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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

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;  
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;  
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Babylonish Captivity, the;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Confession of Sin;   Prayer;  
Every Day Light - Devotion for February 17;  

Clarke's Commentary

Verse Daniel 9:4. 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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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Daniel’s prayer (9:1-23)

Persia conquered Babylon in 539 BC and Darius was placed in charge of the newly conquered territory (see 5:31). The Jews’ seventy years captivity in Babylon, which Jeremiah had predicted, was now almost complete, and Daniel looked for their return to their homeland (9:1-2; see Jeremiah 29:10). But he knew that repentance was necessary if they were to enjoy God’s blessing, and therefore he came to God in prayer on behalf of his people (3).

Casting himself and his people entirely upon the unfailing love of God, Daniel confessed that they had rebelled against his word and disobeyed his messengers (4-6). He acknowledged God’s justice in punishing them and scattering them among the nations, but reminded himself that God was also merciful and forgiving (7-10). Through the law of Moses, God warned his people of the consequences of disobedience, but they ignored his warnings. As a result Jerusalem was destroyed and the people taken captive to a foreign land. Yet they had still not asked God’s forgiveness (11-14).
Daniel humbly confessed that the calamity that fell upon the nation was a just punishment for a sinful people. He now asked that God, on the basis of his mercy, would forgive. He prayed that God, for the sake of his great name, would act without delay and bring his people out of Babylon and back to their land, as once he had brought them out of Egypt (15-19).
While Daniel was still praying, the heavenly messenger Gabriel brought him God’s answer. God had heard his prayer and would bring the Jews back to their land. However, God would give additional revelations, and Daniel would need to think about them carefully if he wanted to understand them (20-23).

The seventy weeks (9:24-27)

Possibly no other portion of the Bible has produced as many interpretations as Daniel’s ‘seventy weeks’. This is for two main reasons. First, it is not clear who or what many of the symbols or statements refer to. Second, if a ‘week’ equals seven years, the timetable of 490 years does not correspond exactly with the historical record of events, no matter what meaning we give to the symbols or what method of chronological reckoning we use.
The following interpretation, which is only one among many possible explanations, does not attempt to draw up a timetable based on seventy lots of seven years. Rather it understands the seventy weeks as symbolic of the era about to dawn in answer to Daniel’s prayer. The three divisions within the seventy weeks are therefore seen as symbolic of three phases within that era.
With the Jews’ return to their homeland, the old era of seventy years captivity in Babylon would end (see v. 2), and a new era of seventy ‘weeks’ in Jerusalem would begin. During this period God would bring his age-long purposes to fulfilment. He would deal with sin finally and completely, and in its place would establish everlasting righteousness. Through the arrival of the promised Messiah, God would set his seal of absolute authority upon the visions of the prophets, for their predictions had now come true. As for the Messiah himself, he would be exalted to his rightful place in the holy presence of God (24).

At the time of Gabriel’s revelation to Daniel, Persia had just taken control of the Jewish exiles in Babylon (see v. 1) and the Persian king was about to issue a decree allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild their city and temple (Ezra 1:1-4). Gabriel’s message was that the first period (seven weeks) would see the city and the temple largely rebuilt, but the next several hundred years (sixty-two weeks) would be a time of constant trouble for Israel (25).

Following this time of trouble God’s anointed one, the Messiah, would come (seventieth week), but his people would reject him and kill him. After this an enemy army would pour into Jerusalem like a flood, destroying both city and temple (26). (This predicted calamity occurred when the Roman armies under Titus destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70.)

The Messiah would bring in a new covenant. In the middle of the seventieth week he would be killed and the Jewish sacrifices would cease for ever. But in killing their Messiah, the Jews were preparing their own punishment. They were going to bring upon themselves the ‘awful horror’ and ‘desolating abomination’ of ruthless Roman attack. They, as well as their city and temple, would be destroyed. The Romans would be so savage in their attack that they too would be punished (27; cf. Matthew 23:37-38; Matthew 24:15-22).

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Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". 2005.

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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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

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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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.

Smith's Bible Commentary

This time let's turn in our Bible to the book of Daniel, chapter 9.

In the beginning of chapter 9, we have a very keen insight to this man Daniel. And we understand why God has declared of him that was he was greatly loved by God. For Daniel greatly loved God and he loved the Word of God. And his obvious knowledge and love for the Word is revealed here in the ninth chapter. As he understands the plight of the nation Israel and the reason for their plight. He sees behind the issues that caused their being destroyed and now being captives in the Persian Empire, which has supplanted at this point the Babylonian Empire. But yet also, because that he was a man of the Word and studied the scriptures, he realized that the time of their captivity was about over.

The first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made the king over the realm of the Chaldeans; In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by the books the number of years whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem ( Daniel 9:1-2 ).

So Daniel was reading the prophecy of Jeremiah. Now you'll remember that Jeremiah was one of the last prophets in Judah prior to the Babylonian captivity. In fact, he was still prophesying when Nebuchadnezzar came. And Jeremiah in his prophecy was telling the people that God was going to give them into the hand of the king of Babylon, and the reason was, they had forsaken God and that they had forsaken the law of God, and the commandments of God. And therefore, they were going to be captives in Babylon for seventy years. And that particular prophecy was in Jeremiah, chapter 25, verses Daniel 9:11 , and Daniel 9:12 . And there the Lord said, "And the whole land shall be a desolation and astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon for seventy years. And it shall come to pass when the seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations."

