Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Daniel 9:3

So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ashes;   Fasting;   Intercession;   Nation;   Prayer;   Prophets;   Sackcloth;   Seekers;   Thompson Chain Reference - Dead, the;   Joy-Sorrow;   Mourning;   Sackcloth;   Seekers;   Seeking God;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Fasting;   Judgments;   Prayer;   Prayer, Intercessory;   Prayer, Private;   Seeking God;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Daniel;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Fasting;   Sackcloth;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Fast, Fasting;   Humility;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Reconciliation;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Confession;   Sanctification;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Captivity;   Prayer;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Daniel, Book of;   Ezekiel;   Repentance;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Fasting;   Prayer;   Thessalonians, Second Epistle to the;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Ordination;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - God;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Ashes;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Sackcloth;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Babylonish Captivity, the;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Ashes;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Fasting and Fast-Days;   Prayer;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for February 17;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

I set my face - to seek by prayer - He found that the time of the promised deliverance could not be at any great distance; and as he saw nothing that indicated a speedy termination of their oppressive captivity, he was very much afflicted, and earnestly besought God to put a speedy end to it; and how earnestly he seeks, his own words show. He prayed, he supplicated, he fasted, he put sackcloth upon his body, and he put ashes upon his head. He uses that kind of prayer prescribed by Solomon in his prayer at the dedication of the temple. See 1 Kings 8:47, 1 Kings 8:48.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Daniel 9:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/daniel-9.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And I set my face unto the Lord God - Probably the meaning is, that he turned his face toward Jerusalem, the place where God had dwelt; the place of his holy abode on earth. See the notes at Daniel 6:10. The language, however, would not be inappropriate to denote prayer without such a supposition. We turn to one whom we address, and so prayer may be described by “setting the face toward God.” The essential idea here is, that he engaged in a set and formal prayer; he engaged in earnest devotion. He evidently set apart a time for this, for he prepared himself by fasting, and by putting on sackcloth and ashes.

To seek by prayer and supplications - To seek his favor; to pray that he would accomplish his purposes. The words “prayer and supplications,” which are often found united, would seem to denote “earnest” prayer, or prayer when mercy was implored - the notion of “mercy” or “favor” implored entering into the meaning of the Hebrew word rendered “supplications.”

With fasting - In view of the desolations of the city and temple; the calamities that had come upon the people; their sins, etc.; and in order also that the mind might be prepared for earnest and fervent prayer. The occasion was one of great importance, and it was proper that the mind should be prepared for it by fasting. It was the purpose of Daniel to humble himself before God, and to recal the sins of the nation for which they now suffered, and fasting was an appropriate means of doing that.

And sackcloth - Sackcloth was a coarse kind of cloth, usually made of hair, and employed for the purpose of making sacks, bags, etc. As it was dark, and coarse, and rough, it was regarded as a proper badge of mourning and humiliation, and was worn as such usually by passing or girding it around the loins. See the notes at Isaiah 3:24; Job 16:15.

And ashes - It was customary to cast ashes on the head in a time of great grief and sorrow. The principles on which this was done seem to have been,

(a) that the external appearance should correspond with the state of the mind and the heart, and

(b) that such external circumstances would have a tendency to produce a state of heart corresponding to them - or would produce true humiliation and repentance for sin.

Compare the notes at Job 2:8. The practical truth taught in this verse, in connection with the preceding, is, that the fact that a thing is certainly predicted, and that God means to accomplish it, is an encouragement to prayer, and will lead to prayer. We could have no encouragement to pray except in the purposes and promises of God, for we have no power ourselves to accomplish the things for which we pray, and all must depend on his will. When that will is known it is the very thing to encourage us in our approaches to him, and is all the assurance that we need to induce us to pray.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Daniel 9:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/daniel-9.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Daniel 9:3

And I met my face unto the Lord God.

Setting the Face unto the Lord

Daniel, when he would seek God, “set his face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer.” He was an eminently holy man, and far advanced in piety. His example cannot be an unfitting one to follow.

1. There must be great difficulties to the proper and effectual seeking after God. Some things we do without difficulty; our mind goes naturally and easily to their performance. Before man’s fall, his mind would as naturally turn to God rejoice in Him, and be lifted up towards Him, as he now delights in a bright and glorious day. It is not so now. It is a very difficult matter set ourselves rightly to seek God. Man cannot seek God aright unless the power of God works in him to bring him to do it. How can any bring a broken and a contrite heart, which is the proper offering before God, unless God the Spirit break it? Do we naturally give up sin, or naturally wish to do it? Is it easy to confess our sins, to find them out, to ascertain them, whether sins of the heart or life? Try earnestly and honestly to seek God, and you will soon find the difficulty. Various hindrances indeed there are, in coming to the Mercy Seat.

2. Multitudes are ever seeking God who do not set their faces to seek. Scripture is clear respecting wavers. There are many persons of this kind, earnest to-day, dead again to-morrow; by fits at prayer, and then prayerless again. Such obtain nothing of the Lord. Others, though seeking, will not give up every wilful sin. Who can he a Christian without a sacrifice? Who can enter the strait gate without a struggle? You seek in vain if you allow a worldly spirit; unless you come to God, and honestly and earnestly wish to have the love of the world destroyed in your heart. There is one way of approach to God, and but one; one name and one only to plead--the name of Jesus Christ.

3. Some hints on the setting of our face unto the Lord our God. You must give time for this. There must be going to work in right earnest; diligent inquiry for the sins of the life, and for the sins of the heart, and a confessing them with real sorrow before God. There must be, from the beginning of our seeking, a looking for, and a reliance upon, God’s help. And we may look for His help. The first honest and sincere cry or sigh of a returning sinner is noticed by a gracious God. That cry never goes up for help in vain.

4. The importance of thus “setting our face unto the Lord God to seek.” Remember that we cannot succeed without this. Think of the blessings which God bestows upon those who thus seek, what wonderful promises He has made to them. They deserve all such seeking and sacrifices as we have shown to be needful. You are commanded thus to seek God. God’s commands are the most gracious and beneficent things to us that there are.

