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Bible Commentaries
Daniel 9

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verse 1

Dan 9:1

Daniel 9:1 In the firstH259 yearH8141 of DariusH1867 the sonH1121 of Ahasuerus,H325 of the seedH4480 H2233 of the Medes,H4074 whichH834 was made kingH4427 overH5921 the realmH4438 of the Chaldeans;H3778

Daniel’s Prayer for Deliverance (Daniel 9:1-19)

The time of this chapter in Daniel’s life was after the overthrow of the Babylonian Empire by the Medo-Persians. Daniel had been in captivity in Babylon for about sixty nine years and he knew from the writings of Jeremiah that the time for the end of their captivity was near. Daniel was an aged man at this time, probably in his eighties or close to it. He had lived all of his adult life in Babylon in service to various kings and had seen many of them come and go.

Hoping in his heart of hearts for the release of his countrymen and the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple, Daniel went to God in fervent prayer on behalf of his people in confession and a petition to God for mercy, forgiveness and deliverance. Daniel’s prayer is a model for people throughout the centuries to learn from and emulate. Daniel’s prayer was answered in a very special way. And while no one today can be be answered in quite the same way Daniel was, we can learn from him how to approach God in our prayers in such a way that we can be assured that our petitions to God can likewise have a similar audience.

Daniel’s prayer was not a spontaneous prayer that he gushed forth with no prior preparation. His prayer was carefully planned and precisely delivered according to instructions contained within the law of Moses concerning their captivity. Daniel’s prayer leads us on a journey through ancient prophecy that reveals just how far God went to try and avoid punishing the Israelites but was left with no other recourse. God did everything He could reasonably have been expected to do and then went above and beyond what anyone would expect in order to give the Israelites every chance to repent and turn from their idolatrous ways. We learn from this study that Israel refused to heed the warnings and refused to repent and in the end, left God with no choice but to punish them. And they were indeed punished. It was severe and bitter and when it was finished, the Israelites hearts were prepared to return and serve God faithfully.

Daniel 9:1

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;

Darius is a hard individual to identify in history, especially since there were so many called by this name. However here we have a clue that helps to identify who this person is. Nebuchadnezzar carried the first group of Israelites away in approximately 604 BC. Sixty nine years after Daniel was carried away, in about 538 BC, a ruler named Darius, who was also known as Cyaxares II became the ruler of Babylon. This man was brother to Cyrus the Great’s mother, Mandana of Media, thus making him the uncle of Cyrus the Great.

Cyaxares II was the son of Ahasuerus or, Astyages. Ahasuerus was a name shared by more than one of the kings of Medo-Persia and should not be confused with the Ahasuerus of Ezra who was Cambyses, the son of Cyrus who reigned from 530 to 522 BC. Josephus named Astyages as the father of Darius the Mede, thus this Ahasuerus is commonly identified with him. The Ahasuerus of Esther is generally believed to be Xerxes I of Persia who reigned from 485 to 465 BC.

The conclusions drawn among the scholars as to the precise identity of this man are by no means in agreement. It must be noted here that we simply do not know for certain who this man identified as Darius really was. There are difficulties associated with all of them. It is the belief of this Bible student that the Darius of chapter 9 and the Darius of chapter 6 are one and the same. The reasons for this is very simple. Daniel was thrown into the lions den by a king named Darius. The king who threw Daniel to the lions loved Daniel and was tricked into it by the manipulations of those who sought to have Daniel removed from power. Please refer to the study of chapter 6 for details of their relationship and the events surrounding Daniel and the lion’s den.

Daniel and Darius were obviously well acquainted and had a working relationship of trust. There are no records of any Darius prior to this one ruling over Babylon, meaning this Darius was the first. Daniel was at the least near or in his eightieth year when this happened. Please refer to the timeline for additional information. Daniel was an aged man when the first king named Darius came to power at age sixty two (Daniel 5:31). He and Daniel were both elderly so they shared that in common with each other. Basically, given the obvious relationship Daniel and Darius shared, it is my conclusion that if these men were not one and the same, Daniel would not have referred to them by the same name. He would have distinguished them from each other, not wanting to confuse a man he obviously shared a close working relationship with for a king he did not. Therefore it is my conclusion that these two kings, both named Darius were one and the same.

However we are still left with uncertainty as to exactly who this man really was. In the study for chapter 6, it was my conclusion that Darius was a man named Gubaru. This conclusion is based on evidence from the Nabonidus Chronicle which named Gubaru as the governor/king of the Babylonian province during this time period. Archaeological evidence from that very time period in history carries much more significance than material written by others at much later dates, however, the validity of the Nabonidus Chronicle is challenged as propaganda by some due to inconsistencies. The conclusion that Gubaru is Darius is arrived at because there simply are no other candidates which fit the facts as closely as he does. There are difficulties with this conclusion and to fair and unbiased, it must be mentioned that the main one is that in history, Gubaru was never called a king, nor was he called Darius.

So the mystery continues as to who this Darius really was. This is what we know about him:

1) His father was Ahauserus (Daniel 9:1). The name Ahasuerus is equivalent to Xerxes, both deriving from the Persian Khashayarsha. The form Xerxes has not traditionally appeared in English bibles, but has rather appeared as Ahasuerus. Many other translations and paraphrases have used the name Xerxes. As mentioned earlier, Josephus named Astyages as the father of Darius the Mede and the name Ahasuerus is associated with him. But this is by no means certain.

2) Darius was of the "seed of the Medes" Daniel 9:1. Racially, Darius was a Median.

3) In authority, he was called the king over the realm of the Chaldeans, Daniel 9:1. That was the province of Babylon, not to be confused with the Babylonian Empire which had fallen at this time and was being absorbed into the Medo-Persian Empire. This is significant in that this man, even though he is called a king in scripture was not ruling over the empire, rather only over one part of it, namely the realm of the Chaldeans. This makes him a co-regent or vassal king to the supreme king who was certainly Cyrus. In the Nabonidus Chronicle, it is established that a governor over a province can be referred to as a king.

4) He was 62 years old, (Daniel 5:31).

It can be fairly concluded at this point that the Darius of Daniel 6, 9 is either Astyages or Gubaru.

Astyages succeeded his father, Cyaxares, in 585 BCE, following the Battle of Pteria, which ended a five-year war between the Lydians and the Medes. He inherited a large empire, ruled in alliance with his two brothers-in-law, Croesus of Lydia and Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, whose wife, Amytis, Astyages’ sister, was the queen for whom Nebuchadnezzar was said to have built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Astyages was married to Aryenis, the sister of King Croesus of Lydia, to seal the treaty between the two empires, Astyages ascended to the Median throne upon his father’s death later that year.

Gubaru is mentioned in the Cyropedia of Xenophon as a general who helped in the conquering of Babylon. Gubaru was placed over Babylon as a governor. See chapter 6.

The case for Gubaru being Darius is the strongest and I would offer an opinion here that is purely speculative. Astyages was much higher up in authority than Gubaru making it more unlikely that he would have the time to form a relationship with Daniel. Gubaru was a more of a local governor, also called a king, who with only the Babylonian province to govern would be in a position where he was more closely associated with Daniel than Astyages. Archaeology continues to make discoveries and it may be that in the future evidence will be discovered that will decisively link the Darius of Daniel to a historical figure. In the meantime, we will leave it to the conclusions of the individuals researching the evidence for themselves. An error over the identity of this individual will not cause our religion to crumble down around our ears and has no bearing whatsoever on the validity of the inspired text.

Verses 2-3

Dan 9:2-3

Daniel 9:2 In the firstH259 yearH8141 of his reignH4427 IH589 DanielH1840 understoodH995 by booksH5612 the numberH4557 of the years,H8141 whereofH834 the wordH1697 of the LORDH3068 cameH1961 toH413 JeremiahH3414 the prophet,H5030 that he would accomplishH4390 seventyH7657 yearsH8141 in the desolationsH2723 of Jerusalem.H3389

Daniel 9:3 And I setH5414 (H853) my faceH6440 untoH413 the LordH136 God,H430 to seekH1245 by prayerH8605 and supplications,H8469 with fasting,H6685 and sackcloth,H8242 and ashes:H665

Daniel 9:2-3

In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplication, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:

The time in Daniel’s life when he received this vision was in the first year of the reign of Darius. Just who this Darius was is not known for certain, but we do know that the time of this vision was roughly the same time as when Daniel was cast into the Lion’s Den. There is no indication in the account of Daniel and the lion’s den (chapter 6) about how much time expired between the ascension of Darius to the throne and the incident that caused Daniel to be thrown to the lions, but we must concede that enough time transpired in order for Darius to become familiar with Daniel and form a bond of affection and trust for him. It is not known for certain which event happened first, the Lion’s den or the vision in chapter 9, but I will hazard to say that this vision might have followed Daniel’s demonstration of faith over the affair of the lion’s den.

Daniel knew from the writings of Jeremiah that the captivity would last for seventy years. Daniel knew that the timeframe of seventy years was almost expired. It had been sixty nine years since Daniel had been carried away from Jerusalem and he went to God in prayer and supplication to plead for the release of his countrymen so that they could go back and rebuild the city and the temple. Daniel was at least in his early eighties, having been in Babylon since he was a youth. Daniel spent his life serving God faithfully in captivity in a foreign land. His heart’s desire was for the temple to be restored in Jerusalem where God was worshipped by the Jews. Daniel knew the time was near and he was praying that God would fulfil His promise to restore Jerusalem after the seventy years of desolation were over.

There is something here that needs to be pointed out to those today who believe that God personally directs their every step and communicates with them directly through the Holy Spirit. A more faithful and dedicated servant of God could scarcely be found than Daniel. God chose to reveal through Daniel, some of the most amazing prophecies of the coming Messiah and His kingdom than can be found anywhere in scripture. Yet Daniel learned of the timeframe of the Babylonian captivity through the words of another prophet of God written elsewhere. There are three observations which need to be stressed here. (1), God did not reveal everything to any one single prophet, and (2), to learn the complete revelation of God through his prophets, Daniel had to rely on the word of God from another source. We know that it came to Daniel in written form because Daniel wrote that he understood it "by books". And (3), Daniel recognized Jeremiah as a prophet of God and had absolute faith in the words he wrote as being the word of God.

Jeremiah prophesied to the nation of Judah against their idolatry for many years. His warnings began 23 years prior to the reign of Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 25:3). The word of the Lord concerning the 70 year time period for the captivity came to him in the first year king Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, (Jeremiah 25:1). Concerning the prophecy of the 70 years, Jeremiah wrote:

Jeremiah 25:9-12

9 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.

10 Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle.

11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

12 And it shall come to pass, when 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.

Of significance to this issue is recognizing from the text that the end of the 70 year captivity coincides with the destruction of Babylon as a world empire. The beginning of the first captivity started with the carrying off of Daniel in Nebuchadnezzar’s first siege on Jerusalem in 606 BC. Babylon was overthrown by the Medo-Persians in 539 BC, which was the 67th year of the captivity of Daniel and the others who were carried away with him. The two time periods are too close to be a coincidence. The end of the 70 year captivity coincides with the overthrow of Babylon. The prophecy was given in the first year of Nebuchadnezzar in about 606 BC and Daniel was recording this vision in about 537 BC; 69 years later. Babylon had already been overthrown and this part of the vision was fulfilled. Daniel knew the time was close. The decree of Cyrus to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem went out in 536 BC, which was 70 years after Daniel was carried away to Babylon.

There is no shortage of disagreement among the scholars as to whether the seventy years was a literal period of time or not. Daniel here claimed to have understood the "number of the years" that God told Jeremiah He would accomplish the desolations of Jerusalem. In Daniel’s perception, the desolations started when Nebuchadnezzar looted the temple and carried away Daniel and several other of his companions to Babylon. Daniel was in his sixty-ninth year of his captivity and he knew the Babylonian Empire had fallen to the Medo-Persians. Daniel understood it to be seventy literal years and he was making the appropriate supplications to God as a result of his conviction. By this time, the student of Daniel should well know that he is more than capable of correctly interpreting and understanding the visions and prophecies of God. He has demonstrated this ability over and over to more than one king of Babylon. They had no problem whatsoever in recognizing Daniel’s extraordinary capacity for unraveling the mysteries of God. This student of Daniel likewise recognizes Daniel’s abilities in these matters and is of the firm conviction that the seventy year Babylonian captivity of the Israelites was for seventy literal years.

