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Daniel chapter 9

English Standard Version

3Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. 4I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, "O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. 6We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. 7To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. 8To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. 9To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him 10and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. 11All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against him. 12He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us, by bringing upon us a great calamity. For under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what has been done against Jerusalem. 13As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth. 14Therefore the Lord has kept ready the calamity and has brought it upon us, for the Lord our God is righteous in all the works that he has done, and we have not obeyed his voice. 15And now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day, we have sinned, we have done wickedly.
New International Version

New American Standard Bible

7Righteousness belongs to You, Lord, but to us open shame, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and all Israel, those who are nearby and those who are far away in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of their unfaithful deeds which they have committed against You. 8Open shame belongs to us, Lord, to our kings, our leaders, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. 9To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, because we have rebelled against Him; 10and we have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His teachings which He set before us through His servants the prophets. 11Indeed, all Israel has violated Your Law and turned aside, not obeying Your voice; so the curse has gushed forth on us, along with the oath which is written in the Law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against Him. 12So He has confirmed His words which He had spoken against us and against our rulers who ruled us, to bring on us great disaster; for under the entire heaven there has not been done anything like what was done in Jerusalem. 13Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our wrongdoing and giving attention to Your truth. 14So the Lord has kept the disaster in store and brought it on us; for the Lord our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice.
Christian Standard Bible

New Living Translation

King James Version

17Now 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. 18O 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. 19O 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. 20And while 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; 21Yea, while 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. 22And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. 23At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. 24Seventy 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.
New King James Version

What does Daniel chapter 9 mean?

This chapter is another of Daniel's prophetic messages. The beginning of Darius' reign came when the Babylonian kingdom failed and the Medo-Persians took control (Daniel 5:30–31). Knowing the book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 29:10–11), Daniel realized that Israel's exile was likely nearing its end. At this moment, Daniel had likely been a captive for around sixty-six years (Daniel 1:1–7). Since Jeremiah predicted a seventy-year timespan, Daniel had reasons for excitement and hope (Daniel 9:1–2).

Daniel began to pray fervently for the restoration of his people. He does this from a posture of deep humility. Not only does he use traditional signs of humbleness, such as rough clothing and smearing himself with ashes, but he also prays with meekness. Daniel is not associated with any named sin, though he will note later that he is not morally perfect (Daniel 9:20). Given his recorded actions, Daniel is very likely not guilty of sins like idolatry and perversity (Daniel 1:8; 6:5), which were the sins Israel committed that led to their capture by foreign nations (2 Kings 17:1–8; Jeremiah 25:7–11; Daniel 1:1–7). Yet Daniel fully identifies with his people. He prays using words such as "we" and "our" as he pleads for the Lord's mercy. God tied Israel's eventual rescue, in part (Jeremiah 29:12–14), to such pleas for restoration (Daniel 9:3–10).

When Israel first entered the Promised Land, God warned of the consequences of betraying their Lord (Deuteronomy 28:15–24, 48–50, 63–64; 29:25). Yet the people followed evil rulers into widespread sin and evil (1 Kings 15—16; 2 Kings 8—16). Daniel confesses these sins on behalf of the people of Israel. He acknowledges the Lord's response as justified and righteous. Israel was given multiple opportunities and ample alerts, but they turned aside. Their exile was exactly what God told them would happen (Daniel 9:11–15).

The prayer offered by Daniel shifts to a direct plea for the Lord's merciful rescue. Daniel notes that the people of Israel have become a "byword"—a shorthand reference—used to imply deep humiliation and suffering. This suffering is the result of Israel's errors. The nation absolutely does not deserve mercy; they have done nothing which would earn them a "right" to be restored. And yet, Daniel notes that it will be to God's glory to do just that. So, Daniel boldly and faithfully begs the Lord to restore Israel (Daniel 9:16–19).

As Daniel makes these prayers, he makes no effort to claim moral perfection. He includes both "my sin and the sin of my people Israel" in his prayer (Daniel 9:20). Suddenly, the angel Gabriel arrives (Daniel 8:15–17). He compliments Daniel by referring to him as "greatly loved," and promises to give further understanding of what is to happen in the future (Daniel 9:20–23).

What Gabriel offers here is among the most important prophecies in the entire Bible. He speaks of various trials and troubles which will come on both Israel and the city of Jerusalem. These are part of the Lord's plan to accomplish certain goals with respect to the Jewish people. Gabriel also speaks of an "anointed one," using the same Hebrew word from which we derive words such as "Messiah" and, from the Greek, "Christ." According to Gabriel, this figure will arrive and be "cut off" at a certain time. After this, another ruler will arise to both make and break an agreement, leading to ultimate destruction (Daniel 9:24–27).

Historians note two dates crucial to this prophecy. One is March 4, 444 BC: the date when Artaxerxes Longimanus proclaimed that Israelites could rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1–8). The other is March 30, AD 33: likely the day Jesus made the "triumphal entry" into Jerusalem as an open demonstration of His role as Messiah (Matthew 21:9–11). Using a "prophetic year" of 360 days—twelve months of thirty days each—Gabriel's prediction bridges these two moments perfectly. As promised, the Messiah would be killed and left with nothing, only to be resurrected (Matthew 16:21; Luke 18:31–33; John 19:23; 20:11–18).

Other aspects of Gabriel's prediction seem to point further ahead. The seventieth set of seven seems reserved for the end times. A ruler will arise, desolate the city of Jerusalem, and usher in the eternal fate of all evil (Revelation 13:11–15; 19:11–21). Part of this prophecy may also refer to the same trauma which Daniel observed in an earlier vision (Daniel 8:9–14), and which Jesus noted during His teaching (Matthew 24:15).

After this comes the last of Daniel's prophetic messages (Daniel 10:1), covering the rest of his book.
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