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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Daniel 9

 

 


Verse 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;

The world-powers here recede from the view; Israel, and the salvation by Messiah promised to it, are the subject of revelation. Israel, had naturally expected salvation at the end of the captivity. Daniel is therefore told that, after the 70 years of the captivity, 70 times seven must elapse, and that even then Messiah would not come in glory, as the Jews might through misunderstanding expect from the earlier prophets, but by dying would put away sin. This ninth chapter, consisting of Messianic-prophecy, stands between the two visions of the Old Testament Antichrist, to comfort 'the wise.' In the interval between Antiochus and Christ no further revelation was needed; therefore, as in the first part of the book so in the second, Christ and Antichrist in connection are the theme.

In the first year of Darius - Cyaxares II, in whose name Cyrus, his nephew, son-in-law, and successor, took Babylon, 538 BC The date of this chapter is therefore 537 BC, a year before Cyrus permitted the Jews to return from exile, and 69 years after Daniel had been carried captive at the beginning of the captivity 606 BC

Son of Ahasuerus - called Astyages by Xenophon. Ahasuerus was a name common to many of the kings of Mode-Persia.

Made king over the realm of the Chaldeans. The phrase implies that Darius owed the kingdom, not to his own prowess, but to that of another, namely, Cyrus.


Verse 2

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.

I Daniel understood by books - rather, letters, i:e., Jeremiah's letter (Jeremiah 29:10, "After seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place") to the captives in Babylon; also Jeremiah 25:11-12; cf. 2 Chronicles 36:21; Jeremiah 30:18; Jeremiah 31:38. [ bac


Verse 3

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

I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications - literally, 'intercessions and entreaties for mercy.' Praying for blessings and deprecating evils [ t


Verse 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;

I ... made my confession - according to God's promises in Leviticus 26:39-42, that if Israel in exile for sin should repent and confess, God would remember for them His covenant with Abraham (cf. Deuteronomy 30:1-5; Jeremiah 29:12-14; James 4:10). God's promise was absolute; but prayer also was ordained as about to precede its fulfillment, this, too, being the work of God in His people, as much as the external restoration which was to follow. So it shall be at Israel's final restoration (Psalms 102:13-17). Daniel takes his countrymen's place of confession of sin, identifying himself with them, and, as their representative and intercessory, priest, "accepts the punishment of their iniquity."

Thus he typifies Messiah the Sin-bearer and great Intercessor. The prophet's own life and experience forms the fit starting-point of the prophecy concerning the sin-atonement. He prays for Israel's restoration, as associated in the prophets (cf. Jeremiah 31:4; Jeremiah 31:11-12; Jeremiah 31:22; Jeremiah 31:31, etc.) with the hope of Messiah. The revelation now granted analyzes into its successive parts that which the prophets, in prophetic perspective, heretofore saw together in one-namely, the redemption from captivity, and the full Messianic redemption. God's servants who, like Noah's father. Lamech (Genesis 5:29), hoped many a time that now the Comforter of their afflictions was at hand, had to wait from age to age, and to view preceding fulfillments only as pledges of the coming of Him whom they so earnestly desired to see (Matthew 13:17); as now also Christians, who believe that the Lords second coming is nigh, are expected to continue waiting. So Daniel is informed of a long period of 70 prophetic weeks before Messiah's coming, instead of 70 years, as he might have expected (cf. Matthew 18:21-22). (Auberlen.)

O Lord, the great and dreadful God - as we know to our cost by the calamities we suffer. The greatness of God and His dreadful abhorrence of sin should prepare sinners for reverent, humble acknowledgment of the justice of their punishment.

Keeping the covenant and mercy - i:e., the covenant of the mercy, whereby thou hast promised to deliver us, not for our merits, but of thy mercy (Ezekiel 36:22-23). So weak and sinful is man that any covenant for good on God's part with him, to take effect, must depend solely on His grace. If He be a God to be feared for His justice, He is one to be trusted for His "mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments." Keeping his commandments is the only sure test of love to God (John 14:15).


Verse 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:

We have sinned, and have committed iniquity - (cf. Nehemiah's confession, Nehemiah 9:1-38).

Sinned ... committed iniquity ... done wickedly ... rebelled - a climax: meaning respectively, erred in ignorance ... sinned by infirmity ... habitually and willfully done wickedness ... as open and obstinate rebels set ourselves against God.


Verse 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.

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. They fearlessly warned all, without respect of persons.


Verse 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.

O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day - shame at our guilt, betrayed in our countenance, is what belongs to us, as our punishment "at this day" attests.

To the men of Judah ... and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off. However varied was the chastisements, some Jews not being cast off so far from Jerusalem as others, all alike were sharers in the guilt.


Verse 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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 9

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

To the Lord our God belong mercies - the plural intensifies the force: mercy manifold, and exhibited in countless ways. As it is humbling to recollect "righteousness belongeth unto God" (Daniel 9:7), so it is comforting that "mercies also belong to the Lord OUR God."