"And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplication, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes"

Of interest here are the terms "fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes". The practice of fasting, wearing sackcloth and sprinkling of ashes on oneself was a traditional form of supplication to God. Each one of these components represented a specific element of the mental state of the person. The fasting represented the self-denial of one’s most basic necessity and represented great distress. The sackcloth, also known as ’hair cloth" is made of the bound hair of goats, usually black, or camels and represented being bound or tied to something, in Daniel’s case, being bound to the will of God. The ashes came to designate worthlessness or insignificance (Genesis 18:27; Job 30:19).

Verse 4

Dan 9:4

Daniel 9:4 And I prayedH6419 unto the LORDH3068 my God,H430 and made my confession,H3034 and said,H559 OH577 Lord,H136 the greatH1419 and dreadfulH3372 God,H410 keepingH8104 the covenantH1285 and mercyH2617 to them that loveH157 him, and to them that keepH8104 his commandments;H4687

Daniel 9:4

"And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments"

Daniel’s confession is recorded in Daniel 9:5-11. A key component in obtaining the forgiveness of sin is found in the recognition and acknowledgement of one’s wrongdoing to God. Confession of one’s sin is the expression of a conviction of the heart over one’s wrongdoing or failure. Daniel’s confession here was not made to or before any man, rather it was directed solely to the throne of Heaven. No man can forgive sins for man or dole out God’s forgiveness based on his judgment of such matters. Sin is a transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4). When man sins, it is God who has been violated, therefore it is God to whom man must go in confession and supplication, and it is God alone that forgives sin.

In the New Testament, confession of sin is tied to the ongoing forgiveness of sins for a Christian. In 1 John 1:9 we are taught that, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". The word "if" denotes a conditional statement. We receive forgiveness of sin "if" we confess them, meaning to recognize and acknowledge them, to God. Therefore, "if" we do not recognize and acknowledge our sin to God, then there will be no forgiveness. Such is the force of a conditional statement. If the first condition is met, then the results promised will be forthcoming. If the first condition is not meant, the promised results will be withheld.

"O Lord, the great and dreadful God"

Daniel begins his prayer to God by addressing Him and acknowledging that He is both great and dreadful. Paul wrote, "Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness.." God is indeed great and good. But there is a dreadful side to Him as well. People throughout the ages seem to forget about the dreadful nature of God. The wages of sin is death. The God we serve demands the penalty of death for all sin no matter what it may be. Spiritual death is the eternal separation from God’s glory. His righteous nature was so adamant and unswerving on this issue that the only avenue by which man could be saved was through the sacrificial offering of the life of His only Son. We serve a God that is dreadful. For those who never come to know God and obey the gospel, their fate is eternal destruction from the presence of God, (2 Thessalonians 1:8). For those who come to know the truth of God and fall away, their fate is worse than if they had never known God, (2 Peter 2:20-22). God’s punishment for the wicked in the afterlife is dreadful.

We serve the same God that destroyed all life from the earth with the exception of 8 souls in the great flood. We serve the same God as He who rained fire and brimstone down on Sodom and Gomorrah and utterly destroyed them from the face of the earth. We serve the same God who parted the red sea for the Israelites and then let it come crashing down on the army of the Egyptians, utterly destroying them. We serve the same God who brought the Roman Empire to her knees and then broke her power for her iniquity against God and her crimes against the Christians. We serve the same God who allowed the Babylonian empire to enslave His people and destroy Jerusalem and the temple. We serve the same God who allowed Daniel, who was as righteous and upright an individual as could be found in all of Israel be mutilated, enslaved and then carried away to a foreign and hostile land where he spent the remainder of his life in service to various kings. Yes the God we serve is good and great and loving and full of mercy, but He is also dreadful and fearful. Daniel was well aware of the dreadful nature of God and acknowledged it in the opening of his prayer. Let us never be guilty of forgetting the dreadful and fearful nature of the God we serve and always strive to afford Him the reverence and respect that is His due.

"keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments"

Daniel was well versed in the Law of Moses. This phrase he used in his prayer to God is a direct quote from Deuteronomy 7:9, "Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations" God keeps His covenants and has mercy with those who are faithful and obedient. The logical opposite to this statement is that God does not have mercy on those who do not love him and do not keep His commandments. God’s requirement to love and obey Him are in both the Old and New Testaments. Of significance is the fact that love and obedience are tied together. Those who love God will obey Him (John 14:15; John 14:23), and those who obey God love Him (John 14:21). Conversely those who do not love God will not obey Him (John 14:24). Many among those who claim Christ as savior view their love of God as an emotional love and not an obedient, submissive, self-sacrificing love. Daniel knew that love to God was inseparable from obedience and acknowledged this in his prayer. Daniel full well knew that obedience to God was required and he knew that rebellion to God was what got Israel into the sad predicament they were in. Those today who call on the name of the Lord should likewise recognize the importance of obedient love to God.

Verse 5

Dan 9:5

Daniel 9:5 We have sinned,H2398 and have committed iniquity,H5753 and have done wickedly,H7561 and have rebelled,H4775 even by departingH5493 from thy preceptsH4480 H4687 and from thy judgments:H4480 H4941

Daniel 9:5

"We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments"

Daniel well knew the law of Moses and he has demonstrated this numerous times throughout his writings. This confession of sin to God is not something that Daniel dreamed up on his own. In Leviticus chapter 26, God gave a warning to the Israelites through the hand of Moses that is an unmistakable parallel to exactly what happened in the Babylonian conquest and captivity. Starting in verse 15 of Leviticus, Moses wrote, "And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you..." Moses went on from there in a lengthy discourse which spelled out the fate of the nation of Israel if she departed from the commandments of God. The language written has the imagery of the Babylonian captivity woven entirely throughout the context. The parallels between what was warned against and what happened are too apparent not to draw a comparison between the two. Following the descriptive warning of what would befall the Israelites, Moses wrote the condition that had to be met in order to bring an end to their suffering for their rebellion against God. Starting in verse 40 of Leviticus chapter 26 we read the following:

Leviticus 26:40-42

"If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land."

Daniel knew the 70 years was almost up and he knew that God required confession of sin in order to remember His covenant with the fathers of the Israelite nation. This confession of guilt was something Daniel knew had to be accomplished. God gave the remedy and Daniel was diligently applying himself to the observance of that condition which had to be met in order for the Israelites to return to the favor of God and get the opportunity to go home and rebuild their city and their temple. Daniel was a righteous and upright man and without a doubt innocent of idolatry which doomed the Israelites to captivity in Babylon, but when praying on behalf of the entire Israelite nation, he used the term "we". Israel as a nation was guilty of sin and Israel as a nation had to confess their iniquity if they were to be remembered and receive God’s mercy. Daniel was praying on behalf of his people, acknowledging and accepting the guilt for their transgressions.

It goes without saying that Daniel was not the only member of the Israelite nation praying this prayer of confession. One person did not get Israel into their predicament and one person would not be able to pray them out of it. Israel was a broken and contrite nation with their hearts well prepared for the confession of their sin.

Verse 6

Dan 9:6

Daniel 9:6 NeitherH3808 have we hearkenedH8085 untoH413 thy servantsH5650 the prophets,H5030 whichH834 spakeH1696 in thy nameH8034 toH413 our kings,H4428 our princes,H8269 and our fathers,H1 and toH413 allH3605 the peopleH5971 of the land.H776

Daniel 9:6

"Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land."

Moses warned them, Ezekiel warned them years before they were overthrown, (Ezekiel 12:12-14), himself being carried away to Babylon. Jeremiah warned them before they were overthrown and continued to warn them afterwards. There was no shortage of warnings to the Israelites about their fate if they refused to follow the law of God. These prophets spoke to their kings, to their fathers and to all the people repeatedly and often. The Israelites were given the opportunity to repent even up to the 11th hour before they were overthrown and enslaved and refused to hearken to the words of the Lord through His prophets. They had no excuse, they had no one to blame for their predicament but themselves. God was in no way silent about their impending consequences. He did not sneak up on them in the dark and bring sudden calamity down upon them.

It here needs to be recognized that God’s purpose was to bring Israel to repentance and to avoid at all cost their destruction. Godly men such as Ezekiel, Daniel and Jeremiah were put through torturous circumstances in order to bring about the will of God. The life of a prophet was never a one of ease and luxury. God put His prophets in life threatening situations all the time and scripture records that they were all ill treated. Stephen asked the enraged mob this question right before they stoned him to death as recorded in Acts 7:52, "Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers". The application for us today is that God is more than willing to sacrifice His faithful to the furtherance of the deliverance and salvation of others. The entire book of Revelation stands in stark support of this. God expected His righteous to remain faithful without regard to the personal dangers that confronted them. Circumstances had no bearing whatsoever on God’s expectations.

In the new testament we are given this somber exhortation, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution". It is not God’s desire that mankind be persecuted. A study of Revelation reveals that much of the punishment God inflicted on the enemies of the Christians was because they were persecuting them so terribly. God does not enjoy the persecution of His children any more than we would enjoy the persecution of our fleshly children by the ungodly. However, God is more than willing to place His faithful children in harm’s way in order to further the cause of righteousness and save the souls of the ungodly. When one thinks about this, one is forced to acknowledge the fact that God was willing to sacrifice the life of His own Son in order to save mankind, therefore why would He hesitate to require the same thing of us? The words of Paul are appropriate, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" (Romans 12:1).

"which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land"

The prophets of God were not speaking in dark corners. They were proclaiming the word of God to everyone from the people in the streets to the throne rooms of Jerusalem.

Verse 7

Dan 9:7

Daniel 9:7 O Lord,H136 righteousnessH6666 belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusionH1322 of faces,H6440 as at thisH2088 day;H3117 to the menH376 of Judah,H3063 and to the inhabitantsH3427 of Jerusalem,H3389 and unto allH3605 Israel,H3478 that are near,H7138 and that are far off,H7350 through allH3605 the countriesH776 whitherH834 H8033 thou hast drivenH5080 them, because of their trespassH4604 thatH834 they have trespassedH4603 against thee.

Daniel 9:7

"O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee."

Daniel acknowledges here that righteousness belongs to God. Later in this prayer Daniel says, "the Lord our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth". Daniel is a true student of God’s law and once again demonstrates this abundantly in his prayer of confession to God. Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 32:3-4, "Because I [Moses] will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he". No man can make that claim. The source of righteousness is God alone and to God belongs righteousness. He is the originator of righteousness, He has lived it throughout eternity, He has brought it to His creation, He has set the standard for it and proclaimed it throughout the ages, and of great significance, He has ordered His own conduct by the standards of His righteousness and will continue to do so throughout the ages. Truly righteousness does belong to God and no other.

"but unto us confusion of faces"

The Hebrew word for confusion carried the meaning of shame. The NKJV renders this phrase thus: "but to us shame of face, as it is this day". See also the NASB, NIV and YLT. The Israelites were shamed because of their rebellion to God. They were confused to be sure, having been overthrown and scattered as slaves to the surrounding countries. Not even their kings and nobility escaped that fate, themselves suffering greatly due to their rebellion and refusal to obey the will of God. It was so bad that even the few remaining faithful children of God were caught up in the captivity and suffered as well. Daniel and his three companions are examples of the suffering of the innocent due to the crimes of the ungodly. The confusion they suffered is of the total and complete upset of their lives in Jerusalem. They were not confused because they did not in any way know why their fate had turned so dire. All of Israel as a nation knew why they were overthrown and enslaved. It was written in the law of Moses as we have already seen and will see again as Daniel’s prayer continues. Jeremiah had been warning them for over 20 years when it happened. Ezekiel warned them years ahead of time as well. These prophets were not silent, they spoke to their kings, princes, fathers, and to all the people of the land, (Daniel 9:6). They had no reason to be confused as to why they found themselves in shame.

"to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them"

The enslavement and scattering of the Israelites was as broad as the empire. Evidently they were forced to take up the lives of slaves throughout the Babylonian Empire. How horrible it must be to have one’s entire family abducted, taken from their homes and scattered across a land to live as slaves to a foreign people. Leaving their homes and taken to a place if insecurity to live under the yolk of their captors. Having one’s children taken from them, possibly never to see them again would be a terrible thing to befall a parent. Daniel and his companions were just young boys when they were taken from Jerusalem, they all had families and homes that they probably never saw again.

