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Da 9:1-27. DANIEL'S CONFESSION AND PRAYER FOR JERUSALEM: GABRIEL COMFORTS HIM BY THE PROPHECY OF THE SEVENTY WEEKS.
The world powers here recede from view; Israel, and the salvation by Messiah promised to it, are the subject of revelation. Israel had naturally expected salvation at the end of the captivity. Daniel is therefore told, that, after the seventy years of the captivity, seventy times seven must elapse, and that even then Messiah would not come in glory as the Jews might through misunderstanding expect from the earlier prophets, but by dying would put away sin. This ninth chapter (Messianic prophecy) stands between the two visions of the Old Testament Antichrist, to comfort "the wise." In the interval between Antiochus and Christ, no further revelation was needed; therefore, as in the first part of the book, so in the second, Christ and Antichrist in connection are the theme.
1. first year of Darius--Cyaxares II, in whose name Cyrus, his
nephew, son-in-law, and successor, took Babylon, 538 B.C. The date of this chapter is therefore 537 B.C., a year before Cyrus permitted the Jews to return
from exile, and sixty-nine years after Daniel had been carried captive
at the beginning of the captivity, 606 B.C.
2. understood by books--rather, "letters," that is, Jeremiah's letter (Jer 29:10) to the captives in Babylon; also Jer 25:11, 12; compare 2Ch 36:21; Jer 30:18; 31:38. God's promises are the ground on which we should, like Daniel, rest sure hope; not so as to make our prayers needless, but rather to encourage them.
3. prayer . . . supplications--literally, "intercessions . . . entreaties for mercy." Praying for blessings, and deprecating evils.
4. my confession--according to God's promises in
that if Israel in exile for sin should repent and confess, God
would remember for them His covenant with Abraham (compare
God's promise was absolute, but prayer also was ordained as about to
precede its fulfilment, this too being the work of God in His
people, as much as the external restoration which was to follow.
So it shall be at Israel's final restoration
Daniel takes his countrymen's place of confession of sin, identifying
himself with them, and, as their representative and intercessory
priest, "accepts the punishment of their iniquity." Thus he typifies
Messiah, the Sin-bearer and great Intercessor. The prophet's own life
and experience form the fit starting point of the prophecy concerning
the sin atonement. He prays for Israel's restoration as associated in
the prophets (compare
Jer 31:4, 11, 12, 31,
&c.) with the hope of Messiah. The revelation, now granted, analyzes
into its successive parts that which the prophets, in prophetical
perspective, heretofore saw together in one; namely, the redemption
from captivity, and the full Messianic redemption. God's servants, who,
like Noah's father
hoped many a time that now the Comforter of their afflictions was at
hand, had to wait from age to age, and to view preceding fulfilments
only as pledges of the coming of Him whom they so earnestly desired to
as now also Christians, who believe that the Lord's second coming is
nigh, are expected to continue waiting. So Daniel is informed of a long
period of seventy prophetic weeks before Messiah's coming, instead of
seventy years, as he might have expected (compare
Mt 18:21, 22)
5. Compare Nehemiah's confession
6. prophets . . . spake . . . to our kings . . . to all the people--They fearlessly warned all without respect of persons.
7. confusion of faces, as at this day--Shame at our guilt, betrayed
in our countenance, is what belongs to us; as our punishment "at this
9. mercies--The plural intensifies the force; mercy manifold and
exhibited in countless ways. As it is humbling to recollect
"righteousness belongeth unto God," so it is comforting, that
"mercies belong to the Lord OUR God."
10. set before us--not ambiguously, but plainly, so that we were without excuse.
13. yet made we not our prayer before--literally, "soothed not the
face of." Not even our chastisement has taught us penitence
Diseased, we spurn the healing medicine.
14. watched upon the evil--expressing ceaseless vigilance that His
people's sins might not escape His judgment, as a watchman on guard
night and day
Jer 31:28; 44:27).
God watching upon the Jews' punishment forms a striking contrast
to the Jews' slumbering in their sins.
15. brought thy people . . . out of . . . Egypt--a proof to all ages
that the seed of Abraham is Thy covenant-people. That ancient benefit
gives us hope that Thou wilt confer a like one on us now under similar
Jer 32:21; 23:7, 8).
16. thy righteousness--not stern justice in punishing, but Thy
faithfulness to Thy promises of mercy to them who trust in Thee
(Ps 31:1; 143:1).
18. present . . . supplications--literally, "cause to fall," &c. (compare Note, see on Jer 36:7).
19. The short broken ejaculations and repetitions show the intense
fervor of his supplications.
21. I had seen in the vision at the beginning--namely, in the former
vision by the river Ulai
(Da 8:1, 16).
22. to give thee . . . understanding-- Da 8:16; Da 8:26 shows that the symbolical vision had not been understood. God therefore now gives "information" directly, instead of by symbol, which required interpretation.
23. At the beginning of thy supplications, &c.--The promulgation of
the divine decree was made in heaven to the angels as soon as Daniel
began to pray.
24. Seventy weeks--namely, of years; literally, "Seventy sevens"; seventy heptads or hebdomads; four hundred ninety years; expressed in a form of "concealed definiteness" [HENGSTENBERG], a usual way with the prophets. The Babylonian captivity is a turning point in the history of the kingdom of God. It terminated the free Old Testament theocracy. Up to that time Israel, though oppressed at times, was; as a rule, free. From the Babylonian captivity the theocracy never recovered its full freedom down to its entire suspension by Rome; and this period of Israel's subjection to the Gentiles is to continue till the millennium (Re 20:1-15), when Israel shall be restored as head of the New Testament theocracy, which will embrace the whole earth. The free theocracy ceased in the first year of Nebuchadnezzar, and the fourth of Jehoiakim; the year of the world 3338, the point at which the seventy years of the captivity begin. Heretofore Israel had a right, if subjugated by a foreign king, to shake off the yoke (Jud 4:1-5:31; 2Ki 18:7) as an unlawful one, at the first opportunity. But the prophets (Jer 27:9-11) declared it to be God's will that they should submit to Babylon. Hence every