Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Daniel 9:23

At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Angel (a Spirit);   Prayer;   The Topic Concordance - Resurrection;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Angels;   Confession of Sin;   Prayer, Answers to;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Angel;   Daniel;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Gabriel;   Vision;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Haggai, Theology of;   Understanding;   Vision(s);   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Reconciliation;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Gabriel;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Daniel;   Prayer;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Daniel, Book of;   Ezekiel;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Love, Lover, Lovely, Beloved;   Prayer;   Thessalonians, Second Epistle to the;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Babylonish Captivity, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Beloved;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Gabriel;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

At the beginning of thy supplications - We are not informed at what time Daniel began to pray, but as remarked above, it is most natural to suppose that he devoted the day to prayer, and had commenced these solemn acts of devotion in the morning.

The commandment came forth - Margin, “word.” That is, the word of God. This evidently means, in heaven; and the idea is, that as soon as he began to pray a command was issued from God to Gabriel that he should visit Daniel, and convey to him the important message respecting future events. It is fair to conclude that he had at once left heaven in obedience to the order, and on this high embassage, and that he had passed over the amazing distance between heaven and earth in the short time during which Daniel was engaged in prayer. If so, and if heaven - the peculiar seat of God, the dwelling-place of angels and of the just - is beyond the region of the fixed stars, some central place in this vast universe, then this may give us some idea of the amazing rapidity with which celestial beings may move. It is calculated that there are stars so remote from our earth, that their light would not travel down to us for many thousand years. If so, how much more rapid may be the movements of celestial beings than even light; perhaps more than that of the lightning‘s flash - than the electric fluid on telegraphic wires - though “that” moves at the rate of more than 200,000 miles in a second. Compare Dick‘s “Philosophy of a Future State,” p. 220. “During the few minutes employed in uttering this prayer,” says Dr. Dick, “this angelic messenger descended from the celestial regions to the country of Babylonia. This was a rapidity of motion surpassing the comprehension of the most vigorous imagination, and far exceeding even the amazing velocity of light.” With such a rapidity it may be our privilege yet to pass from world to world on errands of mercy and love, or to survey in distant parts of the universe the wonderful works of God.

And I am come to show thee - To make thee acquainted with what will yet be.

For thou” art “greatly beloved - Margin, as in Hebrew, “a man of desires.” That is, he was one whose happiness was greatly desired by God; or, a man of God‘s delight; that is, as in our version, greatly beloved. It was on this account that his prayer was heard, and that God sent to him this important message respecting what was to come.

Therefore understand the matter - The matter respecting what was yet to occur in regard to his people.

And consider the vision - This vision - the vision of future things which he was now about to present to his view. From this passage, describing the appearance of Gabriel to Daniel, we may learn,

(a) That our prayers, if sincere, are heard in heaven “as soon” as they are offered. They enter at once into the ears of God, and he regards them at the instant.

(b) A command, as it were, may be at once issued to answer them - “as if” he directed an angel to bear the answer at once.

(c) The angels are ready to hasten down to men, to communicate the will of God. Gabriel came evidently with pleasure on his embassage, and to a benevolent being anywhere there is nothing more grateful than to be commissioned to bear glad tidings to others. Possibly that may be a part of the employment of the righteous forever.

(d) The thought is an interesting one, if we are permitted to entertain it, that good angels may be constantly employed as Gabriel was; that whenever prayer is offered on earth they may be commissioned to bring answers of peace and mercy, or despatched to render aid, and that thus the universe may be constantly traversed by these holy beings ministering to those who are “heirs of salvation,” Hebrews 1:1, Hebrews 1:4.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Daniel 9:23". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/daniel-9.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Daniel 9:23

At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth.