"because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee."

And all the suffering, shame and enslavement was for one reason. It was because of their trespasses against God. No other reason is given, none is implied. Daniel makes no excuses, neither does he try and rationalize any of it. Their suffering was because of their sin and idolatry as a nation. Everyone suffered, both young and old, male and female, wicked or faithful, kings or beggars. The punishment was handed out to the whole nation without discrimination against any of them.

Verse 8

Dan 9:8

Daniel 9:8 O Lord,H3068 to us belongeth confusionH1322 of face,H6440 to our kings,H4428 to our princes,H8269 and to our fathers,H1 becauseH834 we have sinnedH2398 against thee.

Daniel 9:8

"O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee."

This is a restatement of Daniel’s prior assertion, no doubt for emphasis. It is common to restate important phrases in order to make sure one is clearly understood. Daniel wants God to know that he means what he is saying and not just paying lip service. This prayer is a heartfelt, genuine plea of confession, supplication and repentance for the wrongs of an entire nation by one man.

In the first statement, Daniel laid the blame on his countrymen using the pronouns "they" and "them". In this restatement, Daniel uses the pronouns "us" and "our" and "we". Daniel has brought this confession of sin to a more personal level by accepting the guilt of the sin of the entire nation of Israel by including himself in their transgressions. Daniel is not going to God in confession for the sins of his people and not accepting any guilt himself. Daniel has demonstrated here that he is not a self righteous individual who holds himself in higher esteem than others. One cannot help but be reminded of the prayer of the self righteous Pharisee and the Publican as recorded in Luke 18:10-13. Daniel stands as an example of how God is to be approached in prayer. No one is without sin, not even Daniel. So to approach God in the manner the Pharisee did in Jesus’ account in Luke 18:10-13 would have been altogether improper.

Verse 9

Dan 9:9

Daniel 9:9 To the LordH136 our GodH430 belong merciesH7356 and forgivenesses,H5547 thoughH3588 we have rebelledH4775 against him;

Daniel 9:9

"To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him"

Paul wrote that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Spiritual death is what is in the view of Paul in that particular context. The Israelites in the Babylonian captivity were experiencing a added measure of suffering in addition to the penalty of spiritual death that all will receive if they die in a lost or fallen state. God’s purpose with the captivity was to bring His people to repentance so that they would not have to suffer eternal spiritual death. It may not have seemed like it to the Israelites at the time, but God, through His chastisement of them was being merciful. He could have simply left them to their fate but He chose to act in such a way that would bring them back into His favor. He warned then through the prophets and that didn’t work, therefore out of His mercy for them, He chose a more direct approach. Daniel was appealing to God’s mercy and forgiveness for the relief of their earthly suffering. God’s punishment of the nation of Israel was harsh to say the least, but pales to insignificance in the face of permanent spiritual death for which there is no mercy and no forgiveness.

Mercy and forgiveness do indeed belong to God. For there is no other source for it other than Him. The soul who would avoid spiritual death and eternal punishment must seek mercy and forgiveness from the one source where it can be found. Even the rebellious can seek and find mercy and forgiveness at any time if they will but seek God with an honest heart, trust and obey Him.

"though we have rebelled against him"

This is the third time Daniel has mentioned the sin of Israel and he is not finished yet. The Israelites were guilty of trespassing against God (Dan 9:7), sinning against God (Dan 9:8), and now in Dan 9:9 we see rebellion against God. In Dan 9:10-11 we will see yet two more terms used to illustrate their sin.

Verse 10

Dan 9:10

Daniel 9:10 NeitherH3808 have we obeyedH8085 the voiceH6963 of the LORDH3068 our God,H430 to walkH1980 in his laws,H8451 whichH834 he setH5414 beforeH6440 us byH3027 his servantsH5650 the prophets.H5030

Daniel 9:10

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.

Trespass, rebellion, disobedience and departing from God’s law (Daniel 9:11), are all terms associated with sin. What sin boils down to is refusal to obey the will of God. The Israelites were living under the law of Moses (Daniel 9:11; Daniel 9:13), and they were guilty of Trespass, rebellion, disobedience and departing from God’s law. Today we live under the "law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2) and while the terms of the covenant have changed for the better (Hebrews 8:6-7), God’s expectations of obedience have not (Matthew 7:21, Hebrews 5:9). There are many in the religious world today who say that we do not live under any law of God. Jesus came to die for us so that we could receive the forgiveness of sin. He did not come to die for us so that we could sin without consequence. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross did not make sinful things right. Trespass, rebellion and disobedience were wrong before the cross and they are wrong after the cross and the consequences for these things are the same if they remain unrepented of, unconfessed and unforgiven.

While we do not live under the law of Moses, we do have a rule of conduct by which we must adhere to. In the New Testament it is called the "law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2); the "law to Christ" (1 Corinthians 9:21); "the royal law" (James 2:8); the "law of Liberty" (James 2:12); the "law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:2). The inspired writers of the New Testament could not refer to a "law of Christ" if there were not such a law.

Christians are to obey the Law of Christ (all of it) as distinguished from the Law of Moses which Daniel lived under. Some today allege that the "law of Christ" is not a law in the legal sense. There is no way to understand "Law of Christ" except in the sense of law of God. How could God’s law be defined as not being in a legal sense? The very term legal means "pertinent to or conformity to law." So those who allege that the law of Christ is not law are actually saying Christ’s law is not pertinent to any rule of conduct. Such a teaching must be rejected. Moses was the type of Christ, and Christ surpassed Moses, being the Lawgiver (James 4:12), for all mankind. Jesus Christ Himself settles this issue once and for all in Matthew 7:21-23 when he closed His teaching with the words "depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness" (NKJV). If there were no law of Christ for a Christian to observe, then it would not be possible to practice lawlessness. The "law of Christ" therefore means just what it says: the totality of Jesus Christ’s teachings.

Verse 11

Dan 9:11

Daniel 9:11 Yea, allH3605 IsraelH3478 have transgressedH5674 (H853) thy law,H8451 even by departing,H5493 that they might notH1115 obeyH8085 thy voice;H6963 therefore the curseH423 is pouredH5413 uponH5921 us, and the oathH7621 thatH834 is writtenH3789 in the lawH8451 of MosesH4872 the servantH5650 of God,H430 becauseH3588 we have sinnedH2398 against him.

Daniel 9:11

"Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him."

The curse that was poured out on them is written in Leviticus chapter 26 starting in Leviticus 26:14. It is also written in Deuteronomy 28:15-68 and the imagery of what would befall Israel was similar to the record in Leviticus. Significant parallels between these and the Babylonian captivity are too striking not to be connected. The things God warned them against came to pass in the captivity. They also parallel other times in the history of Israel as well, such as the horrendous oppression under the rule of Antiochus IV.

Either account is too lengthy to publish in this study, however a reading of both of them would be beneficial. Some of the highlights worthy of mentioning which are unmistakably referencing the Babylonian captivity are as follows:

Leviticus 26:15

And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant:

Leviticus 26:17

ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you;

Leviticus 26:30-33

And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours. And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.

Leviticus 26:38

And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.

Deuteronomy 28:15

"But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee"

Here is the curse mentioned by Daniel which was written in the law of Moses:

Deuteronomy 28:16-19

"Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out."

And then Moses goes on to elaborate:

Deuteronomy 28:32-33

"Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall be no might in thine hand. The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway"

Deuteronomy 28:36

"The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone."

Deuteronomy 28:47-49

"Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee. The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand"

Anybody with a passing familiarity of the Babylonian captivity could not miss seeing the parallels here. All of these things came to pass on the rebellious Israelites due to their own stubbornness. One can scarcely imagine why, with all the warnings they had, that they did not heed them. As a side note, one can likewise scarcely imagine why with all the warnings mankind today has about eternal punishment that we as a people reject God and His righteousness the same as the Israelites did.

Daniel was obviously familiar with the curse written in the Law of Moses because he mentioned them in this prayer. And being familiar with the curses written in the law, Daniel was also familiar with how God said to be forgiven for the trespasses of their entire nation and this prayer to God which he is engaging in is for that purpose. Daniel was living in the last years of the Babylonian captivity, having understood this from the writings of the prophet Jeremiah (Daniel 9:2). The remedy for the curse is given in:

Leviticus 26:40-42

"If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land."

Verse 12

Dan 9:12

Daniel 9:12 And he hath confirmedH6965 (H853) his words,H1697 whichH834 he spakeH1696 againstH5921 us, and againstH5921 our judgesH8199 thatH834 judgedH8199 us, by bringingH935 uponH5921 us a greatH1419 evil:H7451 forH834 underH8478 the wholeH3605 heavenH8064 hath notH3808 been doneH6213 asH834 hath been doneH6213 upon Jerusalem.H3389

Daniel 9:12

"And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem."

That which God spoke to Moses concerning the curse came to pass. When reading the account of the curse in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 it is obvious that prophesied penalty for their transgression would be horrific and Daniel here stated that the words had been confirmed. God meant what He said and He fulfilled those words completely.

"for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem."

God broke Israel down and scattered her to the four winds. Their suffering was unlike anything in the memory of Daniel. Consider the time in history in which this took place. This was a barbaric and cruel time to live. The authority of kings was absolute and they ruled by force. There was no recognition of human rights. A king was free to exercise whatever cruelties he deemed suitable and could enforce upon his enemies. And it is in this barbaric period in history when Daniel made the comment that the judgment God imposed on Jerusalem was without precedent or comparison. Let’s keep in mind the fact that Daniel, being well versed in the word of God full well knew of the annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah and how they were destroyed. Daniel also lived through the conquests of Nebuchadnezzar, himself being taken captive about the same time that Nebuchadnezzar began his reign over the Babylonian Empire. Daniel saw firsthand what fate befell the nations who fell to Nebuchadnezzar and especially the ones that rebelled and withheld the tribute money. Israel rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar and he made an example out of them. The first time they rebelled, he dealt harshly with them. The third time they rebelled, he very nearly wiped them off the face of the earth. Nebuchadnezzar made an example out of the Israelites as a warning to other nations who would similarly rebel against his authority.

Daniel lived through Nebuchadnezzar’s reign and then on through the overthrow of the Babylonian Empire by the Medo-Persians. Daniel had firsthand knowledge of the overthrow of two world empires and he had a lot of experience with the cruelties that were inflicted on the people of conquered nations. Daniel was not a man who lived a sheltered life with no perspective to draw from. When Daniel said "for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem", he was speaking from the perspective of a man who had seen a great deal of pain and suffering due to the actions of conquering world powers and her cruel kings having lived in Babylon for nearly 70 years. In short, when Daniel, speaking from his perspective, said it was the worst that had been done under heaven, the reader can be assured that it was bad to a level which is difficult to even imagine.

Verse 13

Dan 9:13

Daniel 9:13 AsH834 it is writtenH3789 in the lawH8451 of Moses,H4872 (H853) allH3605 thisH2063 evilH7451 is comeH935 uponH5921 us: yet made we not our prayerH2470 H3808 (H853) beforeH6440 the LORDH3068 our God,H430 that we might turnH7725 from our iniquities,H4480 H5771 and understandH7919 thy truth.H571

Daniel 9:13

"As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is 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."

The curse in the law of Moses written in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 carries with it the remedy for the ending of their suffering. Leviticus 26:40-42 quoted earlier is their remedy. The remedy starts with the word "If". If the Israelites want to go home and end their captivity and rebuild Jerusalem and the temple then they have certain things that they must do first. And to date, they had not done this and Daniel was diligently in prayer concerning this matter and doing to the best of his ability all those things which had to be done if their captivity was to come to an end. This entire prayer that Daniel is offering to God is in response to what was written in Leviticus 26:40-42.

Daniel earlier said in his prayer, "for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem." A reading of the curse in Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26 reveals just how bitter the punishment of the curse would be. We have every reason to believe that everything described in that curse befell the Israelites during their captivity.

Verse 14

Dan 9:14

Daniel 9:14 Therefore hath the LORDH3068 watchedH8245 uponH5921 the evil,H7451 and broughtH935 it uponH5921 us: forH3588 the LORDH3068 our GodH430 is righteousH6662 inH5921 allH3605 his worksH4639 whichH834 he doeth:H6213 for we obeyedH8085 notH3808 his voice.H6963

Daniel 9:14

"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."