5. Special reasons which may be given to different individuals why they should at once resolvedly, looking up to God for help, do this:

Righteousness not a Position but a Direction

That is a good word about the young Hebrew, Daniel--it says so much. “I set my face to the Lord God.” And that is the real question about life: which way are you facing; in which direction are you really looking and living? Righteousness, not a position, but a direction. Let me first make this distinction plain, and then you will see the importance of it. The common idea, then, of the difference between right and wrong is that right and wrong are two, separate territories as it were, and that there is a boundary line dividing them, like the frontier line between two countries, and that anywhere on the right side of that boundary line is right. Or, people figure particular sins as if they were separate provinces in the general territory of wrong, each sin with its own boundary line, on one side of which you are in sin--but that so long as you have not actually crossed that line into sin, you are all right. And a great deal of the moral discussion of the world has been spent on trying to map out these exact lines where the right ends and the wrong begins, the line up to which you may go without sinning. Well, that seems very plausible--and yet a glance into real life, and at some of the very commonest matters of right and wrong, is sufficient to show that at any rate there is a great deal of life in which it is quite impossible to draw any such distinct lines between right and wrong! Try to draw the line between industry and idleness, and to say exactly how industrious a man ought to be in order not to be counted an idler. But you cannot do it! Or, take selfishness. Who can lay down exactly how far I ought to consider myself, and mark the point at which selfishness begins; or how far I ought to do what I like, or how far give up to others? Why it cannot be done, if you were to argue about it for a year! Or, take such constantly present questions as that of right and wrong in eating and drinking, or any kind of indulgence. Is there any clear line to be drawn between what is temperate and what is intemperate? Certainly covetousness is a sin. But where exactly does it begin to be so? So it is, palpably, with regard to a great deal of right and wrong. But really, it is so even in things which at first sight look so clear and distinct in their moral outline that you are apt to say--that there can be no haziness or uncertainty in them. Take truth, for instance, or honesty. Truth is apt to look just as exact and precise as a mathematical figure--whether a thing is true or not true, whether you are telling the truth or not--it seems as if it ought to be possible to define that anyhow. And honesty! Is anyone going to say that honesty and dishonesty shade off into one another--why it seems like sapping the very clearest distinction of morality. And yet it is so. No exact line can be drawn in either matter. If you had been sheltering a fugitive slave in the old days of slavery, would truth make it your duty to answer the question if he was with you? Or, if you are bargaining about some goods you want to sell, does honesty require you to tell everything you know to their disadvantage, or is it enough if you answer truly every actual question that is asked you? Must truth be told to criminals when it will help them in a crime? And so I might go through every part of human conduct, and the more closely you look into it, the more you will find that there is no such thing as drawing any absolute line between right and wrong anywhere. But what does that mean? That, therefore, there is not any real difference between them, or that the distinction between them is imperceptible? Not for a moment. The difference between right and wrong is the most tremendous distinction in the world. No distinction of painful or pleasant can compare with it--only it is not of that sort There comes in the thought--and I think it is a helpful thought, that it is not a difference of place or position, but of direction. A single illustration gives it to you at once. It is simply like the difference between east and west. Is there any dividing line between east and west? No! Who can tell where the east stops and the west begins? No one; and yet does that mean that there is no difference between east and west, or that it is a hazy, obscure difference? Not at all. Simply it is this same difference not of two places, but of two directions. You cannot possibly draw a dividing line between east and west, but you can tell in a moment whether you are going east or west, or whether your face is set towards the east or towards the west. And so, though there never was a line drawn which could divide exactly right from wrong, you can tell in a moment whether you are living in the direction of right or in the direction of wrong. There, then, is thee true distinction--and now let us follow it out a little and see the importance of it. For it begins at the very beginning of life, and it lies at the root of all clear, strong righteousness. And, on the other hand, that idea that righteousness consists in not crossing some dividing line into wrong, is just the most treacherous and fertile source of wrong. As long as one fancies that sin only begins at some distinct line, one is tempted to go just as near that line as one can--while really the sin is begun, and going on all the time that one is facing that way! You can see how this works, from the cradle up. You mothers--you tell your little child, playing about you as you work, not to go out of the room. And it goes to the door--and it looks out--and if you speak it says, “I didn’t go out.” And then it puts one foot just on the threshold--very likely looking at you all the while--and then ventures it a little further,--and still, when you shake your head, it says, “I haven’t gone out!” Do you know why it is so hard to teach children the true lesson--not merely to keep from crossing some actual line of wrong, but to keep from looking that way, or going that way at all? Because so many of those who want children to be taught that lesson have not learned it themselves! Men and women are constantly just like that little child. They do not intend to sin, or at least they feel they must not, and they think they will not. But they will look towards it, and they will go to the very edge of it, and look over, and perhaps put one foot on the very threshold--and yet if conscience brings them up with a round turn, they try to justify themselves by saying that they have not actually crossed the line! That is how nine-tenths of the world’s sinning comes! Young men, don’t you know how this often works in a young man’s life--this trying how near one can go to the edge of sin without actually going over the edge? A young fellow comes up from school, or from some country home, to take his place in the great world, and the false glamour of it by and by begins to get hold of him. But he does not mean to sin; he has grace enough to shrink from that. No--he won’t sin, be says; but he begins to go with those who do; he hears them talk and brag of the pleasures they have; he half envies them the daring with which they sin--and he will go to places where it is all about--and still when conscience comes in, in quiet hours, he tries to take some poor comfort by making believe with himself that he has not actually sinned. Sinned? Why, his whole attitude is sin. His face and his heart are set towards sin all the time. And it is the same all through life. Just look up the record of any ten men who have got into jail, and you will find that nine out of the ten were led the first stops of the way which brought them there by that mischievous idea that there was some dead-line of sin, which if they did not cross, they would be right. And not only is this the source of actual crime--and of what the world definitely labels sin--but also it is the source of all the poor, unworthy life that there is in the world. The people who are not exactly thieves--but who will take an advantage of you if they can; the people who oven while they are working have not their hearts really set to work, but are facing towards idleness and amusement; that character which in business is always “sailing rather close to the wind,” and, still more common in the world, that kind of life which perhaps plumes itself on never breaking a commandment or doing anything wrong, and yet that has no real love of goodness, no genuine desire for goodness--that is the kind of life which keeps the world back, and keeps the church back, and keeps the tone of society low and mean. Friends, this is God’s call to us. Not just to keep from certain forbidden things, or from crossing some actual line of sin--but to set our faces clear the other way--towards right, towards allthe just, pure, kind, godly life. It is Christ and all His setting forth of life that have brought this out fully for us--no longer law, but love, no longer the mere keeping from a certain list of forbidden things, but, active, forward-looking service. That is the secret of effective life and of happy life to keep righteousness before us as the whole direction of our living. There is not a day, hardly an hour, but this principle--of righteousness being not a position, but a direction--comes in. It cuts right through the moral casuistry by which the steps of duty so easily get entangled, in discussing just how far this or that way may be pursued without some actual sin! Then does righteousness, in this thought of it, become not a drag, but a motive power, not a restraint, but an inspiration, not condemnation, but glory! I do not say that it is easy; there is no way of looking at it that can make righteousness easy. One may set one’s face ever so earnestly in the right direction, and still the tempting passions will allure and the weak resolution will flag and stumble. The Roman moralist confessed that while he loved the better, he sometimes followed the worse--and even Paul himself says that though he delights in the law of God after the inward man, yet he finds another law in his members bringing him into captivity to sin and death. No! There is no grand moral victory even that way, even by facing the right way--and still, it is the only really onward way at all--and with the heart and face set really towards right and God, strength must keep growing--and the sense of a Divine help that will not give us up, and the upward way becomes not quite so hard; and even through clinging weakness and sin, to keep the heart still set towards the right is itself--no! not victory, but the promise of some final victory, the prophecy of how at last we may be lifted out of the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God! (Brooke Herford, D.D.)