So the Lord declared that, inasmuch as they had been in the land from the time of Joshua, 490 years, and under the law God had told them that every seventh year they were to let the land rest. The land was to have its own sabbath every seventh year. They were not to plant it, but they were only to eat that which grew wild and so forth and gather up in the sixth year. The Lord would give them such an abundant harvest in the sixth year it would carry them through the seventh.

The people did not obey this law of God. They did not give the land rest. But they planted it every year. And so God said, "You've been in the land for 490 years, you've never given it its sabbath. It's got seventy years coming, so I'm going to kick you out of the land for seventy years so that it can have its Sabbaths. And then after seventy years you can come back into the land." So the seventy years of captivity prophesied by Jeremiah are about over. Daniel realizes this. He's been reading the prophecy of Jeremiah. He realizes that the time of the captivity is about over.

And so he set himself his face unto the LORD, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes ( Daniel 9:3 ):

So he set himself aside for a period of intensive prayer and waiting upon God and seeking God for the nation.

Now the prayer of Daniel is remarkable. And in it he surely sets forth the clear understanding that he has of the ways and the purposes of God, and it is interesting that he does not seek to condemn God at all for the calamities that have befallen the people. But he acknowledges that, "These things have happened unto us because we were guilty, we turned aside from You, we went our own wicked ways."

Now so many times people want to blame God for the judgments that fall upon them for their own wickedness. As we pointed out a week or so ago, God tells us not to do a particular thing; if you do it, God said you're going to hurt. So we do it, and then we get hurt, and then we say, "Oh God, that isn't fair to hurt me." Well, God didn't hurt you. He just told you what would be the consequence of a particular action. Now if you want to just defy God and go ahead and do it, then don't blame God for the fact that you got hurt. And yet, this is what people are so often doing.

Now Daniel did not have any of this recrimination against God. But acknowledged that everything that had happened to them happened to them because they were guilty before God. They had forsaken God. Notice,

I prayed unto the LORD my God, made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; We have sinned ( Daniel 9:4-5 ),

Now Daniel isn't pointing the finger at others in a holier-than-thou kind of a thing, and said, "God, they're horrible sinners. They did this." But he places himself, "We have sinned," and identifies with God's people who had sinned against God. "We as a nation have sinned." And surely as we pray, we need to acknowledge the sin of the nation. We as a nation have sinned against God.

we've committed iniquity, we've done wickedly, we've rebelled, even by departing from your precepts and from your judgments: Neither have we hearkened unto your servants the prophets ( Daniel 9:5-6 ),

Now, he had of course have been reading Jeremiah. And he read how that when Jeremiah came and prophesied to them, they threw him in the dungeon. And he recognizes how that they so totally failed to listen to the warnings of God. "We have not hearkened to your servants, the prophets,"

which spake in your name to our kings, and our princes, and our fathers, and to all of the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces ( Daniel 9:6-7 ),

Lord, you're all right, but we're the ones that are confused.

as at this day; to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all of Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all of the countries where you have driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee. O Lord, unto us belongs the confusion of face, and to our kings, and princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. To the Lord our God belongs mercies and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against him; And neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. Yes, all of Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured out upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him ( Daniel 9:7-11 ).

So he was familiar with the books of Moses and the law of God. He'd been reading them. He says, "God, we've transgressed and now You've done those things that You said You would do in the law of Moses." And, of course, the Lord in the law of Moses did declare that if they would turn away from God and seek other gods that He would allow them to be driven out of the land and all. So Daniel recognizes it. "All of these things have happened to us because we are guilty; we have failed."

You've confirmed your word, which you spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us the great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done unto Jerusalem ( Daniel 9:12 ).

Actually, no city has been so devastated as was Jerusalem.

As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil has come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth ( Daniel 9:13 ).

In spite of all of this, we didn't turn from our sins.

Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice ( Daniel 9:14 ).

Not charging God at all. Accepting the responsibility and the guilt, a very important thing. Not crying out against God when the judgments have befallen us. But to acknowledge honestly, "Hey, God, it's my fault. I am guilty. You are righteous." God is a God of judgment, but even in judgment He is so right in His judgments.

In the midst of the Great Tribulation when God is pouring out His judgments upon the earth, there are voices that come from the throne of God declaring, "Holy and righteous and true are Thy judgments, O Lord." There are a lot of people that are concerned about God not being fair. They say, "But what about the poor people who have never heard about Jesus Christ? Is God going to damn them eternally and all?" I don't know. I do know God is fair. I do know that God will be righteous in His judgment. And when God makes the disposition of those particular cases, God will be absolutely fair. And when He does it, I'll say, "All right, I'd never thought of that. Man, that is so right on." Because God will be fair. Abraham challenged the Lord when he said, "Shall not the Lord of the earth be fair, be just? Lord, would You destroy the righteous with the wicked?" But the whole issue was the righteousness of God in judgment. And yes, God will be righteous in His judgment.

And now, O Lord our God, that thou hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and you've gotten renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly. O Lord, according to all your righteousness, I beseech thee, let your anger and your fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for ours sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all of those that are round about us. Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake ( Daniel 9:15-17 ).