Though we have rebelled against him - rather, since, etc. (Vulgate.) Our only hope must now be, not our righteousness, of which we have none, but His "mercies;" "for we have rebelled against Him" Since we have stoned so greatly, there will be a large field for the exercise of His mercies. So David pleads, "For thy name's sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity, FOR it is great." Or else it is an answer to the tacit objection, If mercies belong to Him, how, then, is it that He had given up His people to such miseries? The answer is, He has been driven to it by our rebellion (Grotius). Our punishment is not inconsistent with His "mercies," since we have rebelled against Him.


Verse 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.

To walk in his laws, which he set before us - not ambiguously, but plainly, so that we were without excuse.


Verse 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.

Yea, all Israel have transgressed - "all" (Psalms 14:3 ; Romans 3:12).

Therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law - the curse against Israel, if disobedient, which God ratified by oath (Leviticus 26:14-39; Deuteronomy 27:15-26; Deuteronomy 28:15-68; Deuteronomy 29:1-29).


Verse 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.

And he hath confirmed his words - He hath showed, by the punishments we suffer, that His words were no idle threats.

For under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem - (Lamentations 1:12).


Verse 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.

Yet made we not our prayer before the Lord our God - literally, we soothed not the face of the Lord. Not even our chastizement has taught us penitence (Isaiah 9:13; Jeremiah 5:3; Hosea 7:10). Diseased, we spun the healing medicine.

That we might turn from our iniquities. - Prayer can only be accepted when joined with the desire to turn from sin to God (Psalms 66:18; Proverbs 28:9).

And understand thy truth - attentively regard thy faithfulness in fulfilling thy promises and also thy threats (Calvin). Or else "thy truth" means thy law (Daniel 8:12). (Maurer.)


Verse 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.

Therefore hath the Lord watched upon the evil - expressing ceaseless vigilance, that His people's sins might not escape His judgment, as a watchman on guard night and day (Job 14:16; Jeremiah 31:28; Jeremiah 44:27). God watching upon the Jews' punishment, so as to bring it upon them, forms a striking contrast to the Jews' slumbering in their sins.

For the Lord our God is righteous. True penitents "justify" God, "ascribing righteousness to Him," instead of For the Lord our God is righteous. True penitents "justify" God, "ascribing righteousness to Him," instead of complaining of their punishment as too severe (Nehemiah 9:33; Job 36:3; Psalms 51:4; Lamentations 3:39-42).


Verse 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.

O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt - a proof to all ages that the seed of Abraham is thy covenant-people. That ancient benefit gives us hope that thou wilt confer alike one on us now, under similar circumstances (Psalms 80:8-14; Jeremiah 23:7-8; Jeremiah 32:21).

And hast gotten thee renown, as at this day - is known.


Verse 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.

O Lord, according to all thy righteousness - not stern justice in punishing, but thy faithfulness to thy promises of mercy to them who truest in thee (Psalms 31:1; Psalms 143:1).

Let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city - chosen as thine in the election of grace, which changes not.

For the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us

- (Exodus 20:5). He does not impugn God's justice in this, as did the complainers (Ezekiel 18:2-3 : cf. Jeremiah 31:29).

Thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us - which brings reproach on thy name. "All the nations that are about us" will say that thou, Yahweh, wast not able to save thy peculiar people. So Daniel 9:17, "for the Lord's sake;" Daniel 9:19, "for thine own sake" (Isaiah 48:9; Isaiah 48:11).


Verse 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.

Cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary - metaphor from the sun, which gladdens all that it beams upon (Numbers 6:25; Malachi 4:2).


Verse 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.

We do not present our supplications - literally, cause to fall, etc. (cf. note, Jeremiah 36:7). The expression alludes to the attitude of suppliants, who fall before him whose favour they entreat.


Verse 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.

O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do. The short, broken ejaculations and repetitions show the intense fervour of his supplications.

Defer not. He implies that the 70 years are now all but complete.

For thine own sake - often repeated, as being the strongest plea (Jeremiah 14:21).


Verse 20

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;

Whiles I was speaking - repeated in Daniel 9:21; emphatically marking that the answer was given before the prayer Whiles I was speaking - repeated in Daniel 9:21; emphatically marking that the answer was given before the prayer was completed, as God promised (Isaiah 30:19; Isaiah 65:24 : cf. Psalms 32:5).


Verse 21

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.

The man Gabriel, whom I had seen in a vision at the beginning - namely, in the former vision by the river Ulai (Daniel 8:1; Daniel 8:16).

Being caused to fly swiftly - or else, 'to come with weariness,' i:e., to move swiftly, as one breathless and wearied out with quick running (Gesenius). Maurer and others object to the English version that, except the seraphim and cherubim, the angels generally are not represented with wings in the Old Testament. But the fact that the seraphim have six wings assigned to them, and the cherubim four wings, and also the distinct mention of an angel lying, in Revelation 14:6, proves that the English version is better (Isaiah 6:2; Ezekiel 1:6). [ mu`aap (Hebrew #3286) is from `uwp (Hebrew #5774), to fly (Buxtorf); and biy`aap (Hebrew #3288) is probably from the same root; so that the two words together mean 'being caused to fly swiftly'-literally, with a flight. Others take the latter word from yaa`ap (Hebrew #3286), weariness: so margin] Vulgate, Syriac, and Theodotion support the English version.

