DANIEL CHAPTER 9
Daniel, considering the time of the captivity, Daniel 9:1,2, maketh confession of his people’s sins, Daniel 9:3-15, and prayeth for the restoration of Jerusalem, Daniel 9:16-19. Gabriel informeth him of the seventy weeks, and of the time and death of the Messiah, and of the succeeding troubles, Daniel 9:20-27.
In the first year of Darius; that is, immediately after the overthrow of the kingdom of Babylon, which was also the year of the Jews’ deliverance from their seventy years’ captivity; therefore punctually here set down. The Lord hath carefully recorded the several periods of time that relate to his church, and the signal providences both of mercy or judgment exercised towards it; for hereby God is glorified in the signal displaying of his attributes, and the saints’ graces exercised, especially faith and patience, by calling to mind what God hath done in time past, Psalms 77:5-7. This Darius was not Darius the Persian, under whom the temple was built, as Porphyrius would have it, that thereby he might persuade unlearned men that Daniel lived long after the time that he did live in. Therefore this is called Darius the Mede, and by the Greeks called Cyaxares.
Which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; and this is confirmed by Xenophon.
Understood by books; by sacred books, both of Jeremiah the prophet, Jeremiah 25:11,12 29:10; so also the Pentateuch, which he had, as is plain, Daniel 9:10-13, &c.; by which we see this great prophet did not disdain to study the word of God, and the state of the church of God, though he had the converse and revelation of angels, and though he was in a heathen court, and in high office, which required great attendance.
That he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem: see Jeremiah 7:3,1 22:5 25:18.
Observe two things:
1. That deep revolting, and deep afflictions, call for deep and solemn humiliation.
2. God’s decrees and promises do not excuse us from duty and prayer, but include it and require it. God will be inquired of for those things which he hath purposed and promised to give his people, Ezekiel 36:37. And if it be objected by any, (as it is by Calovius,) that both God’s threats and promises are absolute, and not hypothetical, as they will prove by Jeremiah 25:11,12 29:10; it is answered that,
1. Though it be spoken peremptorily and absolutely, yet not without a tacit condition and secret reserve in God, Jonah 3:4.
2. God often speaks positively to put sinners in the more awe of his judgments, and to drive them to repentance, Jeremiah 18:7-10.
3. If God give a reason of his threatening, viz. because they have despised his word and abused his patience, 2 Chronicles 36:15,16 Lu 19:42-44; then the threat is absolute.
4. And if God add upon his threatenings such words as these, I will not hear you, pray not for this people, of which we have many instances, then it is peremptory.
5. When the threat and the judgment threatened are the fruit of God’s decree, then it is irreversible; not else. Mind all these rules well in this case.
By this it appeared he prayed in faith, to the true God, and his God.
2. He made confession of sin when he prayed for deliverance, because hereby he justified God in the captivity of his people.
3. He knew if God vouchsafed pardon of sin, upon this confession, that would be a sure foundation of future mercy.
4. He set down here the words of his prayer, because it is the prayer of a righteous man, and one of God’s eminent saints and favourites in Scripture, who had great power with God in prayer, Job 42:7-9 Ezekiel 14:14,20 Jas 5:16. Keeping the covenant; he puts God in mind of his covenant, Deuteronomy 7:8 Nehemiah 1:5; he calls him great and dreadful, as to his severe justice and wrath: now though the covenant hath promises and mercy, yet it includeth obedience on our part, as here is expressed.
As if he had said, We are not only sinners, but our sin is wickedness aggravated to the height: thus much the gradation here intimates, by
doing wickedly and rebelling. In our confessions of sin to God there must be no mincing nor cloaking of sin, but a full and naked discovery, with selfjudging and self-abhorrence. Note here, all along after, this holy man Daniel puts himself in the number of the greatest sinners: so when we are suppliants and penitents, we must include ourselves in the general petition.
For God to send his prophets to his people was their high privilege, and the highest act of favour to them, and of his authority over them, for they were God’s ambassadors, and came to them in the Lord’s name; and therefore their sin and punishment was the greater. God’s ambassadors have a large commission, and general instruction to speak in the name of their Lord with all authority, and without respect of persons. And this shows,
1. God’s authority over all.
2. God’s mercy towards all, of all sorts.
3. The aggravation of this sin, because it was of all sorts, as Genesis 6:12,13 2 Chronicles 36:16. Now the abuse of ambassadors hath by the law of nations ever been highly resented, 2 Samuel 10:12:29-31.
