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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - DANIEL 9
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    CHAPTER 9

    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.
    - son of Ahasuerus--called Astyages by XENOPHON. Ahasuerus was a name common to many of the kings of Medo-Persia.
    - made king--The phrase implies that Darius owed the kingdom not to his own prowess, but to that of another, namely, Cyrus.

    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 Le 26:39-42, that if Israel in exile for sin should repent and confess, God would remember for them His covenant with Abraham (compare De 30:1-5; Jer 29:12-14; Jas 4:10). 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 (Ps 102:13-17). 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 (Ge 5:29), 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 see (Mt 13:17); 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) [AUBERLEN].
    - great and dreadful God--as we know to our cost by the calamities we suffer. The greatness of God and His dreadful abhorrence of sin should prepare sinners for reverent, humble acknowledgment of the justice of their punishment.
    - keeping . . . covenant and mercy--that is, the covenant of Thy mercy, whereby Thou hast promised to deliver us, not for our merits, but of Thy mercy (Eze 36:22, 23). So weak and sinful is man that any covenant for good on God's part with him, to take effect, must depend solely on His grace. If He be a God to be feared for His justice, He is one to be trusted for His "mercy."
    - love . . . keep his commandments--Keeping His commandments is the only sure test of love to God (Joh 14:15).

    5. Compare Nehemiah's confession (Ne 9:1-38).
    - sinned . . . committed iniquity . . . done wickedly . . . rebelled--a climax. Erred in ignorance . . . sinned by infirmity . . . habitually and wilfully done wickedness . . . as open and obstinate rebels set ourselves against God.

    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 day" attests.
    - near, and . . . far off--the chastisement, however varied, some Jews not being cast off so far from Jerusalem as others, all alike were sharers in the guilt.

    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."
    - though we have rebelled--rather, "since," &c. [Vulgate], (Ps 25:11). Our punishment is not inconsistent with His "mercies," since we have rebelled against Him.

    10. set before us--not ambiguously, but plainly, so that we were without excuse.

    11. all-- (Ps 14:3; Ro 3:12).
    - the curse . . . and . . . oath . . . in . . . law--the curse against Israel, if disobedient, which God ratified by oath (Le 26:14-39; De 27:15-26; 28:15-68; 29:1-29).

    12. confirmed his words--showed by the punishments we suffer, that His words were no idle threats.
    - under . . . heaven hath not been done as . . . upon Jerusalem-- (La 1:12).

    13. yet made we not our prayer before--literally, "soothed not the face of." Not even our chastisement has taught us penitence (Isa 9:13; Jer 5:3; Ho 7:10). Diseased, we spurn the healing medicine.
    - that we might turn, &c.--Prayer can only be accepted when joined with the desire to turn from sin to God (Ps 66:18; Pr 28:9).
    - understand thy truth--"attentively regard Thy faithfulness" in fulfilling Thy promises, and also Thy threats [CALVIN]. Thy law (Da 8:12), [MAURER].

    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 (Job 14:16; Jer 31:28; 44:27). God watching upon the Jews' punishment forms a striking contrast to the Jews' slumbering in their sins.
    - God is righteous--True penitents "justify" God, "ascribing righteousness to Him," instead of complaining of their punishment as too severe (Ne 9:33; Job 36:3; Ps 51:4; La 3:39-42).

    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 circumstances (Ps 80:8-14; Jer 32:21; 23:7, 8).
    - as at this day--is known.

    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).
    - thy city--chosen as Thine in the election of grace, which changes not.
    - for . . . iniquities of . . . fathers-- (Ex 20:5). He does not impugn God's justice in this, as did the murmurers (Eze 18:2, 3; compare Jer 31:29).
    - thy people . . . a reproach--which brings reproach on Thy name. "All the nations that are about us" will say that Thou, Jehovah, wast not able to save Thy peculiar people. So Da 9:17, "for the Lord's sake"; Da 9:19, "for Thine own sake" (Isa 48:9, 11).

    17. cause thy face to shine--metaphor from the sun, which gladdens all that it beams upon (Nu 6:25; Mal 4:2).

    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.
    - defer not--He implies that the seventy years are now all but complete.
    - thine own sake--often repeated, as being the strongest plea (Jer 14:21).

    20. whiles I was speaking--repeated in Da 9:21; emphatically marking that the answer was given before the prayer was completed, as God promised (Isa 30:19; 65:24; compare Ps 32:5).

    21. I had seen in the vision at the beginning--namely, in the former vision by the river Ulai (Da 8:1, 16).
    - fly swiftly--literally, "with weariness," that is, move swiftly as one breathless and wearied out with quick running [GESENIUS]. English Version is better (Isa 6:2; Eze 1:6; Re 14:6).
    - time of . . . evening oblation--the ninth hour, three o'clock (compare 1Ki 18:36). As formerly, when the temple stood, this hour was devoted to sacrifices, so now to prayer. Daniel, during the whole captivity to the very last, with pious patriotism never forgot God's temple-worship, but speaks of its rites long abolished, as if still in use.

    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.
    - came forth--from the divine throne; so Da 9:22.
    - thou art greatly beloved--literally, "a man of desires" (compare Eze 23:6, 12); the object of God's delight. As the apocalyptic prophet of the New Testament was "the disciple whom Jesus loved," so the apocalyptic prophet of the Old Testament was "greatly beloved" of God.
    - the vision--the further revelation as to Messiah in connection with Jeremiah's prophecy of seventy years of the captivity. The charge to "understand" is the same as in Mt 24:15, where Rome primarily, and Antichrist ultimately, is referred to (compare Note, see on Da 9:27).

    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

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