Time of the evening oblation - the ninth hour, three o'clock (cf. 1 Kings 18:36). As formerly, when the temple stood, this hour was devoted to sacrifices, so now to prayer. Daniel, during the whole captivity to the very last, with pious patriotism, never forgot God's temple worship, but speaks of its rites, long abolished, as if still in use. The connection of the answer to prayer with the evening sacrifice is marked here, in order to teach us that it is only in virtue of the one sacrifice, of which the law sacrifices were but types, that God will hear prayer and give an answer of peace.


Verse 22

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

I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding - Daniel 8:16, "Gabriel make this man to understand and the vision" (Daniel 9:26, "shut thou up the vision"), in that chapter shows that the symbolical vision there had not been understood fully. God therefore now gives "understanding," or 'information' directly, instead of by symbol, which required interpretation.


Verse 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.

At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth. The promulgation of the divine decree was made in heaven to the angels as soon as Daniel began to pray.

Came forth - from the divine throne; so Daniel 9:22, "I am now come forth."

For thou art greatly beloved - literally, a man of desires (cf. Ezekiel 23:6; Ezekiel 23:12); the object of God's delight. As the Apocalyptic prophet of the New Testament, John was "the disciple whom Jesus loved." So the Apocalyptic prophet of the Old Testament was "greatly beloved" of God.

Understand the matter, and consider the vision - the further revelation as to Messiah in connection with Jeremiah's prophecy of 70 years of the captivity. The charge to "understand" is the same as in Matthew 24:15, where Rome primarily, and Antichrist ultimately, is referred to (cf. note, Daniel 9:27, below).


Verse 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.

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city - "seventy weeks," namely, of years; literally, 70 sevens; 70 heptads or hebdomads; 490 years; expressed in a form of 'concealed definiteness' (Hengstenberg), a usual way with the prophets. The Babylonian captivity is a turning point in the history of the kingdom of God. It terminated the free Old Testament theocracy. Up to that time Israel, though oppressed at times, was, as a rule, free. From the Babylonian captivity, the theocracy never recovered its full freedom down to its entire suspension by Rome: and this period of Israel's subjection to the Gentiles is to continue until the millennium (Revelation 20:1-15), when Israel shall be restored as head of the New Testament theocracy, which will embrace the whole earth. The free theocracy ceased in the first year of Nebuchadnezzar and the fourth of Jehoiakim: the year of the world 3338, the point at which the 70 years of the captivity begin.

Heretofore Israel had a right, if subjugated by a foreign king, to shake off the yoke, as an unlawful one, at the first opportunity (Judges 4:1-24; Judges 5:1-31; 2 Kings 18:7), "The Lord was with him (Hezekiah), and he prospered wheresoever he went forth; and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not"). But the prophets (Jeremiah 27:9-11) declared it to be God's will that they should submit to Babylon, "The nations that bring their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him, those will I let remain still in their own land, saith the Lord; and they shall till it, and dwell therein." Hence, every effort of Jehoiakim, Jeconiah, and Zedekiah to rebel was vain. The period of the world-times, and of Israel's depression, from the Babylonian captivity to the millennium, though abounding more in afflictions (e.g., the two destructions of Jerusalem, Antiochus' persecution, and those which Christians suffered), contains all that was good in the preceding ones, summed up in Christ, but in a way visible only to the eye of faith. Since He came as a servant, He chose for His appearing the period darkest of all as to His people's temporal state. Always fresh persecutors have been using, whose end is destruction, and so it shall be with the last enemy, Antichrist. As the Davidic epoch is the point of the covenant-people's highest glory, so the captivity is that of their lowest humiliation.

Accordingly, the people's sufferings are reflected in the picture of the suffering Messiah. He is no longer represented as the theocratic King, the Antitype of David, but as the Servant of God and Son of man; at the same time the cross being the way to glory (cf. Daniel 9:1-27 with Daniel 2:34-35; Daniel 2:44, and Daniel 12:7); In the second and seventh chapters Christ's first coming is not noticed (except that His lowliness at His first coming is implied in the fact that His kingdom, which ultimately, after breaking the image, became a mountain filling the whole earth, was at first but a "stone," possibly lying neglected on the earth); because Daniel's object was to prophesy to his nation as to the whole period from the destruction to the reestablishment of Israel; but this ninth chapter minutely predicts Christ's first coming, and its effects on the covenant-people.

The 70 weeks date 13 years before the rebuilding of Jerusalem; for then the re-establishment of the theocracy began-namely, at the return of Ezra to Jerusalem, 457 BC So Jeremiah's 70 years of the captivity begin 606 BC, 18 years before the destruction of Jerusalem; for then Judah ceased to exist as an independent theocracy, having fallen under the sway of Babylon. Two periods are marked in Ezra:

(1) The return from the captivity under Jeshua and Zerubbabel, and rebuilding of the temple, which was the first anxiety of the theocratic nation.