Here the prophet, after he had arraigned himself and his people upon their guilt, passeth judgment; for in this case every true penitent sits in judgment, and proceeds judicially, that is, solemnly and impartially; for he judgeth for God, and proceeds according to God’s law, and conscience is witness; and this God takes notice of, and takes well, for it prevents his judging of us, 1 Corinthians 11:31, and is a true sign of true repentance: see 2 Corinthians 7:11.
How did God show himself merciful, when he punished them so severely?
1. Because it was less than their sin deserved, for it was rebellion.
2. Because their punishment was God’s chastisement, which to his people is an act of love and mercy, as you see, Hebrews 12:6-9.
3. Because God preserved them in their captivity, and delivered them from it. They therefore that pray to God under their sin and misery must eye God’s mercies, as well as his justice, Psalms 2:1 130:4. For as the one doth east them down, so the other bears them up, and gives them hope; or else we might he swallowed up of too much sorrow and despair, 2 Corinthians 2:7,11, wherein Satan would be too hard for us, as well as in dedolency or want of godly sorrow.
To be large in,
1. Confession of sin, especially in a day of humiliation, is no vain repetition, for we offend commonly in being slight and perfunctory in our confessions; and God will have all out, and make us own it.
2. It was God’s mercy not only to give his people a law, which he did solemnly by Moses, but set it plainly and powerfully before them, and set it home upon them by the expositions and applications of all the prophets, for this was their work.
1. When sin is epidemical, it is sad and fatal to a nation, as in Psalms 14:3 Romans 3:12: so a deluge of sin brought a deluge of judgment, Genesis 6:13,17.
2. This makes the gap great, and leaves none to stand in it. Then the curse comes upon a people, i.e. the punishment of the breach of God’s law, Jeremiah 42:18 44:12. This,
1. Shows the holiness of God’s law.
2. It shows the sinfulness and heinousness of sin, the breach of it.
3. It shows the necessity and excellency of Jesus Christ, who was sent of God to bless us, in freeing us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.
He hath confirmed his words which he spake against us: by this it appears that God’s judgments threatened against sin are to be feared, because of the great and terrible God, Daniel 9:4 Deuteronomy 7:9,10 Ne 1:8.
Against our judges that judged us; whose place and duty it was to govern the people, to judge their causes, and to appoint others for it; wherein if there be a failure, as there often was, it was a sin and judgment upon the people, and upon the rulers and judges themselves also, of which we find many instances and complaints in Scripture, Psalms 2:2,9,10 58:1,2.
Jerusalem; a place privileged many ways above all others, chiefly by the signal presence of God there, and his promises to it, Psalms 76:1,2; yet when sin is found there, as it was in Jerusalem, to the height, as in Sodom, it was punished to the height. Read the book of Lamentations.
As it is written in the law of Moses: see Leviticus 26:14-39. The sum of all is, As the Lord threatened and forewarned us long ago, so it is come to pass this day upon us, because we took no warning, we understood not, but sinned and returned not. The Lord is true and just in all that is come upon us; chiefly because we have not made our prayer unto God to prevent our misery before it came upon us, nor to remove it when it lay heavy on us. See it in Ezekiel, who prophesied in the captivity, and how they received him; and though they kept a formal fast, yet what did that signify? Zechariah 7:5-7.
Therefore hath the Lord watched: this notes,
1. God’s taking notice of all their ways, even while men sleep in carnal security, and dream of no danger.
2. God’s watching here notes the fit ways that he always takes to punish sinners.
3. It notes his haste in executing judgment duly and seasonably, when it makes most for the honour of his justice.
4. That he may, like a careful watchman, not suffer any to escape his hands.
Daniel mentions this deliverance now, that God would please to put forth the same power in this deliverance out of Babylon, according to his promise, Psalms 80:8 Jeremiah 16:14 23:7: this lie grounds his faith upon, Jeremiah 32:13, read thence to the end.
1. How the Lord assured them they should return out of captivity, by the prophet’s making a purchase and sealing evidences, and laying them up safe.
2. How the Lord would certainly plague them notwithstanding for their wickedness.
3. How he would deliver them, as once out of Egypt.
As if he had said, Lord, according to thy righteousness thou hast punished thy people, as they justly deserved; now also, according to thy mercies, which is the other part of thy righteousness, save thy people, though they deserve it not. See Psalms 143:1,2. For God hath promised, and therefore he will do it, yet in mercy, and this is faithfulness and righteousness. See 1 John 1:9. Now though sin is the reproach of any people and nation, yet much more of the people of God, which should be a holy people, because their God is a holy God, and his laws are holy laws, by which they excel all other people. Yet, Lord, saith he, if Jerusalem be a reproach, this is a reproach to thee, because of their relation to thee; therefore, I pray thee, take away this double reproach; it is. grievous unto us to bear it; for thy name’s sake, O let it be grievous unto thee, and therefore wipe it away.