Lord, not for our sake, but for Your sake, for the Lord's sake, O God. Shine Thy face upon the sanctuary that is so desolate.

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

God, I don't plead this because I'm such a holy guy, but just because You're so merciful. I'm asking You to do this.

Fabulous prayer of Daniel. It does give to us a keen insight into the spiritual depth of this man. No wonder the Lord said, "O Daniel, you greatly beloved of God."

And then the final plea:

O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thy own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name ( Daniel 9:19 ).

Lord, people call us by Your name, and we're such a mess. God, hear, do something. For Your name's sake, because these people are called by Your name.

Now Daniel said,

While I was speaking, and praying, [while he was in the midst of] confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; Yes, while I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation ( Daniel 9:20-21 ).

Gabriel, one of the chief angels of God, named in Daniel, named also in the book of Luke as the angel that appeared to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, and later appeared unto Mary, the mother of Jesus. Gabriel came,

And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give you skill and understanding. At the beginning of your supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. Seventy ( Daniel 9:22-24 )

And the word weeks there in Hebrew is just sevens. The translators translated it weeks because of seven days in the week, but literally,

Seventy sevens are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city ( Daniel 9:24 ),

Notice there are seventy seven-year cycles that are determined upon the nation Israel, thy people and upon the city of Jerusalem. And so this is a prophecy that relates to God's dealing with the nation of Israel. It will be accomplished in seventy seven-year cycles. And in these seventy sevens, the work of God will be fully established as far as the nation Israel is concerned. Because within the seventy sevens there will first of all be the

finishing of the transgression, making an end of sins, and making reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision in prophecy [or to complete the vision in prophecies], and to anoint the Most Holy ( Daniel 9:24 ),

And probably "the most holy place," the new temple in the kingdom of God. So there are seventy sevens in which all of the prophetic aspects of the nation Israel will be complete. During which time there will be reconciliation made for sins, for iniquities. Finishing of the transgressions, making an end of sins, bringing in the everlasting kingdom of righteousness, and completing the whole prophetic scene.

Now he divides these seventy sevens.

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince, will be seven sevens, and sixty-two sevens: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times ( Daniel 9:25 ).

So there's to be, first of all, seven sevens and sixty-two sevens from the time the commandment goes forth to restore and rebuild Jerusalem to the Messiah the Prince. Daniel wrote this in the first year of Darius, the year 538 B.C. About ninety-five years later, in the year 445 B.C., the commandment was finally given by Artaxerxes to Nehemiah to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Earlier, Ahasuerus and the other Persian kings had given commandments to Ezra to go back and to rebuild the temple. But this prophecy was to be from the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Though the temple was rebuilt, the walls of the city were still torn down and the houses were still destroyed. And you remember that Nehemiah said, "I was a cupbearer to the king." And the king said, "How come you look so sad?" And Nehemiah said, "How can I be happy when the city that I love lies in ruins?" And so the king gave commandment unto Nehemiah to take a contingent of people and to go back and to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, 445 B.C. In fact, according to records that were found by Sir Rawlinson in the Palace of Shushan, that order was given in March 14, 445 B.C. Now, it is an important date in history because according to the promise here and the prophecy here, from the time that commandment goes forth to restore and rebuild Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince will be seven sevens and sixty-two sevens, or sixty-nine seven-year cycles, or 483 years. And so from the year March 14, 445 B.C., according to the prediction here, the Messiah should have come in 483 years from the time of this commandment.

Now the years in the prophecies of Daniel are 360-day years which was predicated upon the Babylonian calendar of a 360-day year. We, of course, compute now with a Julian calendar of 365 and a quarter days a year. But Daniel's prophecies were predicated upon the Babylonian calendar 360 days a year. And so it would be best to transpose the 483 years into days in order to figure out the time of the coming of the Messiah the Prince. And transposed into days, 483 times 360 would give you 173,880 days. And if you take and then work that out on our calendar, you find it comes out to the date April 6, 32 A.D.

On April 6, 32 A.D., Jesus said to His disciples, "Go over into the city and on a corner you'll find a colt that is tied. Untie him and bring him to me. And if while you are untying him the master say, 'What are you doing untying my colt?' just tell them that the Lord has need of him." They went over and just where Jesus told them they saw the donkey tied and they untied it. The owner said, "Why are you untying my donkey?" And they said, "Lord the needs him." And so they brought the donkey to Jesus and they began to lay their garments in the path between Bethany and Jerusalem. And they began to wave palm branches as they cried, "Save now, save now, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord," Psalm 118 . Psalms 118:0 is a Messianic Psalm. Psalms 118:0 declares, "This is the stone which was rejected by the builders, but the same has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord's work and it is glorious in our eyes. Hosanna, hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of Lord. This is the day that the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." We so often get up on a beautiful morning and look out and see the sunrise and say, "Oh, this is the day that the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." That was not written for any beautiful morning. That was written for one special day--the day of God's salvation for the world, the day that the Messiah would come.