The Dawn of Revival, or Prayer Speedily Answered

Prayer is useful in a thousand ways. It is spiritually what the old physicians sought after naturally, namely, a catholicon--a remedy of universal application. There is no case of need, distress, or dilemma, in which prayer will not be found to be a very present help. In the case before us Daniel had been studying the book of Jeremiah, and had learned that God would accomplish seventy weeks in the desolation of Jerusalem, but he felt that there was still more to be learned, and he set his face to learn it. His was a noble and acute mind, and with all its energies he sought to pry into the prophetic meaning; but he did not rely upon his own judgment; he betook himself at once to prayer. Prayer is that great key which opens mysteries. To whom should we go for an explanation if we cannot understand a writing, but to the author of the book? Daniel appealed at once to the Great Author, in whose hand Jeremiah had been the pen. In lonely retirement the prophet knelt upon his knees, and cried unto God that he would open up to him the mystery of the prophecy, that he might know the fall meaning of the seventy weeks, and what God intended to do at the end thereof, and how He would have His people behave themselves to obtain deliverance from their captivity. Daniel made his suit unto the Lord to unloose the seals and open the volume of the hook, and he was heard and favoured with the knowledge which he might have sought for in vain by any other mean. The particular point in the text to which I would direct your attention is that Daniel’s prayer was answered at once, while he was yet speaking, ay, and at the beginning of his supplication. It is not always so. Prayer sometimes tarrieth like a petitioner at the gate until the king cometh forth to fill her bosom with the blessings which she seeketh. The Lord when He hath given great faith, has been known to try it by long delayings. If it pleases Him to bid our patience exercise itself, shall He not do as He wills with His own? Beggars must not be choosers either as to time, place, or form, We must not take delays in prayer for denial; God’s long-dated hills will be punctually honoured; we must not suffer Satan to shake our confidence in the God of truth by pointing to our unanswered prayers. However, in the case of Daniel, the man greatly beloved, there was no waiting at all. In Daniel’s case the promise was true, “Before they call I will answer, and while they are yet speaking I will hear.” The man Gabriel was made to fly very swiftly, as though even the flight of an angel was hardly swift enough for God’s mercy. Oh, how fast the mercy of God travels, and how long his anger lingers! “Fly,” said He, “bright spirit, try thine utmost power of wing! Descend to my waiting servant and fulfil his desire.”

