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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Daniel 9

 

 

Verses 1-11

Daniel 9:1-2. 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; 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.

Daniel was himself a prophet, but he studied the inspired prophecies of Jeremiah. If such a man need read Scripture, how much more ought we! Whatever light we may suppose to dwell within us, we shall do well to walk by the mere sure word of prophecy.

Daniel 9:3-5. And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: 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; We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:

Daniel certainly had rebelled less than any of his countrymen, and yet he is the first to make confession on their behalf. So, my brethren, when we have confessed our own sins, and have found mercy, then we should begin to be intercessors for others. We should make confession for the sins of our families, for the sins of our city, for the sins of our country. If no longer need we plead for salvation for ourselves because we have obtained it, let us give the full force of our prayers for the benefit of others.

Daniel 9:6. Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

It greatly increases sin when we sin against warnings sent from God. Daniel confesses this.

Daniel 9:7-9. 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, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;

What a gracious verse that is! Surely it might be printed in letters of gold, and every trembling, penitent sinner might look at it till at last beams of light should dart into the darkness of his despair.

Daniel 9:10-11. Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his ways, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. 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.


Verses 1-13

Daniel 9:1-2. 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; In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

And, therefore, discovering that the end of the captivity had nearly come, he set himself to plead mightily with God that now he would turn the hand of his love upon the destroyed and desolate city of Jerusalem. Notice that Daniel recollected the exact date when the captivity was to end; and when you and I have had a term put to any trial or chastisement from God, we ought to remember it, and record it among our special memoranda. I am afraid it is not always so. We do not forget when a great sorrow overtook us; we can, probably, recollect when some dear one died; we remember the very day of the week and month when that happened; but are we equally tenacious of the memory of God’s lovingkindness? I am afraid not; yet it should be so. We should be able to write about it as definitely as Daniel did when he said, “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes;” and then mention the time when we had some peculiarly choice communion with God, or when we were led to cry out in more than usually earnest prayer, or when we had a specially gracious answer from our God.

Daniel 9:3. 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.” This expression is full of meaning. When men resolutely set their faces to prayer, bending their whole mind that way, seeking God, with their faces towards him, not in pretense, but in deep and solemn earnestness, then it is that they succeed with their supplication. Daniel speaks of “prayer and supplications,” by which we may understand that he prayed much amid prayed often, setting apart a regular and considerable portion of his time for the holy exercise. He was a very busy man, for he was the first of the presidents over the hundred and twenty princes; yet, for all that, or because of that, he would have his time for communion with God; and he was wise in so acting, for any portion of our time that is stolen from prayer is also stolen from ourselves. The old saying is true, “Prayer and provender hinder no man’s journey.”

Daniel 9:4. And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;

You must have noticed how, in prayer, holy men of old were wont to vary the names of God. Here, we find Daniel addressing him as “the great and dreadful God;” but that title was not chosen at haphazard, for the prophet felt that, as Jerusalem had remained so long a desolation, the terrible aspect of God’s character was more conspicuous even than the tender one; yet he coupled with it that gracious truth, “keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments.”

Daniel 9:5-6. We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: 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.

Daniel confesses the sins of the nation, and he spares no proper epithets in describing them: “We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled.” He saw at least a shade of different meaning in each word that he employed. These are not vain repetitions; Daniel multiplied his expressions because he had an intense sense of the sinfulness of sin and the guilt of his people. Observe, too, how he notes the aggravation of their sin in their refusal to listen to the messages which God had sent to them by his servants. If there is anything in the world that can make sin to be more than ordinarily sinful, it is when sin is persisted in notwithstanding the manifest warnings of God.

Daniel 9:7. O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.

This verse might be just as truly spoken now as in the first year of Darius, the Mede, for we also can say, “ O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee;”-we cannot find it anywhere else; and the other part of the verse is equally true, for unto us belongs confusion of faces, as it did to the men of Daniel’s day.

Daniel 9:8-9. O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;

What a precious assurance this is! Just in proportion to your sense of sin, will you value it. If you feel that confusion of face belongs to you, you will also rejoice to know that mercies and forgivenesses belong to the Lord, and that he is waiting to bestow them upon all who seek his face in penitence and faith.

Daniel 9:10-11. 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. 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.

It was a part of that old covenant that, if they sinned against the Lord, they should be scattered among all the peoples of the earth, and their sufferings exactly tallied with what God had threatened. This fact is used by the prophet in some measure as a source of consolation, for he argues that, if God is true to the black side of the covenant, he will also he faithful to the bright side of it; and it is so, he who faithfully fulfils his threatenings will just as faithfully keep his promises.

Daniel 9:12-13. And he hath confirmed his words, which he spoke 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. 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.

Oh, sad hardness of heart and impenitence that, though Jerusalem had been so sorely smitten, yet the people turned not unto God in prayer!


Verses 14-23

Daniel 9:14-21. 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. 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, 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. 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. 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. 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. And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.

That is the time when prayer is always heard, when the lamb in offered, and his blood is sprinkled, and blessed be God, the sacrifice in which we trust has been offered once for all. The Christ, who has gone into heaven as a lamb that had been slain, has, by his one offering, made perpetual oblation unto the Most High on our behalf. So pray when we will, we may expect an answer. See how quick it was in Daniel’s case: “Whiles I was speaking in prayer,” the angel Gabriel, in the form of a man, appeared unto him, and brought him the answer to his petition.

Daniel 9:22-23. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandant came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou are greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.

And then he told him of the Messiah who was coming, of all that would happen to him, of the week of respite, and then of the final consummation when God would permit the foreign prince to come and destroy the city and the sanctuary, and to pour upon them the desolations which he had determined to inflict upon them.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/daniel-9.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, December 8th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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