Prior to this day, Jesus had never allowed public worship of Himself. When they sought by force to make Him king, He disappeared from their midst. But on this day, He not only set the scene, He is encouraging His disciples. And when the Pharisees said, "Lord, You better cause them to shut up, because they are being blasphemous," Jesus said, "I'm going to tell you something, fellows, and I want you to get it straight. If these men would at this point hold their peace and be silent, these very stones would start crying out." This is the day that the Lord hath made. The day of redemption for the world. The day the Messiah would come; 173,880 days from the commandment of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Right on schedule. And as Jesus came on the Mount of Olives, and He looked at the city of Jerusalem, He began to weep and cried, "Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, if thou had only known at least in this thy day the things that belong to your peace, but now they are hid from your eyes. And they're gonna come and they're gonna encircle the city. They're gonna destroy you and your children are going to be dashed in the streets." And He tells of the desolation that is going to transpire upon them for their ignorance, not knowing the day of God's deliverance.

And so this prophecy of Daniel is one of the most remarkable of all of the prophecies concerning the coming of Jesus Christ, because Daniel here is declaring the very day that the Messiah is to come. "The wall will be built in troublous time." Read the book of Nehemiah. As they were building the wall they had a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other. Because there were guys constantly, guerrilla attacks against them and the PLO was constantly trying to defeat them in their attempts.

Now after the sixty-two seven-year periods [notice,] the Messiah will be cut off ( Daniel 9:26 ),

Not, "The Messiah will be acclaimed and accepted and salvation will come and all of the prophecies will be complete and the everlasting kingdom will come in." No, "The Messiah will be cut off." But,

not for himself ( Daniel 9:26 ):

That phrase, "but not for himself" is literally, "and receive nothing for himself." Or, the Messiah will be cut off without receiving this everlasting kingdom at that time. Of course, we know that Jesus was crucified that very week. He was cut off. He was not given the kingdom at that time. He was rejected as was predicted by Isaiah. He is despised and rejected by men.

and the prince of the people that shall come ( Daniel 9:26 )

That is, the Roman army that was going to come, which did come--Titus, under the edict of Nero, who died before Jerusalem actually fell completely.

the prince of the people that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof will be with [the dispersion] a flood [or a dispersion] ( Daniel 9:26 ),

So here Daniel predicts that the Messiah would come, the Messiah would be cut off, and that a nation would come and destroy the city and the Jews would be dispersed. You read history and you find that's exactly, of course, what did happen. Christ was crucified, the Roman armies came, the temple and the city of Jerusalem were destroyed. As Jesus said, not one stone was left standing upon another and the Jews at that point were dispersed and remained dispersed throughout the world until 1948. So this portion of the prophecy literally, completely fulfilled. "And unto the end thereof, wars are determined,"

desolations are determined ( Daniel 9:26 ).

Now, we have one seven-year cycle that is not yet transpired. Seventy sevens are determined upon the nation Israel. These seventy sevens were to begin at the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, 445 B.C. They were to culminate in the coming of the Messiah. That is, sixty-nine of them. But the Messiah would be cut off. Now in a sense you might say that at that point God's prophetic time clock was stopped and has remained stopped. But now we have another event which will signal the beginning of the time clock once again, the beginning of the seventieth seven or the last seven-year cycle.

Verse Daniel 9:27 ,

he ( Daniel 9:27 )

Who? The prince of the people that shall come or the ruler of the revived Roman Empire that would be represented by ten nations federating together which were once a part of the Roman Empire. You have to go back in Daniel, chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar's vision of the great image, the legs of iron representing the Roman Empire and the feet of iron and clay with ten toes. Iron representing still the Roman Empire but mixed with clays showing that it is not as strong as the Roman Empire was in an autocratic sense, but it was weakened because it was a democracy, nations that were joined together with treaties. Also, you find the same parallel vision of Daniel as he sees them as a beast with ten horns in chapter 7. And this other little horn coming up and devouring three of the horns. So the leader that will arise over this ten-nation confederacy related to the Roman Empire are called by many Bible scholars as a revival of the Roman Empire.

will confirm the covenant with many for one week ( Daniel 9:27 ):

Not with all of Israel, but with many of them.

Now there are today in Israel a very divided feeling as far as God is concerned and religion is concerned among the people of Israel. It is not really a religious state, though they do have religious laws and though they do observe religious laws. And though they keep the dietary laws where they will not eat meat with dairy products, and they keep the sabbath, yet the people for the most part are not religious people. The reason why these laws are in effect is because of the whole political setup in Israel with two major parties, the Labor party and the Likud parties. But neither of them strong enough to form a coalition in the government on their own. And in order for either the Labor or the Likud to remain in power, just like this last week they had another meeting in which they sought to oust Begin because he dared to speak out against the big brother who's trying to control him. I like this spunky little guy. You've got to admire him. And they had a vote of confidence. And any time some issue comes up they can call a vote of confidence, and if Begin does not pass in the vote of confidence, then a new election has to be called.

Now to form a coalition in order that he might have a government, because the Likud party does not have a clear majority, they have to depend upon the religious party and its ten votes to be cast with them in order that they might remain in power and have a majority. And the religious men in the Knesset, those from the religious party, charge a high price for their support. They force them to make certain laws that govern the religious aspects of the people. Now for the most part the people hate these religious laws. But there's something that they realize they have to live with in order to keep a government in power, and so they live with it. But the people really are not wild about the religious aspects of their government. There are only about ten percent of the Jews that are really religious. And, of course, they are divided into reformed, conservative, and orthodox. And, of course, then in the Mea Shearim you have the ultra orthodox. But even they are of the Hasidic or the Sefardim or the Yemenites and they... it's really a divided issue.