1. Here the prophet is most concerned for the sanctuary, and place of worship, a type not only of the church, and the worship of God, but also of Christ; because in all these the Lord is greatly concerned in honour, especially considering,
2. His argument, for the Lord’s sake; for Christ’s sake, the Messiah, who is meant here: which I prove,
1. Because the concurrent testimony of the best interpreters, and the synod of Sardis, is for this interpretation.
2. Because this construction is most agreeable to the text and the Hebrew: the contrary is against it, and forced and figurative, when there is no need of it.
3. The plurality of persons is expressed thus.
4. The word
Lord is often attributed to Christ in the Old Testament, Psalms 110:1; and in the New Testament, Luke 1:43 2:11 John 20:28 Revelation 17:14 5. Because the Jews had none else to trust to for salvation, John 14:13 Acts 15:11 Ephesians 3:12 1 Timothy 2:5. Thus in the Old Testament, Psalms 80:15-17; for the Son’s sake, whom he calls the Son of man, Daniel 9:17, for so the Chaldee paraphrase, for the King Messiah. So upon that place, Psalms 72:1,
Give the king thy judgments, and thy righteousness to the king’s son, i.e. the King the Messiah. 2 Samuel 7:21,
For thy word’s sake, i.e. Christ, John 1:1 2 Samuel 12:25, He called his name Jedidiah, because of the Lord, of whom Solomon was a type.
1. How he entitles God to the city for his name. It was the city of God, Psalms 48:1,2,8 Jer 25:29. It is a good argument in prayer to entitle ourselves to God; yea, to interest God to ourselves, and to our cause. Observe,
2. How careful and cautious the prophet is to flee to mercy, and to renounce merit. Thus all the saints.
1. We have the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man prevailing: he never gave over till he got it.
2. The Lord allows and loves importunity in prayer.
3. He and the people of God were under a sore trial, for the seventy years’ captivity were expired. Therefore he saith, Defer not now, Lord, it is high time for thee to have mercy upon Zion, yea, the set time is come: Lord, hear for thine own sake, though not for ours. What! hast thou forgotten? O Lord, remember.
1. By this we see Daniel used vocal prayer, pouring out his soul.
2. That the saints in prayer do parley with God; it is a humble, and holy, and fervent unbosoming our soul to God.
3. That holy men, in confessing the sins of the nation, confess their own sins too, and that impartially, begging pardon for all.
4. That when a child of God sets himself in earnest to seek God by prayer, the Lord hears him. Compare Daniel 9:20 with Daniel 9:23.
5. As the angels are all ministering spirits, so the chiefest angels are sent in the chiefest messages relating to the church of God. Thus Gabriel before, Daniel 8:16. Thus here. Also to Zacharias, and Mary, Luke 1:11,19,26, about the incarnation of Christ, and our salvation by him.
6. God herein gives a great encouragement to prayer, and fulfils his promises made of old to his people in this behalf, Leviticus 26:40-42 Deuteronomy 30:1-3 Isaiah 30:19; and Isaiah 65:24,
It shall come to pass, before they call I will answer, and while they are yet speaking I will hear.
7. The Lord is quick in hearing and helping his people. The angel was made
to fly swiftly, even unto weariness, as some translate it. Or, to fly with flight, Habakkuk 1:8.
The time of the evening sacrifice was a solemn and set time of devotion. Then God heard Elijah and did wonders, 1 Kings 18:36-38; and Jesus Christ the Saviour of the world was sacrificed for us at that time, about the ninth hour, Matthew 27:46 Mark 15:34 Luke 23:44, &c.; all these three evangelists mention Christ’s giving up the ghost at the ninth hour, which was the time of the evening sacrifice. At this time Gabriel is sent to Daniel to tell him the time of the Messiah’s death, and the consequence of it. See Daniel 9:24, &c.
That is, to make thee know great and secret things concerning the city and sanctuary of Jerusalem, of the rebuilding of it, and of the Messiah, &c.
The commandment came forth: this thing was decreed before in God’s counsel; but not divulged, or ordered to be proclaimed, till Daniel petitioned.
Greatly beloved, Heb. a man of desires, i.e. dear to God, Luke 1:28.
Seventy weeks: these weeks are weeks of days, and these days are so many years; though neither days, nor months, nor years are expressed, (which makes it somewhat the more obscure,) but weeks only. It is yet plain and obvious that the angel useth the number seventy to show the favour of God towards them, that they might have so much liberty and joy as their seventy years’ bondage and sufferings amounted to. Yet was this but a type of the time of grace which was to follow after by the coming of Christ. Upon thy people, and upon thy holy city. Why doth he call them Daniel’s people?
