Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Daniel 9:4

I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed and said, "Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments,
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - God;   God Continued...;   Intercession;   Nation;   Prophets;   Seekers;   Scofield Reference Index - Bible Prayers;   Thompson Chain Reference - Covenant-Keepers;   Faithfulness-Unfaithfulness;   Fidelity;   Prayer;   The Topic Concordance - Covenant;   God;   Greatness;   Iniquity;   Israel/jews;   Love;   Obedience;   Rebellion;   Servants;   Sin;   Transgression;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Confession of Sin;   Covenant, the;   Prayer;   Prayer, Intercessory;   Seeking God;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Daniel;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Confession;   Daniel;   Fasting;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Confess, Confession;   Humility;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Reconciliation;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Confession;   Sanctification;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Captivity;   Prayer;   Synagogue;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Daniel, Book of;   Ezekiel;   Mercy, Merciful;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Confession;   Daniel, Book of;   Mercy, Merciful;   Prayer;   Thessalonians, Second Epistle to the;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Confession (of Sin);   Synagogue;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Confession;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Babylonish Captivity, the;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Confession of Sin;   Prayer;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for February 17;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Keeping the covenant - Fidelity and truth are characteristics of God. He had never yet broken his engagements to his followers, and was ever showing mercy to men.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/daniel-9.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And I prayed unto the Lord my God - Evidently a set and formal prayer. It would seem probable that; he offered this prayer, and then re corded the substance of it afterward. We have no reason to suppose that we have the whole of it, but we have doubtless its principal topics.

And made my confession - Not as an individual, or not of his own sins only, but a confession in behalf of the people, and in their name. There is no reason to suppose that what he here says did “not” express their feelings. They had been long in captivity - far away from their desolate city and temple. They could not but be sensible that these calamities had come upon them on account of their sins; and they could not but feel that the calamities could not be expected to be removed but by confession of their sins, and by acknowledging the justice of the Divine dealings toward them. When we have been afflicted - when we are called to pass through severe trials - and when, borne down by trial, we go to God, and pray that the evil may be removed, the first thing that is demanded is, that we should confess our sins, and acknowledge the justice of God in the judgments that have come upon us. If we attempt to vindicate and justify ourselves, we can have no hope that the judgment will be averted. Daniel, therefore, in the name of the people, began his prayer with the humble and penitent acknowledgment that all that they had suffered was deserved.

O Lord, the great and dreadful God - A God great, and to be feared or venerated - הנורא hanôrâ' This does not mean “dreadful” in the sense that there is anything stern or unamiable in his character, but mainly that he is to be regarded with veneration.

Keeping the covenant and mercy - Keeping his covenant and showing mercy. This is often ascribed to God, that he is faithful to his covenant; that is, that he is faithful to his promises to his people, or to those who sustain a certain relation to him, and who are faithful to “their” covenant vows. If there is alienation and estrangement, and want of faithfulness on either side, it does not begin with him. He is faithful to all his promises, and his fidelity may always be assumed as a basis of calculation in all our intercourse with him. See the word “covenant,” in Cruden‘s “Concordance.” The word mercy seems to be added here to denote that mercy enters into his dealings with us even in keeping the covenant. We are so sinful and so unfaithful ourselves, that if “he” is faithful to his covenant, it must be by showing mercy to us.

To them that love him … - The conditions of the covenant extend no farther than this, since, in a compact of any kind, one is bound to be faithful only while the terms are maintained by the other party. So God binds himself to show favor only while we are obedient, and we can plead his covenant only when we are obedient, when we confess our sins and plead his promises in this sense - that he has assured us that he will restore and receive us if we are penitent. It was this which Daniel pleaded on this occasion. He could not plead that his people had been obedient, and had thus any claims to the Divine favor; but he could cast himself and them on the mercy of a covenant-keeping God, who would remember his covenant with them if they were penitent, and who would graciously pardon.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/daniel-9.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And I prayed unto the Lord my God,.... Not to idols, nor to angels or saints departed; but to the Lord God of heaven and earth, who is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, &c.: a God hearing and answering prayer; and to whom he directed his prayer, not only as the God of nature and providence, but as his own covenant God and Father; thereby encouraging his faith in him, and using his interest with him: and made my confession; of his own sins, and of the sins of his people; of the favours bestowed on him and them; of his justice in afflicting them, and his mercy in appointing a time for their deliverance; of his own faith in him, love to him, and submission to his will:

