|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:4-19 In every prayer we must make confession, not only of the sins we have been guilty of, but of our faith in God, and dependence upon him, our sorrow for sin, and our resolutions against it. It must be our confession, the language of our convictions. Here is Daniel's humble, serious, devout address to God; in which he gives glory to him as a God to be feared, and as a God to be trusted. We should, in prayer, look both at God's greatness and his goodness, his majesty and mercy. Here is a penitent confession of sin, the cause of the troubles the people for so many years groaned under. All who would find mercy must thus confess their sins. Here is a self-abasing acknowledgment of the righteousness of God; and it is evermore the way of true penitents thus to justify God. Afflictions are sent to bring men to turn from their sins, and to understand God's truth. Here is a believing appeal to the mercy of God. It is a comfort that God has been always ready to pardon sin. It is encouraging to recollect that mercies belong to God, as it is convincing and humbling to recollect that righteousness belongs to him. There are abundant mercies in God, not only forgiveness, but forgivenesses. Here are pleaded the reproach God's people was under, and the ruins God's sanctuary was in. Sin is a reproach to any people, especially to God's people. The desolations of the sanctuary are grief to all the saints. Here is an earnest request to God to restore the poor captive Jews to their former enjoyments. O Lord, hearken and do. Not hearken and speak only, but hearken and do; do that for us which none else can do; and defer not. Here are several pleas and arguments to enforce the petitions. Do it for the Lord Christ's sake; Christ is the Lord of all. And for his sake God causes his face to shine upon sinners when they repent, and turn to him. In all our prayers this must be our plea, we must make mention of his righteousness, even of his only. The humble, fervent, believing earnestness of this prayer should ever be followed by us.
Verses 9, 10. - To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him; 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. The Septuagint renders the last clause, "The Law which thou gavest before Moses, and us by thy servants the prophets." There is a change here which has the appearance of marking an interpolation. The prayer ceases, and an explanatory narrative begins. In content it resembles the parallel passage in Bar. 1, but is much briefer, and therefore more likely to be the older. "Forgivenesses" occurs only here and Nehemiah 9:17 in a prayer that otherwise seems borrowed from that before us.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses,.... Mercy is his nature, and what he delights in; it is abundant, and he is plenteous in it the fountain of mercy is with him, and numerous are the streams which flow from it, called "the multitude of his tender mercies"; all temporal favours spring from hence, and so do all spiritual blessings, the sure mercies of David; and particularly the forgiveness of sin, which is the Lord's prerogative, and is according to the tender mercies of our God, and the riches of his grace; and is of all sins, and of all sorts of sinners; he doth abundantly pardon all that apply to him for it, and forgives all trespasses; see Psalm 130:4,
though we have rebelled against him: there is mercy with the Lord, and forgiveness with him, even for rebellious ones; which is an exaggeration and illustration of his pardoning grace and mercy: or, "for we have sinned against him" (g); so that it is a plain case that he is merciful and has forgiven our iniquities, since he has spared us, and not destroyed us, and now is about to put an end to our captivity, according to his promise; and if he had not mercy on us, and did not forgive our sins, we must perish in them, and there would be no hope of salvation for us.
(g) "quia rebellavimus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Polanus, Cocceius, Michaelis.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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.
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