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Bible Commentaries

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Daniel 9

Verse 1

Dan 9:1. Another jump is made in the chronology of dates and the prophet comes down to the year following the taking of Babylon. This is the same Darius named in Dan 5:31, who was explained to be the uncle of Cyrus the Persian, Although Cyrus was the one who actually made the successful attack upon Belshazzar and took over the city, he permitted his uncle to ascend the throne as the ruler as stated in this verse. It was in the first year of the reign of Darius that Daniel was reading the records.

Verse 2

Dan 9:2. The prophet read in the book of Jeremiah (Jer 25:12) that the desolations of Jerusalem (the Babylonian captivity) was to last seventy years. That period was just ended when his attention was called to the prophecy. Of course he did not stop with the mere item of the length of the captivity, but read the history of the facts that caused God to send that calamity upon the nation.

Verse 3

Dan 9:3. Daniel was shocked by the history of his people, because their conduct was so rebellious that all this humiliation had to be imposed upon them. He was not personally responsible for the situation, but had to share in the sad debasement of the nation because be was one of its citizens. He set his face or made a firm resolution that he would approach God in prayer and supplication on behalf of his countrymen. He accompanied that prayer with fasting and wearing of sackcloth, a practice of devout people in olden times when under the weight of distress or anxiety.

Verse 4

Dan 9:4. Made my confession. This is in the first person because Daniel is speaking on behalf of the nation as a whole of which he was a member at the time of the great iniquity. Great and dreadful God is used in the sense of the supreme reverence and awe that should be accorded to Him. Them that love him is the condition on which God will fulfill the promises made to mankind.

Verse 5

Dan 9:5. We have sinned is to be understood in the same light as "confession" in the preceding verse. Have sinned is made more specific by the words departing from thy precepts; forsaking a law is the same as disobeying it.

Verse 6

Dan 9:6. Daniel recognizes the prophets to have been the servants of God, and that they spake in thy name which gave their words the weight of divine authority.

Verse 7

Dan 9:7. The switching back and forth between the first and third persons. and between the plural and singular pronouns, is because of the relationship of Daniel to the nation, as a whole. We have no evidence that he ever had an opportunity even to protest against the corruptions of the nation before his prophetic call, which came to him after being taken to Babylon.

Verse 8

Dan 9:8, Confusion of face refers to the state of humiliation that was felt by the people of Israel after being exiled into a foreign land.

Verse 9

Dan 9:9. The justice of God had been poured out upon the rebellious nation in the 70-year captivity that was Just ended. Now the prophet is praying for the mercy and forgiveness that can come only from the same God.

Verse 10

Dan 9:10. It is not enough to profess faith in the Lord, but we must show our faith by walking in Ms laws that had been set out by the prophets.

Verse 11

Dan 9:11. One outstanding place where Moses gave the threat of God’s course upon a disobedient nation is Deuteronomy 28. That passage was plainly written in the book of the law, and the people had no excuse for their disregard of it.

Verse 12

Dan 9:12. The evil that God brought upon the nation means a puntshment, not in the sense of something wrong. By imposing this distress upon the nation God confirmed his words that were spoken against it.

Verse 13

Dan 9:13. This verse indicates the thought expressed at verse 11, that the people had been given plenty of opportunity for knowing the law of God, but they had turned from it unto their own wicked ways.

Verse 14

Dan 9:14. Watched upon the evil denotes that God sees all that is done by His servants. Daniel acknowledges that everything that God does is righteous, which includes the chastisement He had brought against the nation.

Verse 15

Dan 9:15. The gratitude of the prophet is so great that he goes hack to the very beginning of Israel’s history as a nation. He recalls the deliverance from Egyptian bondage which was many centuries before; now the same people are just emerging from another bondage. However, there is a wide difference between the two eases. The former was imposed upon God's people for no wrong on their part, while the latter was decreed by the. same God as a punishment for sin.

Verse 16

Dan 9:16. Daniel continues his prayer on behalf of his people, and acknowledges that all of their suffering is because of their sins. The most disheartening feature of it is that the nation has become a reproach In the eyes of the other nations.

Verse 17

Dan 9:17. Sanctuary that is desolate is in reference to the condition of the temple in Jerusalem. The captivity had just been ended, but the Jews had not yet rebuilt it which they will later on. For the Lord's sake means that he prays for the holy place to be restored for His sake, not that the people deserved the favor.

Verse 18

Dan 9:18. Open thine eyes. The first word is from PAQAOH which Strong defines, "to be observant.” God never literally closes his eyes, hut Daniel means for Him to take favorable notice of them in their sad condition. The closing statement of the verse is very humble and respectful towards God, Daniel does not claim that his people deserved the favor of God on the ground of their righteousness; he is relying solely on the mercy of the Lord.

