absolutely fair. And when He does it, I'll say, "All right, I'd never thought of that. Man, that is so right on." Because God will be fair. Abraham challenged the Lord when he said, "Shall not the Lord of the earth be fair, be just? Lord, would You destroy the righteous with the wicked?" But the whole issue was the righteousness of God in judgment. And yes, God will be righteous in His judgment.

And now, O Lord our God, that thou hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and you've gotten renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly. O Lord, according to all your righteousness, I beseech thee, let your anger and your fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for ours sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all of those that are round about us. Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake ( Daniel 9:15-17 ).

Lord, not for our sake, but for Your sake, for the Lord's sake, O God. Shine Thy face upon the sanctuary that is so desolate.

O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies ( Daniel 9:18 ).

God, I don't plead this because I'm such a holy guy, but just because You're so merciful. I'm asking You to do this.

Fabulous prayer of Daniel. It does give to us a keen insight into the spiritual depth of this man. No wonder the Lord said, "O Daniel, you greatly beloved of God."

And then the final plea:

O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thy own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name ( Daniel 9:19 ).

Lord, people call us by Your name, and we're such a mess. God, hear, do something. For Your name's sake, because these people are called by Your name.

Now Daniel said,

While I was speaking, and praying, [while he was in the midst of] confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; Yes, while I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation ( Daniel 9:20-21 ).

Gabriel, one of the chief angels of God, named in Daniel, named also in the book of Luke as the angel that appeared to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, and later appeared unto Mary, the mother of Jesus. Gabriel came,

And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give you skill and understanding. At the beginning of your supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. Seventy ( Daniel 9:22-24 )

And the word weeks there in Hebrew is just sevens. The translators translated it weeks because of seven days in the week, but literally,

Seventy sevens are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city ( Daniel 9:24 ),

Notice there are seventy seven-year cycles that are determined upon the nation Israel, thy people and upon the city of Jerusalem. And so this is a prophecy that relates to God's dealing with the nation of Israel. It will be accomplished in seventy seven-year cycles. And in these seventy sevens, the work of God will be fully established as far as the nation Israel is concerned. Because within the seventy sevens there will first of all be the

finishing of the transgression, making an end of sins, and making reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision in prophecy [or to complete the vision in prophecies], and to anoint the Most Holy ( Daniel 9:24 ),

And probably "the most holy place," the new temple in the kingdom of God. So there are seventy sevens in which all of the prophetic aspects of the nation Israel will be complete. During which time there will be reconciliation made for sins, for iniquities. Finishing of the transgressions, making an end of sins, bringing in the everlasting kingdom of righteousness, and completing the whole prophetic scene.

Now he divides these seventy sevens.

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince, will be seven sevens, and sixty-two sevens: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times ( Daniel 9:25 ).

So there's to be, first of all, seven sevens and sixty-two sevens from the time the commandment goes forth to restore and rebuild Jerusalem to the Messiah the Prince. Daniel wrote this in the first year of Darius, the year 538 B.C. About ninety-five years later, in the year 445 B.C., the commandment was finally given by Artaxerxes to Nehemiah to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Earlier, Ahasuerus and the other Persian kings had given commandments to Ezra to go back and to rebuild the temple. But this prophecy was to be from the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Though the temple was rebuilt, the walls of the city were still torn down and the houses were still destroyed. And you remember that Nehemiah said, "I was a cupbearer to the king." And the king said, "How come you look so sad?" And Nehemiah said, "How can I be happy when the city that I love lies in ruins?" And so the king gave commandment unto Nehemiah to take a contingent of people and to go back and to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, 445 B.C. In fact, according to records that were found by Sir Rawlinson in the Palace of Shushan, that order was given in March 14, 445 B.C. Now, it is an important date in history because according to the promise here and the prophecy here, from the time that commandment goes forth to restore and rebuild Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince will be seven sevens and sixty-two sevens, or sixty-nine seven-year cycles, or 483 years. And so from the year March 14, 445 B.C., according to the prediction here, the Messiah should have come in 483 years from the time of this commandment.

Now the years in the prophecies of Daniel are 360-day years which was predicated upon the Babylonian calendar of a 360-day year. We, of course, compute now with a Julian calendar of 365 and a quarter days a year. But Daniel's prophecies were predicated upon the Babylonian calendar 360 days a year. And so it would be best to transpose the 483 years into days in order to figure out the time of the coming of the Messiah the Prince. And transposed into days, 483 times 360 would give you 173,880 days. And if you take and then work that out on our calendar, you find it comes out to the date April 6, 32 A.D.

