Dan. 9:1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;
Dan. 9:2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
Historical note: Darius is probably the title for Gubaru of ancient record. Darius means “holder of the scepter.”
The main point in these verses is that Daniel was familiar with the writings of the prophet, Jeremiah, and he recognized it as God’s word. He knew from his study of these writings that the time of the captivity of his people in Babylon was coming to an end, and the people would be allowed to return to Jerusalem.
Jeremiah 25:11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
Jeremiah 29:10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
Why 70 years? We are told by the writer of Chronicles.
2 Chronicles 36:20–21 “And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.”
In fact, the words from the above verse are from a letter the prophet sent to the captives.
Jeremiah 29:1 Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon….
Dan. 9:3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
Daniel demonstrates sincerity, purpose, and humbleness through fasting and the wearing of sackcloth and using ashes. The words prayer and supplication imply earnest intercession.
Jeremiah 6:26 O daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mourning, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation: for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us.
Dan. 9:4 And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;
Daniel identifies the Lord as HIS God. He recognizes God as one who keeps His promises and is full of mercy to those that love Him and keep His commandments.
“dreadful” = fear and revere
Daniel is quoting from the book of Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations….
What does it mean to confess? It is to admit one’s sins or faults in agreement with God.
Dan. 9:5 We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:
Dan. 9:6 Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
Sin = miss the mark (according to God’s standard)
Iniquity = purposed wrongdoing
Daniel doesn’t just point fingers at his Jewish brethren; he identifies himself as one who has sinned. He sees himself in comparison to God’s holiness and in light of what we know about how we should live to please Him according to His word.
Daniel is also very specific in identifying their sin.
Š They didn’t listen to God’s appointed messengers.
Point is made that the prophets had been sent to all the people, from the kings and princes to the common people of the land. Since God holds the individual accountable, He always makes sure that the message is given to all—not just the leaders.
Dan. 9:7 O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.
Dan. 9:8 O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.
“confusion” = shame
Daniel recognizes God as God of right and moral virtue. He identifies the people of all Israel (includes the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all descendants of the 12 tribes throughout the world), on the other hand, as people of shame and deserving of God’s judgment of their sin, which resulted in their being driven into other countries both near and far.
Dan. 9:9 To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;
Dan. 9:10 Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.
Daniel recognizes that God is able to forgive in spite of their sin and that this forgiveness is an act of mercy—not deserved. Again, he acknowledges that they have disobeyed His laws and principles and warnings from the prophets.
Dan. 9:11 Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.
Daniel makes clear before the Lord that he (Daniel) knows that he and his people are deserving of the curse of their judgment because of their sin against God.
Daniel is again referencing the book of Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy 28:15, 25, 32, 36-37 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee….The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth….Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall be no might in thine hand….The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone. And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the LORD shall lead thee.
Dan. 9:12 And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.
God always keeps His word—although not necessarily in the timeframe that seems appropriate to our thinking. In Daniel’s perspective, his people and the holy city of Jerusalem had suffered evil and judgment that was far greater than that experienced by any other nation under heaven.
I can’t help but wonder at his expression after seeing the history of his people and Jerusalem since that time. God gave Israel a special position before the nations as His people under His special blessing. With that privilege came great accountability. Luke words it like this:
Luke 12:48 “…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required….”
We who claim His name today have great blessing with that same accountability. Our judgment will come just as surely as Israel’s did if we continue in sin without repentance.
Dan. 9:13 As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.
Daniel acknowledges that they are suffering because they refused to be obedient to God. They refused to admit that they were doing wrong. They didn’t seek to understand God’s word. God had warned the nation through Moses that judgment would come if they did not obey Him.
Deuteronomy 11:26-28 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.
God had also promised that if they repented and set their heart to seek Him, they would find Him.
Deuteronomy 4:27-31 And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you. And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.
Dan. 9:14 Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.
This is another statement of God’s righteousness in following through with judgment according to His word when His people refuse to obey.
This expresses the difference in the perspective of a child of God and the unbelieving world. One who loves the Lord will always recognize that God is just and holy regarding whatever He allows to happen in one’s life. He is ready to recognize his own responsibility before the Lord and repent of his sin. This doesn’t mean that everything “bad” that happens in our life is because of sin, as Job so perfectly examples; but it does recognize that God has a purpose in everything that touches us, and sometimes that purpose is to make us recognize our sin. The unbelieving world never looks at events from the perspective of their own responsibility or God’s righteous purposes. They just want to know how a loving God can allow such horrible things to happen to innocent people without reference to any personal accountability before God.