The Israelites who had been warned by the prophets stubbornly refused to acknowledge their sin, repent and come to God in prayer. Because of this, God has allowed their suffering to continue and has watched over and directed it. In other words, the suffering of Israel was according to God’s divine plan and was being carried out to His specifications. He was in control of the judgment of Israel throughout their ordeal.

"for the Lord our God is righteous in all his works"

The word "for" introduces here an explanation of the preceding statement. The judgment brought against Israel was justified. It was the right thing to do and Daniel is acknowledging this to God. Daniel, speaking for his nation, is accepting the responsibility for the sins of his people according to the instructions written in Leviticus 26:40-42, specifically in Leviticus 26:41, "and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity".

"for we obeyed not his voice."

Again, the word "for" introduces an explanation of the preceding statement. God was justified in His actions against Israel because they refused to obey His voice. And we know that voice was not heard literally, rather through the words of the prophets. The whole captivity including all the suffering of the curse written in the law of Moses was due to one thing; their disobedience. Earlier Daniel characterized this lack of obedience with terms like "rebellion", "trespass", and "departing from God’s law". But in whole, all of these terms can be summed up under one general heading which is "disobedience" and that is what Daniel did here. God directed the punishment of Israel because it was the right thing to do because of the disobedience of Israel. Daniel is accepting "the punishment of their iniquity" (Leviticus 26:41).

Verse 15

Dan 9:15

Daniel 9:15 And now,H6258 O LordH136 our God,H430 thatH834 hast brought thy people forthH3318 (H853) H5971 out of the landH4480 H776 of EgyptH4714 with a mightyH2389 hand,H3027 and hast gottenH6213 thee renown,H8034 as at thisH2088 day;H3117 we have sinned,H2398 we have done wickedly.H7561

Daniel 9:15

"And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly".

Daniel knows that God delivered Israel out of the hand of Pharaoh of Egypt. His confidence that God is able to do it again is demonstrated in this prayer. And that is exactly what Daniel is praying for. He is carrying his petition for the liberation of his countrymen to the throne of God.

"and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day"

God was famous for His deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage. His reputation for this preceded the spies who came to the house of Rahab. When speaking to them she made this statement, "For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed" (Joshua 2:10). Rahab used the word "we" in her statement. The deliverance of Israel by the hand of God was well published throughout Canaan even after four decades had passed. And Daniel’s statement, "as at this day" means it is still well known at least among the Israelites.

"we have sinned, we have done wickedly"

Daniel continually acknowledges the sin sins and wickedness of his people. Now to the list of terms used by Daniel to describe their sin is added wicked behavior. The sin of the Israelites was earlier characterized as trespass, rebellion, disobedience and departing from God’s law. Now we see Daniel adding wickedness to the list. The persistent sins of the people are repeatedly confessed and Daniel admits that the judgment which has fallen upon Israel is of their own sinful deeds and entirely their fault.

Verse 16

Dan 9:16

Daniel 9:16 O Lord,H136 according to allH3605 thy righteousness,H6666 I beseech thee,H4994 let thine angerH639 and thy furyH2534 be turned awayH7725 from thy cityH4480 H5892 Jerusalem,H3389 thy holyH6944 mountain:H2022 becauseH3588 for our sins,H2399 and for the iniquitiesH5771 of our fathers,H1 JerusalemH3389 and thy peopleH5971 are become a reproachH2781 to allH3605 that are aboutH5439 us.

Daniel 9:16

"O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us".

Daniel is pleading for the the righteousness of God. Daniel has already acknowledged that God is right in everything He does (Daniel 9:7). Daniel is not pleading on the grounds of any righteousness either of the Israelites or of himself (Daniel 9:18), rather he is appealing to the righteousness of God. Daniel knows the Israelites deserved everything that happened to them and that they have no righteousness upon which they can appeal to. Therefore Daniel is appealing to the righteousness of the only One who is righteous and the only One who’s mercy can provide them with any hope.

"I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem"

This request was the entire point to Daniel’s prayer. This is what he was praying to God for. Daniel had acknowledged the sins of his people as a whole. He has accepted the responsibility for that sin. He has come to God with a submissive and repentant attitude. This sorrow of heart and contrition of spirit is exactly what was required in the law of Moses as being conditional upon God’s mercy on those who were cursed (Leviticus 26:40-42). Daniel was earnestly and fervently going about the fulfillment of this condition from his heart of hearts.

It cannot be overstated how important it is to approach God according to His righteousness. Daniel, who had experienced God’s judgment upon Israel well knew this and was diligently applying himself to the fulfillment of God’s requirements on this matter. The application we can make from this for today is that the nature of God does not change and His requirements for approaching Him with our petitions has not changed. The Apostle wrote concerning this in Romans 10:3, "For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness , have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God". Daniel was laying his petition at the foot of the throne of God and before He did, He made sure that it was according to the righteousness of God. John teaches us that we can have confidence that God will hear our prayers "if" we ask "according to His will" (1 John 5:14). Today, when we approach the throne of God with our petitions, we can use Daniel and his prayer here as a model for how to be assured that our petitions will be heard approvingly.

Verse 17

Dan 9:17

Daniel 9:17 NowH6258 therefore, O our God,H430 hearH8085 H413 the prayerH8605 of thy servant,H5650 and his supplications,H8469 and cause thy faceH6440 to shineH215 uponH5921 thy sanctuaryH4720 that is desolate,H8076 for the Lord’s sake.H4616 H136

Daniel 9:17

"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."

The word "therefore" is used to mean that everything said before was so that one could say what was coming next. Daniel is pleading for God to hear his prayer which listen, heed and acknowledge. Daniel is pleading for mercy and for the release of his nation so that they can be first and foremost, forgiven of their sins, and secondly for their deliverance from bondage.

"and cause thy face to shine"

When upon Mount Sinai, God allowed Moses to see Him as a He passed by. Moses was allowed within a few feet of the literal presence of God and saw His glory (Exodus 33:18-23), and when he returned to the camp of the Israelites, the skin of his face visibly glowed and this frightened the Israelites so that when Moses talked with them, he would cover his face with a veil (Exodus 34:30-35). This event obviously made quite an impact on the Israelites because in the Psalms and writings of later prophets, the term "cause thy face to shine" was used numerous times. Sin was said to cause God to hide His face from man, (Isaiah 59:2). Even back in the times of Adam and Eve, when Cain was driven away for the murder of his brother Abel, he quoted "and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth" (Genesis 4:14). When God’s face was said to be turned away, it represented the disfavor of God and shame on His people. It was therefore understood to be a sign of God’s favor and approval when His face shined upon His children.

Daniel again demonstrates his considerable knowledge of the law of Moses. When speaking with God on one occasion, God told Moses that sometime after his death, the Israelites would "rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them" (Deuteronomy 31:16). God then went on to say in verse 18, "And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods." When Daniel asked God to let His face shine upon the desolated sanctuary in Jerusalem, he was asking for God’s approval in the rebuilding and restoration of the temple and in the broader sense, was asking God not to hide His face from them any longer.

"for the Lord’s sake."

To understand what Daniel meant here, we must look to something he said in the end of his prayer; "for thy city and thy people are called by thy name". The people of God were scattered throughout the Medo-Persian empire at this time, which included Babylon. The city of Jerusalem was devastated, the walls were torn down and the temple was laying in ruins. Daniel used the words "sanctuary that is desolate" to describe the condition of the temple in this verse. These enslaved and scattered Israelites were known to be the children of a God who they rightfully claimed to be the one true and living God.

It is important to realize that not only was God angry with the Israelites, but He was also ashamed of them. His face was not shining on them, meaning His face was hidden from them in shame. It was not due to any act of God that He was shamed, rather it was wholly the actions of the Israelites that did it. God’s chosen people, the people He called the children of God had abandoned Him in the face of the world and gone "whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land" (Deuteronomy 31:16). In Deuteronomy 31:17 of the same context, God said "they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day. Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us?" The God who had delivered the Israelites from Egyptian bondage and helped them throughout the conquest of Canaan and had a temple built to His name in Jerusalem had His children scattered throughout a foreign land in slavery and His temple lay in ruins back in the devastated city of Jerusalem.

God was rightfully ashamed of His people and because of their actions, He had to let them come to the state they were in and in so doing had to endure the scorn that was sure to come from the gentiles over the treatment of the Israelites. The gentiles among whom the Israelites were living would look at the condition of His followers and draw conclusions from that. Their conclusions would inevitably be that their God had abandoned them. The conclusions they drew could cover a wide range of other possibilities such as whether or not their God was powerful enough to shelter them if He even existed. There is no end to what the Gentiles would believe about God with His people enslaved and their temple and capitol city destroyed.

Daniel knew God was ashamed of his people and he knew why. And for His sake, for His reputation, he was appealing to God for forgiveness. Daniel knew that God’s reputation among the gentiles had been damaged and he knew that it was wholly the responsibility of the Israelites that brought this on to Him. Daniel wanted more than anything for his people to return to Jerusalem. rebuild the city, rebuild the temple, and re-establish God’s reputation among the gentiles of the earth.

The Hebrew writer wrote of God and who He was unashamed to claim as His own: Hebrews 11:16, "But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city". It is significant to note that in this chapter of Hebrews, which is sometimes referred to as God’s hall of faith, those who God was unashamed of were those whose obedience was set forth as an inspired example for Christians of the time and for all ages since.

Verse 18

Dan 9:18

Daniel 9:18 O my God,H430 inclineH5186 thine ear,H241 and hear;H8085 openH6491 thine eyes,H5869 and beholdH7200 our desolations,H8074 and the cityH5892 whichH834 is calledH7121 byH5921 thy name:H8034 forH3588 weH587 do notH3808 presentH5307 our supplicationsH8469 beforeH6440 thee forH5921 our righteousnesses,H6666 butH3588 forH5921 thy greatH7227 mercies.H7356

Daniel 9:18

"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 has presented His case and the case of His people at the feet of God on His throne. This prayer had been carefully conducted according to the conditions set forth in the law of Moses and it came from Daniel’s heart. Daniel pleads God to open his ears and listen to his plea.

"open thine eyes, and behold our desolations"

Daniel pleads with God to look upon the sorry state they had fallen into. Look at the destruction and desolation and have mercy.

"for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies."

Notice Daniel is using the pronoun "we". He is not praying by himself, for himself alone. He is praying as a spokesman for the entire nation of Israel. There can be no doubt that Daniel was not the only one praying on behalf of the nation of Israel concerning this matter. If one person could have prayed them out of their captivity, then one person would have been able to keep them out of it by prayer and we know there was at least a remnant of faithful Israelites in Jerusalem when she fell.

As indicated earlier, this prayer of confession, acknowledgement of guilt and petition for peace was not something dreamed up in the mind of Daniel. This prayer was a condition which had to be met if God were to remember His covenant with them (Leviticus 26:40-42). Daniel knew there was no righteousness of theirs upon which to plead for God’s mercy. He knew they deserved everything they got and that God was justified in His punishment of them. Daniel was pleading for the mercies of God based solely upon His merciful nature and nothing else. They had done nothing to deserve it, nothing to earn it, could not pay for it with any righteousness of their own and were coming to God’s feet with nothing more than themselves to offer. They were like the Christians in Laodicea mentioned in Revelation 3:17, "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked". The only thing they had to offer God was a promise to be faithful and loyal to Him. They wanted mercy and forgiveness so that they could return and serve Him on His terms and they were hoping God would want them to return enough to accept them in their pitiful state and allow them to do just that.

What a lesson on God’s grace that can be found here in this account. A people who had sinned, bringing shame to themselves and to God, and were deserving of death, coming to God with nothing to offer but themselves in their most pitiful state, hoping for mercy and deliverance. That sounds like us today when out of a pure heart and a contrite spirit, we come to God in the same state, making the same plea and hoping for the same deliverance. Truly it was a gracious act on the part of God in returning the Israelites to Jerusalem and likewise it was an even more gracious act on the part of God to send His Son to earth to die so that all can be delivered from the eternal bondage of sin. One cannot look at such a demonstration of mercy and grace and not help but be touched in their heart. We truly do serve a God who is merciful and gracious and we must never ever allow ourselves to forget that He is rich in mercy and that all of his acts are righteous while ours at their very best are never deserving of God’s favor. God shows His mercy and grace because of His nature and His righteousness, and not because of ours in any way.