So when he makes his covenant it will not be with everyone in support of it, but with many the leader that arises out of Western Europe is going to make a covenant. Now the covenant, or he's going to confirm a covenant, not make one; confirm a covenant. No doubt confirming the covenant that God established with the nation whereby they could relate to Him by basis of the sacrifices that they would offer. Now the ultra orthodox desire to rebuild the temple and begin the sacrifices again. But if you ask the most of the Jewish people about rebuilding the temple they'll say, "Oh, I hope they don't." Because if they rebuild the temple then some fool is gonna want to offer a lamb as a sacrifice and that would be horrible." And that's the general opinion of the general public, but the ultra-orthodox are desiring greatly to rebuild the temple and to begin sacrifices again. And so that's a very divisive issue. And so he will confirm the covenant. That is, will allow them the right to rebuild the temple.

Now how can he do that with the Dome of the Rock Mosque? No problem. It would appear that the sight of Solomon's temple was not there at the Dome of the Rock Mosque as we dealt with Ezekiel, chapter 42. But the Dome of the Rock Mosque sets over what was the outer court of Solomon's temple.

North of the Dome of the Rock Mosque a large vast flat area, perhaps as much as ten acres, in which they can easily rebuild their temple and never disturb the holy Moslem sight. I'm certain that this will be the suggestion. In John's vision of the new temple, Revelation, chapter 11, where John is ordered to measure it, the Lord said, "Don't measure the outer court; it's been given to the pagans." In Ezekiel, when he sees the temple, he says, "And there was a wall, five hundred meters to separate the holy place from the profane." And so I believe that a wall will be put up along the north porticoes of the Dome of the Rock Mosque, and the Jews will be allowed to rebuild their temple and will begin their sacrifices again. And when that covenant is confirmed by this European leader, at that point the last seven-year cycle will begin. The seventieth seven, the final seven-year cycle, which at the end will bring in the everlasting kingdom. It'll complete the whole prophetic picture and the most holy place will be anointed and the kingdom of God established upon the earth.

So he will make, or he will confirm the covenant with many for one week, the seventieth week or one seven-year cycle.

and in the midst of this seven-year period [or after three and a half years], he shall cause the sacrifice and oblations to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, [or the final consummation of the age] and that which is determined shall be poured upon the desolate ( Daniel 9:27 ).

And so this remarkable prophecy of Daniel that deals specifically with the day of the coming of the Messiah and then the seventieth week takes us out to the end of this age in the last twenty-seventh verse.


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Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

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". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". 2012.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

2. Daniel’s prayer of confession 9:4-14

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". 2012.

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" e; 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.

e הנורא "reverendus", Vatablus; "summe reverende", Junius Tremellius "metuende", Cocceius.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Daniel 9:4". "Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Daniel's Confession and Prayer; Daniel's Prayer for His People. B. C. 538.

      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;   5 We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:   6 Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.   7 O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.   8 O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.   9 To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;   10 Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.   11 Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.   12 And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.   13 As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.   14 Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.   15 And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly.   16 O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.   17 Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake.   18 O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.   19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.

      We have here Daniel's prayer to God as his God, and the confession which he joined with that prayer: I prayed, and made my confession. Note, In every prayer we must make confession, not only of the sins we have been guilty of (which we commonly call confession), but of our faith in God and dependence upon him, our sorrow for sin and our resolutions against it. It must be our confession, must be the language of our own convictions and that which we ourselves do heartily subscribe to.

      Let us go over the several parts of this prayer, which we have reason to think that he offered up much more largely than is here recorded, these being only the heads of it.

      I. Here is his humble, serious, reverent address to God, 1. As a God to be feared, and whom it is our duty always to stand in awe of: "O Lord! the great and dreadful God, that art able to deal with the greatest and most terrible of the church's enemies." 2. As a God to be trusted, and whom it is our duty to depend upon and put a confidence in: Keeping the covenant and mercy to those that love him, and, as a proof of their love to him, keep his commandments. If we fulfil our part of the bargain, he will not fail to fulfil his. He will be to his people as good as his word, for he keeps covenant with them, and not one iota of his promise shall fall to the ground; nay, he will be better than his word, for he keeps mercy to them, something more than was in the covenant. It was proper for Daniel to have his eye upon God's mercy now that he was to lay before him the miseries of his people, and upon God's covenant now that he was to sue for the performance of a promise. Note, We should, in prayer, look both at God's greatness and his goodness, his majesty and mercy in conjunction.