(2) The return of Ezra (who was regarded by the Jews as a second Moses) from Persia to Jerusalem, the restoration of the city, the nationality, and the law, Artaxerxes, in the seventh year of his reign, gave him the commission which virtually included permission to rebuild the city.

This decree was afterward confirmed to and carried out by Nehemiah in the twentieth year (Ezra 9:9; Ezra 7:11, etc.); Daniel 9:25, "from the going forth of the commandment to build Jerusalem," proves that the second of the two periods is referred to. The words in Daniel 9:24 are not, 'determined upon the holy city,' but "upon thy people and thy holy city;" thus, the restoration of the religions national polity and the law (the inner work, fulfilled by Ezra the priest), and the rebuilding of the houses and walls (the outer work of Nehemiah, the governor) are both included in Daniel 9:25, "from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem." "Jerusalem" represents both the city, the body, and the congregation, the soul of the state. Compare Psalms 46:1-11; Psalms 48:1-14; Psalms 87:1-7. The starting-point of the 70 weeks dated from 81 years after Daniel received the prophecy: the object being not to fix for him definitely the time, but for the Church: the prophecy taught him that the Messianic redemption, which he thought near, was separated from him by at least a half millennium. Expectation was sufficiently kept alive by the general conception of the time; not only the Jews, but many Gentiles, looked for some great Lord of the earth to spring from Judes at the very time, (Tacitus, 'Histories,' Daniel 9:13; Suetonius, 'Vespasian,' 4:) Ezra's placing of Daniel in the canon immediately before his own book and Nehemiah's, was perhaps owing to his feeling that he himself brought about the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecy, (Daniel 9:1-27.) (Auberlen.)

Determined - literally, cut out, namely, from the whole course of time, for God to deal in a particular manner with Jerusalem.

Thy ... thy. Daniel had in his prayer often spoken of Israel as "thy people, thy holy city;" but Gabriel, in reply, Thy ... thy. Daniel had in his prayer often spoken of Israel as "thy people, thy holy city;" but Gabriel, in reply, speaks of them as Daniel's ("thy ... thy") people and city, God thus intimating that until the "everlasting righteousness" should be brought in by Messiah, He could not fully own them as His (Tregelles). Compare Exodus 32:7. Rather, as God is wishing to console Daniel and the godly Jews, what is meant by "thy ... thy" is 'the people whom thou art so anxious praying for;' such weight does God give to the intercessions of the righteous (James 5:16-18, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much").

To finish the transgression - literally, to shut up; to remove from God's sight - i:e., abolish (Psalms 51:9, "Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities") [ l


Verse 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.

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment - namely, the command from God, whence originated the command of the Persian king (Ezra 6:14). Auberlen remarks, there is but one Apocalypse in each Testament. Its purpose in each is to sum up all the preceding prophecies previous to the "troublous times" of the Gentiles, in which there was to be no revelation. Daniel sums up all the previous Messianic prophecy, separating into its individual phases, what the prophets had seen in one and the same perspective, the temporary deliverance from captivity and the antitypical final Messianic deliverance. The 70 weeks are separated (Daniel 9:25-27) into three unequal parts, 7 weeks, 62 weeks, one week. The 70th is the consummation of the preceding ones, as the Sabbath of God succeeds the working days-an idea suggested by the division into weeks. In the 69 weeks Jerusalem is restored, and so a place is prepared for Messiah wherein to accomplish His sabbatic work (Daniel 9:25-26) of "confirming the covenant" Daniel 9:27).

The Messianic time is the Sabbath of Israel's history, in which it had the offer of all God's mercies, but in which it was cut off for a time by its rejection of them. As the 70 weeks end with 7 years, or a week, so they begin with seven times seven - i:e., 7 weeks. As the 70th week is separated from the rest as a period of revelation, so it may be with the seven weeks. The number seven is associated with revelation; because the seven Spirits of God are the mediators of all His revelations (Revelation 1:4; Revelation 3:1; Revelation 4:5). Ten is the number of what is human-e.g., the world-power issues in ten heads and ten horns (Daniel 2:42, "the (ten) toes" of the image; Daniel 7:7). Seventy is ten multiplied by seven, the human moulded by the divine. The 70 years of exile symbolize the triumph of the world-power over Israel. In the seven times 70 years the world number 10 is likewise contained - i:e., God's people is still under the power of the world ("troublous times" Daniel 9:25); but the number of the divine is multiplied by itself; seven times seven years, at the beginning, a period of Old Testament revelation to God's people by Ezra, Nehemiah, and Malachi, whose labours extend over about half a century, or seven weeks, and whose writings are last in the canon; and in the end, seven years, the period of New Testament revelation in Messiah. The commencing seven weeks of years of Old Testament revelation are hurried over, in order that the chief stress might rest on the Messianic week. Yet the seven weeks of Old Testament revelation are marked by their separation from the sixty-two, to be above those sixty-two, wherein there was to be none.