I. First, have we any REASONS TO EXPECT THAT AT THE COMMENCEMENT OF OUR SUPPLICATIONS THE COMMANDMENT OF MERCY WILL COME FORTH? Rest assured that we have, if we are found in the same posture as Daniel, for God acts towards His servants by a fixed rule. Let self-examination be now in vigilant exercise while we compare ourselves with the successful prophet. God will hear His people at the commencement of their prayers if the condition of the supplicant be fitted for it. The nature of such fitness we may gather from the state of Daniel’s mind and the mode of his procedure. Upon this our first noteworthy observation is, that Daniel was determined to obtain the blessing which he was seeking. Note carefully the expression which he has used in the third verse--“I set my face unto the Lord God to seek by prayer and supplication.” That setting of the face is expressive of resolute purpose, firm determination, undivided attention, fixed resolute perseverance. “I set my face towards the Lord.” We never do anything in this world until we set our faces thoroughly to it. The warriors who win battles are those who are resolved to conquer or die. The merchants who prosper in this world are those who do their business with all their hearts, and watch for wealth with eagerness. The half-hearted man is nowhere in the race of life; he is usually contemptible in the sight of others, and a misery to himself. If a thing be worth doing, it is worth doing well; and if it be not worth doing thoroughly, wise men let it alone. Especially is this a truth in the spiritual life. Wonders are not done for God and for the truth by men upon their beds asleep, or out of their beds, but still asleep. A man if he would do anything for God for the truth, for the cross of Christ, must set his face and with the whole force of his will resolve to serve his God. The soldier of Christ must set his face like a flint against all opposition, and at the same moment set his face towards the Lord with the attentive eye of the handmaiden looking towards her mistress. This was the first proof that God might safely give Daniel the blessing at once, for the prophet’s heart was fixed in immutable resolve, and there was no turning him from the point. Next, Daniel felt deeply the misery of the people for whom he pleaded. Read that expression, a under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.” The condition of that city, lying in ruins, her inhabitants captive, her choicest sons banished to, the ends of the earth, afflicted him very sorely. He had not a light superficial acquaintance with the sorrows of his people, but his inmost heart was embittered with the wormwood and the gall of their cup. If God intends to give us souls he will prepare us for the honour by causing us to feel the deep ruin of our fellow-creatures. In the next place, Daniel was ready to receive the blessing, because he felt deeply his own unworthiness of it. I do not know that even the fifty-first Psalm is more penitential than the chapter which contains our text. Read the chapter, and note how he humbly acknowledges sins of commission, sins of omission, and especially sins against the warnings of God’s word and the entreaties of God’s servants. Let us confess our unworthiness, our coldness, and deadness, and lethargy, and wanderings of heart, and the backsliding of many among us, and then, having confessed our faults, we may expect that at the very commencement God will visit us. When the vessel is empty, Heaven’s fountain will fill it; when the ground is dried and chapped, and begins to open her mouth with thirst, down shall come the rain to make fat the soil. But again, we have not exhausted the points in Daniel which deserve our imitation; you will notice that Daniel had a clear conviction of God’s power to help his people in their distress, his lively sense of Divine power being based upon what God had done in the olden time. One is interested to note in the history of the Jews, how in every dark and stormy hour their minds reverted to one particular point in their history! Just as the Greek would remember Thermopylae and Marathon, and feel his eyes sparkle and every sinew grow strong at the thought of the heroic day when his fathers slew the Persians, and broke the yoke of the great king, so with nobler emotions, because more Heavenly, the Israelite always thought of the Red Sea, and what the Lord did to Egypt when He divided the waters, and they stood upright as a heap, that His people might pass through. Daniel in the prayer says, “Thou hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day.” He lays hold upon that deed of ancient prowess, and pleads in effect after this fashion: “Thou canst do the like, O God, and glorify thy name anew, and send deliverance to thy people.” We worship the God who loves His chosen now even as He did of old. But once more, the most apparent point about Daniel’s prayer is his peculiar earnestness. To multiply expressions such as “ O Lord! O Lord! O Lord!” may not always be right. There may be much sin in such repetitions, amounting to taking God’s name in vain. But it is not so with Daniel. His repetitious are forced from the depths of his soul, “O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hearken and do!” These are the fiery volcanic eruptions of a soul on fire, heaving terribly. It is just the man’s soul wanting vent. No prayer is at all likely to bring down an immediate answer if it be not a fervent prayer. We must get rid of the icicles that hang about our lips. We must ask the Lord to thaw the ice-caves of our soul and to make our hearts like a furnace of firs heated seven times hotter. Thus much upon that first reason. We may expect a speedy answer to prayer when the condition of the suppliant is as God would have it. Secondly, I believe we have every reason to expect a blessing when we consider the mercy itself. That which we as a church are seeking is, if I understand your hearts and my own, just this: we want to see our own personal piety deepened and revived, and we want to see sinners saved. Well, is not that in itself so good a thing that we may expect the giver of every good and perfect gift to give it to us? What we ask is for God’s glory. We are not seeking a boon which may glorify us or may exalt some one of our fellow-men. We crave not victory for the arms of a warrior; we ask not success for the researches of a philosopher. Thirdly, there is another thing which encourages me, namely, the nature of the relations which exist between God and us. Is not that a choice word, “O man greatly beloved”? “Yes,” you will perhaps say, “it is easy to understand why God should send so swift an answer to Daniel, because he was a man greatly beloved.” Ah! has your unbelief made you forget that you are greatly beloved too? Who will refuse to ask when such encouragements are suggested to our, minds?

II. If we are to gain the blessing at the commencement, IN WHAT FORM SHOULD WE PREFER TO HAVE IT? Could I have my heart’s desire, I would crave a blessing for every one of you. I was turning over in my mind how early and sweet a blessing it would be if the Lord would give us to-day some conversions. But make no tarrying, O our God! Make haste our Beloved. “Be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether,” for Thy name’s sake. Amen. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

For thou art greatly beloved.

A Man Greatly Beloved

Daniel was alike eminent as a prophet of the Lord and as a man of piety and goodness. His piety was enlightened, decided, and persevering. He had, doubtless, his infirmities; but nothing is alleged against him.

I. THE EXALTED CHARACTER OF DANIEL.

1. The inflexible constancy with which he adhered to the service of Jehovah. No honours could win him from his allegiance to the true God; no dangers could deter him from openly maintaining and professing the true religion.

2. He was s man of prayer. Such firm and determined adherence to true religion as his could be kept alive only by regular and intimate intercourse with Heaven. He prayed frequently. He prayed in a right spirit--this is seen in his just views of God; in his deep humiliation before God; and in the earnestness of his pleadings.