All that is required of us, is the same thing that was required of the Israelites; obedient service. Return and serve. Return and obey. Return and do what we should have done in the first place, trust, serve and obey. It won’t earn or pay for God’s gracious offer, but if and only if we do it, we today, like the Israelites then, will receive deliverance from our bondage and find forgiveness, mercy and grace.

The words of Paul echo this great truth in new testament times: Titus 3:5, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost".

Verse 19

Dan 9:19

Daniel 9:19 O Lord,H136 hear;H8085 O Lord,H136 forgive;H5545 O Lord,H136 hearkenH7181 and do;H6213 deferH309 not,H408 for thine own sake,H4616 O my God:H430 forH3588 thy cityH5892 and thy peopleH5971 are calledH7121 by thy name.H8034

Daniel 9:19

"O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name."

"for thy city and thy people are called by thy name"

Daniel is undoubtedly referring to Jerusalem which was the capitol city of Judah and was where the temple was. The Meaning of Jerusalem is considered by many scholars to be the city of Salem, or of peace. The oldest form of the name is "Uru-sa-lim". The Psalmist identifies Salem with Jerusalem in Psalms 76:1-2, "In Judah is God known: his name is great in Israel. In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion". God is identified with the city of Jerusalem by name.

In 1 Kings 8:22-53 and 2 Chronicles 6:14-42, we have two accounts of a prayer to God by Solomon. The temple he built had been finished and the Israelites had brought the ark of the covenant to the temple and were worshipping God. Upon completion of the ceremonies, the "glory of the LORD had filled the house of God" (2 Chronicles 5:14), to such a degree that "the priests could not stand to minister". At this time Solomon offered his prayer to God. In both accounts of Solomon’s prayer, he made a reference to the temple as "this house, which I have builded" and that is was "called by thy name" (1 Kings 8:43, 2 Chronicles 6:33). The temple was referred to as the "temple of God" or the "house of God" numerous times in scripture.

In scripture the Israelites were referred to as the God’s children in a variety of different forms. The psalmist called them the "children of the most High" (Psalms 82:6). The prophet Hosea in 1:10, "sons of the living God". God desired them to call refer to Him as their "Father", Jeremiah 3:19. The term of children of God is used 9 times in the New Testament and the term "children of Israel" occurs 644 times in the old testament. The name "Israel" means "prince with God".

The study of God putting His name on His possessions and His people is an exhaustive study in itself. However, a rudimentary study of this topic reveals immediately that God wants His people and His possessions to be named after Him. This is evidence that God considers His possessions valuable enough to wear His name. One does not put one’s name on things they do not want their name associated with. God wants the association of His people and He wants them to be identified with Him by name.

Isaiah wrote concerning the name of God in Isaiah 42:8, "I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images".

Not only does God desire that His possessions bear His name, He indicates in Isaiah that He will not allow any glory due Him to go to another. This includes the name worn by His people and on His city and on His temple. The application we can make for today is that God’s unchanging nature demands the same of us today. God’s name needs to be on His house. God’s name needs to be worn by His people and no other. Christians today are identified by the name they wear. It was prophecied in Isaiah 62:2, "And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name" and fulfilled by inspiration in Acts 11:26, "...And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch".

Jesus Christ, being the only begotten Son of God, was God, manifested in flesh on the earth. When we call ourselves Christians today, we are identified with God. We wear on ourselves the name of God. This name was important enough that it was mentioned in prophecy, and it was fulfilled. Paul condemned the Christians in Corinth for identifying themselves with the names of men, "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided ? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" (1 Corinthians 1:12-13). If we want to be assured of living our lives as God’s children, then we must identify ourselves as such by name, wearing no other, identified with no other and serving no other; Christians only and only Christians and the body of Christ, which is the church should likewise bear God’s name.

Even a basic study of this topic reveals that God is possessive of His children and jealous of them wearing any other name. Let us be sure that we honor His wishes and give all the glory due His name, to Him, where it rightfully belongs and try to live our lives in such a way, that we glorify Him and only Him, and that He will be proud to let us wear His name and likewise proud to have His name upon us.

Verses 20-21

Dan 9:20-21

Daniel 9:20 And whilesH5750 IH589 was speaking,H1696 and praying,H6419 and confessingH3034 my sinH2403 and the sinH2403 of my peopleH5971 Israel,H3478 and presentingH5307 my supplicationH8467 beforeH6440 the LORDH3068 my GodH430 forH5921 the holyH6944 mountainH2022 of my God;H430

Daniel 9:21 Yea, whilesH5750 IH589 was speakingH1696 in prayer,H8605 even the manH376 Gabriel,H1403 whomH834 I had seenH7200 in the visionH2377 at the beginning,H8462 being caused to flyH3286 swiftly,H3288 touchedH5060 H413 me about the timeH6256 of the eveningH6153 oblation.H4503

Daniel and Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks

Daniel chapter 9 is probably one of the most disagreed upon chapters in all of the Bible. There is scarcely a word in it concerning the seventy week prophecy that is not disputed by somebody on either side of the spectrum of believers versus non-believers.

Millennialists interpret this chapter in support of their various doctrines. There are a number of millennial views to deal with, each having their own distinct belief structure all of which claim that Jesus Christ will return to earth some day and establish a literal thousand year reign. Millennialism at its core level is wrong. Jesus Christ is never going to return to earth to reign in a literal kingdom. Jesus Christ Himself taught a number of things regarding His kingdom which must be recognized as truth. A brief overview is in order for this study in light of the overwhelming abuse of Daniel chapter 9 in regards of millennial doctrine.

Jesus taught in Matthew 16:28, "Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom". Jesus referred to the kingdom that was coming as "his kingdom". Jesus plainly stated that His kingdom was coming in the lifetimes of those who were in attendance at that particular time. One would scarce think it would be necessary to point out the fact to our millennial friends that at the time of this study, it is almost 2000 years since Jesus made that statement. All of the people who were standing there with Him at that time have been dead now for nearly twenty centuries. This leaves us with the following conclusion that must be drawn from the facts at hand. Either the kingdom of Christ is here, or Jesus Christ was mistaken when He stated what He did about the coming of His kingdom. The consequences for such a thing would discount Jesus Christ as being deity and would therefore attack the very foundation upon which we build our faith in Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God and therefore sharing in the nature of the divine godhead. Scripture absolutely identifies Jesus Christ as being God, (Hebrews 1:8), and so being, His nature is such that He cannot lie (Titus 1:5) therefore He cannot make a statement which is not the truth.

On at least one occasion, when being confronted by the Pharisees on "when the kingdom of God should come", Jesus answered them with this statement, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:20-21). Jesus told them the kingdom would not be something that would be seen, or observed. Nobody will be able to point to His kingdom and say, "there is the kingdom of God". He then told them the kingdom was within them, meaning it is a spiritual kingdom and not a physical one.

When standing before Pilate on the night of His betrayal, Jesus made this statement, "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence" (John 18:36). Jesus referred to the kingdom as "my kingdom" and He said it was not of this world. This complements His teaching to the Pharisees that His kingdom was not physical but spiritual in nature. Then in a later statement to Pilate at this same hearing Jesus said, "Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world". So we know from the mouth of Jesus that; (1) His kingdom was coming within the lifetimes of some He taught; (2) His kingdom was spiritual and not physical; (3) and Jesus Christ came to earth to be a king.

There is plenty of evidence in scripture that supports the existence of Christ’s kingdom in the first century. Paul taught the Colossians 1:13 that they had been translated [paste tense], "into the kingdom of His dear Son". The Hebrew writer referred to himself and his readers as "receiving [present tense], a kingdom" That means it is happening now, not some distant time thousands of years later. When John wrote the Revelation, he affirmed himself to be "in the kingdom" of Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:9). One cannot be "receiving", and "translated into" and then "in" a kingdom that does not exist. A kingdom cannot function without a king and a king without a kingdom is not a king. Jesus Christ who came to earth to be a king therefore is ruling over His spiritual kingdom right now.

The millennialists have got it all wrong, so their understanding of Daniel is completely at odds with clear teachings of Jesus as recorded in the inspired text. Their entire template for their beliefs is wrong before they even approach Daniel chapter 9. The only way they can get the elements of the seventy weeks prophecy to fit their model is to force it into a mold that the text doesn’t support. If millennialism were true, then many of the things Jesus and other inspired writers taught cannot be reconciled and are therefore not the truth and we know that God’s word is truth. Jesus Christ is absolutely returning to earth, but it is not to set up an earthly kingdom. Jesus rejected the offer of being an earthly king when the Israelites tried to make Him one by force, (John 6:15). 2 Peter 3:10 reads, "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." The next time Jesus comes to earth will be the end of the existence of earth. "there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust" (Acts 24:15). "The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5:28-29).

Daniel 9:20-21

"And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and 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; Yea, whiles 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"

Interestingly it is noted here that Daniel was speaking his prayer out loud. We know from earlier writings of Daniel that he was devoted to regular prayer. It was this devotion to daily prayer that the Chaldeans used to trick Darius into throwing him to the lions. There cannot be enough said to emphasize the significance of regular prayer to God and speaking one’s prayers out loud is without question an acceptable means of communication with our creator.

"Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer"

Daniel was not finished praying when Gabriel arrived with his divine message. We will never know this side of paradise what else Daniel may have said in his petition to God. However, what we do have recorded of the prayer fulfilled all of God’s conditions for the ending of the captivity according to the prophets.

"even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning"

Daniel identified Gabriel as the same being that visited him with a diving message at the first of his visions. Daniel’s first vision recorded for us was the vision of the four kingdoms recorded in chapter 7 which came to him during the first year of king Belsazzar. During that vision, Daniel said he came near to one of the heavenly beings which resembled a man in form and asked him to explain the interpretation of the vision he had just seen. Gabriel was mentioned by name in the second vision which occurred in the third year of the reign of Belshazzar. It appears that the identity of the one Daniel was speaking to in his first vision could possibly have been Gabriel. We cannot be sure, but it makes for some interesting speculation.

The King James Version rendering of this text makes it appear as if Gabriel was a man. He was not a physical flesh and blood man. This translation of the text does not reflect the most accurate meaning of what was being recorded. The Greek word for "man" in the text has also been translated as "one" and "person" in the KJV. Young’s Literal Translation renders this passage thus: "yea, while I am speaking in prayer, then that one Gabriel, whom I had seen in vision at the commencement". While I do not want this study to be an endorsement as to the accuracy of Young’s Literal Translation, I do believe this is a more accurate rendering of this particular text.

Gabriel was certainly not a man in the flesh and blood form we understand a man to be. He appears in the New Testament as the angel of the annunciation to Zacharias of the birth of John the Baptist, and to Mary of the birth of Jesus (Luke 1:19; Luke 1:26). When he identified himself to Zacharias he said, "I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God". Obviously Gabriel was of enough ranking among the heavenly beings that he was in the position to receive his orders directly from the person of God Himself. This certainly suggests that Gabriel was an angel of a high ranking station in the heavenly realm. Gabriel was positively identified as an angel in the text of Luke 1:19 and again in Luke 1:26, "And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth". We have every reason to conclude that the Gabriel of Luke and of Daniel are one and the same beings. Therefore the translation of the text as the "man Gabriel" cannot be the most accurate rendering in view of the fact that it does not fit the facts we know from inspiration.

"being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation"

The Greek word rendered as "swiftly" carries the meaning of being fatigued or utterly exhausted. Based on a study of the original language, I feel the New American Standard Updated (NASU), is probably the more accurate rendering of what Daniel meant, "came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering"

We learned from Daniel in chapter 6 and verse 10 that he was in the habit of kneeling upon his knees and praying toward Jerusalem three times a day. This evening oblation was obviously his third daily prayer ritual which he took part in regularly for his entire life.

"touched me"

According to Daniel, Gabriel touched him. This was no ordinary vision, rather this was a literal, in person, visitation of the angel Gabriel the same way he visited Zechariah and Mary a few centuries later to announce the arrival of the Messiah. Daniel specifically mentioned that Gabriel touched him, thereby indicating that this was a heavenly visit from a real angel.