On April 6, 32 A.D., Jesus said to His disciples, "Go over into the city and on a corner you'll find a colt that is tied. Untie him and bring him to me. And if while you are untying him the master say, 'What are you doing untying my colt?' just tell them that the Lord has need of him." They went over and just where Jesus told them they saw the donkey tied and they untied it. The owner said, "Why are you untying my donkey?" And they said, "Lord the needs him." And so they brought the donkey to Jesus and they began to lay their garments in the path between Bethany and Jerusalem. And they began to wave palm branches as they cried, "Save now, save now, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord," Psalm 118 . Psalms 118:0 is a Messianic Psalm. Psalms 118:0 declares, "This is the stone which was rejected by the builders, but the same has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord's work and it is glorious in our eyes. Hosanna, hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of Lord. This is the day that the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." We so often get up on a beautiful morning and look out and see the sunrise and say, "Oh, this is the day that the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." That was not written for any beautiful morning. That was written for one special day--the day of God's salvation for the world, the day that the Messiah would come.

Prior to this day, Jesus had never allowed public worship of Himself. When they sought by force to make Him king, He disappeared from their midst. But on this day, He not only set the scene, He is encouraging His disciples. And when the Pharisees said, "Lord, You better cause them to shut up, because they are being blasphemous," Jesus said, "I'm going to tell you something, fellows, and I want you to get it straight. If these men would at this point hold their peace and be silent, these very stones would start crying out." This is the day that the Lord hath made. The day of redemption for the world. The day the Messiah would come; 173,880 days from the commandment of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Right on schedule. And as Jesus came on the Mount of Olives, and He looked at the city of Jerusalem, He began to weep and cried, "Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, if thou had only known at least in this thy day the things that belong to your peace, but now they are hid from your eyes. And they're gonna come and they're gonna encircle the city. They're gonna destroy you and your children are going to be dashed in the streets." And He tells of the desolation that is going to transpire upon them for their ignorance, not knowing the day of God's deliverance.

And so this prophecy of Daniel is one of the most remarkable of all of the prophecies concerning the coming of Jesus Christ, because Daniel here is declaring the very day that the Messiah is to come. "The wall will be built in troublous time." Read the book of Nehemiah. As they were building the wall they had a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other. Because there were guys constantly, guerrilla attacks against them and the PLO was constantly trying to defeat them in their attempts.

Now after the sixty-two seven-year periods [notice,] the Messiah will be cut off ( Daniel 9:26 ),

Not, "The Messiah will be acclaimed and accepted and salvation will come and all of the prophecies will be complete and the everlasting kingdom will come in." No, "The Messiah will be cut off." But,

not for himself ( Daniel 9:26 ):

That phrase, "but not for himself" is literally, "and receive nothing for himself." Or, the Messiah will be cut off without receiving this everlasting kingdom at that time. Of course, we know that Jesus was crucified that very week. He was cut off. He was not given the kingdom at that time. He was rejected as was predicted by Isaiah. He is despised and rejected by men.

and the prince of the people that shall come ( Daniel 9:26 )

That is, the Roman army that was going to come, which did come--Titus, under the edict of Nero, who died before Jerusalem actually fell completely.

the prince of the people that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof will be with [the dispersion] a flood [or a dispersion] ( Daniel 9:26 ),

So here Daniel predicts that the Messiah would come, the Messiah would be cut off, and that a nation would come and destroy the city and the Jews would be dispersed. You read history and you find that's exactly, of course, what did happen. Christ was crucified, the Roman armies came, the temple and the city of Jerusalem were destroyed. As Jesus said, not one stone was left standing upon another and the Jews at that point were dispersed and remained dispersed throughout the world until 1948. So this portion of the prophecy literally, completely fulfilled. "And unto the end thereof, wars are determined,"

desolations are determined ( Daniel 9:26 ).

Now, we have one seven-year cycle that is not yet transpired. Seventy sevens are determined upon the nation Israel. These seventy sevens were to begin at the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, 445 B.C. They were to culminate in the coming of the Messiah. That is, sixty-nine of them. But the Messiah would be cut off. Now in a sense you might say that at that point God's prophetic time clock was stopped and has remained stopped. But now we have another event which will signal the beginning of the time clock once again, the beginning of the seventieth seven or the last seven-year cycle.