Dan. 9:15 And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly.
I think Daniel is recognizing that God’s deliverance after this time of judgment will again cause the nation(s) to recognize God’s greatness and power.
The existence of Israel as a nation today testifies just as loudly to that same truth, but the people of this world refuse to recognize it.
Again, Daniel acknowledges the sin and wickedness of his people.
Dan. 9:16 O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: 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.
Daniel is concerned for Jerusalem and his plea becomes personal. He recognizes that the land has been made desolate because of the sins of its people. Because of their sins, the Jews have been placed in a position of reproach, disgrace and shame in the eyes of the other nations. He is interceding from a position of confidence that God will restore his nation and Jerusalem to a place of blessing according to His word through Jeremiah.
Dan. 9:17 Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake.
Daniel makes his supplication before God as His servant. His prayer is for the glory of Jerusalem as the dwelling place of God to be restored—not for the sake of the people, but for the sake of God’s reputation among the nations of the earth.
America was founded on the principles of the scripture. When we pray for our nation, what is our motive? Is it to bring glory to God and see His name glorified, or is it for more selfish motives?
Dan. 9:18 O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.
Dan. 9:19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.
Daniel is begging God to hear and see anew the desolation of His people and Jerusalem, the city that is known as the dwelling place of God. Daniel then changes his prayer to be representative of the people—“we.” They are approaching Him on the basis of His mercy. He asks for forgiveness evidenced by action—again, not because the people are deserving, but in honor of God’s name.
Dan. 9:20 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 for the holy mountain of my God;
Dan. 9:21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
This verse implies that Daniel’s prayer of intercession was audible. The Hebrew for the word “confessing” was very interesting.
“to use (i.e. hold out) the hand; physically, to throw (a stone, an arrow) at or away; especially to revere or worship (with extended hands); intensively, to bemoan (by wringing the hands):—cast (out), (make) confess(-ion), praise, shoot, (give) thank(-ful, -s, -sgiving).”
It is indicative of sincerity, humility, intensity of emotion, worship, praise and thanksgiving. That’s a sermon in and of itself.
Sometimes we have to wait patiently for God to answer our prayers, and sometimes they come quickly. How often does the answer come while we are praying? Daniel recognizes the messenger from God; it is again Gabriel who is sent to explain things to Daniel. Gabriel arrives about the time of the evening sacrifice.
Dan. 9:22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.
Dan. 9:23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.
Gabriel is sent to explain the vision to Daniel, to give him discernment. Gabriel lets Daniel know that the moment he started to pray, he was commanded to go and explain things to Daniel. Why? Because he is “greatly beloved.” The Hebrew for that phrase implies “delight:—desire, goodly, pleasant, precious, beauty, greatly beloved.” Oh to fulfill God’s pleasure in such a great way. According to John in the Revelation, that is the purpose for our creation.
Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Many a time has my prayer been to be known as the friend of God like Abraham, as a woman after God’s own heart like David, and greatly beloved liked Daniel.
Dan. 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
Seventy “weeks” = literal, sevened, i.e. a week (specifically, of years)
Adam Clarke states, “The Jews had Sabbatic years by which their years were divided into weeks of years, as in this important prophecy, each week containing seven years.”
Therefore, we are speaking of 70 weeks of years, or 490 years (70 x 7 = 490). This timeframe of 490 years has been “decreed” (determined by God Who is in control) regarding the Jews and Jerusalem. The purpose of this timeframe:
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Once the earthly kingdom of Messiah is established, every Jewish person will follow the Lord in obedience. Every Jewish child born during that time will be saved and recognize God as LORD. This is the truth Paul was teaching in Romans.
Romans 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
This would seem to allow for both the anointing/consecrating of Jesus as King and the anointing of the new temple, Ezekiel’s temple, in Jerusalem, from which He will reign.
Note from John McArthur: The term “most holy” is used 39 times in the Old Testament in reference to the Holy of Holies.
It is important to note that the purpose for the seventy weeks is directed toward the Jewish people and Jerusalem (representative of the nation as a whole).
Dan. 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
One definition of the word “score” is “the number 20.”
Gabriel now gives Daniel some specific time references. From the time of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem and the coming of Messiah will be 69 weeks or 483 years—seven weeks (7 x 7 = 49 years) + 62 weeks (3 x 20 = 60 + 2 = 62 x 7 = 434 years) (49 + 434 = 483 years or 173,880 days).