Daniel, the Man of Prayer

The prophet Daniel became a great proficient both in penitential and in intercessory prayer as the years went on. And he came to that great proficiency just as a great proficiency is come to in any other science or art; that is to say, by constant, and unremitting, and enterprising practice. Lord teach us to pray, said a disciple on one occasion to our Lord. But not even our Lord, with all His willingness, and all His ability, can teach any of us to pray. Every man must teach himself this most personal, and most secret, and most experimental; this greatest and best of all the arts. Every man must find out the best ways of prayer for himself. There is no royal road; there is no short or easy road to proficiency in prayer. You must also have special and extraordinary seasons of prayer, as Daniel had, over and above his daily habit of prayer. Special and extraordinary; original and unparalleled seasons of prayer, when you literally do nothing else day nor night but pray. Now, it is plain that you cannot teach a lifetime of experiment and attainment like that to any chance man; and, especially, you cannot teach it to a man who still detests the very thought of such prayer. It was his yoke in his youth that first taught Daniel to pray. And Babylon taught Daniel and his three friends all to pray, and to pray together in their chambers as we read. To be arrested in their father’s houses by Nebuchadnezzar’s soldiers; to have Babylonian chains put on their hands and their feet; to see the towers of Zion for the last time: to be asked to sing some of the songs of Zion to amuse their masters as they toiled over the Assyrian sands--you would have been experts yourselves in a school of prayer like that Jeremiah, a great authority on why some men pray, and why other men never pray, has this about you in his book: “Moab hath been at his ease from his youth up; he hath settled on his lees; he hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel: neither hath he gone into captivity; and, therefore, his taste remaineth in him, and his scent is not changed.” The ninth chapter of Daniel is dear to every old devotional hand. It is delightful with a delight that is not known to neophytes. It is positively delightful to see the old prophet allying in his chamber and spelling out the book of the prophet Jeremiah, the first copy of which has just been smuggled across the wilderness from Jerusalem to Babylon. We sit over and spell out old authors in literature and religion, if they are sufficiently old; but it would not pay to make a contraband trade of the authors and the preachers of to-day to the authors of to-day or to the preachers either. We exploit and plagiarise the great preachers of the great past, but we do not find much to repay us in the pulpit of our day. Only Daniel studied Jeremiah as much as if Jeremiah had been Moses himself, and more. And he not only studied a prophet whom we would call his contemporary, and his colleague, but, old prophet and old priest as he himself was, he took a new start in fasting, and in sackcloth, and in ashes, and in prayer of all kinds as he sat over Jeremiah’s now book, and felt on the floor of his chamber holding the book to his heart. Had we been in Daniel’s place, I will wager what we would have said as we read that seventy years’ passage on the new parchment: “The Lord’s ways--if this is indeed the Lord--His ways are not equal,” we would have said. “Here am I getting on to old age in Babylon, and no intimation has come to me like this. Surely I was the man that needed it, and had earned it. Why Jeremiah? What has he done? And besides, has he not fallen sway to our oppressors?” I have a feeling that I would not have been in such a meek temper as Daniel was over that book the ink of which was still wet. O Daniel, a man greatly beloved! and who deserved to be! “Why,” asks Pascal, “why has God established prayer?” And the first answer out of the three that Pascal gives to himself is this--“To communicate to His creatures the dignity of causality.” And Daniel was of Pascal’s deep, believing and original mind. For Daniel, just because he read and believed that deliverance was at the door, all the more see himself to pray as if his prayer was to be the alone and predestinated cause of the coming deliverance. Daniel put on sackcloth, and fasted, and prayed, and went back upon all his own and all his people’s sins in a way that confounds us to our face. We cannot understand Daniel. We are not deep enough. He prayed, and fasted, and returned to an agony of prayer, as if he had never heard of the near deliverance; he prayed in its very presence as if he despaired of ever seeing it. He fasted and prayed as he had not done all these seventy fasting and praying years. Read, all you experts in prayer, read with all your mind, and with all your heart, and with all your experience, and with all your imagination this great causality chapter. It is written by a proficient for proficients. It is written by a great saint of God for all such. Read it and think. Read it with your Pascal open before you. Read it and sink down into the deep things of God and the soul. Read it and practise it till you know by experiment and experience that decree, and covenant, and prophecy, and promise, and all, however sure, and however near, are all only fulfilled in immediate and dependent answer to penitential and importunate prayer. Read it and pray as never before after the answer has actually begun. See the answer out to the last syllable before you begin to restrain penitence and prayer. And after the answer is all fulfilled, still read it and the still deeper chapters that follow it, till you learn new fasting, and new sackcloth, and new ashes, and new repentance, away out to your saintliest old age. Read Daniel’s greatest prayer, and “Know thy dread power--a creature yet a cause.” (Alex.Whyte, D.D.)