3. He was eminently faithful in discharging the duties of his exalted station. The insidious acts of designing men could not impeach his integrity, or darken the lustre of his character. This fidelity and honesty in his office were indeed the natural effects of his eminent piety. Religion is the only sure foundation for the regular and faithful performance of the duties of our office and station in society. Principles of honour, and prudence, and self-interest properly understood, will often go far in leading to fidelity in secular trusts; but religious principles will enable men to resist greater temptations, and be more uniformly and perfectly upright than any inferior motive. If our religion has not a similar influence upon us, to that his religion exerted on Daniel, it is vain and insincere. Faith in God necessarily leads to right conduct towards mankind.

4. Daniel was distinguished by the pious and patriotic interest which he took in the welfare of his countrymen. Every Jew, indeed, had something of this feeling. In a particular manner, however, were these the sentiments and feelings of Daniel. His views on national matters were of a more enlightened and spiritual character than those of his countrymen in general. He saw that the glory of God and the interests of true religion were intimately connected with the re-establishment of Israel. This made him so peculiarly ardent in the cause of his people, and led him to use all the influence of his exalted station, and all the might or power which he possessed with God, that Zion might no longer be a desolation. Patriotism is a feeling honourable to the character. But how is that feeling hallowed and exalted when we feel that, with the prosperity of our country, the glory of God and the everlasting interests of mankind are most intimately connected.

II. THE HIGH PRIVILEGE OF DANIEL.

1. He was greatly beloved of God. All the people of God, indeed, are the subjects of His affection. But, in addition to this, He bears to everyone of them a love of complacency founded on the amiable and holy qualities with which they are endowed by the Spirit of grace. No privilege is more amazing than that with which Daniel was favoured. Gabriel was despatched from Heaven with an ample answer to his prayer, and a pointed assurance that he was a special favourite of Heaven.

2. Daniel was greatly beloved of men. It is natural to us to desire the esteem and friendship of men, and the gratification of that desire is, in no slight degree, conducive both to our usefulness and our happiness. And this did Daniel enjoy in no ordinary measure. Then

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Daniel 9:23". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/daniel-9.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

At the beginning of thy supplications,.... As soon as ever he began to pray. This circumstance shows how ready the Lord is to hear the prayers of his people; and yet it was not owing to the prayers of the prophet, and to any intrinsic virtue or merit in them that the Lord did what he afterwards declares should be done; and, besides, more is revealed and promised than Daniel asked for:

the commandment came forth; either the order from the Lord to the angel, dispatching him on this errand to the prophet, to acquaint him with his mind and will; or the proclamation of Cyrus, to let the people of the Jews go free, and go up to Jerusalem to build their city and temple, published that morning, just about the time Daniel began to pray, the seventy years' captivity being completely finished; see Daniel 9:25,

and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved; or, "art desires"F16חמודות "desideria", Michaelis; "vir desideriorum", Pagninus, Munster, Piscator; so Ben Melech. ; all desire, exceedingly desired; very lovely, amiable, and delightful, in the sight of God, and all good men: or, "that thou art greatly beloved"F17כי "quod dilectus tu sis", Cocceius; "quod desideria tu sis", Michaelis. ; thus the angel came from God, out of heaven, to show it to him, to make it appear that he was highly in the favour of God, in that he made known his secrets to him:

therefore understand the matter; or "word"F18בדבר "in verbo", Montanus; "verbum", Pagninus; "ipsum verbum", Junius & Tremellius; "sermonem", Cocceius. ; attend to the word; advert to the form of speaking used, and labour to get the knowledge of it:

and consider the vision; this vision, as Japhet; the following vision or prophecy of the seventy weeks; think of it well, as being a matter of great importance and consequence.

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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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Daniel 9:23". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/daniel-9.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

At the beginning of thy supplications, etc. — 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.

thou art greatly beloved — literally, “a man of desires” (compare Ezekiel 23:6, Ezekiel 23:12); the object of God‘s delight. As the apocalyptic prophet of the New Testament was “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” so the apocalyptic prophet of the Old Testament was “greatly beloved” of God.

the vision — the further revelation as to Messiah in connection with Jeremiah‘s prophecy of seventy 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 (compare Note, see on Daniel 9:27).

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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 9:23". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/daniel-9.html. 1871-8.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH OF PRAYER

‘At the beginning of the supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee.’