and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God; great in his being and perfections, and in all his works of nature, providence, and grace; "and dreadful" in his threatenings and judgments, in his wrath and vengeance: or, to be "feared"F5הנורא "reverendus", Vatablus; "summe reverende", Junius & Tremellius; "metuende", Cocceius. ; and reverenced by all men, especially by his saints; and particularly when they draw near unto him, as Daniel now did; and that because of his greatness and goodness: this Daniel observes to raise in his mind a proper awe and reverence of God, whose presence he was now approaching:

keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; faithful to his word of promise; large and liberal in the distribution of his grace and mercy to such that love him sincerely and heartily; and, as an evidence of it, observe his precepts from a principle of love, and with a view to his glory: respect seems to be had to Exodus 20:6, this is observed, by the prophet, to encourage his own faith, and that of others, as to the fulfilment of the promise of their deliverance from captivity at the end of the seventy years; and to raise, in his mind and theirs, love to God, who was thus merciful; and to show the obligations they lay under, in gratitude, to keep his commandments.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/daniel-9.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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

(e) That is, has all power in yourself to execute your terrible judgments against obstinate sinners, as you are rich in mercy to comfort those who obey your word and love you.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/daniel-9.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

my confession — according to God‘s promises in Leviticus 26:39-42, that if Israel in exile for sin should repent and confess, God would remember for them His covenant with Abraham (compare Deuteronomy 30:1-5; Jeremiah 29:12-14; James 4:10). God‘s promise was absolute, but prayer also was ordained as about to precede its fulfillment, this too being the work of God in His people, as much as the external restoration which was to follow. So it shall be at Israel‘s final restoration (Psalm 102:13-17). Daniel takes his countrymen‘s place of confession of sin, identifying himself with them, and, as their representative and intercessory priest, “accepts the punishment of their iniquity.” Thus he typifies Messiah, the Sin-bearer and great Intercessor. The prophet‘s own life and experience form the fit starting point of the prophecy concerning the sin atonement. He prays for Israel‘s restoration as associated in the prophets (compare Jeremiah 31:4, Jeremiah 31:11, Jeremiah 31:12, Jeremiah 31:31, etc.) with the hope of Messiah. The revelation, now granted, analyzes into its successive parts that which the prophets, in prophetical perspective, heretofore saw together in one; namely, the redemption from captivity, and the full Messianic redemption. God‘s servants, who, like Noah‘s father (Genesis 5:29), hoped many a time that now the Comforter of their afflictions was at hand, had to wait from age to age, and to view preceding fulfillment's only as pledges of the coming of Him whom they so earnestly desired to see (Matthew 13:17); as now also Christians, who believe that the Lord‘s second coming is nigh, are expected to continue waiting. So Daniel is informed of a long period of seventy prophetic weeks before Messiah‘s coming, instead of seventy years, as he might have expected (compare Matthew 18:21, Matthew 18:22) [Auberlen].

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

keeping  …  covenant and mercy — that is, the covenant of Thy mercy, whereby Thou hast promised to deliver us, not for our merits, but of Thy mercy (Ezekiel 36:22, Ezekiel 36:23). So weak and sinful is man that any covenant for good on God‘s part with him, to take effect, must depend solely on His grace. If He be a God to be feared for His justice, He is one to be trusted for His “mercy.”

love  …  keep his commandments — Keeping His commandments is the only sure test of love to God (John 14:15).

