Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Daniel 9:18

O 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.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Grace of God;   Intercession;   Nation;   Prayer;   Prophets;   Works;   Thompson Chain Reference - Favours, Unmerited;   Grace;   Prayer;   Unmerited Favours;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Prayer;   Prayer, Intercessory;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Daniel;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Hear, Hearing;   Humility;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Reconciliation;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Sanctification;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Captivity;   Prayer;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Abomination, Abomination of Desolation;   Daniel, Book of;   Ezekiel;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Daniel, Book of;   Prayer;   Thessalonians, Second Epistle to the;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Synagogue;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Confession;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Babylonish Captivity, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Intercession;   Trinity;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Confession of Sin;   Prayer;   Taḥ;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for February 17;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

O my God, incline thine ear, and hear - Pleading earnestly for his attention and his favor, as one does to a man.

Open thine eyes - As if his eyes had been closed upon the condition of the city, and he did not see it. Of course, all this is figurative, and is the language of strong and earnest pleading when the heart is greatly interested.

And the city which is called by thy name - Margin, “whereupon thy name is called.” The margin expresses the sense more literally; but the meaning is, that the city had been consecrated to God, and was called his - the city of Jehovah. It was known as the place of his sanctuary - the city where his worship was celebrated, and which was regarded as his peculiar dwelling place on the earth. Compare Psalm 48:1-3; Psalm 87:3. This is a new ground of entreaty, that the city belonged to God, and that he would remember the close connection between the prosperity of that city and the glory of his own name.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Daniel 9:18". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/daniel-9.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

O my God, incline thine ear, and hear,.... The petitions now put up, for Christ's sake:

open thine eyes, and behold our desolations; the city and temple a heap of rubbish, and the whole land forsaken of its inhabitants, and lying waste and uncultivated, or, however, at most possessed by enemies; and things being thus, it seemed as if the Lord shut his eyes to them, and therefore is desired to open them, and look with pity and compassion on the case of his people, and deliver them out of all their troubles:

and the city which is called by thy name; or, "on which thy name is called"F11אשר נקרא שמך עליה "super quam invocatum est nomen tuum", Vatablus, Pagninus, Calvin; "super qua nomen tuum nuncupatum est", Cocceius. ; as Jerusalem was, being called the city of our God, the city of the great King, Psalm 48:1 and in which also his name was called upon, both by the inhabitants of it in their private houses, and by the priests and Levites, and others, in the temple, which stood in it:

for we do not present our supplications before thee; or, "cause them to fall before thee"F12מפילים "nos cadere facientes", Montanus; "nos cadere facimus", Gejerus, Michaelis. ; expressing the humble and lowly manner in which they presented their petitions to God, and respecting the gesture they used in prayer, bowing themselves to the ground, and falling prostrate upon it; and as was the custom of the eastern people when they supplicated their princes: and this Daniel, in the name of his people, did; not, says he,

for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies; not pleading their good works and righteous actions, and the merits of them, which had none in them, and were no other than as filthy rags, and could not recommend them to God, or be used as a plea and argument to obtain any good thing from him; but throwing themselves upon the abundant grace and mercy of God in Christ, mercy they pleaded, and not merit; and made mention of the righteousness of Christ, and not their own; as all good men, who are truly sensible of themselves, and of the grace of God, will do.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Daniel 9:18". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/daniel-9.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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 n righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.

(n) Declaring that the godly flee only to God's mercies, and renounce their own works, when they seek for remission of their sins.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Daniel 9:18". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/daniel-9.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

supplications — literally, “cause to fall,” etc. (compare Note, see on Jeremiah 36:7).

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Daniel 9:18". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/daniel-9.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Daniel 9:18 O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.

Ver. 18. O my God, incline thine ear and hear; open thine eyes, and behold, &c.] Thus growing to a conclusion of his prayer he prays more earnestly: he stretcheth out his petitions, as it were, εκτενης, upon the tenters, with those good souls in Acts 12:5; he stirreth up himself and taketh better hold, as resolved not to let him go without the blessing. The like, before him, did good Hezekiah, with whom he concurreth in the very letter of his request. [Isaiah 37:17] {See Trapp on "Isaiah 37:17"}

For our own righteousnesses.] Which are nothing better than a rotten rag, a menstruous clout, such as a man would not deign to take up or touch.

