Daniel 9
Daniel's Prayer and the 70 weeks
Text Comments
 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;
.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.
.3  And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
   1 - Darius ... made king Darius ruled under Cyrus who later ruled directly in Babylon.  This is the reason Daniel saw the Medes and the Persians in a united kingdom. Compare da0528.
   2 - Number of years Why should Daniel be concerned? Wouldn't God keep His promise? Promises that depend on human response are conditional. Reading the text in Jeremiah 29 will clarify je2910.
.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;
.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:
 6  Neither have we hearkened unto [listened to] 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.
  4 - Covenant ... love ... keep commandments See ex2005.
  5 - We have sinned No sin of Daniel is recorded. Yet he identifies here with his sinful people. Notice how they sinned. Compare ezr1001.
 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.
 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.
  7 - Driven them Repeatedly through the ages, God has scattered his rebellious people and has gathered a remnant to become the nucleus of a new group of faithful ones who would bear the message of grace to the world.

 9  To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;
 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.
 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.
.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.
  9 - To the Lord our God belong Notice how this compares to verse 7.
 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.
 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.
 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.
.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.
.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.
-  17 - Sanctuary ... desolate A key problem that Daniel was praying about. But the problem wouldn't end with the 70 years, nor with the 70 weeks of years da0813,4.
 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.
.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.
- 18, 19 - Called by your name Daniel pleads for the honor and glory of God.

 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;
.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.
   20 - While I was speaking Daniel hadn't gotten to the end of his prayer although it seems complete.
   21 - Gabriel ... Beginning The previous vision is recorded in chapter 8. It was the beginning of his time of distress over the 2300 prophetic days da0826f a burden to continue to his death as we may gather from his still wanting to know in chapter 12. Here Gabriel was fulfilling his assignment of the previous chapter da0816.
.22  And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding [or "skill in understanding"].     22 - Evening oblation When the temple was in operation, morning and evening offerings represented God's continual sustaining grace ex2938. This was, no doubt, a prayer time for Daniel da0610.
   22 - Understanding Understanding what? In verse 24 we see that the new revelation would deal with his concern about his people (Judah) and his city (Jerusalem). He had been praying about them v16.
   Understanding is a thread that runs through the book da0117, da1210.

.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.
  23 - Understand . . . vision The Hebrew words here are haben, the causative form of byn, and mareh da0801. These are the same two words as are in da0816 for "make . . . understand the vision." This helps confirm our idea that Gabriel would have been continuing his explanation of the vision of 2300 days which Daniel hadn't understood da0826.

 24a  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 Daniel was concerned because the 70 years which Jeremiah had predicted for the captivity were about over v2 and the people weren't ready to return to their homeland. To complicate the situation, he had been left in distress about the 2300 prophetic days of chapter 8. He was expecting 70 years, but 2300 years was something new. He recognized it as a very long time da0826, re0610-how.
    Although 10 years or so had passed since his vision of chapter 8, no further prophetic message appears until now. The problem remained unresolved. Gabriel answered his concern about the desolate city and the people v19 by describing an even greater time of probation that would begin by a decree authorizing  the restoration of Jerusalem v25, but later, the temple would again be desolate without the spirit of God. mt2337.
   Weeks Considering a day as the prophetic symbol for a year, seventy weeks become 490 years. Note 1.
   Determined The Hebrew word is chathaq and literally means "cut off." Since Gabriel was responding to Daniel's concern about "the vision" v23 of the 2300 days, it follows that the 490 days (years) would be cut off from it.
.24b 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 [The Hebrew reads, "prophet"], and to anoint the most Holy.

   To finish ... The first of five tasks appointed to the covenant people in completing their mission of taking the good news to the ends of the earth. The fulfillment was different because they didn't do these things. See Note 2. The original term translated "to finish" may also mean "to eliminate" which is appropriate for the context. "Transgression" is from the Hebrew pesha which indicates a criminal act breaking a relationship.
   To bring in everlasting righteousness Fulfillment began after Jesus' baptism when He was tempted and remained righteous. Then began His ministry mt0315. Through that continuing ministry the chaos and sorrow of sin will be finally be over. The process includes judgment is1104, and cleansing is5311.
   To seal up This is the fifth of the six objectives God gave for the probationary 70 weeks. Another translation is "to bring to an end to." See Note 3. And for a summary chart of the six, Note 4.
   Anoint the most holy Jesus Christ was anointed, mt0316, lu0418 as predicted by Isaiah is6101. Paul also referred to Him as the anointed one ac1038. In fact, the words Messiah, and Christ mean "anointed one" in Hebrew and Greek respectively. However, the term "most holy" is elsewhere used only for the sanctuary and things in it. See Note 5.
   The 70-week prophecy pointed to the coming Messiah and was fulfilled by Jesus Christ at the right time ga0404.
.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.
. Know This is what Daniel wanted da0827. See Note 6a
   From the going forth This sets the beginning of the 70 weeks and enables us to know the end. The date of the decree is 457 BC ezr0707.
   Restore and build People were allowed to go back to Jerusalem four times as recorded in Ezra and Nehemiah. Only one "commandment" or decree meets the conditions of this verse. Note 6b.
   To Messiah 7+62=69 weeks or 483 literal years. This takes us to 31 AD. Jesus was anointed in a special sense at His baptism. It was then that His ministry as Messiah began. See Matthew's account. mt0313f. On His being prince, see on jn1430.
   Luke gives a date which calculates to 27 AD. See Luke 3:1 lu0301 and the note explaining it. Also ga0404.
   Seven weeks ... the wall Finished by Nehemiah under dangerous circumstances ne06. Counting from 457 BC the completion would have been in 408 {457-(7x7)}. Although we have no historical confirmation of this date, it fits what we know. The date of the anointing confirms the accuracy of the prophecy.
Illustration: temple items returned

