DANIEL CHAPTER 9.
The Seventy Weeks.
DANIEL’S CONFESSION AND PRAYER. — V. l. In the first year of Darius, the son of Ahasuerus, known in secular history as Gobryas and mentioned as a viceroy of the empire after the fall of Babylon,5) of the seed of the Medes, who were joined with the Persians in the conquest of Babylon, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans, not by accession, but through the agency of the victorious army and by the hand of Cyrus, v. 2. in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by books, he observed, he got his information, and then drew his conclusions, the number of the years whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, the prophet, cp. Jer. 25, 11, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem, or, “that seventy years would be completed in the desolate condition of Jerusalem.” Note that Daniel was in possession of a book of Jeremiah’s prophecies, which, therefore, must have been in existence in a number of copies even then, that he considered the words of this book as the Word of Jehovah, and that he definitely believed the words of the prophecy, as the words of the Lord, would be fulfilled. V. 3. And I set my face unto the Lord God, the one sovereign God of the universe, to seek by prayer and supplications, to plead for the restoration of the city of his fathers, with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. It was thus an importunate, moving prayer which Daniel sought by the operation of the Holy Spirit, by which he made known his requests before God. V. 4. And I prayed unto the Lord, my God, and made my confession, a frank acknowledgment of one’s sinfulness preparing the way for the proper worship of the Lord, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, He whose fear and terror is upon all those who are His enemies, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love Him and to them that keep His commandments, cp. Deut. 7, 9: v. 5. we have sinned and have committed iniquity, by leaving the path of God’s commandments, and have done wickedly and have rebelled, shown rebellious behavior, even by departing from Thy precepts and from Thy judgments, the introduction of the confession being modeled after the words of Solomon’s prayer, 1 Kings 8, 47; v. 6. neither have we hearkened unto Thy servants, the prophets, his confession now being made in the name of his entire people with their open disregard of the admonition of the prophets, which spake in Thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. Cp. 2 Kings 17; Jer. 44, 17. V. 7. O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto Thee, He is the possessor of absolute righteousness, who alone can dispense righteousness, but unto us confusion of faces, namely, the confusion which shows itself in the guilty blush on account of the consciousness of sin and the consequent disgrace and tribulation, as at this day: to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, these being concerned first of all, as the leaders of the Lord’s people, and unto all Israel, for many members of the other tribes had joined the southern kingdom when the downfall of the northern kingdom was imminent, all those who professed their belief in the true God thus casting their lot together, that are near and that are far off, through all the countries whither Thou hast driven them, as they were deported into shameful exile, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against Thee, the guilt of the people thus being brought out time and again. V. 8. O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against Thee, this statement being repeated for the sake of emphasis, just as the synonymous expressions were heaped at the beginning of Daniel’s confession, in order that the full scope of the people’s guilt might be brought out. Over against this confusion and guilt stands the one hope of sinful mortals, the mercy of God showing itself in the forgiveness of sins. V. 9. To the Lord, our God, belong mercies and forgivenesses, of which the repentant sinners feel the great need, though we have rebelled against Him, rather, “for we have rebelled,” and the need of His forgiveness as their one hope has become apparent to them; v. 10. neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord, our God, to walk in His laws, following them exactly, which He set before us by His servants, the prophets, His ministers, in making known His will to men. V. 11. Yea, all Israel have transgressed Thy Law, even by departing, that they might not obey Thy voice, their turning away from Him being done with this deliberate purpose; therefore the curse is poured upon us, like a rainstorm with hail, and the oath that is written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, cp. Lev. 26; Deut. 28, because we have sinned against Him. V. 12. And He hath confirmed His words which He spake against us, maintaining them, confirming them in deed, as they now had the proof before them, and against our judges that judged us, the term including all those in authority in the entire nation, by bringing upon us a great evil; for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem, the severity of the Lord’s punishment was without equal. V. 13. As it is written in the Law of Moses, in the two chapters which contain the dreadful statements of the Lord concerning His punishment upon the transgressors of His Law, all this evil is come upon us; yet made we not our prayer before the Lord, our God, by entreating or conciliating His face, by attempting to propitiate His anger, as suggested in King Solomon’s great prayer, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Thy truth. The truth of God is His plan of salvation as revealed in His Word, according to which He wants the sinner to turn from his evil ways, accept the salvation offered him in the Gospel, and lead a life in accordance with the will of the Lord. V. 14. Therefore hath the Lord watched upon the evil, He was concerned about its coming upon the transgressors, and brought it upon us; for the Lord, our God, is righteous in all His works which He doeth, all His actions being essentially just; for we obeyed not His voice, wherefore the punishment meted out to them had to be admitted to be just and righteous. V. 15. And now, O Lord, our God, that hast brought Thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, Ex. 32, 11, and hast gotten Thee renown, as at this day, His acts of mercy being acknowledged wherever they became known among the nations: we have sinned, we have done wickedly, this confession now also introducing the final petition of Daniel’s prayer. V. 16. O Lord, according to all Thy righteousness, I beseech Thee, in agreement with the righteousness which demanded the fulfillment of His promises, let Thine anger and Thy fury be turned away from Thy city Jerusalem, Thy holy