Verse Daniel 9:27 ,

he ( Daniel 9:27 )

Who? The prince of the people that shall come or the ruler of the revived Roman Empire that would be represented by ten nations federating together which were once a part of the Roman Empire. You have to go back in Daniel, chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar's vision of the great image, the legs of iron representing the Roman Empire and the feet of iron and clay with ten toes. Iron representing still the Roman Empire but mixed with clays showing that it is not as strong as the Roman Empire was in an autocratic sense, but it was weakened because it was a democracy, nations that were joined together with treaties. Also, you find the same parallel vision of Daniel as he sees them as a beast with ten horns in chapter 7. And this other little horn coming up and devouring three of the horns. So the leader that will arise over this ten-nation confederacy related to the Roman Empire are called by many Bible scholars as a revival of the Roman Empire.

will confirm the covenant with many for one week ( Daniel 9:27 ):

Not with all of Israel, but with many of them.

Now there are today in Israel a very divided feeling as far as God is concerned and religion is concerned among the people of Israel. It is not really a religious state, though they do have religious laws and though they do observe religious laws. And though they keep the dietary laws where they will not eat meat with dairy products, and they keep the sabbath, yet the people for the most part are not religious people. The reason why these laws are in effect is because of the whole political setup in Israel with two major parties, the Labor party and the Likud parties. But neither of them strong enough to form a coalition in the government on their own. And in order for either the Labor or the Likud to remain in power, just like this last week they had another meeting in which they sought to oust Begin because he dared to speak out against the big brother who's trying to control him. I like this spunky little guy. You've got to admire him. And they had a vote of confidence. And any time some issue comes up they can call a vote of confidence, and if Begin does not pass in the vote of confidence, then a new election has to be called.

Now to form a coalition in order that he might have a government, because the Likud party does not have a clear majority, they have to depend upon the religious party and its ten votes to be cast with them in order that they might remain in power and have a majority. And the religious men in the Knesset, those from the religious party, charge a high price for their support. They force them to make certain laws that govern the religious aspects of the people. Now for the most part the people hate these religious laws. But there's something that they realize they have to live with in order to keep a government in power, and so they live with it. But the people really are not wild about the religious aspects of their government. There are only about ten percent of the Jews that are really religious. And, of course, they are divided into reformed, conservative, and orthodox. And, of course, then in the Mea Shearim you have the ultra orthodox. But even they are of the Hasidic or the Sefardim or the Yemenites and they... it's really a divided issue.

So when he makes his covenant it will not be with everyone in support of it, but with many the leader that arises out of Western Europe is going to make a covenant. Now the covenant, or he's going to confirm a covenant, not make one; confirm a covenant. No doubt confirming the covenant that God established with the nation whereby they could relate to Him by basis of the sacrifices that they would offer. Now the ultra orthodox desire to rebuild the temple and begin the sacrifices again. But if you ask the most of the Jewish people about rebuilding the temple they'll say, "Oh, I hope they don't." Because if they rebuild the temple then some fool is gonna want to offer a lamb as a sacrifice and that would be horrible." And that's the general opinion of the general public, but the ultra-orthodox are desiring greatly to rebuild the temple and to begin sacrifices again. And so that's a very divisive issue. And so he will confirm the covenant. That is, will allow them the right to rebuild the temple.

Now how can he do that with the Dome of the Rock Mosque? No problem. It would appear that the sight of Solomon's temple was not there at the Dome of the Rock Mosque as we dealt with Ezekiel, chapter 42. But the Dome of the Rock Mosque sets over what was the outer court of Solomon's temple.

North of the Dome of the Rock Mosque a large vast flat area, perhaps as much as ten acres, in which they can easily rebuild their temple and never disturb the holy Moslem sight. I'm certain that this will be the suggestion. In John's vision of the new temple, Revelation, chapter 11, where John is ordered to measure it, the Lord said, "Don't measure the outer court; it's been given to the pagans." In Ezekiel, when he sees the temple, he says, "And there was a wall, five hundred meters to separate the holy place from the profane." And so I believe that a wall will be put up along the north porticoes of the Dome of the Rock Mosque, and the Jews will be allowed to rebuild their temple and will begin their sacrifices again. And when that covenant is confirmed by this European leader, at that point the last seven-year cycle will begin. The seventieth seven, the final seven-year cycle, which at the end will bring in the everlasting kingdom. It'll complete the whole prophetic picture and the most holy place will be anointed and the kingdom of God established upon the earth.

So he will make, or he will confirm the covenant with many for one week, the seventieth week or one seven-year cycle.

and in the midst of this seven-year period [or after three and a half years], he shall cause the sacrifice and oblations to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, [or the final consummation of the age] and that which is determined shall be poured upon the desolate ( Daniel 9:27 ).

And so this remarkable prophecy of Daniel that deals specifically with the day of the coming of the Messiah and then the seventieth week takes us out to the end of this age in the last twenty-seventh verse.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Daniel 9". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/daniel-9.html. 2014.
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