 26  And after threescore and two [62] 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 One meaning of the Hebrew word is "in the time after." See it in ge0504. (Our English word, "after," can mean the same.) I mention this because, by identifying the time that sacrifice and oblation would cease (next verse) as when Christ dies, we see that He is "cut off" in the middle of the 70th week, not at the end point of the 62 the second time span shown in verse 25. (The term "Christ," is the Greek equivalent of Messiah. "Score" is an old word for twenty.)
   Messiah The Hebrew words translated "Messiah" and "prince" in this verse also appeared in verse 25.
   Cut off For verse 24, we noted that the Hebrew word translated, "determined," would have been better translated as "cut off" or "taken away from." But here "cut off" means killed. It's from a different Hebrew word ge0911. The idea is also clear in is5308, although the Hebrew word for "cut off" is different from the one Daniel used.
   Not for himself See Note 7.
   People of the prince that shall come See Note 8.
   Shall destroy the city and sanctuary Please notice that this event does not occur during 70th week. It would be the destruction of Jerusalem more than 30 years later.
   Flood See on is0806.
   End This verse takes us to the end of the struggle between good and evil. In verse 27, we return for a different view of the topic. There we expand our understanding of  the cutting off of the Messiah.
.27a  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 [or "wing"] of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation [or "complete destruction"], and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate [literally, "upon a desolator."]

   He The Messiah. This verse expands on His being cut off. See on "End" immediately above.
  Confirm The NASB says, "make a firm covenant." However, the KJV is correct. The Hebrew, gabar, is not used this way. It means to confirm or prevail or strengthen zc1006. Hebrew authors use a word meaning "to cut" when discussing the making of a new covenant.
   Confirm the covenant Christ ministered to the Jews first before the end of their 70 symbolic weeks of probation as a nation. Only He who established the covenant would confirm it ge1506. Malachi shows Christ as the "messenger of the covenant" who comes to His temple mal0301.
  Week (7 literal years). Christ ministered to the Jewish nation first personally for 3½ years, then through the Holy Spirit who led His followers for the other 3½. During that final seven years, most left or ignored or hated Him but to those who accepted, He confirmed the covenant. lu0172, ro1508 His sermon on the mount also shows confirmation of the covenant by revealing the true meaning of the law mt0521. At the end of that final week of years, those who had accepted the covenant responsibility the followers of Christ took the gospel to the Gentiles.
   Week A popular explanation is discussed in Note 9. The literary pattern of Gabriel's explanation is also instructive go. It helps confirm that the 70th week is not split off from the others.
.27b 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 [or "wing"] of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation [or "complete destruction"], and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate [literally, "upon a desolator."]
 ". . . and upon the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator." RSV.

  Sacrifice and oblation to cease These animal sacrifices and grain offerings of the sanctuary system met their fulfillment at the death of Christ. Note 10. Jesus declared this end to the woman of Samaria jn0421.
   Cease The Jews were looking for the Messiah to come in glory and make them a great political nation. They didn't recognize Him as one who would suffer and die. They read the Scriptures selectively. Would Christ be cut off before being glorified? The Jews didn't expect this. is0806.
   Overspreading The Hebrew word is often translated "wing." Its meaning as "uttermost part" is2416 is the most significant. Desolation will finally spread over the earth and be complete.
   The picture is drawn from Isaiah where the Assyrian king not only overflowed his banks, spreading his empire, but reached out and nearly overcame both political areas of the split Israel. is0808. This is significant. We can see that the time described extends beyond the 70th week the covenant week just as wickedness would continue. Gabriel had promised to explain the vision [of 2300 days] v23. As we will see, all of the 2300 day-years are covered and more.
   It is important to note that the trampling and abomination of 8:13 would not end at the terminal point of the 2300 days but after that time. The judgment which began then would finally resolve the problem.
   Until consummation ... upon ... desolator We may see here part of God's putting an end to evil with the destruction of Satan. Note 11.

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