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

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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

Ver. 4. And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession.] The saints themselves, when they sin against God, are suspended from the covenant; hence it is their custom when they seek the Lord for any special mercy, to begin with humble confessions, as doth David, Ezra, Daniel.

O Lord, the great and dreadful God.] It is good in the beginnings of our prayers to propound God to ourselves under such attributes and spiritual notions as wherein we may see the very thing we pray for. Haec est ars orandi et mendicandi.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/daniel-9.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Daniel 9:4. O Lord, the great and dreadful God The emphatic ה is used before each of the epithets that follow, "the God, the great, the dreadful." This prayer, which is occasioned by the greatest and most sincere concern for the captive Jews, is the result also of the deepest humiliation, and expressive of the strongest energies and most earnest affections. Jeremiah, at chap. Jeremiah 29:12 had informed the people, that if they prayed and sought the Lord in their foreign land, they should be heard; and Daniel performs this duty for himself and his countrymen with the greatest zeal and devotion, especially acknowledging the justice of God and their own unworthiness. See a like prayer, chap. Daniel 9:4 and at Nehemiah 1:5.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/daniel-9.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

By this it appeared he prayed in faith, to the true God, and his God.

2. He made confession of sin when he prayed for deliverance, because hereby he justified God in the captivity of his people.

3. He knew if God vouchsafed pardon of sin, upon this confession, that would be a sure foundation of future mercy.

4. He set down here the words of his prayer, because it is the prayer of a righteous man, and one of God’s eminent saints and favourites in Scripture, who had great power with God in prayer, Job 42:7-9 Ezekiel 14:14,20 Jas 5:16. Keeping the covenant; he puts God in mind of his covenant, Deuteronomy 7:8 Nehemiah 1:5; he calls him great and dreadful, as to his severe justice and wrath: now though the covenant hath promises and mercy, yet it includeth obedience on our part, as here is expressed.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/daniel-9.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

Daniel’s Prayer.

‘And I prayed to YHWH my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, the great and dreadful God, who keeps covenant and mercy with those who love him and keep his commandments.” ’

In Babylon the Israelite God was called ‘the God of heaven’, but in private prayer He was still YHWH, the covenant name. Or perhaps the fact of reading Jeremiah had renewed for Daniel the thought of that name, for it has not been used prior to this and yet he uses it regularly in this chapter (Daniel 9:2; Daniel 9:10; Daniel 9:13-14 (twice), 20) and not again after this. This would appear to emphasise a stress in this chapter on the covenant, as mentioned specifically in this verse. Outside this chapter all references to the covenant refer to the sacred covenant with YHWH (Daniel 11:22; Daniel 11:28; Daniel 11:30; Daniel 11:32). Note that Daniel, with all his experiences of the divine, does not approach God lightly. Sometimes we fail to recognise the awe and reverence we should have when we approach Him. ‘The great and dreadful God,’ the powerful and awesome One Who had allowed His city and temple to be destroyed because of men’s sin (see Deuteronomy 7:9; Deuteronomy 7:21; Deuteronomy 10:17).