      II. Here is a penitent confession of sin, the procuring cause of all the calamities which his people had for so many years been groaning under, Daniel 9:5; Daniel 9:6. When we seek to God for national mercies we ought to humble ourselves before him for national sins. These are the sins Daniel here laments; and we may here observe the variety of words he makes use of to set forth the greatness of their provocations (for it becomes penitents to lay load upon themselves): We have sinned in many particular instances, nay, we have committed iniquity, we have driven a trade of sin, we have done wickedly with a hard heart and a stiff neck, and herein we have rebelled, have taken up arms against the King of kings, his crown and dignity. Two things aggravated their sins:-- 1. That they had violated the express laws God had given them by Moses: "We have departed from they precepts and from thy judgments, and have not conformed to them. And (Daniel 9:10; Daniel 9:10) we have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God." That which speaks the nature of sin, that it is the transgression of the law, does sufficiently speak the malignity of it; if sin be made to appear sin, it cannot be made to appear worse; its sinfulness is its greatest hatefulness, Romans 7:13. God has set his laws before us plainly and fully, as the copy we should write after, yet we have not walked in them, but turned aside, or turned back. 2. That they had slighted the fair warnings God had given them by the prophets, which in every age he had sent to them, rising up betimes and sending them (Daniel 9:6; Daniel 9:6): "We have not hearkened to thy servants the prophets, who have put us in mind of thy laws, and of the sanctions of them; though they spoke in thy name, we have not regarded them; though they delivered their message faithfully, with a universal respect to all orders and degrees of men, to our kings and princes, whom they had the courage and confidence to speak to, to our fathers, and to all the people of the land, whom they had the condescension and compassion to speak to, yet we have not hearkened to them, nor heard them, or not heeded them, or not complied with them." Mocking God's messengers, and despising his words, were Jerusalem's measure-filling sins, 2 Chronicles 36:16. This confession of sin is repeated here, and much insisted on; penitents should again and again accuse and reproach themselves till they find their hearts thoroughly broken. All Israel have transgressed thy law,Daniel 9:11; Daniel 9:11. It is Israel, God's professing people, who have known better, and from whom better is expected--Israel, God's peculiar people, whom he has surrounded with his favours; not here and there one, but it is all Israel, the generality of them, the body of the people, that have transgressed by departing and getting out of the way, that they might not hear, and so might not obey, thy voice. This disobedience is that which all true penitents do most sensibly charge upon themselves (Daniel 9:14; Daniel 9:14): We obeyed not his voice, and (Daniel 9:15; Daniel 9:15) we have sinned, we have done wickedly. Those that would find mercy must thus confess their sins.

      III. Here is a self-abasing acknowledgment of the righteousness of God in all the judgments that were brought upon them; and it is evermore the way of true penitents thus to justify God, that he may be clear when he judges, and the sinner may bear all the blame. 1. He acknowledges that it was sin that plunged them in all these troubles. Israel is dispersed through all the countries about, and so weakened, impoverished, and exposed. God's hand has driven them hither and thither, some near, where they are known and therefore the more ashamed, others afar off, where they are not known and therefore the more abandoned, and it is because of their trespass that they have trespassed (Daniel 9:7; Daniel 9:7); they mingled themselves with the nations that they might be debauched by them, and now God mingles them with the nations that they might be stripped by them. 2. He owns the righteousness of God in it, that he had done them no wrong in all he had brought upon them, but had dealt with them as they deserved (Daniel 9:7; Daniel 9:7): "O Lord! righteousness belongs to thee; we have no fault to find with thy providence, no exceptions to make against thy judgments, for (Daniel 9:14; Daniel 9:14) the Lord our God is righteous in all his works which he does, even in the sore calamities we are now under, for we obeyed not the words of his mouth, and therefore justly feel the weight of his hand." This seems to be borrowed from Lamentations 1:18. 3. He takes notice of the fulfilling of the scripture in what was brought upon them. In very faithfulness he afflicted them; for it was according to the word which he had spoken. The curse is poured upon us and the oath, that is, the curse that was ratified by an oath in the law of Moses, Daniel 9:11; Daniel 9:11. This further justifies God in their troubles, that he did but inflict the penalty of the law, which he had given them fair notice of. It was necessary for the preserving of the honour of God's veracity, and saving his government from contempt, that the threatenings of his word should be accomplished, otherwise they look but as bugbears, nay, they seem not at all frightful. Therefore he has confirmed his words which spoke against us because we broke his laws, and against our judges that judged us because they did not according to the duty of their place punish the breach of God's laws. He told them many a time that if they did not execute justice, as terrors to evil-workers, he must and would take the work into his own hands; and now he has confirmed what he said by bringing upon us a great evil, in which the princes and judges themselves deeply shared. Note, It contributes very much to our profiting by the judgments of God's hand to observe how exactly they agree with the judgments of his mouth. 4. He aggravates the calamities they were in, lest they should seem, having been long used to them, to make light of them, and so to lose the benefit of the chastening of the Lord by despising it. "It is not some of the common troubles of life that we are complaining of, but that which has in it some special marks of divine displeasure; for under the whole heaven has not been done as has been done upon Jerusalem," Daniel 9:12; Daniel 9:12. It is Jeremiah's lamentation in the name of the church, Was ever sorrow like unto my sorrow? which must suppose another similar question, Was ever sin like unto my sin? 5. He puts shame upon the whole nation, from the highest to the lowest; and if they will say Amen to his prayer, as it was fit they should if they would come in for a share in the benefit of it, they must all put their hand upon their mouth, and their mouth in the dust: "To us belongs confusion of faces as at this day (Daniel 9:7; Daniel 9:7); we lie under the shame of the punishment of our iniquity, for shame is our due." If Israel had retained their character, and had continued a holy people, they would have been high above all nations in praise, and mane, and honour (Deuteronomy 26:19); but now that they have sinned and done wickedly confusion and disgrace belong to them, to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the inhabitants both of the country and of the city, for they have been all alike guilty before God; it belongs to all Israel, both to the two tribes, that are near, by the rivers of Babylon, and to the ten tribes, that are afar off, in the land of Assyria. "Confusion belongs not only to the common people of our land, but to our kings, our princes, and our fathers (Daniel 9:8; Daniel 9:8), who should have set a better example, and have used their authority and influence for the checking of the threatening torrent of vice profaneness." 6. He imputes the continuance of the judgment to their incorrigibleness under it (Daniel 9:13; Daniel 9:14): "All this evil has come upon us, and has lain long upon us, yet made we not our prayer before the Lord our God, not in a right manner, as we should have made it, with a humble, lowly, penitent, and obedient heart. We have been smitten, but have not returned to him that smote us. We have not entreated the face of the Lord our God" (so the word is); "we have taken no care to make our peace with God and reconcile ourselves to him." Daniel set his brethren a good example of praying continually, but he was sorry to see how few there were that followed his example; in their affliction it was expected that they would seek God early, but they sought him not, that they might turn from their iniquities and understand his truth. The errand upon which afflictions are sent is to bring men to turn from their iniquities and to understand God's truth; so Elihu had explained them, Job 36:10. God by them opens men's ears to discipline and commands that they return from iniquity. And if men were brought rightly to understand God's truth, and to submit to the power and authority of it, they would turn from the error of their ways. Now the first step towards this is to make our prayer before the Lord our God, that the affliction may be sanctified before it is removed, and that the grace of God may go along with the providence of God, to make it answer the end. Those who in their affliction make not their prayer to God, who cry not when he binds them, are not likely to turn from iniquity or to understand his truth. "Therefore, because we have not improved the affliction, the Lord has watched upon the evil, as the judge takes care that execution be done according to the sentence. Because we have not been melted, he has kept us still in the furnace, and watched over it, to make the heat yet more intense;" for when God judges he will overcome, and will be justified in all his proceedings.