Daniel 9:23

What would that ancient, who first caught a faint glimpse of electrical power when he rubbed the amber ( ελεκτρον, electrum) on the seashore, and saw the light straws put into motion round it,—what would he think if he were told that cities, two hundred miles apart, could convey messages and receive answers by means of this mysterious power with such rapidity that the three hundred and sixtieth part of a second of time is the only perceptible interval between the sending of the message and its arrival at its destination? So that, if only the wires could be laid, the antipodes would speak with each other in this way as rapidly as by words.

I. There is an electricity more rapid still than this—an electric telegraph between far-distant worlds, which has been long at work, though ‘not many wise’ have known of its existence; or, if they have heard of it, have smiled in supercilious unbelief.

II. Daniel knew how to use it, when, having ‘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 desolation of Jerusalem, he set his face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.’ The petitions of that holy and humble man of God sped with speed above that of the vollied lightning—above that of the rapid sunbeam through this lower heaven around our earth, through the second heaven, blazing with those countless stars which require sixty millions of years to revolve round the central sun, to the third heaven,—to the very throne of God.

III. As he began his prayer on earth, a summons from the Almighty Word came forth—the waiting angel received ‘the commandment,’ and before the short prayer was ended, Gabriel stood by his dear ‘fellow-servant,’ to show him the things that should be hereafter. Blessed Christian! who hast such a means of communication with that glorious world, and that gracious King, always near and with thy reach! Christian mother! your child, the son of your prayers and your tears, of whom your heart has been so full as you have been lying awake in the silent night, rejoice—you cannot speak to your child,—you cannot warn him of the snares ‘of a world that lieth in wickedness,’—you cannot unseal his inward ear, even if he could hear your voice. But you can in a second, yea, in less time than thought could clothe itself in words, you can speak to Him, Who, if He speaks, will speak not to the ear, but to the heart and conscience and affections of your child and hold him back from evil—and keep him in temptation, when all the words even of a mother, and all the chains that man could forge to bind him, would be as tow before the fire, or green withes on Sampson’s arms.

—Rev. Canon Champneys.

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Daniel 9:23". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/daniel-9.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Daniel 9:23 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.

Ver. 23. At the beginning of thy supplications.] Thy prayer was scarce in thy mouth ere it was in God’s ear. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. [Psalms 34:15] {See Trapp on "Psalms 34:15"} He heard at the very first, but answered not till Daniel had tugged with him. See James 5:16-17.

For thou art greatly beloved.] (a) Kimchi readeth it, A man of measures, a man every inch of thee. But the word is not Hamiddoth, but Chamudoth, ‘a man of desires,’ a favourite in heaven, because desirous of things truly desirable. (b) Christ is said to be totus totas desiderabilis, lovely all over. [Song of Solomon 5:16] The saints are also so in their measure, as on the contrary the wicked are not desired, [Zephaniah 2:1] but loathed and abhorred. [Proverbs 13:5]

Therefore understand the matter.] Good men shall know God’s secrets. [Genesis 18:17; Genesis 18:19 Psalms 25:14]

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Daniel 9:23". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/daniel-9.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The commandment came forth: this thing was decreed before in God’s counsel; but not divulged, or ordered to be proclaimed, till Daniel petitioned.

Greatly beloved, Heb. a man of desires, i.e. dear to God, Luke 1:28.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Daniel 9:23". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/daniel-9.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

23.The word from God came forth at the beginning of Daniel’s prayer, and before the prayer was ended the angelic messenger had reached the supplicant with his divine revelation of comfort (Daniel 9:20). It was not the answer Daniel had hoped for, but it was a better answer. He had asked for a proof of God’s mercy in a speedy deliverance from Babylon; the answer brings the news of continuing sorrows and persecutions but of a final and heavenly triumph.

Therefore understand the matter — Rather, therefore consider the word and give heed to the vision. This “word” is the larger explanation of Daniel’s former vision (Daniel 8:2-16) with which God had intrusted Gabriel at the opening of this prayer (Daniel 9:20). Jehovah had really sent to Daniel long ago the answer to his present petition, and relief for all his sadness, but he had not been able, through lack of attention or through physical exhaustion (Daniel 8:27), to understand the divine answer.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Daniel 9:23". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/daniel-9.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

“At the beginning of your supplications the word went forth, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved. Therefore consider the matter and understand the vision.”