But for thy great mercies.] Through the merits of the promised Messiah.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Daniel 9:18". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/daniel-9.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Observe here,

1. How he entitles God to the city for his name. It was the city of God, Psalms 48:1,2,8 Jer 25:29. It is a good argument in prayer to entitle ourselves to God; yea, to interest God to ourselves, and to our cause. Observe,

2. How careful and cautious the prophet is to flee to mercy, and to renounce merit. Thus all the saints.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Daniel 9:18". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/daniel-9.html. 1685.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Thine eyes. Figure of speech Anthropopatheia. App-6.

which is called by Thy name: or, upon which Thy name has been called.

we. Others were praying with Daniel.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Daniel 9:18". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/daniel-9.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Daniel 9:18". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/daniel-9.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
incline
1 Kings 8:29; 2 Kings 19:16; Psalms 17:6,7; Isaiah 37:17; 63:15-19; 64:12
behold
Exodus 3:7; Psalms 80:14-19
which is called by thy name
Heb. whereupon thy name is called.
Jeremiah 7:10; 14:9; 15:16; 25:29; 1 Corinthians 1:2
for we
Isaiah 64:6; Jeremiah 14:7; Ezekiel 36:32
present
Heb. cause to fall.
Jeremiah 36:7; 37:20; *marg:
Reciprocal: Exodus 32:32 - if thou;  Leviticus 26:32 - And I;  Leviticus 26:41 - and they;  Numbers 6:27 - put my;  Deuteronomy 9:28 - Because;  Deuteronomy 28:10 - called;  Nehemiah 1:6 - thine ear;  Nehemiah 9:19 - in thy;  Job 9:15 - I would;  Job 23:4 - fill my mouth;  Psalm 6:4 - for;  Psalm 17:1 - attend;  Psalm 31:16 - save;  Psalm 40:1 - inclined;  Psalm 51:1 - O God;  Psalm 62:12 - mercy;  Psalm 86:1 - Bow;  Psalm 103:10 - dealt;  Psalm 119:77 - thy tender;  Psalm 119:124 - Deal;  Jeremiah 31:9 - come;  Ezekiel 3:20 - righteousness;  Daniel 9:19 - for thy;  Joel 2:17 - Spare;  Amos 9:12 - which are called by my name;  Haggai 1:4 - and;  Zechariah 3:3 - GeneralZechariah 12:4 - I will open;  Matthew 6:7 - repetitions;  Matthew 15:27 - Truth;  Luke 7:42 - he;  Luke 18:13 - God;  Acts 4:29 - behold;  Romans 12:12 - continuing;  James 5:11 - the Lord is

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Daniel 9:18". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/daniel-9.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

This short clause breathes a wonderful fervor and vehemence of prayer; for Daniel pours forth his words as if he were carried out of himself. God’s children are often in an ecstasy in prayer; they moan and plead with God, use various modes of speech and much tautology, and cannot satisfy themselves. In forms of speech, indeed, hypocrites are sometimes superior; they not only rival God’s sincere worshippers, but are altogether carried along by outward pomps, and by a vast heap of words in their prayers, they arrive at much elegance and splendor, and even become great rhetoricians. But Daniel here only displays some portion of his feelings; there is no doubt of his wishing to bear witness to the whole Church how vehemently and fervently he prayed with the view of inflaming others with similar ardor. In this verse, he says, O my God, incline thine ear and hear. It would have been sufficient simply to have said, hearken; but as God seemed to remain deaf notwithstanding so many prayers and entreaties, the Prophet begs him to incline his ear. There is a silent antithesis here, because the faithful had seemed to be uttering words to the deaf, while their groans had been continually carried upwards to heaven during seventy years without the slightest effect. He adds next, open thine eyes and see. For God’s neglecting to answer must have cast down the hopes of the pious, because the Israelites were treated so undeservedly. They were oppressed by every possible form of reproach, and suffered the most grievous molestation in their fortunes as well as in everything else. Yet God passed by all these calamities of his people, as if his eyes were shut; and for this reason Daniel now prays him to open his eyes. It is profitable to notice these circumstances with diligence, for the purpose of learning how to pray to God; first, when at peace and able to utter our petitions without the slightest disquietude, and next, when sorrow and anxiety seize upon all our senses, and darkness everywhere surrounds us; even then our prayers should be steadily continued in the midst of these great obstacles. And we gather at the same time, while God presses us to the very extremity of our lives, how we ought to be still more importunate, because the new object; of this our severe affliction, is to awaken us amidst our slothfulness. Thus it is said in the Psalms, (Psalms 32:6,) The saint will approach thee in an accepted time. Our opportunity arises when the very vast necessities overwhelm us, because God then stirs us up, and, as I have said, corrects our slowness. Let us learn, therefore, to accustom ourselves to vehemence in prayer whenever God urges and incites us by stimulus of this kind.