The Messiah the Prince - Hebrew [ naagiyd (Hebrew #5057)], Messiah, the King, is Jesus' title in respect to Israel (Psalms 2:2, "the Lord's anointed;" Matthew 27:37; Matthew 27:42 "Jesus the King of the Jews" - "the King of Israel"). Naagiyd, as Prince of the Gentiles (Isaiah 55:4, "Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader" [ naagiyd (Hebrew #5057)]. Naagiyd is applied to Titus, only as representative of Christ, who designates the Roman destruction of Jerusalem as, in a sense, His "coming" (Matthew 24:1-51; John 21:22). Hence, too, he calls Titus' army His army (Matthew 22:7, "When the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city"). Messiah denotes His calling; naagiyd (Hebrew #5057), His power. He is to 'be cut off, and there shall be nothing for Him.' So the Hebrew [ w


Verse 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 threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off - rather, after the threescore and two years. In this verse and Daniel 9:27 Messiah is made the prominent subject, while the fate of the city and sanctuary is secondary, being mentioned only in the second halves of the verses. Messiah appears in a two-fold aspect, bringing salvation to believers, judgment on unbelievers (Luke 2:34 : cf. Malachi 3:1-6; Malachi 4:1-3). He repeatedly, in Passion week, connects His being "cut off" With the destruction of the city, as cause and effect (Matthew 21:37-41; Matthew 23:37-38; Luke 21:20-24; Luke 23:28-31). Israel might naturally expect Messiah's kingdom of glory, if not after the 70 years' captivity, at least at the end of the sixty-two weeks; but, instead of that, shall be His death, and the consequent destruction of Jerusalem.

Not for himself - rather, 'there shall be nothing to Him' (Hengstengberg); not that the real object of His first coming (His, spiritual kingdom) should be frustrated; but the earthly kingdom anticipated by the Jews should, for the present, come to nought, and not then be realized. Tregelles refers the title,"the Prince" (Daniel 9:25, "the Messiah the Prince"), to the time of His entering Jerusalem on a donkey colt, His only appearance as a King, and six days afterward being put to death as "King of the Jews."

And the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary - the Romans, led by Titus, the representative of the world-power, which is ultimately to be transferred to Messiah: Titus is therefore called by Messiah's title, "the prince;" as also because he was sent by Him, as His instrument of judgment (Matthew 22:7).

And the end thereof - of the sanctuary. Tregelles takes it, 'the end of the prince,' the last head of the Roman power, Antichrist.

Shall be with a flood - namely, of war (Psalms 90:5, "Thou carriest them away as with a flood;" Isaiah 8:7-8, "Behold the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria;" Isaiah 28:18). Implying the completeness of, the catastrophe, "not one stone left on another" (Luke 19:44).

Unto the end of the war - rather, 'unto the end there is war.'

Desolations are determined - by God's decree (Isaiah 10:23; Isaiah 28:22).


Verse 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.

And he shall confirm the covenant - Christ. The confirmation of the covenant is assigned to Him also elsewhere, (Isaiah 42:6, "I will give thee for a covenant of the people" - i:e., He in whom the covenant between Israel and God is personally expressed; cf. Luke 22:20, "the new testament is my blood;" Malachi 3:1, "the angel of the covenant;" Jeremiah 31:31-34 describes the Messianic covenant in full). Contrast Daniel 11:30; Daniel 11:32, "them that forsake the holy covenant," "such as do wickedly against the covenant." The prophecy as to Messiah's confirming the covenant with many would comfort the faithful in Antiochus' times, who suffered partly from persecuting enemies, partly from false friends (Daniel 11:33-35). Hence, arises the similarity of the language here and in Daniel 11:30; Daniel 11:32, referring to Antiochus, the Old Testament Antichrist, the type of the final Antichrist.

With many - (Isaiah 53:11; Matthew 20:28; Matthew 26:28; Romans 5:15; Romans 5:19; Hebrews 9:28).

In the midst of the week - the 70 weeks extend to 33 AD Israel was not actually, destroyed until 79 AD, but it was so virtually, 33 AD, about three or four years after Christ's death, during which the Gospel was preached exclusively to the Jews: When the Jews persecuted the Church and stoned Stephen (Acts 7:1-60), the respite of grace granted to them was at an end (Luke 13:7-9). Israel having rejected Christ, was rejected by Christ, and henceforth is counted dead (cf. Genesis 2:17, "In the day that thou eatest thereof (of the tree of knowledge of evil) thou shalt surely die:" from the day of his fall he was counted dead, and yet Adam did not actually die until he was 930 years old; (Daniel 9:5 ; Hosea 13:1-2): its actual destruction by Titus being the consummation of the removal of the kingdom of God from Israel to the Gentiles (Matthew 21:43), which is not to be restored until Christ's second coming, when Israel shall be at the head of humanity (Matthew 23:39; Acts 1:6-7; Romans 11:25-31; Romans 15:1-33.) The interval forms for the covenant-people a great parenthesis.