Gabriel assures him that ‘the word went forth’ for the fulfilment of his hopes right from the beginning of his prayer. He was not heard for his much speaking but because of the graciousness of God towards a beloved servant. The idea of ‘the word going forth’ is powerful. God makes His decree and sends forth His word to bring it about. The exact phraseology is paralleled in Daniel 9:25. Thus Daniel 9:25 must also be seen in similar terms. The word that goes forth there, is the word that has gone forth here. It is God’s word bringing about His purpose (compare Isaiah 55:11). We are not therefore left to hazard as to when the seventy sevens commences. It commences in 539/8 BC in the first year of Darius the Mede, when Daniel put forth his intercession for the rebuilding of the city and the Temple.

Here we learn the vital lesson that God’s response is prompt and not dependent on the volume of our prayers, as Jesus Himself would make clear (Matthew 6:7-8). But Daniel had not wasted his time. It had brought him nearer to God. Now he would learn what God was going to do in the future. His prayer had been the final touch to the prayers of all the faithful throughout the world. And he was to hear, and consider and understand.

The Great Vision.

We have come now to what is probably one of the most crucial passages in eschatology. It is the passage on which is based the idea of the ‘seven year’ tribulation, a concept which must be very seriously questioned. The Bible knows nothing of a seven year tribulation period, for as we shall see it is not in mind here, and the suggestion of seven years occurs nowhere else. And yet it is pivotal to many schemes. On the other hand this passage in Daniel is often also interpreted to fit in with those schemes with scant regard to the niceties of the Hebrew in this passage. I would therefore suggest that in view of the importance of the passage the first thing that we need to ask ourselves is, ‘what does the Hebrew actually say?’ And as we look at these verses that will be the first priority that we keep in mind.

So as a preliminary to our study let us consider some of the niceties of the Hebrew, and the first one that leaps to our attention is that the word for ‘prince’ in both cases is nagid. Elsewhere Daniel uses a number of words for ‘prince’ but the only time that he uses nagid is when he is speaking of an Israelite prince, a ‘prince of the covenant’ (Daniel 11:22). And in Daniel 9:25 it is also clear that it is an Israelite prince that is in mind. The only possible ambiguous use is in Daniel 9:26 where it speaks of ‘the prince who is coming’. But as the coming of a prince (nagid) has been mentioned in Daniel 9:25 it seems reasonable to see ‘the coming prince’ in Daniel 9:26 as the same prince, that is, as the one previously referred to in Daniel 9:25 as coming, and thus as an Israelite prince. There are, however, those who seek to make it signify an foreign unknown prince who is coming. But if the latter was intended why did Daniel not use sar as he normally does?

This is especially so in that, outside Daniel, nagid as a title is a regular term for the anointed rulers of Israel. It is only once used in the singular of a ruler outside Israel, and then specifically of him as an ‘anointed one’, probably in ironic contrast to the son of David. Let us consider the facts.

From the earliest days nagid was a regular term applied to rulers of Israel, to Saul, David and Solomon (1 Samuel 9:16; 1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Samuel 13:14; 1 Samuel 25:30; 2 Samuel 5:2; 2 Samuel 6:21; 2 Samuel 7:8; 1 Kings 1:35) and to early rulers of Israel and Judah after Solomon (1 Kings 14:7; 1 Kings 16:2; 2 Kings 20:5) . Saul was anointed ‘nagid’ (1 Samuel 9:16; 1 Samuel 10:1). David was to replace him as ‘nagid’ (1 Samuel 13:14), as David himself acknowledged (2 Samuel 6:21). And it was a title of honour recognised by others (1 Samuel 25:30; 2 Samuel 5:2; 2 Samuel 6:21; 2 Samuel 7:8) And even though David later saw Solomon as king, he still recognised that in his becoming king Solomon would be appointed ‘nagid’ (1 Kings 1:35). God was King, each king was His chosen nagid, His anointed representative and war leader. It will further be noted that in all the verses except one (2 Kings 20:5) it is used of the initial appointment of the king. However, 2 Kings 20:5 is probably not to be seen as an exception, for there it is used by God of Hezekiah, and we may therefore well see that reference as also having the fact that he was a God-appointed king in mind.

