9:1 In the first year [538 BC] of Darius [possibly another name/title for Cyrus] son of Xerxes [not to be confused with the king in Esth. 1:1] (a Mede by descent), who was made [indicates that Darius came to the throne by divine appointment and not by chance] ruler over the Babylonian kingdom–
9:2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures [literally “writings” (could be rendered “rolls” or “scrolls”); words of Jeremiah recorded on a scroll (cf. Jer. 36:1-4)], according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah [Jer. 25:11-12 promised the defeat of the Babylonians after 70 years; Jer. 29:10 promised exiles that God would deliver them after 70 years] the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years [Daniel realized the end of the captivity could be imminent].
9:3 So [as a result of his time in personal Bible study] I turned [literally “and I gave my face to”] to the Lord [its use here does not designate God’s proper name (only the first letter is capitalized) but rather has the sense of “ruler” or “sovereign”; Daniel believed God controlled history] God and pleaded [literally “to seek”; Daniel prayed that God would fulfill His word concerning Jerusalem] with him in prayer and petition [supplications], in fasting [allowed him to totally concentrate on the Lord; confirmed the importance that Daniel attached to his prayer], and in sackcloth and ashes [these were used to express deep emotion and humility].
Note: Daniel served in high government positions and was, undoubtedly, a busy man. However, Daniel found time to read God’s Word and to pray. What about us?
9:4 I prayed to the LORD [printed in all capitals thus indicating the personal name of God (Yahweh), His covenant name] my [first person possessive pronoun emphasizes Daniel’s personal relationship with God] God and confessed [literally “to throw oneself down”]: “O Lord [the word for “ruler” as in v. 3], the great [word indicated the magnitude of God’s power and character; cf. Rom. 11:33 re: greatness of God] and awesome [“to fear”] God, who [note reference to God’s faithfulness…] keeps his covenant [the equivalent in the ancient world to an international treaty or a legal contract; refers to the agreement made between the Lord and Israel at Mount Sinai during time of Moses] of love [“faithfulness” or “lovingkindness” (denotes all that comes to us because we belong to God] with all who love him and obey [a way to show our love for God; cf. Jn. 14:15] his commands,
Note: When was the last time you prayed for something fervently? How can knowing that God is great help you focus your prayers on Him? How would your prayer life be different if you began your prayers by acknowledging and praising God for His greatness?
9:5 [note: underlined words emphasize the depth of the people’s sin against God] we [Daniel included himself among the guilty] have sinned [to fall short of God’s standard] and done wrong [means “to twist”]. We have been wicked [these words reveal the people’s guilt] and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws [can also mean “judgments”].
Note: Are you honest and open before God in confession of your sins or do you find it difficult to honestly acknowledge and confess your sins to God?
9:6 We [Daniel included himself among the guilty] have not listened to your servants the prophets [Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Habakkuk, Nahum, and Obadiah preached to Daniel’s generation; cf. Jer. 25:4; Matt. 23:29-32], who spoke in your name [prophets spoke by God’s authority] to [prophets spoke to people at all levels of society; note that prophets spoke to leaders…] our kings, our princes and our fathers, and [note that prophets spoke to the general population…] to all the people of the land.
9:7 “Lord, you are righteous [an attribute of His character; God always behaved and acted as He had promised Israel], but [in contrast to God’s righteousness] this day we are covered with shame [literally “shame of face”; describe a people who could not bear to look at God]—the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered [the penalty for unfaithfulness] us because of our [Daniel included himself among the guilty] unfaithfulness to you.
9:8 O LORD, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we [Daniel included himself among the guilty] have sinned against you [all sin is against God].
9:9 The Lord our God is merciful [compassionate] and forgiving, even though we [Daniel included himself] have rebelled [connotes defiant attitude and action] against him;
9:10 [Israel’s sin resulted from rebellion rather than ignorance…] we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws [“teachings” or “instructions”] he gave us through his servants the prophets.
9:11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you [literally “not listening to your voice”]. “Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses [cf. Lev. 26:33; Deut. 28:36-37], the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you.
9:12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem.
9:13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth.
9:14 The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous [or “straightness”] in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.
9:15 “Now, O Lord our God, who [Bible always gives God the credit for the exodus] brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name [has connotation of a good and mighty reputation] that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong.
9:16 O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts [possibly refers to God’s great works of righteousness on behalf of His people in the past (cf. Judg. 5:11; 1Sam. 12:7)], turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill [Mount Zion (name eventually came to designate the entire city)]. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.
9:17 “Now, our God, hear the prayers [denotes intercessory prayer] and petitions [derived from verbal root meaning “to be gracious”; reminder that prayer is on the basis of God’s grace; “prayer” and “petitions” may imply that this was not the only time Daniel prayed in this manner] of your servant [term often meant “slave”]. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor [literally “cause your face to shine upon”] on your desolate sanctuary [lay in ruins amidst Jerusalem’s ruins (cf. Jer. 52:12-13)].
9:18 Give ear [urgent plea for God to listen carefully and grant request], O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation [a way of calling God to be moved with compassion and to give His full attention to the plight of His people] of the city [the entire situation: plight of city, temple, people] that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous [they were in fact wicked], but because of your great mercy [withholding the punishment they deserved].
9:19 O Lord, listen [listen closely]! O Lord, forgive [denotes the divine pardon and forgiveness of a sinner]! O Lord, hear and act [to restore the people to Jerusalem]! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name [in OT a name represented one’s character and reputation].”
9:20 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 [Daniel recognized God’s sovereignty] for his holy hill [Mount Zion (sometimes used as a designation for Jerusalem]–
9:21 while I was still in prayer, Gabriel [cf. Dan. 8:15-16], the man [although an angel, Gabriel appeared in human form] I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice [the Jews in Babylon maintained the evening (around twilight as per Num. 28:3-4) sacrifice as a time of prayer; cf. Dan. 6:10; Ezra 9:5].
9:22 He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding [into God’s work in human history].
9:23 As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed [treasured; indicates God valued Daniel]. Therefore, consider the message and understand the vision:
9:24 “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.
9:25 “Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until 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.
9:26 After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off 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.
9:27 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 on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”