He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease - distinct from the temporary "taking away" of "the daily" (sacrifice) by Antiochus (Daniel 8:11; Daniel 11:31). Messiah was to cause all sacrifices and oblations in general to "cease" utterly. There is here an allusion only to Antiochus' act, to comfort God's people when sacrificial worship was to be trodden down, by pointing them to the Messianic time, when salvation would fully come, and yet tropic sacrifices cease. This is the same consolation as Jeremiah and Ezekiel gave under like circumstances, when the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar was impending (Jeremiah 3:16; Jeremiah 31:31; Ezekiel 11:19). Jesus died in the middle of the last week, 30 AD His prophetic life lasted three and a half years; the very time in which "the saints are given into the hand" of Antichrist (Daniel 7:25, "a time and time, and the dividing of time"). Three and a half does not, like ten, designate the power of the world in its fullness, but (while opposed to the divine, expressed by seven, of which three and a half is the half) broken and defeated in its seeming triumph; for immediately after the three and a half times, judgment falls on the victorious world-powers (Daniel 7:25-26).

So Jesus' death, after His three and a half years of ministry, seemed the triumph of the world, but was really its defeat (John 12:31). The rending of the veil marked the cessation of sacrifices through Christ's death: for the veil had always been associated with the typical sacrifices, so that, when it was torn, the sacrifices and it together gave place to the one antitypical sacrifice once for all consummated on Calvary, (Leviticus 4:6; Leviticus 4:17; Leviticus 16:2; Leviticus 16:15; Hebrews 10:14-22, "Having boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an High Priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart," etc.) There cannot be a "covenant" without sacrifice (so Noah was taken into covenant with God with sacrifice, and Abraham, Genesis 8:20-22; Genesis 9:1-17; Genesis 15:9, etc.; Hebrews 9:15). But here the old covenant is to be confirmed, but in a way special to the new testament-namely, by the one sacrifice, which would terminate all sacrifices (Psalms 40:6; Psalms 40:11). Thus as the Levitical rites approached their end, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, with ever-increasing clearness, oppose the spiritual new covenant to the transient earthly elements of the old.

And for the overspreading of abominations - on account of the abominations committed by the unholy people against the Holy One. He shall not only destroy the city and sanctuary (Daniel 9:26), but shall continue its desolation until time of the consummation "determined" by God (the phrase is quoted from Isaiah 10:22-23), when at last the world-power shall be judged, and "dominion be given to the saints of the Most High" (Daniel 7:26-27). Auberlen translates, 'on account of the desolating summit of abominations (cf. Daniel 11:31; Daniel 12:11; thus the repetition of the same thing as in Daniel 9:26 is avoided), and until the consummation which is determined, it (the curse Daniel 9:11, "the oath that is written in the law of Moses") will pour on the desolated.' Israel reached the summit of abominations, which drew down desolation (for "wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together," Matthew 24:28) - nay, which is the desolation itself-when, after murdering Messiah, they offered sacrifices, Mosaic, indeed, in form, but paganish in spirit, because they had lost all their meaning when He had been once for all sacrificed; and because, also, they offered them not in faith, but in formalism and hypocrisy (cf. Isaiah 1:13; Ezekiel 5:11).

Christ refers to this passage, as also to Daniel 11:31; Daniel 12:11 (Matthew 24:15), "When ye see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place" (the latter words being tacitly implied in "abominations" as being such as are committed against the sanctuary). Tregelles translates, 'upon the wing of abominations shall be that which causeth desolation'-namely, an idol set up on a wing or pinnacle of the temple (cf. Matthew 4:5) by Antichrist, who makes a covenant with the restored Jews for the last of the 70 weeks of years (fulfilling Jesus' words, John 5:43, "If another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive"), and for the first three and a half years keeps it; then in the midst of the week breaks it, causing the daily sacrifices to cease. It was "on a pinnacle of the temple in the holy city" that Satan tempted Jesus, and failed: and the same place may be the scene of Satan's coming temptation of Israel by Antichrist. Tregelles thus identifies the last half week with the time, times, and a half of the persecuting little horn (Daniel 7:25). But thus there is a gap of at least 1,830 years put between the 69 weeks and the 70th week! Sir Isaac Newton explains the wing ('overspreading') of abominations to be the Roman ensigns (eagles) brought to the east gate of the temple, and there sacrificed to by the soldiers: the war, ending in the destruction of Jerusalem, lasted from spring 67 AD to autumn 70 AD - i:e., just three and a half years, or the last half week of years (Josephus, 'Bellum-Judaicum,' 6: 6).

And that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. Tregelles translates, ' ... shall be poured upon the causer of desolation'-namely, Antichrist. Compare "abomination that maketh desolate" (Daniel 12:11). Perhaps both interpretations of the whole passage may be in part true; the Roman desolater, Titus, being a type of Antichrist, the final desolater of Jerusalem. Bacon ('Advancement of Learning,' 2: 3) says, 'Prophecies are of the nature of the Author, with whom a thousand years are as one day; and therefore are not fulfilled punctually at once, but have a springing and germinant accomplishment through many years, though the height and fullness of them may refer to one age.'