Daniel’s Prayer

Acquainted as Daniel was with the word of God as delivered by the prophets who had foretold the captivity and restoration of Judah, and confiding in the unchangeable faithfulness of that word, as his whole life testified that he did, the return of his countrymen to Jerusalem was an event on which he must have assuredly reckoned, not only as certain, but as very near. Nor were there wanting other and very unequivocal intimations to give Daniel the assurance that this event was at hand. He saw, in the conqueror of Babylon, the very person who had been referred to by name in the prophecies of Isaiah, a hundred and seventy years before. If ever there was a future event which might have been reckoned on with absolute certainty, it was this restoration of the Jewish captives to the land and city of their fathers. And yet, so far from supposing that there was no place for prayer to occupy, among the various means that were employed to bring about that event, it was just his firm belief in the certainty and nearness of it that set Daniel upon fervent and persevering supplications for its accomplishment. Because he contemplated the near approach of this deliverance, he gave himself to special prayer for the fulfilment of the promise.

1. The prayer itself was just expressing or embodying in language the state of Daniel’s mind as directed towards an object, in the accomplishment of which he felt a most intense interest. The believer never can, without belying his principles, deliberately desire anything that he knows to be contrary to the will, and inconsistent with the glory of God. He supplicates conditionally--so qualifying his petition as that it may be given him, if agreeable to his Maker’s will, or conducive to the manifestation of his Maker’s glory. But, if true to his principles, he never can cease vehemently to desire what he does know to be accordant with the will, and subservient to the glory of God.

2. With regard to the rank which Daniel’s prayer occupied among the various agencies or means that were to be employed in bringing about the object of it, he had good reason to believe that it was neither without a definite place nor in itself devoid of efficacy. Daniel knew that the event for which he longed and prayed necessarily involved in it the spiritual amendment of Judah. He saw that the return of their heart to God was essential to their triumphant return to the land of their fathers; and he felt, therefore, that humiliation and confession of sin was not only a becoming exercise in him at such a moment, but, in reality, a fulfilment in part of the very promise in which he confided. The agency of prayer is indeed a less obvious and palpable thing than that outward co-operation, whereby mankind are rendered subservient to the accomplishment of the Divine purposes. But is it not an agency of an unspeakably loftier character? Is it not the co-operation of an immortal spirit, hearing the impress of the Divine image, and at the moment acting in unison with the Divine will? By some such views of prayer I would endeavour to remove the difficulties of those who may have been perplexed by subtle speculations on the place which it occupies, and the efficacy which belongs to it in the economy of grace; difficulties which, in reality, have nothing more to do with prayer than with anything else connected with human agency. (R. Gordon, D.D.)

Prayer for National Prosperity

As the prophet made the sins, the perils, and the needs of his nation his own, and confessed and supplicated as for his life, so should we. Our sins and transgressions are as great and as many as our mercies; our perils are as real and imminent and fearful as our exaltation and opportunity and overflowing outward prosperity.

I. Lot us name SOME OF OUR MERCIES, PRIVILEGES AND OPPORTUNITIES.

1. Take into view our national heritage--its locality, extent, richness, and abounding resources--unparalleled in the history of nations.

2. Our Providential history. Our ancestral stock, Puritan, Huguenot, etc. Our wondrous growth and development. God’s special interpositions, as in war.

3. The character of our institutions. A free ballot, a free Bible.

II. Let US NOT OVERLOOK OUR PERILS, for they are many and imminent.

1. The decadence of personal integrity and public morality.

2. The rapid influx of a foreign and alien element.

3. The enormous growth and corrupting influence of our great cities.

4. The increasing prevalence of vice, pauperism, and crime throughout the land.

5. The grasping policy and overshadowing influence of combinations and monopolies.

6. The growing alienation of the great labouring class from the Church and from Christianity.

7. The audacity and strength of the Rum Power, allied with corruption in politics, to legalise the traffic in making drunkards, and in gambling on race-courses, and to keep in office disreputable and wicked men in many of our leading cities. (J. M. Sherwood, D.D.)

Prayer

Prayer is often miconceived in all churches and by all parties.

1. The end of prayer, offered in private, is not to inform God. Many persons pray as if they wish to tell God what God does not know.

2. Prayer is not loud speaking, or much speaking, or any one special form whatever.

3. Prayer is not prescribed in the Scripture, or offered by a true believer, in order to work any change in God.

4. We must not associate prayer with any idea of atonement or expiation.

5. Some persons give up all hope, because God does not hear them. They say, “Our prayers are so mixed with wandering and simple thoughts, and are so imperfect that we cannot pray aright.” This implies a lingering notion that our prayers are expiatory, or a title to Heaven.

6. We must not pray, “to be seen of men.”

7. Prayer is not to be an excuse or apology for the neglect of duties.

8. It is not an exercise suited merely to a great crisis.

9. Prayer should be addressed unto God, as our Father; and in the name and through the mediation of Christ; and in the strength and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. (John Cumming, D.D.)

Daniel’s Prayer

This chapter, more than any other in the Book of Daniel, lays open to us the inner life of the prophet. It shows that he who was so illustrious in his wisdom and public relations was no less noted for his wisdom and public relations, was no less noted for his deep spirituality and earnest private devotions, whilst it suggests that the former were largely the result of the latter. True faith and living piety help to make wise and great. It appears that Daniel was a student of prophecy, of unfulfilled prophecy, and especially of the numbers and dates contained in the sacred predictions. Many consider such studies and anxieties the most barren and dangerous to which we can give ourselves. There is much reason to suspect that one of the real causes of the superficiality and leanness of modern piety is that the professed people of God no longer understand or believe what the prophets have written, and refuse to study or hear about things to come as God has revealed them for our learning. There is abundant material in this prayer of Daniel on which to dwell with interest and pride. The manner of it was deliberate, reverent, humble, and self-chastening. The character and attributes which this piece of devotion ascribes to Deity are also very impressive and sublime. The grandeur and awfulness of Eternal Majesty are blended with unsearchable goodness and faithfulness, presenting to our contemplation “the great and dreadful God, keeping covenant and mercy to them that love Him and keep His command-merits,” whose almighty hand is in all the administrations on earth and in Heaven, and all whose ways are righteousness and truth. The prayer is also occupied with confession of sin as the cause of Israel’s miseries. The expressions on this point are the most explicit, unreserved, and contrite. The great subject of the prayer was not simply that affliction might be removed, but that the house and ordinances of God might be restored, and a true, spiritual recovery wrought; for it avails but little to be released from particular punishments of sin if the inner cause of them be not healed. So the plea upon which this prayer rests is the truest and only availing one--not and merit of man, not any right or claim on the sinner’s part, but alone and entirely the mercy of God and the honour of His great name. (Joseph A. Seiss, D.D.)