1. Because they were his by nation, blood, laws, and profession.
2. Thine because thou dost own them, and art so tender of them, and so zealous for them.
To finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity. Note,
1. The angel discovers first the disease, in three several words, havh Nwe evk which contain all sorts of sin, which the Messiah should free us from by his full redemption, see Exodus 34:6,7 Mt 1:21 viz. original, actual, of ignorance, presumption, &c.; also fault and punishment, which we may prove by Scripture.
2. The angel shows us also the cure of this disease in three words, le callee, le chatem, le capper:
1. To finish transgression;
2. To make an end of sin;
3. To make reconciliation: all which words are very significant in the original, and signify to pardon, to blot out, mortify, expiate.
To bring in everlasting righteousness, i.e. to bring in justification by the free grace of God in Jesus Christ the Lord our Righteousness, Isaiah 53:6 Jeremiah 23:6 33:16 1 Corinthians 1:30; called everlasting because Christ is eternal, and he and his righteousness is everlasting. Christ brings this in,
1. By his merit;
2. By his gospel declaring it;
3. By faith applying and sealing it by the Holy Ghost.
To seal up the vision and prophecy; to abrogate the former dispensation of the laws, and to fulfil it, and the prophecies relating to Christ, and to confirm and ratify the new testament or gospel covenant of grace. The Talmud saith, all the prophecies of the prophets related to Christ.
To anoint the most Holy; by which alluding to the holy of holies, which was anointed, Exodus 30:25-31 40:9-16. This typified the church, which is called anointed, 2 Corinthians 1:21, and heaven, into which Christ is entered, Hebrews 8:1 9:24 10:19; but chiefly Christ himself, who is the Holy One, Acts 3:14. He received the Spirit
without measure, John 3:34. His human nature is therefore called the temple, John 2:19, and tabernacle, Hebrews 8:2 9:11: moreover Christ is he that held the law, by which the will of God is revealed; the propiatory, appeasing God; the table, that nourisheth us; the candlestick, that enlightens; the altar, that sanctifies the gift and offering. All these were anointed and holy: by this word anointing he alludes to his name Messiah and Christ, both which signify anointed. Christ was anointed at his first conception and personal union, Luke 1:35; in his
baptism, Matthew 3:17; to his three offices by the Holy Ghost,
(1.) King, Matthew 2:2,
(2.) Prophet, Isaiah 61:1,
(3.) Priest, Psalms 110:4.
Know therefore and understand, i.e. by deep consideration, upon a due search of reason, and comparing of things, and minding what the angel saith.
Seven weeks from the publication of the edict, whether of Cyrus or Darius, to restore and to build, we shall see anon.
Even in troublous times; noting the enemy should create them much trouble in the building and reparations of the wall, city, and temple, which they did many ways, as we read in Nehemiah, which the Spirit of God doth premonish them of, lest they should think this their chief deliverance and redemption. These seven weeks are therefore mentioned by themselves, and repeated no more, because they contained the time of building the wall, city, and temple of Jerusalem, at the end of which seem to begin the sixty-two weeks.
After the threescore and two weeks. i.e. after the seven before, and after the sixty-two that followed them, which all make up sixty-nine, referring the angel’s seventy weeks, which is nothing though no week more be described, because it makes up the number a round number, after the Jewish manner of calculation, and there might be some fragments in the particular reckoning to make up the sum, or it might be finished in the seventieth week, and that was enough to call it seventy weeks, Daniel 9:24.
Shall Messiah be cut off; which word trk signifies cutting off, or cutting down, as a tree, Isaiah 44:14 Jeremiah 10:3. Secondly, it is used for cutting off by capital punishment, Exodus 12:15 30:33,38; whether this be by the signal hand of God, or by the magistrate, for some heinous offence, Leviticus 18:29 20:17 Psalms 37:34. This foreshows that the death of Christ should be as of a condemned malefactor sentenced to death, and that justly. So did the Jews, Christ’s executioners, proclaim that he died for blasphemy, and that he was a devilish impostor, &c. Yea, God himself charged sin upon him and the curse, Isaiah 53:4 2 Corinthians 5:21 Galatians 3:13.
But not for himself; wl Nyaw 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, Psalms 22:6,7 Isa 53:3: i.e. not to him: 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. Thus Enoch, Genesis 5:24, Joseph, Genesis 42:36, and Rachel’s children, Jeremiah 31:15 Matthew 2:17,18. But our English translation seems to hit the truest sense, 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.