Remarks:

(1) It was the general impression of the Jews in exile that after the 70 years of captivity foretold should end, Messiah would come in glory to vindicate the cause of Israel, and to set up His kingdom in Jerusalem. Daniel is therefore commissioned in this chapter to inform them that 70 times 7 years must elapse after their return before Messiah would come, and that even then Messiah would not come as yet in the glory foretold by the earlier prophets, and anticipated prematurely by the Jews, but would come to die for the making an end of sins (Daniel 9:24). Daniel studied the revelation given from God in the letters of Jeremiah (Daniel 9:2), in order to know the times and events foretold. Herein we see his teachableness and humility. Though he was so great a prophet, and had been honoured with the converse of angels, and even of the Lord Himself, he did not think it beneath him to read Jeremiah's prophecies; nay more, instead of relying on his own thoughts, or on human calculations, he consulted the inspired letters of that prophet, which, with the other Scriptures, he regarded as the only infallible source of information. Let us similarly draw all our spiritual knowledge from that only well-spring of unmixed truth.

(2) God had promised to restore the Jews, after a 70 years' captivity, to their own land. This promise did not cause Daniel to restrain prayer, as if it were unnecessary, seeing that God's promise must come to pass, but was rather his incentive to greater carnestness in supplications, as having the strongest ground of assurance that his prayers would be heard. He who hath ordained the promised consummation, hath ordained also His people's prayers as means and forerunners to that consummation. We also are similarly to make God's Word the ground of our petitions. And when the time of performance of God's premises draws nigh, then in particular we are to plead them earnestly before God.

(3) Confession of sin should alway be the first element in prayer. Like Daniel, we should make our confession personal and particular, as well as general, and in common with others: "I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession" (Daniel 9:4). At the same time we should, as the prophet, mourn over and confess our nation's sins as our own. "We have sinned ... neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, who spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers and to all the people of the land" (Daniel 9:5-6). God had promised, if Israel in captivity would confess her sin, and accept the punishment of her iniquity (Leviticus 26:39-44), He would remember for her the covenant made with her fathers. Daniel accordingly accepts the Babylonian exile and the unparalleled evils brought upon Jerusalem (Daniel 9:12) as not exceeding what was her due, but as altogether consonant to the righteousness of God (Daniel 9:7-11; Daniel 9:13-14). But he pleads God's "covenant" (Daniel 9:4), and God's "mercies and forgivenesses," which "belong to Him" in accordance with that covenant (Daniel 9:9). Let us imitate him in this respect when we are in sore trouble, and pray for relief; let us justify God as righteous (Daniel 9:14) in all His dealings with us, however trying; and let our sole plea he His own everlasting covenant of mercy in Christ to all true and believing penitents. The spiritual restoration must precede the literal and external restoration. Without the former, the latter would be of no real benefit: soon the same sins, recurring through the unhumbled state of the heart, would render necessary again an infliction of the same, or even of a more severe chastisement.

(4) Moreover, Daniel's confession of sin precedes immediately the revelation as to the coming of Messiah. So it ever is. The Spirit first convicts the soul of its sin, and next points to Christ "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). While we are constrained to have reverent fear before God as "the great and dreadful God" (Daniel 9:4), and while we humbly confess our sins of ignorance, infirmity, and willful and habitual rebellion (Daniel 9:5), we may boldly and confidently cast ourselves on the grace and mercies of God in Christ.

(5) The sin of Israel had been universal-all had transgressed God's law, though it had been with the greatest plainness "set before" them by the servants and ministers of God. Their sin had been therefore inexcusable; and God, by the punishments which He inflicted, showed that His words were no idle threats. The curse had been poured out upon them to the dregs, in consonance with the oath of Yahweh (Daniel 9:11). Yet such had been the awful infatuation of the Jews, that they were not even by punishment brought to repentance. They possibly prayed that God would turn from His wrath; but they did not pray that "they might turn from their iniquities, and understand the truth of God" (Daniel 9:13). How often do those spiritually sick spurn the healing medicine, and prefer to leave sin to its deadly workings in them! But our prayers for deliverance from trouble can only be heard when we are willing to be delivered also from sin. If men believed God's fait hfulness to His threats, they would not go on, as they do, madly braving them. While the Jews were slumbering in spiritual apathy, God was all the time incessantly "watching upon the evil" Daniel 9:14). Like a vigilant watchman, He did not allow one of their sins to escape His all-seeing cognizance and the consequent punishment. Though ungodly men slumber spiritually, their "damnation slumbereth not" (2 Peter 2:3). (6) Daniel, however, pleads God's ancient favour in delivering Israel out of Egypt, whereby He had attested to the whole world His covenant-relation to the Israelites as his ground of hope that God would now again deliver them, turn His anger away, and cause His face to shine upon His own sanctuary as in the days of old (Daniel 9:16-17). He appeals to the Lord's regard to His own honour, and endeavours to show that the Lord's glory was at stake, before the Gentile nations, in the cause of His own covenant-people. So our most effectual plea with God will be, "For the Lord's sake (Daniel 9:17) ... for thy great mercies ... O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God; for thy people are called by thy name" (Daniel 9:18-19). Intense fervour and vehement earnestness, flowing from a lively sense of the urgency of our needs, and of the power and willingness of God to supply them, are the fire which will kindle the holy flame of true devotion.