He next says, Look upon our desolation’s of this we have already said enough — and on the city on which thy name is called Again Daniel sets before himself the sure foundation of his confidence, — Jerusalem had been chosen as God’s sanctuary. We know God’s adoption to have been without repentance, as Paul says. (Romans 11:29.) Daniel, therefore, here takes the very strongest method of appealing to God’s honor, by urging his wish to be worshipped on Mount Zion, and by his destining Jerusalem for himself as a royal seat. The phrase, to be called by God’s name, means, reckoning either the place or the nation as belonging to God. For God’s name is said to be called upon us, when we profess to be his people, and he distinguishes us by his mark, as if he would openly shew to the eyes of mankind his recognition of our profession. Thus God’s name was called upon Jerusalem, because his election had been celebrated already for many ages, and he had also gathered together one peculiar people, and pointed out a place where he wished sacrifices to be offered.

He adds afterwards, Because we do not pour forth our prayers before thy face upon or through our own righteousness, ( כי ki, “but,” is in my opinion put adversatively here,) but on account of thy many or great mercies Daniel more clearly confirms what was said yesterday, shewing how his hope was founded in God’s mercy alone. But I have stated how he expresses his meaning more clearly by opposing two members of a sentence naturally contrary to each other.Not in our righteousness, says he, but in thy compassion’s Although this comparison is not always put so distinctly, yet this rule must be held — whenever the saints rely upon the grace of God, they renounce at the same time all their merits, and find nothing in themselves to render God propitious. But this passage must be diligently noticed, where Daniel carefully excludes whatever opposes God’s gratuitous goodness; and he next shews how, by bringing forward anything of their own, as if men could deserve God’s grace, they diminish in an equal degree from his mercy. Daniel’s words also contain another truth, manifesting the impossibility of reconciling two opposite things, viz., the faithful taking refuge in God’s mercy, and yet bringing anything of their own and resting upon their merits. As, therefore, a complete repugnance exists between the gratuitous goodness of God and all the merits of man, how stupid are those who strive to combine them, according to the usual practice of the Papacy! And even now, those who do not yield willingly to God and his word, wish to throw a covering over their error, by ascribing half the praise to God and his mercy, and retaining the remainder as peculiar to man. But all doubt is removed when Daniel places these two principles in opposition to each other, according to my former remark — the righteousness of man and the mercy of God. Our merits, in truth, will no more unite with the grace of God than fire and water, mingled in the vain attempt to seek some agreement between flyings so opposite. He next calls these mercies “great,” as we previously remarked the use of a great variety of words to express the various ways in which the people were amenable to his judgment. Here, therefore, he implores God’s mercies as both many and great, as the people’s wickedness had arrived at its very utmost pitch.

As for the following expression, The people pour down their prayers before God, Scripture seems in some degree at variance with itself, through the frequent use of a different metaphor, representing prayers as raised towards heaven. This phrase often occurs, — O God, we elevate or raise our prayers to thee. Here also, as in other places, the Spirit dictates a different form of expression, representing the faithful as casting down upon the ground their vows and prayers. Each of these expressions is equally suitable, because, as we said yesterday, both repentance and faith ought to be united in our prayers. But repentance throws men downwards, and faith raises them upwards again. At the first glance these two ideas do not seem easily reconciled; but by weighing these two members of a true and logical form of speech, we shall not find it possible to raise our prayers and vows to heaven, without depressing them, so to speak, to the very lowest depths. For on the one hand, when the sinner comes into the presence of God, he must necessarily fall completely down, nay, vanish as if lifeless before him. This is the genuine effect of repentance. And in this way the saints cast down all their prayers, whenever they suppliantly acknowledge themselves unworthy of the notice of the Almighty. Christ sets before us a picture of this kind in the character of the publican, who beats on his breast and begs for pardon with a dejected countenance. (Luke 18:13.) Thus also the sons of God throw down their prayers in that spirit of humility which springs from penitence. Then they raise their prayers by faith for when God invites them to himself, and gives them the witness to his propitious disposition, they raise themselves up and overtop the clouds, yea, even heaven itself. Whence this doctrine also shines forth Thou art a God who hearest prayer, as we read in the Psalms. (Psalms 65:2.) In consequence of the faithful determining God to be propitious, they boldly approach his presence, and pray with minds erect, through an assurance that God is well pleased with the sacrifice which they offer. It follows:

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Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Daniel 9:18". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/daniel-9.html. 1840-57.