Verse 19

Dan 9:19. This verse is an excellent example of a supplication made to God. That word is a stronger one than merely praying or asking for a favor. It consists in expressions of deep and earnest entreaty, made impressive by repetitions of terms that indicate great humility and a profound sense of helplessness. And again the prophet portrays more concern for the dignity of the name of God than for any personal favor for himself or his people.

Verse 20

Dan 9:20. My sin and the sin of my people Is explained at verse 4, Roly mountain of my Ood is a figurative reference to the nation of God whose capital city was Jerusalem which was in ruins at the time the prophet was offering this prayer.

Verse 21

Dan 9:21. Daniel is about to receive an answer to his prayer, and the thing to be promised will be far greater or include more than he is asking. The favor the prophet is Beeking pertains to the restoration of the capital city of Jerusalem, That is going to be granted, and it also will be the dating place for an event concerning his people that will be without a parallel in all history. He is not going to be held waiting very long for the answer to his prayer, for even while he was praying the angel Gabriel came and contacted him Time of the evening oblation means the daily sacrifice that the Jews' religion included when they were in their own land. The sacrifice was conducted twice daily, at 9 and 3 o'clock respectively. Daniel only refers to it by way of designating the hour when Gabriel contacted him, not that such an offering was being made, for the Jews were not permitted, even by the Lord, to perform their altar services in the strange land (Deu 28:36; Isaiah 43; Isaiah 24).

Verse 22

Dan 9:22. Skill and understanding means mental skill, that which comes from special understanding. Gabriel Informs Daniel he was sent to him for the purpose of giving him this favor. God could have inspired the prophet directly with the information as had been done previously, but He saw fit to do it in a different manner this time by sending an angel to him. In this circumstance we have an instance that Is spoken of in two passages of the New Testament; Heb 1:1; Heb 1:14.

Verse 23

Dan 9:23. As soon a9 Daniel had begun ills prayer, the Lord gave the order to Gabriel to go unto the earth and deliver the message. We do not know when the angel began his flight to the land of Persia, for he did not interrupt the prophet until he was near the conclusion of his prayer. When it was the proper instant to make the contact, Daniel saw him in a "forced march” or flight as he approached him. As a personal merit on the part of Daniel for his receiving the favor just promised, the angel tells him he is greatly beloved. The severe tests of faith which Daniel had undergone and withstood, endeared him to the God of heaven and determined Him to bestow upon the prophet this honor.

Verse 24

Dan 9:24, This verse introduces the most important time prophecy in the Bible; important because it concerns the last act in God's provision for the salvation of mankind. The reason the subject should be considered as an answer to Daniel’s prayer for his people, is the fact that it was to be accomplished through the instrumentality of those people and while their dispensation was still In force. The verse is a general statement that covers the entire period of the great transaction, after which the prophet sLarts with the details of the prophecy. Seventy weeks is figurative as to "weeks,” and means 70 times 7 years. In other words, the period to be covered by the great prophecy will he 490 years. The grand purpose to be accomplished, and with which it will complete the fulfillment of the prophecy, will include the items referred to in general terms In this verse. Make an end of sins means to perform the final act of God for the salvation of mankind from their sins, Bring in everlasting righteousness refers to Ihe same fact that was predicted before Nebuchadnezzar about the kingdom that would “stand forever” (Dan 2:44). Sen? up the vision and prophecy means to ratify the prophecy about to be made through the prophet. Anoint the most Holy refers to the crowning of Jesus as ‘"king of kings” for the whole earth, both Jew and Gentile.

Verse 25

Dan 9:25. This verse includes 69 of the 70 weeks, which brings us to the beginning of the public ministry of Christ, here expressed by the words unto the Messiah the Prince. This 69 week space is subdivided into smaller periods of 7 and 62 weeks. The first period (and hence the whole 70-week period) begins with the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem. When we learn the date of that commandment. we will know when the famous 70week time prophecy began. It is thought by some that the work of Nehemiah could not figure in the question of the beginning time, but the reference to the rebuilding of the streets undoubtedly connects the work of that great reformer with It. And since the work of Ezra and others had to do with the temple and the services so vitally connected with Jerusalem, we may well Include that also In the subject. But there is a difference of 13 years between the work of Ezra and that of Nehemiah. If each of the men Is used as a beginning point, will they both come out at the one time, that of the beginning of the public work of Christ? Yes, the apparent difficulty is clarified by remembering that in those times both the lunar and solar years were used. The solar year contains some 11 or 12 more days than the lunar, hence if the beginning point of Ezra be taken, using solar years, there will be enough extra days to make up for the 13 years between that and the work ot Nehemiah, using the lunar year from his date. The work of Ezra began in the year 457 B.C. which is to be regarded as the beginning of the 70week time prophecy now under consideration. There is a good reason for marking off the first seven weeks into a period to itself, for that was about the time covered by the commotions set up by the enemies of the Jews at the work and reforms of Ezra, Nehemiah and other zealous Jews, referred to here by troublous times. After that the prophet ignores all the events of the Intervening years down to the beginning of the public ministry of Christ, merely mentioning the period as threescore and two weeks.