Verse 22

Dan 9:22

Daniel 9:22 And he informedH995 me, and talkedH1696 withH5973 me, and said,H559 O Daniel,H1840 I am nowH6258 come forthH3318 to give thee skillH7919 and understanding.H998

Daniel 9:22

"And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding."

Gabriel was talking with Daniel. Not in a vision obscurely, but with audible words in the same way we would speak to each other in a conversation and he is going to help Daniel understand.

Verse 23

Dan 9:23

Daniel 9:23 At the beginningH8462 of thy supplicationsH8469 the commandmentH1697 came forth,H3318 and IH589 am comeH935 to shewH5046 thee; forH3588 thouH859 art greatly beloved:H2530 therefore understandH995 the matter,H1697 and considerH995 the vision.H4758

Daniel 9:23

"At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision."

Gabriel was sent as soon as Daniel started to pray. Daniel was allowed to finish his supplication before he was interrupted. He had confessed the sins of Israel, acknowledge their guilt, accepted responsibility of their transgressions, declared that God was justified in His actions and pleaded for forgiveness and mercy. Everything that is required for forgiveness and mercy through prayer had been done. Daniel may have had more to say when Gabriel touched him, but at that time, more was unnecessary.

"for thou art greatly beloved:"

Oh, how it would thrill my heart to have any heavenly messenger tell me this. One could only imagine the joy Daniel had to have felt upon hearing these words. Torn from his home as a young boy, mutilated, enslaved and carried away to a foreign land by a hostile force where he lived out his days in forced servitude to others. He had been a slave for almost seventy years. He had survived the conquest of Israel and seen two empires come to power in his lifetime. He had seen more bloodshed, pain and suffering than many people today could imagine. He had been unable to offer worship in the temple his whole life from the day of his capture.

It is obvious from the text that Daniel enjoyed privileges that were most certainly denied to his countrymen, however no amount of privileged treatment can make slavery anything less than what it was. Daniel was never free to return to Israel or he doubtless would have. Daniel would never be able to marry and have a family and in any way live any kind of a normal life. One can only imagine how he had to feel all those years and to maintain his faith to a degree that few on earth ever achieved. And then, at the twilight years of his life, to hear from Gabriel himself that he was greatly beloved amongst the heavenly host would no doubt make it all worthwhile. This student of the scriptures cannot imagine a greater compliment that could be paid a man this side of eternity than to inform him that he was greatly beloved by God.

"therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision."

I am not sure whether the following is the vision itself or if this is Gabriel explaining a vision Daniel previously had but did not fully understand. The wording of the following prophecy is not worded like it is a vision. It is worded more like an explanation of one. We may never know this side of judgment and it makes no difference one way or the other. What is significant is that the next four verses contain some of the most widely disputed prophecy in all of scripture. And in looking at it, I am forced to speculate on why it is that way. The prophecy is marvelously simple. The wording is not at all cryptic or shrouded in apocalyptic imagery. I am persuaded that the following prophecy is the explanation of a vision and I have to concede that Gabriel did a wonderful job of explaining it to Daniel. I have read almost everything I can get my hands on prior to this point in the study in hopes of gleaning whatever knowledge I can to help me better understand it when the time came for me to address this prophecy. And setting here looking at it and preparing to present my thoughts on it, I cannot help but wonder what all the disagreement is about.

First of all, we need to determine what the weeks mean and whether the number 70 is literal or not. The short answer is that we know the weeks are figurative. So then if the weeks are figurative then why would the number then be literal? The seventy weeks is for a literal number of figurative time periods? I think not.

The long answer is that it can be determined through a really simple process of elimination. When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains must be the truth. Daniel 9:25 gives us the time when the seventy weeks begins. It begins at the point that the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem went forth. This will be the first one and not any commands subsequent to that. We know from the prophecy itself in Daniel 9:25 that the rebuilding will be in troublous times. We know from history and from scripture that this was indeed so. The Israelites did not just get an order to go home and rebuild the temple and get to accomplish that without some difficulties. It didn’t happen that way and the prophecy says so. The entire prophecy is said to occur in seventy weeks, which is from the first command to its fulfillment in Christ. The initial command to restore and build Jerusalem came from Cyrus in the first year of his reign. It is recorded in words that cannot be misunderstood in more than one place by more than one inspired writer.

Ezra 1:1-3

"Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem."

That is the command that came forth to "restore and to build Jerusalem". It is recorded also in 2 Chronicles 36:22-23. It is exceedingly significant also to consider the Prophecy of Isaiah in 44:26-28, "That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid". The decree to rebuild Jerusalem absolutely came forth from Cyrus in 539 or 538 BC. of which there can be no reasonable doubt.

In September 539 BC, the Battle of Opis, a major engagement between the armies of Persia under Cyrus the Great and the Babylonian Empire under Nabonidus during the Persian invasion of Mesopotamia was won by Cyrus. At the time, Babylonia was the last major power in western Asia that was not yet under Persian control. The battle was fought in or near the strategic riverside city of Opis, north of the capital Babylon. It resulted in a decisive defeat for the Babylonians.

Nabonidus fled to the city of Babylon, which he had not visited in years. On October 12 Gubaru’s troops entered Babylon without any resistance from the Babylonian armies, and detained Nabonidus. They accomplished this by diverting the Euphrates river into a canal so that the water level dropped to only about three feet which allowed the invading forces to march directly through the river bed and enter at night. On October 29, 539 BC, Cyrus himself entered the city of Babylon and detained Nabonidus. After taking Babylon, according to history, Cyrus proclaimed himself "king of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four corners of the world".

It was in the winter months of 539 when Cyrus took Babylon and proclaimed himself king of the world. Ezra wrote that it was in the first year of the reign of Cyrus that the decree to rebuild Jerusalem went forth. At the very latest it could not have been any later than 538 BC that this decree went forth. We know the day and year that Cyrus came into power and we know from Ezra that he gave the decree to rebuild Jerusalem in the first year of his reign. So let’s say the decree went out in 538 BC at the latest.

The end of seventy weeks prophecy culminates with the ending of sacrifice and the destruction of the city and the sanctuary. That is the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple which put an end to the animal sacrifices and this happened in 70 AD. That is 608 years in round figures. Way more than seventy weeks so we know before anything else that the language is not literal. It does not say seventy years. People seem to somehow look at that and automatically correlate a week to seven years. It doesn’t say that anywhere in the text. It says seventy weeks. We do not have to look any further than that to conclude that the time period is not a literal one. Now, suppose a week really did mean seven years. The text in Daniel 9:26 says "AFTER" threescore and two weeks, the Messiah shall be cut off. That is sixty nine of the seventy weeks and the end of it is pinpointed at the crucifixion of Christ which happened in 30 AD (some say 33 AD). If a week is seven years then we are talking about 483 years. The time span between the decree of Cyrus and the cutting off of the Messiah was 568 years in round numbers.

Premillennialists try and literalize the seventy sevens into a literal time frame of one week for one year by trying to use the decree of Artaxerxes in 458 BC. as the time when the commandment to rebuild the temple went forth. It is true that 490 years after the decree of Artaxerxes is 32 AD which is a remarkable coincidence to say the least. It is exceedingly important to note that the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem did not originate with Artaxerxes. The decree of Artaxerxes was a re-issue of the original written decree of Cyrus in 538 BC. To use the decree of Artaxerxes as the time when the seventy weeks began is to utterly discount and ignore the one made by Cyrus in 538 and to utterly throw out Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 44:26-28. That’s like saying the decree of Cyrus didn’t count even though several Israelites returned to Jerusalem and began working on the temple and taking with them many of the temple treasures that had been confiscated in Nebuchadnezzar’s siege. The Premillennialists also miss the fact that the prophecy said the Messiah would be cut off (executed), after sixty nine weeks. They are still one full 7 year period of time off according to their interpretation.

The decree of Cyrus to rebuild Jerusalem came 69 years after the initial overthrow of the city by Nebuchadnezzar. That’s too close to the seventy year time of the captivity to be a coincidence. The scripture says the captivity would last for 70 years and the decree to go forth happened about that time in their captivity. If we use the decree of Artaxerxes which happened for Ezra in the seventh year of his reign (Ezra 7:7), which was about 458 BC., then the captivity really lasted from 606 to 457 BC which in round numbers is 149 years. The end of the Babylonian captivity of seventy years was when the decree by Cyrus went out, as prophesied in Isaiah 44:26-28 and recorded in Ezra 1:1-3 and 2 Chronicles 36:22-23, which allowed the Israelites to return home and to rebuild the city. Yes the captivity was for seventy years because Jeremiah said seventy years and it was seventy years in round numbers. Gabriel told Daniel seventy weeks. It is obviously a figurative time period because we know for a fact that it was longer than seventy literal weeks from the end of the captivity till Jesus. Weeks cannot mean years because that doesn’t fit the time frame either. There is simply no way to get from 70 weeks to 490 years without doing some pretty impressive scriptural gymnastics and there is no way to fit 490 years into the historical account in any way. So through the process of elimination, we can determine that seventy weeks was not a literal period of time.

So then what did seventy weeks mean? How long of a period of time was it? First off, we should look at the original language to see where the term "seventy weeks" comes from. The word for weeks is the Hebrew word transliterated as "shabua". This word’s literal meaning is "sevens" or "sevenths". Apparently the word is translated into the English word "weeks" based on the fact that it is similarly translated in other passages which clearly tie the context to a literal and defined period of time. Since the context of Daniel 9:24 clearly looks like a period of time and that it is following on the heels of the 70 years prophecy of the Babylonian captivity, the translators are deferring to the word "weeks" based largely upon the translation of other passages elsewhere. The translation of the Hebrew words for seventy weeks can rightfully be translated as "seventy sevens". In fact, the NIV does translate this passage as "seventy sevens" instead of "seventy weeks".

Some numbers had specific meaning to the Israelites and the number 7 was one such number. Multiples of a number with a specific meaning added emphasis or strength to the imagery. The number 7 came to symbolize the meaning of totality or completeness associated with God’s authority on the earth. It is believed by many that the number 7 is a product of adding the number 3 which represented the complete divine, to the number 4 which symbolized the whole earth. The number 10 came to represent human completeness (fullness or power). The number 70 is a multiple of 7 and 10 then being multiplied another 7 times would therefore represent a period of time sufficient for God to accomplish his complete purpose both in heaven and on earth. This expression would be another way of saying "in the fullness of time" as we see in Galatians 4:4.

Now that we have answered the question about the literalness of the seventy weeks timeframe for the prophecy, we are ready to move on to the text of the prophecy itself. The language may have been difficult for someone living centuries before Christ, but from our perspective it is easy to look at the prophecy and correlate the language to actual events that we know happened. It is always easier to look back and identify and understand prophecy which has been fulfilled than it is to look at it before its fulfillment then try to look ahead and speculate. And that is how God meant for it to be. His intention with prophecy and fulfillment was to demonstrate His divine nature in a way that could not be reasonably denied. Prophecy and fulfillment is how God proves Himself to man because only God possesses the ability to look down the road of time at what lies ahead and predict with pinpoint accuracy events that have not yet happened.

Verse 24

Dan 9:24

Daniel 9:24 SeventyH7657 weeksH7620 are determinedH2852 uponH5921 thy peopleH5971 and uponH5921 thy holyH6944 city,H5892 to finishH3607 the transgression,H6588 and to make an endH2856 of sins,H2403 and to make reconciliationH3722 for iniquity,H5771 and to bring inH935 everlastingH5769 righteousness,H6664 and to seal upH2856 the visionH2377 and prophecy,H5030 and to anointH4886 the most Holy.H6944 H6944

Daniel 9:24

"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy."

In response to Daniel’s prayer, Gabriel here gives Daniel a figurative period of time in which a list of things will be accomplished. All of these accomplishments culminated with the coming of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah.

1) to finish the transgression,

The original language literally means to "shut up; to remove from God’s sight.” Jesus came in the "fulness of the time" (Galatians 4:4) meaning in the time appointed when the transgression of the people had reached the point where it completed God’s arrangement for the fulfilling of His promise to usher in the Messiah. Finishing the transgression is closely associated with the ending of sins. The two are bound together.