      IV. Here is a believing appeal to the mercy of God, and to the ancient tokens of his favour to Israel, and the concern of his own glory in their interests. 1. It is some comfort to them (and not a little) that God has been always ready to pardon sin (Daniel 9:9; Daniel 9:9): To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgiveness; this refers to that proclamation of his name, Exodus 34:6; Exodus 34:7, The Lord God, gracious and merciful, forgiving iniquity. Note, It is very encouraging to poor sinners to recollect that mercies belong to God, as it is convincing and humbling to them to recollect that righteousness belongs to him; and those who give him the glory of his righteousness may take to themselves the comfort of his mercies, Psalms 62:12. There are abundant mercies in God, and not only forgiveness but forgivenesses; he is a God of pardons (Nehemiah 9:17, marg.); he multiplies to pardon,Isaiah 55:7. Though we have rebelled against him, yet with him there is mercy, pardoning mercy, even for the rebellious. 2. It is likewise a support to them to think that God had formerly glorified himself by delivering them out of Egypt; so far he looks back for the encouragement of his faith (Daniel 9:15; Daniel 9:15): "Thou hast formerly brought thy people out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and wilt thou not now with the same mighty hand bring them out of Babylon? Were they then formed into a people, and shall they not now be reformed and new-formed? Are they now sinful and unworthy, and were they not so then? Are their oppressors now mighty and haughty, and were they not so then? And has not God said the their deliverance out of Babylon shall outshine even that out of Egypt?" Jeremiah 16:14; Jeremiah 16:15. The force of this plea lies in that, "Thou hast gotten thyself renown, hast made thyself a name" (so the word is) "as at this day, even to this day, by bringing us out of Egypt; and wilt thou lose the credit of that by letting us perish in Babylon? Didst thou get a renown by that deliverance which we have so often commemorated, and wilt thou not now get thyself a renown by this which we have so often prayed for, and so long waited for?"

      V. Here is a pathetic complaint of the reproach that God's people lay under, and the ruins that God's sanctuary lay in, both which redounded very much to the dishonour of God and the diminution of that name and renown which God had gained by bringing them out of Egypt. 1. God's holy people were despised. By their sins and the iniquities of their fathers they had profaned their crown and made themselves despicable, and then though they are, in name and profession, God's people, and upon that account truly great and honourable, yet they become a reproach to all that are round about them. Their neighbours laugh them to scorn, and triumph in their disgrace. Note, Sin is a reproach to any people, but especially to God's people, that have more eyes upon them and have more honour to lose than other people. 2. God's holy place was desolate. Jerusalem, the holy city, was a reproach (Daniel 9:16; Daniel 9:16) when it lay in ruins; it was an astonishment and a hissing to all that passed by. The sanctuary, the holy house, was desolate (Daniel 9:17; Daniel 9:17), the altars were demolished, and all the buildings laid in ashes. Note, The desolations of the sanctuary are the grief of all the saints, who reckon all their comforts in this world buried in the ruins of the sanctuary.

