Daniel 9: Daniel Prays for his people
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.]
New Vision in New Reign
the first year of Darius son of Xerxes
(a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom—
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.
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.]
Daniel confesses their guilt
turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition,
in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.
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,
have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked
and have rebelled; we have turned away from your
commands and laws.
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.
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.]
Daniel acknowledges their shame
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.
our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame,
LORD, because we have sinned against you.
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.]
A second time Daniel confesses their failures
Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled
have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the
laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.
has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing
to obey you.
Again he makes sure he is quite clear on his understanding of
their sin and failures to be the covenant people of God.]
Daniel acknowledges God's judgment that had come on them
“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
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.
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.
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.
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!]
Daniel pleads with the Lord
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.
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.
our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your
servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate
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.
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.”
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.]
The angel Gabriel comes to Daniel
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
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
instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give
you insight and understanding.
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:
The angel Gabriel comes to Daniel with an answer to his
prayers, and a reassurance v.3]
‘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.
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.
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.
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.”
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:
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
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.
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.]
v.27 The ruler who destroys Jerusalem again plunders the temple
which is desecrated.
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