With fasting, and sackcloth and ashes.

Fast-Day Service

This is the first bright star which shines in the midst of the darkness of our sins. God is merciful. He is just--as just as if He were not merciful. He is merciful--as merciful as if He were not just, and in very deed more merciful than if He were too lenient, instead of blending a wise severity of justice with a gracious clemency of long suffering. We should rejoice that we have not this day to address the gods of the heathens. You have not to-day to bow down before the thundering Jove; you need not come before implacable deities, who delight in the blood of their creatures, or rather, of the creatures whom it is pretended that they have made. Our God delights in mercy, and in the deliverance of Britain from its ills. God will be as much pleased as Britain; yea, when Britain shall have forgotten it, and only the page of history shall record His mercies, God will still remember what He did for us in this day of our straits and difficulties. As to the hope that He will help us, that is a certainty. There is no fear that when we unite in prayer God will refuse to hear. It is as sure as that there is a God, that God will hear us; and if we ask Him aright, the day shall come when the world shall see what Britain’s God has done, and how He has heard her cry, and answered the voice of her supplications. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Aids to Devotion

Calvin remarks that Daniel, though naturally alert in prayer to God, was yet conscious of the want of sufficiency in himself; and hence be adds the use of sackcloth and ashes and fasting. He observes that everyone conscious of his infirmity ought to collect all the aids he can command for the correction of his sluggishness, and thus to stimulate himself to ardour in supplicating God.

The Fast-Day

The necessity and practice of fasting and repentance is set forth both in the Old and New Testaments. From the text we learn that Daniel was wont to fast, and to supplicate the Majesty of Heaven for the pardon of those national sins which he knew would justly draw down the indignation of the Almighty. Notice the special duties of fasting, such as a serious inspection into our hearts, and close self-examination of ourselves. Closely connected with this is the confession of sin. How strikingly was this manifested in the prayer of the text. Again, holy resolutions of amendment should be found in the strength of Christ, and with a due regard to His glory. Intercession is also peculiarly a duty at this season of humiliation, not only in public prayer, but also in private. Mercy to others is a peculiarly suitable accompaniment to fasting and supplication. On these days of public humiliation, when we are called upon to prostrate our guilty souls before Almighty God, sure it must become us to take such a view of the ravages of sin, and its awful consequences upon the guilty sons of Adam, as shall direct our faith to that one great sacrifice which can alone be efficacious for the healing of the nations, and for the introduction of that dispensation wherein we learn something of the achievements of the Prince of Peace; which peace shall be brought about by the subjugation of sin, and the conquest of those passions which war against the soul, and prove so fatal to man’s best interests, and so bedim his prospects of future happiness. Learn that the judgments of the Lord are calculated to teach the world righteousness. It ought never to be forgotten that, in the view of Omniscience, God sees the beginning and ending of all human events, from the hour of Nature’s nativity to the last moment of all earthly dissolution. We may refer the darkest dealings of the Almighty to the Eternal Wisdom. (Nat. Meeres, B.D.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Daniel 9:3". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/daniel-9.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"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 Jehovah my God, and made confession, and said, Oh, Lord, the great and dreadful God, who keepeth covenant and lovingkindness with them that love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and have dealt perversely, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even turning aside from thy precepts and from thine ordinances; neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, that speak in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land."

DANIEL'S MARVELOUS PRAYER (Daniel 9:3-19)

Daniel here confessed the sins of Israel as progressing from mere wickedness and transgression to outright rebellion against God; also, it should be noticed that he included himself as partaker of the sins of the people and with them equally guilty before God. It was this general wickedness of Israel which had by no means abated during the "seventy years" captivity that actually moved Daniel to prayer. "The Exile had not produced the expected fruits of repentance; so that, although Daniel did not doubt the promise of God, namely, that the people would be returned; yet his concern appeared to be the blessings God had promised after their return."[3]

Notice the mention of the prophets having spoken to, "our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people." Why are not the priests mentioned here? Simply because, at the time when Daniel was written, namely, in Babylon shortly before the termination of the Captivity, there was no officiating priesthood of God's people in Babylon. This was definitely not the case in the days of the Maccabees, the period in which critics have vainly supposed this prophecy was written. As a number of other factors in this prayer also indicate, this refutes the false allegations of the late-date fad.

"To a man who still remembered the kings and princes in Jerusalem (as did Daniel), this language is natural;

"but in the age of Antiochus Epiphanes (the Maccabean period) this language would be absurd and meaningless."[4]SIZE>

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Daniel 9:3". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/daniel-9.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications,.... He set apart some time on purpose for this service, distinct from his usual stated times of prayer, as well as from his civil business and employment; and he not only set his face toward Jerusalem, as he used to do, Daniel 6:10, the more to affect his mind with the desolations the city and temple lay in; but towards the Lord God, the sovereign Lord of all, who does according to his will in heaven and in earth, the Governor of the universe, the one true God, Father, Son, and Spirit: and this denotes the intenseness of his spirit in prayer; the fixedness of his heart; the ardour of his mind; the fervency of his soul; his holy confidence in God; the freedom and boldness he used in prayer, and his constancy and continuance in it; which is a principal means, and a proper manner of seeking God. The Septuagint version, agreeably to the Hebrew textF4לבקש תפלה ותחנונים του εκζητησαι προσευχην και δεησεις, Sept; "ad quaerendum orationem et deprecationes", Montanus; "ad quaerendam orationem et supplicationem", Cocceius. , renders it, "to seek prayer and supplications"; such as were suitable and pertinent to the present case; most beneficial and interesting to him and his people, and most acceptable to the Lord:

with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes; as was usual on extraordinary occasions, in times of public mourning; and this he did, to show his sense of the divine Being, and of his own unworthiness to ask or receive anything of him; his great humiliation for the sins of the people; and to distinguish this prayer of his from ordinary ones, and to affect his own heart in it, with the sad condition his nation, city, and temple were in; and therefore abstained from food for a time, put sackcloth on his loins, and ashes on his head, or sat in them.