Verse 26

Dan 9:26. After threescore and two weeks means 62 weeks after the first 7 (69 weeks in all) shall Messiah he cut off, but it does not say how long after. We shall see that it was to be three and a half years after, for it was that many years after Jesus began his public ministry that he was cut off by the crucifixion. Not for himself. The last word has no separate term in the original and it must be understood in the light of the context. Moffatt’s translation renders the phrase, "leaving no successor," and the American Standard Version says, "shall have nothing.” These renderings agree with Isa 53:8 on the same subject which says, "who shall declare his generation?” The statement is in question form but it is actually an affirmative prediction. The meaning ts that when Jesus died he left no successor, and the thought is most significant and beautiful. Dan 2:44 and many other passages predict that the kingdom of Christ was to "stand forever.” In that case He would have no need for a successor, and God would see to it that even death should not prevent his Son from ascending the throne of the everlasting kingdom to be set up soon after his death and resurrection. People of the prince. The last word is from nagid which Strong defines, "A commander (as occupying the front), civil, military, or religious.” The prince in this passage is Titus, who commanded the Roman forces at the siege and destruction of Jerusalem. The reader should secure the history of Josephus and read the third volume if possible, for the matter is too lengthy to copy here. He will find that the stubbornness of the Jews forced Titus to press the siege with unspeakable suffering being imposed upon them, "ending in desolations” as this verse states. That event occurred 40 years after the death of Christ, and we may wonder why it is injected at this place, when the passage as a whole is not through with the public ministry and death of Christ. It was appropriate to interrupt the prophecy because of the direct relationship between the death of Christ and the destruction of Jerusalem. When Jesus was before Pilate (Mat 27:25) and that governor was hesitating about what to do with his prisoner, the Jews cried out, “His blood be on us, and on our children,” God sometimes takes people at their word, as lie did in this case. Forty years after that terrible sentence the city of Jerusalem was destroyed with ail the afflictions referred to above, and it was a punishment upon them for their murder of Jesus. The death of the Son of God was necessary for the salvation of the world, and it was to be accomplished by the wicked Jews as predicted. But the Lord never did tolerate a wrong attitude shown by any of His agencies, even when they were carrying out the divine decrees. Hence we have the crucifixion of Christ and the destruction of Jerusalem (40 years apart) predicted in one connection, after which the prophet resumes predictions of the Messiah.

Verse 27

Dan 9:27. The one week is the last one of the 70-week period, being the seven years from the beginning of Christ’s public ministry to the conversation of Cornelius. The covenant is the one made with Abraham in Gen 12:3 that “In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." In other passages the same covenant includes the words "and in thy seed,” which we know refers to Christ (Gal 3:16), The Mosaic covenant was for the Jews only but the one in this passage was for Jews and Gentiles alike, which is signified by the words toith many. The reason it required a week (of years) for Jesus to confirm or fulfill the covenant, is the truth that His office required him to continue the good work until both Jews and Gentiles had been accepted. The covenant demanded that, because it was to biess “ail the families of the earth.” Jesus accomplished the work for the Jews in person while in his personal ministry of three and a half years: but this was for the Jews only (Mat 15:24). The part for the Gentiles was performed by the apostles in the course of the three and a half years after the crucifixion, which culminated with the conversion of the household of Cornelius, Twice three and a half years gives us a week (of years), designated in this verse as one week. In the midst of the week denotes the time of the crucifixion, which came three and a half years after Jesus began his public ministry, ami the same length of time before Cornelius. Before proceeding with the verse, I shall sum up the dates to show how this time prophecy was literally fulfilled in 70 weeks of years or 490 years. The work of Ezra began in the year 457 B.C., the public ministry of Christ began in the year 26 A.D., the conversion of Cornelius was in 33 A.D.; 457 plus 33 is 490, the number of years required by the time prophecy. Shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease means that the death of Christ put an end to all other sacrifices for sin (Rom 10:4; Heb 10:8-9; Heb 10:14). For the overspreading of abominations, etc., was commented upon in the preceding verse. The crucifixion of Christ and destruction of Jerusalem are very properly mentioned here in direct connection; for while the crucifixion had to be, yet the motive of the Jews in destroying Him brought upon them t.he destruction of their city.
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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Daniel 9". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. 1952.