2) "and to make an end of sins,"

This was accomplished when Christ "condemned sin in the flesh" (Romans 8:3). Only through Jesus Christ has there ever been any such thing as the absolute forgiveness of sins. Under the Mosaic Law, sins were atoned for but were not taken away (Hebrews 10:4). Through the blood of Christ, the complete forgiveness of sins was made available both to those living before (Hebrews 9:15) and after the cross (Hebrews 10:12). Jesus did not bring an end to sinful behavior, which will endure to the end of time itself. Rather He made an end of the bondage and penalty of sin for those who seek redemption, in and through Jesus Christ, according to His will.

3) "and to make reconciliation for iniquity,"

The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), which is understood to be eternal destruction from the presence of God (2 Thessalonians 1:9). Our sins have separated us from God (Isaiah 59:2), and we are in need of reconciliation. This was accomplished through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. The Israelites enjoyed a temporary reconciliation with God from their blood sacrifices. The Hebrew writer went into great detail on this in chapters 9 and 10. Under the Mosaic law, once a year, the high priest would enter into the holy of holies where he would be a type of mediator and make reconciliation for the sins of the people (Hebrews 9:7). But this reconciliation was not complete (Hebrews 9:9), because the blood of bulls and goats could not completely take away sin, thus there was a remembrance of sin every year (Hebrews 10:3-4).

Hebrews 9:11-15

"But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats , and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance."

The reconciliation that Christ made for sin was not in need of repetition. Notice in verse 15 of Hebrews 9 that "by means of death, [Jesus offered His blood] for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament". The complete reconciliation of sin for those living under the old testament did not happen until Jesus offered His sacrifice for their sins. Jesus’ blood shed on the cross was for everyone living both before and after His crucifixion.

The application of this for us living after the cross is mentioned by Paul in Romans 5:10, "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled , we shall be saved by his life."

Paul also mentions the reconciliation of Jesus in other epistles: 2 Corinthians 5:18-21, "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

Colossians 1:20-22, "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight."

4) "and to bring in everlasting righteousness,"

Everlasting means perpetual. The new covenant is a much better one than the old one and was "established upon better promises" (Hebrews 8:6). The old covenant could not provide perpetual righteousness, thus is had a fault (Hebrews 8:7) and was replaced by the new covenant. Jesus accomplished this through His death, burial and resurrection. The righteousness that Jesus ushered in through His sacrifice would never be in need of renewal. The righteousness under the Mosaic law was only a temporary measure set in place until such time that Jesus came in the flesh and through His sacrifice ushered in a righteousness that had no end, "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more" (Hebrews 8:12).

5) "and to seal up the vision and prophecy,"

The sealing of vision and prophecy has a dual meaning here. The Greek word for "seal" is OT:2856, "chatham", pronounced (khaw-tham’). It carries the meaning of "to close up". It is translated in the KJV as, "make an end", "mark" and "stop". This word is used in Isaiah 29:11 to illustrate the inability to read a book due to its being sealed, or closed up, "And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed".

The sealing up of the vision and prophecy is speaking first of the visions and prophecies concerning Jesus Christ. They would no longer be open and awaiting fulfillment. Secondly, it means to bring in the fullness of revelation and thus bring no more. So we know that during this period of time represented as seventy weeks, we can expect the OT prophecies concerning Christ to be fulfilled and the reception of the covenant in its entirety to be received. And we know from scripture that this has indeed happened. Scripture makes the internal self-affirmation that everything pertaining to life and godliness has been given (2 Peter 1:3), that is was once for all time delivered (Judges 1:3), and that it is God breathed and throughly furnishes us unto all good works (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Having received the will of God embodied in the new covenant in its entirety and recorded in the scriptures, there is therefore no reason for any further prophecy or vision and according to Daniel it was finished and sealed up during the period of time characterized as seventy weeks.

6) "and to anoint the most Holy."

This is of course in reference to Jesus Christ. The word "Christ" (Christos) is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew "Messiah" (mashiach; compare in the New Testament, John 1:41; John 4:25, "Messiah"), which means "anointed". Jesus Christ is recognized as the fulfiller of the Messianic hopes of the Old Testament and of the Jewish people. After the resurrection, Jesus Christ became the current title for Jesus among the saved.

The Hebrew word for "anoint", OT:4886, "mashach" means to mark, smear or consecrate. It is and was a common word in both ancient and modern Hebrew. It is a verb in this form and the objects of this verb are usually people, sacrificial animals or objects of worship. In this case, it was referring to Jesus Christ, the Messiah, or the anointed one.

On the occasion when the chief priests in Jerusalem forbad the teaching of Jesus by his disciples following the healing of the man at the beautiful gate, the disciples assembled and prayed to God for strength and boldness, this was said during that prayer recorded in Acts 4:27, "For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed..." When Peter was speaking to Cornelius at his conversion, Peter made this statement recorded in Acts 10:38, "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him". There can be no doubt that the anointing of the "most Holy" is indeed a Messianic prophecy of Jesus Christ.

Verse 25

Dan 9:25

Daniel 9:25 KnowH3045 therefore and understand,H7919 that fromH4480 the going forthH4161 of the commandmentH1697 to restoreH7725 and to buildH1129 JerusalemH3389 untoH5704 the MessiahH4899 the PrinceH5057 shall be sevenH7651 weeks,H7620 and threescoreH8346 and twoH8147 weeks:H7620 the streetH7339 shall be builtH1129 again,H7725 and the wall,H2742 even in troublousH6695 times.H6256

Daniel 9:25

"Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times."

The going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem came from Cyrus in about 536 BC. This commandment is recorded for us in 2 Chronicles 36:23 and in more detail in Ezra 1:1-4"

"Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem."

Those who desperately try to resolve the timeline of the seventy weeks to a literal period of one year per day in the vision vainly try and set forth the idea that the commandment to rebuild the temple really went out in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah when Artaxerxes sent them to finish the restoration of the temple and the city in 458 and 444 respectively. They claim that the commandment of Cyrus did not really count because the temple and the walls of Jerusalem were not completely restored. Those who try and cling to this belief need to come to the realization that Darius the Great (Hystaspes) reissued the original decree of Cyrus and temple was dedicated and brought into service in his 6th year as king in 516 BC. Ezra 5:17 reads: "Now therefore, if it seem good to the king, let there be search made in the king’s treasure house, which is there at Babylon, whether it be so, that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter."

Following in Ezra 6:1-3 we read of Darius reaction to this information he received: "Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon. And there was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of the Medes, a roll, and therein was a record thus written: In the first year of Cyrus the king the same Cyrus the king made a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, Let the house be builded, the place where they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations thereof be strongly laid..."

And then moving along in Ezra we read this: Ezra 6:15, "And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king." This was in about 516 BC., which will not allow for a 483 year time interval. Yet so many persist in forcing a literal time period into the account.

Of exceeding importance in this examination is that God declared through the prophet Zechariah that it was Zerubbabel who would lay the foundation of the temple and that it was he would finish it. Zechariah 4:9 reads, "The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it...". Zerubbabel was informed by a prophet of God and it has been recorded by inspiration that the temple would be finished in his lifetime and at his hands. According to Ezra 3:8 the rebuilding of the "house of the Lord" began in the second year after they returned from Babylonian Captivity after Cyrus freed them. Since Zerubbabel was said to have finished the rebuilding, it therefore validates the original decree of Cyrus as being the one that started the seven sevens time interval given in 537 or 538 BC., and certainly not the decree of Artaxerxes when Ezra and Nehemiah went to work on the walls and the temple 58 or so years later when Zerubbabel was most certainly dead. If Zerubbabel were still alive at the time of Ezra then he would have been 77 years old if he had been born the same year work began on the temple under the decree of Cyrus.

In addition to this, Isaiah projected the decree of Cyrus in Isaiah 44:26-28, "That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid." with additional supportive text in Isaiah 45:1; Isaiah 45:13.

So we see here that Darius did not make a new decree. He simply was made aware of the decree of Cyrus, (which had been prophesied by Isaiah), and in accordance with Persian national law, which states that any official decree of a king could not be altered (Daniel 6:8; Daniel 6:12; Daniel 6:15, and Esther 1:19; Esther 8:8), caused the decree of Cyrus to be enforced. So the commandment of Cyrus went out in about 538 BC. The wording of the text gives us 69 weeks between that decree and "Messiah the Prince" which can be none other than Jesus Christ. So we have a period of time represented here by "seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks" which totals sixty nine which starts in 538 BC and ends with the death of Jesus Christ in about 33 AD. Some people give the date as 30 AD. There is some dispute as to the exact year of the crucifixion of Christ. Daniel 9:26 plainly bookmarks the end of the sixty nine week interval with the cutting off of the Messiah which can be nothing other than His crucifixion. The sixty nine week interval following the seven week interval totals sixty nine. If a day in the vision represented a year then this would be a literal time period of four hundred and eighty three years. From 538 BC to 30 AD is five hundred and sixty eight years so it is obvious that the time intervals are figurative. No amount of scriptural gymnastics can change this. Those who want so much to demonstrate a literal time frame and somehow force a four hundred and eighty three year time period into Jewish history that somehow aligns with the text need to stop doing that and start figuring out what was meant by the figurative terms used in Daniel’s vision. There is no way to make four hundred and eighty three years fit. It just won’t do it. So with that stated, what exactly is meant by the terms used in the vision?

We are here confronted with apocalyptic periods. In our text, it is “seventy weeks”, but maybe a better insight is found in the NIV which references “seventy sevens”. Scholars have referenced these as “heptads” which means values of seven. These seventy weeks or seventy sevens will be broken into three units as follows:

(a) the first unit of seven sevens (weeks),

(b) the second unit of 62 sevens (weeks) and

(c) the third and final unit of the seventieth seven (week) as one seven.

If these are added together, we have seventy sevens or seventy weeks. In this study, we will be more concerned with the first set of sevens and the final seven. We will address the middle portion more as we see the projected and chronological historic overviews of the Greek and Roman empires that followed that of the Medo-Persians in the remaining chapters of Daniel.

The number 7 came to symbolize the meaning of totality or completeness associated with God’s authority on the earth. Therefore the apocalyptic meaning of the term "seven sevens" and "threescore and two sevens" are descriptive of a period of time sufficient for God to accomplish His will on earth. There are two distinct intervals here. One represented the interval of time during which Jerusalem and the temple would be rebuilt and the longer interval will be representative of the years following the rebuilding of the temple to the death of Jesus Christ on the cross (Daniel 9:26), described as the Messiah being "cut off".

"the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times."

Daniel learns that the city of Jerusalem which at the moment lay in ruins would be restored. However the process would not be without difficulties. And indeed history records that the rebuilding was not accomplished without overcoming any hurdles and that it was problematic at best.

Shortly after the work on the temple began, the Samaritans offered to help but were rejected. Samaria was located within the northern kingdom of Israel. When the kingdom was split leaving Judah to the south and Israel to the north, the northern kingdom eventually gave themselves over to idolatry. They had a form of worship which was similar to the worship of God in Judah but did not measure up to the standards set forth in scripture for proper worship of God which was to be conducted in Jerusalem at the temple. The Israelites of the northern kingdom set up their own sanctuary at a place of their choosing and from there, the worship they offered further eroded as the influences of other foreign gods entered in due to the mixing of their culture with others, namely the Assyrians. As a result, the faithful Jews charged with rebuilding the temple refused to have any part whatsoever with the Samaritans.

In Ezra 4, the separation between Samaritan and Jew over the rebuilding of the temple came about shortly after the Persians allowed the Jews to return from the Babylonian captivity in 538 B.C. The "residents of Samaria" were rejected by the Jews when they asked to help rebuild the temple. Angered by this refusal, the Samaritans opposed the rebuilding of the temple and did whatever they could to prevent the Jews from restoring it and the city. They even went so far as to hire professional counselors to oppose them before the various Persian kings from Cyrus to Darius the Great.

During the reign of Artaxerxes, they wrote a letter to him accusing the Jews of being seditious and untrustworthy and successfully thwarted the rebuilding of the city walls for a time. This letter is recorded in Ezra 4:12-16, "Be it known unto the king, that the Jews which came up from thee to us are come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad city, and have set up the walls thereof, and joined the foundations. Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls set up again, then will they not pay toll, tribute, and custom, and so thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings. Now because we have maintenance from the king’s palace, and it was not meet for us to see the king’s dishonour, therefore have we sent and certified the king; That search may be made in the book of the records of thy fathers: so shalt thou find in the book of the records, and know that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful unto kings and provinces, and that they have moved sedition within the same of old time: for which cause was this city destroyed. We certify the king that, if this city be builded again, and the walls thereof set up, by this means thou shalt have no portion on this side the river."

Artaxerxes’ reaction to this letter was immediate as recorded in Ezra 4:18-24, "The letter which ye sent unto us hath been plainly read before me. And I commanded, and search hath been made, and it is found that this city of old time hath made insurrection against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made therein. There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, which have ruled over all countries beyond the river; and toll, tribute, and custom, was paid unto them. Give ye now commandment to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not builded, until another commandment shall be given from me. Take heed now that ye fail not to do this: why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings? Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power. Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia."

The Samaritans used the history of the rebellious Jews against them to raise the suspicions of the kings of Persia. The kings wanted their tribute money without any trouble and if the Jews were only going to revolt against them and be a thorn in their side, then what incentive did they have to allow them to grow in power? The strategy of the Samaritans worked and the Jews were forced to stop the rebuilding process.

As the years went by, Artaxerxes, also called Cambyses II, died and was replaced by Darius the Great in 522 BC. The prophets Haggai and Zechariah, by the word of God, got the Jews restarted with the restoration of the temple. Zerubbabel and Jeshua with the aid of the prophets organized the rebuilding of the temple and work was being done to that goal (Ezra 5:2). The ever meddlesome Samaritans across the river to the north became aware of this and sent a letter to Darius the Great informing him of the rebuilding of the temple in hopes that he would follow in the steps of Cambyses II and halt their restoration efforts by force. They were in for quite a surprise and this student of God’s word finds the irony of this situation to be quite appropriate for the grief that was caused by the Samaritans in their resistance to the rebuilding efforts of the Jews.

The Samaritans, like all other holdings of the various empires in power were forced to pay tribute or taxes to the supreme monarchy, which in this case was Persia. In Ezra 6:7-8, we see the decision of Darius the Great: "Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place. Moreover I made a decree what ye shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king’s goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expenses be given unto these men, that they be not hindered." Not only did Darius put a stop to the Samaritan opposition, he supported their rebuilding effort with the tribute money that was due him from the Samaritans. Darius donated the Samaritan tribute money to the rebuilding efforts of the temple. I often speculate with great satisfaction, the outrage experienced by the Samaritans over this development.

Indeed the house of God was rebuilt in troublesome times, but it was rebuilt and dedicated in 516 BC., about 546 years before the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Verse 26

Dan 9:26

Daniel 9:26 And afterH310 threescoreH8346 and twoH8147 weeksH7620 shall MessiahH4899 be cut off,H3772 but notH369 for himself: and the peopleH5971 of the princeH5057 that shall comeH935 shall destroyH7843 the cityH5892 and the sanctuary;H6944 and the endH7093 thereof shall be with a flood,H7858 and untoH5704 the endH7093 of the warH4421 desolationsH8074 are determined.H2782

Daniel 9:26

"And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined."

After sixty two periods of time identified as a week. These weeks are obviously symbolic and not literal. Many erstwhile and sincere scholars believe each week to represent one year but in order to force this interpretation into reality, some significant scriptural evidence to the contrary must be downright ignored.

As stated earlier in this study, the rendering of the original language as "sevens" instead of "weeks" better fits the reality of scripture and the historical account.

And after threescore and two [sevens] shall Messiah be cut off.

The first time interval accounted for the rebuilding of the temple which began in 537 BC and ended with the rebuilding of the walls in 444 BC. This covers a time span of about 93 years. The second time interval mentioned in this vision is one of threescore and two (62) sevens. It begins with the finishing of the walls of Jerusalem and ends with the cutting off of the Messiah. This can only be the death of Jesus Christ on the cross which happened in about 30 AD. This covers a time span of about 474 years. If a week equaled 7 years then we would be looking for a time span of 434 years. It’s close but not nearly close enough to attribute the "year for a day" interpretation to this vision. And even if it did work out, the first interval which would have been 49 years under the "year for a day" interpretation does not work out either. Therefore we can decisively conclude that these intervals of time are not literal years for a day.

Nothing is mentioned here of this interval of time which we refer to today as the interbiblical period. This particular vision only pays this interval of time an honorable mention. However, in Daniel’s last recorded vision, this interval of time receives a full treatment.

This interval time, here identified vaguely in apocalyptic language ends with the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. Following this event are others which positively align with messianic history.

"and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary"

Jerusalem was utterly destroyed in AD 70 when Titus, the son of Emperor Vespasian utterly destroyed the city and the temple. This happened after the death of Jesus on the cross but will be put into clearer perspective in the following verse.

"and the end thereof shall be with a flood and unto the end of the war desolations are determined."

The final destruction of Jerusalem was after a devastating defeat. The symbolism of a flood indicates the overwhelming degree of destruction that was to befall the city. And the destruction of Jerusalem did mark the end of a war with the Roman Empire. The Jews were utterly subjugated. The temple and the city was destroyed and the population was scattered across the Roman Empire, some going as refugees while others were forced to relocate at the command of the Empire. The result was that as a nation, the Jews were destroyed. Jerusalem lay in ruins, the temple was burned. The records of the Levitical line of Aaron were lost in the destruction which made it impossible for anyone to prove their bloodline qualification for serving as a priest in the temple. Never again would there be sacrifices offered to God from the temple in Jerusalem. The commonwealth status of the Jews, as the chosen people of God, was over. And to this day, nearly 2000 years later, it has not been restored, nor will it ever be restored.

"desolations are determined"

Desolations is a word associated elsewhere with the destruction or defilement of the temple. We will see similar wording concerning the abomination that maketh desolate in the last vision of Daniel concerning the acts of Antiochus IV in the temple.

In Matthew 24 is an account of Jesus warning his disciples of the impending destruction of the temple. In Matthew 24:15 Jesus says, "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet..." In this vision, Daniel is directly prophesying the destruction of Jerusalem and uses the words "desolations are determined" thus Jesus was making a connection between Daniel’s vision here and the coming destruction of the temple.

Daniel earlier referred to the destroyed temple of his day as desolate in his prayer of supplication leading up to this vision as recorded in Daniel 9:17. Daniel knew when he heard the word desolations in connection with the destruction of the sanctuary that the temple which was going to be built would not be a permanent one. It would be destroyed like the first one had. No doubt Daniel was happy with the revelation that the temple would be rebuilt in the first part of this vision, but now he has been told that it will be destroyed again. It is hard to imagine what the aged Daniel would be thinking at this time. It is certain that he knew fully well the suffering that would be associated with it having lived through just such an event himself.

Verse 27

Dan 9:27

Daniel 9:27 And he shall confirmH1396 the covenantH1285 with manyH7227 for oneH259 week:H7620 and in the midstH2677 of the weekH7620 he shall cause the sacrificeH2077 and the oblationH4503 to cease,H7673 and forH5921 the overspreadingH3671 of abominationsH8251 he shall make it desolate,H8074 even untilH5704 the consummation,H3617 and that determinedH2782 shall be pouredH5413 uponH5921 the desolate.H8076

Daniel 9:27

"And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."

The first two time intervals used sixty nine of the seventy sevens determined at the beginning of this vision. There is yet one seven to be accounted for. We have already seen something of the seventieth week in the preceding verse. The sixty ninth week ended with cutting off the Messiah which is without a doubt the crucifixion. So we know that everything that happened historically after the death of Christ goes within the seventieth seven, or the third time interval of Daniel’s vision. Apocalyptic language is known for not giving a step by step account of events in perfect Chronological order so this should neither be a surprise nor a difficulty for the reader to understand.

The covenant being confirmed is undoubtedly the new covenant or the gospel since we know Jesus wouldn’t be confirming a covenant that had been in effect for centuries and was passing from the scene.

"and in the midst of the week"

This literally means in the middle of the time interval which demonstrates that the following events are going to occur within the final time interval of the vision and not at the beginning or the end. Mark 16:20 says, "And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following...". And we know these signs were accomplished through the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit; Hebrews 2:4, "God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will".

There are those who claim that all miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit ended by 70 AD. On the other end of the scale there are those who claim that they are still going on today. It is exceedingly significant that when we look at these intervals of time in a relative sense, even though they are not literally one year for every day, they still bear a proportional size to the actual timeframes they represent. The time interval for the rebuilding of the temple and the walls of Jerusalem was seven sevens which represented about 93 years in history. The second interval was for sixty two sevens which spanned about 474 years. The third time interval is for one seven which proportionally should be for a shorter period of time. Jesus died in 30 AD. The destruction of Jerusalem was in 70 AD which is 40 years. We already know that the first two time intervals are not year for a day time spans. There is no reason to conclude that the last one is either.

For those who claim the Holy Spirit is working miraculously today, they need to explain why the last seven or the seventieth week stretches along for roughly 2000 years while the other two time intervals, which were represented by more sevens, are so vastly disproportional.

Those who claim all miraculous gifts stopped at 70 AD need to explain how the destruction of Jerusalem happened in the midst or during the last time interval which was the confirmation period where the Holy Spirit was working signs and wonders.

"and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease"

The Jews who rejected Jesus Christ as the Messiah had continued to observe temple worship under the Law of Moses. Up until the destruction of the temple, blood sacrificial worship according to the Law of Moses uninterrupted. The sacrifice and oblation ceased with the destruction of the temple. The Jews realized that without the temple and the sanctuary, there could be no sacrifice, thus when the temple was destroyed, the sacrifices associated with temple worship ceased. Such was the case when Solomon’s temple was destroyed in Daniel’s time and so it was again when the temple was destroyed again in 70 AD.

"and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate"

Here is the phrase that Jesus directly referred to in Matthew 24:15. There is no doubt the impending destruction of Jerusalem described by Jesus is the one referred to here by Daniel. What was the abomination that brought about this destruction? It can be none other than the rejection of Jesus Christ as the Messiah and the continuance of temple worship under the old covenant. It was 40 years since the death of Jesus Christ and the unbelieving, disobedient Jews were offering old covenant worship in direct rebellion to the new covenant. They had rejected the blood of Jesus and were still offering the blood of bulls and of goats which could never take away sin (Hebrews 10:4). Since they refused to accept Jesus Christ on their own, choosing rather to follow after an abolished system, God decided to take the necessary steps to eliminate that system of worship forever.

One would think this would have been a wake up call for many Jews. The Christians escaped Jerusalem during the siege while they remained and were slaughtered by the tens of thousands. It has been close to 2000 years since that event and there are still unbelieving Jews to this day. This Bible student and follower of Jesus Christ finds it incredible how people can be so resistant to the truth. The entire event was prophesied by one of their greatest prophets. It happened at the right time in the right place according to the prophecy and yet they still reject Christ.

And make it desolate they certainly did. This was the temple that Herod the great built and it was magnificent, rivaling even the temple of Solomon. The gold work on the stones alone made it shine in the sun such that the view of it was literally dazzling to the eyes. The Roman soldiers under Titus, tore the temple down stone by stone in order to burn the gold work off to take as part of the plunder. The entire temple was pulled down and burned, stone by stone. All of the temple treasures were plundered and taken.

The records of the bloodlines of the Levitical priesthood were lost which made it impossible for anyone to prove their lineage which was a requirement in order to serve as a Levitical Priest. Not only did God bring about the destruction of the temple, He made sure the bloodline records of the Levitical priesthood was destroyed. Even if the Jews rebuilt the temple they could never produce an authorized priesthood to serve in it. It can truly be said that the temple was made desolate. Not only the temple, but the entire Levitical worship system was utterly destroyed with no chance of being recovered.

"even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."

It was determined long before it ever happened that the temple would be destroyed and the Levitical priesthood would be removed. Daniel prophesied it roughly 5 centuries before it happened. Jesus repeated and reinforced the prophecy, referencing Daniel’s prophecy 40 years before it actually happened. God knew exactly what He was going to do and knew when He was going to do it. It had all be pre-determined along with the rest of events associated with the coming of Jesus Christ since the beginning (Romans 16:25, Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 3:9; Ephesians 3:11, Colossians 1:26, 2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 1:2 and Revelation 13:8.

Isaiah 46:9-10

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:KJV

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Daniel 9". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/daniel-9.html.
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