Copyright Statement
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 9:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/daniel-9.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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

(d) He does not speak of that ordinary prayer, which he used in his house three times a day, but of a rare and vehement prayer, lest their sins should cause God to delay the time of their deliverance prophesied by Jeremiah.
Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Daniel 9:3". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/daniel-9.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

prayer … supplications — literally, “intercessions … entreaties for mercy.” Praying for blessings, and deprecating evils.

Copyright Statement
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 9:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/daniel-9.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Daniel 9:3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:

Ver. 3. And I set my face unto the Lord God,] i.e., Toward the habitation of his holiness at Jerusalem, but especially in heaven. I looked up unto the hills from whence I looked for help. This Daniel did daily, [Daniel 6:10] but now with more than ordinary intention and devotion he presenteth δεησις ενεργουμενη, an inwrought prayer (as St James calleth it, James 5:16), edged with fasting and downright humiliation. He doubteth not thereby to set God to work, as David did [Psalms 119:126] He knew that a long look toward God speedeth, [Psalms 34:4-5 Jonah 2:4-7] how much more an extraordinary prayer!

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Daniel 9:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/daniel-9.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Daniel 9:3. And I set my face—to seek by prayer and supplications Wherefore, I set, &c. that I might implore him by prayer, &c. Houbigant.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Daniel 9:3". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/daniel-9.html. 1801-1803.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 1136

FASTING AND PRAYER

Daniel 9:3. I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes.

THE season of Lent has been long observed in the Church, as a time for peculiar fasting and prayer. By our Church has the appointment of it been adopted, as well suited to promote the eternal interests of her members. But, in the present day, and amongst Protestants in particular, the subject of fasting is but rarely and lightly touched upon in our public addresses. Yet it ought to be considered: and I will therefore take occasion, at the present time, to state,

I. How far it is our duty to observe seasons of fasting and prayer—

Loaded as the Jewish Law was with burthensome enactments, there was but one fast appointed in the whole Mosaic ritual—

[This was on the great day of annual expiation [Note: Leviticus 23:27-32.]; and it was the only fast that was fully recognised in the Apostolic age [Note: Acts 27:9.]. Yet were there many fasts afterwards enjoined on particular occasions. Joshua, when repulsed by the men of Ai [Note: Joshua 7:6.]; the whole eleven tribes, after their repeated defeats by the tribe of Benjamin [Note: Judges 20:26.]; all Israel, when oppressed by the Philistines; and Jehoshaphat, when invaded by the united armies of Moab and Ammon [Note: 1 Samuel 7:6-8.]; all had recourse to fasting, as the means of obtaining favour from the Lord, and succour in the hour of their necessity [Note: 2 Chronicles 20:3.]. Nor were these national fasts only observed; but, in private the most eminent saints adopted this measure, for the purpose of deepening their humiliation, and of quickening their devotion [Note: 2 Samuel 12:16. Psalms 119:24. Luke 2:37.]. In fact, the case of Esther alone will suffice to shew how important a measure this was esteemed, for the obtaining of relief from God in any great extremity [Note: Esther 4:16.].]

Nor, under the Christian dispensation, was there any stated fast appointed by the Lord—

[Our Lord indeed intimated, that there would arise occasions which would call for solemn fasts [Note: Luke 5:33-35.]; and he gave directions for the acceptable observance of them [Note: Matthew 6:16-18.]. We find, too, that on some particular occasions, such as the setting apart of Paul and Barnabas to a special work, and the ordaining of elders for the service of their God, fasts were observed in the Christian Church [Note: Acts 13:2-3; Acts 14:23.].

Hence, then, I should say of such observances, that they are approved of the Lord, rather than absolutely ordained; and proper for seasons of peculiar emergency, rather than fixed to any precise time or measure. St. Paul, who was exposed to far more severe trials than any other of the Apostles, tells us, that he served God “in labours, and watchings, and fastings [Note: 2 Corinthians 6:4-5.]:” and therefore we cannot doubt the expediency of such observances, whilst we admit that they are not imposed on us as rites of indispensable necessity. Yet, indeed, considering all that has been said, we think that no person, who truly desires to attain any eminence in the divine life, will judge it either prudent or proper wholly to neglect them.]

Having spoken thus candidly respecting the necessity of such observances, I proceed to shew,

II. What benefit we may hope to derive from them—

Beyond all doubt, such seasons are truly beneficial to the soul—

[In a man’s first entrance on the divine life, he cannot do better than to address himself to God in fasting and prayer. At such a time, he has to humble himself for all the sins of his former life, and to implore pardon of God for all the guilt he has ever contracted. And can this be done too solemnly, too earnestly, too devoutly? It was in this way that Cornelius obtained favour of the Lord [Note: Acts 10:30.]: and he is a fit example to all who desire to find mercy at the hands of God.

But, in all his future progress through life, also, the Christian has need of the same means, in order to the preservation and advancement of his spiritual welfare. Who is not conscious of some particular propensity, of which it may be said, as of the spirit which the Apostles were not able to eject, “This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting [Note: Matthew 17:21.]?” In every living man there are corruptions, which may be greatly weakened and subdued by means of setting aside times for fasting and prayer. They who are united together in the bonds of wedlock, are of course exposed to feel the sad effects of human infirmity, each in their partner: and hence St. Paul recommends to married persons a short occasional separation from each other, for the purpose of “giving themselves to fasting and prayer [Note: 1 Corinthians 7:5.]:” nor can we doubt, but that, if that expedient were more frequently resorted to, incomparably greater happiness would be found in wedded life, and a far wider diffusion of blessedness amongst all the successive generations of mankind. In fact, a far higher standard of piety would be established in the world, if, like the holy Apostle, Christians of the present day were “in fastings often [Note: 2 Corinthians 11:27.].” If he, with all his high attainments, “kept his body under, and brought it into subjection, lest by any means, after having preached to others, he himself should be a cast-away [Note: 1 Corinthians 9:27.],” methinks no one of us can presume to think such a discipline either unnecessary for himself, or ineffectual for his good.]