(7) Whiles the prophet was yet speaking, yea, whiles he was speaking in prayer (Daniel 9:20-21), the angel Gabriel, from God, flew swiftly to him, to assure him that, at the very beginning of his supplications, the commandment went forth from God (Daniel 9:20-23) in answer to his petition. The prayer had power with God because it was offered in connection with the typical evening oblation (Daniel 9:21). So it is only in so far as our prayers are presented through our great antitypical sacrifice that they will bring to us an answer of peace. Then shall we, like Daniel, be "greatly beloved" for the sake of the Son of God's love. Before we call, God will answer; and while we are yet speaking, He will hear (Isaiah 65:24).

(8) Still the faith and patience of the servants of God were to be exercised. He, in common with his countrymen, from a misapprehension of the earlier prophecies, had expected the advent of Messiah in connection with the restoration from Babylon, after the 70 years of exile that had been foretold. But now he is informed that not the completion of 70 years, but the completion of 70 times seven years after that epoch, is to be the time wherein Messiah is to be looked for. Then indeed would the transgression be finished, an end be made of sins, and reconciliation be made for iniquity, everlasting righteousness be brought in, and the Most Holy be anointed (Daniel 9:24).

Moreover, he is told, whereas he and his countrymen looked for the manifestation of Christ's glorious kingdom at His advent, that, on the contrary, Messiah would then be "cut off," and their anticipations of His temporal kingdom, and the glory of Israel with Him, would at that time come to nothing (Daniel 9:26, note). The whole period from the downfall of the theocracy, at the Babylonian captivity, until its re-establishment at Messiah's second coming, was to constitute "the times of the Gentiles," which were to be "troublous times" (Daniel 9:25). In them the street and wall of Jerusalem were rebuilt. But no recovery of the full freedom and glory of the theocracy was thereby realized for the Jews, nor has been ever since. But to compensate for it, it was in this period that the Saviour came, in whom is summed up all that is good of all preceding ages. He came in great lowliness, reflecting in His person the humiliation and sufferings which are the portion of His covenant-people, Israel, during the whole period of the troublous times of the Gentiles. Till sin was "made an end of," by a full and perfect propitiation, "ever-lasting righteousness" could not be brought in. But now that "iniquity" has been "covered" (note, Daniel 9:24) by the atonement of Christ, the antitypical "Most Holy" place is anointed and consecrated; and by that new and living way which he has consecrated through the veil, that is, His flesh, believers may come boldly before God, accepted and justified in the everlasting righteousness of their divine surety.

(9) In the long period of the Gentile times, a beginning period of a half millennium was marked off-70 weeks of years, divided into 7 weeks of years at the beginning, and one week of years at the close, during both of which periods God was to vouchsafe revelations (in the latter period the greatest of all revelations, even God manifest in the flesh), and 62 weeks of years intervening, in which there was to be none; as also there is none in the long Gentile times, from the age of Christ and the apostles until the coming millennium. The full measure of Israel's guilt was to be filled up at the close of this period of 70 weeks of years. She not only was the guilty instrument of cutting off Messiah, but afterward hardened herself against the Holy Spirit, speaking through the apostles, and persecuted them; "forbidding them to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway" (1 Thessalonians 2:16). From that epoch she was counted as dead before God.

Therefore Messiah, who by His death would have brought salvation even to the nation which was His murderer, came in the person of the Roman "prince," Titus (Daniel 9:26), His representative, and destroyed the Jewish "city and sanctuary" with an overwhelming "flood" (Daniel 9:26). Thenceforth the kingdom of God has been transferred to the Gentiles, and shall be so until the King of Israel shall come again to "restore the kingdom to Israel" (Acts 1:6-7). Then shall Israel, in a preeminent sense, occupy the place to which, from her first election, she was ordained by God-namely, to be head of regenerated humanity. Messiah died in the midst of the prophetic week, for the confirmation of His covenant with the "many" who believe on Him: by His one sacrifice all other sacrifices are done away with: and by the fact that the 490 years have long since elapsed, the falsity of the Jews' expectation of Messiah, as if he had not yet come, is unanswerably proved. Desolations are to continue upon Israel, and are to be wound up with the last and greatest tribulation to her during the three and a half years of Antichrist, the counterpart of the three and a half years of Christ's ministerial manifestation. Then shall the determined time come for judgment on the God-opposed world-powers. The desolater shall be desolated, and God Himself shall plead the cause of His ancient people: and Israel's restoration by Her Messiah and King shall be the signal for blessings to the whole world. May we be found watching patiently, prayerfully, and believingly, for the blessed consummation, and for the coming of our Lord!

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/daniel-9.html. 1871-8.

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Thursday, December 3rd, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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