      VI. Here is an importunate request to God for the restoring of the poor captive Jews to their former enjoyments again. The petition is very pressing, for God gives us leave in prayer to wrestle with him: "O Lord! I beseech thee,Daniel 9:16; Daniel 9:16. If ever thou wilt do any thing for me, do this; it is my heart's desire and prayer. Now therefore, O our God! hear the prayer of thy servant and his supplication (Daniel 9:17; Daniel 9:17), and grant an answer of peace." Now what are his petitions? What are his requests? 1. That God would turn away his wrath from them; that is it which all the saints dread and deprecate more than any thing: O let thy anger be turned away from thy Jerusalem, thy holy mountain!Daniel 9:16; Daniel 9:16. He does not pray for the turning again of their captivity (let the Lord do with them as seems good in his eyes), but he prays first for the turning away of God's wrath. Take away the cause, and the effect will cease. 2. That he would lift up the light of his countenance upon them (Daniel 9:17; Daniel 9:17): "Cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate; return in thy mercy to us, and show that thou art reconciled to us, and then all shall be well." Note, The shining of God's face upon the desolations of the sanctuary is all in all towards the repair of it; and upon that foundation it must be rebuilt. If therefore its friends would begin their work at the right end, they must first be earnest with God in prayer for his favour, and recommend his desolate sanctuary to his smiles. Cause thy face to shine and then we shall be saved,Psalms 80:3. 3. That he would forgive their sins, and then hasten their deliverance (Daniel 9:19; Daniel 9:19): O Lord! hear; O Lord! forgive. "That the mercy prayed for may be granted in mercy, let the sin that threatens to come between us and it be removed: O Lord! hearken and do, not hearken and speak only, but hearken and do; do that for us which none else can, and that speedily--defer not, O my God!" Now that he saw the appointed day approaching he could in faith pray that God would make haste to them and not defer. David often prays, Make haste, O God! to help me.

      VII. Here are several pleas and arguments to enforce the petitions. God gives us leave not only to pray, but to plead with him, which is not to move him (he himself knows what he will do), but to move ourselves, to excite our fervency and encourage our faith. 1. They disdain a dependence upon any righteousness of their own; they pretend not to merit any thing at God's hand but wrath and the curse (Daniel 9:18; Daniel 9:18): "We do not present our supplications before thee with hope to speed for our righteousness, as if we were worthy to receive thy favour for any good in us, or done by us, or could demand any thing as a debt; we cannot insist upon our own justification, no, though we were more righteous than we are; nay, though we knew nothing amiss of ourselves, yet are we not thereby justified, nor would we answer, but we would make supplication to our Judge." Moses had told Israel long before that, whatever God did for them, it was not for their righteousness,Deuteronomy 9:4; Deuteronomy 9:5. And Ezekiel had of late told them that their return out of Babylon would be not for their sakes,Ezekiel 36:22; Ezekiel 36:32. Note, Whenever we come to God for mercy we must lay aside all conceit of, and confidence in, our own righteousness. 2. They take their encouragement in prayer from God only, as knowing that his reasons of mercy are fetched from within himself, and therefore from him we must borrow all our pleas for mercy, and so give honour to him when we are suing for grace and mercy from him. (1.) "Do it for thy own sake (Daniel 9:19; Daniel 9:19), for the accomplishment of thy own counsel, the performance of thy own promise, and the manifestation of thy own glory." Note, God will do his own work, not only in his own way and time, but for his own sake, and so we must take it. (2.) "Do it for the Lord's sake, that is, for the Lord Christ's sake," for the sake of the Messiah promised, who is the Lord (so the most and best of our Christian interpreters understand it), for the sake of Adonai, so David called the Messiah (Psalms 110:1), and mercy is prayed for for the church for the sake of the Son of man (Psalms 80:17), and for thy Word's sake, he is Lord of all. It is for his sake that God causes his face to shine upon sinners when they repent and turn to him, because of the satisfaction he has made. In all our prayers that therefore must be our plea; we must make mention of his righteousness, even of his only,Psalms 71:16. Look upon the face of the anointed. He has himself directed us to ask in his name. (3.) "Do it according to all thy righteousness (Daniel 9:16; Daniel 9:16), that is, plead for us against our persecutors and oppressors according to thy righteousness. Though we are ourselves unrighteous before God, yet with reference to them we have a righteous cause, which we leave it with the righteous God to appear in the defence of." Or, rather, by the righteousness of God here is meant his faithfulness to his promise. God had, according to his righteousness, executed the threatening, Daniel 9:11; Daniel 9:11. "Now, Lord, wilt thou not do according to all thy righteousness? Wilt thou not be as true to thy promises as thou hast been to thy threatenings and accomplish them also?" (4.) "Do it for thy great mercies (Daniel 9:18; Daniel 9:18), to make it to appear that thou art a merciful God." The good things we ask of God we call mercies, because we expect them purely from God's mercy. And, because misery is the proper object of mercy, the prophet here spreads the deplorable condition of the church before God, as it were to move his compassion: "Open thy eyes and behold our desolations, especially the desolations of the sanctuary. O look with pity upon a pitiable case!" Note, The desolations of the church must in prayer be laid before God and then left with him. (5.) "Do it for the sake of the relation we stand in to thee. The sanctuary that is desolate is thy sanctuary (Daniel 9:17; Daniel 9:17), dedicated to thy honour, employed in thy service, and the place of thy residence. Jerusalem is thy city and thy holy mountain (Daniel 9:16; Daniel 9:16); it is the city which is called by thy name," Daniel 9:18; Daniel 9:18. It was the city which God had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. "The people that have become a reproach are thy people, and thy name suffers in the reproach cast upon them (Daniel 9:16; Daniel 9:16); they are called by thy name,Daniel 9:19; Daniel 9:19. Lord, thou hast a property in them, and therefore art interested in their interests; wilt thou not provide for thy own, for those of thy own house? They are thine, save them," Psalms 119:94.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Daniel 9:4". "Henry's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.