But the whole efficacy of them depends on the manner in which they are observed—

[If men have recourse to fasting, under a superstitious notion that they can thereby expiate their sins or propitiate the Deity, they err most fatally, and rivet on their own souls the guilt of all their sins. In fact, what is this but to punish the body for the sin of the soul, and to substitute their own self-imposed sufferings for the atoning sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ? Yet this error, to a vast extent, obtains in the Church of Rome; which inculcates the observance of fasts and penances, and pilgrimages, as meritorious before God, and as the most effectual means of conciliating the Divine favour. As for ostentation, however it prevailed amongst the Pharisees of old, or still abounds in the Romish Church, there is little danger of it amongst us Protestants, who have ran into a contrary extreme, and despise these observances as much as the Papists idolize and abuse them. Yet, as a ground of confidence before God, we, no less than they, are in danger of founding our hopes upon them. But this error, I again say, will render them, not only not salutary, but absolutely pernicious. Fasting is only a means to an end. We want to have the soul more deeply engaged in prayer, and more fixed in devotedness to God; and fasting greatly contributes to these ends. But if it be made itself a ground of hope before God, God will say to us, as to the hypocrites of old, “When ye did fast, did ye fast unto me, even unto me? Was it not to yourselves rather that ye fasted [Note: Zechariah 7:5-6.],” ‘that ye might have in yourselves a ground of self-righteousness and self-complacency, instead of relying solely on the obedience and sufferings of my dear Son?’ To have our fasts accepted, they must be accompanied with a determined mortification of all sin, and an unreserved performance of every known duty. “Such is the fast that God chooses;” and such alone will ever bring his blessing on our souls [Note: Isaiah 58:6-8.]. Any other than this will be despised by him [Note: Jeremiah 14:12.]; nor will any other accord with the example set us in my text.]

Application—

[Let none of you, then, think this an unnecessary labour, or imagine that it will interfere with your other duties in life. Of all the holiest men recorded in the Old Testament, there was not one more eminent than Daniel; nor was there one who had a greater weight of business upon him than he; yet even he found time for solemn fasting and prayer. Let none, therefore, decline this service, either as unprofitable or needless. As for those who have ever set themselves like him to seek the Lord God by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes, I will ask whether they did not find the exercise truly beneficial to their souls? And, if they have afterwards laid aside that holy service, I will ask them whether they have not suffered loss in their souls? I can have no doubt what must be the testimony of every living man respecting this. To every man, therefore, I commend the practice as most salutary and beneficial: nor have I any doubt but that those who, like Daniel, approach the Deity with fastings and prayer, shall, like him, receive speedy answers to their prayer, and signal manifestations to their souls, that they are “greatly beloved of their God [Note: ver. 20–23.].]

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Daniel 9:3". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/daniel-9.html. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Observe two things:

1. That deep revolting, and deep afflictions, call for deep and solemn humiliation.

2. God’s decrees and promises do not excuse us from duty and prayer, but include it and require it. God will be inquired of for those things which he hath purposed and promised to give his people, Ezekiel 36:37. And if it be objected by any, (as it is by Calovius,) that both God’s threats and promises are absolute, and not hypothetical, as they will prove by Jeremiah 25:11,12 29:10; it is answered that,

1. Though it be spoken peremptorily and absolutely, yet not without a tacit condition and secret reserve in God, Jonah 3:4.

2. God often speaks positively to put sinners in the more awe of his judgments, and to drive them to repentance, Jeremiah 18:7-10.

3. If God give a reason of his threatening, viz. because they have despised his word and abused his patience, 2 Chronicles 36:15,16 Lu 19:42-44; then the threat is absolute.

4. And if God add upon his threatenings such words as these, I will not hear you, pray not for this people, of which we have many instances, then it is peremptory.

5. When the threat and the judgment threatened are the fruit of God’s decree, then it is irreversible; not else. Mind all these rules well in this case.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Daniel 9:3". 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

3.It was now nearly seventy years since Daniel had been carried captive to Babylon (Daniel 1:1), and as the time of the captivity seemed drawing to a close he is represented as becoming deeply and solemnly interested in its fulfillment. Kautzsch’s idea that Daniel’s sadness proves that according to the writer’s calculation the time of fulfillment must have been already past (Beilagen, p. 205), curiously misinterprets the prophetic temperament. There is no necessary anachronism here. Daniel’s sorrow is not said to be because of Jehovah’s failure to keep his promise of deliverance, but because of his people’s sins which had brought upon them these terrible calamities. So earlier prophets, notably Jeremiah, had sorrowed with equal bitterness. (See also note Daniel 10:2-4; Daniel 10:15-16.) As the number “seventy” was the common symbolical number of perfection and fullness of time (see our Introduction to Ezekiel, VIII), no elaborate calculation is necessary as to the year when these “desolations” commenced. If they began with Jehoiachin’s captivity (598 B.C.) there were yet ten years before the seventy years of ruin would literally come to an end.

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Daniel 9:3". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/daniel-9.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And I set my face towards the Lord God to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes.’

He ‘set his face’, suggesting firm intention and perseverance. The Lord Who is God had promised and He must do it. Note the signs of repentance and humility, fasting, sackcloth and ashes. He was really in earnest (compare Exodus 34:28; 2 Kings 6:30; Isaiah 58:5; Jonah 3:5; Ezra 8:23; Nehemiah 9:1; Esther 4:1; Esther 4:3; Esther 4:16; Job 2:12).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Daniel 9:3". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/daniel-9.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Jeremiah had revealed that God would restore His people to their land when they prayed to Him wholeheartedly ( Jeremiah 29:12-14). This revelation prompted Daniel to pray the prayer that follows ( Daniel 9:3-19). Daniel"s prayer fulfills what Solomon anticipated in his prayer at the dedication of the temple (cf. 1 Kings 8:33-36). Daniel did not regard prayer as unnecessary in view of the certainty of the fulfillment of Jeremiah"s prophecy. He viewed prayer properly as one means that God uses to accomplish His will in human history (cf. Daniel 6:10). Through prayer we become partners with God in bringing His will to fruition in the world. Daniel"s behavior, as well as his words, expressed the genuineness of his contrition.