In the remainder of the Old Testament there is only one use of nagid where it refers to a foreign prince, and that is when it is applied by Ezekiel to the king of Tyre at the point where he is claiming to be a god. This is found in Ezekiel 28:2. There is, however, very good reason for seeing its use there as deliberately derisive, contrasting him with his grand claims with God’s chosen princes. The contrast is between on the one hand him as a self-proclaimed ‘nagid’, one who claims to be the chosen of the gods (see Daniel 9:2), an ‘anointed’ cherub (Daniel 9:14), and on the other hand the true nagid of the people of God, who are the true anointed of God, and adopted as His sons (Psalms 2:7; 2 Samuel 7:14; Psalms 89:26-27). It is derisive of his great and blasphemous claims. He thinks he is a ‘nagid’ but he is only a king. Later in the passage he is in fact called ‘the king of Tyre’ (Ezekiel 28:12). Thus nagid in its use here also points to one anointed and divinely chosen.

Daniel maintains this emphasis when he speaks of ‘the prince of the covenant’ in Daniel 11:28 and when he speaks in Daniel 9:25 of ‘an anointed one, a nagid’, clearly connecting the use of nagid with one who is anointed by God.

In the plural, but only in the plural, it is also used of important men in authority in Israel and Judah, for example of ‘rulers over the house of God’, of rulers of priestly courses, and of grand viziers of Judah and Israel, once kingship was fully established, who all represented God under the king. In the plural it is also used more generally in Psalms 76:12, but even there it may actually signify princes of Israel in contrast with the kings of the earth. The only time it is ever definitely applied outside Israel and Judah is in 2 Chronicles 32:21, where it is used in the plural of the king of Assyria’s war leaders. Thus even in the plural it is almost always used of leaders of Israel, although not totally exclusively.

In the singular, however, its only certain use of a foreign prince, even outside Daniel, is in Ezekiel 28:2, and there it is as one chosen of the gods, and whose anointing is mentioned in context (Daniel 9:14), and as we have suggested, the idea of the nagid of Israel is in mind as a contrast. It is being used ironically while keeping its basic meaning in mind. He is being seen as imitating the true nagids of YHWH.

That being so there is overwhelming reason for seeing nagid in the singular as being a unique title referring exclusively to princes of Israel as representatives of God, a title used when they are appointed, adopted as His sons and anointed in His name. If this be so it means that we should then see ‘the people of the nagid who is coming’ as referring to Israel as the people of an Israelite prince, and it would seem sensible to parallel it with ‘the coming prince’ whom they had rejected and killed. This explains fully why the action is referred to the people and not to the prince. The prince was dead. And as we shall see later there are other reasons also why we should interpret it in this way.

The second thing we should note is that ‘the covenant’ mentioned in Daniel 9:27 is ‘confirmed’ not made. Now the only covenant mentioned elsewhere in Daniel is in Daniel 9:4; Daniel 11:22, (where there is reference to Israel’s ‘nagid’ as ‘the prince of the covenant’); Daniel 11:28; Daniel 11:30; Daniel 11:32. Thus in Daniel ‘covenant’ always means ‘the holy covenant with God’. It is God’s covenant with His people, closely connected with His nagid. We should note in this regard that the idea of the covenant has already been introduced in this chapter (Daniel 9:4), and is clearly continually in mind.

The third thing that we should note is that there is no mention anywhere of ‘years’. Indeed the seventy ‘sevens’ are contrasted with the seventy ‘years’ prophesied by Jeremiah. Deliverance for Judah will come after seventy years, but God’s full and final deliverance will only come after seventy ‘sevens’. There are therefore no real grounds for applying the idea of ‘years’ to the seventy ‘sevens’.

The more detailed niceties we will refer to as we come to them.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Daniel 9:23". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/daniel-9.html. 2013.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Desires. His zeal and mortification merit this title. (Worthington) --- He was an object of God's love. (St. Jerome) (Chap. x. 11. and xi. 8.) (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Daniel 9:23". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/daniel-9.html. 1859.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Daniel 9:23". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/daniel-9.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(23) The commandment.—The marginal version is to be preferred, which points to the revelation which follows Daniel 9:24-27. The title “greatly beloved” occurs again (Daniel 10:11; Daniel 10:19). It implies that Daniel was worthy of this proof of God’s love. St. Jerome compares (2 Samuel 12:25) Jedidiah.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Daniel 9:23". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/daniel-9.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
the beginning
10:12
commandment
Heb. word. for.
10:11,19; Luke 1:28
greatly beloved
Heb. a man of desires.
Song of Solomon 7:10; Ezekiel 24:16; 26:12; *marg:
understand
Matthew 24:15
Reciprocal: Genesis 24:45 - before;  1 Kings 9:3 - I have heard;  Proverbs 18:12 - and;  Daniel 6:3 - an;  Daniel 8:17 - Understand;  Daniel 9:25 - and understand;  Zechariah 1:9 - the angel;  Acts 10:31 - thy;  2 Thessalonians 2:13 - beloved;  Revelation 1:1 - and he