Nehemiah 2:1-8 describes the decree signed by Artaxerxes authorizing the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem, including the walls. Note from Jon Courson: March 14, 445 BC.
Sir Robert Anderson, in his book The Coming Prince, goes into great detail regarding the timing of the 69 weeks. I have read other authors who have some discrepancies with his calculations, but who basically agree—and the facts are quite convincing to me. I am sure that whatever discrepancies may exist will disappear when we are finally able to look back from God’s viewpoint.
Based on these calculations, they declare that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey presenting Himself publicly as their King on the date exactly 483 years to the day after the decree referenced in this verse (April 6, 32 AD). Note: These calculations are based on years of 360 days used by the Jewish people. Anderson’s book can be read online at: www.raptureready.com/resource/anderson/robert_anderson.html
I think it is because this timing should have been recognized by the spiritual leaders of Jesus’ day that He chastised them for not recognizing
Matthew 16:1–3 “The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?”
Luke 19:38–42 “Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.”
The first seven weeks or 49 years marks the time that it took for the people to rebuild the temple and the walls of Jerusalem after returning from the Babylonian captivity. First important marker—rebuilding the temple; second important marker—the coming and sacrifice of the Messiah. At the end of the 70th week will be the establishment of the Messiah’s Kingdom.
History proves that this is another one of those prophecies that includes a gap of time that connects parts of the prophecy (e.g., Isaiah 61, see note at 11:36). At this point in time, the gap has extended to almost 2000 years.
Dan. 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
After this 483-year period, Messiah will be cut off (destroyed, consumed, perish). Why? Not because of any wrongdoing on His part—because of my sin, our sin.
Still in the timeframe of “after” (already this indicates a gap of time before the 70th week)—The people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. We have to continue to remember that the 70 weeks are pertaining to the Jews and Jerusalem. This is referencing a destruction of Jerusalem and the sanctuary, the temple. History tells us that Titus and his legions, as representatives of the Roman Empire, destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD. The angel is speaking to Daniel of a “coming prince” from the area of the Roman Empire that existed in 70 AD. As we study, we need to remember that this is not the only dream Daniel has had concerning future rulers. He was very disturbed by a dream he had in chapter 7 which references a ruler/horn to come from the fourth beast/kingdom/empire. It would make sense to connect this coming prince with the little horn of Daniel 7:8.
In Daniel 8:23-25 we are informed that the Antichrist will be from the Greek part of the empire that was conquered by Rome. Antiochus Epiphanes, a type of Antichrist, further points to the area encompassed by his kingdom of Syria.
“and the end thereof…are determined” – This phrasing leaves room for a little more discussion. Is it still descriptive of the destruction of 70 AD or is it a more general reference to the intervening years before Jesus comes again. It was interesting to note that the word for desolations included “to stun, devastate, stupefy, astonish, destroy, waste, wonder.” In Matthew 24 Jesus talks of wars and rumors of wars, great tribulation, and wonders that would deceive the very elect if that were possible before He returns as King. I tend to think that this is a general reference to the condition of things before the end of the 70th week.
I just noticed the reference to the end of “the war.” What war? The war of good vs. evil, Satan vs. God, the war for governing authority abdicated by man to Satan that will be reestablished through the return of the man Jesus Christ as King of kings.
Dan. 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
“he” = the prince that shall come
“one week” = the 70th week
“confirm” = to be strong; by implication, to prevail…confirm…strengthen…..
Webster: to establish…to render valid by formal assent
The coming prince is evidently going to either confirm a new or strengthen an existing covenant with “many” for one week, or seven years. Again, we have to remember that the 70 weeks is referencing the Jews and Jerusalem. In the middle of that week, or after 3.5 years (or 42 months or 1260 days or a time, times and half a time—all emphasizing a 360 day year), the prince will put an end to sacrifice and oblation. This is a direct reference to the sacrifices and offerings to God made at the temple in Jerusalem. Therefore, “many” must at least include Jewish leaders. This also implies the existence of a temple and the practice of sacrificial worship in Jerusalem during the times being referenced.
“for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate” – This is the reference made by Jesus in Matthew.
Matthew 24:15 “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)….”
It is also what is being referenced by Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians.
2 Thessalonians 2:4 “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”
The wording again gets a bit harder. As he continues to act, this ruler/prince will act in such a disgusting, filthy, and detestable way that it will stun/stupefy/astonish the people of Israel. His disgusting ways will continue until his and its destruction. This is as has been decreed for the Jews, Daniel’s people, those who are stunned by the actions of the prince of the covenant, the Antichrist.