"These verses show Daniel as a diligent student of Scripture who built his prayer life on the Word of God." [Note: Archer, " Daniel," p107.]

"This verse teaches that biblical prophecy should bring us to our knees, as it did Daniel." [Note: Feinberg, p119.]

"While God honors the briefest of prayers, as the experience of Nehemiah 2:4 indicates, effective prayer requires faith in the Word of God, proper attitude of mind and heart, privacy, and unhurried confession and petition. Daniel"s humility, reverence, and earnestness are the hallmarks of effective prayer." [Note: Walvoord, Daniel . . ., p206.]

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Daniel 9:3". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/daniel-9.html. 2012.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Daniel 9:3. I set my face unto the Lord God — This expression does not merely mean, that he directed his face to the place where the temple had stood: it signifies also his resolution to apply to God with the utmost seriousness, fervency, importunity, and perseverance, for the accomplishment of his promises respecting the restoration of his people. It denotes, says Henry, “the intenseness of his mind in this prayer, the fixedness of his thoughts, the firmness of his faith, and the fervour of his devout affections in the duty.” To seek by prayer and supplication, &c. — God’s promises, in general, are conditional, and intended, not to supersede, but to excite and encourage our prayers: this was especially the case with regard to God’s promise of restoring the Jews from captivity after seventy years, and this condition was particularly expressed when the promise was made by Jeremiah 29:10-14, where God says, Ye shall call upon me, and I will hearken unto you, &c., and will turn away your captivity, &c. Here we see Daniel complied with the condition; he sought unto the Lord with all his heart, (and undoubtedly excited others to do the same,) and the Lord was found of him. With fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes — In token of humiliation, sorrow for their sins, and grief for the duration of their captivity.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Daniel 9:3". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/daniel-9.html. 1857.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

set my face. Knowledge of Jehovah"s words quickened his spiritual interest in them.

the LORD*. One of the 134 cases in which the Sopherim state that they altered "Jehovah" of the primitive text to "Adonai". See App-32.

God. Hebrew. Elohim.(with Art.) = the (true) God. App-4.

to seek = to worship, or to seek [information].

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Daniel 9:3". "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

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

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Daniel 9:3". "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

(3) I set my face.—Comp. Daniel 6:11. Probably he prayed, as on that occasion, with his face towards Jerusalem. The prayer of Daniel bears some resemblance to those offered by Ezra and Nehemiah, while that of Baruch resembles it much more closely. (On this see Excursus F.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Daniel 9:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/daniel-9.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
I set
6:10; Nehemiah 1:4-11; Psalms 102:13-17; Jeremiah 29:10-13; 33:3; Ezekiel 36:37; James 5:16-18
with
10:2,3; Ezra 8:21; 9:5; 10:6; Nehemiah 1:4; 9:1; Esther 4:1-3,16; Psalms 35:13; Psalms 69:10,11; Isaiah 22:12; Joel 1:13; 2:12; Jonah 3:6-9; Luke 2:37; Acts 10:30; James 4:8-10
Reciprocal: Leviticus 16:21 - confess over;  Leviticus 26:40 - confess;  1 Samuel 7:6 - fasted;  1 Kings 8:33 - pray;  1 Kings 18:42 - he cast himself;  2 Kings 19:15 - prayed;  1 Chronicles 22:19 - set your;  2 Chronicles 6:24 - pray;  2 Chronicles 6:38 - pray toward;  2 Chronicles 20:3 - proclaimed;  Ezra 8:23 - we fasted;  Ezra 10:1 - when Ezra;  Nehemiah 9:2 - confessed;  Esther 4:3 - many lay in sackcloth and ashes;  Job 9:15 - I would;  Job 42:6 - repent;  Psalm 27:4 - seek;  Psalm 102:17 - He will;  Psalm 137:1 - we wept;  Ecclesiastes 7:3 - is better;  Isaiah 37:15 - GeneralIsaiah 45:11 - Ask;  Isaiah 58:5 - it such;  Jeremiah 29:12 - GeneralJeremiah 51:50 - remember;  Ezekiel 6:9 - remember;  Daniel 10:12 - from;  Matthew 6:16 - when;  Matthew 17:21 - but;  Mark 9:29 - fasting;  Luke 10:13 - repented;  Luke 11:9 - seek;  Acts 13:2 - fasted;  1 Peter 1:10 - and

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Daniel 9:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/daniel-9.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

When they were cast out and dispersed throughout the various countries of the earth, it seemed as if the covenant of God had been abolished, and as if there was no further advantage in deriving their origin from those holy fathers to whom their land had been promised. For the purpose of meeting these temptations, God fixed beforehand a set time for their exile, and Daniel now recurs to this prediction. He adds, Then I raised my face It is properly אתנה, ath-neh, I placed; but as some interpreters seem to receive this word too fancifully, as if Daniel had then looked towards the sanctuary. I prefer rendering it, He raised his face to God It is quite true that while the altar was standing, and the ark of the covenant was in the sanctuary, God’s face was there, towards which the faithful ought to direct, both their vows and prayers; but now the circumstances were, different through the temple being overthrown. We have previously read of Daniel’s praying and turning his eyes in that direction, and towards Judea. but his object was not a desire to pray after the manner of his fathers. For there was then neither sanctuary nor ark of the covenant in existence. (Daniel 6:10.) His object in turning his face towards Jerusalem was openly to shew his profession of such mentally dwelling in that land which God had destined for the race of Abraham. By that outward gesture and ceremony the Prophet claimed possession of the Holy Land, although still a captive and an exile. With regard to the present passage, I simply understand it to mean, he raised his face towards God. That I might inquire, says he, by supplication and prayers Some translate, that I might seek supplication and prayer. Either is equally suitable to the sense, but the former version is less forced, because the Prophet sought God by supplication and prayers. And this form of speech is common enough in Scripture, as we are said to seek God when we testify our hope of his performing what he has promised. It now follows: —

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Daniel 9:3". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/daniel-9.html. 1840-57.