mountain, designated thus because His Sanctuary had been situated there for so many centuries, because for our sins and for the iniquities of our fathers Jerusalem and Thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us, so that the heathen looked upon them with scorn and mockery. V. 17. Now, therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of Thy servant and his supplications and cause Thy face to shine, in merciful love, upon Thy Sanctuary that is desolate, for the fact that the Temple was lying in ruins was the chief ground for Daniel’s prayer, for the Lord’s sake, for the glory of the restoration would then be the Lord’s. V. 18. O my God, incline Thine ear, in the attitude of willing attention, and hear; open Thine eyes and behold our desolations, both the cities and their ruins being included in this term, and the city which is called by Thy name, literally, “upon which Thy name is called,” where God had so gloriously revealed Himself, which He had, by choosing it for His Sanctuary, elevated so highly among the cities of the world; for we do not present our supplications before Thee, casting them down before Him, as it were, for our righteousnesses, in dependence upon any state or act of righteousness on the part of the petitioners, but for Thy great mercies, since the unmerited grace of God, His free favor, is the only hope of sinners. V. 19. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do! the prophet here rising to the very climax of an importunate and fervent prayer. Defer not, for Thine own sake, O my God; for Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name, and therefore His zeal for His own glory should be the motive urging Him to heed the prophet’s prayer. The prayer of faith is always certain, meekly importunate, and, when supported by promises on the part of the Lord, may rise to a clamor for mercy which is sure to find a hearing.
GABRIEL COMFORTS DANIEL BY THE PROPHECY OF THE SEVENTY WEEKS. — V. 20. And whiles I was speaking and praying and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and presenting my supplication before the Lord, my God, piling up his petitions in seeking the mercy of God, for the holy mountain of my God, in the interest of, the Lord’s Sanctuary and the true worship; v. 21. yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, making the concluding remarks of his prayer, even the man Gabriel, one of the angel-princes, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, chap. 8, 15. 16, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation, rather, “the man Gabriel, whom I had formerly in a vision seen while in a state of great exhaustion, ...came to me about the time of the evening oblation,” about three o’clock in the afternoon, for this was one of the hours of prayer observed by the Jews. V. 22. And he informed me and talked with me and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding, a skilful and correct insight into the problem perplexing him and an assurance for the future. V. 23. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, namely, the decree, or oracle, which is presently stated, and I am come to show thee, to make it known, for thou art greatly beloved, this being the reason why the Lord was so ready to make known to him the solution of the problem of the seventy weeks; therefore understand the matter and consider the vision, observing the oracle as now to be set forth and explained. V. 24. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy Holy City, the capital which was so dear to the heart of Daniel, the determination of the time being purposely indefinite, to finish the transgression and to make an end, of sins, to restrain the rebellion and to seal up the sins, so that they would no longer find expression, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, to effect an expiation for guilt, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, the result of the expiation of sin, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, rather, “and the prophet,” for there would be no further need of prophets when the chief and greatest prophecies would be fulfilled, and to anoint the Most Holy, the new, spiritual Temple spoken of by Ezekiel being meant, the establishment of the Church of the New Testament on earth, and especially its consummation in heaven, at the end of time. V. 25. Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, from the time that the decree of Cyrus concerning the rebuilding of Jerusalem went forth, Ezra 1, 1; Is. 44, 28, unto the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Prince, shall be seven weeks, that is, until the coming of Christ, the Savior, and threescore and two weeks, during which the great spiritual Temple of the Lord would be constructed. The street shall be built again and the wall, even in troublous times, while the Church of Christ would still properly be a Church Militant. V. 26. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, namely, at the time of the great denial, one of the signs preceding the end of the world, but not for Himself, literally, “and not is to Him anyone,” that is, for the time being there seems to be no helper; and the people of the prince that shall come, a mighty opponent, Antichrist, shall destroy the city and the Sanctuary, so that everything, apparently, would be lost before his attack; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, so that the attacking prince himself would perish in the end, by a divine judgment, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined, or, “until the end there will be warfare,” until the end of this world. V. 27. And he, the hostile prince, shall confirm the covenant with many for one week, so that the great mass of people would be forced to accept this covenant, to acknowledge him as being in the place of God; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, so that there would be a serious interference with the true worship of God, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, literally, “on wings of abominations he comes destroying,” namely, with his idolatrous customs, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate, literally, “until the perfected and fully determined” extirpation and judicial punishment, “shall be poured out upon the desolator,” God Himself bringing destruction upon him. The prophecy thus sets forth the vicissitudes of the Church of God, which would be relieved by the coming of the promised Messiah. But even after His coming the congregation of saints would be in fact a Church Militant, the great Roman Antichrist making the first attack upon the Lord’s forces and being supported in the last days of the world by other antichristian elements following his leadership, until the Lord will definitely and finally bring destruction upon him and them at the time of the Great Judgment.