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FRAMEWORKS: Daniel

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FRAMEWORKS: Daniel 9: Daniel Prays for his people

   

[Preliminary Notes: There are different opinions by commentators on this, what may be one of the most difficult chapters in Daniel, partly over dating and partly over the meaning of the vision. For dating see the comments in the Introduction to Daniel. This Darius may be a lessor ruler within the province of Babylon.]

 

v.1,2 New Vision in New Reign

 

v.1  In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom—

v.2  in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. 

 

[Notes: Daniel peruses the scrolls and sees that Jeremiah had prophesied that the city of Jerusalem and the Temple would be gone for seventy years. As it fell in the destruction of Jerusalem in 587, it would seem that Daniel's anguish occurs in some time before Cyrus arrives and sends back the first contingent of the Jews to their Land to rebuild the temple.]

 

 

v.3-6 Daniel confesses their guilt

 

v.3  So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. 

v.4  I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 

v.5  we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws

v.6  We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land. 

 

[Notes: Daniel, remember, is one of many Jews taken from their homeland by Nebuchadnezzar in his threefold attack on Israel, now seen as God's acts of judgment on His people. The ‘way back' is always repentance with confession and Daniel does that now on behalf of his people. Their sins are obvious.]

 

 

v.7,8 Daniel acknowledges their shame

 

v.7  “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame —the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 

v.8  We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, LORD, because we have sinned against you. 

 

[Notes: He acknowledges that his people, once mightily blessed by God and seen by the world [see 1 Kings 10 for the peak of that] have become disgraced, a scattered people and it is all because of their unfaithfulness and sin.]

 

 

v.9-11a A second time Daniel confesses their failures

 

v.9  The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 

v.10 we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. 

v.11  All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you.

 

[Notes: Again he makes sure he is quite clear on his understanding of their sin and failures to be the covenant people of God.]

 

 

v.11b-14 Daniel acknowledges God's judgment that had come on them

 

[outcome] Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, [cause] because we have sinned against you. 

v.12 [outcome] You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. 

v.13 [cause] Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, [outcome] all this disaster has come on us, [cause] yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. 

v.14  [outcome] The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, [cause] for the LORD our God is righteous in everything he does; [cause] yet we have not obeyed him. 

 

[Notes: Daniel knows the Law and knows the passages in Deuteronomy that speak of blessings and curses, specifically now the curses for disobedience [Deut 28:15-]. These are verses of ‘outcomes' and ‘causes' that we have inserted to make the point – what has happened is to be expected!]

 

 

v.15-19 Daniel pleads with the Lord

 

v.15  “Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. 

v.16  Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us. 

v.17  “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 

v.18  Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 

v.19   Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” 

 

[Notes: The word has obviously got back to Daniel of the state of Jerusalem, as it did subsequently to Nehemiah [Neh 1:3,4]. It may be that Nehemiah was God's answer to Daniel's prayer, even though a number of years must have passed between the two men.]

 

 

v.20-23 The angel Gabriel comes to Daniel

 

v.20  While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the LORD my God for his holy hill— 

v.21  while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. 

v.22  He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. 

v.23  As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision: 

 

[Notes: The angel Gabriel comes to Daniel with an answer to his prayers, and a reassurance v.3]

 

 

v.24-27 Gabriel explains

 

v.24  “Seventy ‘sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city [i] to finish transgression, [ii] to put an end to sin, [iii] to atone for wickedness,[iv] to bring in everlasting righteousness, [v] to seal up vision and prophecy and [vi] to anoint the Most Holy Place. 

v.25  “Know and understand this: From [a] the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until [b] the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,' and sixty-two ‘sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. 

v.26  After the sixty-two ‘sevens,' the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 

v.27  He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.' In the middle of the ‘seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”

 

[Notes: Trying to interpret this vision – for which no interpretation is given – is difficult and we only tentatively offer the following. Note the following parts of it, bearing in mind that ‘7' in scripture is sometimes considered the divine, perfect number, and seventy is the number of a divine period of government. Thus:

i) v.24 A long period of divine appointment is to occur to achieve six things. Maybe this is the overall pattern and purpose of God-directed history.

ii) v.25 The anointed one must surely be the Messiah, Jesus. There will be a period for rebuilding Jerusalem and then 434 (62x7) years before Jesus comes.

iii) v.26 After that second waiting period and the Messiah has come, he will be put to death and the Temple again destroyed [when Jerusalem is sacked by Rome.]

iv) v.27 The ruler who destroys Jerusalem again plunders the temple which is desecrated.

There are a variety of interpretations of this passage, some suggesting that instead of the numerical periods offered above, the ‘sevens' are simply divinely decreed specific periods. Some are dogmatic about their interpretations but we suggest such an approach is unwise.]

   

  

Continue to chapter 10