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Daniel 9:23". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/daniel-9.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Here the angel not only exacts docility from the Prophet, but also exhorts him to greater attention. We shall afterwards perceive that this singular and extraordinary prophecy needed no common study. This is the reason why the angel not only commands Daniel to receive his message with the obedience of faith, but also to pay greater attention than usual, because this was an important and singular mystery. He states first of all — the word went forth from the time when the Prophet began to pray I will not delay by reciting the opinions of others, because I think I understand the genuine sense of the passage; namely, God heard the prayers of his servant, and then promulgated what he had already decreed. For by the word “went forth” he expresses the publication of a decree which had formerly been made; it was then issued just as the decrees of princes are said to go forth when they are publicly spread abroad. God had determined what he would do, directly Daniel had ceased, for God’s counsel would never fail of its accomplishment; but he here points out the impossibility of the prayers of his saints being in vain, because he grants them the very thing which he would have bestowed had they not prayed for them, as if he were obedient to their desires, and approved of their conduct. It is clear enough, that we can obtain nothing by our prayer, without God’s previous determination to grant it; yet these points are not contrary to each other; for God attends to our prayers, as it is said in the Psalms, — -He performs our wishes, and yet executes what he had determined before the creation of the world. (Psalms 145:19.) He had predicted by Jeremiah, (Jeremiah 25:11,) as we have remarked before, the close of the people’s exile in seventy years; Daniel already knew this, as he related at the beginning of the chapter, yet he did not relax in his prayers, for he knew that God’s promises afford us no ground or occasion for sloth or listlessness. The Prophet, therefore, prayed, and God shews how his desires were by no means vain as they concerned the welfare of the whole Church. He next states — the word went forth as soon as Daniel began to pray; that is, as soon as he opened his lips he was divinely answered. He afterwards adds, he came to make this known, because, says he, thou art a desirable man Some take the word “desirable” actively, as if Daniel glowed with intense zeal; but this is forced and contrary to the usage of the language. Without doubt, the Prophet uses the word in the sense of acceptance with God, and the majority of interpreters fully agree with me. The angel therefore announces his arrival on behalf of Daniel, because he was in the enjoyment of God’s favor. And this is worthy of notice, for we gather from the passage the impossibility of our vows and prayers acquiring favor for us before God, unless we are already embraced by his regards; for in no other way do we find God propitious, than when we flee by faith to his loving-kindness. Then, in reliance upon Christ as our Mediator and Advocate, we dare to approach him as sons to a parent. For these reasons our prayers are of no avail before God, unless they are in some degree founded in faith, which alone reconciles us to God, since we can never be pleasing to him without pardon and remission of sins. We observe also, the sense in which the saints are said to please God by their sometimes failing to obtain their requests. For Daniel was subject to continual groaning for many years, and was afflicted by much grief; and yet he never perceived himself to have accomplished anything worthy of his labors. he might really conclude all his labor to be utterly lost, after praying so often and so perseveringly without effect. But the angel meets him finally and testifies to his acceptance with God, and enables him to acknowledge that he had not suffered any repulse, although he had failed to obtain the object of his earnest desires. Hence, when we become anxious in our thoughts, and are induced to despair through the absence of all profit or fruit from our prayers, and through the want of an open and immediate answer, we must derive this instruction from the angel’s teaching, Daniel, who was most acceptable to God, was heard at length, without being permitted to see the object of his wishes with his bodily eyes. He died in exile, and never beheld the performance of the Prophet’s prophecies concerning the happy state of the Church, as if immediately preparing to celebrate its triumphs. At the end of the verse, as I have already mentioned, the angel stimulates Daniel to greater zeal, and urges him to apply his mind and all his senses attentively to understand the prophecy which the angel was commanded to bring before him. It now follows, —

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Daniel 9:23". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/daniel-9.html. 1840-57.