‘Who keeps covenant and mercy with those who love him and keep his commandments.’ Cited from Deuteronomy 7:9 (see also Daniel 5:10). Daniel’s hope lay in the fact that God was the covenant God, and would thus respond in mercy towards those who were faithful to His covenant. The word for ‘mercy’ indicates ‘covenant love’. God responds in covenant love towards those who obey the covenant commandments, not because they earn it, but because by it they reveal that they are His.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/daniel-9.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Daniel"s prayer ( Daniel 9:4-19) began with confession. This is only the second time in the book that Daniel used the name Yahweh for God (cf. Daniel 9:2; Daniel 9:8; Daniel 9:10; Daniel 9:13-14; Daniel 9:20). He also addressed God as Adonai (master) in Daniel 9:4; Daniel 9:7. It is natural that he would do this, since this chapter describes the most intimate contact that Daniel enjoyed with His God, namely: through Bible study and prayer.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". "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 9:4. I prayed unto the Lord my God — Daniel could approach God with confidence, knowing him to be his God in covenant, his reconciled God and Father. Observe, reader, we must know God to be our God, if we would pray in faith, and with success, when we apply to him for any blessing. And made my confession — Both acknowledging his justice and holiness, and my own and my people’s iniquity. The more pious men are, and the better they are acquainted with themselves and God, the greater is the sense they have of their past guilt and present unworthiness, and the deeper is their humiliation: see Job 42:6; and 1 Timothy 1:15. Observe, reader, in every prayer we must make confession, not only of the sins we have committed, (which is what we commonly call confession,) but of our faith in God, and dependance upon him; our sorrow for sin, and our resolutions against it. It must be our confession, the language of our own convictions, and what we ourselves do heartily subscribe to. And said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God — A God of whom it is our duty always to stand in awe, and who art well able to deal with the greatest and most terrible of thy churches enemies; keeping covenant and mercy to them that love him — Fulfilling his promises to his people, and showing them mercy and loving-kindness, even beyond what he hath promised.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/daniel-9.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Covenant. God never breaks it first. (Calmet) --- Deus sua gratia semel justificatos non deserit, nisi ab eis prius diseratur. (Council of Trent, Session vi. 11.)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/daniel-9.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

prayed. Reference to Pentateuch (Leviticus 26:40). App-92.

my God. Hebrew. Elohim. App-4.

O LORD*, the great, &c. Reference to Pentateuch (Exodus 20:6; Exodus 34:6, Exodus 34:7. Numbers 14:18. Deuteronomy 7:9). App-92.

GOD. Hebrew El App-4.

the covenant. Note the Art. = the covenant [made of old].

mercy = the lovingkindness or grace [promised therein]. Reference to Pentateuch (Exodus 20:6; Exodus 34:6, Exodus 34:7). App-92.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) The covenant.—See Exodus 19:5.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/daniel-9.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;
made
5-12; Leviticus 26:40-42; 1 Kings 8:47-49; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Nehemiah 9:2,3; Psalms 32:5; Jeremiah 3:13; 1 John 1:8-10
the great
Exodus 20:6; 34:6,7; Numbers 14:18,19; Deuteronomy 5:10; 7:9; 1 Kings 8:23; Nehemiah 1:5; 9:32; Jeremiah 32:17-19; Micah 7:18-20; Nahum 1:2-7; Luke 1:72; Romans 8:28; James 1:12; James 2:5; 1 John 5:2,3
Reciprocal: Leviticus 5:5 - confess;  Deuteronomy 5:9 - visiting;  Joshua 7:19 - make;  2 Kings 19:15 - prayed;  2 Chronicles 6:14 - keepest covenant;  2 Chronicles 6:38 - pray toward;  Ezra 9:10 - what shall we say;  Ezra 10:1 - when Ezra;  Nehemiah 1:6 - confess;  Psalm 7:1 - O;  Psalm 104:1 - O Lord;  Psalm 105:8 - He hath remembered;  Psalm 111:5 - he will;  Psalm 146:6 - keepeth truth;  Isaiah 37:15 - GeneralJeremiah 32:23 - but;  Ezekiel 36:31 - shall ye;  Daniel 9:20 - confessing;  Daniel 10:12 - from;  Hosea 5:15 - till;  Malachi 1:14 - my name;  Matthew 3:6 - confessing;  Matthew 6:5 - when;  Luke 23:41 - we indeed;  1 John 1:9 - we confess