The people of the prince that shall come; the Romans under the conduct of Titus Vespantianus. Some will include Christ’s people here, whom he should chiefly gather out of the Roman empire, should ruin that church, and polity, and worship. Desolations are determined; God hath decreed to destroy that place and people by the miseries and desolations of war, i.e. sword, famine, sickness, scattering. All this is signified by
shomemoth: also the profaning of the temple by idols, which are called abominations that make desolate; this was done by the Greeks and Jews before, and the Romans at their siege, and after.
Quest. But some will query, why the angel who was sent to comfort Daniel should insert here this tragical business of destruction and desolation, being beyond the space of seventy weeks?
1. That Daniel might be informed of the judgments of God upon that place and people, and the reasons of it, viz. their rejecting and killing Christ.
2. That the spirit of God’s people should not fail when these tragedies were acted; being foretold, thereby they were prepared and fortified against it, and to expect it, and not to be surprised by it when it came.
he is not Titus making truce with the Jews, which he did not, though he endeavoured to persuade them that he might spare them. I say then with Graser, Mede, and others, that this he is the Messiah, and the covenant he confirms is the new testament or covenant, called therefore the covenant of the people, Isaiah 42:6 49:8; and the Angel of the covenant, Malachi 3:1; and the Surety of the covenant, Hebrews 7:22; and the ancient rabbins called the Messias xrk a middle man, or middle man between two.
Quest. How did Christ confirm the covenant?
Answ. 1. By testimony,
(1.) Of angels, Luke 2:10 Mt 28;
(2.) John Baptist;
(3.) Of the wise men;
(4.) By the saints then living, Luke 1:2;
(5.) Moses and Elias, Matthew 17:3;
(6.) Pharisees, as Nicodemus, John 3:2;
(7.) The devils that confessed him.
2. By his preaching.
3. By signs and wonders.
4. By his holy life.
5. By his resurrection and ascension.
6. By his death and blood shed.
Shall confirm the covenant; rybgh he shall corroborate it, as if it began before his coming to fail and be invalid.
With many; noting hereby the paucity of the Jewish church and nation, compared with the great increase and enlargement by believing Gentiles throughout all nations and ages of the world, Isaiah 11:9 49:6 53:11,12 54:2,3 Mr 16:15 Acts 13:46: q.d. With many Jews first and last, and with many more of the nations, yea, with the many whom the rabbins and Pharisees despise as the rabble, the common people, Isaiah 42:3 Matthew 21:31 John 7:48,49 1 Corinthians 1:26,27.
For one week; by a figure, take the greater part of the whole, he shall, though rejected by the chief and bulk of the Jewish nation, yet make the new testament prevail with many in that time, i.e. at the latter end of the seventy weeks.
The sacrifice and the oblation to cease; zebach and mincha, bloody and unbloody, to cease. i.e. all the Jewish rites, and Levitical ceremonious worship, i.e. by the burning of the temple before the city was taken, for they were only to offer sacrifice in the temple, nor had they wherewithal in the siege. Yet is there more in it than this, viz. that the Lord Jesus, by his death, and by the execution of his wrath, and abrogate and put an end to this laborious service, and made it to cease for ever.
For the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate; desolate
for the wing, for the manifold and great abominations stretching, and our text hath it well overspreading. This abomination was the Roman army with their eagles, and with their superstitious rites in approaching to besiege and subdue any place; and this is executed by Christ upon them, Matthew 22:7, when he is called a King sending forth his armies, and destroying the murderers that destroyed him, and burning their city, and their coming is Christ’s coming, Malachi 3:1,2 John 21:22 James 5:7; therefore it is said here,
he shall make it desolate. Even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate: here all this is made the effect of God’s decree, and therefore irrevocable. This word shomen notes that this people were bewitched, sottishly superstitious, wanderers, banished, the astonishment and scorn of the world; all which did justly and dreadfully befall them, and they verify it to this day.
They that will curiously search further into the seventy weeks and other numbers in Daniel, and have leisure and skill, let them read Graserus, L’Empereur, Wasmuth, Mede, Willet, Wichmannus, Sanctius, Rainoldus, Pererius, Derorlon, Broughton, Liveleius, Helvicns, Calovius, Geierus. &c. Read also Joseph Med. p. 861, &c., and Bail. p. 180, &c. This scripture shows the coming of the Messiah so clearly, his sufferings, and the wrath of God so severely upon the Jews for it, that it thoroughly confutes their unbelief; and fully confirms our faith in Jesus Christ.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Daniel 9". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany