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Bible Commentaries
Daniel 9

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary


Daniel 9:0


Daniel's Prayer for the PeopleThe Prophecy of the Seventy WeeksDaniel Prays for His PeopleDaniel's Prayer
Daniel 9:1-15Daniel 9:1-2Daniel 9:1-4aDaniel 9:1-4a
Daniel 9:3-4a
Daniel 9:4-6Daniel 9:4bDaniel 9:4-19
Daniel 9:5-14
Daniel 9:7-10
Daniel 9:11-14
Daniel 9:15-19Daniel 9:15-19
Daniel 9:16-19
The Seventy-Weeks Prophecy Gabriel Explains the ProphecyThe Angel Gabriel Explains the Prophecy
Daniel 9:20-23Daniel 9:20-23Daniel 9:20-23Daniel 9:20-27
Daniel 9:24-27Daniel 9:24-27Daniel 9:24-27

READING CYCLE THREE (see “Guide to Good Bible Reading”)


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the four translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.


A. It is interesting to speculate how many of the earlier writings of the Hebrew prophets Daniel had read. It seems for sure he had read Ezekiel because he describes YHWH's throne in a similar way (i.e., “wheels,” cf. Ezekiel 10:2, Ezekiel 10:6, Ezekiel 10:13 and Daniel 7:9). Many of the words and phrases Daniel uses are found in Isaiah. In this chapter we are told specifically that Daniel was familiar with the prophecy of Jeremiah (cf. Jeremiah 25:9-13; Jeremiah 29:10).

This “seventy years” (Daniel 9:2) can be calculated (1) from the destruction of the temple (586 B.C.) to the rebuilding of the temple (516 B.C.) or (2) from the exile of Jehoiakim (605 B.C., cf. Daniel 1:1) to the decree of Cyrus for all the exiled peoples to be allowed to return home and rebuild their national temples (538 B.C., cf. Ezra 1:1-4; Isaiah 44:28-7).

B. The other chapters of Daniel have emphasized the arrogant unbelief of the Gentile rulers of the ancient Near East. The Babylonian exile is mentioned in Daniel 1:1-2, but not the reason for it (e.g., Ezra 5:12). In this chapter Daniel acknowledges his personal sins and the sins of his people in a fashion reminiscent of the corporate confessions of Moses (cf. Exodus 32:30-32) and Isaiah (cf. Isaiah 6:5).

C. It is my understanding at this point in my study that Daniel 9:24-27 refers to the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, and that it uses symbolic numbers (7 x 10 sevens) to reveal some future historical, redemptive events related to the first and second comings of Christ.

As it is an error in hermeneutical methodology to interpret all of the details of parables, so too, the details of apocalyptic literature, for they both use imagery and symbols to communicate a central truth. Western literalism has mistakenly sought a historical reference in every detail instead of the overall truth or meaning.

Verses 1-6

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Daniel 9:1-6 1”In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans2in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. 3So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes. 4I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed and said, ‘Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, 5we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances. 6Moreover, we have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers and all the people of the land.'“

Daniel 9:1 “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus of Median descent who was king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans” See full note at Daniel 5:31.

The real problem in Daniel 9:1 versus 5:31 is the addition of the father's name, Ahasuerus. This name appears in the OT in Ezra 4:6 and Esther 1:1 as Esther's Persian husband, known by his Greek name, Xerxes. The name, like Darius, might be an honorific title (i.e., “mighty man” or “mighty eye,” cf. BDB 31). As of this point in time scholarship knows nothing of this Chaldean ruler of Median descent. As has happened so often already, archaeology has shed light on other perceived historical difficulties (i.e. Belshazzar). So, let us keep searching!

“of Median descent” If Darius, the son of Ahasuerus, is Cyrus, he was qualified to claim both Median and Persian lineage.

“who was made king” This is similar to Daniel 5:31. Was he made king by God or by human authority? Obviously by both (cf. Isaiah 44:28-7). Remember Daniel 2:20-23!

Daniel 9:2 “observed in the books the number of years which was revealed asthe word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet” This refers to Jeremiah 25:9-13 or Jeremiah 29:10, although another prophecy is made in 2 Chronicles 36:21, where the years of captivity are prophesied as seventy in number because of the Jews' failure to keep the sabbatical years mentioned in Leviticus 26:33-35. This time sequence (70 years) is important because it will be picked up on by the angel in Daniel 9:24 to describe a new period of 70 units which the people of God must endure.

It is possible that the 70 years refers to a complete life span. As God judged Israel with a forty year wilderness wandering period for their unbelief (the age of those who could have been soldiers at the time of the rebellion), He now judges His people with a judgment that covers the life span of an entire generation of faithless Jews.

This construct, “according to the word of YHWH” (BDB 182 and 217), is used often in the OT for God's prophetic communication. YHWH desires and initiates a relationship with humans made in His image for the purpose of fellowship.

“‘for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem'“ Jeremiah and Daniel use two different Hebrew words for “desolation” (BDB 352 and 1031). The one used here in Daniel (BDB 352) is also used in connection with Jeremiah's prophecy about the exile of Jerusalem (cf. Jeremiah 25:9, Jeremiah 25:11, Jeremiah 25:18). These two terms are both used in this chapter for the destroyed and profaned temple in Jerusalem (cf. Daniel 9:2 vs. 9:17,18).

Daniel 9:3

NASB“I gave my attention” NKJV“I set my face toward” NRSV“I turned to” TEV“I prayed earnestly to” NJB“I turned my face to”

This is literally “I turned my face to the Lord.” This idiom shows (1) the personal intimacy of prayer. Prayer is not a monologue, but an intimate dialogue or (2) Daniel faced the ruined temple in Jerusalem when he prayed as if God's presence remained there (cf. Daniel 6:10-11).

This is the first vision which was initiated by Daniel's questioning (cf. Joyce G. Baldwin, Daniel, p. 162).

“Lord” The NASB (1970) has “LORD,” following some Hebrew manuscripts. Here in Daniel 9:3 it is the Hebrew term Adon, which denotes “owner,” “master,” “husband” and is usually translated “Lord.” The covenant name YHWH (LORD) does occur in Daniel 9:4. It occurs seven times in this chapter and nowhere else in Daniel. The NASB (1995 Update) appropriately has “Lord” here in Daniel 9:3.

“God” See Special Topic: NAMES FOR DEITY.

“supplication” This Hebrew word (BDB 337) is used several times in chapter 9 (cf. Daniel 9:3, Daniel 9:17, Daniel 9:18, Daniel 9:23). This term characterizes Daniel's prayer for the mercy of YHWH.

“with fasting, sackcloth and ashes” These are all Jewish signs of mourning (e.g., Isaiah 58:5; Jonah 3:5-6; Esther 4:1-3).

1. Fast - Although not mentioned specifically in the writings of Moses, it was understood that on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:0) that sorrow for sin would be symbolized by a day of fasting by the whole nation. Throughout Jewish history national tragedies were commemorated by an annual fast.

2. Sackcloth - This was a rough, plain cloth worn as a symbol of mourning.

3. Ashes - This seems to have started as a sign of mourning in Joshua 7:6 and developed into a tradition (cf. 1 Samuel 4:12; 2 Samuel 1:2; 2 Samuel 13:19). See Special Topic: Grieving Rites.

Daniel 9:4

NASB, TEV“confessed” NKJV, NRSV, NJB“made confession”

This is the Hebrew word for “to throw” (BDB 392, KB 389), used in the Hithpael as an idiom for “confess” (cf. Leviticus 16:21; Leviticus 26:40; Numbers 5:7; Ezra 10:1; Nehemiah 9:3; Daniel 9:3, Daniel 9:20). Robert Young, Analytical Concordance, p. 196, says it means “to throw out the hand” when the term refers to “confessing YHWH's name” (cf. 1 Kings 8:33, 1 Kings 8:35; 2 Chronicles 6:24, 2 Chronicles 6:26). Whether there was a physical gesture denoting the confession of sin is uncertain, but probable.

“Oh Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments” This is a wonderful description of the covenant God.

1. The great - This is El (God, BDB 42) with the ADJECTIVE “great” (BDB 152).

2. The awesome - This term's basic meaning is fear (BDB 431), but it is used here in the Niphal for godly fear, respect or awe (e.g., Deuteronomy 7:21; Deuteronomy 10:17; Nehemiah 1:5; Nehemiah 4:8; Nehemiah 9:22).

3. Who keeps covenant - YHWH is faithful to His promises (cf. Numbers 23:19; Malachi 3:6).

4. Lovingkindness - This is the special covenant NOUN hesed (BDB 338), used so often of YHWH's covenant loyalty (e.g., Deuteronomy 7:9). See Special Topic: Lovingkindness (hesed)

5. For those who love Him and keep His commandment - This is the essence of the Mosaic covenant (cf. Deuteronomy 7:10; 27-29). Covenant love and loyalty on God's part is meant to reproduce itself in His covenant people. The NT accentuates God's faithfulness (cf. 2 Timothy 3:13) amidst human faithlessness.

Daniel 9:5 “we have sinned” Notice the recurrent theme, Daniel 9:5, Daniel 9:6, Daniel 9:8, Daniel 9:9, Daniel 9:10, Daniel 9:11, Daniel 9:13, Daniel 9:14, Daniel 9:15, Daniel 9:17. Daniel identifies himself with his people and makes confession, as did Moses (e.g., Exodus 32:32; Numbers 11:2; Numbers 21:7) and Isaiah (e.g., Isaiah 6:5).

What a list of willful covenant disobedience! Israel had violated the covenant over and over again. The Assyrian and Babylonian exiles and the complete destruction of Jerusalem and the temple were the consequences.

1. “Sinned” (BDB 306, KB 305) - the basic meaning is missing the mark.

2. “Committed iniquity” (BDB 731, KB 796) - the basic meaning is guilty acts (“to be bent” or “to make crooked”).

3. “Acted wickedly” (BDB 957, KB 1294) - the basic meaning is to be loose or disjointed (cf. Daniel 9:5).

4. “Rebelled” (BDB 597, KB 632) - the basic meaning is bold in acts of known disobedience (cf. Daniel 9:9).

5. “turning aside” (BDB 693, KB 747) - the basic meaning is to knowingly depart from a clear path (cf. Daniel 9:11).

This phrase and Daniel 9:11 both use an INFINITIVE ABSOLUTE of “turning aside” (BDB 693, KB 747) to describe Israel's rebellion and transgression.

“from Your commandments and ordinances” Psalms 19:7-9 lists several names for God's covenant stipulations. See Special Topic: Terms for God's Revelation

1. “law of the LORD,” Daniel 9:7

2. “testimony of the LORD,” Daniel 9:7

3. “precepts of the LORD,” Daniel 9:8

4. “commandments of the LORD,” Daniel 9:8

5. “fear of the LORD,” Daniel 9:9

6. “judgments of the LORD,” Daniel 9:9

Psalms 119:0 also praises the law of the Lord in acrostic form.

Daniel 9:6 “we have not listened to Your servants the prophets” The Jews (kings, princes, ancestors, and all the common people) were not ignorant or uninformed about God's covenant will. They had the writings of Moses, the miracles of the Exodus, the victories of the conquest and the fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise of land, but they would not be faithful (cf. 2 Kings 17:13-15; Jeremiah 44:4, Jeremiah 44:5, Jeremiah 44:21; Hosea 11:2).

Verses 7-14

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Daniel 9:7-14 7”Righteousness belongs to You, O Lord, but to us open shame, as it is this day to the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those who are nearby and those who are far away in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of their unfaithful deeds which they have committed against You. 8Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. 9To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him; 10nor have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His teachings which He set before us through His servants the prophets. 11Indeed all Israel has transgressed Your law and turned aside, not obeying Your voice; so the curse has been poured out on us, along with the oath which is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against Him. 12Thus He has confirmed His words which He had spoken against us and against our rulers who ruled us, to bring on us great calamity; for under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what was done to Jerusalem. 13As it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Your truth. 14Therefore the LORD has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us; for the LORD our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice.”

Daniel 9:7 “righteousness belongs to You” The term “righteousness” (cf. Daniel 9:14, Daniel 9:16) is the Hebrew word (BDB 841-842) for a “measuring reed,” “ruler,” or “standard.” God Himself is the standard of judgment.

Fallen humanity's only hope of meeting God's standard is the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ (cf. Leviticus 19:2; Matthew 5:48; 2 Corinthians 5:21). That is why the OT is simply a school-master to lead us to Christ (cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:22-38; Galatians 3:19-26).

See Special Topic: RIGHTEOUSNESS.

NASB, NRSV“open shame” NKJV“shame of face” TEV“disgrace on ourselves” NJB“the look of shame”

As covenant loyalty (Daniel 9:4) and righteousness belong to the faithful God, so covenant disloyalty and open shame belong to His faithless people.

This Hebrew construct (BDB 102 plus 815) is translated “confusion of face” or “shame of face” (cf. Daniel 9:8). The same construction is found in 2 Chronicles 32:21. This phrase refers to the exiles of Israel being taken from the Promised Land. This damaged God's reputation among the nations. He wanted to bless Israel and use her as a light to bring the world to Himself (cf. Genesis 12:3; Exodus 19:5-6), but their continual covenant infidelity resulted in judgment for them and a misunderstanding of YHWH by the world (cf. Ezekiel 36:22-38).

NASB“as it is to this day” NKJV“as it is this day” NRSV“as at this day” TEV------ NJB“we wear today”

The best parallel to help understand the theology of this phrase is Ezekiel 36:22-38, which is really a description of “the New Covenant” of Jeremiah 31:31-34.

“to the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and all Israel” This is referring to “the desolations” in Daniel 9:2. God allowed Assyria (cf. Isaiah 10:5) and Babylon (cf. Jeremiah 51:20) to exile His own people.

“those who are near by and those who are far away in all the countries to which You have driven them” God's covenant people, the descendants of Abraham to whom God promised a land (cf. Genesis 12:1-3, etc.), were taken out of the promised land and scattered among the nations because of their idolatry and violations of the covenant (cf. 1 Kings 8:46).

Daniel 9:9 “To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness” The term “compassion” (BDB 933) may be a metaphor from the word “womb,” thereby speaking of family love. God often describes His ways with humanity by means of familial images (father, kinsman redeemer, parents, family, etc.).

There are only a few places in the OT where the character of God is delineated with such clarity (cf. Exodus 34:6-7; Psalms 103:8-14; Joel 2:13; Nehemiah 9:17-21). Sinful mankind's only hope is the unchanging (cf. Malachi 3:6), merciful character of God (cf. Daniel 9:18; Malachi 3:6)!

The term “forgiveness” used here is a rare form (PLURAL, ABSTRACT, INTENSIVE, “abundantly forgive”) of the word (BDB 699); it is also used in Nehemiah 9:17. The unemphasized form is found in Daniel 9:19.

See Special Topic: Characteristics of Israel's God.

Daniel 9:10 “through His servants the prophets” When we see the English word “prophets,” we think of IsaiahMalachi, but Judaism believed that prophets wrote Scripture, so

1. Moses is a prophet (cf. Deuteronomy 18:0)

2. the history books of the OT (Joshua - Kings) are written by prophets and are called “the Former Prophets” by the rabbis

This phrase includes all the Old Testament up to Daniel's day (cf. 2 Kings 17:13-15; 2 Kings 18:12).

Daniel 9:11 “transgressed” The word appears here and in Daniel 8:23. Its basic meaning is to go beyond a known boundary (BDB 716, KB 778, Qal PERFECT).

Notice the series of expressions used in Daniel 9:11 to show Israel's covenant breaking.

1. transgressed

2. turned aside

3. not obeying (cf. Daniel 9:14)

4. we have sinned (cf. Daniel 9:5, Daniel 9:15)

Also notice in Daniel 9:11 what they sinned against.

1. “Your law”

2. “Your voice”

3. “against Him” (cf. Daniel 9:8, Daniel 9:9)

All sin is ultimately against a personal God. We have not just broken rules, we have broken our relationship with the One in whose image we were fashioned (cf. Genesis 1:26-27)! Sin destroys the essence of our created purposefellowship with God.

“the curse” The term “curse” (BDB 46) can also be translated “oath” (cf. Nehemiah 10:29). This covenantal terminology goes back to the covenant “curses and blessings” of Deuteronomy 27-29, where Israel promises to obey God's word (cf. Deuteronomy 29:11-13). However, if they rebel and disobey, God's oath becomes a curse (cf. Deuteronomy 29:18, Deuteronomy 29:19, Deuteronomy 29:20; Deuteronomy 30:7; 2 Chronicles 34:24; Jeremiah 29:18-19).

Daniel 9:12 “He has confirmed His word which He has spoken” God's promises and His judgments all come true (cf. Isaiah 40:8; Isaiah 45:23; Isaiah 46:10-11; Isaiah 55:11). The trustworthiness of God's character rests on the trustworthiness of His word!

Daniel 9:13 “turning from”


Daniel 9:14

NASB“the LORD has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us” NKJV“the LORD has kept the disaster in mind” NRSV“the LORD kept watch over this calamity until he brought it upon us” TEV“You, O LORD our God, were prepared to punish us” NJB“Yahweh has watched for the right moment to bring disaster on us”

This implies that the covenant God waited for the right moment to judge His disobedient covenant people. God performed His word of judgment on Israel (cf. Jeremiah 1:9-19; Jeremiah 31:28a; Jeremiah 44:27). Judgment was as much an act of love as was the initial covenant. God deals with His people as a loving parent.

Verses 15-19

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Daniel 9:15-19 15”And now, O Lord our God, who have brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and have made a name for Yourself, as it is this daywe have sinned, we have been wicked. 16O Lord, in accordance with all Your righteous acts, let now Your anger and Your wrath turn away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; for because of our sins and the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people have become a reproach to all those around us. 17So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplications, and for Your sake, O Lord, let Your face shine on Your desolate sanctuary. 18O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion. 19O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

Daniel 9:15 “who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt” The Exodus fulfilled God's promise of Genesis 15:12-21. The symbolism from Genesis 15:0 conveys the concept that God and God alone can accomplish this act of deliverance and promise. In point of fact the OT is as much an account of YHWH's grace and mercy as is the NT. The character of God has not changed (cf. Malachi 3:6), but the covenant requirements have been modified because of mankind's (even redeemed) inability to keep the covenant (cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:22-38). The covenant is still conditional, but structured so that the Messiah's performance replaces human performance as the means and basis of redemption (cf. Isaiah 53:0; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

“has made a name for Yourself” God wanted to use the family of Abraham to reach all the world in reconciliation (cf. Genesis 12:3; Exodus 19:5-6, see Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan). The Exodus was for the ultimate purpose of world evangelism (cf. Exodus 9:16; Nehemiah 9:10) as much as national promise!

Daniel 9:16 “in accordance with all Your righteous acts” In Daniel 9:7 Daniel attributes righteousness to God; in Daniel 9:14 Daniel elicits the covenant claim, “the Lord our God is righteous”; and now in Daniel 9:16 Daniel appeals to the character of God (cf. Daniel 9:17, Daniel 9:19), not the disobedience of His people (cf. Daniel 9:18), as the reason to restore Israel (cf. Daniel 9:20), so as to complete their calling of being a light to the nations!

“thy city Jerusalem, Thy holy mountain” God was connected with His people and His temple on Mt. Moriah (cf. Daniel 9:20). The ancients linked deities to national groups. Daniel asked God to act for His own Names' sake (cf. Daniel 9:17, Daniel 9:18, Daniel 9:19; Ezekiel 36:22-38). God's desire and design is still world evangelization (cf. Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8).

Daniel 9:17 “for Your sake, O Lord” This is repeated in Daniel 9:19. Daniel supplicates YHWH to act so as to accomplish His purposes of world-wide witness and redemption through Israel.

“let Your face shine on” This reflects the blessing formula of Numbers 6:24, Numbers 6:26, which is also reflected in Psalms 80:3, Psalms 80:7, Psalms 80:19.

The next verse also uses human physical terms to address God (anthropomorphism). Daniel asks the eternal, spiritual One to:

1. shine His face on, Daniel 9:17

2. incline His ear, Daniel 9:18

3. open His eyes, Daniel 9:18

4. O, Lord, hear, Daniel 9:19

Daniel 9:18 “not. . .on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion” Daniel is praying much like Moses, in that he appeals to God's character (cf. Daniel 9:17, Daniel 9:19) for forgiveness and unmerited deliverance to Jerusalem, the temple, and the people as a whole (cf. Daniel 9:19), not any deserved or attained righteousness on Israel's part. This is the OT incipient concept of justification by grace through faith (cf. Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6).

Daniel 9:19 Even in an English translation one can feel the intensity ( a series of IMPERATIVES) of Daniel's prayer!


Verses 20-23

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Daniel 9:20-23 20”Now while 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 in behalf of the holy mountain of my God, 21while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering. 22He gave me instruction and talked with me and said, ‘O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding. 23At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.'“

Daniel 9:20 Notice all the PARTICIPLES, which basically refer to the same act.

1. speaking (Piel)

2. praying (Hithpael)

3. confessing (Hithpael)

4. presenting (Hiphil)

5. speaking (Piel, v. Daniel 9:21)

“the holy mountain of my God” This refers to Mt. Moriah in Jerusalem (Jerusalem was built on sevenhills), on which Solomon's temple was built (cf. 2 Chronicles 3:1). This was the same mountain on which Abraham offered Isaac (cf. Genesis 22:2) and this same mountain was later a place where David offered a sacrifice to stop the judgment of God (cf. 2 Samuel 24:18-25; 1 Chronicles 21:18-27).

Daniel 9:21 “then the man Gabriel” This is a messenger angel. His name means “man of God” (BDB 150, cf. Daniel 9:8:16). He is only one of two angels whose names are mentioned in the Bible, Gabriel and Michael.

“in my extreme weariness” Some commentators link this to the angel Gabriel who was wearied by his swift flight (Aramaism, BDB 419) and some see it as referring to Daniel's weariness (cf. Daniel 7:28; Daniel 8:27; Daniel 10:8-9, Daniel 10:16-17). Since I do not think angels get tired, it probably refers to Daniel.

“about the time of the evening offering” Remember, the temple was destroyed. There were no offerings. The evening offering would have been about Daniel 3:0 p.m. Daniel kept the temple ritual alive by continuing his habit of prayer (cf. Daniel 6:10)!

Daniel 9:22 “to give you insight and understanding” The Hebrew word “insight” (BDB 968) is used in several senses.

1. positively of wisdom of Daniel in Daniel 1:4, Daniel 1:17; Daniel 9:25

2. negatively of the craftiness of the little horn in Daniel 8:25

3. negatively of unfaithful Israel in Daniel 9:13

4. positively of restored Israel in Daniel 11:33, Daniel 11:35

5. positively of believers of the end-time period in Daniel 12:3, Daniel 12:10

The Hebrew term “understanding” (BDB 108) is used in Daniel 1:20; Daniel 8:15; Daniel 9:22; Daniel 10:1. Daniel was gifted by God and enabled by angelic interpreters to grasp the meaning of the symbolic visions. This particular explanation deals with the seventy years of Jeremiah's prophecy from Daniel 9:2.

The question I continue to ask in connection with the genre of both Daniel, Zechariah, and Revelation is, “Did these authors receive a message from God and then structure it as apocalyptic literature or did they receive it as structured symbols?” Could both be true? Does God suddenly change the form of revelation from prophetic models to apocalyptic models? I suppose I believe that these inspired human authors structured their messages in symbolic, dramatic, imaginative, figurative ways. The message is from God, but its presentation comes through inspired humans using different literary genres.

Daniel 9:23 “the command was issued” This is literally, “a word went out” (BDB 422, KB 425, Qal PERFECT). It may have come from the powerful angel as in Daniel 8:16 or from God (cf. Isaiah 45:23; Isaiah 55:11). Even before Daniel finished praying heaven had responded!

NASB“for you are highly esteemed” NKJV, NRSV“for you are greatly beloved” TEV“He loves you” NJB“You are a man specially chosen”

The implied agent is God. This phrase is also used of Daniel in Daniel 10:11, Daniel 10:19. The Hebrew term (BDB 326) means “a precious treasure” (cf. Daniel 11:38, Daniel 11:43).

Verses 24-27

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Daniel 9:24-27 24”Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. 25So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. 26Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. 27And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

Daniel 9:24-27 This passage has a parallel or poetic aspect (series of INFINITIVE CONSTRUCTS) and is translated into poetic lines by NJB (Daniel 9:24-27) and NAB (Daniel 9:22-26) translations, but not by most English versions.

This is one of the most specific, yet debated, passages in the OT. Have we switched genres from apocalyptic, fuzzy, symbolic, imaginative literature (Daniel 7:0 & 8) to a very specific, historical prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27 and chapter 11)? Are the details meant to be seen as foreshadowing future history?

Does this vision have any connection (1) to the vision of Daniel 8:0 and Daniel 11:1-35 or (2) is it an extension going back to and extending the little horn of the fourth kingdom (end-time Antichrist) of Daniel 7:0 and Daniel 11:36-45? What is the literary context; to which historical setting?

A third option is to see it as referring to the time of Jesus (His Incarnation and earthly life), which would limit it to the fifth kingdom of Daniel 2:35, Daniel 2:44-45; Daniel 7:9-10, Daniel 7:13-14, Daniel 7:18, Daniel 7:22, Daniel 7:27. This is the option I feel most comfortable with at this point in my study. Passages like this must remain tentative!

This paragraph functions theologically in several ways.

1. God has punished His own people. Sin is an ongoing problem.

2. God will forgive and restore His people. Salvation is always possible.

3. More problems remain for His people (believing Jews and Gentiles).

4. Messiah is coming, but He will be a suffering servant (cf. Isaiah 53:0), a wounded shepherd (cf. Zechariah 12-13)

5. God will judge those who attack His people.

One of my concerns with this context is that it is presented in the OT prophetic terms of the “land” promises to Abraham (Genesis 12:0; Genesis 15:0; Genesis 16:0), but the NT expands this into a universal perspective! See Special Topic: Why are OT Covenant Promises so Different from NT Covenant Promises?. Daniel is familiar with the Gentile kings to whom YHWH has revealed Himself and they have praised Him. God's people are wider than racial Jews (cf. Romans 2:28-29; Romans 9:6; Galatians 3:7-9, Galatians 3:29; Galatians 6:16; 1 Peter 2:5, 1 Peter 2:9; 1 Peter 3:6; Revelation 1:6).

At this point please turn to Contextual Insights for Daniel 11:0 and read F, which deals with the nature of apocalyptic literature taken from Plowshares and Pruning Hooks: Rethinking the Language of Biblical Prophecy and Apocalyptic by D. Brent Sandy, pp. 156-158.

Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks” The Hebrew phrase (BDB 988) is literally “seventy units of seven” (or weeks). Numerals were usually FEMININE PLURAL, but here they are MASCULINE PLURAL and this is unusual, possibly to denote its symbolic nature. This “seventy units of seven” relates to the seventy units of Jeremiah's prophecy noted in Daniel 9:2. Daniel is being told that there would be a another longer period in Israel's history when the temple would be destroyed again (similar to Ezekiel 38-39), but he was to remember that God was in control of all human history and that He would bring creation to its divine purpose.

“have been decreed” This Hebrew term “decree” (BDB 367, KB 364) is found only here in the OT (there are three Aramaic terms translated “decree” in Daniel 2:4-28, but none relate to this Hebrew form). It is related to an Aramaic term which meant “to cut,” “cut off,” or “decide.” This is a Niphal PASSIVE form.

The “decree” of Daniel 9:24 is parallel to the “decree” (literally “word,” BDB 182) of Daniel 9:25! Both deal with the restoration of the center of Jewish worship (cf. Daniel 9:25). Connected to this restoration is God's eternal redemptive plan (cf. Daniel 9:24), which involved the Messiah's being “cut off” (cf. Daniel 9:26; Zech. 9-14) and Jerusalem destroyed again (cf. Daniel 9:26; Ezekiel 38-39).

If one takes the historical period from the permission of Artaxerxes for Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls of the city in 445 B.C.; and if one assumes that “seventy weeks” refers to 490 years; and if one calculates the end of the 69th week as 483 years, then one comes very close to the date of the beginning of Jesus' (1) ministry (i.e., baptism) or (2) crucifixion (the cutting off of the Messiah).

There have been three major theories about this decree related to Persian monarchs: (1) Cyrus II, known as Cyrus the Great, allowed all captive people to return to their homes in 538 B.C. (cf. Isaiah 44:26-28; Ezra 1:0); (2) Artaxerxes to Ezra in 458 B.C. allowed more priests and Levites to return to Jerusalem with Ezra (cf. in Aramaic, Ezra 7:11-26); and (3) Artaxerxes to Nehemiah, 445 B.C. allowed Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls (cf. Nehemiah 1:3; Nehemiah 2:3-8).

“for your people and your holy city” This decree refers to Jerusalem, but which time-frame?

1. Ezra-Nehemiah in the Persian period

2. Maccabees in the Greek period

3. Jesus in the Roman period

4. end-time

5. or is this a recurrent pattern through human history

a. Covenant disobedience on the part of God's people

b. the anger of unbelieving humanity against God and His people

NASB, NKJV, NRSV“to finish the transgression” TEV“for freeing. . .from sin” NJB“putting an end to transgression”

The first part of this Hebrew construct means “to finish,” “to complete” (BDB 477-8, KB 476, from an Aramaic root “to cease” or “to perish,” cf. 2 Chronicles 31:3; Ezra 9:1).

H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Daniel, pp. 411-412, says this is the only occurrence of a different Hebrew VERB (BDB 480, KB 476) in the Piel form and should be translated “to restrain completely.” Both the NASB and NIV note this possibility in a footnote, but use the first option in the translation.

The term “transgression” (BDB 833, “rebel,” “revolt,” “transgress”) is used in Daniel 8:0 and 9 of several different people and sins.

1. sins of the Jewish people (cf. Daniel 8:12-13, Daniel 8:23, a different word in Daniel 9:11)

2. sins of Jewish leadership that helped Antiochus (cf. Daniel 8:12-13, Daniel 8:23)

3. sins of Antiochus IV (cf. Daniel 8:12-13, Daniel 8:23).

Daniel 9:24 is not referring to one particular time or kind of sinning or rebellion, but to the problem of sin, which will ultimately be dealt with, not by Israel, but by the Messiah (cf. Genesis 3:15; Galatians 3:0; the book of Hebrews).

There are six things mentioned that are part of God's redemptive purpose in issuing the decrees about the seventy units of seven. There are three negative and three positive:

1. the negative:

a. “finish the transgression”

b. “make an end of sin”

c. “make atonement for iniquity”

2. the positive:

a. “bring in everlasting righteousness”

b. “seal up the vision of the prophecy”

c. “anoint the Most Holy” (this refers either to a place [temple] or a person [High Priest])

These seem to have been accomplished by Jesus' incarnation, life, death, and resurrection, but will not be fully consummated until His Second Coming.

NASB“to make an end of sin” NKJV“to make an end of sins” NRSV“to put an end to sin” TEV“sin will be forgiven” NJB“for placing the seal on sin”

This Hebrew word's basic meaning is (1) “seal up” (BDB 367, KB 364, cf. Daniel 9:24f; Daniel 12:4) or (2) from a different Hebrew word (BDB 478) “to make an end” (NASB, NKJV, NRSV, NIV). The free reign of sin is to be brought to an end.

The term “sin” (BDB 308-309, cf. Daniel 9:20) is the general term for missing the mark, goal, or way.

NASB“to make atonement for iniquity” NKJV“to make reconciliation for iniquity” NRSV“to atone for iniquity” TEV“freeing. . .from. . .evil” NJB“for expiating crime”

The Hebrew phrase “to make atonement” (BDB 497), basically means “to cover,” or “to blot out.” The possible Aramaic counterpart would be “to wash away” or “to rub off.”

There is an obvious parallel in these phrases in Daniel 9:24.

1. transgression, Daniel 8:12, Daniel 8:13; Daniel 9:24

2. sin, Daniel 9:20, Daniel 9:24

3. iniquity, Daniel 9:13, Daniel 9:16, Daniel 9:24

There is a continuing rebellion among fallen humankind. God desires a final closure to the problem (cf. Daniel 9:24).

NASB, NKJV, NRSV“to bring in everlasting righteousness” TEV“eternal justice established” NJB“for introducing everlasting uprightness”

The Hebrew word 'olam (i.e., “everlasting,” BDB 841) must be interpreted in light of its context. See note on 'olam at Daniel 7:18. This context is future culmination or consummation (cf. Isaiah 51:6, Isaiah 51:8; Jeremiah 23:5-6). Righteousness (BDB 761) is the character (standard) of God. See Special Topic: RIGHTEOUSNESS. Creation was meant to reflect God's character (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Titus 2:14). See note at Daniel 9:7. The goal of salvation is to be like God (cf. Leviticus 19:2; Matthew 5:48). Believers are not only called to heaven at death, but to Christlikeness now. God desires a people who reflect His holiness (cf. Romans 8:29-30; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 4:19; Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 2:10; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 1 Peter 1:15).

NASB, NKJV“to seal up vision and prophecy” NRSV“to seal both vision and prophet” TEV“so that the vision and the prophecy will come true” NJB“for setting the seal on vision and on prophecy”

This Hebrew construct (BDB 367, KB 364, Qal INFINITIVE) implies a cessation of revelation either (1) because of the certainty of the events or (2) the culmination of God's redemptive plans for history. Some see this as “fulfill the ministry of the prophets.” In this verse “vision” and “prophecy” are hendiadys. He Himself will be among them, no need for others to speak for Him.

NASB“to anoint the most holy place” NKJV“to anoint the Most Holy” NRSV“to anoint a most holy place” TEV“the holy Temple will be rededicated” NJB“for anointing the holy of holies”

The Brown, Driver, and Briggs Lexicon (BDB 871) says “the most holy place” refers to Jerusalemand its hills and lists Daniel 9:16 and 20; Isaiah 11:9; Jeremiah 31:23; Ezekiel 20:40 as some parallels. The NOUN construct is usually used of a place, in this case the restored temple, but the contextual ambiguity allows the phrase to refer to a person (used of a person, Aaron, in 1 Chronicles 23:13). Therefore, I think it refers to the coming Messiah because it is the concluding phrase in a series of culminating phrases. The end has come, victory has been won through God's character and God's provision of (1) the holiness of holinesses (E. J. Young); (2) the Son of Man (Daniel 7:13); or (3) the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53:0). The anointed One is anointed in the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:0) or the heavenly sanctuary (Hebrews 8-9). Jesus Himself is the new temple (cf. John 2:13-22 [esp. John 2:19]; Matthew 26:61; Matthew 27:40; Mark 14:58; Mark 15:29; Acts 6:14). He is the new focus of worship (cf. Hebrews 9:11-28).

Daniel 9:25 “from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem” If this is to be understood historically then it relates to

1. Cyrus' decree for all the exiled nations under the domination of Assyria and Babylon to return home and restore their national temples (538 B.C., cf Ezra 1:3; Ezra 6:3)

2. Artaxerxes' decrees to Ezra (458 B.C.) and especially to Nehemiah (445 B.C.) related to the restoration of the walls of Jerusalem.

It is just possible that the decree refers to God's sovereign redemptive plan referred to as a decree (cf. Jeremiah 25:9-13). E. J. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel: A Commentary, p. 201, asserts that it is God who issues the decree which shows the parallel with Daniel 9:23 (both use the same Hebrew term, “word,” [BDB 182], cf. Jeremiah 25:13). God's plans are worked out on earth through the decrees of pagan kings (cf. Luke 2:1).

“Messiah, the Prince” This may be “an anointed, a prince.” Many scholars and commentators have understood “anointed one” to refer to Cyrus II (cf. Isaiah 41:2, Isaiah 41:25; Isaiah 44:28-7; Isaiah 46:11; Isaiah 48:15) whom YHWH used to restore His people to the Promised Land. These interpreters then relate Daniel 9:26-27 to the time and activities of Antiochus IV.

The reason that some scholars deny that this phrase refers to the Messiah (cf. NET Bible, Second Beta Ed., p. 1551, footnote 23) is because there is an accent mark (athnach) in the Hebrew Masoretic Text, which denotes a disjunction. However, in the first place, the accent marks of the MT are not inspired, but are Jewish rabbinical traditions, and second, this mark does not always denote a complete stop, but here possibly accents the distinction between the time period of seven weeks and sixty-two weeks (cf. Christology of the Old Testament, by E. W. Hengstenberg, pp.415-417; H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Daniel, pp. 417-426; and Hard Sayings of the Bible, pp. 318-320).

For me this refers to Jesus the Messiah (cf. Daniel 7:13). In verse Daniel 9:26 this title is split into two different persons. The first phrase, “the anointed one” refers to Jesus, while the second phrase, “the people of the Prince,” apparently refers” to Titus, the Roman general who destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

If this apocalyptic language has a multiple fulfillment aspect then surely an end-time context is possible. The nature of evil and rebellion in both humans and angels remains constant, but the historical details do not. This is not a specific prophecy, but an apocalyptic interpretation of Daniel's prayer request (cf. Daniel 9:3). Interpreters' historical and theological biases and presuppositions drive their understanding of these ambiguous texts!

See Special Topic: Messiah.

there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. . .one week” The seventy units of seven will be broken into three time periods: one unit of seven sevens (Daniel 9:25); one unit of sixty- two sevens (Daniel 9:25); and one unit of one seven (Daniel 9:27). The crux for commentators has been how these relate to each other: (1) are they sequential or (2) are there time segments between these three time units? For me this issue is the symbolic nature of the number (i.e., 70) and its previous use in Daniel 9:2 (the quote from Jeremiah). This number is used of God's sovereign plan for Israel's punishment (cf. Jeremiah 25:9-13; Jeremiah 29:10) and restoration (cf. Jeremiah 30:18-22; Jeremiah 31:38-40). Numerical precision is not the focus, but divine sovereignty over time, history, and redemption!

For a good, brief discussion of the symbolic use of numbers see (1) Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 12, pp. 1256-1259; (2) Biblical Numerology, A Basic Study of the Use of Numbers in the Bible, by John J. Davis; or (3) Biblical Hermeneutics, by Milton S. Terry, pp. 380-390.

“it will be built again” Obviously Daniel was concerned with the rebuilding of Jerusalem and its temple. To his shock, he learned that there would be subsequent attacks and destructions (cf. Psalms 2:0; Ezekiel 38-39; Matthew 24:0 [and parallels]; 2 Thessalonians 2:0; Revelation 12-14).

NASB“with the plaza and moat” NKJV“the street shall be built again, and the wall” NRSV“with streets and moat” TEV“streets and strong defenses” NJB“with squares and ramparts”

John Joseph Owens, The Analytical Key to the Old Testament, vol. 4, p. 743, translates these two Hebrew words as “squares” (BDB 932 I, “wide” or “broad”) and “moat” (BDB 358 III, “to cut a trench”), but there is no evidence that Jerusalem ever had a defense moat; therefore, possibly “a cut” in the ridge on which a defensive wall was built. This then refers t the city and not the temple.

NASB“even in times of distress” NKJV“even in troublesome times” NRSV“in a troubled time” TEV“but this will be a time of troubles” NJB“but in a time of trouble”

Rotherham's Emphasized Bible, p. 856, has “even in the end of times,” which, it notes, follows the Septuagint and Syriac translations and requires a textual emendation. The MT construct (BDB 848 and 773) has “but in a troubled time.” How one interprets Daniel 9:24-27 will set the time-frame as past (Jesus and Titus) or future end-time (Jesus' Second Coming and Antichrist).

Daniel 9:26

NASB“the Messiah” NKJV“Messiah” NRSV“an anointed one” TEV“God's chosen leader” NJB“An Anointed One”

The difficulty in interpreting this verse is because of the possible meanings associated with the term Messiah or anointed one (BDB 603):

1. used of Jewish kings (e.g., 1 Samuel 2:10; 1 Samuel 12:3)

2. used of Jewish priests (e.g., Leviticus 4:3, Leviticus 4:5)

3. used of Cyrus (cf. Isaiah 45:1)

4. #1 and #2 are combined in Psalms 110:0 and Zechariah 4:0

5. used of God's special coming, Davidic King to bring in the new age of righteousness

a. line of Judah (cf. Genesis 49:10)

b. house of Jesse (cf. 2 Samuel 7:0)

c. universal reign (cf. Psalms 2:0; Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 11:1-5; Micah 5:1-4f)

I personally am attracted to the identification of “an anointed one” with Jesus of Nazareth because:

1. the introduction of an eternal Kingdom in Daniel 2:0 during the fourth empire

2. the introduction of “a son of man” in Daniel 7:13 being given an eternal kingdom

3. the redemptive clauses of Daniel 9:24 which point toward a culmination of fallen world history

4. Jesus' use of the book of Daniel in the NT (cf. Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14)

NASB“will be cut off” NKJV, NRSV“shall be cut off” TEV“will be killed” NJB“put to death”

The Hebrew term (BDB 503, KB 500, Niphahl IMPERFECT) literally means “to cut off” or “to cut down.” As an example, it is used literally and metaphorically in Jeremiah.

1. literally of trees, Jeremiah 6:10; Jeremiah 10:3; Jeremiah 22:7; Jeremiah 46:23

2. metaphorically of the death of persons, Jeremiah 11:19; Jeremiah 50:16

Another covenant usage is its relationship to berith (“to cut a covenant”), where an animal was cut in half and the covenant partners walked through the dead animal to signal the consequences of a covenant violationdeath (cf. Genesis 15:17; Jeremiah 11:10; Jeremiah 31:31, Jeremiah 31:32, Jeremiah 31:33; Jeremiah 34:18-19).

The VERB form (here is Niphal) is used for the cutting off (death) of people (e.g., Genesis 9:11; Genesis 41:36; Isaiah 11:13; Isaiah 29:20; Daniel 9:26). Therefore, this VERB form combined a sacrificial aspect with a covenant aspectdeath with a redemptive purpose (i.e., “the suffering servant” of Isaiah 52:13-12; and “the wounded shepherd” of Zechariah 12-13, also note these NT texts: Mark 10:45; 2 Corinthians 5:21)!

NASB“and have nothing” NKJV“but not for Himself” NRSV“and shall have nothing” TEV“unjustly” NJB“without his”

This Hebrew term (BDB 34 II) means “to have nothing.” It is used in a variety of senses, but all of them are connected to the idea of “nothing.” William L. Holladay, A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, p. 13, says it implies “no successor,” but E. J. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel, p. 207, says

“these words are exceedingly difficult, but they seem to indicate that all which should properly belong to the Messiah, He does not have when He dies. This is a very forceful way of setting forth His utter rejection, both by God and man. (e.g., ‘We have no king but Caesar,' cried the Jews. ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' were Jesus' words from the cross. In that hour of blackness He had nothing, nothing but the guilt of sin of all those for whom He died').”

In these ambiguous symbolic phrases it is so easy to interject one's own theological systems! The ambiguity is purposeful. It is part of the fluidity of apocalyptic genre. We must not turn the original inspired author's purposeful genre ambiguity into our theological or historical specificity! We must read and interpret these Old Covenant texts through the words of Jesus and the New Covenant/New Testament authors (cf. Galatians 3:0; and the book of Hebrews) and not vice versa! History, further revelation, and progressive revelation help us clarify these ambiguous, apocalyptic biblical passages.

“the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary” Here the term “prince” (BDB 617) means “leader” (cf. TEV). This same term was used in Daniel 9:25 as a description of Messiah; here it means just the opposite, His oppressor (e.g., Lion of Judah of Revelation 5:5 vs. roaring lion of 1 Peter 5:8; white horse of Revelation 6:0 vs. white horse of Revelation 19:0). This leader brings destruction on Jerusalem and the temple; as did Nebuchadnezzar and Antiochus IV, so too, will Titus and possibly an end-time Antichrist (cf. Matthew 24:2; Mark 13:2; Luke 19:43-44). Multiple fulfillment prophecy can be seen in

1. the virgin birth, Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23 (historical birth in Isaiah's day, cf. Daniel 7:15-16, as well as the virgin birth of Jesus, cf. LXX quote in Matthew 1:23)

2. the abomination of destruction (Antiochus, Titus and end-time Antichrist, cf. Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:19; Luke 21:20; see Special Topic: The Abomination of Desolation)

If Jesus is the anointed, the Prince of Daniel 9:25, then this Prince of Daniel 9:26 must be Titus (Calvin) who destroys Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70. The temple has never been rebuilt!

NASB, NRSV“its end will come with a flood” NKJV“the end of it shall be with a flood” TEV“the end will come like a flood” NJB“the end of that prince will be catastrophe”

The question is who or what does “its” refer to.

1. the immediate antecedent, “the people of the Prince”

2. the Prince himself (cf. Daniel 9:26)

3. the Messiah (cf. Daniel 9:25, Daniel 9:26)

4. Jerusalem and the temple (“Jerusalem” of Daniel 9:25 and “the sanctuary” of Daniel 9:26)

It is this kind of ambiguity that characterizes apocalyptic literature. Often the modern interpreters' biases remove the ambiguity and become determinative and dogmatic. Theological systems not inspired texts become the focus!

NASB, NKJV“desolations are determined” NRSV“desolations are decreed” TEV“destruction which God has prepared” NJB“all the devastation decreed”

This Niphal PARTICIPLE (BDB 358, KB 356) is different from the term “decreed” in Daniel 9:24 (BDB 367, KB 364, “seal”), but they both reflect divine sovereignty so characteristic of apocalyptic literature. God is in control of history, punishment, restoration, and the ultimate restoration of creation!

The crucial question remains, does “the end” in this verse refer to (1) Antiochus; (2) Titus; or (3) the end-time?

Daniel 9:27

NASB“And he will make a firm covenant” NKJV“then he will confirm a covenant” NRSV“he shall make a strong covenant” TEV“that ruler will have a firm agreement” NJB“he will strike a firm alliance”

Brown, Driver, and Briggs Lexicon (BDB 149, KB 175, Hiphil PERFECT) gives the translation “confirm a covenant.” The word's basic meaning is “to be strong,” or “to be mighty.” The Aramaic counterpart implies “to compel or force” with the connotation of being overbearing. This is not the usual Hebrew idiom (BDB 136, “to cut a covenant”) used to denote the ratification of a covenant. This phrase's meaning must remain ambiguous.

Is this meant to be a literal historical detail of the end-time or is this another apocalyptic symbol of believers' poor judgment in making any agreement with the rulers of this world/age?

The ambiguity of this phrase is confirmed by the fact that some scholars relate this to Jesus (E. J. Young), while others relate it to an end-time Antichrist (H. C. Leupold). What fluidity!

NASB“with the many” NKJV, NRSV“with many” TEV, NJB“with many people”

This Hebrew term (BDB 912 I) has the DEFINITE ARTICLE “the many.” This group is identified by one's interpretation of the time-frame.


In Third KingdomAntiochus IV (cf. Daniel 8:9)In Fourth KingdomIncarnation of Jesus (Daniel 2:34, Daniel 2:35)In a Future Rome-Like Kingdom2nd Coming of Jesus
Who issues the Decree of v. Daniel 9:25Jeremiah, Daniel 9:2;Jeremiah 25:9-13Cyrus (538 B.C.)Isaiah 44:20-28; Isaiah 45:1Ezra 1:24; Ezra 6:3-5Artaxerxes (444 B.C., cf. Nehemiah 2:1-8)Ezra 7:11-26
Who is an anointed One cut off in v. Daniel 9:26Jewish High PriestOnias III or JoshuaJesus at CalvaryJesus at Calvary
Who are the people of the Prince who destroy Jerusalem in v. Daniel 9:26Antiochus IV in 168 B.C.Titus in A.D. 70The Antichrist at the eschaton
Who makes the Covenant in v. Daniel 9:27Antiochus IV in 165 B.C.MessiahHeb. 7-11The Antichrist 70th week
What or who is the abomination in v. Daniel 9:27Antiochus IV offers pig on the altar of the Temple in 168 B.C.Messiah's death ended Jewish sacrificial systemHeb. 7-11Antichrist breaks the Covenant with the Jews during the Tribulation Period (dispensationalism)

NASB, NKJV, NRSV“for one week” TEV“for seven years” NJB“for the space of a week”

This is the last of three divisions of the 70 weeks of Daniel 9:24.

“in the middle of the week” Literally this means “in the midst of the seven.”

“he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering” This is very similar to what Antiochus IV did to the temple sacrifices. Does this demand an end-time temple or does this show that fallen humanity wants control over religion?

Some try to take Daniel literally and then interpret Revelation literally. But this is not the way to show respect for Scripture! If the inspired writer chose apocalyptic language as the literary genre to reveal his message, moderns have no right in the name of conservatism to ignore the genre and force the ancient author into a modern systematic theological grid! Genre is a literary contract with the reader on how to interpret the message. It seems better to let the NT revelation interpret ambiguous OT prophetic/apocalyptic texts. Christ is the fulfillment of the OT, not a restored Israel! The goal of redemptive history is Jesus and a world-wide gospel, not a Palestinian nationalism!

NASB, NKJV“on the wing of abominations” NRSV“an abomination that desolates” TEV“the Awful Horror will be placed on the highest point of the Temple” NJB“on the wing of the Temple will be the appalling abomination”

This construct is literally “the extremity of abomination” (BDB 489 and 1055). The “extremity” (BDB 489) can refer to the wing of the temple or to the ultimacy of the abomination (BDB 1055, e.g., Antiochus having a pig sacrificed on the altar and an idol to Zeus set up in the Holy Place of the temple). In the OT, abominations referred to idol worship (e.g., 1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 23:13; 2 Chronicles 15:8). Jesus used this phrase to speak of the coming of the Roman army and the destruction of Jerusalem (cf. Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14; Luke 21:20, Luke 21:21).

“one who makes desolate. . .the one who makes desolate” In Hebrew “one who” may be impersonal, which would refer to the ruins of the temple or if personal, to God's antagonist.


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. How does Jeremiah's prophecy relate to Daniel 9:0?

2. Why is the interpretation of Daniel 9:24-27 so important and so difficult?

3. How long is seventy units of seven?

4. What decree is Daniel 9:25 speaking of?

5. Who is the “Anointed One, a prince that is cut off” in Daniel 9:26?

6. When does the seventieth week begin and end?

7. Does this prophecy have anything to do with believing Gentiles?

8. Does Jesus ever reaffirm the OT hope of a restored Israel with a functioning temple as the goal of history?

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Daniel 9". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/daniel-9.html. 2021.
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