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/daniel-9.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Here Daniel relates the substance of his prayer. He says, He prayed and confessed before God The greatest part of this prayer is an entreaty that God would pardon his people. Whenever we ask for pardon, the testimony of repentance ought to precede our request. For God announces that he will be propitious and easily entreated when men seriously and heartily repent. (Isaiah 58:9.) Thus confession of guilt is one method of obtaining pardon; and for this reason Daniel fills up the greater part of his prayer with the confession of his sinfulness. He reminds us of this, not for the sake of boasting, but to instruct us by his own example to pray as we ought. He says, therefore, he prayed and made confession The addition of “my God” to the word Jehovah is by no means superfluous. I prayed, he says, to my God. He here shews that he did not utter prayers with trembling, as men too often do, for unbelievers often flee to God, but without any confidence. They dispute with themselves whether their prayers will produce any fruit; Daniel, therefore, shews us two things openly and distinctly, since he prayed with faith and repentance. By the word confession he implies his repentance, and by saying he prayed to God, he expresses faith, and the absence of all rashness in throwing away his prayers, as unbelievers do when they pray to God confusedly, and are all the while distracted by a variety of intruding thoughts. I prayed, says he, to my God No one can use this language without a firm reliance on the promises of God, and assuming that he will prove himself ready to be entreated. He now adds, I entreat thee, O Lord The particle אנא, ana, is variously translated; but it is properly, in the language of grammarians, the particle of beseeching. O Lord God, says he, great and terrible Daniel seems to place an obstacle in his own way by using this language; for such is the sanctity of God that it repels us to a distance as soon as we conceive it in the mind: wherefore this terror seems to be removed when we seek a familiar approach to the Almighty. One might suppose this method of prayer by no means suitable, as Daniel places God before his eyes as great and formidable. It seems something like frightening himself; yet the Prophet deserves a due moderation, while on the one hand he acknowledges God to be great and terrible, and on the other he allows him to keep his covenant towards those who love him and obey his statutes We shall afterwards see a third point added — God will receive the ungrateful and all who have departed from his covenant. The Prophet joins these two things together.

With reference to the epithets great and terrible, we must maintain what I have already stated, namely, the impossibility of our praying rightly, unless we humble ourselves before God; and this humility is a preparation for repentance. Daniel, therefore, sets before himself the majesty of God, to urge both himself and others to cast themselves down before the Almighty, that, in accordance with his example, they may really feel penitent before him. God, therefore, says he, is great and terrible We shall never attribute just honor to God unless we become cast down, as if dead, before him. And we ought diligently to notice this, because we are too often careless in prayer to God, and we treat it as a mere matter of outward observance. We ought to know how impossible it is to obtain anything from God, unless we appear in his sight with fear and trembling, and become truly humbled in his presence. This is the first point to be noticed. Then Daniel mitigates the asperity of his assertion by adding, keeping his covenant, and taking pity upon those who love him. Here is a change of person: the third is substituted for the second, but there is no obscurity in the sense; as if he had said, Thou keepest thy covenant with those who love thee and observe thy statutes Here Daniel does not yet fully explain the subject, for this statement is too weak for gaining the confidence of the people; they had perfidiously revolted from God, and as far as related to him, his agreement had come to an end. But Daniel descends by degrees and by sure steps to lay a foundation for inspiring the people with assured trust in the lovingkindness of God. Two points are embraced in this clause: first of all, it shews us there is no reason why the Jews should expostulate with God and complain of being too severely treated by him. Daniel, therefore, silences all expressions of rebellion by saying, Thou, O God, keepest thy covenant We must here notice the real condition of the people: the Israelites were in exile; we know how hard that tyranny was — how they were oppressed by the most cruel reproaches and disgrace, and how brutally they were treated by their conquerors. This might impel many to cry out, as doubtless they really did, “What does God want with us? What, the better are we for being chosen as his peculiar people? What is the good of our adoption if we are still the most miserable of all nations?” Thus the Jews might complain with the bitterest grief and weariness of the weight of punishment which God had inflicted upon them. But Daniel here asserts his presenting himself before God, not to cavil and murmur, but only to entreat his pardon. For this reason, therefore, he first says, God keeps his covenant towards all who love him; but at the same time he passes on to pray for pardon, as we shall afterwards perceive. We shall treat of this covenant and the Almighty’s lovingkindness in the next Lecture.

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Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/daniel-9.html. 1840-57.